Sunday, April 13, 2008

When the widows came to Greece... (1)

The following post is another one looking like a diving into the past. But this is not the case. It is a diving into the human soul, into its solitude, the conflicts and collisions against the tissue of adversities that make us suffer during our lifetime.

The meaning of the word widow is burdened in the older masculine Greek tradition. The image of a woman who goes to bed alone and wakes up alone, reflects eroticism. Both women and men had their eyes upon them. "What is she doing?", "what will she do?", "is she in secret together with somebody?", "will she get married again?", "if she does, how soon?". If she did it she would also be criticised. "She did not mourn enough" (how long is "enough"?), "she did not love her husband, she only thinks of her own needs"... It was mostly women who were protagonists on criticism and gossiping. Men listened tacitly, twisting their moustaches, having other thoughts in mind... All that stuff of grumbling and focusing of "what the others do".

No matter how today's Megacities (the precence and the future of the unfortunate human kind) are criticised, because of their anonymity, misery and loneliness, they seem to be better than the small societies. It seems to be better with a chosen loneliness, than be controlled by relatives and thousands of spying eyes watching on you. Anyway, both solutions are blind alleys. This is the destiny of human beings. To tear themselves and torment all the others, even through repressing love...


Besides all big problems that the "sudden" coming of so many refugees (1,5 milj.) caused Greece, there was another one which is not mentioned. The big number of women refugees without men. Their men had been either killed or held instead of working in forced labour. About 25% of the feminine refugee population were widows, 60,5% of them were between 20-24 years old(!). In the four biggest refugee districts of Athens, women composed 62% of adults (over 16 years old) and men only 38% . This factor of paucity of able-bodied men within refugee communities, must be seen in connection to the same paucity among the local Greek population, because of the wars. The refugee women besides the survival problems and the despair of finding a proper place to live in, they soon hade to solve another problem. They had to find a father for their children and
an emotional and sexual companion. It is significant to remind that about 40% of them came from bigger or smaller cities and a big number from the cosmopolitan Smyrna. Those who were not peasants and did not expected a piece of land, moved (more than half of them) to the three big centers, Athens, Salonika and Piraeus. The refugee population of Athens reached 40%, in Piraeus 25%, in Mytilene 10% and on he Aegean islands 48%. In the three big centers flourished rebetiko. The record companies were established there, the composers and most of musicians too...

(to be continued)

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