Janovski Sotir

Sotir was an 18 year old boy when he joined the ranks of DAG. And he did not go alone. He went with all the youths of his village - the beautiful village of Zhelevo. His father, Fote, had left for DAG earlier. Sotir's mother, Dimitra-Foteica - as told by the villagers of Zhelevo, worked day and night for the people's struggle in the village, in the trenches and wherever it was necessary. For her great activism and dedication she was elected to the Lerin regional council.

In the summer of 1949 Sotir died in a battle on Mali-Madi. Many youths like Sotir died in the battle for national liberation. Death lurked not just in the front line but also in the areas liberated by the partisans. The enemy artillery and airplanes sowed death among the villages and on the plains. They killed the elderly, women, children. In that stormy time death had lost its meaning. So the news of Sotir's death reached his village like ordinary news. But Sotir's mother did not receive the news as ordinary news because she was a mother who had lost her first born, her own boy, her only son.

She tied a black scarf on her head and with a grieving face she received and sent off visitors paying their respects.

Among the others, two comrades visited her, the representatives of the national democratic organization. They greeted her quietly and sat in the seat opposite her. In the room an endless silence reigned. The comrades who had come to lift the spirits of the grieving mother sat still as statues, sad and motionless. Between them stood Sotir's mother. Neither one nor the other comrade dared to break the silence. In those moments of suffering Foteica stood proudly, took the rifle of one of the comrades and opened the window and emptied three rounds and at the end shouted -

"For the struggle! For freedom! May the soil that will cover him lay lightly on Sotir." And then turning to the comrades she said, "That is the struggle, comrade Tasho and Micho. There cannot be a wedding without a drum to beat. There can be no battle without sacrifice."

Foteica was not the first and would not be the last who courageously and cool headedly faced the death of her own son. Hundreds and thousands of heroic mothers taught their sons and daughters to be brave fighters for freedom, so that there would be better and happy days in our homeland.


From: For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters

© 2009

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For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters