Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A few hours before we all shall die

April 10, 1826. A few hours before his death,

editor Meyer wrote to a friend: Makes me proud 

of the idea that the blood of a Swiss, a grandson 

of William Tell, to mix with the blood of the 

{ heroes of Greece.

    I am proud that my Swiss blood,
    will be mixed up on Messolonghi's* mud
    along with the Greek hero's blood,
    and even if the fight will be a dud,
    I John Mayer, the grandson of William Tell,
    I heard, as William did, the freedom bell..

    Meyer* is part of the story that I will tell.

    A story which I read in the newspaper
    "Missolonghi Greek Chronicles" 1824 and later...

Some years after the American Revolutionary War,
another nation with Messolonghi as its central core,
was fighting for freedom and independence,
bringing in worldwide volunteers was an unexpected attendance ..

A few hours before we all shall die,
I am writing these words prior to my last goodbye.

For a year our city was besieged by the armies

                                                 {of two countries,*      *Turkey & Egypt
and we overcame resistance and hunger boundaries ...
Just before we were occupied by the enemy, our bastion,
a small island where 350 Greek fought with passion
and refusing to surrender, were killed one by one.

We were told to hand over the city and no one wanted to, literally none...
The Greeks answered that their history was their gun
and reiterated "Molon labe"* in a different way     *come and take it
"City keys are hanging from our cannons, night and day"..

So we, the few, decided to attack the two barbarian armies
and may the "Messenger God" the Greek Hermes
be sent to convey to you our decision "Freedom or Death".
Perhaps few will survive, but I'm not holding my breath....


       Alas the plan was betrayed and we lost the surprise attack ..
             Half attacked trying to break through and half turn back....

             From the beginning many were killed, a few survived,

             In the city looked like Leonidas and the 300 Spartans 
                                                                                      [were revived...  

              Each house was converted into a fort
              and should the enemy enter, the last resort,
              to blow the gunpowder warehouse
              along with the enemy, the family and the house ...

        Meyer and his family were killed in the attack,
             as well as five thousand Greeks, a black day 

                                                      [for Greecereally black ..

Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS

Νο: 35

*Messolonghi is a town in western Greece. Is known as the site of a dramatic siege during the Greek War of Independence, and of the death of poet Lord Byron.

*Johann Jakob Meyer (born December 30, 1798 in Zurich, † 1826), was a Swiss editor. He is one of the most popular philhellenes in Greece.

*Wilhelm Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th-century Swiss illustrated chronicles.


Title page of Ellinika Chronika (1824), the first newspaper to appear in Greece, published in Missolonghi under the editorship of Swiss Philhellene Johann Jakob
Meyer who was killed during the sortie.

 Ibrahim attacks Missolonghi by Giuseppe Pietro Mazzola.

The Greek War for Independence

Volunteers :     Germans 342
                          French    196,
                          Italian     137
                          British      99
                          Swiss        35

The Greek Revolution was gaining support among the American philhellene citizens and many were collecting money to help the Greek cause. Through the fundraising efforts of New York philhellenes, the amount of 6,600 sterling pounds was collected in 1824 and was forwarded to the Greek government via London, England.
During a fundraiser in New York City, Nicholas Biddle, a banker, offered the then largest personal donation of $300 to the "New York Greek Relief Committee", while US president John Adams in a letter to the same committee encouraged the fundraising efforts.
Captain Jonathan P. Miller through the efforts of the Greek Philhellenic Committee of New York, he was able to collect $17,500 worth of various relief supplies, which he took back to Greece onboard the ship "Chancellor", on March 5th, 1827.
The same year two more ships, "Jane" and "Six Brothers", left New York harbor bound for Greece carrying various relief supplies of $25,000 in the aggregate.
At about the same time, two more shiploads of supplies totaling about $22,500 left the port of Philadelphia onboard the ships "Tontine" and "Levant", while from Boston the ship "Statesman" carried to Greece cargo worth over $11,500.

the tales of a greek sailor

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