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
For Sacred National Freedom: Portraits Of Fallen Freedom Fighters