Boston, February 25, 2009
A letter with the position of the Pan-Macedonian Association USA, also co-signed by the Hellenic American National Council, as well as the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the Cypriot Federation was sent yesterday, February 23, 2009 to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton in view of meeting with her Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyianni. The Greek/American community expressed its intense concern regarding the escalated irredentist and aggressive behavior of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and they asked the new US administration to retract the decision of the previous administration to recognize the FYROM as the Republic of “Macedonia.” I addition they expect the new administration condemns the irredentist behavior of the aforementioned state.
The ill-conceived decision by the previous administration to recognize FYROM as the Republic of “Macedonia,” clearly became the catalyst of a more aggressive stance by FYROM that can presently be perceived as hostile towards Greece, a NATO ally of the US for many years. We feel that the new administration should reverse its decision, recognize them again as FYROM, and actually block their NATO integration until a new name is found. In addition the US should condemn in the strongest terms their irredentist and aggressive behavior,” is mentioned in the letter. “It is imperative that a negotiated mutually acceptable solution also includes change of the FYROM constitutional name to the new agreed name, i.e. change in their passports and use of that name erga omnes. Also all countries, including those that already have recognized the FYROM as Republic of “Macedonia,” convert to the new name for all uses.”
Please note that these positions represent the overwhelming majority of the Greek/American community. In addition, during the recent Regional Assembly of S.A.E. USA and the Network of SAE Youth these positions were unanimously endorsed.
The letter is co-signed by the Pan-Macedonian President Mrs. Nina Gatzoulis, Mr.Emmanuel Velivasakis co-signed on behalf of the American Hellenic Council (HANC), Mr. Philip Christopher co-signed on behalf of International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and Mr. Peter Papanicolaou co-signed on behalf of the Cyprus Federation of US.
The letter in its entirety follows:
February 23, 2009
To: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Madame Secretary:
On behalf of the nation-wide membership of the undersigned Greek/American organizations which represent the majority of the American citizens of Hellenic descend in USA, we write to you to express our strong concerns regarding the name issue of Greece’s neighboring country, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM).
As you prepare to meet with Greece’s Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyianni, we know that a main topic on the agenda will be the FYROM name issue and the consequences it would have in the stability of the Balkans. Since this issue first arose back in the year 1991-1992 the Greek American community, through several resolutions of the undersigned Greek/American organizations, has been against a permanent name for the neighboring state which would include the name Macedonia/Macedonian.
According to the most recent census, not all of the FYROM population consider themselves “Macedonians.” Who gives them the right to impede the Euro-Atlantic integration of the remaining minorities of the country’s population for a name dispute which does not even concern them, as there might be quite a few among the so-called “Macedonians” who would look forward to a resolution, regardless of how they identify themselves?
As far as the Greek/American community is concerned, as well as Greeks all over the world, the term Macedonian encompasses a Hellenic historical and cultural identity for thousands of years. We strongly oppose any use of our cultural Macedonian identity by the FYROM inhabitants in any ethnological concept. A similar example in Europe would be for the Austrians and Swiss to ethnologically identify themselves as Bavarians, a term which historically and culturally belongs to Germany.
It is imperative that a negotiated mutually acceptable solution also includes change of the FYROM constitutional name to the new agreed name, i.e. change in their passports and use of that name erga omnes. Also all countries, including those that already have recognized the FYROM as Republic of “Macedonia,” convert to the new name for all uses.
FYROM continues to provoke Greece, usurping its history which has been Hellenic for thousands of years, while FYROM refuses to negotiate in good faith over the name issue. Unfortunately, actions over the years such as distortion of geographic maps, naming its airport “Alexander the Great,” revisionist textbooks in schools, advertisements on international television media (CNN), usurping the Hellenic history, and inflammatory comments by top government officials, encourage new generations in FYROM to cultivate hostile sentiments against Greece.
As American citizens of Macedonian/Hellenic descent we condemn the decision published by the Official Gazette of the Government of the FYROM, to name part of the Pan-European Corridor X that runs through its territory, after Alexander the Great, who is universally acknowledged as a prominent Greek historical figure; therefore he is part of our cultural heritage.
It was recently self-exposed when FYROM promoted through National TV channels an approximately nine minute video, entitled “Macedonian Prayer.” In the video God Himself[!] appeared, telling the people of the FYROM that He “had populated the earth with three races of people, the white race or Macedonoids, the yellow race or Mongoloids and the black race or Negroids, while all other people in the world are mulattos” (please see attached literature of the “Prayer”). These extreme racial beliefs, which underlie a virulent ethnocentric narrative, are especially troubling to Greek/Americans. Not one official of the FYROM government condemned the contents of the video, not even the Church.
The ill-conceived decision by the previous administration to recognize FYROM as the Republic of “Macedonia,” clearly became the catalyst of a more aggressive stance by FYROM that can presently be perceived as hostile towards Greece, a NATO ally of the US for many years. We feel that the new administration should reverse its decision, recognize them again as FYROM, and actually block their NATO integration until a new name is found. In addition the US should condemn in the strongest terms their irredentist and aggressive behavior.
We wish the FYROM well and we hope they find a name for their country that does not include the word “Macedonia,” in order to be consistent with their Slavo/Albanian identity, acting as a unifying force for its entire population.
Nina Gatzoulis President
Pan-Macedonian Association US
Emmanuel Velivasakis President
Hellenic American National Council
Philip Christopher President
International Coordinating Committee Justice for
Peter Papanicolaou President
Cyprus Federation of America, Inc
Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Daniel Fried
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Matthew Bryza
Director of Southern European Affairs Kathy Fitzpatrick
Senior Greek Desk Officer Adam Scarlatelli
“Republic of Macedonia” Desk Officer Anna Stinchcomb