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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Greece; "Besa"; Varoufakis: "Our EU/Eurogroup Partners Have No Besa"; No «μπέσα» or no "mesa"? The meaning of words.

From Kathimerini - Βαρουφάκης: Δεν έχουν «μπέσα» οι εταίροι μας

They lack good faith? They don't keep their word (of honour), their solemn promises? No «μπέσα»?

Their are some Greek words ("besa" is pehaps a loan word), like besa, mesa, filotimo that are notoriously hard to translate adequately, with their full range of connotations.

Maybe the minister has lost his mesa?

"Besa" is an Albanian (Arvanitika?) word and concept which implies showing good faith towards one's friends, giving and keeping one's word of honour, a solemn promise. The etymology may be more complicated.

To have "mesa" means to have an insider's advantage or special influence as result of friendship, relationship or a reciprocal obligation or favour. I think. I stand to be corrected.

On the meaning of "philotimo" (filotimo) I have written at length in my book "Corfu Blues".

More on besa

Μπέσα= Πίστη, εμπιστοσύνη, λόγος τιμής

Μία έννοια που έχει σχεδόν ταυτιστεί με τους Αρβανίτες είναι η μπέσα,ο λόγος τιμής δηλαδή. Πράγματι,στους αρβανίτες, στον αξιακό και ηθικό κώδικά τους, δέσποζε η εντιμότητα και αυτό που λέμε «καθαρό κούτελο». From the Arvanitika Blogspot

Just checked Babiniotis Big Greek Dictionary:

But the Arvanitaka blog suggests a different (less convincing) etymology:

Η λέξη μπέσα παράγεται από το ρήμα πείθω (Μέλλοντας: πείσω ,Αόριστος: έπεισα Μετοχή Παρακειμένου:πεπεισμένος κ.λ.π.).

From Wikipedia:

Besa e shqiptarit nuk shitet pazarit (the honour of an Albanian can not be sold or bought in a bazaar)
Shqiptaret vdesin dhe besen nuk e shkelin (Albanians would die rather than break honour)
Besa e shqiptarit si purteka e arit (the Albanians' honour is worth more than gold)

From Avgi

«Εμείς πήγαμε στη διαπραγμάτευση με το δεδομένο ότι, μια συμφωνία είναι μια συμφωνία δεν αποδείχθηκε όμως, ότι και η άλλη πλευρά διέθετε την ίδια προσήλωση «στη μπέσα» εξήγησε ο Γ. Βαρουφάκης, στο ΣΤΑΡ αναφορικά με την παραπλάνηση από τους δανειστές...

Reuters - "There will be no easy access to the ECB's windows until there's a solid agreement with the Eurogroup," he told RTL Nieuws. "That's been made clear to them time and time again."

Bloomberg View: Support for Varoufakis

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