By Nicholas Doumanis
It's common for survivors of ethnic detoxification or even genocide to talk nostalgically approximately past instances of intercommunal concord and brotherhood. After being pushed from their Anatolian homelands, Greek Orthodox refugees insisted that they 'lived good with the Turks', and yearned for the times once they labored and drank espresso jointly, participated in every one other's fairs, or even prayed to a similar saints. Historians have by no means confirmed critical regard to those thoughts, given the refugees had fled from bad 'ethnic' violence that looked as if it would mirror deep-seated and pre-existing animosities. Refugee nostalgia appeared natural myth; possibly contrived to reduce the soreness and humiliations of displacement.
Before the Nation argues that there's greater than a grain of fact to those nostalgic traditions. It issues to the truth that intercommunality, a style of daily dwelling according to the lodging of cultural distinction, was once a regular and stabilizing function of multi-ethnic societies. Refugee reminiscence and different ethnographic resources supply plentiful representation of the ideals and practices linked to intercommunal residing, which neighborhood Muslims and Christian groups likened to a standard ethical setting.
Drawing principally from an oral archive containing interviews with over 5000 refugees, Nicholas Doumanis examines the mentalities, cosmologies, and price structures as they relate to cultures of coexistence. He additionally rejects the general assumption that the empire used to be destroyed via intercommunal hatreds. Doumanis emphasizes the position of state-perpetrated political violence which aimed to create ethnically homogenous areas, and which went a way in remodeling those Anatolians into Greeks and Turks.
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Additional resources for Before the Nation: Muslim-Christian Coexistence and its Destruction in Late-Ottoman Anatolia
Open air. Chairs in the streets – crowds & c. 1 Herman Melville, Journals, 1856 T o the uninitiated, the ‘Orient’ could have an overpowering effect on the senses. It could either alienate or enthral, and in Melville’s case it was both. The wearying effects of apnoea could not affect his urge to explore as far as his legs could carry him, and to see a world that he found both repellent and enchanting. 2 He was also intrigued by the close proximity of the beautiful and the repugnant. 4 Throughout the day, at every turn, he was confronted by different civilizations at work, at prayer, and at leisure.
To imbibe too much at that season, as at New Year’s and one or two other great feasts, is by no means held to impair a man’s reputation for sobriety. It is suprising, however, how soberly the pleasures of the day are in general taken. As you sit at a table, absorbing your own modest refreshment, you are even struck by a certain solidity in those about you. Perhaps it is partly due to the fact that the crowd is not purely Greek. 8 Dwight was born and raised in the imperial capital, hence he was surely familiar with the kind of intercommunal intimacy described in his text, but he nevertheless anticipated a discordant reception by his Western readership.
Dwight, published an account of a city caught between tradition and modernity, where ‘living together’ was a matter of fate but also routine: One assembly of Easter week which still is to be seen in something of its pristine glory is the fair of Balîklî. This takes place on the Friday and lasts through Sunday. The scene of it is the monastery of Balîklî, outside the land walls of Stamboul . . Temporary coffee houses and eating places are established there in abundance, and the hum of festivity that arises from them may be heard afar among the cypresses of the surrounding Turkish cemetery.
Before the Nation: Muslim-Christian Coexistence and its Destruction in Late-Ottoman Anatolia by Nicholas Doumanis