By Nicholas Doumanis

It's common for survivors of ethnic detoxification or even genocide to talk nostalgically approximately previous occasions 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 after they labored and drank espresso jointly, participated in each one other's fairs, or even prayed to an identical saints. Historians have by no means confirmed critical regard to those thoughts, given the refugees had fled from awful 'ethnic' violence that looked as if it would mirror deep-seated and pre-existing animosities. Refugee nostalgia appeared natural delusion; possibly contrived to reduce the discomfort 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 assets offer considerable representation of the ideals and practices linked to intercommunal dwelling, which neighborhood Muslims and Christian groups likened to a typical ethical atmosphere.

Drawing mostly 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 moreover rejects the normal assumption that the empire used to be destroyed by means of intercommunal hatreds. Doumanis emphasizes the function of state-perpetrated political violence which aimed to create ethnically homogenous areas, and which went a way in reworking 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

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In Smyrna, where the Romioi represented a mere 20 per cent of the population in 1800, they had come to form a slight majority by 1900. 66 Other significant concentrations of Romioi were located in the eastern Black Sea region, from Sinope to Rize, as well as in central Anatolia, near Kayseri, Nevşehir, and further afield near Konya. Small communities were also to be found within most Anatolian towns, in places as far apart as Muğla, Kastamonu, Ankara, Isparta, Sivas, Adana, and Mersin. In such places they usually filled particular economic niches in retail and in the building trades, while merchants and highly skilled tradesmen were known to move between these communities.

41 It is certainly true that foreign interests preferred dealing with Christian and Jewish intermediaries, in part because of their facility with Western languages and established expertise in commerce, especially external trade. 42 Recent research has shown, of course, that non-Muslims did not have a monopoly in commercial activity (or in any occupation for that matter), and that Muslims continued to dominate the empire’s domestic trade. Yet the fact remains that the former did capitalize disproportionately on the burgeoning commerce with the West, and the latter believed that much of that prosperity could be attributed to unfair advantages, particularly the tax and legal exemptions that came with foreign protection.

E. Western), their children attended schools in which they often studied and played with the children of other elites, and they could converse in French, English, Italian, Turkish, or sometimes Arabic. Unlike their Muslim counterparts, the Greek bourgeoisie moved easily between the empire and places like London, Paris, Trieste, Vienna, and St Petersburg. Needless to say, the Romioi in social terms were a much larger and complex group, though in some ways did not constitute a ‘group’ as such. Only a small proportion of them were prosperous entrepreneurs, and an even smaller number were rich, cosmopolitan, and polyglottal.

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