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Thoughts and Explanations about the Greek Civil War

The National Herald

Kostas: My Story by Konstantinos N. Ganias. (Photo by TNH Staff)

Since I wrote the book, Kostas: My Story, my personal account of what took place in my village of Vavouri and the Morgana villages in Epiros during the Civil War of 1946-49, I wanted to go into a more detailed explanation of what the Civil War did to all of Greece. So I did a lot of research. 

The Civil War caused so much pain and horror to the entire country and because of it, there were tens of thousands that were sent to different communist countries. They were killed, sent to hard labor camps and some were never found again. 

The Civil War disrupted everything in every possible way and brought destruction to the entire Greek system. 

More than any other type of war, civil wars bring division to the country and the population, and right down to the family itself, along with distrust and hate. 

These do not just disappear with the end of the war. The scars are there forever.  

In some cases, the Greek Civil War is still around and without knowing it or realizing it. It is still in the back of the mind and heart of those that were affected by it or involved in it. 

For those, especially the politicians, who were neither involved nor affected, I would like to say that the Civil War had no winners, but it left people with psychological traumas, divided and with haunting memories and hatred for the rest of their lives. 

It is a tragedy that in some instances still shows the wounds that have not healed. 

It is a war that is not talked about much now and especially not by politicians. 

Both sides think they have won thinking they fought to make the country a better place to live.  

One side wanted Communism to be the winner; the other wanted the monarchy as a better alternative without thinking what a civil war brings. 

And what is even worse is that both sides even now in their own way secretly praise their involvement and maybe even the outcome of the war that brought so much killing and blood, hate and misery. 

There was personal egotism on both sides along with greater dreams and outside involvement from big powers. 

Both sides could if they wanted to put the good of the country and people first so that the Civil War would have been avoided along with the terrible cost and tragedy. 

Civil war, proven in America, Greece, and so many other countries, is a national disaster. It brings out the worst in everyone. It brings pain, tears, killings, tragedy, and catastrophe and it takes many years for the country to recuperate and restore trust to its people. 

Most people now, after more than 70 years, finally seem to have come to recognize and accept that the Civil War took place, that it happened but now should be put in its place in the history of our country – but it should not be forgotten. 

It took place; it was a lesson not to be repeated. We should let historians write their own outcome about the war without any hatred or desires and to let the people united face the future for a better country, a stronger country. 

These and many more stories are in my book, telling the true story of our villages in Morgana and our forced march out of Greece that ended in communist Hungary until our return in 1954. 

Few times in the history of the entire world – ancient or modern times – have people in the thousands been forced by their own people to leave their country to go to another country. It was not a first but I hope it is a last.  

Can the country unite to build a monument dedicated to the Civil War – a symbol of unity, forgiveness, and national reconciliation? 

Kostas Ganias has written two memoirs, Towards a New Life, and his first book, Kostas, My Story. Both books are available online.