Monday, April 06, 2009

The Cultural Genocide of the Greek Macedonian Identity

The systematic counterfeiting of the history of Macedonia by the Slav Macedonians of the FYROM since 1944 and their attempt to monopolize the "Macedonia" name were considered by the Hellenic people as absurd and unworthy of their attention.

Yugoslav "Macedonia", formed in 1946, consisted of the area previously called "Southern Serbia" or Vardaska Banovina". FYROM's Slav Macedonians began to claim their "Macedonian" ethnicity as a result of the role Tito and communism played in their acquiring a "Macedonian" language, a "Macedonian" nationality, and a "Macedonian" country, ethnic characteristics acquired from 1941 to 1945, an ethnicity built in a remarkably short time. The recycled and indiscriminate usage of the term 'Macedonian' bearing a distinctly non-Greek connotation is liable to hasten the acceptance of the term in the academy, and hence be exploited politically by Slavmacedonian irredentist circles for whom the territories of "Aegean Macedonia" remain unredeemed.[1] The distress and resentment of Greek Macedonians in this regard stems from the fact that this arbitrary nomenclature, which takes into account only the Slav Macedonian nationalist narrative is clearly lopsided and amounts to an unacceptable monopoly of key terms. It is also offensive to 2,5 million Greek Macedonians cultural identity, including the other "ndopioi" such as individuals speaking Vlach- Arvanite- and Slavonic-based idioms residing in the prefectures of Greek Macedonia, who declare resolutely and unambiguously a Greek national identity.

And the question is how you segregate a Greek Macedonian identity with a Slav Macedonian one?

I will begin my analysis with the term "Macedonian" and its meaning: A Macedonian according to several sources [2][3] is a native or inhabitant of the (Ancient or Modern) Macedonian region.

In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) the noun Macedonians (Makedonci = Makedontsi- in the local Slavic language) identifies, (a) in the legal and civic sense, all citizens of the Republic (including Albanians, Greeks, Roma etc), and (b) in the ethnic/national/cultural sense, a million and a quarter local Slav-speaking population. The Slavic people of this Republic have no connection with the people of ancient Macedonia or their descendants or Cultural Identity. They have Slavic origins — not Greek or ancient Macedonian.

In Greece the noun Macedonians (Μακεδόνες = Makedhones in the Greek language) identifies, in the regional/cultural sense, almost two and a half million ethnic Greeks of the region of Greek Macedonia.

In Bulgaria the same name Macedonians (Makedonci = Makedontsi- in Bulgarian) identifies, in the regional sense, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Bulgarians.

These three variants of the noun ‘Macedonians’ are also in use in diaspora by persons who have emigrated from the three Macedonian regions, namely, Greek Macedonia, FYROM, and the Bulgarian region of Pirin.

To complicate matters further, there is a fourth, historical dimension of the name Macedonians, which refers to the first ‘owners’ of the name, who actually gave their name to the region. They were Greek-speaking people who inhabited roughly the region of present-day Greek Macedonia in classical antiquity identifying themselves as Μακεδόνες (Makedones) in their Greek language.

Peter Mackridge and Eleni Yannakakis define cultural identity as a community's sense of belonging to a group that shares a specific set of values, attitudes and emotions based on a particular view of the local historical past and on a number of assumptions concerning the ethnic and cultural characteristics of the community itself and of the region which it inhabits. [4] Such a cultural identity tends to be constructed partly in opposition to the cultural identities of neighbouring communities or of other communities that share the same space.

Antony D. Smith remarks that there are two main kinds of ethnic extinction in the full sense: genocide and ethnocide, which is sometimes - at times misleadingly — called «cultural genocide». In one sense genocide is a rare and probably modern phenomenon. It includes those cases where we know that mass death of a cultural group was premeditated and the basis of that targeting was exclusively the existence and membership of that cultural group. [5]

The difference over the name ‘Macedonia’, as a state appellation, has been resolved temporarily since 1993 by the adoption of the provisional name ‘the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’. Nevertheless, there is considerable confusion and ambiguity over the derivatives of that name; more specifically, the noun Macedonians and the adjective Macedonian in their ethnic, regional, cultural, historical and legal (citizenship) variants.

Recent events have shown how strong a sense of Macedonian identity there is among the Greeks, particularly in Greek Macedonia itself, and how vigorously Greeks react to any suspicions of rival claims to what they perceive to be their exclusive historic rights to the territory and the name of Macedonia.

The Macedonian name rooted from the Greek word Makedones, that mean "highlanders" or "the tall ones," related to makednos "long, tall," makros "long, large" [6]. Irredentist leaders are forced to reconcile their nationalist policies with pressures from the international plane. At the same time, irredentist leaders exploit perceived "windows of opportunity" in pursuit of their nationalist goals. So we must examine in depth the past, to understand the present, in order to eliminate possible irredentist projects of tomorrow. Slav Macedonians of the FYROM need to realize that their newly conceived ethnogenetic dogma, extending to classical antiquity, encroaches upon the Hellenic cultural heritage and the identity of their Greek neighbours to the south. As such, it threatens to ignite a clash of identities in the region as a whole.

The use of the Macedonian name as a state appellation in no way confers the right to appropriate everything and anything derived from or pertained to the entire region of Macedonia. This needs to be legally clarified and remain binding erga omnes. The state name needs specifically to refer to and describe the present region of FYROM. It should apply erga omnes in multilateral and bilateral international relations and transactions and should be observed by all organizations, states, and other non-governmental international organizations, including the government and the agencies of FYROM. As Kofos said [7] Greek and FYROM parties should accept the name used by the inhabitants of FYROM for their region of geographical Macedonia, i.e. Vardar Macedonia, or preferably Vardar Makedonija.

It is therefore clear that the appropriation of the name Macedonia by the FYROM, on which they have based all their propaganda and even their national existence, does not even correspond to their own false national identity since their artificially created state does not have any national homogeneity. This appropriation of the Macedonian name goes against every principle of justice and conceals other expediencies which directly insult Greek national and Macedonian Cultural Identities as shows the unchanging nature of their continuous propaganda.

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

My cultural identity has been usurped.
Where is the justice ?

[1]-'Aegean Macedonia' is a Slav Macedonian irredentist term used to refer to the region of Macedonia in Greece, in the context of a 'United Macedonia'. The origins of the term seem to be rooted in the 1940s but its modern usage is widely considered ambiguous and irredentist. The term has occasionally appeared on maps circulated in the former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which envisioned Greek Macedonia (referred to as "Aegean Macedonia") as part of a "Greater Macedonia", and is regarded as a challenge of of the legitimacy of Greek sovereignity over the area. Further reading in
[4]- Peter Mackridge and Eleni Yannakakis, Ourselves and Others The Development of a Greek Macedonian Cultural Identity, page 2
[5]-Anthony D. Smith, NationaL Identity, Oxford,1991
[7]-Evagelos Kofos, ELIAMEP, April 2009, The Current Macedonian Issue between Athens and Skopje:Is there an Option for a Breakthrough?


  1. As the Bishop of Florina (Lerin) Augostinos Kandiotis said "If the hundreds of thousands of refugees had not come to Greece, Greek Macedonia would not exist today".


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