Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pavlos Melas - Hero of the Macedonian Struggle

Pavlos Melas. This is not just a name. Its a myth , a symbol of a true fighting Greek. He came from rich family, with many of its members played a important role in the politics of Hellas of that time. Though, he left everything, his wealth, his "career" (To use a modern word that you hear oftenly from the mouth of the rabble of today), his family, and took his unit to fight for the freedom of Macedonia and its independece from its usurpers. He killed in 13th of October of 1904, surrounded by Turks.
Below is the only english biography of him that i found on the internet.

"Pavlos Melas (Greek: Παύλος Μελάς, Pávlos, i.e., Paul, Melás) (March 29, 1870–October 13, 1904) was an officer of the Hellenic Army, and he was among the first who organized and participated in the Greek Struggle for Macedonia.

He was born in Marseilles, France in a family with origin from Northern Epirus. He was the son of Michail Melas who was elected MP for Attica and mayor of Athens. At an early age Pavlos moved to Athens to study, and later joined the Army, graduating from the Hellenic Army Academy as an artillery lieutenant in 1891. In 1892, he married Natalia Dragoumi, the daughter of Kastorian politician Stephanos Dragoumis and sister of Ion Dragoumis. In 1895, the couple had a son named Michael.

Melas, with the cooperation of his brother-in-law Ion Dragoumis, then the consul of Greece in then Ottoman occupied Monastir (now Bitola), Christos Kottas,and Germanos Karavangelis, metropolitan bishop of Kastoria, tried to raise money for the economic support of Greek efforts in Macedonia. After the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie uprising, he decided to enter Macedonia in June, 1904 to assess the situation and to see if there is any possibility of establishing a military unit to fight the Bulgarians (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, VMRO) and the Ottoman Turks.

In July 1904 (under the alias Captain Mikis Zezas), he reentered Macedonia with a small unit of men and fought against the VMRO until October 13, 1904 when he was killed after being surrounded by Ottoman forces in the village of Statitsa. The village with coordinates 40° 42' N 021° 16' E has since been renamed Melas in his honour.

After his death, Greek efforts became more intense, resulting in the interception of Bulgarian Komitadji efforts, especially in West and Central Macedonia, which joined Greece after the Balkan Wars.

He is considered to be a symbol of the Greek Struggle for Macedonia and many of his personal belongings can be seen in the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki and Pavlos Melas Museum in Kastoria."

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