Thursday, July 17, 2008

FYROM DENIES ETHNIC SOVEREIGNTY OF GREEK MACEDONIA, Expansionist Designs through School Maps and Texts

In the US Resolution 356 states that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has:

  1. violated the Interim Accord by renaming the Skopje Airport to Alexander the Great International Airport.
  2. Hostile activities or propaganda by state-controlled agencies and to discourage acts by private entities likely to incite violence, hatred or hostility' and review the contents of textbooks, maps, and teaching aids to ensure that such tools are stating accurate information.

But what is the real reason behind the "name dispute" ?

The historical dogma, taking shape in FYROM, backtracks the origins of this modern Slavmacedonians—the Makedonci— a full millennium to include the ancient Macedonians (5th century BC). This revisionist historical dogma, is not limited to encroaching upon the identity of a Hellenic people of the classical times.

It aims at expanding the boundaries of the historical “taktovina” (fatherland) of the “Makedonci” to include wide regions of Greece and Bulgaria. It is well known, that for decades the classrooms and school textbooks of history in FYROM have been adorned with maps portraying Macedonia’s “geographic and ethnic”, i.e. Slavic boundaries extending all the way to Mount Olympus and Chalkidiki, in Greek Macedonia as well as to the Pirin district of Bulgaria.

Now, by claiming the patrimony of the Ancient Macedonians, the boundaries of “Greater Macedonia” assume a much wider historical and cultural dimension in time.

Stavroula Mavrogeni ( Ph.D. in Balkan Studies) a specialist member of teaching staff in the Department of Balkan Studies in the University of Western Macedonia make a great reasearch in the FYROM school booksand proove this that US Resolution 356 states....


This study has published in the book Macedonianism FYROM'S Expansionist Designs against Greece, 1944-2006 and you can read or download it on-line via this link.

Stavroula Mavrogeni [1]
FYROM Primary School History
Textbooks (version 2005)

In August 2005, FYROM’s Ministry of Education and Sport approved for circulation and use in primary schools a series of new history textbooks. The provision of the law in force is that for each class, there are more than two textbooks in circulation and the teacher has the option of selecting the textbook which she or he will use in class. The books added to the previous textbooks (the 2003 and 2004 editions) were as follows:

a) (For Grade 5 Коста АЏиевски, Даринка Петреска, Виолета Ачковска, Ванчо Ѓорѓиев [Kosta Atsievski, Darinka Petreska, Violetta Ačkovska, Vančo Gjorgjev], Историја за V одделение [History Textbook, Grade 5], Skopje 2005.

b) (For Grade 6 I) Милан Бошковски, Јордан Илиовски, Небо Дервиши [Milan Boškovski, Jordan Iliovski, Nevo Derviši], Историја за VI одделение [History Textbook, Grade 6], Skopje 2005.

c) (For Grade 7) Виолета Ачковска, Ванчо Ѓорѓиев, Фејзула Шабани, Далибор Јовановски [Violetta Ačkovska, Vančo Gjorgjev, Fejzula Šabani, Dalibor Jovanovski], Историја за VII одделение [History Textbook, Grade 7], Skopje 2005. Also: Блаже Ристовски, Шукри Рахими, Симо Младеновски, Стојан Киселовски, Тодор Чепреганов [Blaže Ristovski, Šukri Rahimi, Simo Mladenovski, Stojan Kiselovski, Todor Čepreganov], Историја за VII одделение [History Textbook, Grade 7], Skopje 2005.

d) (For Grade 8) Владо Велковски, Халид Сејди, Аријан Алјадеми, Димка Ристеска, Ѓорѓи Павловски [Vlado Velkovski, Halid Sejdi, Arijan Aljademi, Dimka Risteska, Gjorgji Pavlovski], Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade 8], Skopje 2005. Also: Блаже Ристовски, Шукри Рахими, Симо Младеновски, Стојан Киселиновски, Тодор Чепреганов [Blaže Ristovski, Šukri Rahimi, Simo Mladenovski, Stojan Kiselinovski, Todor Čepreganov], Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade 8], Skopje 2005.

The same approval was given for the use of Primary School Grade 5 and Grade 6 textbooks issued by the publishing house of Македонска нскра [Makedonska Iskra], which the present author did not have at her disposal at the time of writing. Since, however, all of these textbooks were compiled on the basis of a Detailed Programme worked out by the Pedagogical Institute, it
can be said with certainty that the Македонска нскра books do not deviate from the image presented by the textbooks being examined here. The material in the latter books is limited in comparison to earlier editions.

Nearly every page is adorned with photographs or maps, thus leaving still less space for the text. On the other hand, the material about national history is markedly reduced in favour of world and Balkan history. Thus for example of the 120 plus 130 pages of the two Grade 7 books, two thirds comprise chapters about world history, European history, and Balkan history. The remaining third is about national (‘Macedonian’) history. It is noteworthy that half of the section on Balkan history deals with the history of the Albanian state and nation. Obvious quantitative changes apart, the new FYROM school textbooks do try to limit the verbal excesses that proliferated earlier editions and which were intended to influence the pupil’s minds. Their removal is, in principle, a step forward. However the new books continue to cultivate in the pupil the vision of a Greater Macedonia. In the 2005 edition, indeed, the Albanian version of irredentism crops up along with the Slavomacedonian.

This can be seen from six elements, which are as follows:
a) Geographical definition of the ‘fatherland’.
b) Historical continuity of the ‘fatherland’.
c) Ethnic identity of the population of the ‘fatherland’.
d) ‘Partitioning’ of the ‘fatherland’.
e) Oppression of the ‘Macedonian’ minority in Greece.
f) Cultivation of Albanian irredentism.

Α. The geographical definition of the ‘fatherland’

The visual image of the ‘fatherland’ is effected by the use of the map Geographical and Ethnic Boundaries of Macedonia. This is the notorious map produced by Bulgarian circles in the late 1 9th century, and which has been reprinted by Slavo-Macedonian historians from 1945 onwards.
In the Grade 5 history textbook, by Atsievski and his team, the map in question can be found on p.20, in the chapter on Macedonia in the Balkans in prehistoric times. The pupil thus gets the impression that Macedonia was a separate entity even as early as in the prehistoric era

Curiously enough, the boundaries of this entity coincide with those of the map Geographical and Ethnic Boundaries of Macedonia.

Map of South West Macedonia, with the areas which revolted during the Neguš [i.e. Naoussa] Uprising. Blaže Ristovski & team, Историја за VII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VII], Skopje 2005, p.95

This visual image of a geographic unit recurs in various different periods of history. The caption on p.95 of Ristovksi and team’s Grade 6 textbook, for instance, states that here is a Map of South-West Macedonia, with the Provinces which revolted in the Neguš [Naoussa] Uprising. A clarifying note says that the continuous line shows ‘the geographical and ethnic boundaries of South-West Macedonia’, while the ‘area in revolt’ is rendered in colour.

Again, on p.120 themap is entitled Macedonia at the time of the Ilinden Uprising, with a note to explain that the continuous line shows ‘the geographical and ethnic boundaries of South-West Macedonia’.On p.16 of Velkovski and team’s Grade 8 history textbook, the authors have produced their ownmisleading version of a map of the kings and kingdoms of the Balkans, printed before the Balkan Wars. Macedonia has subsequently been coloured in so as to give the pupil the impression that by 1 912 it was a recognizable region in itself.

Macedonia at the time of the Ilinden Uprising.
Blaže Ristovski & team, Историја за VII одделение [History Textbook, Grade
VII], Skopje 2005, p.120

On p.16 of Velkovski and team’s Grade 8 history textbook, the authors have produced their own misleading version of a map of the kings and kingdoms of the Balkans, printed before the Balkan Wars. Macedonia has subsequently been coloured in so as to give the pupil the impression that by 1912 it was a recognizable region in itself.

Map of the Balkans, with their Kings. Vlado Velkovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopje 2005, p.16.

Images of a Greater Macedonia apart, there is an obvious attempt to make a distinction between Macedonia and Greece. In the map The Colonies of the Greeks, on p.37 of Atsievski and team’s Grade 5 textbook, one finds the labels МАКЕДОНИЈА [Makedonija/Macedonia] and ХЕЛАДА [Hellada/Greece]. In a map of Athens and Sparta on p.39, Macedonia is correspondingly given
separate colouring, to distinguish it clearly from the Greek city-states.

The Greek colonies. Kosta Atsievski & team, Историја за V одделение [History Textbook, Grade V], Skopje 2005, p.37.

Similarly on the map of Rome at her Zenith, where an attempt is again made to distinguish between МАКЕДОНИЈА [Makedonija/Macedonia] and ХЕЛАДА [Hellada/Greece]. The distinction is fixed firmly in the pupil’s mind by being repeated in the texts of the books. On p.56 of the Class V book, for example, it is stated that at the time of Philip II, ‘Macedonia was in the central part of the Balkan peninsula, north of Greece’.

Athens and Sparta. Kosta Atsievski & team, Историја за V одделение [History Textbook, Grade V], Skopje 2005, p.39.
In essence, the new FYROM school history books present ‘Macedonia’ as originally a geographical entity, and only afterwards a geographical and ethnic entity. The boundaries are alleged to have been carved out in prehistoric times, to be preserved throughout the historical period. Pupils are left with the impression that, despite developments down the years, ‘Macedonia’ was always a recognizable unity, one that the 1 913 Treaty of Bucharest ‘partitioned’.
Β. The historical continuity of the ‘fatherland’
The aim of the authors of these school textbooks is to persuade their readers – which effectively mean primary school pupils – that today’s Slavomacedonians are descendants of the ancient Macedonians, by linking past to present. One finds elements of this scattered throughout the books: the synoptic statement, for example, on pp. 4-5 of Atsievski and team’s Grade 5 textbook, intended as an introduction to History:

Our fatherland has a long and rich history. In ancient times it was a powerful state. In the reign of Philip II, Macedonia was the most powerful state in the Balkan Peninsula. In the reign of his son, Alexander of Macedon, it spread out over three continents, and was a world power.

Later, in the Middle Ages, thanks to the work of the Thessaloniki brothers Cyril and Methodius and the first beginnings of Slav writing and literature, Macedonia made an important contribution to world civilization.

During the empire of Samouil (in the 10th and 11th centuries), Macedonia was a powerful state in the Balkans. Later, it often came under foreign rule (Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian).

In the late 14th century, Macedonia was conquered by the Osmanli and was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire. Our forefathers loved their fatherland and fought for it. They rebelled in order to be freed from foreign rule. One of the
greatest and best known revolts was the Ilinden Uprising (1903), when the Kruševo Republic was founded.

After the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), Macedonia was partitioned among its neighbours – Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia – and its population was subjected to denationalization’.

In the form followed by all these textbooks, the unbroken linear continuity of ‘Macedonian’ history is presented as self-evident. The concept of continuity is built round the term ‘Macedonia’. Emphasis is placed an the superiority of the ‘fatherland’, both politically – (it extends ‘to three continents’) and culturally (its ‘important contribution to world civilization’).

Map: ‘Rome at her Zenith’. An obvious attempt is made to distinguish between МАКЕДОНИЈА [Makedonija/ Macedonia] and ХЕЛАДА [Hellada/Greece]. Kosta Atsievski & team, Историја за V одделение [History Textbook, Grade V], Skopje 2005, p.79.
C. The ethnic identity of the population of the ‘fatherland’
‘Macedonia’ having been defined as the age-old ‘fatherland’, the attempt is then made to prove that the ‘Macedonian’ nation is a homogeneous entity that has survived from ancient times to the present day. The schoolbook authors’ goal is to present the history of the Slavomacedonian nation as a continuum in time and place; to leave their pupils feeling that they are carrying on the civilization of ancient Macedonia as its rightful heirs. It is an attempt to link today’s Slav Macedonians with the Macedonians of antiquity. So far as the ancient world is concerned, the authors try and make a distinction between Ancient Macedonians and Southern Greeks. The learner is asked to ‘point out some differences between the organization of the Macedonian state and that of the Greek cities’; and also to ‘consider why the Macedonians held their own Olympic Games independently of the Olympic Games in Greece’ [Atsievski, pp.56 and 58]. Their aim becomes still more obvious when they are talking about Macedonian civilization. The Macedonians’ pantheon comprises only Zeus, ‘Zeïrena’ (Aphrodite), Dionysus, and Heracles:
the other Olympian gods are missing. The Macedonians are presented as speakers of ‘a specific language related to those of neighbouring peoples [Greeks, Illyrians, Thracians]’.
It is stated that in any case ‘they differed from other peoples in their dress’ [Atsievski, p.67]. The effort to draw dividing lines is sometimes not far short of comical:
The Macedonians ate sitting down, in contrast to the Greeks and Romans, who ate lying down. At banquets they did however sometimes copy the Greeks and eat lying down [Atsievski, p.67].
In the new history textbooks for primary schools in FYROM one will find no mention of the ‘Hellenization’ of the upper layers of Macedonian society, used in older textbooks in order to explain away the existence of inscriptions in Greek, the performance of plays in Greek, and so on. The same differentiation between Greek and Macedonian is made for the period of Alexander’s successors. Hellenistic civilization is treated as the outcome of a union ‘of the
civilization of Macedonia and Greece with that of Oriental peoples’ [Atsievski, p.71].
As is well known, the Slav tribes established themselves in the Balkans many centuries later. Here is how the authors attempt to insert the ancient Macedonians into the ethnogenetic progress of the ‘Macedonian people’:
When Slavs were establishing themselves in Macedonia they came across the ancient Macedonians. Relations were poor to start with, but improved later. The Macedonians were Christians, with a superior civilization. Gradually they began
to work together. For their new fatherland the Slavs accepted the name ‘Macedonia’ and started to call themselves Macedonians. The aboriginal [starosedelci] Macedonians accepted the Slav language, and later on the Slavonic script. The Vlachs are remnants of the old Macedonians [Boškovski, p.32].
Thus one can see that FYROM’s new school textbooks have dropped the term ‘Macedonian Slavs – Македонски Словени’, which appeared ad nauseam in previous textbooks about the early medieval period as the characteristic term for the Slavs of Macedonia. The indigenous population is now claimed to have been Slavized in its entirety and to have been identified
with the ‘Macedonians’, now of Slav origin. And in any case, the use of the term ‘Macedonians’ – in the sense that Slav Macedonian historians give it – is placed earlier than the Christianizing of the Slavs in this region, in the very same period that ‘Macedonia’ proves to be the fatherland of the ‘Macedonians’. It is from this moment in time that Macedonia is regarded as being inhabited by ‘Macedonians’. In the reign of Samuel, for instance, there is mention that the ‘Macedonian empire’ was inhabited ‘in its greater part by Macedonians, besides whom there were also Greeks, Armenians, Vlachs, Albanians, Serbs, and others living there’ (Boškovski, p.32). Furthermore, Boškovski tells us [p.35] that ‘St Cyril and St Methodius were by origin Slavs from Thessalonica’ (or Солун, as the city is called in his text).
We should lastly observe how an attempt is made to incorporate the Vlachs into the ethnogenesis of the Slav Macedonians. The Vlachs now appear as descendants of the Ancient Macedonians who have successfully preserved the characteristics of their nationhood and have survived into modern times.

D. The ‘partitioning’ of the ‘fatherland’
In the way the ‘partitioning’ of ‘Macedonia’ is presented, the Balkan Wars – described as ‘wars of conquest’ – hold centre stage. Beginning on p.11 4 of Ačkovska and team’s history textbook for Grade 7 is a chapter entitled ‘The Balkan countries’ policy of conquest at the expense of Macedonia’, with the following account of the period:
During the First Balkan War (1912), it was in the Macedonian region that the armies of Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria fought the Ottoman powers. The Ottoman forces were defeated and forced to retreat. Macedonia was conquered and partitioned among Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria
The authors then instruct the pupil to analyse the map of Macedonia after the First Balkan War in relation to the conquered regions from the point of view of the neighbouring states. They continue:
Not one of the Balkan countries was satisfied by the partition. This is why the war known as the Second Balkan War (1913) broke out between them. The greater part of Macedonia was now taken by Greece. The region which went to Serbia was that of the present Republic of Makedonija, less Stromnitsa and environs. The last and smallest part went to Bulgaria. This partition was ratified by the Peace Treaty of Bucharest (August 1913).

On p.11 6, Ačkovska sums up the outcome of the Balkan Wars as:
…catastrophic for Macedonia. She was partitioned among Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria, with a small part also annexed to the fledgling Albanian state.

In the second Grade 7 history textbook, by Ristovski and team, p.97, the aim of the Balkan Wars was ‘to expel the Osmanlis from the Balkans and to partition the regions that had been under their sway’. In a view expressed on p.130, ‘the Second Balkan War took on an overt, conquering, and anti- Macedonian aspect, as Greek soldiers distinguished themselves by the crimes they committed against the unarmed Macedonian population’. At p.131 the authors comment:

The Bucharest Peace Treaty had grave political, ethnic, and economic consequences for the Macedonian people. The treaty meant that the territorial and ethnic unity of Macedonia was disrupted; that a process began of ethnic expulsion of the Macedonian people and colonization by a non-Macedonian population, the aim being to alter the traditional historical ethnic character of Macedonia. The name Macedonia and the language Macedonian were banned; and the Balkan states carried out a policy of assimilation and denationalization.

The Macedonian economy was in ruins, and the population was forced to emigrate from its native land

On p.135 we read:
By the Treaty of Bucharest on 30thJuly/10th August 1913, Macedonia was partitioned four ways between the combatant powers: Serbia
(Vardar Macedonia), Greece (Aegean Macedonia), Bulgaria (Pirin Macedonia),
with a smaller piece thrown to the newly founded state of Albania. This act disrupted the totality of Macedonia, and it was upheld by the Versailles Peace Treaty (1919) and the Paris Peace Treaty (1946).

Macedonia at the time of the First Balkan War. Violetta Ačkovska & team, Историја за VII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VII], Skopje 2005, p.114
The ‘partition of the fatherland’ is given visual form by maps of various kinds. On p.11 4 of Ačkovska and team’s Grade 7 textbook there is a map with the title Macedonia after the First Balkan War. The ‘Greek occupation zone’ is shown in yellow, the ‘Serbian occupation zone’ in red, and the ‘Bulgarian occupation zone’ in green.

Partitioned Macedonia at the time of the First World War. Blaže Ristovski and team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII] (Skopje 2005), p.14.
In Ristovski and team’s Grade 8 history textbook (p.14), the title of the map is Macedonia, as partitioned after the First World War. A footnote tells the reader that the broken line represents ‘state borders’, the continuous line ‘the boundaries of Macedonia’, the colour yellow ‘Greek occupation’, the colour blue ‘Serb occupation’, the colour mauve ‘Bulgarian occupation’, and the colour yellow ‘Albanian occupation’.
On p.131 of Ristovski and team’s Grade 7 history textbook, the map entitled Macedonia and her geographical and ethnic borders after Partition (1913). Here the footnote tells the reader that the broken line represents ‘state borders’. It should be pointed out here that the Ristovski who is the author of these handbooks is none other than Blaže Ristovski, a notable Academician and a former Vice-President of FYROM, in the years 1 991-1992.
Macedonia and her geographical and ethnic borders after partition (1913). Blaže Ristovski
& team, Историја за VII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VII], Skopje 2005, p.131.
The same map reappears on p.54 of Velkovski’s textbook for primary school Grade 8, where it is called simply Partition of Macedonia. The caption tells the reader that the yellow line marks ‘ethnic borders’ and the colour green indicates ‘the part of the region under Greek rule’.

The partition of Macedonia. Vlado Velkovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopje 2005, p.54.

On p.115 of the same textbook, the map’s title is Macedonia after the Second Balkan War. The colouring immediately suggests a unitary area partitioned between neighbour states. At the same time, pupils are urged in another of the handbooks [Velkovski, p.55], to remember the ‘historical ethnic borders of Macedonia’.

The partition of Macedonia. Vlado Velkovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopje 2005, p.54.
E. Oppression of the ‘Macedonian’ minority in Greece
The principal element in this approach is to have the pupils convinced that after ‘partition’ of the ‘fatherland’, there remained compact ‘Macedonian’ populations within the national borders of the ‘partitioning’ states. Greek Macedonia , after the Treaty of Bucharest, is characterized as ‘the Aegean part of Macedonia’ (Ristovski, Grade 8 history textbook, pp. 13, 31, 46 31, 46, 86, 1 01, 1 03, 1 51-154 passim; Velkovski, Grade 8 history textbook, pp. 39, 53-54, 87, 110-114, 127, 150-151), leaving no doubt in the pupil’s mind that here is an irredenta portion of the ‘fatherland’.

The situation is described in the blackest hues. Ristovski (Grade 7 history textbook, p. 132) writes:

As a result of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), Macedonia was partitioned between the Balkan States (Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania, which had only just been recognized).

The partitioning of Macedonia had grave political, ethnic, and economic consequences. The Balkan states started to carry out a policy of expulsion of the Macedonian people and colonization by a non-Macedonian population. The name Macedonia and the Macedonian language were banned; and the Balkan states carried out a policy of assimilation and denationalization of the Macedonian

And in a separate chapter of the same book, ‘The Position of Macedonians
in Greece’ is described thus (pp.46 sq):

As a result of the Balkan Wars and the First World War, Greece had territorial expansion northwards (the Aegean part of Macedonia and Western Thrace). Most of the population [of the new territory] was of non-Greek, and mainly Macedonian, origin. After the First World War, Greece started to carry out a policy of expulsion of the Macedonian people and installation of a non-Macedonian population.

The Neuilly Peace Treaty envisaged ‘voluntary emigration’ of other-national population between Greece and Bulgaria. On the basis of this Treaty, 80,000 or more Macedonians were forced to emigrate to Bulgaria.

The Lausanne Peace Treaty (1923) envisaged a compulsory exchange of Muslims in Greece and Christians in Turkey. On the basis of this Treaty, almost 350,000 Muslims (Turks and Islamized Macedonians) were forced to emigrate to Turkey. Greece replaced them with a Greek and non-Greek Christian population of about 618,000. This altered the ethnic (Macedonian) character of the Aegean part of Macedonia. After the great colonization, all villages, towns, rivers, and mountains
were christened with Greek names.

And on p.47:

No sooner had the Peace Treaty of Bucharest been signed, than Greece began to carry out a policy of assimilation and denationalization of the Macedonian people. The name Macedonia and the Macedonian language were banned. Macedonians
were called Bulgarians, Slav-speaking Greeks, or ‘locals’ (aboriginals). The use of Macedonian in everyday life, at festivals, and at funerals was strictly forbidden.

The Cyrillic script was removed from churches, monuments, and gravestones. Books in Slavonic were burned and destroyed. Only in 1925, and because of pressure from the League of Nations, did the Greek state print, at Athens, an Alphabet Book (Abecedar) in Macedonian, and in Roman letters; but because of reaction from Belgrade and Sofia this Alphabet Book was never used for the education of the Macedonian minority.

Pupils are given a similar picture in Velkovski’s handbook. In a chapter entitled ‘Macedonia’s Position after the Treaty of Bucharest’, they are required on page 51 to answer the question ‘Should we approve of the partition of regions, peoples, and states?’
They are then taught that:

In its desire to create a single-language state, the Greek state hastened to alter the ethnic character of [this] part of Macedonia by expulsion of the Macedonian population and colonization with a non-Macedonian population in these parts. … This voluntary population exchange rested on the Neuilly Peace Treaty. What had been a treaty for the voluntary emigration of Macedonians in fact turned into a treaty for forcible emigration. To replace the emigrant Macedonian population, a Greek population was installed in (colonized) these parts.

After the great Greek colonization, the Greek state voted a law, in 1926, whereby the place names in the part of Macedonia lying in Greece changed. All villages, towns, rivers, and mountains were rechristened with Greek names. After the political partition of Macedonia in1913, the Greek state began to carry out an energetic policy of denationalization and assimilation of Macedonians. The name Macedonia and the Macedonian language were banned. Macedonians were
called ‘Slav-speaking Greeks’. All Macedonians were obliged – and were forcibly constrained – to change their first name and surname. Macedonian was banned, and at the same time it was strictly forbidden to converse in Macedonian, even in the home.

In parallel, pupils are asked, in a homework exercise on p. 54, to answer questions the like of these:

What did the denationalization and assimilation of the Macedonian population in the Aegean part of Macedonia consist of?’ and ‘What was the policy carried out by the Greek state against the Macedonians in the Aegean part of Macedonia?’

The handbook also encourages pupils to study and learn more about ‘the process of disnationalization and assimilation by neighbouring peoples against the Macedonians’

Pupils are taught that, despite the hostile situation that allegedly prevailed in Greek Macedonia, ‘Macedonians’ did not cease to fight for their national rights. Ristovski writes (p.47):
The Macedonians put up stiff resistance to the Greek policy of disnationalization and assimilation. In 1934, IMRO (United) was quite active, here as well, in promoting the Macedonian nation and the Macedonian language. And on p.49: Under difficult conditions, under foreign rule, the partitioned Macedonians in various different states developed their activities to a significant degree, both in nationhood and politics, and in culture and education. They were actively involved in the ranks of the Communist Parties of Jugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania, and in other organizations.

Macedonians fighting for their national rights. Vlado Velkovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopje 2005, p.39.

In the case of Velkovski’s handbook, the writers have realized that a picture is more immediate than a text, and they embellish the chapter in question with a painting by a Greek artist, on page 39. The picture is titled in Greek, with the words Αη Λαός [‘the sainted People’]. It has typical Greeks (a soldier, an Evzone, and so on), the Greek flag, a quatrain from Ritsos (‘A little people, and it fights/though it has no swords and bullets…’), and is liberally sprinkled with Greek symbols. The caption for pupils reads: ‘Macedonians fighting for their national rights’! As far as the aims of the ‘progressive Macedonian movement’ between the two World Wars are concerned, what Ristovski’s Grade 8 book has to say is:
All the Macedonian fighters ranged themselves on the side of national self-determination and the union of the Macedonian people into one separate state.

The Second World War is considered by the authors to have brought new troubles on the ‘Macedonians’, with their ‘fatherland’ having been ‘partitioned’ yet again by other dynasts. Velkovski’s chapter on this is adorned (p.100) with a map entitled Map of conquered Macedonia, after the handing over of the administration to Bulgaria by Germany. The caption to the map marks ‘state borders’ with a broken line and ‘geographical and ethic borders’ with a continuous line.

Map of conquered Macedonia, after the handing over of the administration to Bulgaria by Germany. Vlado Velkovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopje 2005, p.100
Ristovski’s other handbook, for Grade 8, gives much the same picture, with the map on page 87, entitled Partitioned Macedonia, after the 1941 Conquest. Here a broken line denotes ‘geographical and ethnic borders, deep blue the ‘German Occupation’, light blue the ‘Bulgarian Occupation’, yellow the ‘Italian Occupation’, and shocking pink the ‘Albanian Occupation’.

Partitioned Macedonia, after the 1941 Conquest. Blaže Ristovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII] (Skopje 2005), p.87.

The assessment is, nevertheless, that the ‘Macedonian’ people did not accept the situation as a fait accompli, but began to organize their own struggle for freedom. This struggle is portrayed visually in maps of ‘free regions’. In Velkovski’s Grade 8 textbook (p.105), there is a map labelled The successes of Macedonian units helped to increase the free regions. The map
shows several regions of Greek Macedonia as ‘free’, leaving the pupil with the impression that they were liberated by Tito’s Partisans.
This is a recycling of the familiar tale that ELAS permitted Partisan units to enter and to remain in Greek territory. It is true that ELAS – a Greek organization – did control a broad range of regions in Greek Macedonia, but these regions cannot be regarded as ‘liberated’.

Map: ‘The successes of Macedonian units helped to increase the free regions’. The ‘free regions’ include territory in Greek Macedonia. Vlado Velkovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopje 2005, p.105.

An identical viewpoint is encouraged by two maps in Ristovski’s Grade 7 textbook. On the map (p.92) entitled Free regions of Macedonia in 1942 , several regions of Greek Macedonia have been coloured blue, as ‘free’, while another map (p.94) shows in colour the ‘free’ regions in the year 1943.

‘Free regions of Macedonia in the year 1942’, Блаже Ристовски, Шукри Рахими, Симо Младеновски, Стојан Киселоновски και Тодор Чепреганов, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII], Skopie, 2005, σ. 92.
Ristovski’s Grade 8 history textbook describes he struggle of the ‘Macedonian’ movement under the Occupation as follows (p.103):
The Macedonians in the Aegean part of Macedonia took part in the Anti-Fascist Struggle. Throughout this struggle they promoted their cultural and national values. Throughout the Second World War, the Macedonians managed to promote Macedonian cultural and national values. In the People’s Liberation Struggle, various Macedonian newspapers were printed in Aegean Macedonia; for instance, ‘Slavjanomakedonski glas’ [Voice of the Slavomacedonians], ‘Iskra’ [The Spark], ‘Pobeda’ [Victory], and ‘Sloboda’ [Freedom]. The first Macedonian schools were opened. Textbooks and literature were printed. The Macedonian language was introduced into the liturgy.

Pupils get much the same picture from Velkovski (p.11 2). As regards the narrative of events in the Second World War, one observes an important different in Velkovski’s treatment of the Drama Revolt of 1 941, seen by Slavomacedonian historians as an uprising of the ‘Macedonian’ people. In Velkovski’s textbook, on page 87, this revolt is treated as due to ‘pressure from
the Bulgarian government at the expense of the Greek refugee population’. This policy (says Velkovski) caused ‘great dissatisfaction among the Greek and Macedonian population’, the result being the outbreak of the Drama Revolt, in which ‘among those taking part were Macedonians under the influence of the Greek Communist Party’.

Map: ‘Free regions of Macedonia in the year 1943’. The impression given is that these were liberated by Tito’s Partisans. The ‘free regions’ include territory in Greek Macedonia. Blaže Ristovski & team, Историја за VIII одделение [History Textbook, Grade VIII] (Skopje 2005), p.94.

At all events, both textbooks are in agreement that ‘after 1945, all the gains of the Macedonian people were wiped out once more by the Greek state, and Greece went on with her traditional policy of disnationalization and assimilation of the Macedonian people in this part of Macedonia’ (Velkovski, p.112; Ristovski, p.103).

The two textbooks also converge in their view of the Greek Civil War, opining that it was the Slavomacedonians who were ‘the basic player in the war’ (Ristovski, p.152; Velkovski, p.151). In Ristovski’s words (p.154):

After the defeat of the Greek Democratic Army, the Aegean part of Macedonia suffered great hardship. There was great material damage, with natural wealth and foodstuffs being destroyed. Above and beyond this, there were some 21,000 Macedonian dead there: in the 1951 Census there was no mention of 46 Macedonian villages that had had a total population of 20,913 in the year 1940.

A large number of villagers were forcibly evicted from their homes. Some 20,000Macedonians were compelled to flee across the border, taking refuge in
Vardar Macedonia, various districts of Jugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, and the USSR. It was yet one more exodus in the history of the Macedonian peoplem.

On the same page Ristovski speaks of ‘the founding of the free Macedonian state – that is, the People’s Republic of Makedonija – characterized moreover as ‘free Macedonia’. These references effortlessly lead the pupil to the conclusion that the remaining parts of Macedonia were ‘enslaved’.

Greece’s postwar policy is then described as ‘a policy of disnationalization and assimilation, while we read that ‘Macedonians taking refuge in East European countries were stripped of their citizenship,and banned form returning to the country, their property rights not being acknowledged’ (Velkovski, p.151). Greece’s policy is compared to Turkey’s: the two countries ‘do not respect the national rights of their minorities (Macedonians, and Kurds)’. It is however conceded that:
Within the last few years, as a result of pressure from the international community, we can observe both in Greece and in Turkey a more tolerant attitude to demonstrations by Macedonians and Kurds (Ristovski, p.116). From 1990 onwards, there have been significant changes in Greece as regards Macedonians. In the Aegean part of Macedonia, despite all the difficulties, Macedonian organizations, such as The Rainbow, have been founded, and Macedonian newssheets, such as Zora and Nea Zora [The Dawn, The New Dawn] have been printed. In Moglena, in 2001, the first Macedonian church (Aghia Chrysi Moglenon) was consecrated. But all of this has been done without the use of the nation’s name, and without official recognition. (Ristovski, p.152).

F. Cultivation of Albanian irredentism

There is some limited cultivation of Albanian irredentism in FYROM school history textbooks, limited mainly because the material on the history of the Albanian nation occupies relatively less space. Be this as it may, the pattern of developing the theme is not dissimilar to the corresponding pattern for the Slavomacedonians. We will confine ourselves to elements whose aim is to mark out ‘Albanian’ territory and its ‘partitioning’, and to ‘prove’ that the Greek state has a ‘repressive’ policy.

On page 50 of the Ačkovska and team textbook, it is asserted that ‘the Albanians did not agree with the reforms, and they decided to put up resistance as these reforms were being put into practice. In 1833 revolts broke out from the Çamëri to Shkodër, and from the Korçë area to Vlorë’. A little later, on page 52, there is a reference to alleged plans for the partition of Albania,
with the assertion that ‘even before the outbreak of the Eastern Crisis in the 1870s, the neighbouring Balkan states – Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro – had plans to extend their borders in regions with an Albanian population’. An Act of Partition was, say the authors, signed at Budapest. It is also opined, on page 53, that:
With this agreement we have the partition of regions where Albanians had long been living. Specific regions of the Ottoman state would pass into the hands of Greece, while Serbia would be given Kosovo and Montenegro would be given parts of northern Albania.

Following the incorporation of ‘Albanian’ regions into Greek territory, the Greek state began (it is claimed) to oppress the Albanian population. Page 73 of Ačkovska ’s textbook says:
The condition of Albanians in the Çamëri, which remained within the frame of the Greek state, continued to deteriorate, the Greek government refusing the Albanians all cultural and educational rights, and indeed preventing them from
expressing themselves as Albanians. The Albanians doggedly sought the help of the Great Powers, but all their efforts were without result.

A similar picture of ‘oppression’ is painted for the period between the two World Wars, by Ristovski and team (p. 1 20):
But Albanians in Greece were in a completely different situation. The Metaxas government exercised great pressure on Albanians in the Çamëri. A large number of males aged from 16 to 70 were thrown into jail and shipped to the Greek islands.

Of the period of the Greek-Albanian War, Velkovski and team write (p.92):
With the help of Albanian warriors, the Greek army soon recaptured the Çamëri. The Albanian people in the Çamëri played their part in the struggle against the Fascists. In the summer of 1943, the Albanian warriors of the Çamëri joined forces with units of the Greek army as a common army in the struggle against the conqueror, while in the Spring of 1944 the Ali Demi brigade was formed and incorporated in ELAS.
Of the puppet state set up by the Italians Velkovski and team write (p.91):
This was not a national Albania, for it did not include all regions inhabited by Albanians. The Çamëri, a region in Greece where there were a large number of Albanians, lay outside its borders.

In parallel, the events of 1 944 in Epirus are thus described by Ristovski and
team (p.120):
In June 1944, when the Germans had withdrawn, a general assault began on the Albanian population of the Çamëri. More than a thousand men, women and children were killed. Many were subsequently forced to escape to Albania.
The passages quoted make it clear that despite some improvements and some toning down of excesses of language intended to fire up the pupils, FYROM’s primary school history textbooks, taken as a whole, continue to recycle the stereotypes of Slavomacedonian history-writing from 1945 onwards.‘Greater Macedonia’ is presented as an unbreakable unity in time and place.
Furthermore, today’s Slavomacedonians appear as the heirs to the history and civilization of the ancient Macedonians. Another sacred cow is the ‘partition’ of ‘ethnic and geographical Macedonia’ by the Treaty of Bucharest. This treaty is seen as the origin of the ‘oppression’ of the ‘Macedonians’ who stayed behind in ‘Aegean Macedonia’. Lastly, and not without its interest, there is the surfacing, in FYROM school textbooks, of Albanian nationalism: this, even if limited in extent, makes for similar stereotypes for ‘Tsamouria’ (Çamëri).


  1. Ljupco Popadinovski, Skopje, R. MacedoniaMay 29, 2009 at 10:52 PM

    what you reffer here as propaganda are historical facts.

    this is just a pale attempt as many others, to deny the macedonian identity and most of all to hide the genocide that the greeks commited over macedonians.

    macedonians are not greeks or bulgarian or serbs,
    simply macedonians.

  2. Ljupco I am a Macedonian, however I am in no way identified with or related to the newly formed independent state referred to as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” ; I am instead insulted by the fact that I cannot be known as a Macedonian without being identified by others as related to FYROM. This is a rape of my identity and a continuing cultural genocide. My cultural identity has been usurped.

    Slav Macedonians need to realize that their newly conceived ethnogenetic dogma, extending to classical antiquity, encroaches upon the Hellenic cultural heritage and the identity of their Greek neighbours to the south. As such, it threatens to ignite a clash of identities in the region as a whole.

    The use of the Macedonian name as a state appellation in no way confers the right to appropriate everything and anything derived from or pertained to the entire region of Macedonia. This needs to be legally clarified and remain binding erga omnes.

  3. I am a Macedonian. I am not a GREEK. I am not a SLAV.

  4. Nikola you are from Greece, Bulgaria or FYROM ?

    DON’T YOU F.I.R.O.M. ME !!!!


  6. i can't tell you if you are Macedonian or if you are Slave i can tell you only this, if you wan't to call yourself Macedon you must call yourself and Greek because we have the same language and the same history over than 3000 is so simple!!

  7. Macedonian and Greek language is not same

  8. The modern Macedonian "Ethnic Macedonians" are Macedonian BULGARIANS. End of story.

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  13. My grandparents and parents were born in Macedonia before Greek rule.
    My mother was forced to attend a Greek school at the age of three to learn the Greek language and was never permitted to speak Macedonian at any time. My whole ancestral family were forced to change their names and were dispersed to other countries. Even brothers with the same last name were forced to change their names differently so they could not be connected. One of my great-grandfathers was 'mayor' of a large Macedonian village with many property holdings. He was killed in a Greek jail and all his property was lost to the Greeks. You need to speak with someone who has lived through this reign of terror, and not read books filled with partisan propaganda.

  14. Macedonians are Slavs, and they are Serbs, but over the years and centuries they have created a new identity associated with geographic location in which they live, with the territory where they are, In fact, the Macedonians (Slavic) did not have a national self-consciousness to the 18 or 19th century, simply were Serbs from Old Serbia and southern Serbia, also part of the Macedonians who lived in the east of the country is identified with the Bulgarians! Finally, the history that is being studied in schools in Macedonia is completely distorted, the Serbs are presented as occupiers, and we were one people, Serbs were also liberated Macedonia from the Turks, the whole southern Serbia with Kosovo and Metohija, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbian army went up to the Alps to Slovenia and liberated the whole geographical area of the former Yugoslavia in World War I. Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians and Romanians drove the Turks in the First Balkan War. In the second Balkan War, we drove the Bulgarians not to conquer Macedonia, and, above all, we, the Serbs is described as occupying forces in Macedonia. We are your rescuer proves I monument on Kajmakčalan, and now the monument looks like meadow toilet, all the Serbian cemetery in Macedonia, which testify to fight in World War I were overgrown with weeds. Macedonians think, would you existed as a nation or not, that was not the Serbs and Serbia!

  15. What a wonderful country Yugoslavia was. Ethnically divided by religon and ethnicity (not race because we are all from the same fucking region). Controlled by a dictatorship that eventually collapses causing genocide, ethnic division, brother killing not only brother, but mothers, unborn babies etc because of NATIONALISM. The boundaries of Europe were agreed many many years ago, under international law Greece is a soverign entity. Yet FYROM that has been in existance 10 seconds wants it all. How through brain washing the young.

    I tell you FYROM this is no way to treat your neighbour, instead of the path of frienship you choose hatred and brainwashing the youg.

    Do the maths, FYROM 2 million Greece 11 million, that = a lot of pain alot of deaths alot of suffering.

    The nationalist expantionist propoganda serves the purposes of evil men. FYROM you say you are civillised? You behave like barbarians using the tactics of Nazi's, of the war criminal nations that govern the world, using their support.

  16. Ok... i have father.. he have father also.. my grandfather has father and generations generations ago... my grandfather learn my father that he is maedonian because he is that.. my father teach me that im macedonian1 because that i am.. i will teach my son that he is macedonian! is so simple..that is blood gene .we bring that with us woth our colective memories.. we didnt wake up some day and all 4 milions macedonians become macedonians we arre that what we are.. that we know that we are! where in the world u can see someone else to tell me who im i?? od what my name?? nut know what? if u cant be me the easy way is to copy me.. but after are darker than original

    MACEDONIA IS DIVITED IN 1912-1913 IN BUCHUREST AGRIMENT between SERBIA GREECE BULGARIA!! ouu fuckin serbs when they where here they teach us we are serbs change our last names witrh that "IC" when bulgarians ocupated macedonia thay change our last names with that "OV" but after all we are here!! proud macedonians!!u try it to assimilate us bring orthodox turks from little asia in ocuapated agean macedonia(today "GREEK MACEDONIANS..: HAHAH..SPANISH-SWEDISH:d but after all macedonian gene is strong after all these years...we stay what we are MACEDONIANS u cant change colective memory colective blood and gene NEVER!! u can have money propaganda everything but there is no force in the earth that can change some national identity.. TRUE IS ONE!! MACEDONIA IS DIVITED U HAVE ONE BIG WONDERFULL PART OF OUR MOTHER LAND TOGETHER WITH THE BULGARIA.. THAT IS THE ONLY REASON ABOUT YOUR POLITIC TODAY!! macedonians there havent human rights at all!! and u are in EU?? hah!! old slut europe!! i will tell u one thing DEMOCRACY WAS BORN AND HE DIED IN GREECE!!

  17. I live in Naoussa Greece and is a town near of Aristotel School. Aristotel teach as we know Great Alexander in this school. All we know that the language was greek.

    In ancient tomps here we never found Slavian, only Greek.

    All of these Propaganda about Macedonia is to be used from other reason, like we say USA? To control this area?

    And why want to control this area? Well is like to say Gold? Oil? or other incriments.

    Wake up all of you dont you an area name for you excistance of nation, its eligal and its a crime against history and humanity.

  18. "Those who live in Skopje and say that that is Macedon and Alexander's homeland are as IGNORANT and OUTRAGEOUS as if someone was to say that Oxford University was really in Belarus and Oxford was Minsk"

    Prof. Robin Lane Fox of Oxford University


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