Greece reacted immediately on Sunday to the latest provocation emanating from a high-profile official from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the foreign minister referring directly to "outdated and historically baseless irredentism", in reference to statements in Rome by the head of the unrecognised so-called "Macedonian Orthodox Church".
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Greece reacted immediately on Sunday to the latest provocation emanating from a high-profile official from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the foreign minister referring directly to "outdated and historically baseless irredentism", in reference to statements in Rome by the head of the unrecognised so-called "Macedonian Orthodox Church".
Saturday, May 24, 2008
In this link you can read some views as about the FYROmacedonian Ethnogenesis
Who are these ethnic FYROMacedonians?
What was the system that brainwash these new and fragile nation ?
Historical facts and archaeological findings in Macedonia, Egypt, and Asia revealed no connection between the ancient Macedonians and the Slavs and Bulgarians of Tito’s new republic, Slavic organizations around the world, especially in Australia and Canada, promulgated the so-called amalgamation theory to establish such a connection. The theory attracted a few followers abroad, especially among Slavs in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
According to this theory, during the Middle Ages the Slavs annihilated many local people in Macedonia and absorbed the remainder. From the blend of the Slavic element and the indigenous descendants of ancient Macedonians a new “Macedonian” nation emerged related to ancient Macedonians.
Therefore, a FYROMacedonian, according to this concept, is a “completely modern product” of racial amalgamation between the Slavs of the Middle Ages and a mixture of ancient Macedonians and other inhabitants of ancient Macedonia
Vlasidis (2003, pp. 346-47) reported recently that this theory is part of the regular curriculum in FYROM’S schools today. According to the theory, despite contacts with Greeks, Romans, and other people, the ancient Macedonians remained ethnically unchanged till the Slavs descended to the Balkans.
First, the Slavs and Macedonians coexisted, but eventually they were amalgamated, producing the present “Macedonian nation” by the 10th century A.D. This theory does not agree with Marxist Dusan Taskofski’s theory that the “Macedonian” people appeared during the period of capitalism’s explosion, about the 19th century. Both theories purposely overlook a critical point:
Why did the Macedonians wait one thousand years to be amalgamated with the Slavs? The Greeks were always there, speaking the same language.
To support this theory, FYROMacedonians history revisionists speak about “local people” (not Greek Macedonians) being annihilated by Slavs, thus propelling the notion again that the Macedonians were not Greeks. If we temporarily accept that this assunptionis correct, who were the local people of Macedonia at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 12th century who fought valiantly for Hellenism against Bulgarism, winning the Macedonian Struggle? What were the thousands of Greek-speakers and slavophones with Hellenic consciousness (Grecomans) who helped defeat and chase the Bulgarian bands out of Macedonia from 1904 to 1908
What are the Greek-speakers in Macedonia today (not those who migrated from Asia Minor) whose forefathers lived in Macedonia for centuries, surviving the harsh Ottoman occupation?
History showed that the Greek Macedonian people with strong genetic and ethnic constitution and deep Hellenic convictions were unlikely subjects to be amalgamated with Slavs or any other invaders. The Greek-speaking Macedonians with their long Hellenic history, deep-rooted traditions, stubborn attachment to Hellenism, and indomitable spirit were unlikely candidates to support the obsessed eugenics of the amalgamation theory and the model of weak people being absorbed by the “strong” Slavic people.
This amalgamation theory is based on serious historical and technical errors.
With all the new findings, especially in Vergina of Greek Macedonia, exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and in Vergina, the Skopje historians have no grounds to support their theory. On the basis of old and new findings, Greek and foreign historians insist that the ancient Macedonians were Greek or Helleinizing.
Under the influence of the new common language, the koine, the ancient Macedonians were amalgamated with the rest of the Hellenes and modern Greeks were produced . To this important challenge we must also add the familiar fact that Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C., and the Slavs migrated to the Balkan peninsula around A.D. 650, almost one thousand years later.
If we accept the historically unaccepted view that the Macedonians were not Greeks, as the FYROMacedonians historians claim, then the ancient Macedonians, whatever ethnicity they were, had better chances, a common language, and a thousand-year span to blend with other Greeks and Romans than wait all those long years for the new Slav-speaking “suitors” from the north.
It is useless for FYROMacedonains historians to attempt to prove differences between ancient Macedonians and the other Greeks. Even if they existed, such differences disappeared in the thousand years before the Slavs arrived in the Balkans
There is also insurmountable difficulty in ascertaining the validity of the ancient Macedonian-Slav amalgamation model because the emotional justification provided by its proponents is unconvincing. Given the seri seriousness of this dispute and the unsustainable assertions by the theory’s proponents, two important questions must be answered convincingly if there is a slim chance for this theory to be considered seriously.
Why had the Slavs not considered themselves “Macedonians” for seventy-five years (1870-1944)?
Why during all these years did they consider themselves Bulgarians, fighting to incorporate Macedonia into Bulgaria?
The answers given by FYROMacedonians historians are rife with obvious shortcomings:
they insist that the people, being illiterate during the early years of the Macedonian controversy, did not know what their ethnicity was, an unconvincing explanation, especially because the founders of the Internal Odrin-Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMORO) in 1893, a Bulgarian group, were not illiterate. Damien Grueff was a schoolmaster and Tatarcheff a doctor . Skopje’s superficial answer to the second question is that the Macedonian Slavs affiliated themselves with Bulgaria because of its activist policy and dynamic handling of the Macedonian Question. Eventually, they eradicated the Bulgarian sentiments and became Macedonians !
Other serious problems with this theory remain.
For example, an important methodological error is the extension in place and time of a locally restricted group of people, i.e., Slavomacedonians, and how difficult it is to extrapolate from a relatively small area (People’s Republic of Macedonia) the entire historic Macedonia through the centuries, formulating population genetics theories without those being affected by historic events, localities, and types of people involved.
Interestingly, the FYROMacedonians historians admit the prevalence of Hellenism in certain areas of Macedonia at certain times but they do not account for what subsequently happened to the Hellenic population.
George Papavizas, Claiming Macedonia, 2004
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Senator Robert Menendez was known as a strong supporter of Human Rights and the Rule of Law well before his election to the U.S. Senate, representing the State of New Jersey, home of many Greek Americans, who saw in him a good friend an supporter on the issues of Cyprus, Macedonia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. While he was seeking reelection in the Senate, Bob Menendez speaking to Greek American leaders during an event at the PSEKA Conference, promised them to continue doing the work of Senator Paul Sarbanes. His deeds proved his words. While continuing the pressure on Turkey, for both Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, his continuous action on Macedonia put him on the top of the Philhellene politicians across the United States.Right after the Greek veto in Bucharest on Skopjeʼs NATO invitation, Menendez put on hold a Senate resolution introduced by Senator Voinovich. The resolution included 2 offensive paragraphs, in which “strong support” was expressed “for inviting the Republic of Macedonia to begin accession talks” and “for the timely completion of accession talks with all three countries in the Adriatic Charter to facilitate the accession process”.
After behind the doors negotiations between Menendez and Voinovich aides and the intervention of other Senators (among them Olympia Snowe), Senator Voinovich agreed to remove both objectionable paragraphs in the resolution.
The Senate Resolution was expected to be hot lined late on Friday, or Monday morning.
Menendez positions have made him a steady target of the so called “Macedonian lobby” of the Skopjians. Although outnumbered by the Greek Americans, the Skopjians of New Jersey (approximately 500 hundred) keep sending letters of protest to every member of Congress opposes the U.S. recognition of FYROM as “Republic of Macedonia”. Senator Menendezʼ office received many such letters of protest, including one entitled “Democrats, Down with the Oppressors?”, from Zoya Naskova vice president of the “Macedonian American Friendship Association”.
“In the current heady environment of election-year fervor, U.S. politicians may be tempted to sacrifice their strategic interests in the Balkans to seduce Greek-American votes. As Greeks are more numerous and affluent in the U.S., the Greek lobby is holding policies towards the region hostage. Sen. Obama and his colleagues, Senators Bob Menendez, D-N.J. and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, have sponsored the bizarre Senate Resolution 300, which is clearly just pandering to the Greek lobby and has nothing to do with American interests or foreign policy”, Ms Naskova states, calling on her compatriots t support the Republican Party.
How the Greek American Community reacts to that?
With the exception of the well organized Greek Cypriot Community, very few take the time to even thank those members of Congress who support us on the Macedonian issue.
Tasos Zambas, alternate President of the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the person who introduced (then) Congressman Menendez to the Greek American Community expressed his disappointment, speaking to the GreekNews.
“As someone who is very closed to Senator Menendez I am very disappointed that he does not get the recognition he deserves, in regards to the Macedonian issue especially from our Macedonian brothers and sisters. I know for a fact the he is been getting a lot of mail from the pseudo-macedonians of NJ and across the US, but only a couple of letters from our community.
Is it so much to thank someone who is doing so much for the community?
Who stopped the resolution in the Senate last March?
Who stopped the resolution last week in the Senate?
Senator Menendez again and again. Isn't time to receive a few hundred thank you letters from us?
This is a challenge for the Greek community. His office fax is 973-645-0502 to the attention of Maria Almeida.”
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Throughout the series, we will be inviting emminent academics and political figures from around the world to view, examine and comment on this most difficult of socio-political problems.
The series will deal at length with all aspects of the question, from the ancient movements and settlements of peoples to the most up-to-date polls and censuses; from the manipulation of people by the use of force and terror to the more insidious techniques of modern propaganda; and from the development of early slavic languages to the present, unprecedented accusations of the creation of a new, "literary standard language", all of which have been used to convince a people of who they are and what they are not!
Ultimately, this publication hopes to help the efforts being made to set straight the problems within the region known as Macedonia and to disentangle the knot of misinformation, hidden facts and lies, all of which has resulted in particular interpretations (or misinterpretations) of history. This is the legacy of many periods of instability, dating back to the 1877 - 78 Russo-Turkish War and the Bulgarian liberation, the Berlin Treaty of 1879 and decades of Serbianization and of the far more protracted and subtle Hellenization of the Southsrn region of Macedonia. Of course, the last 45 years of totalitarian rule has done more to bury the truth than any other single force, but this series will endeavour to confront the expantionist nationalism that presently seeks to continue its history of falsification and oppression of the Bulgarian character of Macedonia.
By presenting the views of outside observers and "innocent bystanders", we feel sure that this series will help to give the clearest and most objective view of the problems and their best solutions and will serve as an essential companion to the other publications, concerning this problem, which have more "involved" contributors.
We are certain that, in the end, by careful work and study, the truth will out and real and, above all, just solutions will be found and adopted.
Mr. President, Dear friends. Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all please allow me to express my sinccrcsl gratitude to the President of this Organization and to the Committee for having afforded me the precious opportunity of addressing this Conference. Time is short and I do not want to claim your attention longer than is absolutely necessary. I honestly feel that perhaps my justification for speaking to you about the problems of Macedonia is somewhat flimsy. What are my credentials? It is true, I am a professor of Slavic and East European Studies, but as far as my teaching and writing is concerned, Russia and, more recently, Poland have come more closely under my observation. I hope , nevertheless, that you might forgive me my boldness to appear here before you when I refer to a point of saving grace in my favour: I love the Southeast of Europe, and five wonderful years of my life were spent in Bulgaria in the capacities of an academic teacher and a public servant. There I had the opportunity of meeting people from all walks of life, of making myself familiar with the history, the culture and living conditions of the country and last but not least, of striking up close and firm friendships, some of which have survived the trials and tribulations of the catastrophic events which living through has been our common lot. I also availed myself of the possibility of making a trip to Macedonia and, although the journey was short, places like Kratovo, Skopic, Veles, Shtip and Goma Dzumaya are for me not merely names, geographic nomenclature or statistical data, but I can say: I was there; I saw, I listened and heard; I have not forgotten!
I will not go into a presentation of the manifold facts of history, ethnography, linguistics, folklore and statistics which bear testimony - and I think this testimony is incontrovertible - of the Bulgarian character of the Slavic-speaking population settled in Macedonia. Whole libraries, have been written to establish the Bulgarianism of the Macedonian Slavs and I believe that many of you are much more intimately familiar with this vast literature than I could ever be. And, Indeed, it would be absurd if I, a mere outside observer, and only an occasional one at that, would presume to teach you things which you not only know, but live.
Let me, however, point out one circumstance which in my eyes, has profoundly changed the whole situation. Up to the Second World War the Bulgarian Macedonians, after the retreat of Turkey from Europe, had to struggle incessantly for the preservation of their heritage against the encroachment and machinations of the Pan-Serbian circles, carried under the slogan that Macedonia is nothing but Southern Serbia; and on the other hand they had to fight the absurd notion propounded by Athens, that the Bulgarian-speaking Macedonians are but "Slavophone Greeks". That would be the same as if the English would assert that the French-Canadians are but "Francophone" English people! Recent events have taught us what reactions to expect from the French-Canadians if such insinuations were to be made.
I believe, however, that it was easier to counter the Pan-Serbian claims, even though they were dressed in the political scholarship of men like A.Belie and Jovan Cvijic, because here was only the matter of a spirited and well-reasoned defense against the illegitimate ambitions of expansionists, which was, at bottom, still old fashioned nationalism. And this is still the situation in which the Macedo-Bulgarians find themselves under Greek rule.
I wish,however, to call your attention to a much more sinister device concocted in Belgrade under the sign of the Red Star, the Hammer and the Sickle. That the invention of a separate Macedonian nation, a Macedonian literary language and even a Macedonian history, is divorced from all the evidences of historical research and scholarship. By sophistry and the distortion of the historical facts it is said, for example, that St.Clement of Ochrid was a member of some separate Macedonian people which has never exited, and that the language used by the apostles and teachers of the Slavs for the christianization and the enlightenment of the Slavonic world was a separate Macedonian idiom, which has nothing or only very little to do with the Bulgarian language as such. In order to find some historical foundation for these unproven and undemonslrable allegations, historians of this school have even restyled the West-Bulgarian Kingdom of Tsar Samuel as a state run for the benefit of the mythical separate Macedonian people. Let me quote only one authority, the eminent Russian byzaniologist, A. A. Vassilijev, whose monumcnted history of the Byzantine Empire is generally considered a standard work in this field. What has he to say about the national character of Samuels Kingdom?"Afler the death of John Tzimisoes the Bulgarians took advantage of the internal complications in the Empire and rebelled against Byzantine domination. The outstanding leader of this period was Samuel, the energetic ruler of Western independent Bulgaria, and probably the founder of a new dynasty, one of the most prominent rulers of the First Bulgarian Empire." In the entire passage dealing with this heroic, as well as tragic episode in Bulgarian history, Vassiljev consistently uses the term "Bulgaria". In a footnote, it is true, he mentions the hypothesis put forward by the Serbian historian D.Anastasijevich that Samuel's Kingdom was not lawfully Bulgarian, but a "Sloveno-macedonian Empire". But quite obviously he does not make this hypothesis his own. I think that in the market of international historical scholarship the authority of Professor Vassiljev rates considerably higher than that of Mr.Anaslasijevich. Another noteworthy fact that is such attempts to deprive the Bulgarians of their history and heritage by declaring that they were not Bulgarians at all, had already been made in the years soon after the First World War. This shows that the recent creation of a separate non-Bulgarian Macedonian nation, complete with history, literary language, folklore, etc., by fiat from above, does have its precedent.
It goes without saying that the endeavors to divest the Macedo-Bulgarians of their national identity were accompanied in recent times by violent measures designed to lend force to the arguments set forth by Pan-Serbian propaganda, no matter whether this propaganda appeared disguised as scholarship or downright indoctrination. Let me quote from a symposium entitled," The case for an Autonomous Macedonia" compiled and edited in 1945 by Mr.Christ Atanasoff. One of the crown witnesses summoned to testify was the well-known British Balkan expert. Miss Edith Durham. In 1931, she wrote the following in the paper La Macedonian, published in Geneva: "During the Balkan War there was a Serbian schoolmaster - an Austrian subject - at Cetinje, who taught German in the boy's school. He rejoiced greatly over the conquest the Serbian army was making in Macedonia. It would add much valuable land to Serbia. An Englishman said to him: "Oh, but Serbia cannot annex these places, they are all Bulgar". The inhabitants put the article after the noun. This is well known as a Bulgar peculiarity. The Serb replied: "That does not matter. When our army has been there for two years, you will find no articles after nouns there, I can assure you". But, in spite of torture, murder, imprisonment, the Bulgai article still lives on at the end of the noun."
Since it was not possible to do away with that stubborn post posited article by administrative matters, comprising the whole gamut from violent suppression to persistent persuasion and bribery, a new tack had to be tried. The article was declared not to be a peculiarity of the Bulgarian language, but also a characteristic of a hitherto non-existent separate Macedonian language.
In parenthesis let me say this: Since the disappearance of the classical, semi-Hellenic Macedonian Kingdom of Philip, Alexander and Perseus in Roman limes, the terms "Macedonian" and the "Macedonia" have been used as geographic terms for that area in Southeastern Europe, which is still known under this name. Since the middle ages it has been inhabited predominantly by Slavo-Bulgarians and by minorities of Albanians, Valachians, Turks, Greeks, Gypsies, Jews and, as the statistics of the 19th and 20th Centuries show, surprisingly few Serbians. For more than a thousand years the Slavs living in this area have been considered Bulgarians, or to be more precise. Western Bulgarians whose idiom is distinguished by certain dialectical peculiarities, without thereby losing its general Bulgarian character. This clearly recognized fact, incidentally, caused the great 19th century philologists, who laid the groundwork for a systematic study of this language to call it, in the early stages of its development, Old Bulgarian. The language employed by Sts.Cyril and Metodi, St.Klement and St.Naum and a host of other medieval writers and teachers is an old Bulgarian idiom. Please allow me to make a personal remark in this context. When I, in the spring "of 1931, began to study Slavic philology at the University of Munich, we used the famous handbooks and grammar of this language written by the celebrated German Slavist, August Leskich. These books described and analyzed the phonology, morphology, vocabulary syntax of a language which unequivocally was designated as Old Bulgarian :Handbuch or Grammatik der Altbulgarichen Sprache. It is also true that the term "Old Church Slavonic", most frequently used nowadays,was sometimes applied to this language, but one should keep in mind that this term is basically meaningless, at least up to the times of Peter the Great. In the course of his secularizing transformations and reforms, Peter favored the introduction of the Russian vernacular into common usage, relegating the then library language of the Muscovite Tsardom, still based as it were on Old Bulgarian, to purely liturgical and ecclesiastical purposes. This practice was later followed by other awakening Slavic nations, especially those of the Orthodox faith.profoundly. Nevertheless may it be said here, in parenthesis only, that the Old Bulgarian imprint on the native language of the Russians was so strong that even nowadays authoritative scholars in the field of Slavic linguistics and philology, such as Boris Unbegaun, speak with good reason about the partially Old Bulgarian character of the Russian standard literary language.
Thus, the fiction of Macedonia as "Southern Serbia" could not be maintained in the long run because it really held no water. Even responsible Serbian leaders could not close their eyes to this fact. Even the Yugoslav Ambassador in Sofia, Mr.Milanovich, in a moment of deep crisis for the Yugoslav State, that is in the summer of 1940, saw fit to forward to his master in Belgrade the Prime Minister Slojadinovich, a statement from Macedonia received in Bulgaria on the situation in this region. Here we read: "Everybody has to know that today Macedonia is not lost for Bulgaria, but on the contrary, there exists a healthy Bulgarian spirit more than ever. Some call themselves Macedonians, but this is due to the terrible reaction which the name Bulgarian provokes in the Serbians. It is well known that all injustices, robbery and violence create reaction and disgust. This is exactly what the Serbians have achieved in Macedonia. When they came to Macedonia they knew that Bulgarians lived in this country. That is why they thought, by crude measures and lawlessness, to frighten the people and to win them over for the Serbian cause. But all was in vain. And now they are surprised at the anti-Serbian feelings in the hearts of the majority of people. The common wish of the people is : Let Gypsy come, only let this one, the Serbian, go away. Anathema to any Bulgarian who will forget his own brothers.".
The war and its aftermath did away with the Pan-Serbian military-bourgeois monarchy. Overboard went what Marxists call Bourgeois nationalism and chauvinism. But let no man be deceived that the substitution of the old order by the dictatorship of a Communist party and its leader spelt the disappearance of an expansionist Greater Serbian nationalism. Had the means employed between 1912 and 1940 been crude and brutal, and therefore in the end unsuccessful, new devices had to be invented, this time more clever, more insidious, in order to attain the same goal. This time under the banner of a Yugoslav Communist Revolution! If we have failed so far wean away the Macedonians from their Bulgarianism, because we tried so hard to make them into Serbians, well, then let us now try to insinuate that they arc neither Serbians nor Bulgarians, but a separate national entity, for instance, Macedonians with their own history, language and culture; but let us also make it perfectly clear to them that only we here in Belgrade are willing and able to guarantee this artificial nationality concocted in the test tubes of Serbian Communists and their non-Communist predecessors. The whole Macedonian nation and the so called language -this I wish to affirm here before you- is not a philologicum, but a polilicum designed according to the well tried maxim of old: divide et impcra - divide and rule. History teaches that a ruler, a parly or a leading group which enjoys unlimited power and has the will to use this power ruthlessly for the attainment of its goal, has always found partisans, advocates and adherents prepared to do the bidding of those at the helm of the state, sometimes against their own belter knowledge. Wasn't it one of the great cynics on the throne. Henry the VIII of England, who said when planning something particularly outrageous and arbitrary "let me first carry out this measure, afterwards I shall always find professors at Oxford to justify it". So it is no wonder that in Skopie and elsewhere the Belgrade government should have found learned collaborators who fell for their line. I think that under the circumstances prevailing one should not judge them and their zealous efforts too harshly. But it is deplorable that scholars abroad with solid academic reputations and achievements, who are not exposed to the pressures of the intellectual under totalitarian regimes, should also swallow this latest Belgrade bait hook, line and sinker. Can they really accept the thesis that, contrary to their own testimony and conviction, people like the Miladinoff brothers, Gregory Perlicerr, Alexander Todoroff, Damjan Gruev, Gotse Delceff, Peju Javoroff, Anion Strashimirof, Dimitr Taleff are Macedonians in the sense of the word bestowed upon it with the blessings of the Belgrade party bosses? And what about men who figure so prominently in the Pantheon of Bulgarian letters like Ivan Vazoff and Teodor Trajanoff who lived and worked in Bulgaria proper, but whose family background is Macedonian, Bulgaro-Macedonian that is. What about such a significant figure of the Bulgarian Renaissance like Raiko Zhinzifoff from Veles, who declared in 1963 in his Novobulgarska sbirka - or did he, perhaps, call it Novo-Makedonska sbirka? "As Bulgarian language we regard that language which is spoken in all Macedonia, Thrace and Bulgaria proper. The differences between the dialects are negligible. Every Bulgarian who does not suffer from nearsighteness cannot designate a certain expression as "Macedonian" or "Thracian"., for there are no "Macedonians" or "Thracians" as individual nations, but only Slavo-Bulgarians - in short, one Bulgarian people and one Bulgarian language".
One could object here that this is a voice from the long forgotten depth of the 19th century. One could also maintain that Zhinzifoff, with all his linguistic and folklore erudition, was not up to par with regard to the achievements of philological science, that is that we in the 20th century know better now. Let us then examine a few testimonies belonging to our century.
Let us first listen to the voice of practical common sense, the voice of a man who would never lay claim to the reputation of a learned academic linguist. The opinions of this man, however, deserve to be listened to attentively and carefully because they are based on the profound national experience of a statesman and a leader of his people, Ivan Mihailoff.In his book, Makedonia: A Switzerland of the Balkans, edited and translated by Christ Anastasoff, he makes the following observations pertinent to the linguistic problem: "Like the scholars of different countries who were familiar with Macedonia, so also did the Turkish authorities and all the rest of the objective observers consider the Macedonian Slavs as Bulgarians. This was not only upon the basis of the logically had introduced in their schools, but on the basis of all other ethnic features by which a given nationality is judged. The local dialects of the Macedonian Slavs arc basically considered by all as Bulgarian language. Every nationality employs its own common literary language, while in every nationality meets different dialects. As far as the Bulgarian dialects in Macedonia arc concirned they do not vary very much from the rest of the Bulgarian dialects as, for instance, do dialects among the Germans, Italians and other nationalities. The dialects of the Germans in Switzerland is, perhaps, the most difficult for all the rest of the Germans.
But that did not prevent the Swiss of German origin to consider as their own the common German literary language. Precisely so, before the appearance of the regimes of national oppression in Macedonia after 1912, the native Bulgarians officially used that literary language which is common for all the Bulgarians of the world and to the formation of which the cultural workers of Macedonia have contributed a great deal." This point of view deserves to be firmly kept in mind, especially in view of the artificial construction of a new "Macedonian" nation and language as commanded from above. For this purpose the chief perpetrators of this dubious enterprise now take great pains to smuggle into this newfangled synthetic idiom all sorts of Serbanianist and other foreign ingredients so as to alienate the Macedo-Bulgarians from their historical, cultural and linguistic matrix.
But what has the linguistic science of the 20-th century to say about these attempts to deny the Bulgarian character of the Slavic idiom spoken in Macedonia? Here I cannot go into the details of the lingiustic argument adduced by international scholars, to refute the claims. To note that Professor A.M.Selishchev, the eminent Russian philologist, in his article entitled "Macedonian Dialectology and Serbian Linguistics" already in 1935 destroyed the claims of Serbian scholars like Velich, Djordjevich, Pavlovich and others that the idiom spoken in Macedonia is closer to Serbian than to Bulgaria should be enough. This task he performed in a thorough scholary way, basing himself upon the findings and achievements of modern linguistic research in the field of Slavic philology. Whoever is interested in the course of his irrefutable reasonic can study this article in a volume recently published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences under the title L'histoire Bulgare dans les Ouvrages des Savants Europeens. Professor Selishchev cannot be suspected of any sort of polilicing. He has worked in Russia under the old as well as the new regime; following nothing, to the best of his abilities, but the dictates of his scientific conscience. It is remarkable to see how to this pure scholar and cabinet savant, far as he was from the passionate turmoil of the political motives behind the scientific smokescreen spread by the named Serbian scholars. He said: "The aim of all these books is the same: namely, to furnish an historical, ethnographic and linguistic justification for Serbian domination in Macedonia - to furnish this justification by means of true scholarship. The arrogance in the style, the irony with which the Bulgarian people are treated is another common feature of the books of Belgrade professors. In the case of Professor Georgevich this irony borders upon downright rudeness. On the other hand, everything Serbian is idealized. The attempts of the authors of such books to clothe their products in a science-like garb must be unmasked. The true character of their content, harmful to all science, must be demonstrated".
The results of the linguistic and ethnographic research in the field of Macedo-Bulgarian studies undertaken by Professor Selishchev not so long ago match the findings not only of the Bulgaro-Macedonian philologist Krusle Misirkoff, which he published in 1910-1911, but also of a number of 19th century Serbian scholars like Stefan Verkovich, Tuminski, A.Hadzic, Vasa Peladic and others. That authors like Selishchev, Misirkoff and Verkovic working at different times and under completely different circumstances should have arrived at the same results, with regard to the Bulgarian character of the dialects spoken in Macedonia and their geographic extensions points to two noteworthy qualities of their research Its exactitude and its factual and logical consistency, in view of which all the counter-arguments of Serbian and Pseudo-Macedonian opponents take on the suspect colouring of sophisty and political expediency. More proof was recently given for the Bulgarianism of the Macedonian dialects by the Bulgarian philologist Blagoi Shklifoff in a paper about the idiom spoken in the area of Kostur. From the evidence he is able to muster, it becomes perfectly clear that the Kostur dialect cannot be used to buttress the hypothetical existence of a separate and individual Slavic language called Macedonian, but that here, as elsewhere, we deal with but another variant of the Bulgarian language as spoken by the Western half of the nation.If indeed, this is the conclusion at which Mr.Shklifoff arrives, the dialects in Macedonia are by their character intrinsically different from those spoken in Moesia and Thrace, then these differences would have to show more than anywhere else in the dialect of Kostur, the area of which borders on two non-Slavic linguistic regions, located geographically distant from the other Bulgarian dialects. A strictly scholary approach to this idiom, however, cannot but establish its basically Bulgarian character. The paper by Mr.Blagoi Shklifoff was published in 1968. Sclishches's analysis and demolition of the claims raised in 1935. But the same position and results are visible in the book about Macedonia by the Czech Balkaniologic Vladimir Sis which was printed in Prague in 1914 and came out in Zurich, Switzerland in 1981 in a German translation. After Sis enumerates all the factors which effect the closest mutual correspondence between Old Bulgarian and the Modem Bulgarian language as spoken also in Macedonia, he points to certain philological peculiarities by means of which the Bulgarian language is distinguished from all other Slavic language, Serbian included. After a painstaking comparison between the Bulgarian standard literary language and various dialects spoken in Macedonia, he arrives at the following conclusion which I shall quote here verbatim "Whoever is familiar with the basic structural principles of the two neighboring languages must, even though he may not be a philologist, arrive, on the basis of the examples cited here, at the same conclusion to which also the French slavicist, Louis Leger, came, and I repeat his words: The Macedonian Slavs are Bulgarians and speak a Bulgarian dialect. Indeed, even the Serbian Vuk Karadzic, who was the first to publish some Macedonian folksongs, selected them in order to determine with their help the basic characteristics of the Bulgarian language. That there occur Serbanianisms in some North Macedonian dialects does not prove anything. It is inevitable that in border areas between two linguistically kindred groups a certain inlcrminigling of vocabulary lakes place. If the fin Serbianisms in the regions of Tetovo or Kumanovo, we also find Bulgarianisms in the Prizren dialect behind the Shar Planina, a purely Serbian area. The Russian scholar Hilferding says in his book An Excursion Into Hersegovina And Old Serbia:" In the language of the Serbians around Prizren it is clearly noticeable how much it tends to resemble the Bulgarian dialects. It would be interesting to investigate how this blend of the Serbian language with the Macedo-Bulgarian has come about. "That authorities marshalled here in such an imposing array would be sufficient to support and prove the point I wish make here, namely, that the language spoken by the Slavs between Skopie and Salonica, Kostur and Kustandil is neither Serbian nor "Macedonian", but Bulgarian. Please allow me to invite one more witness to make his deposition. The man and scholar I am refering to is a former countryman. Professor Guslav Wcigand, the eminent German Balkanologist, cthnographer, linguist and lexicographer. Wcigang ordinarily was no Slavist. When he began his career, his research interests were centered in Rumania and Albania. He is one of the very few Western Scholars to give the world a grammar and reader of the Albanian languagc. But in the course of his studies he became convinced that he would have to embrace with his research also the Slavic groups settling in this, as Christ Atanasoff has called it, tragic peninsula. This extension of his studies had the effect that Wcigang became also a linguistic expert in the Modern Bulgarian language, a field in which again he proved himself as grammarian and lexicographer. In 1924, he published in Leipzig his fundamental work Ethnographic von Maccdonicn, a chapter of which is devoted under the headline "The Bulgarian Language As Spoken In Macedonia" (Das Makedonische Bulgarisch) to linguistic issues. The result of Weigand's meticulous observations do not essentially diverge from the findings of the other students of these affairs, quoted in this context. But in one point, at least as far as I can sec on the basis of the limited number of documents available to me, Weigang had an intuition which had not occured, at least in so many words, to other scholars. He was , of course, fully aware of what was going on at that time in Macedonia, a period which Ivan Michailov, as we have seen, so aptly called "The Regimes Of National Oppression". He must have speculated which devices, apart from brute force, the oppressors might yet use to achieve their goal - the denationalization of the Macedo-Bulgarians. As a well-trained experienced linguist and ethnographcr it was, in all probability, clear to him that all the attempts at Serbanization would end in futility and frustration. But then - what other means could the enemy of the Bulgarian nationality propose to undermine and destroy Macedonian Bugarianism? And here he hit intuilively what was to happen 20 years later. The artificial, test tube creation of a separate Macedonian History, literary language and nation. Here are the conclusions at which Weigang arrived after a conscientious examination of the linguistic and ethnographic facts: "Whatever segment of this language we analyze, again and again it becomes evident that we deal here not with the Serbian, but the Bulgarian language. All attempts of Serbian chauvinists to design the Bulgarian language as spoken in Macedonia as a Serbian dialect or as a mixed language of indefinite character will therefore end in failure. One could pose the question whether, perhaps, the Macedonian Slavs haven't their own language, something in between Serbian and Bulgarian. Such an assumption, however, would be absolutely unjustified, for, as we have seen, in phonology, morphology and syntax Macedonian Bulgarian and Bulgarian proper harmonize in every respect. Certain exclusively Macedonian peculiarities cannot essentially change this picture. In the lexicon there occurs a number of words of Greek or Turkish origin which do not exist in the Serbian or Bulgarian vocabulary. In proportion to the overall lexicon, however, their number is quite insignificant, as can be seen from the linguistic samples adduced here, which clearly demonstrate that Macedonian can only be considered a Bulgarian Dialect".
In the 1926, the Russian journalist L.Nemanov, a representative of the respectable emigre newspaper Poslednie Novosti, edited in Paris, travelled in what then was officially called "Southern Serbia". He published a report about his impressions and experiences under the title, "What I Saw in Macedonia". His findings are those of a man who was probably a good practical linguist, but certainly not a learned professor of linguistics. They felicitously supplement the results of strict academic research, in his own trend of observant impressionism, he relates: "The Serbian authorities insist that the language spoken by the population in Macedonia is not Bulgarian, but a Macedonian dialect of the Serbian language. This reminds me of a case when a Serbian man of science was trying to prove to me that in general there was no Bulgarian language, but that it was a Shop dialect of the Serbian, to which I seriously retorted that Russian as an independent language was nonexistent to except as a Moscow dialect of the Serbian language. That is why whatever the Serbian politicians cail the language in Macedonia, it is a fact that this local language is comprehensible to me, a man knowing a bit of Bulgarian, while it is difficult for me to understand Serbian". This statement, not devoid of humor as it is, may furnish some comic relief after all the dry seriousness of philological research and linguistic inquiry. But one should not forget that it is the question of depriving a people of its national identity, the first blows are invariably directed at its language, because a common language, a common heritage and a common destiny are the chief characteristics of historical nationality. And the pride in just this heritage and the hopes and aspirations of a common destiny, in rcturn,arc expressed in just this common language. So the best way to emasculate a national group is to rob it of its native tongue or to corrupt it. If it should turn oul impossible to extirpate the language of a group one desires to oppress and destroy - well, then let's try to persuade them and the world that their language docs not exist at all, that in reality it is quite another language they arc speaking, a language of whose existence they had not even dreamed before, which, however, exists because we tell them so. You do not speak Bulgarian, you have never spoken Bulgarian, neither have St.Cyril, St.Methodius, St-Clemens, Tsar Simeon or Tsar Samuel. They have all spoken Macedonian only, ignorant and unenlightened as they were, they didn't notice. The same is true of the Miladinoff, Gotse Delchev, Peju Javoroff or Teodor Trajanoff. They did not know, but now they are better informed because we tell them so.
A nation which will not surrender its own national identity and national heritage, will not give up its native tongue, the treasure house of all its achievements and aspirations. When the Israelis and the Irish succeeded in re-establishing their own state, it was the first legitimate, and natural endeavor of their leading minds to recapture their lost or half-lost native idioms and restore them to their rightful glory. When, before the First World War, the Prussian government undertook to ban instruction in Polish in the schools in the eastern provinces of Prussia these decrees were bitterly and resolutely resisted by the Polish minority. In the end, all these measures proved futile, but they have contributed to poisoning the atmosphere between Germans and Poles down to our own day. The press tells us what undesirable things happened in the Southern Tyrol where the Italian government shows but scant regard for the cultural rights of the German-speaking minority. Alas, these examples, spread all over the globe, could be multiplied ad infinitum. It also shows that even at a lime when many of the more advanced nations are making great moral efforts to overcome a narrow-minded, self-centered and often aggressive nationalism there persists the feeling that questions of language and national identity cannot and must not be resolved by cither brute force or cunning persuasion, or by distortion and falsification of the historical and statistical facts. In his attempts to explain the origins of human language, the great German humanist, statesman and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt once declared that all research in this problem leads to a point where further explanation avails nothing, where even the keenest, most critical intelligence will have lo admit that human language in its deepest well-springs is a divine miracle. From the limes of the ancient Helenes on, the nations have delighted in their own languages, have recorded them not only with the intelligent curiosity of science and scholarship, but also with a sense of awe and wonder. At bottom, their languages have always appeared to them as a precious vessel, a national possession cherished above all other things, a sacred covenant with their inscrutable destiny. As long as there is one living soul also among the Macedo-Bulgarians who remembers this deep in his heart and acts accordingly, the Macedo-Bulgarian cause is not lost. Keep the banner of your language flying, then the hope for a free Macedonia for the Macedo-Bulgarians will be resurrected again and again, and in the end, if Heaven wills it so, Macedonia's goal will be fulfilled.
(Professor Heinrich A.Stammler, IMRO - Union of The Macedonian Brotherhoods in Bulgaria, Sofia, 1991), www.promacedonia.org
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The geographical area of the Greek nation-state had been inhabited for centuries by populations of different ethnic origins and for centuries had been dominated by different foreign rulers. Political events, ethnic rivalries, dislocation of populations, and resettlement processes over such a long period had, as a consequence, left an indelible imprint on the geographical nomenclature of the region. The great array of Greek, Turkish, Slavic, and Albanian toponyrns bore irrefutable witness to the ethnic multiplicity of the Balkan peninsula under Ottoman rule.
In the light of the instability of the times and the confusion inherent in the mass resettling of populations, this was the cause of considerable concern to the Greek state and led to the foundation, in 1909, of the 'Committee of Place-names' (Epitropi Toponymion), in accordance with the Royal Act of 31 May, 1909.
A policy of Hellenizing toponyrns had actually been set up soon after the establishment of the Greek nation-state in the nineteenth century. Scholars undertook to locate sites of antiquity, place-names that came up in classical geographical texts, and helped in the renaming of villages and cities. No little research was undertaken and the Committee did much delving into antiquity in the quest for historically substantiated, original Hellenic names.
The Committee consisted of academics of renown—among whom Nikolaos Politis and Georgios Chatzidakis played a prominent role, other scholars coming from various disciplines, and state officials. Their primary con*cern was to study all dubious toponyrns, to substantiate their incon*gruity, and subsequently to present their proposals for change to the Ministry of the Interior.
After the Balkan Wars, a more efficient policy for the re-establishment of Greek names in the entire country, and particularly in the recently annexed northern provinces, was required. In response to the need, the Greek government issued the law of 14 February 1914 on the constitution of municipalities and communes, in accordance with which the local councils could decide on the change of name of the municipality or the commune. There arose instances, however, where the names proposed by the local authorities proved to be both inapt and inept. In such cases, and having discussed the issue with the community leaders, the Committee would again undertake to make its proposals to the Ministry. Paradoxically, some of the names proposed for Hellenization may well have been Greek in origin, though long corrupted by Turkish, Slavic, or Albanian influence.
The policy of Hellenizing toponyms was fundamental to the more comprehensive process of establishing a collective ethnic consciousness and a sense of national identity rooted deeply in the profundity of time and history. Affinity with classical antiquity was looked upon as the ultimate proof of ethnic purity, historical continuity, and perpetuation. Characteristic of this attitude is Nikolaos Politis, according to whose view the use of foreign names, or for that matter even cacophonous Greek names, was a sad phenomenon. He found them detrimental to the Greek language itself and believed that they undermined the conviction of local inhabitants. He argued that, because a foreign name may indicate foreign origin, much could be misconstrued as to the ethnic make-up of a region.
The vast majority of the new toponyms are descriptive of the landscape, either natural or cultural aspects of it. The description is often attached to common suffixes such as -chori (village), -komi (large village), -polis (town), -topos (place) -lofos (hill), -vouni (mountain), or prefixes such as kalo-(good), palaio- (old), para- (near), meso- (between), mono- (only). Other village names are indicative of their topographic location.
Renaming was also prompted by a variety of factors of immediate concern to the new inhab*itants and ranged from cultural characteristics of the inhabitants to environ*mental features of the surrounding land. They often indicated either the favourable or even the inhospitable nature of the area, the predominant vegetation, the type or quality of the soil or of the local water supply.
[Population Exchange in Greek Macedonia, Elisabeth Kontogiorgi, Oxford University, abstracts from the pages 293-295]
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Wartime Italian propaganda had, for its part, talked freely of a Koutsovlach minority and the need to create an autonomous Koutsovlach state. This particular form of propaganda had been stronger in Thessaly, where the notorious Alkibiades Diamandis was active, but it also affected Macedonia after it gained supporters in theprefecture of Grevena. Diamandis, a pro-Italian lawyer from Samarina, had rallied local leaders in 1942 and, in collaboration with the Italians, established a 5th column known as the Roman Legion. His ultimate aim had been to create a so-called Principate of the Pindus.lu On hearing Diamandis's manifesto, and indeed, motivated by the prospect of immediate material gain, a small number of the Vlach-speakers in Grevena had been moved to follow him and declare fealty to the Italian occupiers.
Linguistic affinity, real grievances and opportunism made a nunlber of the northern Pindus Vlachs 5usceptible to Italian propaganda for the establishment of an autonornous Vlach principality under Italian rule.
Greece has died and the Ronian Empire is born,' declared the pro-Italian Vlachs of Grevena where they welcomed the Italian troops in April 1941. The prospect of autonomy, but even more the expectation of satisfying more inmiediate needs, made many Vlachs of the region offer to collaborate with the Italian authorities.
However, the vast majority of the Vlachs had remained loyal to Greece, despite the legionaries' pressure, and this prevented the issue from assuming greater proportions in Macedonia.
Evangelos Averoff ( Greek Former Minister), himself a Vlach and a student of the Vlach question, maintained that the reason for the negligible response of the Pindus Vlachs in Metsovo to the calls of Italian propagandists for the establishment of an independent Vlach principality under Italian protection was their long identification with the modern Greek national state. Averoff was active during the occupation of the region by the Italians in trying to keep prominent Vlach families from associating with the Italian authorities. As a result, he was deported to Italy, where he was kept hostage till the liberation.
The 1st prince of this “Principality” was the Aromanian Alchiviad Diamandi di Samarina, who established his court. He left the state in 1942, and took refuge in Romania, and his successor for a very short time was Nicholas Matoussi, before the title was offered to the Milvanyi family in recognition for their role in supplying the Italian Army with cereals.
Gyula von MilvÃ¡nyi-Csesznegi was a Hungarian-Croatian baron of Pecheneg origin and he was convinced that the Vlachs of the Moglena valley were descendants of medieval Pecheneg tribes.
He reigned as Prince Julius between August-September in 1943, did not hold any real power, and his brother Michael never set foot on the territory of the state. Nevertheless, some Aromanian and Slav Macedonian leaders governed in their names.
In 1944 the Nazi German authorities recognized M. Hatzi as leader of their Aromanian supporters.
In 1942 a faction of Bulgarian (VMRO) offered the “Royal” throne of Macedonia to Alkiviadis, but there is no evidence whether he accepted it. Alchibiades was a patron of the arts and an amateur sculptor himself .
Triple Occupatίon swept away old structures αnd changed the entίre landscape. It forced υpon in Greece and generally in whole occupied Europe α regime whose brutality it had ίnflicted οη other contίnents, but had not expected to suffer at home. The shock caused established systems of rule and thought to disintegrate. Ιn this way Nazi-Fasist rule acted as the catalyst for α serίes of unpredictable political and social reactions.That's why we have this Italian Fashist movement and the influence adversely some Vlachs.
As Mazower quoted
Nowhere perhaps were the consequences more tragic than Greece where occupation merged almost imperceptibly with a civil war whίch devastated the country till the end of the 1940s.
- Zambounis, Michael - Kings and Princes of Greece, Athens 2001
- Papakonstantinou Michael: Το Χρονικό της μεγάλης νύχτας
- Divani Lena: Το θνησιγενές πριγκιπάτο της Πίνδου. Γιατί δεν ανταποκρίθηκαν οι Κουτσόβλαχοι της Ελλάδας, στην Ιταλο-ρουμανική προπαγάνδα.
- When the war is over, Mark Mazower
- Plundered Loyalities, Ioannis Kolliopoulos, 1999
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Macedonians under Bulgaria and Greece,
The unification of the entire Macedonian people depends on your participation in the gigantic anti-Fascist front. Only by fighting the vile Fascist occupier will you gain your right to self-determination and to unification of the entire Macedonian people within the framework of Tito’s Yugoslavia, which has become a free community of emancipated and equal peoples. May the struggle of the Macedonian Piedmont incite you to even bolder combat against the Fascist oppressors!
Proclamation 2 of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM), Skopje, August 1944
People of Macedonia!
In the course of three years of combat you have achieved your unity, developed your army and laid the basis for the federal Macedonian state. With the participation of the entire Macedonian nation in the struggle against the Fascist occupiers of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Greece you will achieve unification of all parts of Macedonia, divided in 1915 and 1918 by Balkan imperialists.
Constitution of the of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
There is a critical point of concern in their preamble, they define their FYROM state as a departure from the " ...historic decisions of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the People's Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM)... ". The problem is that ASNOM had called for the "Macedonians" in Bulgaria and other countries to unite under Tito's rule.. as shown in the proclamations
Taking as starting points the historical, cultural, spiritual and statehood heritage of the Macedonian people and their struggle over centuries for national and social freedom as well as the creation of their own state, and particularly the traditions of statehood and legality of the Krushevo Republic and the historic decisions of the Anti-Fascist Assembly of the People's Liberation of Macedonia, together with the constitutional and legal continuity of the Macedonian state as a sovereign republic within Federal Yugoslavia and and freely manifested will of the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia in the referendum of 8 Sep 1991, as well as the historical fact that Macedonia is established as a national state of the Macedonian people, in which ..........
Declaration of the 6th Balkan Communist Conference (March 1924) issued under the directives of the Comintern for a United Republic of Macedonia and Thrace.
Text in International Press Correspondence, May l, 1924
A united and autonomous Macedonia is now the slogan of the Macedonians in all corners of their Fatherland, which is covered with ruins. It is under this slogan that they are organizing and conducting the struggle…. In setting up the ideal of a workers’ and peasants’ government, the communist parties and the Communist Federation of the Balkans declare that the Federative Republic of the Balkans will assure peace, independence and liberty of development of all the peoples of the Peninsula that it will be a voluntary union of independent Balkan Republics, including the Republic of Macedonia and Thrace.
Confidential circular sent by Secretary of State Edward Stettinius to U.S. missions (December 26, 1944) considering talk of a “Macedonian” nation or state to be “unjustified demagoguery” and a cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece.
U.S.State Department, Foreign Relations vol.viii Washington, D.C., Circular Airgram, (868.014/26 Dec.1944)
The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic and Consular Officers The following is for your information and general guidance, but not for any positive action at this time. The Department has noted with considerable apprehension increasing propaganda rumors and semi-official statements in favor of an autonomous Macedonia, emanating principally from Bulgaria, but also from Yugoslav Partisan and other sources, with the implication that Greek territory would be included in the projected state. “This Government considers talk of Macedonian “nation”, Macedonian “Fatherland”, or Macedonian “national consciousness” to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece”. The approved policy of this Government is to oppose any revival of the Macedonian issue as related to Greece. The Greek section of Macedonia is largely inhabited by Greeks, and the Greek people are almost unanimously opposed to the creation of a Macedonian state. Allegations of serious Greek participation in any such agitation can be assumed to be false. This Government would regard as responsible any Government or group of Governments tolerating or encouraging menacing or aggressive acts of “Macedonian Forces” against Greece. The department would appreciate any information pertinent to this subject which may come to your attention.
Stalin’s views, for the unification of Macedonia under Tito and the annexation of Greek Thrace by Bulgaria.
The text of these minutes was taken from the Archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Bulgaria. It was published in the Sofia newspaper Otecestven Vestnik, June 19,1990.
Stalin to the Bulgarian delegation (on Macedonia):
“Cultural autonomy must be granted to Pirin Macedonia within the framework of Bulgaria. In view of the present situation no haste should be displayed in this regard…. You do not want to grant autonomy to Pirin Macedonia. The fact that the population has yet to develop a Macedonian consciousness is of no account.
No such consciousness existed in Belorus either when we proclaimed it a Soviet republic.
However, later it was shown that a Belorussian people did in fact exist” …. Stalin to the Bulgarian delegation (on Bulgarian access to the Aegean):
“We and the Americans were not parties to the drawing of the borders [in 1919J and do not recognize them as just. You should demand territorial access to the Aegean, and if this is not accepted, you should demand economie (access). You have the right to demand territorial access, but it is difficult to count upon obtaining it today. Such demand can be fulfilled only through the use of force. But in any case you should préparé yourselves for the future”…
FYROM Government Newspaper, No.80 (30 December 1993), Article 196.
Law on Insurance for Pensioners and the Disabled. Though there have repeatedly been amendment to the Law, the provision in question, dating from 1993, is still today in force. Also the "Aegean Macedonia" is a Macedonian Slav nationalist term used to refer to the region of Macedonia in Greece, in the context of a United Macedonia. The origins of the term seem to be rooted in the 1940s but its modern usage is widely considered ambiguous and irredentist. The term has occasionally appeared on maps circulated in the Republic of Macedonia, which envisioned Greek Macedonia (referred to as "Aegean Macedonia") as part of a "Greater Macedonia", and is regarded as a challenge of of the legitimacy of Greek sovereignity over the area
Pensions for combatants in the National Liberation Army who took part in the National Liberation Movement in the Aegean Part of Macedonia, and their families, if in being before the date when this Law came into force, are, by virtue of the Law on fundamental rights of insurance for Pensioners and the Disabled, the Law for those who have received the 1941 Partisan Commemorative Award, and the Law on Pensioners and the Disabled, through-insured even after the date upon which the present Law came into force, as broadly and as deeply as laid down by the previous provisions, on condition that pensions of this kind will amount to no more than the figure of the highest pension laid down by the present Law’.
May 11, 2008
The Balkans have been an immature subordinate system ever since the demise of the Ottoman empire. The "Macedonian Issue", the time-proof dispute in the Balkans, first emerged as a side-effect of the evolutionary stages of the "Eastern Question" and the liberation of the Ottoman conquests, namely the Balkan peoples, who gradually rose against their conqueror and attempted to set up their territorial bases with a view to forming nation-states.
The "Macedonian Question" emerged as a result of antagonism among Balkan nation-states that wished to get the lion´s share from the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, the course to liberation had hardly finished when Balkan peoples turned against each other, in order to secure a greater territorial chunk out of the Balkan Peninsula, a policy that led contending Balkan nationalisms to clash.
In the post Second World War era, the dispute was rooted in the rivalry over control of geographical Macedonia and annexation of Greece´s northern province Macedonia. Greek Macedonia has been the diachronic target of irredentist activities on the part not only of Bulgaria but also Yugoslavia. In the summer of 1945 Marshal Tito articulated a verbal assault on Greece and eventually verified its policy of annexing Greek Macedonia . C. L. Sulzberger reporting for The New York Times on November 17, 1946 is more than clear: "Yugoslav foreign policy has two major revisionist objec-tives--Trieste and Salonika--and one minor one-- Klagenfurt, in Austria. At the mo-ment the emphasis is still on Trieste…". 
This very policy alarmed Greece, which, assisted by the US, internationalized the issue. In March 1947 "Mark Ethridge, American representative on the United Nations Balkans Commission of Inquiry, has moved to extract from representatives of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria a clear answer to Greek charges that their countries are waging an undeclared war to detach the Greek Province of Macedonia" .
A month later the US confirms these irredentist activities, presenting hard evidence in favour of Greek positions. I quote W.H. Lawrence reporting from Geneva for The New York Times: "The United States circulated among the ten other members of the United Nations Balkan investigating commission today a proposed summary of the evidence on the Macedonian issue. This summary tends to prove that Yugoslavia and Bulgaria interfered in Greek internal affairs so as to win Greek Macedonia for Yugo-slavia and western Thrace for Bulgaria". 
During the Greek Civil War Slav inhabitants of the wider geographical area of Macedonia joined Greek left forces in the struggle against government units. According to the report, "about 600 purported representatives of communities in Greek, Yugoslav and Bulgarian Macedonia met this week in a small village in the Vitsi mountain area of north-western Greece near the Albanian border, according to a rebel radio broad-cast heard today in Salonika".  The promise repeatedly made to them was that should left wing forces in Greece prevail Slav Macedonians would be allowed to annex Greek Macedonia and establish a Macedonian state.
The above constitute indicative only historical evidence of how the Macedonian issue had been formulated under the then political and social conditions. A sensible question would probably concern the relation between today´s situation and the then con-ditions. First, the events described set clearly the long-established historical frame-work of irredentist activities against Greek Macedonia. Second, they eliminate the conceptual basis of Greece being part of an instability chain that tars the image of the Balkans and the Greek people of being victims of a certain national paranoia and obsession with history. Foreign policies are driven by national interests and the need for survival, particularly in zones of turmoil, characterized by territorial fluidity and Great Idea syndromes.
Greece operates on the same motives despite incoherent policies adopted during the last decades. It is a pro-status quo country as indicated by its will to endorse the 1995 Interim Agreement with FYROM. The evident advantage of the Agreement was that it allowed both countries to provide a very general framework of coexistence. Actually it was an act of support of FYROM since it allowed it to use the name "Macedonia" although irredentist activities continued to tar bilateral relations. This very fact constitutes a breach of the Agreement itself. Yet, this temporary arrangement created further problems to the Greek side as it allowed FYROM to build its strategy on the state-stemming ideology of "Macedonianism".
Originally (1920s) the issue was formulated on a Marxist basis and the aim of establishing a Balkan Communist Federation. Yet, in the post-Cold War era the issue cen-tered around the need of the neophyte state FYROM to support its national identity and distance itself politically, culturally and institutionally from dissolving Yugoslavia and Belgrade operating as the eminence grise of former Yugoslav Republics.
The dispute that emerged over the name of the newly-founded state, was considered by Greek administrations and the Greek people to be a substantial actual not potential non-military threat, in a fluid security environment, diachronically dominated by un-predictability, irredentist claims (covertly or overtly expressed), lack of internal cohesion and warring conflicts among Balkan states over the control of the geographical region of "Macedonia", which appears to be one of the most disputed areas of Europe.
The ethnically-orientated use of the name "Macedonia", along with the use of historic symbols, associated with Greek territorial sovereignty over Greek Macedonia, provoked Greek national sentiment, since it was regarded as the cornerstone of a long-standing irredentist policy against Greece. The inference of the name "Macedonia", a name of tantamount importance for those familiar with Balkan politics and history brought back to memory Tito´s plans for the creation of a communist federation in the Balkans and the eventual annexation of Greek Macedonia, that was meant to become part of a united Macedonia, under a Communist leadership.
Greek officials estimated that the emergence of the neophyte state would be followed by an attempt, on the part of Slav-Macedonians, to enhance independence and cultural autonomy, by means of legitimisation through "historical proof", which was eventu-ally used as an unfortunate means of applying the undeniable right of a small nation for self-determination and self-rule.
To the Greek policy-makers eyes, the "Macedonian issue" emerged as a double threat.
First, it was the revival of Balkan antagonism for domination over geographical Ma-cedonia and more particularly Greek Macedonia, which is the oldest and biggest part of the geographical region Macedonia and the part with the most strategic importance, since it provides an outlet to the Aegean Sea.
Second, it was a threat to Greek national identity and cultural heritage, a notion that triggered the massive demonstrations in Thessaloniki in February 1994, the biggest ever in Greece.
The signifier of these mas-sive activation of Greek public opinion is that, although Greece was and still is a Bal-kan state not nurturing irredentist aims against FYROM, it was the local actor that most heatedly objected to its recognition under the name Macedonia, since, the con-notation "Macedonia" has been solely associated with the Greek northern province and "denotes an exclusive and integral part" history and culture of the Greek people.
For FYROM, it was a matter of survival in an unstable Balkan security environment, as the country was facing direct military threats from Yugoslavia, the ultra-nationalists in Albania and the danger of self-dissolution, stemming from the exis-tence of contending ethnic minorities, the most substantial of which was the ethnic Albanians, who, after long years of suppression, wished to have their cultural identity acknowledged. At the same time, there was a need to silence elements of Bulgaro-philia domestically, a fact that led to suppressive policies against those in FYROM who identified themselves as Bulgarian-Macedonians.
Within the wider context of the Communist establishment and ideology, national identities had to be overlaid. Emphasis was given to class associations and class struggle since ethnicity was a "bourgeois feature". As a consequence, the enhance-ment of a different ethnic identity, different from the artificial "Yugoslav identity", was of a sine quo non prerequisite for the political and cultural autonomy of the neo-phyte state, as well as for the social cohesion and domestic balance of the emerging political entity. Yet, this very need gave birth to the falsification of Greek history, which was used as a means of emancipating the Slav-Macedonian identity and FY-ROM´s independence from Belgrade´s suppressive ethnic policy.
In their quest for international support and political emancipation from Belgrade, the post-Cold War administrations of the country became trapped in the dictates of popu-lism and nationalism, as expressed by the diaspora, something I personally witnessed as a young student in Canada in the early 1980s.
Evidently, the early Marxist and ideological platform of the Macedonian issue had turned into a matter of survival for a small and weak country that struggled for inde-pendence. These are noble aims supported by all of us who envisage a free democratic world. Yet, the early euphoria triggered by the demise of the Communist establish-ment led to a major mistake at least in terms of priorities. That is overlaying the secu-rity implications of independence and the unconditional support for self-determination. The tendency to overlay the security aspects of the adopted policy by Skopje took place under the pressure of the emerging warring conflict in dissolving Yugoslavia
Greece´s primary aim in the "Macedonian Question" has been the containment of irredentist activities against Greek Macedonia, as well as the ethnic implications of the name "Macedonia" used by FYROM, since the Post-Second World War name "Re-public of Macedonia", devised by Tito coincided with the Greek province Macedonia.
The name issue would be of minor importance to Greece if it did not imply that FYROM claimed for itself a wider geographical area, consisting of the historic Mace-donia and kingdom of ancient Makedon, 90% of which lies within Greek territory. This served practical purposes as well as claims on historical continuity. In its turn this very claim aimed at "legitimizing" irredentist claims on the basis of alleged his-torical ties with Greek Macedonia. Yet, the very name itself set a clear and evident irredentist claim, as the geographical interpretation of it, gives it an ethnic character. It wrongly implies that there used to be a single, united Macedonian state partitioned by means of military force.
Of course the main issue here is that young people in FYROM and across the world grow up with the dream of "liberating" Greek Macedonia, a task "imposed" to them by history. Na-tional identity is not an issue to be dissolved with a political decision not even an honourable compromise. Beliefs are far stronger than political decisions.
The major and catalytic drawback of Greek foreign policy ever since the early post-Cold War emergence of the Macedonian issue was its inability to underline the secu-rity dimensions of the issue . History, despite inconsistent, contending narratives and explanation of motives of the parts involved, has been a tool in the hands of na-tionalists not a goal in itself. It has been used simultaneously as a means of question-ing (FYROM) and supporting the territorial status quo (GREECE). Under this spec-trum any policy and solution that leaves space for future misunderstanding is totally unacceptable. Actually it happened in the past and led to an impasse. The current Greek administration has been more than explicit on that and I certainly hope that it will support its views with stern zeal.
In the case of our neighbours it is now clear that partnerships can only be built on common goals supported by common institutions and values (EU) or alliance mem-bership (NATO) that provides a casus foederis to the participants. Greek policy is an act of defense of the status quo, not a hostile act against FYROM. I am afraid there is an inherent inability, related to populism, that prevents political leadership in Skopje to realize who the real danger is to the country´s survival. Under this spectrum the name issue is not related to the political survival of the country but to the megaloma-nia of a certain political milieu. The issue is not a question of race purity but of acknowledging that the mistakes and impasses of the past can teach us a lot about our common future.
 "Tito´s New Issue", The New York Times, July 10, 1945
 "Yugoslavs Eye Salonica, Macedonia and Klagenfurt. Also Objectives--Soviet Helps to Build Up Tito's Army", The New York Times, November 17, 1946.
 "Sofia, Belgrade asked for Policy; American on U.N. Commission Wants Reply to Charges of Interference With Greece", The New York Times, March 16, 1947.
 "U.S. Report for Balkan Mission Indicts Yugoslavia and Bulgaria; Summary of U.N. Inquiry Evidence Points to Intervention in Greece -- Set-Up of Permanent Bor-der Board Likely", The New York Times, April 22, 1947.
 "Slav Macedonians Join Greek Rebels; Balkan Communist Radio Says Bulgarian, Albanian Reds Will Take Active Role", The New York Times, March 31, 1949.
 See George Voskopoulos, Greece, Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Union: Interaction Within and Between a Zone of Peace and a Zone of Turmoil as an Explanatory Factor, PhD Thesis, Exeter University (UK), Centre for European Studies, 2001.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (August 17, 2006)
- Examines the effects on Greece of the settlement of over 1.2 million refugees during the inter-war period
- Charts the transformation of the character of Greek Macedonia
- Examines Greek state policy and the role of the Refugee Settlement Commission
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Dr. George Voskopoulos in American Chronicle
May 02, 2008
Alexis de Toqueville wrote one of the most comprehensive works on American Democracy titled Democracy in America. His critique was based among other things on the American political establishment and its operating mode. I do not mean to en-dorse his critique as a whole but I will agree that Americans do not really appreciate criticism. In essence my views here reflect certain aspects of its evaluation judgments based on the State Department´s policy and mediating strategy in the Greek-FYROM dispute.
American active and rather biased involvement in the negotiations between FYROM and Greece was evident in the late phases of negotiations under the auspices of the UN. The dead-end was not a surprise and this may be attributed not only to the clash of non-negotiable national interests of Athens and Skopje but also Washington´s policy. A number of issues may be pinpointed as non-facilitating factors in resolving the issue. They directly and indirectly relate to the formulation of Greek and Slav-Macedonian positions and the lack of understanding or ignorance on the part of the State Department.
First, President Bush has obviously underestimated the importance of the issue for Greece and consistently used the term "Macedonia" when referring to FYROM. In terms of semantics this is a direct support to Skopje a fact not appreciated by Greek public opinion and political elite. When in 2004 US government decided to recognize FYROM under its constitutional name "Republic of Macedonia" it was done as a means to avoid further destabilization of the country. At least this was the explanation provided by the State Department. Greek worries were not just overlaid but rather treated as a symptom of national paranoia, a technicality and not an issue of direct or indirect threat to territorial status and a non-military threat to a NATO ally.
Second, the overt support of the State Department to FYROM hardened the positions of the nationalists in the Slav-Macedonian government. Eventually they gave them false signs since the State Department treated FYROM as a protégé. For the Greek side it was obvious that the real interlocutors during the bargaining process were the US and its NATO ally Greece. Athens was treated as a de facto minor ally whose le-gitimate security interests had to be sacrificed in order to cement south-eastern Europe from Russian policy built on establishing oil and natural gas pipelines.
This clearly illustrates a stark change of mood on the part of Washington. During the Cold War, Greece was the only NATO ally and EC/EU member whose interests had to be taken into consideration. The lack of alternatives made Washington more care-ful in the articulation of ideas and evaluations towards the so called Macedonian is-sue. After the end of the Cold War American foreign policy established a network of allies in the region that eliminated in part Greece´s advantage of being the sole NATO member in the region.
When the name issue emerged de jure in the early 1990s American officials dealt with it as if it were a technicality, although Greece had kept silent ever since the es-tablishment of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia by Tito in mid-1940s. In fact today Greece is "punished" for not upsetting American policy and western strategy of sup-port to a non-aligned Yugoslavia. This is an affront to Greek public opinion and his-tory and a fact that enhances dramatically anti-American feelings in the country.
Third, the reaction of the State Department to the insults to the Greek Prime Minister K. Karamanlis (see his portrayal dressed as a Nazi as presented by a magazine pub-lished in Skopje) and the Greek flag decorated with Nazi symbols was unsatisfactory. The same applies to the use of maps of Greater and united Macedonia circulated in recent demonstrations in Skopje and the aim of uniting geographical Macedonia. They constituted hard evidence of what the Greek side had always rejected, that is Slav-Macedonian irredentist or pseudo-irredentist claims. Playing deaf is not always a sound policy particularly vis-à-vis an ally that has offered so much in the struggle for democracy and freedom in the region.
The same people who today support "liberation" of Greek Macedonia (to Slav-Macedonians nationalists "Aegean Macedonia") propagated in favor of a world com-munist order a few decades ago. The State Department seems to have forgotten a number of facts associated with history, diplomacy and loyalty to allies. Of course power, especially structural power, allows arrogance to overlay ethical issues not as-sociated with the conduct of foreign policy. Political realists reject ethical motives when materializing foreign policy goals. Yet, this ethical foundation has been Amer-ica´s most powerful weapon in leading what American presidents used to call the "free world".
On January 21, 1994 a New York Times columnist made the obvious mistake of eliminating the security aspects of the issue and failed to recognize the epitome of the problem. He wrote that "ever since the breakup of Yugoslavia, Greece has been fighting and gradually losing the battle to prevent the world from recognizing the for-mer Communist wedge of land on its northern border by the name it has chosen for itself -- Macedonia. It is an issue that boils with nationalist passion. Yet, as some Greeks slowly seem to be acknowledging, it is an issue that cannot be won…".
Evidently he himself made a number of blatant oversimplifications. The first refers to the right of a state to use a name of its own choice. Actually this is not happening even in the world of modern trade since brand names are protected trademarks and copyright protected. As I have previously suggested history is a powerful tool in the hands of nationalists. FYROM has propagated the existence of a "Macedonian na-tion" although its existence cannot be established throughout history. Actually it was Tito who "provided the occasion to develop a specifically Macedonian history which was clearly differentiated from its neighbours" .
Fourth, American mediating effort was built on putting pressure on the Greek side and bullying the Greek government allowing Skopje to operate under the impact of protégé euphoria since Washington has become a shield against Greek policies. This relationship between great powers and protégés has formulated the conceptual an-ticipations of the hardliners in FYROM. In mid-1940s B, Newman pinpointed that "many Balkan states were little more than puppets in the finger of protecting powers".
Fifth, the State Department has dramatically undermined the catalytic role of Slav-Macedonian irredentist claims to Greek Macedonia. Ignorance of geopolitical expedi-ence is not an excuse in ignoring the obvious that is the long battle over control of Greek Macedonia, 90% of which matches the borders of the kingdom of ancient Ma-cedonia. Evidently younger generations of American diplomats have not learned their history lessons. Tito was the man who created the Macedonian issue by constructing the "Macedonian" ethnicity and language with a view to dealing with Bulgarophilia and annexing Greek Macedonia. He was the one who openly set territorial claims on what he called "Aegean Macedonia"  and at times he turned the issue into a key dispute of the Cold War.
However, his dream was not a means of advancing the Soviet and Cominform-supported aim of establishing a Balkan Communist Federation but rather a policy of setting the foundations for the annexation of Greek Macedonia . Despite internal divisions, the pro-Soviet Greek Communist Party endorsed this policy under the threat of being ex-communicated by Cominform. On March 4, 1949 A. C. Sedgwick reporting for The New York Times confirms the pressure on Greek Communists: «The Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) has ordered the Communist party of Greece to declare itself unequivocally in favor of an autonomous Macedonia and henceforth to work toward the creation and organization of such a state…» .
Actually this has been the basis of the critique against Greek Communists who were engaged in an ideologically-related struggle, built on a Marxist basis, against Ameri-can and British supported government forces . Post-Second World War south-eastern history is well-known and I do not have the time to include thousands of bib-liographical references from American and British sources to make myself under-stood. I do not mean to give young American diplomats lessons of history although I am tempted to do so.
However, I have to remind them that it is this very policy that has alienated the US from its allies  and led them to support ephemeral alliances with those who sup-ported a communist world order. I need to remind them that bullying an ally is an op-tion provided by the multiple means of power disposed by the US, yet, it is not an honorable policy. I need to remind them that Slav-Mecedonians and Bulgarians need no interpreter when engaged in a conversation. Finally, I need to remind them that the issue is not a choice between an EU member - a NATO ally (Greece) and a weak country (FYROM) but a choice between a status quo country and a revisionist state. Greece is the most pro-status quo country in the region and has made substantial compromises in the issue. Obviously the will to compromise was taken as a sign of weakness. This clearly shows an inability to formulate sound evaluative judgments.
Evidently late American foreign policy has been built on supporting revisionist states, which again, exposes the advertised ethics of exporting democracy. It is also evident that the State Department would like to set hurdles to the current Greek administra-tion. In the eyes of a small number of State Department officials this is the overt or covert price Greece has to pay for its support to the Russian energy expansion in the region. The issue here is that Greece has not shifted its loyalty. On the contrary, the current Republican administration has shifted its loyalty and wishes to sacrifice the national interest of its allies, a policy that voids the security guarantees provided by NATO. It wishes to dictate strategic choices in the domain of foreign policy, and jeopardize the security of an ally, a policy that above all violates the very meaning and collective security character of the Atlantic Alliance.
Ex-President Clinton's view was that "American activism guarantees international stability", yet this seems to have been forgotten, although American foreign policy is characterised by a substantial degree of continuity. It is time the State Department rediscovered its long-supported values and honored its allies.
Our neighbours need to understand that stability can not be built on irredentism. This is very basic for the return of the whole region into development orbit. At the same time the State Department should stop taking advantage of disputes that destabilize the region. These are the fundamental components of a real stabilizing activism.
1] S. Lefebvre, "The FYROM: Where to?", European Security, vol.3, n.4, Winter 1994, p.711
2] "Tito held moving to win Macedonia"; Backing for Aegean Minority's Unity Re-garded as Notice to Greece of Yugoslav Claim", New York Times, October 14, 1945.
3] "Cominform Strikes at Tito And Athens Via Macedonia; Ancient Region of Battles in the Balkans A Key to 'Cold War' on the Greek Front", The New York Times, April 3, 1949.
4] «Greek Communist Shift to 'Free' Macedonia Points to Party Purge on Cominform Orders», The New York Times, March 4, 1949.
5] This aspect is scrutinized in George Voskopoulos, Greek Foreign Policy, from the 20TH to the 21st Century, Papazisis, Athens, 2005 (published in Greek)
6] This view is scrutinised in George Voskopoulos (ed.), Transatlantic Relations and European Integration, realities and dilemmas, ICFAI University Press, Hydera-bad, 2006.
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