Are mixed Albanians

Albanian speakers and Albanians in Greece and Greeks in Albania

The Albanian-speaking parts of the population in Greece are not a uniform group in terms of history, language and consciousness. In this respect, their name as "Arvanites", which is customary in Greek, is misleading. International science therefore only refers to the relatives of the descendants of immigrants from the southern Albanian area as "Arvanites". The first and main wave of immigration took place at the invitation of the local rulers from the 13th and then mainly in the 14th and into the 15th century.

Since then, the Arvanites have settled in around 300 places in southern Greece. For example in Boeotia, in Attica (the area around Athens) bordering on it to the east, on some Aegean islands (including Euboea, Hydra) and on the Peloponnese. As a self-name, they sometimes use an earlier all-Albanian ethnonym, arbërorë. The language is then called arbërisht accordingly. The majority have now adopted the Greek terms (arvanitika for the language) in their own linguistic usage. According to the criteria of language use or consciousness, the number of Arvanites is now often estimated at 150,000 - 200,000. However, Arvanitic is not only structured in a strong dialectic, but its speakers are now all bilingual, with a strong tendency towards Greek monolingualism in the younger generation.

The fact that the culture of the Arvanites is almost entirely village-like contributes to the linguistic assimilation. Like Greek society as a whole, however, they are strongly oriented towards the urban, "non-Arvanitic" Greek pattern. Urbanization, migration and social mobility therefore regularly result in a change of language and, as a result, a change in identity. Even conscious Arvanites see themselves as both Greeks and Arvanites; H. there is no such thing as a politicizable ethnic identity. The Greek national side propagates that one can be Greek and Arvanite at the same time. The never-ending promotion of the Arvanite language and culture and the decades-long repression and reduction in prestige of the minority language at all levels of state institutions and in many cases also in the Greek Orthodox Church (to which the Arvanites belong) shows that compatibility is basically only accepted for as long becomes how the still existing Arvanitic can be understood as a transition stage to a complete adjustment to the Greek-speaking environment. This and the anti-Albanian mood in Greece in the 1990s led to Arvanite associations orienting themselves towards the idea of ​​"Albanism". The associations were founded in the late 1970s.

A small second group of Albanian speakers are the inhabitants of some localities in the Greek-Bulgarian-Turkish border region in Thrace. They are the remnants of a larger local concentration in what is now the border triangle until 1922/23, which, according to linguistic findings, probably goes back to the 16th century. At the beginning of the 20th century some representatives of the Albanian national movement came here, while today on the Greek side the Albanian language is still widespread among the younger ones, but the self-image is "arvanitized" and Greek.

A third Albanian-speaking group is only partially available today: the Çamen (Greek Tsamides) in a narrow coastal area of ​​Epirus bordering Albania in the north. Unlike the other two subgroups, they are historically and linguistically part of the closed Albanian language area and had or have an Albanian ethnic consciousness. Your own language name z. B. is like in Albania shqipja. When about half the Muslim and Christian Orthodox minority emerged through the demarcation of 1913, the Muslim part was officially excluded from the Greek-Turkish population exchange, but this Muslim minority was actually discriminated against. As a result of the alleged collaboration with the Italian and German occupation troops and with the Albanian civil administration deployed by them during World War II, the remaining approx. 20,000 Muslim Albanians were collectively expelled to Albania by Greek troops in 1944. The remaining Christian Çamen do not exist according to the Greek reading. Little research has been carried out into them, but they still seem to have a special awareness and their language, and to be exposed to considerable official pressure. However, they do not articulate themselves publicly.

Overall, the Greek state did not promote the Albanian-speaking population groups or only accepted them in their cultural peculiarities. Only from 1936 to 1939 half-hearted attempts were made to offer mother tongue lessons in some Muslim places in çamien. To this day, Greece has not contributed to cross-border understanding in Southeastern Europe because of its unsuccessful minority policy.

Greeks in Albania

The Greek minority in Albania and the Albanian minority in the north-western Greek Epirus are examined mostly without context in the respective nationally colored view. In fact, however, both are the result of the same process: in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars of 1912/13, borders were drawn through the previously unified Ottoman territory. This created a Greek minority in southern Albania, some of which are spatially compact today (south of the city of Gjirokastër) and some are mixed with the Albanian population (in the neighboring coastal area of ​​Saranda and Himara). The Greeks also came to the cities of Gjirokastër and the capital Tirana through migration. These are mostly members of the minority with above-average education who are particularly important for representing their interests. The minority area was defined under communist rule. Apart from Himara, it covers the entire Greek-speaking region. At that time, however, the protection of minorities was limited to rudimentary mother tongue elementary school education. Secondary Greek-speaking schools have only emerged in recent years.

How many Greeks are there in Albania? For the period between the world wars, the best census made by the League of Nations estimates 35,000 - 40,000 Greeks. The last Albanian census in 1989 spoke of 58,758 Greeks, while the Greek government does not have an official position, but often uses the estimate of 300,000 - 350,000 Albanian Greeks widely used by the Greek public. Both figures are an expression of ethno-political wishful thinking: Based on the election results of the 1992 particularly successful collecting party of the minority, the "Party of the Union for the Defense of Human Rights", the number (even before the great economically induced wave of emigration to Greece) can with great certainty be 100,000 - Determine 120,000. The estimate of 300,000 - 350,000 includes a large part of the Orthodox Albanians and especially the Aromanian minority. This "expansive" term, as it were, is also advocated by the political representatives of the Albanian Greeks and contributes significantly to Albanian fears of the minority and of Greece. The possible consequence is ethno-national polarization, as occurred in the local elections in the Himara area in autumn 2000. It is therefore regrettable that Greek Albania organizations called for a boycott of the April 2001 census. The dispute over the definition of the minority is one of the most important burdens for them.

Dr. Konrad Clewing is a historian at the Munich Southeast Institute and a specialist in Albanians