4 Jun


Of all the victims of the Population Exchange, and among all descendants of muhacir groups in Turkey generally, probably few are as fanatical in the maintenance of their collective identity or memory of their homeland than Turkish Cretans — which only proves that they’re as Cretan as any Greek Cretans are.  And which my saying probably enrages certain nationalist “intellectuals” in Athens I know more than it does Cretans themselves.


Around the corner from my apartment, there’s a taverna owned, obviously, by a Turkish Cretan, which he’s named “Giritimu.”  This is a combination of “My Crete” in Turkish: “Giritim” — and Greek: “Κρήτη μου,” “Crete mou” — which is what the Greek-speaking Turks of the island, who constituted a third of its population until the twentieth century, would have used anyway — into one odd, bilingual, double possessive.  And it’s corny, but half the times I walk by I tear up at the sight of it anyway.

A thousand curses on the kathikia who thought they could treat people like cattle this way.  But you know what?  A thousand more on the heads of those peoples themselves, who gave the kathikia politicians and diplomats the raison for doing it, by not being able to live together without being at each others throats for an eternity, and now cry for their lost homelands and are all mushy-gushy love for their lost “brothers.”  Whenever a Turk tells me “we’re  brothers,” half the time I want to cry and hug him and half the time punch him.  (See: “After the Floods, Unity and Compassion”  for what’s become a growing sentiment on my part recently.)

One night I’ll stop by and eat there, just to honor the memory.


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