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Aivali deals with the violent expatriation that took place during the war in Asia Minor between the Greeks and the Turks, in the wake of World War I. First the Christians were driven out of their ancestral lands in 1922, and then the Muslims were removed from their homes during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. This graphic novel is a pastiche of 5 stories. One story deals with today (chapters 1 and 6), while the others (chapters 2 through 5) go back to the past, to the humanitarian disaster of 1922 in Asia Minor and to the population exchange (Greeks and Turks, Christians and Muslims) as stipulated by the Convention of Lausanne.

The book focuses on Aivali,a Greek city on the Aegean shore opposite Lesbos, where, after the expulsion of Greek Christians and the population exchange, the empty houses (still standing today) were inhabited by Turkish Muslims removed from Crete. So Ayvali is a city that both divides and unites the two peoples.

The chapters about the past are based on writings by three authors, two Greeks (Fotis Kontoglou, Elias Venezis) and one Turk (Ahmet Yorulmaz), shedding light on the drama of at least 2 million people, victims of nationalism and war, in both sides of the Aegean Sea. This graphic novel, however, doesn't limit itself to a “local” narrative, since the text deals with themes such as war, fanaticism, nationalism, brotherhood, coexistence and tolerance, which are timeless and concern everybody in Europe and the world, especially today, with the European crisis having awakened the sinister ghosts of nationalism, racism and hatred.

French rights sold

Kedros, 2014, 360 p. b/w



Soloup (Antonis Nikolopoulos) is a well known caricaturist and he works with big newspapers. His PHD was on the history of comics in Greece. Aivali is his first graphic novel.

More in this category: « Disjunction The Corpse »

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