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ETHNOLOGIA

BALKANICA, VOL. 6 (2002)

The
Ethnicity
of
Aromanians
after
1990:
the
Identity
of
a
Minority
that
Behaves
like
a
Majority1
ThedeKahl,Mnster

Aromaniansdefinethemselvesdependingonwhichdialectgrouptheybelong
toasArmiorRrmi.UntiltodaythegroupofRrmi(Rum.:Aromni
Freroi,Greek:Arvanitvlachi)haspartlypreserveditssemi-nomadiclife-
style,livinginprovisionaltemporarysettlements,whilelargegroupsofArmi
(Rum.:Aromni,Greek:Kutsvlachi)sincethe14thcenturybegantosetup
summervillagesandinpartturnedawayfromcattle-breeding.
Speakers of Aromanian define themselves as belonging to the fara
armneasc(Aromaniantribe),orwithararerwordtothepopuluarmnescu
(Aromanianpeople).InAromanianthereisnomodernwordfornationorethnos,
but when trying to describe this term in their own language, they have many
possibilities for adopting similar words from other languages like miletea
armneasc (from Turkish millet), laou armnescu (from Greek las), gins
armneasc(fromTurkishcins,cf.Albanianxhins)orghimtarmneasc(from
Albanian gjnt; all examples see Papahagi 1974). Only few Aromanian use the
neologismnatsie(nation).TheawarenessofbelongingtotheArmiorRrmi
isbasedonideasofethnicorculturalcohesiononcriteriaoflanguage,religion,
ancestry,commonhistoryandprofessionalspecialisation.TheMegleniteVlachsor
MeglenoromaniansandtheIstro-Romaniansarenotincludedinthisinterpretation
ofAromanian;firstofalltheydonotevencallthemselvesarmiorrrmi,but
vla. Beside this they cannot be considered as Aromanians with regard to their
ethnogenesis(seeSchramm1997:300306;Vkony1996),dialect(seeAtanasov
1990,Dahmen1989,Kramer1989),andidentity(seeKahl1999:62).
The range of different forms of identity and the resulting dilemma of the
divisionofthefundamentalalignmentswithintheAromaniansocietieswascondi-
tionedontheonehandbytheirculturalandmentalclosenesstotheGreeksandon
theotherhandbytheclosenessoftheirlanguagetotheRomanian.Theinfluence
ofpoliticalmovements,especiallythoseofGreeceandRomania,butalsoofother

1
FormydoctoralthesisEthnicityanddistributionoftheAromaniansinSoutheastEuropeI
studiedthequestioniftheAromanians(alsoAroumanians,Aromunians,Cincars,Kutsovlachs,
Macedoromanians)canbedefinedtodayasauniformgroup,iftheyformsubgroupsandin
whataspectstheydiffer.ForthispurposeImadeadetailedlistofAromaniansettlementsand
asurveyofthereasonsfortheirpresentdistribution.Further,narrativeinterviewswithsocio-
geographicalandethnologicalmethodsweremade(onmethodologyseeKahl1999:713).
Thispaper,writtenthreeyearsaftertheempiricalstudy,summarizessomeoftheresultsand
addsrecentdevelopments.
146

Balkanstates,ledtofurtherdivisions.Alsothedivisionsbetweenruralandurban
groups, with the traditionalism and backwardness of the former, the greater
progressivenessofthelatter,andthecompletelydifferentformoftheirsettlements
andwaysoflife,functionedasdividingelements.Becauseofthewidelydispersed
settlements as a result of their historical and socio-economic way of life, the
Aromaniansliveontheperimeterofpeopleofotherethnicoriginsandthusmerge
withthese,whichleadstoeitheraformofdualidentityorcompleteassimilation.

FromtherootsofAromanianidentitytotheAromanianQuestion
TheemergenceofaconsciousnessthatcanbecallednationalwhetherGreek,
Romanian or specifically Aromanian  probably did not exist among the
AromaniansbeforethebeginningofthenationalmovementsofsoutheastEuropean
peoplesintheearly19thcentury.IntheByzantineandOttomanperiods,orthodox
Christiansdefinedthemselves,regardlessoflanguageandculture,asRomans(in
GreekRomi,laterRomi;inLatinRomani,laterRomniandArmi).Before
Aromanians began to develop their own ethnic consciousness or to orientate
themselves to other peoples and their national movements, the most important
aspectsofidentificationweretheirbelongingtoamillet(orthodoxChristians)
and,second,toaprofessionalgroup(shepherds,craftsman,dealersetc.);belong-
ingtoRomi,RomniorArmiwassecondary,andtermslikenationwerenot
knownatall.
Becauseoftheirtraditionalcattle-breedingandbecauseofpersecutionsintheir
urbanizedsettlements,thedistributionofAromaniansisveryscattered.Neither
spatiallynorintheirself-understandingcouldtheyeverformacoherentgroup.
When at the beginning of the 19th century an Aromanian movement emerged,
largenumbersofAromanianswerealreadyassimilatedinvariousregionsorwere
in a state of assimilation. Thus we have to distinguish between a national
Aromanian movement on the one hand and their participation in the national
movementsoftheirneighbourpeoplesontheotherhand.
Themostcommonorientationswereandstillarepro-Greekandpro-Roma-
nian. The words graecoman and romanizing used in southeast European
languagescarrypejorativemeanings(andshouldbeavoided).TheGreek-Roma-
nian conflict on the Aromanian question split the Aromanians into different
factions,intothosebelongingtotheRomanian,thosebelongingtotheGreekand
thosebelongingpurelytotheAromanian.Eventodaythisconflictisingrainedin
thequestionoftheiridentity,theirpositionasaminorityandtheirpoliticaland
culturalorientation.
SincetheAromaniansbelongedtotheGreekpatriarchateofConstantinopleand
theirculturalandeconomicactivitieswereboundtotheGreekchurch(Peyfuss
1970: 338), the wealthy urbanized Aromanians have been especially active as
representativesoftheGreeklanguageanddistributorsofGreekcultureforalong
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time.Alreadyinthe17thand18thcenturiesGreekwasthemostimportantlan-
guageofcommunicationinmostofsoutheastEurope.Amongmanynon-Greek-
speakingethnicgroups(Bulgarians,Albanians,Vlachs,Jews)Greekfunctionedas
alinguafranca(cf.Konstantakoplu1988:11).ThefirstdocumentsinAromanian
werewrittenintheGreekalphabetandwerenotintendedtoteachAromanian,but
tospreadtheGreeklanguage(Konstantakoplu1988:13),e. g.thedictionariesof
ThedorosKavallitis(1770)andDanilMoschopoltis(1802).Itwascharacteris-
tic that in Voskopoja (Moschpolis) neither Vlach schools nor an Aromanian
printingshopwereestablished,buttheGreekNaAkadema(14thcentury)anda
Greek language typography (Hetzer 1982). Persons like Kosms the Aetolian
(17141779),NefytosDkas(17621845),KonstantnosKmas(17771836),
MetropolitIoannkios(18151854),andDrvaris(1798)struggledforthediffu-
sionoftheGreeklanguageamongtheAromanians(Peyfuss1970:340).
ThesefirstactivistsinfluencedthedevelopmentofAromanianself-awareness.
AtthesametimemanyotherpeoplesintheBalkanswerealsointheinitialphase
of their national awakening. The success of the Greek language with the
AromanianswasnotonlycausedbyafewpersonsstrugglingforGreekculture,
but mostly by increasing contacts with Greek neighbours and by the fact that
Greekwasthemostimportantcommerciallanguage.Alotofcompactsettlements
in Central Greece, e. g. near Agrnio and Lama, were Hellenized without the
influenceofpoliticalorchurchactivists.ThedevelopmentofaspecificAromanian
identitycanbeobservedparticularlyintheearlyAromaniandiaspora.Especially
someAromaniangrammarsandlanguagebookletsdocumentaclearawarenessof
the Latin base of Aromanian and were intended for other purposes than books
publishedinMoschpolis,e. g.theworksofKonstantnosUktas(1797),George
C.Rosa(1808)orMihailBojadschiorBoiagi(1813).Atthesametime(1815),
theAromaniansofBudaandPestaskedpermissiontousetheirlanguageinortho-
dox liturgy. In fear of reactions from the patriarchate of Constantinople, the
metropolitneglectedthisrequest.Peyfuss(1974:21)characterizestheAromanian
movementasanationalmovementtypicalforthe19thcentury.Inthe1860s,
soonaftertheestablishmentoftheRomanianstate,theRomaniannationalmove-
ment and its extensive educational policy in Macedonia, Thessaly and Epirus
began to influence Aromanian activities. Since then Aromanian activities were
automaticallyboundtoRomania.TheawarenessofLatinbase,whichspreadin
the (Daco)romanian population, had an influence on the Aromanian world, al-
thoughwithsomedelayandfewerconsequences.
Any attempt to establish independent Aromanian churches or schools was
handled like a scandal by the Greek patriarchate (Miron 1978: 136; Konst-
antakoplu 1988: 45). Although the patriarchate in 1879 permitted the use of
Romanian church books by Aromanians, most of the clergy did not accept
Aromanianasachurchlanguage(Miron1978:136f.,Demirta-Cokun2001:58).
148

AftertheestablishmentofaMacedo-romaniancommitteein1860inBucharest,
RomanianscoutssuchasBolintineanutravelledthroughEpirusandMacedonia
(s.Bolintineanu1863;Chatzpulos1982).Romaniabegantotrainteachersfor
MacedoniaandappointedApostolMrgrit(inGreekApstolosMargartis,born
1832inAvdlla)assupervisoroftheRomanianschools.1864thefirstRomanian
(Aromanian) school was established in Macedonia in the village of Trnovo.
OtherRomanianschoolsfollowedsuit,andatthebeginningofthe20thcentury
therealreadyexisted100Romanianchurches,106Romanianschoolswithmore
than4,000pupilsand300teachersinMacedoniaandEpirus2.Butthenumberof
pupils at Romanian schools was moderate, because only basic instruction was
given in Aromanian, while most lessons were in Romanian. Since 1865 there
existedaMacedo-romanianschoolinBucharest,andin1887firstschoolbooksin
Aromanianwereused(Bratter1907:59).SomewhatlaterthefirstAromaniantext
books with patriotic Aromanian poems came out. Dimndare printeasc
(parentaladmonition)byBelemace(alsoBelimace)of1888becamethebest-
knownpoem.Itdevelopedintosomethingliketheanthemofthenationallyori-
ented Aromanians. In the poem, parents who do not teach their children the
Aromanianlanguagearecursedforever(textseeKahl1999:155).
AromanianpatriotssuchasApostolMrgrit,originallyaGreekteacher,and
Constantin Belemace from Malovite show that most active participants of the
RomanianmovementwerenotRomanians,butAromanians3.Isuggestthatthe
describedmovementsbecharacterizedasAromanian-Romanian(orVlach-Roma-
nian,asdoesAdanr1979:220).
The Aromanian-Romanian movement culminated in the recognition of the
Aromaniansbyadecree(irade)asUllahmillet(Vlachmillet,ofteninter-
preted as Aromanian nation). With the support of the Great Powers, promi-
nentlybyAustria-Hungary,onMay22,1905,theyweregrantedbySultanAbdul
HamidoftheOttomanEmpiretherighttoestablishtheirownchurchesaswellas
educatethemselves(seeBossy1959).TheGreek-Romanianconflictreachedits
climax in the last and most violent phase of the Macedonian Struggles
(19101913)whenmostAromaniangroupsfoughtonpro-patriarchateside,while
otherstooksideswiththepro-Bulgarianexarchists.Theconfrontation between
differentlyorientedAromaniansledtobloodshed4.Thegrowingtensionbetween
thedifferentgroupsin1906ledtothebreaking-offofdiplomaticrelationsbetween
RomaniaandGreece(Bratter1907:101).SincethentheUllahmilletiscalled

2
Peyfuss1974:106;seealsoBurada1890,Dona1928,Goschin1931,Ordeanu1928,igoiu
1938;onthedatacf.alsoWeigand1895:306308;Divni1996:24.
3
OnMrgritseeCapidan1942:232ff.;concerninghisintentionsseeAvrof1992andPeyfuss
1974;ofBelemacethereisanautobiography:Belemace1990.
4
On discriminations, persecutions and other conflicts between pro-Greek and pro-Romanian
AromaniansseeAdanr1979:217222,Bratter1907:61,6576,111120,Demirta-Cokun
2001:1722,Divni1996:200,Papanace1951,Peyfuss1974:90.
149

Romanianminority,andtheAromanianswerenolongerdividedintopro-Greek
andpro-Romanian,butintoGreek(Neo-Hellenes)andRomanian.
WiththepeaceofBucharestin1913Romaniadidnotseemtobeinterested
anymoreintheAromanians.Romaniasreasonsforarenewedintensiveschool
policyinthe1920saretobefoundparticularlyinRomaniasproblemswithits
non-Romanian population. Romanians paid special attention to helping the
Aromanians to feel like Macedonian brothers of the Romanians  with the
purposeofusingthemforthestabilizationoftheRomanianelementinthesouth-
ernDobrudja.ThisdevelopmentcausedastrongemigrationtoRomaniain1925
fromallcountrieswithanAromanianpopulation.
Anewformoforientationbeganin1917,whenItaliantroopsmovedthrough
AlbaniaintoEpirus(Zdrulla1929:162ff.).Italymadeattemptstoconvertthe
pro-Romanianintopro-ItalianAromanians,apolicythatsucceededonlymargin-
ally(seeDivni1996:196,205,Papaginnis1998:2132).Pro-Greekorienta-
tionswerethestrongest;alreadyWeigandreportedthatmostAromanianswerenot
only indifferent but even showed hostility to their own national movement
(Weigand1897:54).

ThecontributionofAromanianstothenationalhistoryoftheBalkan
peoples
AskingforthereasonsthatpreventedtheformationofAromaniannationhoodwe
havetofirststresstheirparticipationinthenationbuildingoftheirneighbours.
Theymayhavebeenlesssuccessfulinachievingnationhoodforthemselves,but
theywerequitesuccessfulinfurtheringthatofotherBalkanpeoples.Economi-
callyandpoliticallyAromanianshadthepossibilitytodeveloptheirownnation-
hood,butthehighlevelofspatialdispersionandethnicintermixingwereobstacles
totheirownnationalaspirations.
WithinAromaniansocietytherewereverylargediscrepancieswithregardto
education and wealth. Aromanians who had economic success as tradesmen or
caravanpeopleusuallyassimilatedveryfastintoothernations,whilethemany
semi-nomadicAromanianshepherdsandpeasantsasalowerclassoftheirethnic
society were slow in developing a national elite. Thus the most powerful
Aromanianeliteswhohadthepossibilitytobeacrucialelementinthepromotion
anddisseminationofanationalconsciousnesspreferredtoengageinvariousother
nationalmovements,andtendedtoplaykeyrolesinthenation-buildingofother
ethnicgroupsthantheirown.Theiradewhichfoundedacoherentadministra-
tiveUllahmilletencouragedVlachidentityintheOttomanEmpireoftheearly
20th century, but it did not result in the creation of a widespread Aromanian
nationalconsciousness.Inotherwords,theiradecametoolatetohelpbuildan
Aromaniannation.Theassimilationoftheupperclassandtheirinvolvementin
150

other national movements were already too advanced. Not even the support of
theirrelativesinRomaniafurtheredtheirunification,becausemostAromanians
didnotconsiderRomaniaasapatron.EventheirattitudestowardstheOttomans
variedalot.VlachsoftenactedasguidesforOttomanforces(Werner1966:476,
Poulton1995:61),butontheotherhandmanyAromanianwerefightersagainst
theOttomans.Atypicalexampleofdifferentorientationswithinthesamepopula-
tionaretheAromaniansofThessalyaftertheGreco-Turkishwarin1881.Onthe
onehandtheypetitionedthepowerstoplacethemunderOttomanandnotGreek
rule (see Eliot 1965 = Odysseus 1900: 370379) and to make their district a
Turkishprovince(p.310),ontheotherhandgroupsfoughtforabetterlifeon
Greek territory like the inhabitants of the Aromanian village Kutsfliani who
movedovertotheGreekpartwithalltheirbelongings(seeDietrichetal.2001).
NationalhistoriansoftheBalkanstatesliketopointtotheAromaniansasthe
bestGreeks,thebestMacedonians,thebestAlbaniansetc.Theiridentity,
cultureandwayoflifehasneverbeeninconflictwiththecultureofthemajority.
ThustheybecamepartoftheBalkanbourgeoisiewhileparticipatinginnational
movements and promoting their respective host states. By integrating into, or
identifyingwith,thehostnationandtakingpartinitsdevelopmenttheychosenot
onlyawayofassimilation,butalsoanearlywayofmodernization.
Many national heroes referred to in national historiography are known as
havingbeenAromanians.ExamplesinGreekhistoryaresuchfightersforinde-
pendenceasGeorgkisOlmpios,thewell-knownmaecenasBaronGeorgiosSinas
andSimonSinas,thepoliticiansIoannisKolettis(ministerandprimeminister),
SpyridonLambros(historianandpolitician),patriarchAthenagorasorEvangelos
Averof Tositsas (minister of foreign affairs). In Albania, the famous Frasheri
BrothersareconsideredasimportantfiguresoftheAlbaniannationalmovement.
InwhatisnowtheRepublicofMacedonia,PituGuli(18651903)foughttogether
withtheMacedonianBulgarsinthebattleofIlindenin1903.Eventhebrothers
Miladinovi were of partly Aromanian origin, their maternal grandfather had
migratedfromVoskopoja/MoschpolisandwasapriestnearBitola(Drutvoza
nauka2002).Examplesofwell-knownAromaniansinRomaniaareMoga,aguna
andotherorthodoxmetropoliteswhoparticipatedinthestruggleforRomanian
cultureandorthodoxyinTransylvania.AlargenumberofAromanianscanalsobe
foundamongwell-knownpersonalitiesofpresentsoutheastEuropeancountries.
These features of Aromanian identity have probably been the reason for
Nicolau(1993)tocalltheAromanianslescamleonsdesBalkans,whichcaused
Balamaci (1995) say that the Aromanians were born to assimilate, and
Gavrilovi (1998: 2) that their identity is able to melt with Greek, Serbian,
Bulgarian,Christian-AlbanianorRomanianidentity.Exactlythischameleon
flexibilityofidentitiesmadetheAromaniansnotonlyoneofthemostpolyglot
groupsinsoutheastEuropebutalsoaneconomicallyandpoliticallyverystrong
one.Theirdiffusionandtheirdifferentstatesofassimilationarethemostimpor-
151

tantcausesforthegreatvarietyoftheirtypesofidentificationwhichmakethema
veryheterogeneousgroupinregardtotheirethnicity.

PresenttendenciesinAromanianidentity
While the Aromanian tradesmen and craftsmen were incorporated into Greek
culture, due to their urban way of life and their continuing contact with the
Greeks,thoseAromanianswhoseforefatherswereengagedinagriculturehavea
tendencytowardsassimilation,aboveallbySlavs.Aromanianswhoengagedina
pastoralliferepresentthemostclosedsocietiesandhaveretainedtheirspecific
Aromanianidentityandthebestknowledgeoftheirlanguageandculture.
Today,theAromanianshavemanagedtoreconcilethepeculiaritiesoftheir
ethnicitywiththenationalidentitiesintheirhoststates,buthaveneverforgotten
their separate Aromanian phyletic, co-national consciousness. Today most
AromaniansintheRepublicofMacedonia,inAlbania,Bulgaria,andAustralia,
butnotinGreeceorGreekdiasporaplaces,haveadoptedMay22astheNational
DayoftheAromanians.

Thefollowingtypesofidentificationcanbedetermined:

1.PurelyAromanian
PurelyAromaniantypesofidentitysurvivedpredominantlyinsouthSlavicset-
tings,e. g.intheRepublicofMacedoniaandBulgaria.InAlbaniaalargenumber
of them consider themselves to be a coherent people. In Romania the groups
whichimmigratedin1940havepreservedtheirAromanianidentitywhileearlier
immigrated Aromanians were mostly assimilated. Aromanians who stress their
separateAromanianidentityusuallydissociatethemselvesfromanyaffiliationwith
anothernation.InGreece,mostoftheirgroupsliveinVria,intheGrevenarea,
andinAthens,inAlbaniainthesouthwestofthecountry,andintheRepublicof
MacedoniamostlyeastoftheVardarRiver.InsomecasesanAromanianidentity
survivesevenifnoAromanianisspoken,e. g.amongtheCincarsofSerbia.

2.Greek,Hellenic(calledgrecomaninmostBalkanlanguages)
TodaylargeAromaniangroupsidentifywiththeGreekcultureandnation.Outside
GreecemanyAromaniansinsouthernAlbaniahaveaGreekidentitywhichwas
enforcedinthelastyearsinhopeofeconomicadvantagesfromcloserrelations
with Greece. Beyond this, pro-Greek oriented families and individuals can be
foundinmanytownsandcitiesalloversoutheastEurope.MostGreekoriented
personsemphasizetheirdistancefromRomanianculture.
152

3.Romanian,Romanophile(calledalsorumanizon,especiallyinGreece)
ThestrongestorientationtowardstheRomaniancultureandnationcanbefound
amongtheAromaniansinRomania.Butapro-Romanianorientationcanalsobe
foundoutsideofRomania,predominantlyinplaceswheretherewereRomanian
schools.MostRomanianorientedpersonsdissociatethemselvesfarfromGreek
cultureandconsiderthemselvestobeapartoftheRomanianpeoplespeakinga
Romaniandialect.

4.IdentificationwithotherBalkannations
While the identification with the Greek and Romanian nation and culture is not
limited to the states of Greece and Romania, the identification with Albanians,
Slavo-macedonians,SerbsorBulgarianscanonlybefoundinthepertinentcountries.

5.Local
Alagenumberoftheinformantsstressedlocalidentities.TheAromaniandescent
seemedtobelessimportanttothemandwasevendeniedbysome.

6.Indifference
Onlyaverysmallpartoftheinterviewedpersonsdisplayedindifferencetowards
theirAromanianorigin.

7.Doubleidentities
A large number of my informants had double identities or transitional forms
betweenthosedescribedabove.

ThesituationintheBalkancountriesconcerningAromanianidentity
andactivities
InAromaniangroupsalloversoutheastEurope,Aromanianeducationhadcome
to a halt for decades, but since the 1980s a wave of activities (organisations,
magazines,education,languagecourses,liturgiesetc.)canbeobserved.
On June 15, 1999, the Council of Europe adopted recommendation 1333
(1997)onAromaniancultureandlanguage,accordingtowhichtheBalkancoun-
trieswithAromanianpopulationswereencouragedtoratifytheEuropeanCharter
ofRegionalorMinorityLanguagesandtosupporttheAromaniansintermsof
educationintheirmothertongue,religiousservices,newspapers,magazines,radio
andtelevisionprogrammesinAromanian,andsupportfortheirculturalassocia-
tions.InthefollowingIwillpresentsomeobservationsonhowAromaniangroups
haveworkedtowardsthesesgoals.
153

1.Greece5
The Lausanne convention of 1923 mentioned between 150,000 and 200,000
Vlachs in Greece. The last national census which differentiated between the
orthodox ethnic groups showed 26,750 Vlachs living in Greece in 1940 and
22,736in1951.EstimatesbyAromaniannationalistslivinginGreeceofpresent
numbersareashighas600,000.Ifonetakesintoaccountallthosewhoconsider
themselvestobeArmi,RrmiorVlai(Aromanian)andwhoatleastunder-
stand the language, we should perhaps speak of max. 300,000 Aromanians in
Greece,withanumberoffluentspeakersnotabove100,000.Thespatialconcen-
trationofAromaniansinGreeceisinthePindosmountains,itsridgesandthe
surroundingplainsinEpirus,Thessaly,andMacedonia,theVermionmountains
andMountOlympus.TheMegleniteVlachslivingincentral(Greek)Macedonia
numbernomorethan4,000people.
Throughtheirnumerouspatrons,nationalheroes,politicians,intellectuals,and
clergy,theAromanianshavegreatlycontributedtothehistoryandculturaldevel-
opmentofGreece(seePapathanasu1994).ThisroleinthehistoryofGreeceisof
great importance for their identity as a part of the modern Greek nation. The
imageofAromaniansasawildandpastoralfolk,whichstillprevailsinGreece
and in the neighbouring countries, is nourished by the media (see Kostpulos
1989:205).TheiridentificationwithHellenismasanancientculturemakesiteasy
fortheAromanianstochangethisimage.
AsthetermminorityisusedinGreeceonlyforreligiousgroups,thereis
onlyoneofficialminoritygroup,theMuslims.Becauseofitsconnectiontothe
Muslims,thetermbearsanegativeundertone.ThereforemostAromaniansrefuse
tobecalledaminority.
AromaniannationalidentityistiedtomodernHellenism.ThetwowordsGreek
andHellenicalreadycauseproblems.WhilealmosteveryAromanianconsiders
himselftobeHellene(llinas,fem.Ellinda,pl.llines)whenspeakingGreek,he
wouldneverconsiderhimselfGreek(Grecu,fem.Greac,pl.Grets)whenspeak-
ingAromanian.FromtheperspectiveoftheGreekAromaniansallmonolingual
populations which only speak Greek belong to the Greeks (Grets), while the
Vlach-,Slav-andAlbanianspeakingpeoplecanalsobelongtotheHellenes(Elini,
inGreekllines).BecauseoftheirNeo-HellenicconsciousnesstheAromaniansof
GreecearenothreattoGreece,andthisiswhytheyareusedbyGreecetodemon-
strateitsliberalattitudetowardslinguisticminorities(Divani1996:198).

5
IwillgiveestimatesofthepresentnumbersofAromaniansintherelevantcountries.Because
ofmissingorolddataanddifferentcensusmethodsestimatingminoritypopulationsisalmost
impossible.Differentestimatesconcerningtheirnumbermustbecompared,seeWinnifrith
1987; Papahagi 1932: 79 ff.; Weigand 1895: 281 ff.; Braga 1965: 4351; Banu 2001;
Demirta-Cokun2001.
154

Thingsarequitedifferentinthecaseofpro-RomanianAromaniansandthose
whoconsiderthemselvestobeatotallyseparatepeople.Theydonotonlyidentify
themselvesbytheircultureandlanguage,butalsohaveacertainnationalaware-
ness.Therearestillpro-RomanianAromaniansinGreece,especiallyinvillagesin
whichstrongRomaniancommunitieswereonceacceptedbytheGreekauthorities,
above all in Avdlla, Perivli, Samarna, Vovsa, Krani, dessa, Vria and
surrounding areas, as well as in a few villages in the districts of Kastori and
Ionnina.Onthewhole,theyareaminuteanddwindlingnumberofAromanians.
Intimidationandrepressionbylocalpoliticians,teachers,priestsandbythe
nationalistspressintheperiodbetweentheCivilWarandthemilitarydictator-
shiphasledtoatabooingofminorityinterests.Todaytheremovalofthetaboo
in Greece allows a more open and friendly discussion of the question of
Aromanianidentity.
The majority of the Aromanians living in Greece is not interested in any
initiativetowardsthepreservationoftheAromanianlanguageapartfromitsuse
in the family (or in optional language education in schools). Initiatives from
outsideofGreeceaimedatprotectingAromanianculturearelookeduponwith
mistrust.ThissuspicionalsoconcernssimilarattemptsinGreece,e. g.theMi-
norityGroupsResearchCentreKEMOinThessalonika(seePanellnianosi
1998).ThediscussionsintheCouncilofEurope(1997)torecogniseAromanian
as a minority language in Greece which must be protected met with extreme
criticismfromthelargestAromanianorganisationinGreece(s.Panellnianosi
1998a),whereforetheCouncilofEuroperepeateditsdecisionin1998.Nofewer
than31Vlach-speakingmayorsandvillagealdermensignedaprotestresolution
againsttheUSStateDepartmentsannualreportonthehumanrightssituationin
Greece.Theycomplainedagainstthedirectorindirectcharacterizationofthe
Vlach-speakingGreeksasanethnic,linguisticorotherminority,statingthatthe
Vlach-speakingGreeksneverrequestedtoberecognizedbytheGreekstateasa
minority, stressing that historically and culturally they were and still are an
integralpartofHellenism,thattheywerebilingualandAromanianwassecond-
ary(Psfismadiamartyras2001).Itistheirchoiceandrighttotrytoexempt
themselves from the status of minority, but as a result some individuals who
definethemselvesasminoritymembersfinditdifficulttoexpresstheiridentity
freelyandtomaintaintheirculture.
IntherecentpastthecourtproceedingsagainsttheAromanianactivistSotiris
BletsasinAthens(onFebr.2,2001)revivedonceagainthediscussionaboutthe
Aromanians rights in Greece. Bletsas was accused of having distributed at a
Vlachfestivalin1995mapsoftheEuropeanBureauforLesserUsedLanguages
155

which mention the minority languages in Greece6. The witnesses against him
includedanAromanianmayor.OnDec.18,2001,hewasfinallyacquitted7.
Acloserlookrevealsthatnoneofthemorethan200Aromanianorganisations8
inGreecehasanAromaniannameandthatthemajorityofthelocalorganisations
doesnotevenhavethewordVlachintheirnames.Noneofthemhasdeclared
thepreservationoftheAromanianlanguagetobeanimportantgoal.Theiractivi-
ties are restricted to cultural events. Local associations have recently founded
Aromanian Cultural Museums in Srres and Nusa9. The largest Aromanian
organisationinGreeceandthusworld-wideisthePan-Hellenic Unionof
CulturalAssociationsofVlachs(PanellnianosiPolitistiknSyllgonVlchon
Elldos)whichapartfromThessalonikahasalsobranchesinDrma,Greven,
Mtsovo,Athens,andAgrnio.In2001ithadmorethan60memberassociations.
ApartfromtheseassociationsthereisanorganisationfortheAromanian/Vlach
Culture(+teraAromanik/VlchikuPolitism)inAthens,whichisquiteactive
in its struggle for the Aromanian cause and distributes books with Aromanian
songsaswellassmallinformationpamphletsinGreek.Inthelastyears,Vlach
Students in Thessalonka started activities and events on Aromanian topics and
founded the League of Vlach Students. In Thessalonika there also exists an
association of Helleno-Vlach Albanians (Sllogos Ellinovlchon Alvanas stin
Ellda),whosemembersareAlbanianAromaniansrecentlyimmigratedintothe
country.Since1994,beginnersandadvancedcoursesinKutsovlachhavebeen
offeredattheAristotelesUniversityofThessalonika.Documentaryfilmsabout
AromaniansareveryrareonGreekTV,andtheirlanguagecanneverbeheard.In
Mtsovo and other Aromanian villages festivals have taken place over the last
18yearsandare,withover40,000participants,thelargestAromanianeventsof
theirkindintheworld.Inrecentyears,peoplefromneighbouringcountriesand
oftheAromaniandiasporahaveattendedthiseventingrowingnumbers.
InGreece,thereisnonewspaperintheAromanianlanguage.Thenewspapers
canbedividedintothosedealingwithAromaniantopicsandwithoccasionaltexts
in Aromanian10, and local newspapers in Aromanian areas that rarely touch
AromaniantopicsandarepublishedinGreekonly11.WhileMegleniteVlachshave

6
Seeathttp://www.eblul.org/gp/resolution-en.zip.
7
FordetailsseeUSDepartmentofState2001,GreekHelsinkiMonitor2001andPogrom2001:
2,2021.
8
WithregardtoAromanianorganizationsonehastokeepinmindthatmanyofthemarenot
officiallyregisteredandthatnoneofthementionedAromaniannewspapershasanofficial
ISSNstatus.
9
Seeat:http://www.hri.org/Macedonian-Heritage/Museums/Folklore.html.
10
ArmanikChronik,PigKefalovrsu,Mnmes,AmruMilitikaNa,Nigusti.
11
IAvdlla,IoraSamarna,INmfi,Gardki,ToGreventi,Kallartes,Klisra,Mtsovo,
FlamburitikaNa,LaistinNa,LivaditikaNa,Pndos,PalmtisKranis, I@Syrrko,
Pisodertika,Vovusitika,Zagoriak,Kutsfliani,IfonNymfu.
156

notdevelopedanyspecificMegleniteVlachactivities,theyhave,however,organ-
isedinAromanianculturalorganisationsandthusleftthestatusofasmallethnic
group of only some 15,000 persons. The awareness of difference between
MegleniteVlachsandAromaniansisdisappearingintheyoungergenerations.

2.Albania
InAlbania,thereisnocensusinwhichtheAromaniansareidentifiedasaseparate
group. While Aromanian associations estimate the number of Aromanians in
Albania to be as high as 250,000, estimates of Greek newspapers in southern
Albania hardly reach 50,000. Official Albanian sources mention about 60,000
Aromanians(Demirta-Cokun2001:40).Theestimatesdependonthediscussions
about the number of Greeks in Albania, which is at present considered to be
220,000(Vermis1995:66).Ifthisnumberforthewholeorthodoxminorityis
assumedtobecorrect,wecanassumethatatleast100,000peopleofAromanian
originarepresentlylivinginAlbania.MostofthemliveinthedistrictsKolonja,
Kora,Pogradec,VloraandFier.
Vlachs in Albania are not considered as a national, but as a linguistic and
culturalminority.ContrarytoGreece,thetermminorityhasnonegativeunder-
tones,buttheimageofAromaniansinAlbaniaisalsonegativeasthatofaback-
wardpastoralpeople,inspiteofthefact,thatparticularlyinAlbaniaAromanians
havelivedinurbansettlementsalreadyatatimewhenAlbaniansocietywasstill
exclusivelyagrarian.
InAlbania,theAromaniangroupsetsitshopeslargelyontheeconomicadvan-
tagesofbeingabletogoabroad.RomaniansandGreeksusetheopportunityto
wintheAromaniansinthepoorestcountryofEuropefortheirowncause.Alba-
niannationalsentimentsareapparentinmanyAromanians,aboveallinthoseof
thepro-Romaniangroups.ManyofthemarefollowersoftheDemocraticParty,
as the latter helped the Aromanians to get more minority rights (Schwandner-
Sievers 1998: 169). Most Aromanian followers of the pro-Greek movement,
however,areactivemembersinhumanrightsorganisationssuchasOmnia
which has strong ties to Greek fundamentalists (see Vermis 1995: 61). Many
AromaniansinAlbaniaseeGreeceasapowerfulprotectoragainsttheMoslem
majorityofAlbania.
ThefoundingofAromanianorganisations,eitherbyindividualsorbysmall
Aromanian groups, began in the towns of Selenica and Kora. In both towns
Aromanian cultural organisations were founded independently of each other in
1991,andwithinashortperiodbothcontactedtheRomanianConsulate.Thefirst
congressorganisedbyAlbanianAromanianstookplacein1992inTirana,and
numerousAromaniansfromCentralandWesternEuropeaswellasfromAmerica
participated.Beforetheseeventsitwasnotpossibletospeakofanewawakening
orawarenessofAromaniannationalidentityinAlbania.
157

In1992theAromanianchurchinKorawasre-openedafteritslongclosure
since1936.AtthetimeofunrestinAlbaniatheliturgytookplaceoccasionallyin
theoldRomanianSchool.Theplansforanewchurcharesupportedmostlybythe
Aromaniandiaspora.Liturgies,baptisms,andweddingstakeplaceinAlbanian,
AromanianandRomanian.TherearenoservicesinGreekbecausethepro-Roma-
nianandtheAromaniannationalistsfearthatthismightleadtoGreekecclesiasti-
caldominationandthustothedestructionoftheAromanianchurch.Thefactual
existenceofanoriginalAromanianliturgy(Liturghierarmnesc)sincethebegin-
ningofthe18thcentury,discoveredbyIloMitk-QafzeziinKoraandpublished
byCaragiuMarioeanu(1962),isstilllittleknownamongAromanians.Inrecent
years, this text has been reprinted and circulated among Albanian Aromanians
withthesupportoftheAromaniandiaspora.InVoskopojafatherThomaisingsthe
Aromanian-language orthodox liturgy in the Church Shen Nikol (Ayiu Nicola)
beforeofferingtosingthesameinAlbanian.
Today there is a Sutsata Armilor or Rrmilor (Association of
Aromanians) in almost every town of southern and central Albania. In many
places,duetodifferentviews,twoorganisationshaveemerged(notalwaysoffi-
cially registered) side by side. Notable is that the ethnic term Armi is often
used, although almost all speakers of Aromanian in Albania use the word
Rrmi.Thepreferenceofthisterm,whichhadbeenoutofuseinAlbania(apart
fromBerat),createsafeelingofsolidaritywiththeArmioutsideAlbania.It
mayalsohavebeencreatedtodifferentiatebetweentheAromaniansandtheDaco-
Romanians(Romni).Since1995thereisalsoacooperativeofAromanianwomen
inTiranaandanannualfestivalofAromanianfolkloreinKora.
The association Aromunet e Shqipris (Aromanian of Albania, Tirana),
which unites eight south Albanian organisations, is the largest association of
AlbanianAromanian.TheAssociationofHelleno-VlachsofAlbaniainKoraalso
has many members. Both Aromanian newspapers (Fraia Vllazria, Fratsilia),
foundedin1992andprintedinTirana,appearonlyirregularly.Theactivitiesof
thepro-GreekAromaniansinthenewspaperoftheGreekminority(Popullor,Ta
NatisOmnias)arequiteextensive.In2001,theUniatinireascanvitsatslor
armnj dit Arbinishii (Union for young Aromanian scholars in Albania) was
founded.ThereisnoAromanianradioortelevisionprogrammeandnoofficial
educationinAromanian,whiletherewere73state-fundedGreeklanguageschools
insouthernAlbaniain1993(Demirta-Cokun2001:40f.).

3.TheRepublicofMacedonia(FYROM)
ThepresentRepublicofMacedoniaistheonlycountryinwhichAromaniansare
constitutionally recognised as a minority. According to the national census of
1994,8,462peopleconsiderthemselvestobeVlachs,atermsynonymouswith
Aromanianinthecountry.TheLeagueofVlachsestimatesthattherearesome
158

80,000AromaniansinMacedonia,butitseemsmorerealistictoputthefigureat
25,000,includingthosewhoonlyunderstandthelanguagebutdonotspeakit.
Their geographical concentration is in the area of Prespa-Ohrid, Pelagonija
(Pelistervillages,Kruevo,Struga,Belica)andintheplainseastoftheVardar
river(tip,SvetiNikole,Vinica);MegleniteVlachsliveinandaroundGevgelija.
ProblemsarisewiththeuseofthetermMacedonianforself-identification,
asAromaniansconsideredthe(Slav)MacedoniansstillasBulgarians(Vrghri),
atleasttheoldergeneration.ThereforemanyAromaniansfeelthattheyareMace-
donians only geographically. When an Aromanian speaks of himself as being
Macedonian,thiscanmeanthatheconsidershimselfasbelongingtothisnation,
butitcanalsomeanthatheconsidershimselfasMacedonianbecauseheisan
AromanianwholivesinMacedonia.
TherecognitionoftheAromaniansasaseparatemilletin1905iscelebrated
by many Aromanians in Macedonia as a national day. The song Dimndare
printeaschasbeendeclaredanationalhymnbytheLeagueofVlachsand
canbeheardatmanyAromanianevents.AsaconsequenceoftheAromanians
recognitionasanationalminority,anAromaniancanbecomeamemberofthe
Macedonian parliament. In 2001, an Aromanian party was founded (Partia
Armnjilor ditu Machidunie PAM), with its president Mite Kostov-Papuli in
Skopje;in2002,asecondAromanianpartywasfounded.
InthetimeoftheAromanian-Romanianmovementsomeofthemostimportant
AromanianmagazineslikeLuminawerepublishedinMacedonia.Afterapauseof
over80years,Aromanianschoolbooks,poetrybooks,songbooksandnewspa-
perscomeoutinlargernumbersthaninanyothercountryinsoutheastEurope.In
1997, a series of books called Biblioteca natsional armneasc Constantin
Belemace(NationalAromanianLibraryConstantineBelemace)wasfoundedin
Skopje which publishes books in Aromanian only12. The same is true for the
magazineFenix(1993)andforothermagazinessuchasGrailuArmnescu,
Lnduric, Armnj Machidunits, and Armna Makedona. Compared to
their small number, the Aromanians in Macedonia develop the most vigorous
culturalandpoliticalactivitiesworld-wide.
There is a state TV station with an Aromanian language program called
Scanteau(Spark)whichbroadcaststwiceaweekhalfanhourAromaniannews
fromaroundtheworld,andthereisanAromanianradiostationwhichbroadcasts
30minutesdailyinAromanian.TheybroadcastinterviewswitholderAromanians
aboutthepast,dealwiththecontributionsofAromanianpoetsorartists,offer
information about initiatives by Aromanians, always closing with a musical or
danceperformance.ThedialectusedinTVandradioisthatoftheeasternVardar
region and not the more literary dialect of Bitola and Kruevo. The use of
Aromanianinthemassmediaraisestheprestigeofthelanguage.Since1995itis

12
ForacompleteandannotatedbibliographyonAromaniansafter1990seeKahl2002.
159

possibletolearnAromanianinsomeelementaryschoolsinBitola,Kruevo,tip
andSkopje.12localVlachorganisationsbelongtotheLeagueofVlachs.The
leagueorganisesAromanianactivitiesandsometimesalsoworkswiththeRoma-
nian government and embassy, which helps by arranging educational stays of
VlachschoolchildreninRomania.Thosereceivingthesebenefitsmustbefrom
AromanianparentsandmusthaveagoodknowledgeoftheAromanianlanguage.
ImportantorganisationsapartfromtheleaguearetheOrganisationofAromanian
Women (Sutsata a muljerlor Armni, Skopje), the Aromanian Organisation
Mbeala(SutsataArmneascMbeala,Struga),andtheAromanianOrganisation
of Crushuva (Sutsata Armneasc Crushuva, Kruevo). In Bitola, Aromanian
groups founded the World Association of Aromanians (Liga mundeal
Armnjilor)in1996whichisfocusesonculturaleventsandtheeditionofbooks
in Aromanian. There are also folklore activities, like publishing of Aromanian
tapesandorganizingfestivalsliketheFntndimalamsince2001.
Aromanians with a Greek identity can be found in Kruevo and Bitola. A
(small)partoftheAromaniansareenthusiasticspeakersoftheGreeklanguageand
stillgivetheirchildrenGreeknames.TheorganisationMoschpolisinSkopje
whosemembersconsistalmostexclusivelyofAromaniansfromKruevoshowed
pro-Greekfeelings.ItsplitofffromtheorganisationcalledPituGuli(Skopje)
in1999.Thepresenceofsomepro-GreekAromaniansinKruevoandBitolaon
theonehandandthevehementrejectionofGreeceandGreekculturebytheother
Aromanian communities can be explained by their migration history. The
Aromanians of settlements in south-western Macedonia had migrated from the
urbanMoschpolisandhadbeenexposedtoGreekcultureforalongtime,while
allotherAromaniansinMacedoniahavesettleddownonlyafewdecadesagoand
haveretainedtheirAromaniancultureandastrongAromanianidentity.
ItappearsthattheorganizedAromaniangroupsinMacedoniahaveadopteda
moderate,pro-governmentposition.Evenapresidentialcandidateoftheopposi-
tion party VMRO-DPNME, looking for votes in the 1994 elections, described
Vlachsas100%loyaltothenation(MILSNews10/5/94).Inanearliermeeting
withtheCouncilofEuropeinMay1994,arepresentativeoftheLeagueofVlachs
issaidtohaveexpressedsatisfactionwiththerightsandstatusoftheVlachsin
Macedonia(MILSnews05/25/94).TheforeignministerofRomaniaexpressed
hispositiveopinionabouttheConstitutionofMacedoniawhichrespectstherights
oftheminorities(MILSnews03/11/96).
It is notable that the Aromanian newspapers and books circulate widely in
informalwaysandseemtobeabsentfromthepublicspace,sothatthemajorityof
Macedoniansarenotawareoftheirexistence.
160

4.Bulgaria
DuetothemassexodusofBulgarianAromanianstoRomaniain19231940,only
some 3,000 Aromanians live in Bulgaria today (Rakieva 1994), mostly in the
western Rhodope, the Rila Mountains, and in Sofia. The Aromanians have no
officialstatusasaminoritygroupandthushavenoschoolsoftheirown.Those
AromanianswhomIinterviewed,admittedthatmostofthemhadregisteredas
Bulgariansinthelastcensus,fewofthemasVlachandevenfewerasother.
The data from Bulgarian censuses do not differentiate between Aromanian and
Romanian,bothgroupsarecalledVlachs.
ItisnecessarytodistinguishbetweenthoseAromaniancraftsmenandtrades-
menwhomigratedtoBulgariainthe17thcentury,andtheherdsmenwhomi-
gratedfromtheGrmosinthe18thcentury.Today,descendantsoftheAromanian
tradersandcraftsmenhavelargelybeenassimilated,butculturalcharacteristics
andaspecificAromanianidentitycanstillbefoundamongthedescendantsofthe
Aromanianherdsmen.Noneofthefirstgroupwillprobablyconsiderhimselftobe
Aromanian,ifso,onlyintheformofadoubleidentityinwhichtheBulgarian
rangesbeforetheAromanian.Amongthedescendantsoftheherdsmenonecan
oftenmeetpeoplewhoconsiderthemselvesprimarilyasAromanian;intheyoun-
gergeneration,however,onlyexceptionally.
InaccordancewiththelownumberofAromaniansinBulgaria,thenumberof
ethnicorganisationsislow.TheRomanianChurchinSofia(HolyTrinity)playsan
importantroleintheorganisingofAromaniansinBulgariaandisusedbyboth
Aromanian and Romanian Timok-Vlachs. The initiative for the founding of
AromanianorganisationsbeganinSofia.Aromanianswhowenttoschoolwith
RomaniansattheRomanianschoolinSofiaconstitutethestrongestsupportersof
theAromanianAssociationinSofia(SuataArmilorSofia)sincethepolitical
changes of 1989; they are the ones who work hardest for the conservation of
Aromaniancultureandlanguage.ThepublicationofthenewspaperArmnlu
(the Aromanian) in 1998 was meant to achieve this goal. There are also
AromanianorganisationsinPetera,VelingradandDupnica.Thelownumberof
AromaniansinBulgaria,ratherthanthelownumberofAromaniansintheorgani-
sations,makesculturalactivitiesalmostimpossible.Theexistenceoftheseorgani-
sationscanbeseenasalastattempttorescuetheAromanianidentity,andnotas
pro-Greekorpro-Romanianmovementsinsearchofbenefits.
InmostofthesettlementswithAromanianinhabitantsanAromanianfolklore
group was founded. The states attitude to the Aromanian minority is liberal
(Demirta-Cokun2001:4243);inthesocialistperiodtherehadbeenadegreeof
repression.
161

AsinthecaseofotherBalkancountries,theparticipationofAromanianinthe
Bulgaria liberation movement plays an important role in the identity of the
Aromanians(seePopescuetal.1995)13.

5.Yugoslavia(Serbia)
TheAromanianslivinginYugoslavcitieshadmigratedthereasanalreadyurban-
isedpopulation.Itisestimatedthatalmost3,000AromanianssettledinBelgrade
afterthedestructionofMoschpolis(Plaskovi1996:38).
AsaresultoftheirassimilationfirstintotheGreekandlaterintotheSerbian
cultureitisnowonderthatinmodernSerbiathetermCincar(astheusualterm
forAromanian)canalsomeanprosperousGreektradesman.InSerbiatheterm
Vlach is used for Romanian people of eastern Serbia who are of Romanian
descent.Eventoday,tobeaCincarmeanstobeadescendantofanaristocratic
elite.ManycallthemselvesCincarswithoutknowingwhotheAromaniansareor
whatlanguagetheyspeakorspoke.TheAromaniansofYugoslavcitiesarewidely
assimilatedtotheSerbianlanguageandculture;thosewhohavemigratedfrom
other Serbian cities (e. g. Ni, Prizren) no longer have any knowledge of the
Aromanianlanguage.OnlyasmallgroupofmigrantsfromwhatisnowMacedo-
niadeclaresanAromanianidentityandspeaksAromanian.
TheCincarsofYugoslaviastresstheirimportantpositionassuccessfulbusi-
nessmen,patrons,intellectuals,politicians,andfightersinthefirstSerbianrevolu-
tionof1804.BecauseoftheirSerbianidentitythereisnoidentityconflictbetween
pro-Romaniansandpro-Greeks.
InBelgradethereisonlyoneAromanianorganisationwithabout450members
(Plaskovi 1996: 56) by the name Serbian-Cincarian Association (Srpsko-
Cincarski Drutvo), which publishes the Lunjina. Bilten srpsko-cincarskog
drutva(Light.BulletinoftheSerbian-CincarianAssociation,Belgrade1994ff.).
ItsmembersaremostlyAromanianwhohaverecentlymigratedfromthesouthof
formerYugoslavia.Onlyafewbelongtothedescendantsoftheurbanpopulation
withitshistoryinBelgradeof300years(seeGavrilovi1998).

6.Romania
Inthecensusof2002theAromanianscouldidentifythemselvesaseitherRoma-
nian (Romni), Aromanian (Aromni) or Macedonians (Macedoneni) (Peyfuss
1984:313319).25,053consideredthemselvesAromanians,and1,334Macedo-
nians. Many registered as Romanians; Aromanians who had immigrated from
1923to1940numberedaround30,000(Saramandu1976:185).

13
ForfurtherinformationonBulgariasAromaniansseeKahl2000.
162

The early Aromanian groups and individuals in the trading centres of
Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania and Banat have largely been assimilated,
whereasthenewergroupsretaintheirAromaniancharacter.ThefirstAromanian
familieswhomigratedtoRomaniafromthesouthernBalkansin1923settledinthe
southern Dobrudja, but in 1940, when the southern Dobrudja became part of
Bulgaria,wereforcedtomovetothenorthernDobrudja(districtsConstanaand
Tulcea)wheremostofthemliveuntiltoday.Theyweretotallyunfamiliarwiththe
natural environment (steppe, plains) and were forced to work in agriculture,
havingtogiveuptheirtraditionalsemi-nomadicpastoraleconomy.Althougha
largeportionofthemconsideredRomaniatobetheircountryandmanyhadhoped
toimprovetheireconomicsituation,buttheverydifferentnaturalandenviron-
mental conditions in Dobrudja fostered a mental divide between them and the
Mucai,astheycallthe(Daco-)Romanianswithanegativeundertone.
The history of Aromanian-Romanian organisations in Romania is relatively
long.ManyoftheearlyorganisationswerefoundedtorepresenttheRomanian
positionintheAromanianquestion.TheBucharestMacedo-RomanianCultural
organisation(SocietateadeculturaMacedo-Romn)holdsaspecialposition,as
it initiated most of the newsletters and newspapers, as well as the Meglenite
VlachsCulturalOrganisationMeglenia(SocietateadeculturaMeglenia),whose
aimisalsothepromotionoftheRomanianmovement(Peyfuss1974:5456).At
thetimeoftheAromanian-Romanianmovement,numerousAromaniannewspa-
persalreadyexistedthere14.AfteralongpauseofAromanianactivitythereare
newnewspapersinRomanianow,someofthemexclusivelyinAromanian15.In
the1990snewAromanianorganisationshavebeenfounded,mostofthemwiththe
goal of preserving Aromanian identity, language, traditions and folklore16. In
nearly every village with an Aromanian population there are active folklore
groups17.ThereareregularAromanianconventions,dances,concertsandpublica-
tions in the Aromanian language. Some of the leading supporters of the pro-

14
E. g.theAlmanahulAromnesc,FlamburaPindului,Revistaaromneasc,GraiBun,Macedo-
nia,PensinsulaBalcanica.
15
BanaArmneasc(AromanianLife;Bucharest1996ff.),Deteptarea(Awakening;Bucharest
1990ff.),Dimndarea(Demand;Bucharest1994ff.),Armnamea(TheAromanian;Bucharest
1996), Minduearea armneasc (Aromanian Thought; Constana 19901994) and Almanah
Macedo-romn(Macedo-RomanianAlmanah;Bucharest1992ff.).
16
The most active organizations today are the Suata armn din Dobrogea Picurarlu de la
Pind (Aromanian Association of Dobrudja, The Shepheards of Pindus), Comuna
Pindena (Community Pindus), Sutsata Aromnilor Andrei aguna (Association of
Aromanian Andrei aguna, Constana), Sutsata cultural aromn (Cultural Aromanian
Association, Bucharest), the Societatea de Cultur Macedo-Romn (Macedo-Romanian
Cutural Association, Bucharest) and the student club Aromanian Youth (Giunamea
Armaneasca,Constana).
17
ThebestknowngroupsarethePilisteri(inBucharest),theAnsambludiSarighioldeDeal(in
Sarighiol,Tulcea),theMuataArmnandLaSteaua(inKoglniceanu).
163

RomanianmovementofthecommunistperiodarenowactiveinpurelyAromanian
movements.
Groupsandindividualsthatconsiderthemselvesasaminorityandtherefore
have objections against identifying as Romanians are at least aware of their
Romanity(orLatin)backgroundandrecognisetheRomaniansasbeingclosely
related(seeLascu1993:1,16).ThisattitudeisreflectedinAromanianpublica-
tionsandcanbeseenintheorthography.
Since1991thereisanAromanianRadioserviceandin2001alocalTVstation
(Neptun)inConstanabeganbroadcastinginAromanian.Since1999and2001
there is Aromanian language instruction at primary schools in Constana and
Bucharest.ThesurvivalofAromanianinRomaniaissurprisinginviewofthelaw
oflinguisticsthatminoritylanguagesaremostatriskwhentheyareclosetothe
majoritylanguageofthehoststate.

7.TheDiaspora
TheAromaniansofCroatia,BosniaandHungaryare,onthewhole,assimilated.
ThefewAromanianslivingtherehaveneitheractivecommunitiesnortheirown
organisationsorrepresentatives.
Since the 18th century the Aromanian diaspora outside of the Balkans has
played a decisive role in the development of the awareness of Latinity of the
Aromanians.Eventoday,thestruggletoimprovethestandingoftheAromanian
language,cultureandidentity,ismainlysupportedbythediasporaAromanians.
ThemostimportantorganisationsareinFrance,NorthAmerica,Australia,and
Germany18.TheactivitiesofAromanianswhoemigratedlateroftendifferfrom
thoseoftheearliergroups,e. g.AromanianmigrantworkersfromGreeceestab-
lishedtheirownassociationsinGermany(e. g.theSllogosVlchoninMendenor
PanelladiksSllogosVlchonMonchuinMunich),whichhavenocontactwith
otherAromanianassociations.

18
AssociationdesFrancaisAroumainsTrArmnami(Paris,founded1984)withanewsletter
(19841986,hereafteratwww.multimania.com/armanami/);FundatsiaGramostea(Princeton,
founded 1913); Society Farsarotul (Trumbull, founded 1903) with The Newsletter of the
Society Farserotul is published twice a year and available on www.farsarotul.org/
newslett.htm; Editura Frndza Vlah with its Newsletter Frndza Vlah (Bridgeport
19791982; Armni dit Cnd (Toronto, founded 1974); Fundatsia Aromn (Victo-
ria/Australia,founded1964);Uniuneatrilimbshiculturarmneasc(Freiburg,founded
1982) with its organ Zborlu a nostru (Freiburg, 1984 ff.); see also www.geocities.com/
zborlu/);EdituraSammarina/CarteaAromn(Fayetteville,founded1984;seealsoathttp://
sites.netscape.net/aromanul/eca.html), Vlach association of Australia and Vlach Radio
Programm (Preston), Armneasca sutsat di cultur shi arte (Aromanian Association for
CultureandArts,Sydney).
164

Summary
Evenifsomepublicationshaveoccasionallyvoicedopinionthatmayhavebeen
considered politically dangerous by some governments, today none of the
AromaniannewspapersororganisationssupportsindependenceforAromanians.
TheactivitiesofmostAromanianslivinginWesternEuropefocusonthemainte-
nance of the Aromanian language, culture and identity. In their countries of
origin,however,theirsuccesshasbeenratherlimited.Themostactivemembers
inAromanianInternetdiscussiongroups19arediasporaAromanians.
SomeAromaniangroupsinsoutheastEuropeandinthediasporahavebegunto
intensifyAromanianactivities.Whetherthesegroupsofactivistswillsucceedin
consolidatingapermanentnationalidentitybasedonadzuanatsiunal(national
day),alimbaahoryea(coherentlanguage)andminoritystatusinseveralcoun-
triesofEurope,oriftheywillbetotallyassimilatedintoothercultures,istobe
seen. Aromanians will continue to have difficulties in finding a way between
Greek,Romanianandotherorientations.Mostpro-RomanianAromanianactivists
withtheiranti-Greekpositionexcludethemostnumerousanddevelopedsegment
ofAromanians,whilemostofpro-Greekactivistswiththeirxenophobicattitude
towardsRomanianpropagandaexcludeallactivitiesaimedatimprovingthestatus
oftheAromanianlanguage.Thus,eveninthecaseofguaranteedminorityrights,
thepromotionoflanguageinstructionandofculturalmeetings,nolastingsurvival
ofAromaniancanbeguaranteed.Toreachthisaimitwouldbenecessarytoim-
provetheimageofAromanian,todecideonauniformorthographyacceptedby
Aromaniansinallcountriesand,aboveall,toincreasetheabilityforcompromise
andco-operationamongallAromaniansintheBalkans.Itisunclear,though,ifthe
majorityofthesoutheastEuropeanAromanianswouldconsidertheseastheirgoals.

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