Sunday, June 21, 2009

An academic response to Professor Joseph on Modern Greek Studies Association

The critical input by Professor Brian Joseph[1], a respected linguist and an authority on South Slavic Linguistics is greatly appreciated.

Let me state from the outset that I recognize the hard work behind the late Vasko Karadza’s dictionary. Obviously, this was a labour of love. It should be noted though that this dictionary which is promoted by Vinozhito, the self-described party of the “Macedonian minority” in Greece, compares the Greek language to the Slavonic language spoken in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in its standard form, and not to the local Slavonic dialects used by bilingual inhabitants in Greek Macedonia.

More to the point: It is indisputable that the Slavonic dialects, which are akin to (and are largely based upon) Slavonic Bulgarian, spoken by an unspecified number of bilingual indigenous inhabitants in Greece's northern hinterland, are different from the language codified in Skopje in November, 1944 by the linguist Blago Konev (later known as Blaze Koneski) under orders from Josip Broz Tito. I link this here: [2] If this language was codified for political reasons in the 1940's (as one of the instruments of Yugoslav communist propaganda exploiting the bane of the Greek Civil War) why should we, the bilingual Hellenes of Greek Macedonia, accept this as a "Macedonian" language?

On the matter of identity, the people of FYROM have every right to a distinctive national identity and separate language distinct from their historically connected Bulgarian and/or Southern Slavic roots. No reasonable person will deny them their right to self-determination. What Greece (as a State) and most Greeks object to is the self-determination of citizens of FYROM and their Diaspora as being the bona fide "Macedonians." The monopoly of the terms 'Macedonians' and 'Macedonian' by Skopje underlies major political stakes. Despite nuanced claims to the contrary, this negates the collective memory and identity of Macedonian Hellenism, its history, its culture, its folklore and its symbols, all the way to its local/regional products and commodities.

Self-determination is defined as the free choice of a person's own acts and desires without external compulsion. This is the real reason why Greeks object to what Macedonism is attempting to accomplish in Greek Macedonia. Macedonism is acting as a pounding external agitator driven by a State-sponsored ethnocentric nationalist creed with 21st century irredentist visions. The Greek people see a spade and call the spade.

Let me make this clear: There is no pervasive support coming from Slavophone bilingual Greeks for self-determination as "Macedonians" with the connotation of the word that Skopje wants to give. Nor is there an overt expression of yearning by the local inhabitants to learn the Slavonic language of FYROM (in its standard form) – contrary to what Skopje and its Diaspora activists would like the international community to believe. "Macedonian" is not a language that we want to call our dialects, which we have been calling "Bulgarian (Voulgarika)" for generations. I am of the view that one can’t impose on a population something that the people don’t want. Along these lines, may I also submit that the dictionary promoted by Professor Friedman and Vinozhito does not represent our local oral dialects. What Skopje, Vinozhito, and by virtue of association Professor Friedman, are engaged in is tantamount to sheer political activism.

It is worth mentioning here that Vinozhito received a total of 4524 votes in all of Greece during last week's European Parliamentary elections. Only 2594 votes came from Greek Macedonia itself. That Vinozhito is free to hold associations, and promote their agenda throughout Greece is evident. However, their website is run by ultranationalist Macedonist circles from overseas (the people behind who repeatedly engage in malicious expressions of rampant hatred and racist slurs while demonstrating virulent hostility against the modern Greek state.

If Professor Joseph so chooses to "distance [himself] from extreme nationalistic views on all sides, the debate, governmental and nongovernmental, Macedonian and Greek [because] they have no foundation in linguistic science and serve no useful purpose," then he should also choose to distance himself from the political operation of Macedonist propaganda with which some of his colleagues maintain strong ties.

It is high time for respected scholars to desist from speaking pedantically on politically sensitive issues, and to be aware of those hiding behind a veil of political expediency. Bilingual Macedonian Greeks have been able to preserve, cherish and celebrate their heritage and their oral local Slavonic, Vlach or Arvanite dialects, throughout the centuries. More importantly, they do not seek the intervention of outside patrons and saviours with political agendas. Yes, historically there were some isolated low moments of linguistic persecution but the people’s collective memories are a testament of endurance of their deeply entrenched Greek identity.

Let it be known in no uncertain terms that the vast majority of bilingual Macedonian Greeks have no interest whatsoever of accepting the codified standardized language of Skopje as their mother tongue let alone as the language of a purported "Macedonian minority” in Greece’s northern prefectures. Historically, the complete failure of Roumanian schools in Grecovlach communities in Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia during the interwar years of the last century should be a vivid reminder to the patrons and champions of “ethnolinguistic minorities” in modern Greece.

Condemning the unacceptable behaviour of extremist thugs of Chrysi Avghi, I would like to point out that the people who reacted inappropriately to the presentation of the late Vasko Karadza’s dictionary in Athens were individuals from the fringes of Greek society. Suffice it to say that it is grossly unfair for the entire Greek nation to be vilified in this regard by the Friedmans of academia.

Greeks of the Metropolis and the Diaspora have shown that they have more mature ways of dealing with staged political provocations.

by Christos Karatzios MD
Modern Greek Studies Association


[1]-On Mon, 6/15/09, at Modern Greek Studies Association Professor Brian Joseph wrote:

Finally, since Mr. Caratzas seems to want "meta-data" about those posting to the list, as well as various sorts of declarations, let me say for the record that Victor Friedman is a dear friend of mine of long standing and that he and I have been collaborating for several years on a book on the Balkan languages to be published in the next year or two (2010 or 2011) by Cambridge University Press.

With regard to the Macedonianlanguage and the Macedonians, I endorse the rights of the Macedonians to linguistic self-determination (as I do for all peoples and especially for all minorities). I do recognize that the names used for languages constitute a politically charged issue but would urge parties to loook beyond the name and embrace self-determination, difficult though that may be.

Professor Friedman's point about the pressing need to document under-described language varieties in Greece (including Macedonian, Arvanitika, Aromanian (Vlaxika), Romani, Pomak, Judezmo, and Turkish) cannot be overemphasized, and the same holds for under-described dialects of Greek itself (including Pontic, Tsakonian, and al regional varieties).

And, for the record, I distance myself from extreme nationalistic views of all sides , the debate, governmental and nongovernmental, Macedonian and Greek; they have no foundation in linguistic science and serve no useful purpose, in my estimation.


  1. Chrysi Avghi represent the majority of people in Greece who are too afraid of being called a nationalist or wish to protect their country from the hordes of foreigners who wish to takeover Greece without declaring war on Greece.
    For those who don't agree with Chrysi Avghi you are a traitor in the same fashion there was that despicable bastard traitor who helped the Persians in Thermopylae, those who helped the Turks and their Muslim bastard allies and those who helped the Nazis, and those who helped the Communists.
    The Chrysi Avghi do the work that the others would like done but are scared to do.
    Greek blood has been spilt to free our lands for Greeks not for the hordes of human waste from Asia, Africa and Slavic lands.
    Greece for Greeks.

  2. Anonymous the Chrysi Avghi -a neonazi political partie - represent a tiny part of the minority of the so called extreme-right and dont these that you claim. Dont put in the same box all the people as doing Freidman, Loring Daforth , Riki Van Boeschoten and the rest that support Slavmacedonism and its claims.

  3. Akritas
    I don't understand what you have written. Write in Greek please so I can understand your point. In addition, read carefully what I have written.

    The Chrysi Avghi are pro-Greek. Not pro-German and as such are not Nazis. People who do not wish to have foreigners in their country should not be called racists, neo-nazis. They have a right to exclude and protect their borders. Just as Japan, China, Malaysia, South Korea, don't allow foreigners to flood their countries.
    If you want to see what happens to the free flow of immigration ask the Native Indians of North American who were virtually wiped off the map by the English, French. Their culture is bordering extinction. This is what multi-culturalism. The Native Indians of North America never asked the English, French etc to come to their lands or to wipe them out. Who says the Africans, Asians should dominate the world and wipe out all other cultures and languages and people. They are the real fascists hiding behind the facade of human rights to enable them to invade and take over other people's ancestral lands without waging a war at all.
    The Greeks should learn to stand up to the foreigners and push them back to their own homelands. Greeks have been pushed around enough. We have been killed by Turks and their Muslim hordes, we have been slaughtered and exiled by the Slavs (ask the Greeks who were sent to Siberia by the Russian/Slavic/Communist some history books from sources other than the left wing lunatics).
    Let me add that the most prolific mass murderers were left wing/communists. The communists in Russia, Vietnam, China, South America, Greece....the left killed more people than the nazis ever did and the right wing have the lowest number of mass murders (the USA is a fascist country with a facade of democracy).

  4. You know very well what I wrote and what was the meaning of my post. Chrysi Avghi is a Greek partie with neonazi political sentiments. Is not represent the majority of the Greek people just a tiny of part it.

    All these that you wrote are not consern this article. You can go in other blogs that has as subject the illegal immigration.

  5. Write in Greek so I can understand you.
    Your comments are full of grammatical and spelling mistakes and it does loose the meaning of what your trying to say.
    The post contained Chrysi Avghi and a response was needed towards your post about so called neonazi political sentiments.
    Anytime someone who does not agree with the left wing is considered a nazi or has nazi sentiments. The left wing have more in common with the nazis than Chrysi Avghi will ever do. What about all those left wingers killing people in Greece (what about that Greek policeman last week who was killed, November 17 and the rest of the cowards in black hoods and motorbike helmets). The left wing will lie/cheat/demonize any group that does not follow their viewpoint. That is a fact. The left wing indoctrinated media in Greece likes to paint Chrysi Avghi as neo-nazis which is absolutely incorrect and you continue to spew untruths about the organization. They are doing things which the majority fear reprisals from the very vocal left wing.
    A vocal left wing minority does not speak for the majority of silent Greeks.
    Calling someone a nazi is a nice and quick way to shut them up from speaking out and discrediting them.
    You sir are a party to this unsubstantiated name calling to discredit a group of TRUE Greeks who will not bend down to the left wing scum.

  6. Hello.

    I like you blog, and arguments that you give us, readers...

    Sllavic-Macedonians, work about the propaganda and discreditation Greek history and language.

    For example... This blog below, is doing that.

    and much more, u can see over all blog...

    Thank you for your time.


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