Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Macedonian* self-identification

Ancient Macedonia was a Greek kingdom situated in the north end of Greece. It became the most powerful Greek state during the 4th century bc after the decline of ancient Athens and ancient Sparta. Under the leadership of King Philippos II and his son Alexandros III (known as Alexander the Great) the Macedonian army conquered most of the world and created the world's largest empire ever, including South-East Europe, most of Asia and North Africa. After the death of Alexander, Macedonia followed the fate of the rest of Greece. It became a Roman province, later a Byzantine province, it was occupied by the Ottoman empire and finally it became part of the indepented Greek state in 1912. Today the Slavmacedonia nation of the FYROM attempts to adopt the history and culture of Macedonia as their own and present themselves to the world as "ethnic Macedonians" and "descedants of ancient Macedonians".

This is a blatant attack against Greece and her Macedonian self-identification and its world wide respected history.

Slavmacedonians of the FYROM who claim to be "Macedonians" have no historical, cultural or linguistic relation with ancient Macedonia. They descended into the region not before the 6th cent. A.D. long after ancient Macedonia was homogenized with the rest of Greece. Their 'Republic of Macedonia' occupies less than 10% of ancient Macedonia. Therefore their claim on ancient Macedonia's name, history, culture and symbols can not be justified.

The real question is how you segregate a Greek Macedonian identity with a Slavmacedonian one?

Self-identification should be neither arbitrary nor at the expense of the right of self-identification of other groups. The existence of objective criteria as well as the historical and other special ircumstances of each ase are also taken into consideration when determining the existence of such groups. Antony D. Smith [NationaL Identity, Oxford,1991] 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.

Greece does not recognise that a distinct ethnic or linguistic minority exists in Greece by the name ‘’Macedonian’’, since the name Macedonian(Makedonas) is used in the cultural and regional sense by Greek Macedonians living in the region. Thus, the use of the term ‘’Macedonian’’ to denote such an identity in Greece, not only fails to respect the Hellenic cultural heritage and the identity of the 2,5 million Greek Macedonians living there, but also threatens to create a serious confusion or even a potential clash over identities in the whole region.

Of course, Greek State fully respects the individual rights of those claiming to belong to a "’Macedonian ethnic minority", including their freedom of association. The non-registration by the Courts of one association using the name "Macedonia’" is now pending before the Greek justice. However, the use of the name ‘’Macedonian’’, without a qualifier which would denote that its founders are Slav oriented, creates confusion with hundreds of other associations formed by Greek Macedonians and using the same term, that is “Macedonian”. These references should not be interpreted as implying a determination that such a minority or language exists in Greece but as claims emanating from the individuals concerned.

Let me add that the political party (‘’Rainbow/Vinozhito’’), which claims to represent the so-called "Macedonian minority", obtained in the Europarlimentary elections of 2009 took in Macedonia only 2.500 votes . These citizens are free to manifest their traditions and culture. Festivities and cultural events are regularly held in the region of Florina. One from the head also is public employee.

326 world scholars in an letter [http://macedonia-evidence.org/obama-letter.html] asked from US President Obama "to help the FYROM government in Skopje to understand that it cannot build a national identity at the expense of historic truth. Our common international society cannot survive when history is ignored, much less when history is fabricated."

Let's following theirs advice. Slav Macedonians need to realize that their newly conceived ethnogenetic dogma, extending to classical antiquity, encroaches upon the Greek 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.

*A Macedonian according to several sources[http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Macedonian][http://www.thefreedictionary.com/macedonian] is a native or inhabitant of the (Ancient or Modern) Macedonian region.

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