We are pleased to welcome the following new members:

Corneliu Mihalexe Warren, MI
Horea Hristu Bridgeport, CT

We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Spiro Vasilescu, a longtime member and past officer of  the Society Farsarotul.  We hope to feature a brief profile of this wonderful man in a future issue of the Newsletter.

We continue to be amazed at the sheer volume of information about the Vlachs and their history now available on the internet.  For example, see “The Vlach Connection and Further Reflections on Roman History” by Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. at www.friesian.com/decdenc2.htm.  Among many other things, the article discusses the reputed origins of Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian in a Latin-speaking village in Macedonia.

The news from Albania continues to be mixed – in October 2004 a press release was issued by the Albanian Helsinki Committee announcing the results of a roundtable discussion held in Korce and sponsored by the AHC.  The topic was “respect for the rights of the Macedonian, Roma, Arumunian/Vllah minorities,” among others.  Although the roundtable was billed as an awareness-raising event, requests were made for more official support of the culture, history, and traditions of these minorities.  A few months later, we received an email announcing the inauguration of a Greek school in Korce; the message noted, “Even though the words ‘Vlach’ or ‘Vlachophone Greek’ were not mentioned in the official announcements in the Greek press, it is a known fact that demographically, the backbone of the Greek minority in Korce and environs is Vlach-speaking or bilingual (Vlach- and Greek-speaking).”  The writer seemed conflicted – proud of the Vlachs of Korce and embarrassed that the Greek newspapers failed to even mention the overwhelming Vlach element among the potential students of the school.

The Vlachs continue to prove fertile ground for plenty of interesting academic work.  We recently read about two papers presented by a talented scholar in the UK named Andromahi Koufogiorgou on sociolinguistics: the first, “Identity and Language: the Case of the Vlachs/ Aromanians of Metsovo, Greece,” discusses how Vlachs in Metsovo are able to shift identity (between Vlach and Greek, we presume) based on their use of Aromanian and Greek; the second, entitled “When a dying language becomes a lingua franca,” is a fascinating look at how the arrival of Vlach-speakers from Albania in Metsovo may actually be renewing the use of the Aromanian language in that famous town.

Traditional Greek clarinet music increasingly has been crowded out by newer musical trends from rembetika to MTV…  So we were especially delighted to read in Kathimerini (23 November 2004) that the klarino is alive and well in Athens, of all places, at a club called Elatos, at Lavriou Square (not far from Omonia Square).  Founded in 1918, the club is still going strong among lovers of Greek folk music.

As 2004 wound down to a close, we were also happy to hear that the Greek government had designated the Pindos Mountain range a national park.  Only certain activities that do not harm the park will be permitted by the new rules within the protected zone.  We hope that this is the beginning of an effort to save this important but lesser-known treasure within Greece, so that in the years to come, more and more visitors to Greece will see not only the country’s beautiful islands, but also the rugged beauty of the Pindos Mountains.

There has been much activity in the small Aromanian village of Malovishti in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  Young people are banding together to learn traditional crafts such as weaving and woodcarving.  Located on Pelister Mountain not far from Bitola, within the boundaries of Pelister National Park, Malovishti is a small village of cobblestone streets and traditional architecture that is home to some 300 souls.  These people are hoping that tourists will come visit their village and buy their products, generating enough income to turn traditional Vlach handicrafts into viable modern businesses – thereby preserving both these crafts and their village.  The group, The Association for Sustainable Development of Malovista and villages beneath Pelister Mountain, sponsored an event recently featuring an exhibit of local crafts and celebrating the creation of a new water supply for the village; the exhibit received support from the King Bouduen Foundation of Belgium and the Open Society Foundation of Macedonia, while the water supply was donated by the US embassy in the Republic of Macedonia.  The EKE has also been organizing an annual cultural festival for Vlachs from all Balkan countries.  See www.malovista-eke.org.mk.

We recently ran across a Balkan War Story by Virgil R. Marco, Sr., describing an incident in the Spring of 1908 when Turkish troops in pursuit of Greek soldiers occupied the village of Perivoli, in the Pindus Mountains.  See www.marcolowe.com.

We recently ran across a Balkan War Story by Virgil R. Marco, Sr., describing an incident in the Spring of 1908 when Turkish troops in pursuit of Greek soldiers occupied the village of Perivoli, in the Pindus Mountains.  See www.marcolowe.com.

In March of this year, Greek doctors announced the results of a study comparing mortality from heart disease in the mountain village of Arahova (famous for its feta cheese) and two low-lying villages.  Mortality was 50-60 percent lower in Arahova than in the other villages.

For a look at how a community might preserve its culture, history, and connections in the digital era, see what families from the Grrek island of Kythera have done at  www.kythera-family.net.  James Prineas, an Australian of Kytheran descent, founded this unique web site in 1999.


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