1. Νοεμβρίου 2004 || 2.7

Turkish Culture: The Art of Impalement

by Aiolos


Athanasios Diakos survived this horrific pain for three whole days.

In view of the forthcoming talks pertaining to her bid for membership in the European Union, Hellenic Lines has decided to initiate some articles dedicated to Turkey's European Culture. The author of this particular article dedicates the information it contains to all of the "visionaries" involved in bringing Hellas' neighbor into the European fold, as well as to the President of our Republic, who had the unmitigated gall to characterize Vasilios Vourgaroktonos as a torturer during the the island of Lesbos' recent celebration of her freedom from Turkish rule.

The detailed citations utilized in this article can be found in the French Grand Dictionnaire, from which we quote the following: Being roasted alive - one of the most horrific expressions of human bestiality - is the burning of the condemned over a fire while impaled upon a sharpened wooden stake that has been inserted into the victim in the following manner: The condemned man is made to lie down with his legs spread-eagled and his hands tied behind his back. For the executioner to not be distracted from his work, the victim is rendered motionless by having one the executioner's helpers sit on a saddle placed upon the prisoner's back. The executioner then facilitates the entry of the wooden stake by smearing it with lard, after which he grasps it with both hands and forces it into the victim as deeply as he can. He then pounds it in with a mallet so that it penetrates another fifteen or twenty inches more. The victim is then hoisted upright and the stake is firmly implanted into the ground as the tortured soul is left to expire in indescribable pain and suffering. Because he is unable to secure a foothold, his own weight forces the stake deeper into the victim\'s body, until the point finally exits, usually from an armpit, the chest, or the abdomen. The death that would put an end to the abominable suffering does not come quickly. There are reports of impaled prisoners who have lasted as long as three days. How long a man lives is a function of his physical condition and the direction the stake happens to take. This is easily comprehended when one considers the following epitome of bestial and inhuman behavior: The executioner very carefully ensures that the stake's point is not sharp but blunted and somewhat rounded in shape. Were it sharp, it would pass through the victim\'s organs while being pushed in, and would cause immediate death. The blunt end, however, pushes aside the vital organs, moving rather than penetrating them. In spite of the excruciating pain caused by this pressure on the vital parts, life remains for awhile longer. It is clear that were the stake to penetrate on a slant -- instead of following the body's natural axis -- it would not exit through the breast or from an armpit, but would pierce the abdomen. This way the chest cavity remains untouched and vital organs are not threatened, thereby prolonging the life of the condemned.

In a 1967 article in the newspaper Avgi, the martyrdom of Athanasios Diakos is delineated: The condemned was tied hand and foot, and forced to lie face down. Two sturdy executioners sat on him, while a third forced a wooden stake into his anus, something like the wooden spits we use to roast our Paschal lamb over the coals. A forth man, using a wooden or an iron hammer, pounded it in until the point exited from from the head, between the shoulder blades, or wherever its direction took it. If, perchance, the stake exited from the left side of the body, the tortured victim expired within a short space of time.

Were it to exit from the right side, however, he could live for as long as three to four days. Athanasios Diakos (of fond memory) lived this horrific pain and suffering for three whole days and would have lived longer were it not for an irregular who, out of pity, shot him in the head and put him out of his misery. Let us see how the folklorist describes this event: "They took Diakos and skewered him on a spit/They stood him upright and he laughed".

The French Guer in his 1774 book, Customs and Habits of the Turks, relates what has heretofore been described, but with certain variations. The terror of the stake spread throughout Hellas and became commonplace soon after the uprisings of the Greeks against their Turkish overlords. During the period 1805 -1806, Turkish forces would stage surprise raids in Central Peloponnesus against the Klephts (guerilla fighters). These expeditions had the desired results. The Turks would show up with thousands of pre-cut stakes, and would hold public impalements. In order to terrorize the people, they would scatter the remains of their victims near much frequented places, having first painted the horrific results of their depravity a bright red to make sure they would be easily seen. As Amvosios Frantzis relates, this created so much panic in the villages, that many villagers would help hunt down the Klephts in order to prevent having to suffer such a horrible death themselves. Anagnostis Kontakis writes: "It got to the point where the father would turn in the son". This is how the defeat of the Klephts in the Morea came about.

During the rule of the Albanian overlord of Ioannina Ali Pasha, impalement became the everyday means by which dissent was suppressed and the populace was kept in a state of abject terror. A folk song of the period describes how, "Ali Pasha came with eighteen thousand troops. They carried with them lots of axes and sharp knives. Ali kept them busy cutting impalement stakes". Paralyzed with fear, Ali Pasha would make the relatives of the victims turn the spit upon which their very own kin were impaled. To avoid suffering this kind of an execrable death, they were forced to grill their own family members.

The Turks reacted to the revolutionary uprising of 1821 by glutting themselves upon the use of impalement as the primary means by which they attempted to terrorize the Greek people. There are many first-hand accounts, by both Greek and foreign sources, attesting to this brutal and inhuman way of suppressing dissent. A typical case in point is the impalement of one Giorgios Paksinos, whom, according to the English Counsel of Patras, "The Turks first smeared with tar and other oils, and then roasted alive over an open fire".

I bequeath the above-mentioned information to those who believe in the realization of a European destiny for Turkey. I intend to provide more facts pertaining to the "European Culture" of the Turks in the future.


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