Friday, October 24, 2008

The New Macedonian Question

The birth of the 'People's Republic of Macedonia'

In Europe there are many place-names which have strong historical associations, but none more so than Macedonia [1]. It is a measure of the fame of the ancient Macedonians, that their name has survived for over 2,500 years to describe a corner of the Balkan Peninsula, long after they themselves ceased to play any important part in European history.

Today the geographical boundaries of Macedonia are difficult to define, however, little is known about the new 'Macedonian question'.
For instance:
How well known is it in the world that in the Balkans there are two Macedonias, separated by a common frontier?
How many people know that the northern small landlocked Slavonic Macedonia, known officially as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), has a seat at the UN, whereas the historical Greek Macedonia does not, because it is not a state but only a province of Greece?
How many people know how and when this multi-ethnic state was created ?

In order to forge a new nation-state from a population, various parts of which possess a different national/ ethnical background or consciousness, you need three key elements: a political motive, fabricated history and a fabricated language.

Let's examine how the state of FYROM was created.

The geographical area which makes up FYROM today did not appear as 'Macedonia' on any map before the Second World War. Its population is mainly Slavonic and Albanian. In 1944 Tito announced the creation of the 'People's Republic of Macedonia' in order to provide a launching pad from which to lay claim to Greek Macedonia and the warm-water port of Thessaloniki [2]. While the Western Allies were busy planning the future of the Balkans, others had already shaped it. By the last quarter of 1944, the communists were the indisputable rulers in Yugoslavia and were working hard to become so in Bulgaria too.

POLITICALLY Tito had turned the old "Southern Serbia" (named as Vardarska Banovina) into the "People's Republic of Macedonia", without taking the trouble to consult his Bulgarian or Greek comrades as he entertained designs for the incorporation of all parts of geographical Macedonia into his new federal unit [3]. The 'People's Republic of Macedonia' was a political creation only, since its population, a polyglot conglomeration of nationalities, had no substantial "Macedonian" national consciousness. Tito's Macedonia, with Skopje as its capital, was created in the same manner as Stalin's Belorussia after the end of the Bolshevik revolution.

ETHNOLOGICALLY, Tito's new "Macedonian" republic was to be forged out of a population with ethnic and linguistic ties to Albania, Bulgaria or Serbia. The 1940 official Yugoslav census recognized only two large ethnic groups in Vardar Province: Slavs at 69% and Muslims at 31%. In 1945, three years after the formation of the 'People's Republic of Macedonia', the Slavs disappeared from the census and were replaced by 66% 'Macedonians'!

By recognizing the existence of a separate 'Macedonian' nation, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia was able to gain control of Vardar Macedonia and justify retaining it as part of the Yugoslav federation [4]. In order to accomplish this it was necessary to eliminate the sense of Bulgarian national identity shared by many inhabitants of the area. Since this was clearly not in the interests of Yugoslavia, and since the inter-war policy of Serbianization under the Yugoslav Kingdom had failed, the only alternative was to recognize the Slavs of Vardar Macedonia as neither Bulgarians nor Serbs, but as something else as……….."Macedonians".

Recognizing the 'Macedonian' nation and establishing the 'People's Republic of Macedonia' was the most effective way for Yugoslav officials to integrate Vardar Macedonia securely into the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Another motive behind the Communist Party of Yugoslavia's decision to recognize the existence of a separate Macedonian nation was its desire to extend Yugoslav control over Bulgarian and Greek Macedonia as well [5].

LINGUISTICALLY the new nation needed a language and script. Initially the spoken dialect of northern geographical Macedonia was chosen as the basis for the "Macedonian" language. To sever the linguistic bonds between the "Macedonians" and the others slavic speakers (Serbs and Bulgarians), this new language was fabricated and touted as a separate Macedonian language, the language, it was said, of Alexander the Great!

Hupchick explains: "The new 'Macedonian' literary language intentionally was based on a dialect spoken in the central Vardar area (Prilep-Bitola region) to remove it geographically as far as possible from Bulgarian and Serbian linguistic 'contaminations'. A separate 'Macedonian'Cyrillic alphabet (including wholly new letters & a few Serbiancharacters) was devised to make the language different from Bulgarian.'Bulgarianisms' were replaced by folk substitutes, and modern Bulgarian, Serbian or Russian technical words and modern expressions intentionally were avoided in favor of Western (including American) terms. Literary Macedonian was as different as humanly possible from other slavic languages, being a veritable linguistic hodgepodge approaching the French meaning of macedoine when referring to a mixed salad" [6].

To complete the charade, Tito's regime commissioned the linguist Blago Konev (he changed his name later to Blaze Koneski) to devise an new alphabet. Koneski modified the Serbian version of the Cyrillic alphabet and called it the "Macedonian alphabet". Koneski and his linguistics also modified the Old Church Slavonic, (now named in the FYROM as "old Macedonian"), and fabricated the lexicon of the "Macedonian" language from a mixture of Bulgarian, Serb, Croat, Slovenian, and other Slavic languages. The alphabet was accepted on 3 May 1945 and the orthography on 7 June 1945.

The writing of a history for the 'People's Republic of Macedonia' had the same goal as the creation of the language - to de-Bulgarianize the Slavs of Vardar Macedonia and create a separate national consciousness. Since Marx claimed to have discovered the immutable laws of history, communists have considered the "correct" interpretation of history as the foundation of all social science and a key element of nationality. As usual in the Balkans, history is a primary ingredient in the development of national consciousness. Hence, the Yugoslav communists were most anxious to mould the history of the Macedonian region to fit their conception of Slav-Macedonian consciousness.

In the 1960s and 70s, the Yugoslavs established committees to concern themselves with the "Macedonian" language and ethnicity in Yugoslavia and abroad, trained teachers in the language, and sent linguists to America, Canada, and Australia to teach the language and present lectures on the existence of a special Slavic race, related to ancient Macedonians.According to a 1944 U.S State Department Airgram, the U.S considered, "talk of Macedonian "nation", Macedonian "Fatherland", or Macedonia "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" [7].

What has changed so that the USA and the Bush administration, through its recognition FYROM as 'Macedonia' in 2004, now supports these aggressive intentions against Greece?

To be continued……..

[1-] English term of "Macedonia" derived from the Latin Macedonius "Macedonian," from Gk. Makedones, lit. "highlanders" or "the tall ones," related to makednos "long, tall," makros "long, large"(see macro-).

[2] International Organization, Vol. 1, No. 3, (Sep., 1947), pp.494-508. Appointed under the Security Council resolution of December 19, 1946, the "Commission of Investigation Concerning Greek Frontier Incidents" on May 27, 1947 submitted a report, to the Security Council.The general conclusion of the UN Commission as about Macedonia issue, was that Yugoslav and Bulgarian Governments themselves revived and promoted a separatist movement among the Slav minorities in Macedonia.In making this finding, the Commission pointed out that some 20,000 Greek citizens had fled to Yugoslavia and some 5,000 to Bulgaria — most of them Slavs — and that the treatment of this group by Greek officials had "provided fertile breeding ground for separatist movements." In Yugoslavia, Macedonian separatism was the special goal of an organization called the NOF (National Labor Front) which had its headquarters in Skopje and Monastirion(Bitola).

[3] The Macedonian Question, Britain and the Southern Balkans 1939-1949, Dimitrios Livanios, page 245.

[4] -Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question, Palmer and King , page 199.

[5]- The Macedonian Conflict, Loring Danforth, page 66.

[6]- Dennis Hupchick, The Balkans from Constantinople to Communism, 2002, p.430.

[7] -US Department, CircularAirgram(868.014/26 Dec. 1944)

I could never completed this article without the extence help and support of the macedoniaontheweb members.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Greek Sense of Humour on the FYROM Land Claim :

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nations Assembly and made the world community smile.

A representative from Greece began:

"Before beginning my talk I want to tell you something about Great Alexander.
When he successfully tamed Bucephalus, he crossed Axios river and when he saw the water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath!'

He removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water.

When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Slav of the Macedonia had stolen them."

The FYROM representative jumped up furiously and shouted,

"What are you talking about? The Slavs weren't there then."

The Greek representative smiled and said -"And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FYROM: The Troublemaker of the Balkans?

Nicolas Mottas
October 21, 2008

One of the most significant decades-long problem in South Eastern Europe is the irripresible political use of history and national symbols by region's governments. The case of 'Macedonia' is an example of the above assumption. Since its birth as a state entity in 1991, just after the dissolution of the united Yugoslavia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has based its own existence in the appropriation and use of ancient Greek names and symbols. That created de facto a clone-state without a concrete national identity; a 'ticking bomb' in the heart of the Balkans, as the UN High Representative in Kosovo described FYROM in December 2000.

Since its independence from Yugoslavia the state of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia remains a thorn in the heart of South Eastern Europe, being a factor of political unsteadiness for the broader region. There are two major issues which create justifiable concern and doubts regarding FYROM's contribution to Peace and Security in the Balkan peninsula: A first - and most significant - issue is the known naming-dispute with neighbouring Greece. Since its creation in 1991 and until today, Skopje bases its policy on imbecilic and anachronistic irredentist ideologies. The Greek position, being in accordance with the principles of International Law, is that nationalistic, chauvinistic and irredentist policies do not have place in the region. Therefore the appropriation of Macedonia's name, of ancient Greek symbols (e.g Vergina Sun) and the invention of supposed minorities (e.g. Macedonian Minority) must not be used as the 'Trojan Horse' of irredentism. That is the actual and fundamental problem in the relations between Athens and Skopje. Greece does not express a hypersensitive or insubstantial theory about its historical heritage - on the contrary, Greece clearly defines that chauvinism must be completely abolished from Balkan politics, something which FYROM's leadership seems not to understand. Or, perhaps, it does not want to understand it.

Furthermore, the governments of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have failed to consort with the UN-sponsored Interim Accord of 1995, broking specific provisions of that agreement. According to a U.S. Senate Resolution (SR 300), submitted in August 2007 by senators Barack Obama, Olympia Snowe and Robert Menendez, Skopje must "stop the utilization of materials that violate provisions of the United Nations-brokered Interim Agreement between FYROM and Greece regarding hostile activities or propaganda" (Article 7, Paragraph 1 of the Interim Accord). Additionally to that, the current Prime Minister of FYROM have done his best in order to break provisions of the 1995 Agreement, by grossly interfering in domestic Greek politics. He did that through public statements and interviews, either by refering to Greece's political scandals - which have nothing to do with his business - or by posing to international organizations nonsensical issues regarding supposed repression of ethnic minorities in Greece. But such actions consist violation of Article 6 (Paragraph 2) of the Interim Accord which prohibits Skopje's interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring Greece.

A second issue has to do with Human Rights' protection in FYROM, within the frame of Democracy's establishment in the country. According to the 2003 Amnesty International report for the former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia, opposition journalists and Human Rights activists face extrajudicial executions and intimidation. Furthermore, the Internationa Helsinki Federation for Human Rights has reported Police harassment of ethnic minorities, including Albanians and Roma. But its not only that. On January 11, 2004, the local authorities arrested Bishop Jovan of Ohrid and Exarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Skopje, a case which created obvious concern in the European Union regarding the protection of religious freedoms in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In addition to the above, FYROM's political stability is still in doubt as long as 25% of its population are ethnic Albanians. Despite the 2001 Framework Agreement of Ohrid which brough an end to the fighting between Slavophones and Albanians, the problem still exists as a factor of fluidity in the broader region. The solution to the issue passes through the European perspective of FYROM as well as its participation in the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

However, Skopje's declinatory political attitude of irredentism leads the country far from the international organizations; actually, it leads to nowhere. From its side, Greece wants FYROM's existence as a stable state-entity, full member of the EU and NATO. It should be noted, once more, that the Greek governments have supported EU economic aid to FYROM, while Greece is the number one foreign investor in the country with around $1 invested capital, creating thousands of job opportunities. Athens has expressed its constant support to FYROM's European perspective, but with the infrangible prerequisite that there will be an accepted solution: a compound name with a geographic qualifier for all uses. Nevertheless, even today, Skopje remains attached to its years-long perverse intrasigence, trying to dynamite dialogue: recently, FYROM's leadership rejected another one proposal, submitted by the UN Mediator Matthew Nimetz. Until when? If the leadership of Skopje wants to stabilize FYROM's creaky existence, then they have to fully understand something: that intrasigent and nationalistic practices must be abandoned as soon as possible. The future of the country is within the European Union and NATO, in harmonious co-existence with its neighbours, including Greece. Otherwise, FYROM will remain a 'ticking bomb' in the heart of South Eastern Europe - but then, it won't last for ever.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Announcement regarding attempts by FYROM Foreign Ministry to disseminate misinformation regarding Panama, Mexico and Congo’s stance on the name issue

Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Athens , 20 October 2008

With today’s announcement by the Foreign Ministry of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the government of Mr. Gruevski is trying in vain to continue the operation of disseminating misinformation that it has been carrying out lately.

It is obvious that the government of Mr. Gruevski did not get the message from the latest categorical disclaimers by NATO and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

This is why, today, instead of any other answer to this new attempt to disseminate misleading information, we quote the official diplomatic announcements signed by the representatives of the governments of Panama, Mexico, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Note verbale of Panama’s Foreign Ministry
(Panama, 4 July 2008)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama is honoured to announce to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic that, following a series of discussions regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, we would like to assure you that the Government of the Republic of Panama will abide by the relevant United Nations resolutions on this country’s name, for international and bilateral purposes.

Furthermore, we would like to point out to the Government of the Hellenic Republic that the Republic of Panama supports UN efforts to reach a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue, and will implement, for all purposes, any outcome that will result from the negotiations held under the auspices of the United Nations.
Joint Press Statement – Meeting of Mexico’s Foreign Undersecretary Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo and Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Yannis Valinakis
(17 October 2008)

Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Yannis Valinakis met with Mexico’s Foreign Undersecretary Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo in the framework of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. They reviewed the bilateral agenda and, in this context, they underlined the importance of the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and Mexico, which will take place on August 12, 2009. Both sides recognized that this milestone constitutes an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the relations of the two countries.

Undersecretary Gómez Robledo thanked Greece for its support for the candidacy of Mexico for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the period 2009-2010, and reiterated that the participation of Mexico in the Security Council will be aimed at promoting peaceful settlement of disputes; peace and stability; and upholding the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis briefed Undersecretary Gómez Robledo on developments regarding the name issue of the State provisionally referred to as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. In this regard, Undersecretary Gómez Robledo underlined that the Government of Mexico fully supports the United Nations efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution on the subject. He also assured that, pending settlement of the difference that has arisen over the name of that State, Mexico provisionally refers to that State as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, in conformity with the relevant Security Council Resolutions 817/93 and 845/93, for all international and bilateral purposes.

Finally, Deputy Minister Valinakis and Undersecretary Gómez Robledo emphasized the readiness of both Governments to further promote trade and investment opportunities, taking full advantage of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico.

Joint Press Statement of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Greece
(Quebec, 18 October 2008)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr. Yannis Valinakis, met today in the city of Quebec, on the sidelines of the 12th summit meeting of “La Francophonie” Organisation.

Both men expressed their satisfaction with the good relations that exist between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Greece, and discussed ways to further improve and deepen these relations in the political, economic, and cultural sphere.

The two Ministers also discussed topical issues of particular regional importance. It is within this framework that Mr. Valinakis briefed Mr. Mbusa Nyamwisi on developments regarding the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Mr. Mbusa Nyamwisi pointed out that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo fully supports UN efforts with a view to finding a mutually acceptable solution on this issue, and assured Mr. Valinakis that, as long as the process for finding a solution is pending, the Democratic Republic of Congo shall refer to our neighbouring country as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in all of its bilateral and international relations, in accordance with Resolutions 817/93 and 845/93 of the UN Security Council.

UPDATE (21-10-2008,01:10)
Who is lying ?

Foreign Ministry of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia........

On July 23, the Greek MoFA informed through local media that Panama had altered its position regarding Macedonia's name. Only two days later, Panama FM Samuel Lewis Navarro denied this information in a telephone conversation with Macedonian counterpart Antonio Milososki. Greek media did not inform on the denial, and hasn't mentioned Panama since.

or the Panameze Ambassador in Greece

FYROM Diaspora

As always it´s highly amusing to read another one of Risto Stefov´s articles.

Starting from the opening statement, one notes the factual distortion present. For an individual who allegedly doesn´t care about what Greeks may claim about themselves; he certainly seems to waste much time and energy intentionally distorting texts and manipulating history in his articles and books, and distributing his propaganda.

Right after his first bout of hypocrisy, Stefov continues by distorting his very own claims. While he intentionally misinforms us by claiming that he´s never supported some twisted direct descendance from the ancient ´Makednoi´ theory; he conveniently forgets about his article: “Evidence of the Existence of Macedonians Throughout the Ages” in which in his opening statement in the introduction is: “This document was prepared in response to Greek allegations that Macedonians do not exist and have ceased to exist since the so called “Slav invasions” of the fifth and sixth centuries AD.

The logical question of why would any individual who allegedly doesn´t, nor has ever supported the “continuity theory” ever waste time to gather and intentionally distort sources to prove that the modern day population of the FYROM has every right to title themselves and claim heredity from the Makednoi ?

Stefov’s opening statement which attempts to refute Greek allegations and the insinuation of providing proof that the Macedonians have existed, since Slavic invasions doesn´t do much for his case.

It is obvious that he is at the very least intentionally misinforming readers of his true objectives.
Stefov and his followers constantly insinuate that Greeks allegedly strive to present the FYROM population as Bulgarians (he should know the difference between Bulgars and Bulgarians) and Slavs.

While this is partially true, what Stefov intentionally neglects to mention is that Greeks are simply reproducing what his ancestors themselves had stated.

We could take for example the organization called BMARC (Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Revolutionary Committee) all members of which, today, are considered as fine FYROM patriots. It is this very organization, (their very own national heroes) which totally legitimize our reference to the true ethnicity which they detest.

In its 1896 statute BMARC states:
Art. 1. The goal of BMARC is to secure full political autonomy for the Macedonia and Adrianople regions.
Art. 2. To achieve this goal they [the committees] shall raise the awareness of self-defense in the Bulgarian population in the regions mentioned in Art. 1., disseminate revolutionary ideas - printed or verbal, and prepare and carry on a general uprising.

So the question asked must be, which is the population FYROM national heroes aimed to raise the awareness in and title Bulgarian; if not the forefathers of the population that today attempt to usurp a history and heritage which they have no connection to?

Stefov also accuses Greeks of titling the population of FYROM as Slavonic.

But what defines a Slav?
Slavs are an ethnic group connected by language, customs, traditions, beliefs.

We know beyond doubt that the population of FYROM does speak a Slavic language. We also know from their own authors like Tanas Vrazhinovski and Vladimir Karadzoski that FYROM folklore is predominantly Slavonic.

Both authors give numerous examples of worship of Slavonic deities and place names directly related to these deity´s names. Customs as any Bulgarian or Serb may confirm are also highly similar, if not identical.

So identical that we may safely conclude that the population of FYROM is indeed Slavonic and the attempt to present the use of the ethnonym ‘Slav’ as some form of insult, simply indicates the extent of propaganda aimed at (not to an international audience), but as its main target group has the FYROM youth. In some futile attempt to teach the FYROM population to hate their true origins and believe that their only true destiny is indissolubly connected upon usurping a history and culture which is totally alien to them is unacceptable.

Yet another fallacy promoted by Stefov for his audience is the case in which Philip of Macedon didn´t unite as so many true historians have accepted (see Thomas R. Martin, Lewis Vance Cummings, Richard Gabriel, Alan Fildes, Joann Fletcher, Robin Lane Fox…etc) but conquered. If that isn´t enough, he also resorts to fallaciously extending Philip´s empire further North to incorporate the lands of FYROM and by doing so legitimize his claims.

While it is true that these lands have seen various conquerors and settlers, what Stefov neglects to mention, is that while the above may have partially influenced the locals with their own culture, they never did manage to alienate them from their own. Something we clearly see in the alleged descendants of the Makednoi. Stefov and his believers have totally failed to provide a single logical explanation as to how any since trace of cultural connection to those they claim descendance from is non-existent.

During the last years the main FYROM offensive in the name debate is centralized on the following logic: “since we can´t prove a connection to the ancients, we´ll centralize on disproving yours”, which is exactly what we see Stefov doing today.

Unfortunately his attempts are caught either constantly celebrating ignorance or due to malicious intent, falsifying facts. Stefov claims that the name/term Greeks was ignored until after the Roman conquests which is when it was allegedly coined. Its puzzling how an alleged authority in history, who has published so many books about ancient history, could possibly ignore the reference of the eponym ‘Graikos’found in Hesiod´s Catalogue of Women or the village ‘Graia’ noted in Homer´s Catalogue of ships or even the later reference to the Graeci in Aristotle´s Meteorological. This is yet another well known quasi-historical attempts to approach the issue which Stefov is renowned for. Had he tried to tackle the issue on its factual basis, he wouldn´t centralize on the Latinization which has been passed down to the majority of language but the term which classicists acknowledge as the proper denomination and that is that of Hellenes (even though they have been used interchangeably). But even uttering the term ‘Hellenes’ is simply unthinkable for Stefov; for he would then have to deal with Hesiod´s reference to a ‘race of the Hellenes’ (works and days), a race of Hellenes which would disprove the very basis of his theory of various city-states alien to each other, not forming a single body of people.

While it is conveniently true that Greece wasn´t used by Ancient Greek geographers to describe the region in question, we know of several of them that use the term ‘Hellas’ (Agatharchides, Pausanias and Strabo being some of the more well known examples). If we were to look towards Roman writers with Pliny the Elder´s Natural History being one of the finest examples, we´d find that throughout his entire work and especially books 3-5 which are geography related, the term ‘Greece’ is constantly used to define the region.

One really has to wonder why Stefov tries to alienate an entire people from their heritage with such void argumentation. So the term ‘Rhomios’was used by the Greek population to define themselves, what does this actually prove?

While the term Rhomios may indeed be partly alien to their ancestors, one can´t neglect to note that it derives from the ‘Constitution Antoniniana of Caracalla’ which allowed all freemen of the Roman provinces to obtain Roman citizenship and that it is directly related to the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) which they were subjects. A term forged to represent their citizenship but also their Greek ancestry (see Andreas Osiander´s Before the State), hence why it (and not ‘Rhomaios’) was also used to strictly designate the subjects of Greek ancestry and them alone. It is also interesting to note the perception of some of the empire´s neighbors. Armenians, Russians, Georgians, Jews and even Ottomans titled the subjects ‘Graikoi’, Yunan, Yavani , or the authors Theodorus Studitus, Anna Komnene, George Gemistos Plethon, Michael Psellus and Theophanes Confessor all used the ethnonym Hellenes; terms directly linked to their ancestral roots which they recognized then, but today this author (Stefov) with some highly questionable arguments tries to refute the facts.

Stefov continues to unsuccessfully tackle the demographics of Greece. If under his logic the Slavic presence in the Balkans gives the Slavic population of FYROM some right to usurp a history; heritage and claim descendance from the ancient Makednoi (even through their very customs, traditions and folklore) prove them totally alien to it. Then how can someone even try and attempt to alienate the Vlachs from the Ancient Greeks?

While theories on their origin vary and one could argue their autochthonous origin, doesn´t their presence in the region which is dated prior to the time when the Slavs were nothing but mere invaders(Procopius) give them the right to claim ancestry?

Stefov makes reference to the total population of Greece upon its liberation while exaggerating and distorting possible population statistics. There is no accurate account of the possible ethnic makeup of the population, therefore any argument either for or against homogeneity would be ridiculous. One would notice that while Stefov doesn’t make any reference of Greeks as being a part of the population, he adds Turks; which as it is well documented, were non-existent since in their vast majority had fled upon the rebellion and Slavs. Then again such claims by Stefov who has previously promoted the totally outdated and disregarded ‘Fallmerayer theory´, anything seems possible.

Finally, there needs to be a mention of the Albanians. Since the only census which provides us with data is that of 1928 we must take that into consideration. In a 1928 census we find that the total amount of self-identified Albanian-speakers (and not ethnic Albanian origin) is approx. 19,000. A population of 19,000 in 1928 when Greece had liberated its lands and had a total population of some 6.2 million. Stefov claims that the Albanians were obviously the majority in the region in the early 1800´s; hence his reference to them and no reference to the Greeks. One must ask of what happened to the Albanians?

Well, we could take into account the statements of the Albano phone population itself, who in 1836 Christophoros Perraivos recorded their self-identification as purely Greek and were recognized as such by Alexandros Ypsilantes; who in his letter makes reference to their ancestors that fought in the battle of Marathon.

Finally, it must be noted that people like Risto Stefov, while providing an entertaining read, continue to distort Greek history (in a way similarly described above) and must not be taken seriously.

by Australian Macedonian Advisory Council

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Australian Macedonian Advisory Council
October 18, 2008

In many ways, it is ironic that Mr Atanas Botev, a citizen of the state that is governed at Skopje and an anthropoid harbouring pretensions of being an artist, (Atanas of course is the original of its corrupted Greek derivative ´Athanasios,´ which in various south Slavonic signifies immortality,) chose to deface the Greek flag by replacing its cross with a swastika recently, an act that was widely publicized by the Greek media and which has inflamed Greek passions during the most crucial NATO membership talks. Apparently, this flag, and Botev´s portrayal of Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis as a Nazi officer had been temporarily erected upon Skopjan billboards, in anticipation of Greece´s veto of FYROM´s NATO accession bid, by way of advertisement for an art exhibition.

Indeed, it is most ironic that Botev chose to deface the symbol of the cross, given that it was the Greek missionaries Cyril and Methodius who, during the early years of the Byzantine Empire, took the time out to learn the Slavonic dialects of the Balkans and introduced Christianity to the erstwhile pagan Slavonic peoples of the region. In doing so, they also introduced as an ancillary to their spiritual enlightenment, the rudimentary form of the alphabet which is still used by the majority of Slavonic peoples to this day and also, a good dollop of Byzantine civilisation, which still forms the basis of Balkan culture to this day and of each states´ national identity. A field trip to the surviving Byzantine and Ottoman-era churches of the regions of Achrida (modern day Ohrid) and Monastiri (modern day Bitola) are most instructive in this regard. One of the first things that the visitor will notice is the predomination of Greek inscriptions in the frescoes of these churches. Given that Hellenism and Christianity are inextricably linked in the popular consciousness of the region, Botev´s defacement of the cross is a powerful manifestation of the identity hysteria and schizophrenia currently afflicting his compatriots. In their quest to disassociate themselves from and denigrate their neighbours, they are in actual fact, impugning the substructure of their own culture, as they come to realize that its foundations are Hellenic - something which according to them, should be hated. Consequently, they entrap themselves in a vicious cycle of self-loathing and fantasy.

Ironic too is the choice of the swastika as the design with which to deface the cross. For during the Second World War, the majority of the Slavonic inhabitants of the region sallied out to meet and welcome the Bulgarian army and is Nazi allies as liberators. It is estimated that up to 40% of the soldiers comprising the Bulgarian occupation battalions of the region during the war, were drawn from the enthusiastic local population. Thus again, Botev´s self-loathing and schizophrenia of identity assumes a telling parable. At a time, not so long ago, when there was no nonsense about ethnic identity or naming disputes, the people of this region identified themselves as Bulgarians and as such, actively assisted the armed forces of their compatriots in carrying out Nazi kreigpolitik. Botev´s defacement of the cross by transforming it into a Nazi hakenkeuz, is thus nothing more than another manifestation of self-loathing and guilt, as well as a vain and rather childish attempt to transfer guilt and an unacceptable past upon modern-day perceived enemies, in the hope that its descendants no longer have to face it. It is in short, an evasion of responsibility.

The swastika itself, is a defacement of the Christian cross. In its name, countless atrocities were committed on millions of innocent and defenceless people. Thus, the conversion of a symbol of peace and love into a symbol of hatred and evil is a particularly offensive and insensitive one, considering that the Bulgarian army was allied to the Nazis who perpetrated the greatest genocide ever in the history of humanity: the Holocaust.

Fittingly, the Jewish community of Greece has this to say about Botev´s artistic efforts: "The defacing of the national symbol and the attempt to depict the Greek prime minister to a Nazi officer constitute unacceptable actions and an insult to the Greek people as a whole including members of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki… These actions become more heinous because Greece was among the first countries in Europe to clash with the tide fascism and the first to defeat Axis Forces on the battlefield in WWII, [referring to the Albanian front (1940-1941], where Jewish and Christian Greeks fought side by side. Furthermore, the use - for the sake of creating impressions --of symbols that are directly linked with the period of the worst crimes committed against humanity is an insult to the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust and those who survived the horror of the Nazi concentration camps. Our Community welcomes the stance adopted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a descendant of the Mallah family from Thessaloniki, who backed Greece's positions on the self-evident Greekness of Macedonia."
At any rate, it could be argued that Greek genius and comedian Tzimis Panousis´ replacement of the cross on the Geek flag with the hammer and sickle could be just as offensive, given that this symbol too, could be taken to allude to the millions that have perished through the persecution, purging and wars that have taken place in the name of Marxism since the installation of the first communistic government in Russia in 1917 and Botev´s feeble attempts to gain attention should be relegated where they belong, the dustbin of history.

If the Greek people are to be offended by anything, it should be the smug and self-righteous assurances by various NATO powers, that the non-resolution of the naming dispute between Greece and the No-name Republic does not give Greece the right to veto its accession to NATO. A not very ample amount of street-logic could be easily employed in order to argue the point successfully. Quite simply, NATO is a club and Greece is a member of it. Each member of the club is allowed a certain amount of face control. This is known as a veto. Just as a bouncer is entitled to exclude non-members from entering a club on members night because he doesn´t like their face, taste in footwear or the ultra-violet aura surrounding their person, so too can members of NATO, exclude others from entering their club.

Another argument that does not cut the lutenica, is the one proffered by the same scoffing Western diplomats, namely that it is paranoid and stupid for Greece to argue that the No-Name State´s insistence upon calling itself Macedonia, is a prelude to it formulating irredentist claims upon Greek territory. Casting aside for the moment, incidences such as the printing of the unreleased Skopjan banknote depicting Thessalonican Ottoman landmarks and the removal from the No-name States´ first constitution of references to that State coming to the assistance of ´minorities´ in other countries, we can agree that the No-Name State can no more successfully invade another country than it can manage to keep its own struggling, multi-ethnic polity in any state of coherency. This however does not mean that this NATO candidate state is averse to petty and coarse displays of retro-nationalism. Indeed, it would be paranoid and stupid to think otherwise.

What all of this does show, is that the No-Name State is unable to carry on civil bi-lateral relations with NATO members that don´t buy its unique brand of re-constituted nationalism. How can such an unreliable and politically immature State be entrusted with such weighty tasks as the oppression of Iraq or the continued production of Opium in Orozgan? Perhaps the incident a few years ago, where the No Name State rounded up a few hapless Pakistani illegal immigrants and killed them, proudly announcing to the world that it had thwarted an Islamic terrorist cell and had kicked a goal in the ´War against Terror,´ is instructive.

Greece is right to veto the No-Name State, both in NATO and in the EU. It is an infantile conglomeration of groups struggling to deal with their own identity and ethnic minorities and grossly unable to indulge in meaningful relationships with other countries. The inclusion of such an archaic polity, in preference to better developed and cohesive states such as the Ukraine or Georgia, in NATO is of next to no value. And if that was not a clinching argument - then this is: Rumours have it that in preparation for the No-Name States´ accession to NATO, national artist Atanas Botev has been commissioned to re-design the NATO logo (being derived from the symbols of the ancient No-Namian kings), by replacing the four compass points with suitably engorged phalluses. Каде е тоалетот?

US-FYROM Secret Co-Operation

"Ethnos tis Kyriakis" newspaper revealed a classified document of state Department that proves a secret co operation between US and Skopje on the name issue. Athens reacts strongly.

According to the article the proposal submitted by the UN special negotiator Mathew Nimetz had been suggested by the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was recorded in the letter sent by the US ambassador in Skopje last June. The letter was received by State Department, the Security Council and the US General Headquarters. The US diplomat provocatively notes that the issue of the language and nationality will be handled without the participation of Greece using internal UN documents

Athens reacted strongly. The representative of foreign affairs’ ministry Mr. Giorgos Koumoutsakos, in his statements said that Greece has a clear stance. First of all, the negotiations will take place only within the framework of the UN and secondly the Greek position proposes a compound name geographically oriented.


Friday, October 17, 2008

iGENEA wins an award

... the newly instituted Anthropology Blog award for Outstanding Achievement in Misleading the Public about Human Population Genetics.

I don't usually post about specific genetic testing companies unless they do something innovative, but I got two e-mails recently about a particular company, and I have to make an exception.

First of all, let me state that I have no reason to doubt that their genetic testing results (i.e., the actual Y-STR values) are accurate. What I do have a problem with is the copious amount of misleading information provided in their website (as of Oct 16, 2008).

You will learn for example that there is no haplogroup N in Finland, that there is 30% R1b in Russia, 5% of haplogroup J in Armenia, but 10% in Germany. You will also be pleased to know that Y-chromosome haplogroup J is associated with the Jews and mtDNA haplogroup H with the Vikings. But, wait, haplogroup I1a is associated with the Scythians [absent in most of Siberia and Central Asia but who cares about details], while mtDNA haplogroup H with the Teutons.

If you have time to kill, browse around the site, it is priceless as entertainment, and don't forget to stop by this thread where the company not only asserts that Y-chromosomes of ancient Greeks and Macedonians have been tested, pointing to completely irrelevant bibliography, as "evidence", but also lists the percentages of various ancient tribes in modern nations. Apparently, Bulgarians are 49% Thracian, while Albanians 18%, whereas Greeks and "Macedonians" 0%. Those Thracians must have evacuated from Greek Thrace and flown over Macedonia to settle in Albania

If you have any understanding of population genetics, no more needs to be said.

But, if you are a newbie researching the field, spend some time to educate yourself, and don't trust companies that offer you the sky. If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't.

source: dienekes antropology blog

Mexico changes her thesis as regards the FYROM name issue

Foreign Undersecretary of Mexico Ambassador Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo met with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Dr. Yannis Valinakis in the framework of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

They reviewed the bilateral agenda and, in this context, they underlined the importance of the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Greece and Mexico, which will take place on August 12, 2009. Both sides recognized that this milestone constitutes an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the relations of the two countries.

Undersecretary Gómez Robledo thanked Greece for its support for the candidacy of Mexico for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for the period 2009-2010, and reiterated that the participation of Mexico in the Security Council will be aimed at promoting peaceful settlement of disputes; peace and stability; and upholding the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Deputy Foreign Minister Valinakis briefed Undersecretary Gómez Robledo on developments regarding the name issue of the State provisionally referred to as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. In this regard, Undersecretary Gómez Robledo underlined that the Government of Mexico fully supports the United Nations efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution on the subject. He also assured that, pending settlement of the difference that has arisen over the name of that State, Mexico provisionally refers to that State as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, in conformity with the relevant Security Council Resolutions 817/93 and 845/93, for all international and bilateral purposes.

Finally, Deputy Minister Valinakis and Undersecretary Gómez Robledo emphasized the readiness of both Governments to further promote trade and investment opportunities, taking full advantage of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Statement of Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr. G. Koumoutsakos regarding unfounded allegations about FYROM journalists having been held in Greece

Athens , 15 October 2008
Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In answer to a journalist’s question regarding Skopje’s false allegations about Skopje journalists having been held in Greece, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr. George Koumoutsakos made the following statement:

“This is an outrageous distortion of what really happened. It is a mere distortion of the truth. In every well-governed state, persons entering military zones or facilities without permission and also making video recordings and/or taking photographs of such areas and facilities are always checked by the competent authorities.

This was the case when a TV crew from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that was taking photographs and making video recordings – without permission – of a military exercise area on Greek territory was briefly checked.

Following these checks, which lasted a few minutes, the crew was then free to remain – should they wish – in Greece.

This is the reality. This is the truth. All the rest is cheap propaganda.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FYROM provokes new rift with Greece

A new diplomatic spat between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) opened up yesterday as Athens accused Skopje of a “provocative effort to distort the truth” after four visiting FYROM journalists were temporarily held in custody.

FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski expressed in a statement “serious concern” about the incident, and his government made an official complaint to Greek Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou. Skopje said that it would also be informing the European Union about the incident

The four reporters from FYROM were taken into custody as they covered a protest by locals in Florina, northern Greece, who were complaining about the army’s decision to carry out military exercises at a firing range in the area. A number of protesters, as well as the journalists, were removed after allegedly impeding army vehicles.

The reporters were released after authorities checked their details and ensured that they had not filmed military installations.

FYROM’s actions drew a stinging response from Athens. Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos accused Gruevski of engaging in “a provocative effort to blatantly distort the truth” and “a new, unacceptable attempt to intervene in Greek domestic affairs.”
Koumoutsakos also accused the FYROM premier of conducting “a conscious policy that cultivates nationalism and bigotry,” before suggesting that Gruevski busy himself with his country’s own affairs. “Mr Gruevski should accept the fact that Greek citizens do not need self-styled advocates, especially those with obvious motives,” he said. “Instead, he should concentrate his efforts on improving what, according to international organizations and observers, is the deteriorating state of democracy in his country.”

Monday, October 13, 2008



Monday October 27, 2008
12:00 –2:00 pm
140 East 45th Street
New York City

Between 3rd and Lexington Avenues

The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) mobilizes community activists, with the support of the PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION USA, and other associations as well as human rights activists near the United States Mission to the UN in midtown Manhattan.

All who believe in justice and American democratic values are encouraged to join us and demand that: FYROM should stop being the perpetrator of cultural genocide against its historic Hellenic community. Its unapologetic, historically revisionist stance against humanity and violation of human rights should be properly investigated by the US State Department Human Rights division for denying the Hellenic minority in FYROM the right to their Hellenic identity and nationality.

The government of FYROM (with its capital in Skopje) has a long legacy of anti-Hellenic cultural genocide in the area of ancient Pelagonia. Since 1912 and onwards the Yugoslav government and FYROM since 1991, when it broke away from Yugoslavia, aspired the political destruction of Hellenism on their territories, especially in Pelagonia, the only real geographical part of Macedonia. They have flagrantly violated the human rights of the Hellenic community in their territory and continue undisturbed to do the same for a host years.

According to Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A of 10 December 1948. 1. Everyone has the right to a nationality. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.Article 7 of the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (26 August 1994) [4] uses the phrase “cultural genocideβ.” The complete article reads as follows:
Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

(c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their

(d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;

(e) Any form of propaganda directed against them. FYROM is guilty of all of the above-itemized sub-articles.

The HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY will demand an end to the continuing campaign by the FYROM government to deny the Hellenic identity and nationality of its Hellenic minority.

The HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY will call for human rights violations against the Hellenic community to be publicly investigated and condemned by the US State Department.

Participants will be provided with signs, and Hellenic flags. Speakers will include community activists and human rights experts and live instrumental music from Macedonia. Please be advised that community affairs in New York do not permit signs or banners or flagpoles that are not made from paper or cloth.

The HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY includes the distribution of thousands of informational pamphlets, stickers, t-shirts and expert media packets for the press. Please join us near the United States Mission to the UN, to send a clear and powerful message that the Hellenic people will not live in fear.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FYROM rebuffs Nimitz proposal

Greece reassessing stance after FYROM president appears to reject Nimetz idea

Diplomats in Athens were reassessing the state of play yesterday after the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Branko Crvenkovski appeared to reject a new proposal by the United Nations mediator in the Macedonia name dispute.

“The initial conclusion is that without serious changes, this set of ideas could not serve as a basis for further negotiations and resolution of the dispute,” Crvenkovski said.

The suggestion by UN envoy Matthew Nimetz that FYROM henceforth be known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia had been cautiously welcomed by Athens earlier this week as “a very good basis for negotiations” although it “needed improvements in certain areas.”

FYROM envoys attending UN-mediated talks in New York had also seemed upbeat, saying the proposal was “improved” and “more specific than ever.”

But the critical assessment delivered yesterday by Crvenkovski disappointed diplomats in Greece, not least because the president has had a relatively moderate stance compared to FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

According to sources, Greek government officials are debating their strategy but will await further comments expected to be made by political leaders in FYROM over the next few days.

Top diplomats in Athens put on a brave face. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis briefed all opposition party leaders on developments in the name talks yesterday, stressing the need for “a united national front” on the name dispute.Communist Party (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said that Nimetz’s proposal could lead to a compromise, provided that the still hazy issue of ethnic identity is cleared up. Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said the proposal was “a step toward a solution.” The strongest criticism came from the main opposition PASOK. It rejected the proposal, noting that the government’s slim parliamentary majority does not allow it to take a bold approach in name talks.

source: e-kathimerini

Macedonian Nationalities in 1904

from the book "Turkish Life in Town and Country 1904" by Lucy Garnett

Research by Chigagogeorge

Friday, October 10, 2008

The new proposals of Mathew Nimitz as regards the FYROM Name issue

As kathimerini wrote, Greece intends to play a waiting game on the Macedonia name issue, letting the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) first state its position before Athens reveals whether it is happy with the latest proposal made by United Nations mediator Matthew Nimetz.
Sources said yesterday that Greek diplomats will wait for the government in Skopje to assess the latest proposal, according to which FYROM would probably be known as the Republic of Northern Macedonia, and announce its position before they indicate their own views.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

OSCE : STATEMENT BY THE GREEK DELEGATION in exercise of its Right of Reply (Slav-Macedonian issues in Greece)

HDIM.DEL/141/081 October 2008

STATEMENT BY THE GREEK DELEGATION in exercise of its Right of Reply

“Macedonian” minority in Greece

There has never been a “Macedonian” minority in Greece. Any individual who claims to belong to a distinct ethnic or cultural group is free to do so and there are no negative consequences resulting from such an expression of wish. However, subjective claims or perceptions of a small number of persons, which are not based on objective facts and criteria, do not establish by themselves a corresponding obligation of the State to officially recognize a group as a «minority» and to guarantee to its members specific minority rights, additional to those guaranteed by human rights treaties.

There is a small number of people in Greek Macedonia, mainly in the prefecture of Florina, who, apart from Greek, speak a Slav dialect, which is confined to family or colloquial use.

In fact, the non-recognition of a group as a minority, enjoying specific minority rights, on the basis of solid legal and factual grounds, does notdeprive persons belonging to such group from the enjoyment of all civil,cultural, economic, political and social rights, which are recognized undernational and international law.

Greece has ratified the most important international treaties for theprotection of human rights and has adopted a series of measures, legislative and other, for their implementation. The provisions of the above mentioned international treaties have been fully integrated into the Greek legislation and once ratified by law, prevail over internal legislation. Both the judiciary and the administration are bound by the Greek Constitution to implement these provisions. Moreover, every person who considers that his or her rights are being breached can take the case to the Greek courts. They also have the possibility to appeal to the competent international bodies, as provided forunder the relevant treaties.

Rainbow party

A political party claiming to represent the so-called “Macedonian minority” in Greece, called the “Rainbow” party, was set up in 1994. Since then it participates freely in both National Elections as well as in the Elections for the European Parliament. In the 1996 National Elections it was voted by)13.476 people (percentage of 0,05%). During the April 2000 parliamentary elections the party joined other minor parties into a coalition called OAKKE (“Organization for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece”) which received overall a percentage of 0,017% (namely, 1139 votes). During the elections for the European Parliament of 2004, the coalition of parties to which the Rainbow Party belonged, received the percentage of 0, 10 (6.138 votes). Most probably, due to the fact that in the course of the last years the party’s number of votes has decreased significantly, it decided not to participate in the National Elections of 2004 and 2007. The small number of votes this party is receiving at elections taking place in Greece could serve as a proof that it does not manage to win the support of the people it is claiming to represent.

With regard to the issue of the sign located at the entrance of theoffices of the Rainbow Party, depicting the name of the party in the Slavic dialect, it should be noted that the local population, including those that the party is claiming to represent, are the first ones to feel disturbed and the protagonists of the complaints for such a provocative action, as they do not wish to become tools in serving the interests of political aspirations and foreign propaganda they do not share.

Cultural and religious freedoms

The Greek Constitution guarantees full protection of human rights andliberties of all persons residing in Greece, irrespective of their nationality, language, religious or political affiliation. Everyone is free to declare his/her origin, speak his/her language, exercise his/her religion and observe his/her particular customs and traditions.

The festivities and cultural events that regularly take place in the region of Florina are integral part of the local population’s culture and should not bethe vehicle of a small number of people who are trying to usurp the cultural particularity of the region, which is also attributed to its border-character, as well as the cultural and historical heritage of the Greek Macedonia .

Establishment of “Macedonian” Cultural Centers

It is to be noted that the adjective “Macedonian” is being extensively used in the Greek region of Macedonia as well as throughout the country andthe diaspora by Greeks originating from Macedonia. There are hundreds ofscientific, business, professional and sports associations which bear theMacedonian name to denote their regional and/or cultural provenance.

The use of the word “Macedonian” for the denomination of an association founded by a small number of individuals who attach to it a different meaning, in terms of culture or origin, would inevitably create great confusion as to what they actually mean or pursue by using this word. One would assume that this association is a Greek-Macedonian one, like hundreds of other Greek associations bearing the word “Macedonian” in their denomination, while, in fact, it refers to another, different culture.

Moreover, the use of the term “Macedonian” by an association of asmall number of people, with a different ethnic and cultural identity, negatively affects the exercise of the rights of the majority of the population of the region, which attaches to the term a completely different meaning. Consequently, the exercise of the right of self-identification by a small number of people could be viewed as a deliberate effort to prevent the whole population of the region to determine themselves with the name “Macedonian”.

The use of the “Macedonian” language and the obligation to be introduced in the educational programs in Greek schools

Every person has the right to freely speak the Slavic dialect. In fact, people who wish to do so sing in Slavic at festivities organised regularly by the local communities. Another expression of the free use of this dialect in Greece is the fact that the idiom is being developed and is spoken in different forms in some villages of the region.

Efforts being made by the Rainbow party, seconded by the official authorities of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to name thisdialect “Macedonian” language and claim that it should be introduced in the educational programs of Greek schools of the region is politically motivated. Such a claim is not even supported by the small number of people who, apart from Greek, speak the dialect. The use of the “Macedonian” language in Greek schools is one of the main priorities for the Rainbow party, but such an agenda does not seem to be attractive for the people of the region.

It is surprising to observe the persistence by which the Rainbow Party and the official authorities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are trying to establish the term “Macedonian language” when referring to this dialect. Such an effort runs contrary to the fact that scholars in international linguistic conferences (a) have defined the dialect as well as the language spoken in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as being of Slavic character and (b) that the term “Macedonian” could only be applied to the Greek dialect spoken in Ancient Macedonia.

It is obvious from the above that efforts to upgrade and rename thesaid dialect are politically motivated and resulting in harming the cultural diversity of the region where the dialect is spoken, as well as insulting 2,5 million people in Greek Macedonia, who attach to the terms “Macedonia” and “Macedonian” a completely different meaning.

One should also bear in mind that the Slavic idiom spoken in Greek Macedonia is not identical with the language spoken in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Given the above, it is clear that the Greek state has no obligation tointroduce the Slavic dialect in the educational programs of Greek schools in the region.

The use of the term Macedonia

Exercising the right of self-identification should not result in harming neighbouring countries, nor should it imply territorial claims against them.

Macedonia is a geographical region which extends “beyond one sovereignty”, that is Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Albania all include different parts of geographic Macedonia intheir own sovereign territories.

The problem arises because one country, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, insists on monopolizing the name of this particular geographic region as the name of its own state and nation, although a) the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s sovereignty extends only in part (35%) over this region and b) another state, Greece, which includes 55% of geographic Macedonia in its sovereign territory, uses the same name. Not surprisingly, this name constitutes the foremost element for the self definition of the Greek population (2,5 million people) in Macedonia, yet with a completely different content than that in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

From this perspective, the use of the name Macedonia by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, without any further clarification or definition, is totally misleading, because it directs to the erroneous identification of millions of citizens of one state (Greece) with that of the citizens of a neighboring state (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), who have a totally different perception of themselves, their culture, their ethnic identity and language.

It is more than obvious that a same term for two completely different cases, provokes only confusion on every level and in every sector (semantic, symbolic, geographic, ethnological, linguistic, etc.), with consequences which, in any case, are negative, dangerous and totally unnecessary for all sides concerned.

Greece does not claim exclusive rights on the geographical region of Macedonia, but is opposed to efforts of falsification of history, resulting in monopolizing a certain culture and heritage.

Property issues

Quite recently, Prime Minister Gruevski undertook - through a series ofletters addressed to a large number of countries - an effort to derail andundermine the UN negotiation process, by raising well-known unacceptable property issues of people that left Greece in the aftermath of the Second World War.

We recall the reply already given by the Greek Prime Minister to his counter part of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, stating that allegations raised by our neighbouring country are unacceptable, unfounded, politically motivated and disrespectful of the historic reality of the region.

In any case, any individual could make use of any legal recourse before the Courts on such issues, including the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and does certainly not need to be patronized by the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Human rights to the Greeks of FYROM

As you may know, the Skopje government abuses Hellenic human rights. We urge you all to mobilize your constituents to attend a national demonstration on Monday, October 27th at 12:00 noon to be held at United States Mission to the UN. Located at 140 East 45th Street (between Third and Lexington Avenues)

It is imperative that we send a clear and powerful message that we oppose Skopje’s cultural genocide program, its support for global terrorism, threats to destroy the Hellenic people. and its blatant abuse of human rights.

more informations in
northmacedonians blog

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New United Villages of Florina Annual Dance 2008

A Macedonian Pita Festival has take place on 20 September 2008 in Australia.The New United Villages of Florina a vibrant association that is devoted to maintaining the Greek traditions and idenity of the region of Florina.

One wonders then what Danforth would make of the New United Villages of Florina, an organisation that purports to unite associations representing the villages of Florina but in effect does so much more. Yiannis Papadimitriou, the president of the association, explains that the New United Villages exist as a form of self-protection against the extremes of the proponents of ideologies over the possession of national identities, histories and cultures, who regard these as the mutually exclusive property one nation or the other.

Basically,” Yiannis Papadimitriou explains, “we wanted to create an environment where “Slavophone” Greeks could feel comfortable speaking the idiom they grew up speaking back home, without anyone feeling threatened by this or using it as a means of compromising our members sense of their ethnic identity.”

One gains a hint as to what that ethnic identity is as soon as soon as one walks through the door of the reception during the New United Villages of Florina’s recent multicultural festival. The first thing that can be discerned is the labarum of the Association, bearing the icon of Panayia Theotokos. She is, as we find out when everyone stands up to chant her hymn, the Υπέρμαχος Στρατηγός, the protector of all. Slowly, solemnly, a column of young children, dressed in traditional regional costumes march into the hall, bearing before them, another icon of the Panayia and holding aloft, Greek and Australian flags. The attendees, all half a thousand of them, are of surprisingly (in an age when mass attendance at dances and other such events, is not only passé for the first generation, let alone the second, but becoming nothing more than just a dim memory) diverse ages, underlying the ‘family’ or ‘village’ feel of cohesion and harmony.

The children march proudly past the distinguished guests: the Honourable Harry Jenkins, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honourable Maria Vamvakinou, Federal Member for Calwell, Jenny Mikakos, State Member for Northern Metropolitan and Lily D’ Ambrosio, State Member for Mill Park, Former Mayor of Whittlesea, Cnr Chris Pavlidis and Whittlesea Councillor Maria Malios. They reach the dance floor and stand to attention as the Australian national anthem is played. As soon as its final strains die down, a murmur of anticipation permeates the room. Then, an immense crescendo and suddenly, 500 voices are united in song as they intone the immortal words of Greek national poet Dionysios Solomos: « Σε γνωρίζω…» The tremulous emotion that tugs at the heartstrings of all those present is palpable.

For these Florinians, singing the Greek national anthem truly is an act of gnosis. It is a firm declaration of who they perceive themselves to be. At the end of the dance floor, a video projector beams images exhibiting the Greek presence in Macedonia. It is a diachronic display, commencing with the ancient past, following through to Byzantium, the Ottoman occupation and contemporary times. Its viewers nod their heads appreciatively, as if discerning in the images of Alexander the Great, Basil the Bulgar Slayer, Saints Cyril and Methodius and of course, the Slavonic-speaking Captain Kottas, not just a historical figure dredged up from the depths of the past, but instead, their immediate kinfolk.

Around me, I can hear snatches of the same Slavonic idiom as that uttered by Captain Kottas when he was led away by the Bulgarians for execution, proclaiming: “Long live Greece!” Suddenly, the conversation is broken by a loud cheer and whoops of delight. The young children are dancing traditional Florinian dances and their elated grandparents and parents are unable to conceal their rapture at witnessing their progeny take exactly the same steps that they have taken, and their ancestors too, in a long chain of dance, as twisted and tortuous as the path taken by the archetypal musician himself, Orpheus, to the underworld to rescue his Euridice, but still unbroken.

One of the beaming grandparents, not being able to contain himself any longer, rushes on to the dance-floor, holding a vast Greek flag upon a lofty flag-pole twice his size. Immediately, the floor is covered in dancers, weaving their way through the age-old steps, all vying for the position of leader of the dance so that they in turn, may also bear the Greek flag. The revellers are so excited that hey find it hard to settle down to listen to the speeches.

When Father Stavros, of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, explains that the apostle Paul was compelled to visit Macedonia and wrote an epistle to the Christians of Philippi, the applause is deafening. When I in turn. as secretary of the Panepirotic Federation of Australia, outline the ties of kinship binding Epirus with Macedonia ( we are in effect συμπέθεροι, since Alexander the Great’s mother, Olympias was an Epirote princess and Cheimarriote captain Spiros Spiromilios fought in Florina for the liberation of that region and its incorporation into the Greek state, there are cheers and the sounds of many hands clapping. Yiannis Papadimitriou, as president of an organisation that has over the years, repeatedly emphasised its Hellenic identity, arrived at, not only through cultural exchange but through a deep knowledge of history as well, succinctly and perceptively encapsulates the zeitgeist in his address:

We are here today to celebrate the achievements and continuous presence of Macedonians here in Australia. We, the Macedonians of the New United Villages of Florina are immensely proud of our Greek heritage. We are also immensely proud of the fact that we have been able to transplant them here, in Victoria, home to so many nations. Truly, the Greek and Australian people share many values. Some of these values, love of freedom, democracy, tolerance, a love of the arts and sport are direct gifts from ancient Greek civilization. Let us not forget that it was our great King, Alexander the Great who spread Greek civilization throughout the East. We, his descendants, having left our native Macedonia, are continuing in his footsteps, maintaining the Greek culture of Macedonia here today. Wherever you see us and the Greek flag flying, you know that there lies a small pocket of Macedonia, the northernmost Greek province, home to many nations but historically and culturally, an inextricable part of the Greek world. We welcome you with open arms and hope you celebrate the core values of tolerance, cultural diversity and mutliculturalism with us.”

As the song «Μακεδονία Ξακουστή» penetrates our eardrums and the ecstatic revellers rush to the dance-floor once more, and Father Stavros, an Epirote, and I, muse over the relative merits of Macedonian as compared to Epirotic pita, the Greek flag once again passes from hand to hand, circling the room. Complexity in the process of identity formation may characterise many people who are members of ethnic and diaspora communities in today’s transnational world. For the members of the New United Villages of Florina however, it is resolved simply, in the form of a blue flag with a large white cross emblazoned upon it, upon a tall and proud flagpole.


The Birth of a Clone State