Thursday, January 25, 2007

Making FYROM negotiate

By Stavros Lygeros

It’s sad, but it was to be expected. The leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is playing tricks on Greece.

After all, experience has shown that it can play games behind Greece’s back and go unpunished. Renaming Skopje airport “Alexander the Great” was a bid to reinforce Skopje’s fixation with creating a “Macedonian” identity. Even if Skopje backs down eventually, it will seek political rewards for doing so. The EU will go on to praise Skopje’s moderation while Costas Karamanlis’s administration will brag about having stopped its bid to usurp Greek history. Everyone will be happy – but, politically speaking, Skopje will be the real winners.

The root cause of the problem is that the name issue remains unresolved. FYROM has no reason to press for a solution. In fact, Athens should be the one pressing for a breakthrough. In 2005 Prime Minister Karamanlis warned Skopje that its NATO and EU ambitions hinged on a settlement. But Athens finally gave the green light to FYROM gaining EU candidate status without a solution to the name problem.

If the past is any prologue, FYROM will negotiate only if it is forced to. That is, it will negotiate only if it’s threatened with a block of its path to Europe and the transatlantic alliance – both of which are rightly seen as crucial to the survival of the state.

What would set a political precedent and change the terms of the problem is a referendum whose outcome would block FYROM’s path to NATO and the EU unless a commonly accepted solution were reached. That would force Skopje into serious negotiations and an honest compromise. Washington would also urge FYROM to do so.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Connections between Slavonic and ancient Macedonians

I hear the Slavonic origin macedonians the continious claim that they are descents from the ancient Macedonians.
Three from the most favour writers that used from the Slavonic origin Macedonians are the

All the above writers were specefic as about the origin of the today Slavonic origin Macedonians.Are Slavs that came in the Balkans 800 years after the kingship of the ancient Macedonians

Here some quote from them:

Borza in "Macedonian Rendux"

The Macedonian kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire, never to recover its independence. During medieval and modem times, Macedonia was known as a Balkan region inhabited by ethnic Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Serbs, Bulgarians, Jews, and Turks.

Modern Slavs, both Bulgarians and Macedonians, cannot establish a link with antiquity, as the Slavs entered the Balkans centuries after the demise of the ancient Macedonian kingdom.

On the other hand, the Macedonians are a newly emergent people in search of a past to help legitimize their precarious present as they attempt to establish their singular identity in a Slavic world dominated historically by Serbs and Bulgarians

Loring Danforth in his known book (page 56) mention clearly

"the history of the construction of a macedonian national identity does not begin with alexander the great in the fourth century b.c. or with saints cyril and methodius in the ninth century a.d., as Macedonian nationalist historians often claim. nor does it begin with tito and the establishment of the people's republic of macedonia in 1944 as greek nationalist historians would have us believe.

It begins in the nineteenth century with the first expressions of macedonian ethnic nationalism on the part of a small number of intellectuals in places like thessaloniki, belgrade, sophia, and st.petersburg. this period marks the beginning of the process of "imagining" a macedonian national community, the beginning of the construction of a macedonian national identity and culture"

Karakasidou in Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood mention

However the polemics round Macedonia acquired new critical dimensions afterwards the establishment of Yugoslavian Socialist Republic of Macedonia, to1944. The Yugoslavian Macedonians and their successors of FYROM undertaken their own construction of nation, manufacturing separate fables of collective origin and claims from Great Alexandros (Apostolski et al 1969, Kolisevski 1959)

In the beginning of 20th century, Greece and Bulgaria colided for the region of Macedonia. Today, in the threshold 21th century the axis of competition was shifted with the constitution of FYROM in independent government owned entity, which includes Slavs, Albanians, Muslim Turks and Rom

So dear Slavonic origin inhibants of the Macedonia you are just a people that came in the Balkans at the 6th century and your supposing connection is just a fabrication of your new founding State.

Or and the Borza,Danforth and Karakasidou are part of the Greek propagnda as you learned dear Slavonic origin inhibants of the Macedonia?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Great Alexander airport

The provocative decision by the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to rename the airport in capital Skopje after Alexander the Great(Aleksantar Veliki) proves that as long as the name dispute with Greece remains unresolved, it will continue to have a deleterious effect on bilateral relations and also influence broader political implications.

Unless an honest and mutually accepted compromise is reached on the name issue between the two neighboring states, the Greek Parliament (whether it is led by a conservative or a Socialist majority) is not going to give FYROM the go-ahead for the much-coveted membership of the NATO alliance.

Similarly, the government in Athens will most likely block the launching of the country’s European Union talks.

In light of the current deadlock on the name issue, which has been a problem for years, the visit of United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz to the two capitals will offer a chance to lift the deadlock.

Skopje’s evasive tactics, which have managed to keep FYROM away from serious negotiations on the name issue, cannot continue. If these tactics go on, they will cause more damage and Skopje may have to pay the costs.

There is simply too much at stake, as FYROM’s membership of the EU and the transatlantic alliance is vital for our neighbor’s very survival.

Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is today due to urge visiting United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz to resurrect stalled talks aimed at resolving a dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) regarding the latter’s official name.
Bakoyannis is expected to impress upon Nimetz Athens’s “deep displeasure” with Skopje’s decision last month to name its airport after the ancient Greek warrior Alexander the Great.
Greek diplomats have condemned the move for violating the spirit of an interim agreement and discrediting UN-backed efforts to resolve the dispute.

Bakoyannis intends to send a clear message to Skopje that Athens’s established stances on this issue “are not just formalities” but a true expression of Greece’s position, a diplomatic source told Kathimerini yesterday.

However the foreign minister will also reiterate Athens’s support of FYROM’s accession to the European Union and NATO, as long as a mutually acceptable agreement on the name dispute is reached, ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said.

“We have already taken the necessary constructive steps,” he added, in reference to Athens’s acceptance in 2005 of Nimetz’s proposal of “Republika Makedonija-Skopje” as an official name. (The proposal was rejected by FYROM.) Koumoutsakos stressed that the ball is now in FYROM’s court, and that Skopje “should follow the example of Bulgaria and Romania, which are looking toward a common European future instead of taking backward steps and insisting on distorting the past.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The issue of a seperate 'macedonian' identity up the end of WWI

Before 1870 the literate Slavic-speaking inhabitants of Macedonia and Bulgaria were engaged in a common struggle against Greek cultural and linguistic domination in the Balkans. During this period the Slavs of Macedonia called their language Bulgarian.

They hoped to create a single Macedo-Bulgarian literary language based on some kind of compromise among the various dialects of Macedonia and Bulgaria (Friedman 1993).
It was not until after the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate and the increasing attempts by the Bulgarian intellegentsia to impose an eastern Bulgarian-based standard language of the people of Macedonia that efforts to establish a single Macedo-Bulgarian literary language were abandoned and the first signs of Macedonian linguistic separatism appeared. This is the period when dictionaries, grammars, and textbooks began to be published in what was specifically referred to as "Slavo-Macedonian" or "Macedonian language".

In 1892 the Kostur (Kastoria) parish school council adopted the proposal of a group of teachers "to eliminate both Bulgarian and Greek and introduce Macedonian as the language of instruction in the town school" (Andonovski 1985a, cited in Friedman 1993.) However, the Greek bishop and the Turkish governor of the city prevented this from taking place.

The careers of some of the important literary figures in Macedonia in the nineteenth century illustrate the degree to which the different languages and cultures of the Balkans had not yet become separated into bounded, mutually exclusive national spheres. They also poignantly reveal the dilemmas these writers faced as a result of the conflicting nationalist pressures that had begun to converge on Macedonia at this time.

Grigor Prlichev, who was born in Ohrid in western Macedonia in 1830, gained his reputation as a famous poet when his poem 'The Bandit' written in Greek, won a prize in Athens in 1860. He was described as a "second Homer."

When Greek officials offered him a scholarship to study in western Europe, however, he turned it down. He realized that even though he loved Greek literature, he was not Greek. Shortly thereafter he left Greece for Macedonia, and never wrote in Greek again.

After spending five months in Constantinople learning "the Slav language," Prlichev returned to Ohrid where he was imprisoned by the Greek bishop for opposing the use of the Greek language in the schools and churches of Macedonia. His translation of the 'Iliad' into the local Slavic language of Ohrid was dismissed by Bulgarian critics, who said he had poor knowledge of Bulgarian. Prlichev himself wrote, "In Greek I sang like a swan; now in Slavic I cannot even sing like a donkey." Even though he described himself once as "slain by the Bulgarians," toward the end of his life, when he decided to write his autobiography, he chose to write in Bulgarian.

The brothers Konstantin and Dimitar Miladinov confronted similar challenges. Dimitar was born in Struga on Lake Ohrid in 1810. He received a Greek education and taught Greek until a visiting Russian scholar encouraged him to teach his own language. As Dimitar became more interested in his native Slavic language, he developed a Bulgarian national consciousness (De Bray 1980:139),

His younger brother Konstantin, after competing his studies in Athens and Moscow, returned to Struga to work with his brother on a collection of folksongs in the local Slavic language. "I shall have these songs... published," Dimitar wrote, "so that they can always be sung, because these cursed Greeks will Craecize us and we shall no longer count for anything" (Nurigiani 1972:129).
Unable to find a publisher for his collection in Moscow, Konstantin finally obtained the sponsorship of a Croat bishop and patron of South Slavic culture in Zagreb. After Konstantin transcribed the six hundred songs he and his brother had collected in western Macedonia into the Cyrilic alphabet from the Greek alphabet in which they had originally recorded them, seventy-seven songs from eastern Bulgaria collected by a Bulgarian folklorist were added, and the total collection was finally published in Zagreb in 1861, under the title 'Bulgarian Folk Songs' (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences 1978:182).

Finally, Krste Misirkov, who had clearly developed a strong sense of his own personal national identity as a Macedonian and who outspokenly and unambiguously called for Macedonian linguistic and national separatism, acknowledged that a Macedonian national identity was a relatively recent historical development.

In 'On Macedonian Matters', published in 1903, Misirkov, referring to himself and other Slavs of Macedonia in the first person plural, admits repeatedly that "our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers have always been called Bulgarians" and that "in the past we have even called ourselves Bulgarians" (1974:27,150).

He describes "the emergence of the Macedonians as a separate Slav people" as a "perfectly normal historical process which is quite in keeping with the process by which the Bulgarian, Croatians and Serbian peoples emerged from the South Slavic group" (153).

The political and military leaders of the Slavs of Macedonia at the turn of the century seem not to have heard Misirkov's call for a separate Macedonian national identity; they continued to identify themselves in a national sense as Bulgarians rather than Macedonians..

The political goals of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO) were the liberation of Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of an autonomous Macedonia, but VMRO's leadership of the revolutionary movement in Macedonia was challenged by the formation of the Supreme Macedonian Committee in Sofia, whose ultimate goal was the annexation of Macedonia by Bulgaria.

In spite of these political differences, both groups, including those who advocated an independent Macedonian state and opposed the idea of a Greater Bulgaria, never seem to have doubted "the predominantly Bulgarian character of the population of Macedonia" (MacDermott 1978:85).

Even Gotse Delchev, the famous Macedonian revolutionary leader, whose nom de guerre was Ahil (Achilles), refers to "the Slavs of Macedonia as 'Bulgarians' in an offhanded manner without seeming to indicate that such a designation was a point of contention" (Perry 1988:23).
In his correspondence Gotse Delchev often states clearly and simply, "We are Bulgarians" (MacDermott 1978:192,273).

After the failure of the Ilinden Uprising, the struggle for Macedonia continued. In the period leading up to the Balkan wars f 1912-13, Serbia became increasingly involved in what had until then been primarily a conflict between Bulgaria and Greece.

In their attempt to achieve the "ethnographic reclamation" of Macedonia (Wilkinson 1951:316-17), the Serbs first had to refute the Bulgarian claims that Macedonia belonged to Bulgaria because the Slavs of Macedonia were Bulgarians.

The Serbian position, which was effectively articulated by Jovan Cvijic, one of the most respected human geographers of the Balkans at the time, was that the Slavs of Macedonia were a transitional group located linguistically and culturally somewhere between the Bulgarians and the Serbs.

Cvijic gave this group the neutral name of "Macedo-Slavs". According to the Serbs, because the "Macedo-Slavs" did not exhibit any permanent national consciousness, they should be considered "incipient Serbs" (Wilkinson 1951:258).

In 1909 Cvijic published the first map to depict 'Macedo-Slavs" as a distinct ethnic group. His later ethnographic maps were extremely influential and were used as the basis for most postwar maps of the Balkans in both Europe and the United States. Through Cvijic's maps, then, the existence of a group of "Macedo-Slavs" became widely accepted, as did the right of the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) to retain a large portion of Macedonian territory after World War I (Wilkinson 1951:148-203).

At the end of World War I there were very few historians or ethnographers who claimed that a separate Macedonian nation existed. It seems more likely that at this time most of the Slavs of Macedonia, especially those in rural areas, had not yet developed a firm sense of national identity at all.

In a revealing passage from 'Life in the Tomb', Stratis Myrivilis' novel about life on the Balkan front during World War I, a Slavic-speaking family from a village of Vardar Macedonia is described as wanting to be neither "Boulgar," "S'rrp," nor "Grrts" (1977:182). Significantly, there is no positive statement of what they do want to be, no assertion of any nationality that they do want to identify with.

Of those Slavs who had developed some sense of national identity the majority probably considered themselves to be Bulgarians, although as R.King (1973:217) points out, they were aware of differences between themselves and the inhabitants of Bulgaria.