Marko Boçari an Albanian, The Greatest Hero of modern Greece, betrayed by the Greeks (2 Videos)
One of the brightest figures of the Greek revolution of 1821 was Marko Bocari who came from a big Albanian family. He was born in Suli, Ioannina in 1790, in the same big family in which brave men like: Kico Bocari, Costa, Dimitri, Jorgji and the great captain of the 1821 uprisings, Noti Bocari came from.Noti Bocari, Marko Bocari´s uncle, was also the first defence minister of Greece, and he died in 1841.
Marko’s father, Kico Gj. Bocari was married three times, and had 18 children, five of them died young. Kico Bocari was killed in 1813 in Arta by Gjoko Bakola.
In the years of the rebellion in 1821, Marko Bocari pardoned Bakola Gjoko his father´s blood for the common good.
According to documents, the first residents in the mountains of Suli were the soldiers guards of Gergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg. After Skanderbeg´s death, about 200 Albanian soldiers with their families, such as the tribes of Bocari, Bouchatti, Llalla, Dangèllia, Dragova, etc, formed the village of Suli near the town of Ioannina and continued the fight against the Turkish Ottomans for their
Suli was later expanded from a tiny village to a province and was soon populated by Orthodox Cham Albanians. They had managed to escape the Ottoman slavery by fleeing their cham villages in ca 1500-1600 and settling in Suli, Ioanninna, creating new villages with Albanian names. The
territory inhabited by Albanian Chams, was known as Chameria, which is known as one of four branches of natural Albania.
The Suliotes spoke the Albanian language with a Cham dialect from Chameria.
A portion of the Suliot population after being subjected to Ali Pasha of Tepelena, was sent on the island of Corfu and other islands around it as a punishment for their aggression towards the rule of Ali Pasha. After the death of Ali Pasha of Tepelena, the majority of the population in Suli fled to the surroundings of the Holy mountain of Tomor in Albania to escape from Ottoman persecution, aggression and massacres. Here they formed the new Suliot province with villages such as St Mary, St.
Demetrius, Dardhzezè, Sulki, Dushkè, Kushov, Janc, Tunjè etc.
Even today we can find surnames such as Llalla, Dragoi, Karaj in this particular region in Albania, surnames that can also be found in the former Suliot province of Ioanninna, in today´s Greece.
The dream of Marko Bocari: The Suliot Marko Bocari was not only one of the biggest Albanian Arvanite heroes of the Greek Uprising for independence in 1821, known for his remarkable courage and military skills, but also for his great desire for education and literature. Marko, along with Odise Andrucon and Gjeorgjio Karaiskaqi was educated in the court of Ali Pasha Tepelena in
military art, politics and intelligence.
Marko’s dream was to educate the Suliot people, the warriors who only knew the life of war, a life that according to Marko was a life without a peace and meaning. Marko was worried that the lack of proper education will eventually lead to the loss of some known qualitative features that make
the Suliotes a great popular figure.
“I want you to get education”, Marko wrote in the letter to his son, Demetrios, located in Ancona, Italy “but I want you to preserve the Suliote traditions, and always remain a Suliot as your dad was”.
In that period of great politically and cultural changes in the Balkans as in Europe, it was clear that the freedom-loving Albanian swords were not sufficient enough to achieve a better life and to create a greater intellectual society.
The Suliots, these Albanian Arvanites of Greece, needed education, and this particular need created anxiety among the Albanian Arvanites. Could this weaken the qualitative features of a Suliot? And if they were going to be educated, it had to be in greek language as it had become one of the most important languages in the region. This scared the Suliotes!Clearly the Suliots rejected the life of other societies, especially the Greek society, which according to them was a life of indolence, infidality, many words, and a life where the spirit of humility, submission, shamelessness and surrender ruled.
The character of the Albanian Suliot is that he had to be the first and greatest in everything, to show the world his pride, courage and that he is the one who could never fall into the submission of his enemies. The Suliot Arvanites desired education, but they would reject it if the possibility of its interference into the strong traditional values of the Suliot Arvanite society existed.
When he was interned in Corfu, Marko learned Greek and made the famous Greek-Albanian dictionary in 1809, with the help of his father Bocari Kico (1754 -1813), uncle Noti Bocari (1759-1841) and his father in law Kristaq Kallogjeri from Preveza. We are dealing with a cultural hero
here, who created a work of linguistic and cultural importance, and by this being also known as the author of the first dictionary of simple Greek-Albanian.
Marko Bocari´s dictionary came as a consequence of passing events in Greece, where the Arvanites had to give up their weapons in order to adapt themselves into the greek society, which was a very difficult thing for the Arvanites. Another important reason for the the birth of the Greek-Albanian dictionary was that Greek used to be the main language used for trade in the Balkans. If the Arvanite Albanians wanted to become part of these trades, they were kinda forced to learn Greek
This dictionary was of great importance because it contained many elements of the Albanian language in the Cham-dialect, and also this dictionary served as a political tool to bring the Albanians and the Greeks closer.
As a result of many foreign invasion, the Ottomans in particular, the Arvanites had lived hidden for centuries in unreachable mountains regions and islands and therefore had little or no contact at all with other cultures. The Arvanite language remained therefore a pure national language, spoken only by its people and by this, it continued to maintain its antiquity and linguistic purity. But it did not manage to develop further because there were little or no entering of new words that could make the language fit the social developments of the time.
The bilingual dictionary:
Marko Bocari, with a strong will and courage, brought us the first Greek-Albanian dictionary at the age of only 19. The bilingual dictionary consisted of 111 pages, 1494 Albanian words, and 1701 Greek
words. The original dictionary is now at the National Museum of Paris (it was donated in May 1819 by the french consul Pukèvili).
The French Consul in Ioannina, Pukèvili studied the dictionary of Bocari Marko, and managed to create a small French-Albanian dictionary, with about 440 words and the original of this dictionary can be found in the National Museum of Paris.
The last farewell:
Before the great battle in Missolonghi, Marko wanted to send his family to Ancona, Italy. All the Suliotes shared tears with their wives without speaking, and in those moments Marko said to the love of his life- “In the hour of freedom I want us to be together, but in the hour of battle I want to be alone.”. Those words marked the last farewell. Marko was the captain of the army of western Greece.
On August 9, 1823, Marko Bocari was killed fighting against the army of M. Bushati, the Pasha of Shkodra. Marko Bocari´s death became known in all of Europe. The great British poet Lord Byron, came to Greece and gave a speech on the grave of Marko Bocari wearing one the finest Albanian
Arvanite costumes. Marko Bocari died, but his figure became legend.
Documents on fire:
In 1831, Mamuri and Papakosta (assassins), on behalf of the Greek government, blocked the house of Noti Gj. Bocari and set fire on it. All documents of great historical importance that were preserved for centuries regarding Albanian Arvanite´s long presence in Greece and their importance throughout the history were lost in that fire. The Greeks assumed that they could exterminate the Albanian origin of the Bocari family.
Greek attempts of faking the history:
Many Greek historians declare that Marko Bocari and many other Albanian Arvanite heroes of the uprisings of 1821 were both Greek and non-Albanians, given that Marko and other heroes belonged to the Orthodox religion.
It realy is unfortunate for a nation, when historians of that nation confuse religion with race. That Marko Bocari was born to Albanian parents, both from great Albanian families was confirmed once again in 1994, by one of the direct descendents of Marko Bocari, him also with the same name, Marko Bocari, professor in the University of Queensland in Australia. In 1994 he strongly condemned the statements of*greek minister who denied the strong Albanian assistance during the Greek war of independence, and the Albanian origin of Marko Bocari – one of the greatest heroes from that war.
“My comments relate to an article published by a Greek minister, in which he declare that there are no Albanians in Greece. It clearly indicates that this minister does not know what is currently happening in his country, or has decided to ignore the facts. The fact is that there are
more than one million Orthodox Albanians currently in Greece. My parents never spoke Greek to me, because they were to proud of their Albanian origins”.