Nu mă tem de nimic.

Fără teamă, fără îndoieli, înainte.

Nikos Kazantsakis – “Alexis Sorbas” (1946)

“Zorba the Greek”- film directed by Michael Cacoyannis (1964), starring lead Anthony Quinn

“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.” – Nikos Kazantsakis

“Hey boss, did you ever see a more splendiferous crash?” – a movie line that has stayed with me throughout the years. Especially when I recall the scene where he dances freely, whilst everything around him collapses. If you do not know what I am talking about, I highly recommend the movie, such a modern day masterpiece, a piece of what I would conjure up when thinking about the old day Greeks. Let us note that it is not clear if Zorba was inspired by a real person or it was just a figment of Kazantsakis’ imagination. 

Is Alexis Zorbas inspired by the monk Giorgos Zorbas?

Most likely, we are going to find information about Zorbas, born in Livadi, a widowed father or seven or eight children, who went to Mount Athos in 1915 and became a monk, befriended Kazantsakis or Kazantzakis and was immortalized in this exceptional book

In 1920, Zorbas followed Kazantzakis to the Black Sea region, as the writer was appointed an envoy of the Greek state after the Pontian Genocide. There, Kazantzakis rescued approximately 100,000 Pontians, transporting them to Thessaloniki, according to Greek Foreign Ministry records.

The Greek Deputy Minister said that “Alexis Zorbas is a global brand name that has been identified with Greece and the indestructible power of the Greek soul” . I could not agree more.

After the end of the Pontus mission, the two friends separated and never met again. Yet, Giorgos Zorbas continued to live, dance, drink, and eat and tell jokes. He continued to bask in the sun in Kazantzakis’ mind.

Perhaps when I return to Crete this summer, and every other summer, for the Cretan wind is calling my name once more, I will read the book again, while smelling the citrus trees, listening to the waves and watching the swallows and wagtails. 

Nevertheless, If I did so, I would be making the same mistake as the narrator. 

Instead, I should be accumulating anecdotes and culinary skills like the great Greek himself, whose self-written obituary proclaims: „I’ve done heaps and heaps of things in my life, but I still did not do enough.”

Article written from personal thoughts, ideas, and internet.