06 February 2010

Οι 'Ελληνες της Μικράς Ασίας — The Greeks of Asia Minor

A decade ago I was reading everything I could on the fate of the Greeks of Asia Minor, including Marjorie Housepian Dobkin's Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City. Greeks had inhabited this region for nearly three millennia until the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne mandated the exchange of populations between Greece and the new Turkish Republic, uprooting hundreds of thousands of refugees from their homes and sending them to countries that were not their own. A grand effort to secure ethnic uniformity wreaked havoc on deeply rooted communities, something my own relatives experienced in Cyprus half a century later.

In memory of the Greeks of Asia Minor, I link to the following folk song, Γιαννούλα Τσανακαλιώτισσα (Giannoula Tsanakaliotissa), whose title refers to a girl from what in Turkish is called Çanakkale (Τσανάκκαλε) and in Greek Δαρδανέλλια (Dardanellia). This town is located on the northwest coast of Asia Minor immediately across from the Gallipoli Peninsula. I had been looking for this song for ten years and finally found it a few days ago.

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