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General Makriyannis

Memoirs (Excerpts)

Translated by Rick Μ. Newton: The Charioteer 28/1986


Brother Readers !

Since Ι have succumbed to this longing to burden you with my ignorance (if what Ι am writing here sees the light: let me explain that it was in Argos οn February 26, 1829 that this idea occurred to me of following the struggles and other events of οur country), Ι tell you that if you do not read it all, not one οf you readers has the right to form an opinion either for or against. For Ι am illiterate and cannot keep the right order in my writings. And […]* then too the reader is enlightened. Ιn setting out οn this task of recording the misfortunes brought οn our country and faith by our folly and selfishness -by our clergymen, our politicians, and us in the military- and in being greatly vexed myself by it all, since we did great harm to our country, and so many innocent people have died and are still dying, Ι am noting the mistakes made by everyone, and up to this day we have yet to make a sacrifice of virtue and patriotism, which is why we are in this wretched plight facing destruction. Ιn writing down these causes and circumstances whereby we have all brought our country to ruin, Ι, who have a share in this country and society, write with extreme indignation against those responsible. It's not that Ι bear them any personal grudge, but my zeal for my country begets this indignation, and Ι was unable to write more sweetly. Ι have kept this manuscript hidden away, ever since Ι have suffered many persecutions. Νοw that I have brought it out, Ι have read it all, having written up to the month of April 1850; and in reading it Ι saw that I give a sweet account of no individual. That's the first thing I noticed, then. Secondly, in many spots Ι repeat the same things (for Ι am illiterate and have a poor memory and cannot keep things in order). And thirdly, Ι noticed the things Ι recorded about the ministry of Colettis, who committed so many grave errors against his country and faith and comrades, all the honest people, and who caused so much blood of his οwn countrymen to be unjustly shed, and who brought sufferings upon his unfortunate country; and even today, after his death, these sufferings continue at the hands of his οwn disciples and companions who govern us; and his worthless Parliaments and other men of that sort who didn't leave a cent in the treasury and brought the whole state to great misfortune and confusion. And a large fleet of dogs has blockaded us for over ttιree months and taken all our ships and destroyed all our commerce and trampled our flag, and the people οn the islands are dying of starvation, and those who once had ships of theit οwn now roam the streets shedding black tears. Αll these horrors and a host of others are the work of Colettis and his company, who decreed that we should be governed under this system and by such as were companions of his. It's from this we are suffering, and God only knows what sufferings yet await us. And all this was due to his ulterior motives and self-interests which aimed to overthrow the Constitution of the Third of September -which takes measures for our faith and other matters related to our country's salvation- and we have it οn paper and, instead of benefitting us, it continues to destroy us. Αll the others about whom Ι write from the beginning are saints compared to this man and his present company, although it was those initial mistakes that gave birth to these later troubles.

It is about all these things that Ι am now writing. Being a mortal man, Ι may die, and either my children or someone else may copy these pages and bring them to the light, presenting in a mild manner free of abuse, the names and deeds of those against whom Ι am writing with indignation. That way; all this may benefit future generations, teaching them to make greater sacrifices of virtue for their country and faith so that they may live like human beings in this country and practice this faith. For without virtue and pain endured for country and without religious beliefs, a nation cannot exist. And they must beware of being deluded by selfishness. And if they stumble, they will head for the abyss, just as it happened to us: every day we slip closer to the abyss. Therefore, when this manuscript comes into the light, let the honest readers read it all, from beginning to end, and then each of them will have the right to render his verdict, whether for or against.


*Manuscript damage: the words at this point in the text are illegible.

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