Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Birth of a Clone State

By George Gialtouridis

source: Pan-Macedonian Association

Part I
The term clone is derived from κλών (klon), the Greek word for twig or branch, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

Most of us are aware of the letters sent by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski to Greek PM Karamanlis, to the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and many other world leaders raising issues of an artificial “Macedonian” ethnic minority in Greece. As Gruevski’s provocative allegations further strain relations between Greece and FYROM and the name dispute remains a hot topic for both countries, I will present a multi-part series on this subject, concentrating on events from 1870 on, while occasionally referencing ancient Greek history only to refute FYROM’s claims as they arise.

Following the veto to it’s anticipated membership at the NATO Summit in Bucharest, Romania earlier this year, FYROM’s political leadership headed by Prime Minister Gruevski is attempting to expand the dispute by provoking artificial minority issues in northern Greece, specifically in Greece’s Macedonia province.

Currently, negotiations for a permanent name for FYROM are being held under the auspices of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Matthew Nimetz. PM Gruevski recently dismissed all of the name proposals which Nimetz had put on the table and unilaterally derailed the negotiations. By embarking on this ethnic minority ‘witch hunt’ he is dangerously treading the diplomatic waters and heading into uncharted territory which some perceive as a suicide mission. His intentions are clear: To isolate Greece as a country which severely violates human rights, carry the dispute and claims of his fledging state within the borders of modern day Greece and as a result have Greece meet the same fate as Serbia. Gruevski is not alone in this. He has recruited lobbyists who are currently very active in the halls of Washington. Such measures can not go unheeded and as Americans of Hellenic descent it is our moral responsibility to our ancestors to stand up to the fabricators of history and help Greece deny them their expansionist ambitions.

In the coming months I will explain through a detailed sequence of events the eventual creation of a “Macedonian” nation, which is FYROM today. This state has nothing to do with the centuries-long evolutionary ethnic processes which resulted in the natural forming of other nations in the Balkan peninsula. It is a state which evolved through oppression, intimidation and persecution perpetuated by the barbarous regimes which laid its foundation.

I will start my analysis with a shocking revelation which only recently came to light. The Prime Minister of FYROM, Nikola Gruevski, has Greek roots. His grandfather, Nikolaos Grouios, was a resident of the village of Ahlada, in the prefecture of Florina, in Greece’s Macedonia province. Mr. Grouios was killed fighting the Italians a few weeks following their invasion of Greece on October 28, 1940. In the center of the village now stands a monument honoring war heroes who were residents of Ahlada. The name “Nikolaos Grouios” is clearly carved in the marble memorial.

During the final days of the Greek Civil War, as the communists retreated into Yugoslavia ousted by Greek, American and British forces, Nikolaos Grouios’ widow and her three children, one being Gruevski’s father, followed for reasons unknown the communists of the ELAS faction into Yugoslavia.

Nikola Gruevski is a perfect example of the diversified backgrounds of Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Serbs, Gypsies and others who today make up the state called FYROM. Through identity theft and deception, oppression, persecution and terror, propagated by generations of deliberate misinformation and history usurpation in FYROM’s educational institutions, evolved this false perception of a Macedonian identity.

In the next segment I will explain how, starting around 1870, a pseudo-Macedonian ethnic identity evolved as part of a Bulgarian plan to annex the entire Macedonian region, coveting the shores of the northern Aegean Sea.

Part II
The term clone is derived from κλών (klon), the Greek word for twig or branch, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

According to Herodotus’ The Histories, during the 8th century B.C. the Argeads (Αργεάδαι) migrated north from the Greek city of Argos in Peloponnesus to the region we now know as Macedonia. In addition, Thucydides in the History of the Peloponnesian War concurs that Perdiccas I was the first monarch of the Argead dynasty, better known as the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.

The name Macedonia (Μακεδονία) is rooted in Homeric Greek. A related form of the word first appears in the Odyssey, VII 106: ‘
οιά τε φύλλα μακεδνης αιγείροιο’ whereas μακεδνης’ in the form of an adjective means very high or tall, in this context referring to the size in height of a poplar tree. The first Macedonians spoke a proto-Hellenic dialect similar to that of Homer. They eventually adopted the Attic Greek dialect as did the other Greek city-states and finally the Koine Greek dialect during the Hellenistic period.

It is not the primary objective of this writer to argue whether the ancient Macedonians were a Greek tribe or not. Any serious historian will validate their Hellenic origin with scores of references as well as Greek inscriptions on countless ancient artifacts unearthed from all over the region. I would like to note, however, one important date in ancient history. In 168 B.C. the last Macedonian king, Perseus, surrendered to the Romans after his decisive defeat at the Battle of Pydna and thus Macedonia came under Roman rule.

For over 2000 years thereafter, there has not been even one documented reference claiming an ethnic Macedonian identity. During 2046 years of recorded history, i.e. from 168 B.C. up until 1878 A.D., there is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian ethnic consciousness. There is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian language. There is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian alphabet. There is no evidence of the existence of a Macedonian Church. These indisputable facts raise a crucial question to FYROM’s fabricators of history. But first, let’s go over two significant events which transpired in the Balkan peninsula, one in 1870 and the other in 1878.

In the 19th century the entire region of Macedonia was still under Ottoman occupation. Numerous demographic studies had been conducted in the vilayets of Monastir and Thessaloniki as late as the 19th century by both Ottoman authorities and European institutions, covering the entire Macedonian region and beyond. Not even one of these ethnic surveys references the existence of a Macedonian ethnicity.

Through the Firman (decree) of 1870, Sultan Abdulaziz allowed the Bulgarian Exarchate to separate from the ecclesiastical authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. From a Turkish point of view, the decree was designed to divide the Christian populations of the decaying Ottoman Empire and define ethnicity in the Balkans by church affiliation. From a much more well-conceived Bulgarian perspective, the new autocephalous status of the Church would encourage Bulgarian nationalism. But there was another method to the madness. Russian influence had also encouraged the Bulgarian schism. Count Nikolai Pavlovich Ignatiev, Russian ambassador to the Ottoman Sublime Porte, upon orders from Tsar Alexander II was promoting a Pan-Slavic movement in the Balkans. This irredentist plan was heavily concentrated in and around the Macedonian region encompassing all the Slav elements with protagonists the Bulgarians and to a lesser extent the Serbs.

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 ended with the Treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3, 1878. Russian forces had halted their advance at San Stefano (now Yesilkoy), a village on the Sea of Marmara seven miles west of Constantinople. The Pan-Slavist Ignatiev was a signatory of the Treaty. The Treaty of San Stefano forced Turkey to cede most of the region of Macedonia to Bulgaria and created a ‘Greater Bulgaria,’ a Bulgaria spanning from the Romanian border to the north all the way to the foothills of Mt. Olympus to the south, including the port city of Kavala to the east. This allowed Russia to have a Slav satellite in the Balkans where her influence could extend down to the Aegean Sea.

The European Great Powers, fearing this increased Russian influence in southeastern Europe and a possible threat to the trade congested Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits, objected to the terms of the Treaty. Four months following San Stefano, after long negotiations in Berlin mediated by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Germany and de facto mediator Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli of Great Britain, the Treaty of Berlin revised the terms, giving the Macedonian region back to the Ottomans and allowing for a smaller Bulgaria. One significant side note here: Shortly before Berlin, a secret agreement to be disclosed later as the Cyprus Convention was reached between the British and Ottomans whereby control of Cyprus was granted to Great Britain in exchange for their support of the Ottomans in Berlin.

In the years immediately following the Treaty of Berlin an ideological concept was developed in the context of Bulgarian initiatives to regain the region of Macedonia. The Serbs, headed by politician Stojan Novakovic, who also coveted Macedonian real estate with views of the Aegean Archipelago, employed the same ideology as a means to counteract the Bulgarian influence in Macedonia, thereby promoting Serbian interests in the region. Alas, the conception of Macedonism, an ideology within the irredentist framework of Pan-Slavism.

Macedonism is structured on aggressive Slavic fundamentalism with irredentist political views based upon the notion of unbroken racial continuity between the self-proclaimed ethnic Macedonians of today and the ancient Macedonians.

Which leads to my question to FYROM’s fabricators of history: During 2046 years of recorded history, i.e. from 168 B.C. up until 1878 A.D., there is no documented evidence of the existence of a Macedonian ethnic identity. You base your argument on illusions of ancient Macedonian grandeur in your bloodlines. Can you therefore justify your prolonged 2,000-plus years state of hibernation whereby not one single document exists referencing a Macedonian ethnic consciousness?

Perhaps these self-proclaimed ethnic Macedonians living in FYROM and the Diaspora, along with FYROM’s current political leadership and their lobbyists in Washington, should consult FYROM’s previous leaders and diplomats who realize that usurpation of history is a tactic destined to fail:

“We are Slavs, who came to the region in the sixth century. We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians.”
-Kiro Gligorov, first President of FYROM, 1992,

“We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are a Slav people and our language is closely related to Bulgarian. There is some confusion about the identity of the people of our country.”
-Gyordan Veselinov, FYROM's Ambassador to Canada, 1999,

and the crème de la crème of testimonials:

“The idea that Alexander the Great belongs to us was at the mind of some outsider groups only. These groups were insignificant in the first years of our independence. But the big problem is that the old Balkan nations have been learned to legitimate themselves through their history. In the Balkans to be recognized as a nation you need to have history of 2,000 to 3,000 years old. Since you (Greece) forced us to invent a history, we did invent it.”
-Denko Maleski, Foreign Minister of FYROM from 1991 to 1993.

In my next segment I will dissect the 19th century Bulgarian terrorist organization VMRO, inspiration to FYROM’s ruling political party VMRO-DPMNE headed by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

Part III
The term clone is derived from κλών (klon), the Greek word for twig or branch, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

On February 19, 1878, in the small Macedonian village of Litochoro on the lower slopes of Mt. Olympus overlooking the Aegean Sea, a group of brave Macedonian Greeks signed a Proclamation whereby "...the representatives of the various communities in Macedonia, overthrew the Sultan's tyrannical authority, declared the union of Macedonia with mother Greece...Therefore, we were forced to seek our arms so that we may die as men as Greeks if we are not allowed to live like logical and free men." The Declaration of the Greek-inspired Provisional Government of Macedonia by it's President Evangelos Korovangos requested protection from the 'Christian Super Powers' through their respective consulates in Ottoman-occupied Thessaloniki 'for the justification of their fight and the unification with mother Greece.' Unfortunately, the British Consulate quickly disclosed these plans to the Ottomans, and within two weeks the rebellion was crushed. Those 'Christian Super Powers,' through the subsequent Treaties of San Stefano and Berlin later that year, further ignored these pleas for freedom from Ottoman tyranny and have either borne witness to or even incited the savagery which was to follow.

Following the Treaty of Berlin, Pan-Slavists began a coordinated effort for Bulgaria to regain the region of Macedonia. Unwilling to simply overtake the region as that would seem too San Stefano-like and may again provoke the Great Powers, in 1893 ethnic Bulgarians formed the VMRO, or the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. The role of the VMRO, through a combination of predatory impulses of the Komitadji death squads on one hand and a Pan-Slavist educational mechanism using Russian agents disguised as clerics under the auspices of the Bulgarian Exarchate on the other, was to conduct a systematic inhumane ethno-catharsis through intimidation, terror and murder thereby eradicating from the Macedonian region the Greek element who were unwilling to succumb to Slavism. Using their motto "Macedonia for the Macedonians" this was a deceptive attempt to initially create an autonomous Macedonia which would later unite with Bulgaria.

The Serbs, not to be out-done by the Bulgarians, knew that directly suppressing the Bulgarian idea was impossible to achieve. Politician Stojan Novakovic conceived an active ethnogenesis process as a transitional stage in assimilating the regional element formulated upon the principle of Macedonia as a separate nation with it's own language and history. He thought this 'blueprint' could attract the people and their feelings and thus sever them from Bulgarianism. This same doctrine of an ideological homogeneity was later adopted and meticulously implemented by Tito.

Today's ruling party in FYROM is the VMRO-DPMNE (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity), headed by Nikola Gruevski. Article 2 of the party's Statute breaks down the acronym name. It states: "The first part of the name, VMRO, expresses the traditions of the Macedonian people from which the ideological and political struggle was subsequently integrated into the objectives and aims of the party." This is inspired by the Pan-Slavist Bulgarian aspect of the Macedonism doctrine devised by the original founders of the VMRO.

Page one of the party's current five-year program reads: "We particularly advocate the respect for the national and minority rights of Macedonians living in neighboring countries." This relates to the Pan-Slavist Serb aspect of the irredentist ideology based on alleged homogeneity.

As the Russians, Bulgarians and Serbs were scheming their way to the Aegean Sea, Greece was fighting it's own battles. The Greco-Turkish War of 1897 exposed Greece's inability to liberate Macedonia at the time. With battle fronts in Crete, Macedonia, Epirus and the Aegean, Greece was understandably unable to militarily prevail in all simultaneously. The precipitous Ottoman demise was indeed additional incentive for Greeks in occupied territories to fight for their freedom. But the waters of the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean were hostile to mother Greece and her oppressed sons. Great Britain's desperate support for Ottoman sovereignty in order to keep Russian influence away from the Straits and Suez Canal was not only on display in the Congress of Berlin but also in the Mediterranean waters at Greece's expense. In Martin Gilbert's Churchill, 22-year old Brigade Major Winston Churchill writes to his mother questioning Lord Salisbury's foreign policy strategy: "We are doing a very wicked thing in firing on the Cretan insurgents & in blockading Greece so that she cannot succour them...I look on this question from the point of view of right & wrong: Lord Salisbury from that of profit and loss." (p. 68)

Today, in the center of Litochoro in the Pieria prefecture of Greece's Macedonia province, a Heroes' Memorial adorns the sloped landscape. The busts of Evangelos Korovangos and two other brave men honor those who died in 1878. They were the Crispus Attucks, Samuel Gray et al. of the true, Greek-inspired Macedonian Liberation Struggle. They were the first to fall for Macedonia. In recognition of these men who gave the ultimate sacrifice, I would like to cite Thucydides from The History of the Peloponnesian War as Pericles in his Funeral Oration so eloquently honors those who had first fallen in the war: "
ανδρων γάρ επιφανων πασα γη τάφος" (2.43.3) meaning "for heroes have the whole earth for their tomb." How fitting.

Part IV
The term clone is derived from κλών (klon), the Greek word for twig or branch, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

Approximately fifteen miles southeast of Cleveland, Ohio is a city called Macedonia. Upon inquiry over fifteen years ago, a local historian explained to me how the city got its name. In the early 1800’s Native Americans living in the area had made requests for theology students from Western Reserve College in nearby Hudson to come over and preach to them about Christianity. The students, reminiscent of the biblical passage where “…a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us” (Acts 16:9) began calling the area Macedonia. According to the Scriptures, inspired by his dream the Apostle Paul proceeded to Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veroia, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, etc. In his message, including epistles to the Philippians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, et al. he addressed his audiences in Koine Greek.

Over fifteen centuries after Paul’s mission, Slavophones living in the Ottoman-occupied Macedonia region began changing the names of cities and villages in the area to Slavonic equivalents. They referred to Thessaloniki as Solun, Florina as Lerin, Edessa as Voden, Monastiri as Bitola, and so on. However there was no need to change the term ‘Macedonia’ to a Slavonic equivalent simply because Slavs did not identify with the name either ethnically, culturally or historically. There was no such thing as a Macedonian ethnic identity. But late in the 19th century a Macedonian ethnic identity was conceived by Slavs in anticipation of an Ottoman retreat from the region as part of separate Bulgarian and Serb assimilation processes of the local element. Sealed with the Treaty of Bucharest, Greece was able to liberate approximately 80 per cent of the Macedonian region from the Ottomans in 1912-13. Parts of the northern Macedonian region, specifically Pelagonia and Gevgeli, fell under Serb control.

Today’s self-proclaimed ethnic Macedonians claim that their ‘country’ was partitioned in the Treaty of Bucharest. But following the Treaty there is no documented revolution, rebellion, revolt or insurrection by the so-called ethnic Macedonians of that time or by anyone else for that matter. As this ethnic Macedonian identity was mostly a Serb invention, they obviously could not have revolted against themselves. Even Macedonists such as Krste Misirkov eventually conceded and acknowledged their Bulgarian roots. But as for the Serbs, Macedonism was still on the table. Novakovic’s ‘blueprint’ later inspired Tito to rename the province of Vardarska to the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Thus the ‘Cloning’ had begun. The conception of an ethnic Macedonian identity was advocated by the now-defunct Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Yet the same unjustified support continues to this day from the Washington establishment.

On October 27, Mr. Daniel Fried, the Department of State Asst. Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, remarked on the ‘Future for Macedonia’ to a group of journalists from FYROM, followed by a Q & A session. In his statements, Mr. Fried advocated an ethnic Macedonian identity developed upon FYROM’s accession into NATO and the European Union: “If Macedonia joins NATO and the European Union and develops its democracy and its economy and its institutions and is a success, your identity will develop from that success…All national identities in the world start off artificial.” That’s six big ’ifs’ for FYROM’s road to maturity devised on a fallacy.

NATO ACCESSION. In a Wall Street Journal Opinion on March 28, shortly before the NATO Summit in Bucharest, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, another FYROM advocate, claimed that FYROM “…meet(s) the necessary criteria for membership…have shown their commitment to human rights and regional stability by protecting the rights of ethnic minorities.” Perhaps Mr. Rumsfeld should re-evaluate his position by reading up on the U.S State Department's latest Country Report on Human Rights Practices regarding FYROM: “According to the World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators, government corruption was a serious problem…Societal discrimination against ethnic minorities persisted and inadequate protection of women's rights remained a problem…Approximately half of ethnic minority students did not go on to high school due to lack of classes in minority languages at the secondary level…Trafficked women were forced to work in prostitution, often under the guise of dancers, hostesses, or waitresses in local clubs.”

EUROPEAN UNION. On November 5 Mr. Olli Rehn, EU Commissioner for Enlargement released the latest progress report on FYROM’s accession candidacy. Some excerpts: “…greater priority needs to be given to establishing a public administration which is transparent, professional and free of political interference. In this area the country is at an early stage…further strengthening of the judiciary is required as regards its independence, efficiency, human resources and budgetary framework…corruption remains a particularly serious problem…Little progress can be reported as regards promotion and enforcement of human rights.” And the list goes on. Out of nine accession conditions, none have been met. There will be no EU invitation this year. A veto will not be necessary.

Contrary to Mr. Fried’s theory, national identities do not emerge ex nihilo. The starting point of a new identity is a previous one. A nation-state is a state claiming to be a nation. With the exception of Serbia, the nation-states which succeeded the former Yugoslavia are based on the administrative divisions within it, not on pre-existing proto-nations. A different identity, in this case an ethnic Macedonian identity, can only replace existing ones. Fixated on an illusory ancient identity, the fundamental logic of this identity construction is basically negative and oppositional to the Bulgarian and Serb it replaced based on historically flawed interpretations of past events, all within the irredentist framework of Pan-Slavism. The conception of a ‘Macedonian Church’ by Tito, an atheist communist no less, was an attempt to advance this national identity and legitimize it. As was the conception of a ‘Macedonian language’ out of local Slavonic dialects.

The hegemony of this idealism structures FYROM’s pseudo nationalism on a state-manipulated collective identity. But it is this same state-fostered pseudo nationalism conflicting with the European Union’s political culture adversely affecting FYROM’s EU aspirations. Notwithstanding, this is the whole concept behind Tito’s ‘Macedonia.’ This is the ‘Cloning.’

In the next segment I will reveal the true Macedonians in FYROM, the Vlachs and the Sarakatsans, a.k.a. the Greek minority.

Part V
The term clone is derived from κλών (klon), the Greek word for twig or branch, referring to the process whereby a new plant can be created from a twig.

“It was night when we entered Monastiri and night when we left…The inhabitants - the town is populated by Greeks - walk about furtively…and dwell below ground in their basements…The people here got wind instantly of the arrival of fellow Greeks…They kissed our hands, caressed our rifles, patted our helmets…and wept calmly beneath the moonlight. ‘Can it be true? Are you really Greeks? Greeks from Greece? Our brothers?’ They explained that during all their years of slavery they had been waiting for us, dreaming about us ‘…please, brethren, never let us fall into the hands of the Serbs again. They've oppressed us horribly, just because we are Greek…They lash us with whips if they hear the Greek language spoken among us. They don't even allow us to celebrate mass in Greek.’”

Through brilliant imagery author Stratis Myrivilis, born Efstratios Stamatopoulos, in his book Life in the Tomb evokes the meaning and truth of his personal experiences as a soldier in the Greek army in World War I. Monastiri, at the time a predominantly Greek city located on the southern edge of the Pelagonia valley, was originally founded by Philip II as Heraclea Lyncestis. During the Byzantine period it became known as Monastiri. Following almost 500 years of Ottoman occupation, the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913 placed the city under Serb control, only to be occupied by Bulgaria and the Central Powers just two years later during World War I. Myrivilis accounts firsthand as the Greeks, fighting on the side of the Allies, heroically entered Monastiri in 1918 ending the city’s brief Bulgarian occupation. At the conclusion of the war, Monastiri again fell under Serb control as part of Vardarska province in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The Slavs call it Bitola, from the old Slavic word obitel, meaning monastery.

The savage assimilation process which the city’s inhabitants had so vehemently exposed to the Greek soldiers went unheeded by the powers that be. Again the Greeks of Monastiri were left to their fate as policies of intimidation, persecution and terror perpetuated by successive regimes continued…even up to this day.

According to the latest census there are roughly 75,000 inhabitants in Monastiri. Not one of them has been recorded as Greek. Ninety years earlier the city was bustling with a Greek population including Greek schools, churches, businesses and cultural centers. Today a visitor can still see the remnants of the Greek glory days of Monastiri. So, what happened to all those Greeks? Where are they?

THE VLACHS. Following the 1768 Greek rebellion at Moschopolis, Epirus (today Voskopoja, Albania) then the cradle of Vlach speaking Greeks, and the subsequent destruction of the city by Ottoman irregulars and Albanian tribes, Vlachs moved to other cities in the Balkans including the cities of Monastiri, Ochrid, Gevgeli, Doirani, etc. presently in FYROM. The Vlach dialect has Latin origins going back to the Roman occupation of Greece. Vlach speaking Greeks do not define themselves with the term ‘Vlach’ but rather with the term ‘Aromoun’ or ‘Aromanian.’ This term is equivalent and a paraphrase to the term ‘Romios’ which was used to describe all Greek men since the time of the Roman Empire when the Roman emperor Caracalla under the Constitutio Antoniniana of 212 A.D. extended the privileges of full Roman citizenship to all free men. Therefore the term ‘Aromoun’ or ‘Aromanian’ which Vlachs themselves use is a self-definition of their ethnic Greek identity. Another term used by the Slavs to describe the Vlachs is ‘Vlachogrekomans.’

THE SARAKATSANS. The Sarakatsans are a Greek tribe with ancient origins. They originated from the area of Agrafa, a region in the southern part of the Pindos mountain range in central Greece. To avoid Ottoman rule they turned to nomadic life, abandoning the area of their settlement and fleeing north to territories now known as Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. In the 19th century a large portion of this tribe settled in southern Serbia. They had preserved their ethnic Greek identity by reason of their nomadic life and marriages within the tribe. As a sign of protest against the Ottoman occupation of Greece they were dressed in black, also indicative of their mourning for the fall of Constantinople. Therefore their contemporary name ‘Sarakatsans’ derives from the Turkish words ‘kara’ meaning black and ‘kacan’ meaning fugitive. The Sarakatsans in FYROM speak the local Slavonic dialect as well as Greek.

In the next segment I will continue revealing the Greek minority in FYROM, including references to written documentation proving human rights violations against Greeks.

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