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What do you know about Greek speaking Muslims (e.g. those in Hamidiyah, Syria)?
Hello, Aziz, and thank you for A2A.
I found out about Al-Hamidiyah a few years ago, and posted about my emotional reactions on my blog: opɯdʒɯlɯklɑr: Al-Hamidiyah.
I know that the settlers of Al-Hamidiyah fled Crete after Crete gained autonomy, and Christian Cretans started reprisals against Muslim Cretans. (In fact, as I found on Trove, the only time my hometown of Sitia was mentioned in the Australian press was for massacres of Muslims). The town Al-Hamidiyah was named after the Sultan who resettled them there.
I know that the folk of Al-Hamidiyah were ethnic Greek Cretans, and held on to their dialect and customs in Syria. So when the Greek journalists come visiting, they are touched by the maps of Crete on the wall, and the pure Cretan dialect, and the longing they express for their lost motherland. (Just like the Albanians who moved to Italy from the Peloponnese: Moj e Bukura More.) And they’re pretty chuffed that the folk of Al-Hamidiyah have not adopted the polygamy of their neighbours.
They don’t mention as prominently that the folk of Al-Hamidiyah want to visit Crete, but the Greek government won’t issue them visas. Or that the folk of Al-Hamidiyah are the “Turk Cretans” that Greek literature vilifies.
I know that my ancestral village of Zakros has what looks to be a pre-Hellenic name. And that the neighbouring abandoned Muslim village of Zákathos has what is pretty definitely a pre-Hellenic name (it’s almost identical to Zacynthus). Which means four thousand years of habitation, unplugged because of the population exchanges.
I know that the Cretan Turks could have remained the brothers of us Christian Greeks’, had the religion of Greece been Grecism instead of Christianity. (I’m alluding to the decision that Albania made, “the religion of Albania is Albanianism”.) Then again, if Greece were a cosmopolitan, non-sectarian nation, it would not have been Greece. It might have been the pan-Balkan confederation that Rigas Feraios had in mind instead.
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