Зорба Гркот не бил Грк туку Македонец!

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    replied
    Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
    It is ridiculous to be so speculative when the information (of involvement or not involvement) must be in any of the books. Given that I read so much, I suppose there would be SOME reference if there was any such story.
    There is, it's called the 'The Life And Times Of Alexis Zorba'. Supposed fiction based on non-fiction, at least partially. For certain parts of that book, your decision on which is which is no less speculative than mine. That you have failed to find references in other books means very little, it's not like such people (if he is indeed guilty) chose to freely talk about those topics at the dinner table with all of their family and friends. But you seem to have bought into that unrealistic notion, which has led you to limit your focus to superficial commonalities and disregard the likelihood of deeper links between the fictional character and the real person he was based on. Further, I find being speculative in the manner I have exhibited as markedly more measured than glorifying a person who, by his own admission, raped women and murdered innocent civilians. That there are attempts to trivialise this (he was only a fictional character, the real guy "probably" didn't do it, he showed remorse, it's a great book, it's a popular movie, etc.) as a basis for rationalisation is beyond ridiculous.

    If you were writing a fictional book and some of the main themes were based on real experiences and discussions you had with a personal friend that had since passed away, what would be your motive to randomly include such shameful events in the storyline, with such specificity, and assign them to the character inspired by your friend, at the risk of discrediting his legacy with innuendo, if there was no truth to them? Perhaps you can provide an answer to that question, speculative though it may be.

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  • Amphipolis
    replied
    It is ridiculous to be so speculative when the information (of involvement or not involvement) must be in any of the books. Given that I read so much, I suppose there would be SOME reference if there was any such story.

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    replied
    Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
    In one interview, one of his sons, implies something similar about his grandfather (Zorbas' father) who also became a monk at some point.
    In the early 1900's, George Zorbas would have been in his late 30's. His father, Photios, would have therefore been in his late 50's or early 60's at the very least. How feasible is it that Photios, a wealthy landowner that was probably over 60 years old at the time, would be involved in rape, murder and looting, let alone climbing atop a house and jumping from one roof to another? Perhaps George Zorbas told his son the story you cite above because he needed to ease his 'burden', but he couldn't be entirely truthful so he tactfully absolved himself of responsibility. He did become a monk for a time. Guilty conscience? On the other hand, Kazantzakis became a close and personal friend to George Zorbas and they would've felt more comfortable discussing such matters with each other than with their children. In any case, Ottoman Macedonia was a turbulent place. There were many shady, adventurous and opportunistic individuals involved in the propaganda activities of foreign states. Just because you cannot find any reference to such atrocities committed by George Zorbas doesn't mean he wasn't involved or aware to some degree. Again, the question must be asked, why were such activities and stories specifically mentioned in the book?
    Originally posted by Karposh
    I'm not all that familiar on the subject of Zorba to be honest and it wasn't with some reservation when I dismissed his exploits as perhaps being fictional. I too have seen many of those letters from Greek soldiers in the Carnegie Report and they make for disturbing reading. Wouldn't surprise me at all if his exploits are in fact based on fact. All I will say is, if he managed to elude Macedonian justice in this life, I'm quite certain he wouldn't have been so lucky in his next one.
    No worries, I wasn't taking a swipe at you, I just wanted to reinforce some of the points I made earlier because the actions of this animal, fictional or otherwise, are often downplayed by Greeks in an effort to mislead objective readers.

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  • Karposh
    replied
    Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
    Are they, though? A number of important aspects in the book, although technically fictional, are based on non-fictional events with a bit of added nuance for effect...
    Why do people like Amphipolis claim that he "probably" wasn't involved in armed Greek marauding in Macedonia yet cannot be any more definitive than that? Is it really that difficult to believe that these people were capable of rape, murder, burning villages, etc. when the Carnegie Report provides evidence of letters seized from soldiers in the Greek army who write about such reprehensible acts, some of which closely resemble the stories of Alexis Zorba in the book?...
    I will also not presume that all of the exploits of the fictional Alexis Zorba in the book, particularly those that are most gruesome, are completely without foundation in fact. People can decide for themselves if George Zorbas committed, witnessed or heard about these acts, or if Kazantzakis just happened to "create" stories that are strikingly similar to documented events that took place in Macedonia at the time in question.
    I'm not all that familiar on the subject of Zorba to be honest and it wasn't with some reservation when I dismissed his exploits as perhaps being fictional. I too have seen many of those letters from Greek soldiers in the Carnegie Report and they make for disturbing reading. Wouldn't surprise me at all if his exploits are in fact based on fact. All I will say is, if he managed to elude Macedonian justice in this life, I'm quite certain he wouldn't have been so lucky in his next one.

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  • Amphipolis
    replied
    Originally posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
    Is there a more in-depth and verifiable record of George Zorbas during the early 1900s? What were his activities during this period? Why do people like Amphipolis claim that he "probably" wasn't involved in armed Greek marauding in Macedonia yet cannot be any more definitive than that?
    Yes, there are many books about him, not to mention literature essays that usually include researches on the real people behind characters, also interviews with his many sons and daughters starting even before the film was made. I'm not definitive because I found more than 10 internet articles about the real Zorba, each was very extended and different and I couldn't find any reference to such activities. In one interview, one of his sons, implies something similar about his grandfather (Zorbas' father) who also became a monk at some point.

    Another essay was very analytical on how real Zorbas' character was different than the fictional one.

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    replied
    Originally posted by Karposh View Post
    I didn't realise the exploits of this Zorba character are mostly fictional.
    Are they, though? A number of important aspects in the book, although technically fictional, are based on non-fictional events with a bit of added nuance for effect. Take the following examples.

    The unknown narrator of the story is supposed to be a young Greek intellectual who goes to Crete to open a mine and mingle with the lower classes. The author of the story, Kazantzakis, was from Crete. In addition to being a writer, he had also studied law and philosophy (i.e. an 'intellectual'). Suffice to say that there's a high probability Kazantzakis based the character of the unknown narrator on himself. Both Kazantzakis and his 'fictional' character are socialists. Alexis Zorba is some mysterious man (who appears to be around 60 years old) whom the unknown narrator meets. In the book, their meeting takes place around 1916, or thereabouts. The real-life George Zorbas was born in 1865. He met Kazantzakis after 1915, so approximately the same time frame as the book. That would make George Zorbas about 50 years old when they met. In terms of age, not a significant departure from his fictional namesake. Kazantzakis was in his early 30's, so could still be considered a young man by comparison.

    George Zorbas was born in Macedonia. Alexis Zorba was born in Romania. Kazantzakis' book was published in 1946, during the Civil War, not sure if that was the reason for the adjustment in detail. Alexis Zorba claims to be an experienced miner. George Zorbas was an experienced miner. Alexis Zorba and the unknown narrator went together to work at the mines. George Zorbas and Kazantzakis went together to work at the mines. The unknown narrator receives a letter informing him of the death of Alexis Zorba and how his last words were of him. The book is written a few years after the death of George Zorbas. Both Kazantzakis and the unknown narrator are quite fond of George Zorbas and Alexis Zorba respectively.

    Clearly, George Zorbas left an impression on Kazantzakis, who had been writing for years prior to this book. So, what inspired him to write it when he did? Was it news of George Zorbas' death? Why would he include stories about murder, rape and robbery, unless it was relayed by George Zorbas himself, before, during or after their time at the mines? As George Zorbas was already dead, did Kazantzakis feel he could be more honest in his rendition, his intention being to provide historical context prior to the eventual redemption of his "hero", which would solicit the empathy of readers (e.g. we've all done bad things, but we can change)? Why else would such details be included, why would he present his friend in such a way, unless there was some (or much) truth to it? Is there a more in-depth and verifiable record of George Zorbas during the early 1900s? What were his activities during this period? Why do people like Amphipolis claim that he "probably" wasn't involved in armed Greek marauding in Macedonia yet cannot be any more definitive than that? Is it really that difficult to believe that these people were capable of rape, murder, burning villages, etc. when the Carnegie Report provides evidence of letters seized from soldiers in the Greek army who write about such reprehensible acts, some of which closely resemble the stories of Alexis Zorba in the book?

    I don't presume to know all of the answers to the above. But I will also not presume that all of the exploits of the fictional Alexis Zorba in the book, particularly those that are most gruesome, are completely without foundation in fact. People can decide for themselves if George Zorbas committed, witnessed or heard about these acts, or if Kazantzakis just happened to "create" stories that are strikingly similar to documented events that took place in Macedonia at the time in question.

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  • Liberator of Makedonija
    replied
    The real man was likely a Vlach

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  • Karposh
    replied
    I did after I posted that comment. There's also the suggestion that he might have actually had a Macedonian ethnic background (with "Chorba" being a strong possibility of his actual nickname) from some of the older posts. I didn't realise the exploits of this Zorba character are mostly fictional. Fare enough.

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  • Amphipolis
    replied
    Originally posted by Karposh View Post
    He apparently spent the last 20 years of his life in Skopje between 1922 and 1941. Many of the old Macedonian revolutionaries would have been alive during this period. If only they knew what he got up to in his younger days. They would have strung him up by his balls.
    You should look at my older post #27. The real Zorbas probably never participated in the Macedonian Struggle. I read many extended articles and nothing is mentioned. Then again there are several books and studies about him, his own letters to Kazantzakis for further research.

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  • Karposh
    replied
    He apparently spent the last 20 years of his life in Skopje between 1922 and 1941. Many of the old Macedonian revolutionaries would have been alive during this period. If only they knew what he got up to in his younger days. They would have strung him up by his balls.

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    replied
    I've cut people's throats, burned villages, robbed and raped women, wiped out entire families.
    Context, no context, it makes absolutely no difference, he was a murderous rapist.
    Nowadays I say this man is a good fellow, that one's a bastard. They can be Greeks or Bulgars or Turks, it doesn't matter. Is he good? Or is he bad? That's the only thing I ask nowadays.
    Is that supposed to mean this animal has a "human" side? Let's see.

    I slipped out onto the balcony and crept from one roof to the next; the moon was up and I jumped from balcony to balcony....I dropped down into the yard, and there I found a Bulgarian woman in bed. She stood up in her nightdress, saw me and opened her mouth to shout, but I held out my arms and whispered: "Mercy! Mercy! Don't shout!" and seized her breasts. She went pale and half swooned. '"Come inside," she said in a low voice. "Come in so that we can't be seen ..." 'I went inside, she gripped my hand: "Are you a Greek?" she said. "Yes, Greek. Don't betray me." I took her by the waist. She said not a word. I went to bed with her, and my heart trembled with pleasure.........I disappeared next morning in the clothes the Bulgar woman gave me. She was a widow. She took her late husband's clothes out of a chest, gave them to me, and she hugged my knees and begged me to come back to her.
    Let me get this right. He enters the house of an unknown woman who is alone at night, startles her from bed and grabs her breasts. Sounds more like Ted "Zorba" Bundy. Anyway, according to this story, the lady helped him hide and even had "consensual" sex with him. OK. In what world does that seem plausible? Perhaps the precursor of Stockholm Syndrome was a sudden and instant condition according to Kazantzakis.
    'Yes, yes, I did go back ... the following night. I was a patriot then, of course - a wild beast; I went back with a can of paraffin and set fire to the village. She must have been burnt along with the others, poor wretch. Her name was Ludmilla.
    Again I ask, why do morons name their restaurants and clubs after this rapist?

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  • Amphipolis
    replied
    This is the part we're talking about


    I admired this man whose brain functioned with so much confidence and daring and whose soul, wherever you touched it, struck out fire.
    'Have you ever been to war, Zorba?'

    'How do I know?' he asked with a frown. T can't remember. What war?'

    'I mean, have you ever fought for your country?'

    'Couldn't you talk about something else? All that nonsense is over and done with and best forgotten.'

    'Do you call that nonsense, Zorba? Aren't you ashamed? Is that how you speak of your country?'

    Zorba raised his head and looked at me. I was lying on my bed, too, and the oil-lamp was burning above my head. He looked at me severely for a time, then, taking a firm hold of his moustache, said:

    "That's a half-baked thing to say; it's what I expect from a schoolmaster. I might as well be singing, boss, for all the good it is my talking to you, if you'll pardon my saying so.'

    'What?' I protested. 'I understand things, Zorba, don't forget.'

    'Yes, you understand with your brain. You say: "This is right, and that's wrong; this is true, and that isn't; he's right, the other one's wrong ..." But where does that lead us?

    While you are talking I watch your arms and chest. Well, what are they doing? They're silent. They don't say a word. As though they hadn't a drop of blood between them.

    Well, what do you think you understand with? With your head? Bah!'

    'Come, give me an answer, Zorba; don't try to dodge the question!' I said, to excite him. 'I'm pretty sure you don't bother yourself overmuch about your country, do you?'

    He was angry and banged his fist on the wall of petrol cans.

    'The man you see here in front of you/ he cried, 'once embroidered the Church of Saint Sophia in hairs from his own head, and carried it round with him, hanging on his chest like a charm. Yes, boss, that's what I did, and I embroidered it with these great paws of mine, and with these hairs, too, which were as black as jet at the time. I used to wander about the mountains of Macedonia with Pavlos Melas was a strapping fellow then, taller than this hut, with my kilt, red fez, silver charms, amulets, yataghan, cartridgecases and pistols. I was covered with steel, silver and studs. When I marched there was a clatter and clank as if a regiment were passing down the street! Look here! Here! And look there!'

    He opened his shirt and lowered his trousers.
    'Bring the light over!' he ordered.

    I held the lamp close to the thin, tanned body. What with deep scars, bullet and sword marks, his body was like a collander.

    'Now look at the other side!'

    He turned round and showed me his back.

    'Not a scratch on the back, you see. Do you understand? Now take the lamp back.' 'Nonsense!' he cried in a rage. 'It's disgusting! When will men really be men, d'you think? We put trousers on, and shirts and collars and hats, and yet we're still a lot of mules, foxes, wolves and pigs. We say we're made in the image of God! Who, us? I spit on our idiotic mugs!'

    Terrifying memories seemed to be coming to his mind and he was getting more and more exasperated. Incomprehensible words issued from between his shaking, hollow teeth.

    He rose, picked up the water-jug, took a long drink and seemed refreshed and calmer.

    'No matter where you touch me, I yell,' he said. T'm all wounds and scars and lumps.

    What d'you mean by all that rot about women? When I discovered I was really a man, I didn't even turn round to look at them. I touched them for a minute, like that, in passing, like a cock, then went on. "The dirty ferrets," I said to myself. "They'd like to suck me dry of all my strength. Bah! To hell with women!"

    'Then I picked up my rifle and off I went! I went into the mountains as a comitadji. One day, at dusk, I came into a Bulgarian village and hid in a stable. It was the very house of a priest, a ferocious, pitiless Bulgarian comitadji. At night he'd take off his cassock, put on shepherd's clothes, pick up his rifle and go over into the neighbouring Greek villages. He came back before dawn, trickling with mud and blood, and hurried to church to conduct mass for the faithful. A few days before this, he had killed a Greek schoolmaster asleep in his bed. So I went into this priest's stable and waited. Towards nightfall the priest came into the stable to feed the animals. I threw myself on him and cut his throat like a sheep. I lopped off his ears and stuck them in my pocket. I was making a collection of Bulgar ears, you see; so I took the priest's ears and made off.
    'A few days later, there I was in the village again. It was midday. I was peddling. I'd left my arms in the mountains and had come down to buy bread, salt and boots for the others. Then I met five little kids in front of one of the houses - they were all dressed in black, bare-foot, holding one another by the hand and begging. Three girls and two boys. The eldest couldn't have been more than ten, the youngest was still a baby. The eldest girl was carrying the youngster in her arms, kissing him and caressing him so that he shouldn't cry. I don't know why, divine inspiration I suppose, but I went up to them.

    '"Whose children are you?" I asked them in Bulgarian.
    "The eldest boy raised his little head.

    "The priest's. Father's throat was cut the other day in the stable," he answered.
    "The tears came to my eyes and the earth began turning round like a millstone. I leaned against the wall, and it stopped.
    '"Come here, children," I said, "come near to me."

    T took out my purse; it was full of Turkish pounds and mejidies. I knelt down and poured them all out on the floor.

    "There, take them!" I cried. "Take them! Take them!"

    "The children threw themselves on the ground and gathered up the money.

    '"It's for you! It's for you!" I cried. "Take it all!"

    "Then I left them my basket with all I had bought.



    '"All that's for you, too; take it all!"

    'And I cleared out. I left the village, opened my shirt, seized the Saint Sophia I had embroidered and tore it to shreds, threw it away and ran for all I was worth.
    'And I'm still running

    Zorba leaned against the wall, and turned towards me.
    "That was how I was rescued,' he said.
    'Rescued from your country?'

    'Yes, from my country,' he said in a firm, calm voice. Then after a moment:

    'Rescued from my country, from priests, and from money. I began sifting things, sifting more and more things out. I lighten my burden that way. I - how shall I put it? -1 find my own deliverance, I become a man.'

    Zorba's eyes glowed, his large mouth laughed contentedly.

    After staying silent a moment or two he started off again. His heart was overflowing, he couldn't control it.

    'There was a time when I used to say: that man's a Turk, or a Bulgar, or a Greek. I've done things for my country that would make your hair stand on end, boss. I've cut people's throats, burned villages, robbed and raped women, wiped out entire families.
    Why? Because they were Bulgars, or Turks. "Bah! To hell with you, you swine!" I say to myself sometimes. "To hell with you right away, you ass." Nowadays I say this man is a good fellow, that one's a bastard. They can be Greeks or Bulgars or Turks, it doesn't matter. Is he good? Or is he bad? That's the only thing I ask nowadays. And
    as I grow older - I'd swear this on the last crust I eat -1 feel I shan't even go on asking that! Whether a man's good or bad, I'm sorry for him, for all of 'em. The sight of a man just rends my insides, even if I act as though I don't care a damn! There he is, poor devil, I think, he also eats and drinks and makes love and is frightened, whoever he is: he has his God and his devil just the same, and he'll peg out and lie as stiff as a board beneath the ground and be food for worms, just the same. Poor devil! We're all brothers! All worm-meat!

    'And if it's a woman... Ah! then I just want to cry my eyes out! Your honoured self, boss, keeps teasing me and saying I'm too fond of the women. Why shouldn't I be fond of 'em, when they're all weak creatures who don't know what they're doing and surrender on the spot if you just catch hold of their breasts ...
    'Once I went into another Bulgarian village. And one old brute who'd spotted me - he was a village elder - told the others and they surrounded the house I was lodging in. I slipped out onto the balcony and crept from one roof to the next; the moon was up and I jumped from balcony to balcony like a cat. But they saw my shadow, climbed up onto the roofs and started shooting. So what do I do? I dropped down into the yard, and there I found a Bulgarian woman in bed. She stood up in her nightdress, saw me and opened her mouth to shout, but I held out my arms and whispered: "Mercy! Mercy! Don't shout!" and seized her breasts. She went pale and half swooned.
    '"Come inside," she said in a low voice. "Come in so that we can't be seen ..."
    'I went inside, she gripped my hand: "Are you a Greek?" she said. "Yes, Greek. Don't betray me." I took her by the waist. She said not a word. I went to bed with her, and my heart trembled with pleasure. "There, Zorba, you dog," I said to myself, "there's a woman for you; that's what humanity means! What is she? Bulgar? Greek? Papuan?
    That's the last thing that matters! She's human, and a human being with a mouth, and breasts, and she can love. Aren't you ashamed of killing? Bah! Swine!" 'That's the way I thought while I was with her, sharing her warmth. But did that mad bitch, my country, leave me in peace for that, do you think? I disappeared next morning in the clothes the Bulgar woman gave me. She was a widow. She took her late husband's clothes out of a chest, gave them to me, and she
    hugged my knees and begged me to come back to her.

    'Yes, yes, I did go back ... the following night. I was a patriot then, of course - a wild beast; I went back with a can of paraffin and set fire to the village. She must have been burnt along with the others, poor wretch. Her name was Ludmilla.' Zorba sighed. He lit a cigarette, took one or two puffs and then threw it away.
    'My country, you say? ... You believe all the rubbish your books tell you ... ? Well, I'm the one you should believe. So long as there are countries, man will stay like an animal, a ferocious animal... But I am delivered from all that, God be praised! It's finished for me! What about you?'

    I didn't answer. I was envious of the man. He had lived with his flesh and blood - fighting, killing, kissing - all that I had tried to learn through pen and ink alone. All the problems I was trying to solve point by point in my solitude and glued to my chair, this man had solved up in the pure air of the mountains with his sword. I closed my eyes, inconsolable.

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    replied
    Originally posted by Amphipolis View Post
    If one names a taverna in Chicago as “Zorba the Greek” is he celebrating the man? The character? The book? The author? The film? None I’m afraid.
    Don't be ridiculous. It is celebrating at least one of those subjects, all of which are connected and all of which directly relate to a self-confessed rapist. You and the other Greeks can choose to look at this from an abstract perspective because the movie helped make your people popular to western audiences, but in the end, it amounts to the same thing - the celebration of an individual (fictional or otherwise) who was a rapist. And he was apparently the inspiration for a stupid dance.
    I DO know Kazantzakis really admired and appreciated the real Zorba, their real relation often reminisces the book and that sounds as the ultimate award.
    One wonders just how much of the real Zorba is present in the fictional character. One wonders why Kazantzakis would make Anthony Quinn's character a rapist if there wasn't some sort of real-life inspiration to serve as a basis. It's a rather random characteristic to assign to the "hero" of a story that he admired so much. Perhaps Kazantzakis is just as sick as the character he created or relayed in print.

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  • Amphipolis
    replied
    The case of Zorba is trickier. I also don’t know the true story, but there are books about the life of real (George) Zorbas, a new one was just presented this year. If one names a taverna in Chicago as “Zorba the Greek” is he celebrating the man? The character? The book? The author? The film? None I’m afraid.

    I DO know Kazantzakis really admired and appreciated the real Zorba, their real relation often reminisces the book and that sounds as the ultimate award.

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  • Soldier of Macedon
    replied
    So the money these restaurateurs reap from the fame of the movie is supposed to overshadow the fact that its main character was a rapist.

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