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Vassilis K.

Dalkavoukis
Democtitus University of Thrace
Published in:
Studia Territorialia Supplementum (2010/1) [Acta Universitatis Carolinae - Prague]:
137-151.
The memory of political refugees as an implement of classification and
formation of identity.
A self-anthropological approach

The intention of an anthropologist -and especially by profession ethnographer, like in


my case- to be engaged with a historicaleventofthereekivilWarsrange,itis
not of course an implicit case. In the conscience of most people, even of my
colleagues, the Greek Civil War is a case of historians and especially of those who go
through research on precious archival material, which derives either from the official
archival records of the rivalry arrays (Archives of the Greek Communist Party and the
Greek Democratic ArmyArchive of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Relations and
Administration of Army History etc), or of the other communist parties/states of that
era (especially of the ex-Soviet Union), and even more of big Western Powers, which
got involved in this case by the one or other way. Whoever, in other words, are
captives of an understanding of history, which demands from the historian to be
objective, follow a positivist methodology and maximize the reliability of the
official archival material, especially of that which derives from top archives.
Finally, they give shape and suggest a historical top narration for everything
happened.
This procedure, although respectable and acceptable in all its parts, leaves
serious and important investigatory and disciplinary gaps. I do not refer as much to
the way of gathering the everytime unique- archival material for which have already
been expressed reliable objections, as to the focus of historical investigatory glance on
issues of diplomacy, top policy and ideological orientation To the focus, in other
words, on the central scene of facts. Our knowledge of this level is surely necessary
but not a capable circumstance also, to interpret a series of issues such as the daily life
at countryside and the cities during the period of the Civil War, the enrolment of
fighters to the Greek Democratic Army, the special viewpoint of collective subjects
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such as women or ethnically defined fighters (e.g. the Slavomacedonians-the Vlachsthe Pontiacs etc),theextentoftheparticipantsideologicalconstitution,theimpactof
propaganda, the local particularities, and others.
In order to get this out in larger clarity, the comprehension and the
interpretation of a such multilateral fact, as the Greek Civil War, demands an also
multilateral management, as much in width (that means in relation to the factual
material which must be accumulated), as in depth also (that means in relation to the
theoretical and methodological implements that is demanded to be used). In this
context it is clear that we need much more material that the one which the archives
can offer us and besides that, more many disciplinary perspectives than the ones
which the positivist history can offer us. The Greek Civil War as a total social
phenomenon, requires a total disciplinary outlook, demands in other words
interdisciplinarity.
This requirement did not only become well-defined during the last decade, but
it was moreover attempted to be covered, by the scientific community. It is exactly in
this framework that theetworkfortheStudyofivilWars can be honored for its
decisive distribution, as much by decentralizing (Liakos 2003) the disciplinary
glance from the central stake to the local and peripheral developments and from the
eponymous to the anonymous leading actors, as by its interdisciplinary set up, also: It
is exactly in this point that the anthropological approach finds its position, among
those of diplomacy, economy and social history, sociology, political science, oral
history, literary analysis, history of arts and cinema, psychology, etc.
The anthropological approach -and to be more accurate, the ethnography of
the Greek Civil War- in other words the focus on lived experience of the anonymous
leading actors and its reconstitution through the biographical narrations, demands the
elucidation of two basic disciplinary parameters, in order to be fully comprehensible,
We would turn a blind eye on them if we were to avoid them. More than that, this text
is largely being based to the second one. But lets take the facts in order.
The first epistemological presupposition is the one which had already been
posed, since the beginning of 20th century in France, by the famous Annales Academy
and dominated later at least in those Universities which criticized positivism
(Passerini 1979, Popular Memory Group 1982, J. Vansina 1985, A. Thompson 1996):
In fact, there are at least two istories, the first one is what happened and the
second one is what we are writing about anything happened. Thus, having as given
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that the recomposition of whatever happened is always selective, forasmuch as the


historical narration is necessarily abstractive, selective, evaluative and ideologically
and socially defined, the famous requirementforobjectivehistory is being proved
impossible. Marc Block, in order to stay only in one of the many examples of the
classical anymore historians of this tendency, emphasizes that there are people and
itsthemwho history tries to seize (Block 1994 [1977]). But these are people who at
the same time, are trying to interpret themselves as subjects and objects of the same
procedure.
Thus,willwegiveupfromobjectivityThis would be rather devastating, in
the extent that we are still being inspired by discipline and we cure it. We must admit,
however,thatifobjectivityresemblestothegraphofanexaggerationwhichdoesnt
coincide, that means it resembles to a utopia, the only response we can give to this
requirement, is that of multi- subjectivity Since there is not only one history for
whateverhappened,letshearorletscomposeasmanyaspossible,throughdifferent
perspectives of different subjects, with different positions at the scene, which interest
us to approach. inally, lets hear with the loud voices of big archives, also the
weak voices of those people who experienced decisions which didnt make, who
decided without knowing all the aspects, who acted in order to survive, or who
survived because the avoided to act. Those who, briefly, bear today a bottom-up
reflection of the Greek Civil War, objective

-and we know this well (Vervenioti

2003)- but absolutely necessary among the other subjectivities, in order to


comprehend in a more integral way the scene of the past and to interpret their present
orientations.
In the context of this conversation for the acknowledgement of subjectivity,
the second epistemological assumption is also being classified, but narrower this time.
It considers ethnographic and anthropological research, itself. According to the
requirements of Cultural Critique (Marcus and Fisher 1986, Clifford and Marcus
1986), namely of one relatively recent stream of anthropological thought which
doubted the observers hegemony vis--vis the observed and his capability to
recomposetheimageoftheobservedinarealisticwayintotheethnographic text,
the ethnographer -and in our case the ethnographer of the Civil War- owes to: a)
describe the circumstances under which the text was produced and the factors which
might affect them b) include his biographical elements which are related to the people
for whom he is about to write and c) describe his potential connections of himself to
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the society for which he is about to talk (Gefou Mdaianou 1999). Its about
particular obligations of the ethnographer which, as George Marcus observes (Marcus
1998: 88-89), consist of thefamousreflexivityandsoreplace
the observers objective eye, which the ethnographer is supposed to carry
along with his personal ego ()[and]thissignsbyitself,detachmentfromthe
durable acknowledgement of objectivity and of straight realism () So,
reflexivity means the introduction of a problematic for the dialogic and the cooperative relations in the ethnographic text, namely about how the informants
andtheethnographercollectivelyconstructatext.
Here exactly is the nodal point on which the present text was also based. As much as
concerns me, I am dealing as an ethnographer with the Greek Civil War, for at least
the last seven years, since the time I was still working on my Ph.D. thesis. However,
never until now, and although I have written already five texts (Dalkavoukis 2005,
2006a, 2006b, 2007, Dalkavoukis and Karamitsos 2007), which are, indirectly or
directly, adverted to this subject, I didnt clarify the prerequisitions for their writing.
At least not by the inexorable way, that Cultural Critique demands. But as being said,
every thing comes on its time and I am particularly happy that this clarification is
being done with the opportunity of honoring the memory of an exceptional historian,
whom I had the glad to meet at close, of a young man, the loss of whom shocked us
all, Pavel Hradency.
Thus, my personal engagement with the Civil War, has two points of
departure. The first is disciplinary: My basic studies were in history and my
postgraduate specialization in Modern History. As so, the Civil War comes within my
interests, forasmuch signs huge circumstances that someone cannot ignore in the
Greek case,eitherstudieshistoricalphenomenabeforethe1sdecade,orafterit
The second point of departure is experiential: I am son of a fighter of the Greek
Democratic Army, who was injured during the Civil War, by frostbites in the
mountain of Murgana and who lived enough years in Hyperoria and more particular
in Tascend, as a political refugee. owever, I wasnt born there but in reece, ten
years after my fathers repatriation This combination of the disciplinary and the
experiential element, is in large extend responsible for my active engagement with the
Greek Civil War, from the standpoint of ethnography. I would rather say that having
the theoretical and the methodological remarks which were preceded as base, the
ethnography is probably the most suitable method for the satisfaction of both demands
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and of the experiential need to comprehend the terms which defined my life until
now, up to a grade. Also, of the disciplinary presuppositions, so this conversation can
have a broader result, socially acceptable, and prestigious, to the degree of feasibility.
Though, every search of this type is being achieved with the control of the
appropriate implements. The most appropriate in the case which I am trying to
present, is memory in its double version. I mean the memory of my father, as an
experiential memory of facts, and mine as memory which was made up in a second
level, mediated and filtered by the facts which followed the Civil War, but getting
heavier in any case, by the way in which the Civil War was confronted in Greece,
during the 1s and 1s decades and also redefined by the theoretical,
methodological and factual bibliographic additions of the last decades (Hawlbacks
1950, P. Thompson 1988, A. Thompson 1996, Benveniste and Paradellis 1999).
These two versions of ivil Wars memory and of the being political refugee
situation, are being incised in two points, which I owe to testify: The one concerns the
implicit transmission of experience from the one generation to the other, in the
familyscontextandespeciallyofafamilywithdifferentpoliticalpostures during the
1s decade. The other concerns the systematic recording of my fathers lifestoryasaninformants,narrationswhichfed the texts I quoted before in combination
with those of other informants.
The memory though, doesnt stop to be an implement in the context of
ethnographic research, for the investigation of other, more complex questions, such as
identity. Consequently the request of this text is not other, than the way political
refugees identity is being formed through the memory of the Civil War and the
being political refugee situation, especially in this particular context which is being
defined in relation to the three generations of political refugees, during the last years.
The fact that I am turning to witness these thoughts, as much in methodological as in
factual level, is because memory, in its double version as I quoted before, and, under
the special ethnographic circumstances I outlined, is capable -I think- to supply us,
with precious material in order to study the classification of the political refugees in
these three generations and also the way that their identity was shaped.
ut lets begin with some basic notes on the definition of political refugee
The term political refugee is a Greek convention which was used in order to
segregate the refugees of the Greek Civil War, from those who arrived in main Greece
from Asia Minor and other territories (e.g. Eastern Romylia), which werentincluded
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in the Greek State with a series of Treaties, top of which was the Treaty of Lausanne.
ccordingtotheinternationalterminology,thetermrefugeehasalwaysapolitical
dimension, while especially for the anthropologists is not even necessary the
populations which are being characterizedasrefugees,toturn to another state and
so to cross national borders. We would say that the key-notion of the refugees
politicaldefinitionisforcedmigration,byhavingthemeaningthatis attributed to
sociopolitical reasons and accompanied, by rule, by asylum request (Voutira and
Harell Bond 1995).
In the case of the reekivilWar,thepoliticaldimensionofbeing refugee
situation is apparent of course, as the forced migration of fighters was the only
solution after the defeat of the Greek Democratic Army, and the request of asylum,
implicit. However, as Pavel Hradency (2005) has shown us in large explicitness,
among the refugees of the Greek Civil War, were also people who were forced by the
Communist Party and the Greek Democratic Army. I am referring to sovereign
fascists- war captives, as they were being characterized formally. These were
soldiers of the Governmental Army, who followed losers in Hyperoria and were
repatriated in reece, during the 1s decade radency is clearly implying that
equivalent cases to this refugee category,orevenmorekidnappedcitizens,should
probably exist in other communist countries also, except Czechoslovakia, where
refugees found shelter.
By keeping in our memory this, somehow particular, formofbeingpolitical
refugeesituation -and I am referring mainly to premature repatriation- letsnowpass
to the issue of the political refugeesclassificationingenerations, before we end up to
frame of reference, in order to examine the case which troubles us. According to Th.
Michailidis (2006 and also in this volume), we can apply two kinds of criteria
considering the genealogy of political refugees. The objective ones (time and place)
and the subjective ones, which are the intensity of theexperienceanditsrecording
to memory, during the mostdeterminativeperiodofapeopleslife, from the age of
fifteen until the age of twenty five. Having as base these criteria we could shape three
generations: The first one, which is being consisted of all those who were active
during the German Occupation and/or the Civil War and left Greece in 1949, the
second generation which includes whoever were younger than twelve years old in
1949 or were born in Hyperoria during the exile and finally the third generation which

includes whoever came to Greece in a young age although they were born in
Hyperoria, or they werebornaftertheirparentsrepatriation
Having as base whatever has been said until now, a relatively steady
framework is being formed for the classification of political refugees and for the
affiliation of the

-every time unique- personalmemory,toacollectivegenerative

frame since people remember as persons, but as M. Halbawcks (1950) has shown,
persons-members of a group. utwhichistheaffiliationofmyfatherscaseandmine
also in this frame? Having as base temporal and local criteria, my father belongs to
the first generation, but his premature repatriation back from Tascend (1957),
disconnects him from the collective memory of his generation. Being based to the
locus and the time of my birth (Greece, 1967), I belong to the third generation,
something that creates a remarkable genealogical gap between me and my father, as
long as we belong to seriate generations. The problem caused by the classification,
becomes even more complex, if we also count that during the crucial age of my
personalmemorysformationabouttheivilWar, every kind of conversation about
theurtainfirstly in Greece, was almost or completely banned (duringthe1s),
while later (during the 1s) the dominance of the left-wing narrative for the
German Occupation and the Civil War was explicit. By this remark, I mean that,
while my memory during the 1s decade is -based on the criteria of locus and
time- memory of second generation in Hyperoriaandthememoryduringthe1s
decade, memory of third generation in Greece, these two decades are being mixed in
my case, as two collective frames of memory, which consider although, the same
person.
I think now, that after outlining the framework and its contradictions, has
come the moment to mention some examples. I am choosing two very characteristic
extracts derived from the tens of hours, during which I was recording my fathers
narrations as being an informant with the tape recorder, because they are referring to
incidents I consider determinative for both our memorys formulation They are
concerning the frostbites he got in Murgana and the following facts which had to do
with his health, during his nursing in Albania, after a surgical operation in which he
lost his right footstoesewasthen,twentyyearsold
Whenwearrived at Murgana, we climbed up to Velouna and we
occupied positions, but the weather was frosty, too much cold, a really bad
situation We didnt have anything to dig with, to take off the stones, in
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order to make our positions. We were dislodging some small stones with many
difficulties and we finally managed to take cover, but we made some
positions, almost fake. Thearmywasoppositeusandalittlebitlower()I
spent a week inside there, in the entrenchment I had also made by myself.
After a week, they came to get us, in order to leave, to replace some fighters,
who were continuously fighting and were damaged. They had to be replaced.
The leader of my company comesandcallsmeWereleavingetup,take
your things and wereleaving Imtryingto standup,but Imfalling Im
tryingitagainandImfallingforsecondtimeIcouldntstandupinany way.
The leader of the detachment comes next, Mr. V., with whom we had been
sharingevenacigaretteStandup!hetoldme-and with a very rigorous tone
after it- I will kill you, you gun-dog!Itellhimowhateveryouwant!I
cantstop mylegsfromfalling!o you understandthat fcourseyou
can!etupyoustupid,youbum,youetakeshisgunandheputsitinto
my mouth. ItellhimKillmeImdeadalready,bothwaysestoodupand
left. He went back and reported the fact to our captain. There he also comes:
ey you patriot, whats wrong What happened to you he tells me I
explainIcantstopmylegsfromfallingdown!etells meistenWe
will leave now. I will go to put the company in order and send them with Mr.
S. hewasthecompanyscommissioner,fromthevillage Ziaka of GrevenaandIllcomebacktofindyou You will go up to this hill by dragging your
legs. Behind it, the kitchen places are located. You will go there -he
understood I got frostbites- and you will wait for me. But do not put your feet
nearfire!ctually, I reached the kitchen places by dragging my legs. After
sometimehealsocomesetssee,youpatriot,whathappenedtoyoue
triestotakeoffmyshoes,itwasntpossibleIhadapairofboots,whichIhad
taken from somebody who was killed. He tears them with his knife. He tries to
take off my socks and my skin started to take off with them. esaysYou
havereallyterriblefrostbiteseshoutsnanimal!nanimal!(orse
or mule is meant) -Theres no animal ring my horse! They wrap my
feet in blankets, they putmeonthehorsebackoftheleadershorseandoneof
them starts to pull it towards the hospital. In a village -Idontknowin which
one-

there was a station in which the injured were being forwarded to the

hospital. There was a villager in charge, Mr. N. V. They left me there and
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returned the horse back to the captain. I say ey, r , do you have
anythingformetoeatI washungryandIwantedtoeatYeahTheresa
tin of milk over there The tin was already opened and had just a few grams
ofmilkinsideetookitandgaveittomeh,whatdidyoudoowdid
this happen TstoyouYoustupid!Youbum!Yousmyinjurieswerent
enough, he also started insulting me nd I thought h, what kind of
people are they?Whatkindofpopulararmyisthis Anyway, the other day,
load us to the mules and they took us to Tsamanda. They had commandeered a
house there and they were using it as preventorium () (Dalkavoukis
2006a).
B. fter Argirokastro, they took us to another hospital, in Sukt, which is
between Dyrrachio and Tirana. But this was for slightly injured and we were
also working there. We were digging the vineyards and similar things. As they
told us, this was because we had to work for the Albanian People who was
taking care of us. There, while we were returning one day from work -it was
spring- we sat down to eat. We were a thousand of persons. The kitchen had
cooked broad beans that day. Somebody could see thousand of mess tins with
broad beans, on an oblong table. I also took my mess tin and my slice of bread
and I sat outside to eat. While I was eating, I felt somehow badly. I put my
hand -like this- on my pulse, it was very quick: malpitation! I tell to the guy
next to me Im not feeling well, my pulse is running. They run, call the
doctor(),take me in their hands, lift me up and put me to a room like corf
house, which had wooden beds. There should have passed 3-4 hours until this
thing was over. Since then, this was happening in periods: sometimes in a
month, sometimes in two months, sometimes twice in a month and sometimes
three times in amonthuntil it reached the three times in a day, when I came
here[inreece]m,well,thisalsoisover (Interview 8/5/2006)
We can make some important remarks on these narrations, which are related
to the first generations way of memory shaping First of all, I am referring to the
body elementswhichpreservethismemory,namelytothecorporalgeography,as
R. Bastide (1970) defined it, and more than that to a memory which is inscribed to
the bodies of those who bear it: the corporal wound (in this case the frostbites, the
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following surgical removal of the right foots toes and malpilation as a


psychosomatic, most likely, reaction to the total pressure) is constantly present as a
point of reference of the ivil Wars memory It also defines in a large extent the
following activity of the person, his corporal posture and acting, the constrictions and
the possibilities of action In other words, consists a kind of kinetic memory
(Bastide 1970) as it has been defined, which in my fathers case is exceptionally
apparent. I mean that his walking is somehow unstable, his body leans towards the
right side and he has a slight cyphosis, which was already caused since that age. On
the other hand, the often malpilations, obligate him to restrict importantly his corporal
activity and surely to stop it for enough time, that something similar happens to him.
Besides that, the socioeconomic consequences of this wound are not less
important. Because of his disability, he was cut off from having the chance to
emigrate, during the 1s decade, while at the same time the lack of his
acknowledgment as a victim of war, was also cutting him off from positive measures
which were only concerning the victims of victory side of War. Those circumstances
made even heavier the corporal dimension of memory, as the shaping of his body by
the wound and the sickness, did literally define his life after it and especially after
repatriation.
The crucial question, however, is lying somewhere else: Does the corporal
wound consist also a trauma of second grade, which means a psychic trauma for the
second generation? According to the narrow definition of psychic trauma, as Anna
Vidali (1996: 89)1 presents it to us, this is:
[It is] defined by the weakness of apprehending a fact, while it is happening,
as the tension of the experience obstructs its comprehension () y
obstructing the realization of the historical moment, the trauma causes a
serious truth crisis If an object of reference, which can guarantee for the
less or the more accurate representation for memory, does not exist, then how
is possible to get familiar with the past? And if this knowledge of the past is
not possible, then how can we return to our roots and presuppose our
continuity? Violent facts disturb the continuity and the communication among
themembersofthecommunity

See also Caruth 1991, Van der Kolk McFarlane Weisaeth 1996: 279-330.

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ccordingtothisdefinition,ifweacceptthattheobject ofreferencedoesexist here is meant the trauma and the kinetic memory of his bearer- then we must
search for the violent facts which disturb the continuity and the communication
amongthemembersofthecommunity (in this case, among the members of the first,
the second and the third generation of political refugees), in order to corroborate the
existence psychic trauma. And even more, the possibility of communication among
the members of the national community, that is of nation-state, which appears divided
after the Civil War.
I think that the framework of the configuration of the ivil Wars memory
among the three generations is now more explicit and more accurate. If we assume
thatthepoliticalrefugeesareacommunityofmemoryintheplace of their refugee
situation, then the violent facts which cut off the communication among
generations, must be searched in the political frame of ex-socialist countries, but I
suppose there are more qualified persons than me, to talk about this subject. If the
community of memory is the nation-state, then the violent fact is the political
refugees expatriation, and the first presupposition for the recomposition of this
community is the massive repatriation which was already happening since the decade
of1sandafterwardsInthetemporalframeworkwhichmediatesuntilnowadays
since then, the public conversation for the Civil War and the institutional initiatives
forthepoliticalrefugeesrehabilitation,alsoconsist, in my opinion, important steps
towards the rehabilitation of this community ut what happens when the
communityofmemoryisthefamilyandtheviolentfactistheambientpolitical
situation, which either forbids public conversation for the Civil War, or morally
stigmatizes the defeated ones, by using characterizations such as bandits,
brigands and others Its been exactly about a community of memory which I
intensely experienced during my childhood and during the years of my first
adolescence, during the1sdecade, a particular situation which emerged from my
fathersprematurerepatriationandthelackofabalancedpublicconversation for the
Civil War during that period in Greece. My implement here is my personal, anymore,
memory.
The corporal wound of my fatherasarealobjectofreferencewascreating
me, as it is natural, reasonable questions. The typical reply I was receiving to my
persistent questions about how it happened was just an indefinite incident which
happenedtothevillageogsbiteme, he was telling me with consistency and he
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was changing the subject of discussion. His reaction however, was impressive
consideringthetransmissionofkineticmemory,tomeEverytimehewasseeing
me to incline my body towards its right side or to shape a slight cyphosis to my
bodysposture,hewasrebukingmeandadvisingmetostanduprightuttheresults
although of this procedure are evident, although his advice. He justified later this
dimension between the two forms ofmemorystransmission,the corporal (which he
couldnt avoid) and the verbal (which was based on elusions), by adducing exactly
theseviolentfacts,forwhichIspokebeforeewasworrying,lestIwoulddiffuse
a family secret, because of my childishness, which could easily cause successive
reactions and of course, to damage his image to me (because the surrounding people
would call him bandit) or to traumatize my socialization, which was apparent as
normal,ifIwouldbringintoquestionthesepeoplescharacterizationand identified
myself with him.
n the other hand, the malpitations role as a corporal incident which was
happening to my father was determinative for the shaping of my behaviour. My fear
-probably exaggerated, as was proved later- of a possible death of my father during
one of these frequent crises, imposed me important self- restrictions, during the period
of my adolescent outbursts, a fact that my wider environment of relatives -and
fortunately not my family- tried to take advantage of inadvertently, in order to
manipulate and incorporate me to the suburban values it was believing to. My
ignorance about the origin of this corporal symptom of my father was making my
family anexceptionallyproblematiccommunityofmemory
Equally, the change of the political atmosphere during the 1s decade,
when a left-wing narrative dominated concerning the German Occupation and the
Civil War, although it could restore the balance in the abnormal community of
memoryofmyfamily,didntfinallybringaboutthe expected results. My left-wing
politicalorientationwascausingtheselectivereconstitutionofmyfathersmemoryas
a criticism, not only towards the soviet model, which you havent live and so you
donthavethenecessaryexperiencetotalkabout,but also and towards the Left more
generally, which he was accusing for inconsistency of words and actions, fragments
of which he had only transmitted to me.
I could continue for much more time, but the crucial point on which I want to
focus, I think thatisalreadyclearthememoryoftheivilWarandofthebeinga
political refugee situation, was constituting a traumatic experience in the frame of
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thisparticularcommunityofmemoryfordecades,sothatitcouldevendefinethe
identity of its community. My father, by being cut off ofhisgenerationscollective
memory, was trying to manage his individual memory, into a problematic frame, by
hesitating even for his identity: He was a volunteer or a recruited man? Was he a
typical political refugee who was early repatriated, or was he shaping the identity of a
captive, something like the soldiers whom radency presented to us In other
words, there was a clear and visible problem considering his integration to an
accepted public myth (Tsimbiridou 2004)2 for the period of the Civil War.
Considering me, the questions I had were similar: I was the son of a political refugee
orthesonofakidnappedman,accordingtothatperiodscurrentterminology To
which generation I was belonging to and, furthermore, how my identity was being
shaped through this placement? Was it worth to insist on the transmission of this
pendingmemory,ormyintegrationwouldbemoretypicalandnormalifIignored
it?
These questions -which both sides had- find today a relatively sufficient reply,
afterofmorethanadecadeofpublicconversation,insidethedomesticcommunity
of memory ut for this to happen, some also pending presuppositions should
mature: Among other presuppositions, the depreciation of the soviet model during the
1s decade, allowed my father to place himself at last, to a community of
memoryofpoliticalrefugees,intheframeofanacceptablepublicmythforthe Civil
WarItsabout,asIhavementionedalreadyfromthebeginning,a criticism towards
all directions and without any party affiliation, which brings to the forefront weak
voices, as those we hear to be narrated to the book of V. Papagianni, Screams of
memory (2005), for example, or like the one of Tasoula Vervenioti to her Double
Book (2003), where their connection of these voices with the historical and
ethnographic research is being done in an exceptional way. This kind of disciplinary
maturity, was a presupposition I was also called to cover, before the effective
transmission of memory was achieved. And this is exactly where I think the nodal
point of intersection lies, between the two points of departure, the experiential and the
disciplinary, considering my avocation with the Civil War.
Thispublicmythisnormallyaneffectarisingfromtheelaborationofthememoryaccordingtothe
persons strategies of surviving, the political frame and of course the role of printed information
about the same period of time. I mean the role of literacy which permits the informants to be aware of
events -or to interpret them- by using information they learned later. See Goody and Watt 1968, and for
an example Dalkavoukis 2006b.

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During the recurrent interviews with my father, which also lasted many hours
usually, recorded or not, we both tried to master the trauma of interrupted
communication between the two generations, and I think that we managed to do it, not
without friction of course. On of the friction points, considers my fathers aim to
transformthecommunityofmemoryofourfamily,intoanexclusivecommunity
of memory but with no results. I quote a characteristic -and somehow humorousextract from our latest interview, which is particularly eloquent:
- About three or four colleagues -until now- have asked me to interview
you
- To tell them what?
- To tell them your experience of Greek Democratic Army, of Tascend etc.
utyoutellmethatyoudonttalktoothers
-

o,Idontwant to talk to others, because if I do it, those I will tell to you


will not have any value

k,buttheymightaskyouotherkindofthingsWouldntyouliketotell
them?

oIdontwanttodilatethesethingsIwanttoforgetthemasmuchasI
can. And thesethingsImtellingtoyounow,it is because you need them
to do a particular job.

So,ifIwasnttodothisparticularjob,youwouldnttellme

o,Imtellingyounow,inordertodoyoujob(laughing)

Yes,butyourealso writing them.

Yes, I do write them, but in order to leave them to you and not to give
themtothepeople (Interview 8/5/2006)

Because this particular ethnographic case doesnt have only personal but also
scientific value, as I introduced in the beginning, I would like to summarize the
disciplinary conclusions of this procedure, in the end. The first conclusion is of
methodological nature: The clarification of terms and presuppositions of ethnographic
research is not only an inviolable disciplinary rule, but also a particularly beneficial
exercise of acquiring self-knowledge, which allows us to dilate and to go into the
depth of the hermeneutical patterns we use, their modification and re-adjustment
through a kind of empirical material which would otherwise stay unknown to the
ethnographer and to the disciplinary community in general. The second conclusion is
14

factual and assures the disciplinary orientations we had until now in the Net for the
Study of Civil Wars: The turn from the collective towards the individual subjects does
not only proves the diverse ways which shape collective or social memory, as has
been ascertained already, but furthermore puts on the map a huge field for the study of
the tactics with which we manage memory in the every time unique frame which the
ambientsocietyshapesWehavealreadyopenedand trying to understand this field
which concerns the ivil Wars memory The third conclusion concerns the theory
which we walk with and consists a case of study which easily derives from these two
previous points: memory, either as individual or collective or social, is not static, but
flows and it is being adjusted to the every time unique circumstances, which favour or
not -and hence direct- its enunciation, by the one or the other way. Memory -in other
words- is a construction. This is something we have already admitted in anthropology
and oral history, but in the context of positivist historiography, this recognition
consists of a constant pending epistemological issue, especially for those who use the
expressed memory as factual material (Margaritis 2001).
This is also an issue, as similarly happened with the Civil War, which must
constitute the object of a wide public conversation, inside the disciplinary community.
Such a conversation is the only way to overcome our trauma, by unfixing the
violentfactsof our ideological or other anchyloses.

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