Ion Dragoumis (14/09/1878 - 31/07/1920)

Ion Dragoumis Ion Dragoumis was a Greek diplomat, politician and author. He was the main organizer of the Greek communities during the Macedonian Struggle.

He was born in Athens in 1878 and had ten siblings; he studied law at University of Paris. He had a relationship with renowned author Penelope Delta, and it seems he abandoned her during the events of November 1916 (just before the National Schism in Greece) when her father was arrested. He later was involved with actress Marika Kotopouli. In 1902, he started working as a diplomat; he became a vice consul at the Embassy of Serres and later in Thrace, at the Embassy of Phillipoupolis. Along with his brother-in-law Pavlos Melas, he organized the orthodox communities against the Bulgarian forces. He did the same during the period 1907 – 1909 in Istanbul, while working at the Greek embassy there.

In 1911, when the Dodecanese were occupied by Italians, Dragoumis organized a Pan-Dodecanesian meeting in Patmos, during which he declared that the islands be annexed to Greece. In 1912, as a corporal, he was in the headquarters of General Constantine. In 1915, he was elected member of the parliament at the prefecture of Florina, while two years later, he was exiled by the Venizelos government to Corsica, along with other well-known Greeks, such as Ioannis Metaxas, Dimitrios Gounaris etc. He returned to Greece in 1919.

He openly opposed the government of Venizelos, thus when the murder attempt against Venizelos took place in Paris, Dragoumis was arrested and was executed. Abettors of this murder were considered to be the commander of the parastate corps that arrested him (although the commander was absent), the vice prime minister, and an ex-minister of the Venizelos government. They were all acquitted because of lack of evidence. When Venizelos was informed in Paris of this execution, he was shocked and started shouting “Hideous!”

Visionary of a romantic, Greek nationalism, he was caught in the web of the National Schism that eventually cost him his life. Nevertheless, according to later scholars, the nationalism of Dragoumis did not resemble any other kind of nationalism, communistic, fascist, etc, but was founded on a number of ideas. According to Dragoumis, the Greek Nation was much larger than the State in terms of time, place and population; the only purpose of the state (and any state) should be to serve the nation (and any nation). Moreover, the Greek race retained its special character throughout the millennia that the Greek nation existed; however, Dragoumis did not deny nor considered any foreign influence to be negative, but only when that influence is not strong enough to dissolve the race itself. Also, the Nation, the Race and the “I” were one and the same for Dragoumis. He also supported tradition, considering it to be the life-giving juices of the Greek Tree, while the Greek Orthodoxy was important in retaining the cohesion of the nation. It should be mentioned, however, that he was most probably an atheist or agnosticist.

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