The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Greek Helsinki Monitor Speaks Out

From Idividi

Skopje, April 1 (MIA) – Greece should accept the existence of Republic of Macedonia and stop with the policy that leads nowhere, says Greek Helsinki Committee chairman Panayote Dimitras in Macedonian TV program “Voice of the People”.

“Greece must understand and realize that the Republic of Macedonia exists, the Macedonian people and language exist, and thus must accept all these things and stop the policy that leads nowhere”, stresses Dimitras.

According to him, the problem is the Greek public opinion, which was never told what are basic human rights, or rights in line with the international law.

“On the contrary, Greeks believe that Greece has the unique right to this name, and the same topic is in the focus in light of the NATO summit, instead of thinking about mutual cooperation, future and security”, says Dimitras.

He also reiterated the statement of former Greek PM Mitsotakis, who said that the conflict with Republic of Macedonia is not related to the name, but the problem is the Macedonian minority in Greece.

“People in Greece are afraid that if a country under the name Macedonia is recognized, Greece would have to recognize the Macedonian minority at its own territory. If the country is recognized under a different name, then Greece will not have to recognize this minority. The problem is that the Greek people do not know, or nobody has told them, that the Macedonian minority in Greece was recognized by the European Human Rights Court ten years ago, when it passed a judgment against Greece, because it does not recognize the Macedonian minority”, states the Greek Helsinki Committee chairman.

Dimitras stresses that according to the European court, Greece has not recognized neither the Macedonian minority, nor Turkish associations in the country. He referred to Monday’s judgment of the court to revoke for the second time Greece’s decision regarding the two Turkish associations that are not recognized in Greece, because they contain the word “Turkish” in their name.

“All minorities should have their freedom. As long as minorities do not call for violence, they should fully express themselves in a democratic way. Unfortunately, Greece does not do this, and will not do so in the near future. Moreover, Greece is allowed to act in this way, tolerated by its friends, EU and Council of Europe partners, which have never really punished the country for such a stance”, underlines Greek Helsinki Committee chairman Panayote Dimitras.

More news on the Turkish minority issue from the Turkish point of view.

And from the BBC, the outrage over the images that have appeared in Skopje.

Greece has warned Macedonia that its hopes of joining Nato could be damaged by a poster which has appeared in the Macedonian capital Skopje.

The poster, advertising a private art exhibition, features the Greek flag with the cross replaced by a swastika.

Greece has already threatened to veto Macedonia’s Nato bid if a dispute about the name “Macedonia” is not resolved.

It’s a complicated and confusing issue for those of us who have nothing invested in this subject but there is a lot of noise all over the internet (in forums and on blogs) about the name.

Let me just ask a few questions…

Do YOU care about the name dispute. If you do, why ? If you don’t, why ?

Do you think it’s bad (or dangerous) that people want the right to call themselves whatever they feel they are ? If I want to identify as Jamaican or British or black or female or whatever, does it matter to you ? Or affect you ?

Is there an answer to this issue over the name (that doesn’t involve nationalism and history) that would be acceptable to all sides?

Let’s try and have a discussion rather than a fight. After all, these are just my questions…

19 Comments

  1. danilena
    April 2, 2008    

    the right to call yourself whatever you want is recognised in international law. anybody can call themselves macedonian if they want to.
    as a greek, I do not feel uncomfortable with our northern neighbours calling themselves macedonians, but I have serious issues with their efforts to monopolise both the name and the culture.

    isn’t a greek nationalist ridiculous when he says that he wants to “free” today’s constantinople (with minimal greek presence) from the turks ?
    well, I think that a macedonian is equally ridiculous when he talks about “freeing” salonika from the greeks.

    if you laugh at psomiades and velopoulos and all these silly (but also very dangerous) people on this side of the border, how can you not laugh at similar “historical” arguments heard from the other side ?

    I don’t think this is only greece’s fault.

    should greece have handled things differently in the early 90s ?
    absolutely yes.

    would that have made the problem of nationalism completely go away ?
    well, things perhaps wouldn’t be as bad between greeks and macedonians, but they wouldn’t exactly be peachy either. the guy who made the poster with a greek nazi flag and his family that was kicked out of greece, would probably not feel any better if greece called his country macedonia. his real issue is the fact that his family lost its homeland whatever its name.

  2. danilena
    April 2, 2008    

    as for your last question, DD, I find it very hard to imagine a solution that avoids all the history and nationalism issues at play here and manages to satisfy both sides.

  3. Stefanos
    April 3, 2008    

    To call yourself by others names means you are an impostor though!

    This is the main point!

    And if you are using a fake identity why you do this other than get what the others rightly posses!

    And when history has proved that this is what they really are after the question then is do you have the right to defend yourself????
    I think yes hence all the Dimitras Co says is absolutely hot gas… to put it mildly!

    This is why his lot has lost absolutely any sense of credibility in this place which is NOT your country!

  4. Stefanos
    April 3, 2008    

    Look danilena

    The problem of nationalism is heavily biased towards Skopia. This issue was a big problem for Greece in 1949 when those Slavoskopjans took advantage of the civil War in Greece and try to carve a large chunk of Greek territory. To be complete those who become communist then, few years back were enthusiastic Nazi collaborators WITH THE same AIM. THE DANGER THEN WAS REAL THEIR BUTCHERY UNSPEACABLE. Their actions on many account was nothing more that High Treason. By and large they didn’t pay the price for the crime as they should! They escaped in the iron curtain commiting one of the most horrific crimes then as an epilogue PAIDOMAZOMA (Children Abduction – see UN General Assembly Resolutions November 17, 1948(193), and also in November 1949 (288) )

    After this period Greece tried hard to get over it! Tried and on many accounts established good relations with Yugoslavia and Bulgaria even though both were on the other side of the Iron Curtain! We forgot about all these issues and assume this was the case on the other side! The 1990s was a rude awakening. Since during all this years the Slavic paranoia fanaticism and indoctrination always worked towards fulfilling the same aims so badly missed in the 40s. You may call the Greek REACTION nationalism but its not! The frenzy of blind ultra nationalism is firmly rooted on the other side!
    And even with this background, Greece in the after 1990 years tried to still find norms of peaceful coexistence. It invested heavily on them, provided million of FREE aid. In the end though we couldn’t take their BS any longer and they now firmly have to make a decision of what they want!

    And YES the Bucharest treaty of 1912-3 cannot be reversed nor will we handle to them any Greek territory, History or Heritage! We have every right to DEFEND THEM ALL! We will defend them other this heritage refers to 4000 years ago or our history and our unfathomable sacrifices when we fought Fascism for real! Nor like them! We will respect our dignity too! And we will do so with the same vigour either facing a tiny statetlet and protectorate like them or a much bigger Superpower! We don’t make distinction!

    I believe that Greek society has made many concessions to them. Some may say too many. And those who say so are not nationalist as it’s so easy for some brainless village idiots to claim!

    Greece in its vast majority has shown its true will for peaceful coexistence with all around. But the ingredients of the Hellenic Nation (identity, History, heritage) it’s not for sale! Not for give away either We don’t ask much!!!

    Try to understand! Try to think and don’t don’t just chew empty words and thesis

  5. George
    April 3, 2008    

    DD, the sad part is that Greece has not truly realized that no one outside of this small part of the world really cares about this.

    I agree with Condi who said we should move on past antiquities.

    All Greece does is bring more bad press to itself by this childish behavior.

    As Dimitras has said, whether or not a name is recognized, the minority will be recognized.

    As far as conspiracy theories go (and Greeks are fond of them), I heard my neighbor say that maybe Karamanlis and Bush have an agreement that Greece will veto Macedonia’s entry into Nato, and in the end Karamanlis will look strong in the eyes of the Greek people, standing up to Bush.

    Then, quietly over the next few years, the USA will reap the benefits of giving Karamanlis a little credibility today.

  6. danilena
    April 3, 2008    

    stefane, who gets to judge someone else’s “true” identity ? if the slavs have been living in the area of macedonia for 1300 years then why can’t they call themselves macedonians ? my pontiac greek ancestors went to macedonia as refugees 80 years ago, and they refer to themselves as macedonians with pride. do the greeks whatever which part of greece come from, have a right to call themselves anything greek while everyone else doesn’t ?
    what is this ? historical trademark ???

    I think these people are as macedonian as it can possibly get.
    what I have issues with is not that they call themselves macedonian, but that the nationalists among them (and nationalism there is rife -just like in northern greece) make all these ridiculous historical arguments involving alexander the great and phillip and vergina etc, and talk about “freeing” macedonia from the greeks.
    I repeat : it is hypocritical to denounce greek nationalism and not its various counterparts.
    I could use tit-for-tat arguments about how they don’t recognise their own bulgarian minority for the same reasons we don’t recognise theirs, but I really think that this leads to a vicious circle where human rights are dosregarded because “the others are doing the same”.
    I really wish the greek people had the maturity to understand that the thing about human rights is that they are universal, and do not only apply to greek minorities abroad (see istanbul, northern epirus, cyprus etc) but also to the non-greek minorities living in greece. however this would involve being taught about human rights in school, i.e. the political will (that involves a great deal of risk) to want to change things…

    anyway, guys I am soon off to the airport for a weekend in berlin, so please don;t be offended if I don’t answer as promptly. If four days later anybody still wants to pick up this conversation, I will gladly engage them :-)

  7. danilena
    April 3, 2008    

    george, just because an issue is local and not exactly of world war proportions, does not mean that it is not important to those involved.
    I can list so many “little” issues that seem ridiculous to those not involved and still have terrifying effects to those that are…
    as for “childish” behaviour, I don’t think the greeks monopolise it. I really can;t think of another way to describe renaming the skopje airport “alexander the great” in the middle of all this fuss…

  8. George
    April 3, 2008    

    Naming the Airport “Alexander the Great” should have been a great honor to Greece and Alexander. In fact, in the US, there is an “Alexander the Great” Taverna in a suberb of Houston (i think) and will Greece now ask for that restaurant to change it’s name, since it’s not in Northern Greece?

  9. Oath taken
    April 5, 2008    

    Of course most people do not care about it – would it make any difference to them (or to you for that matter) if the Greek borders were in Larissa or even Lamia (as the popular far-left battle cry in the university halls was in the 80s and 90s :-)? Had the parents of that artist been on the winning side of the Civil War that might very well have happened. (It was NOF’s real aim and NOF forces had ended up constituting close to if not more than 50% of the DSE – the latter was dependent on Yugoslavia and Bulgaria and even after the break with Tito the KKE adopted the unified independent Macedonia as part of a Balkan confederation line officially). This is not the antiquity BTW, people that fought in that war are still alive (in fact, some of them that fought to dismember Greece – understandably as true patriots to their non-Greek nation – are still complaining that Greece will not allow them to return).

    By all means, let’s recognize a Macedonian minority in Macedonia (in the same vein that we would talk of a Welsh minority in Wales) and with one simple move accept their logic and interpretation of history that says that Greeks are foreign occupiers and colonizers in Macedonia. After all, the natives of Wales are the Welsh etc…. As for the Greeks that were living in Macedonia before 1912, the ones that were speaking Greek were in fact (self-)Hellenized Macedonians, Vlachs and Albanians as Dimitras’ friends and funders in MHRMI can very well explain to you – all others were sell-outs to their true nations of Macedonia, Albania and Wallachia/Rumania. Of course if one actually believes this crap there’s nothing wrong with arguing that Greece should do it to avoid the bad press… In fact we should go even further and demand that all of us with non-Greek speaking roots break the shell of our faux-Greekness and embrace our minority status so that Greece can get some good publicity for it’s multiethnic mosaic! ;->

    Anyway, Dora the other day acknowledged the existence of SlavoMacedonians in Greece while at the same time noting their lack of numbers – easily seen by the electoral support for their party (in Euroelections none-the-less where there can be no excuse for not voting for the only party claiming to represent a large oppressed minority). Unfortunately she and many other Greeks seem to think that a minority needs to meet either a special numerical strength test or be described in a treaty to qualify as such (a type of logic that might have been OK in the past but is not in vogue in a world where the tiniest minority is being sought out). It’s probably because they think that bestowing the label minority immediately implies the requirement for special treatment (including schooling etc.) which would be the case if Greece had ratified the FCPNM. It has not and does not plan to AFAIK.

    But let’s assume for a moment that the greek government were to come out tomorrow and state the obvious: that beyond the muslim (which mostly self-identifies as Turkish) minority in Thrace that is under a special status due to the treaty of Lausanne there are some other groups of citizens in Greece that do not identify as Greek nationally, including some Slavomacedonians. The usual crowd would be up in arms because the minority’s right to self-identify as plain old Macedonians is infringed upon. Screw the fact that acceptance of that name without any qualifier would make all other Macedonians settlers and 2nd rate inhabitants. Screw the fact that the same groups’ forefathers actually used the Slavo- prefix in naming their separatist guerilla organization SNOF during the German occupation. This is self-determination after all! And please spare me the nonsense Dimitras’ friends in OT serve her excellency the SecOfState and Co. about “ethnic Macedonian” being enough of a qualifier – an ethnic XXXin is obviously the native of XXXia while a Greek or Bulgarian XXXian is just an inhabitant. Anyway, as Greeks are apparently proven – by DNA studies – to be sub-Saharan African settlers of the Balkans (again compliments of Dimitras’ friends – as we say “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are”) I guess they are probably right.

    As for the ECHR decision in 1998 (Sidiropoulos and Others vs. Greece) a little bit of accuracy would be nice: The charge was “freedom of association” regarding the registration of the “Home of Macedonian Culture” and not the non-recognition of a minority.

    As for the idiotic about “great honor” and the restaurant name it’s not worth responding to.

    I leave you with a photo/video of the protest “about the name” (the huge United Macedonia banner speaks volumes about what their national ideal stands for) that the Greek media chose not to report:
    http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=L97Q3G_4Mok
    Notice the salute with the 3 fingers and the circle at the end – it stands for the 3 parts of Macedonia (theirs, Greece’s and Bulgaria’s) united (the circle). And now for a photo of the PM of our neighbour paying tribute to the same flag:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v171/reaper7/1q.jpg

  10. danilena
    April 8, 2008    

    I don’t know who the person who posted at 9:21 is, but it isn’t me.
    DD, you can probably verify this by the email they provided.

  11. SKy is Falling (not)
    April 8, 2008    

    Greece looks only to the past and ignores the modern day and doesn’t know what the future holds.

    The USA looks out 100 years. Since the world in the next 100 years will be merging ever so united (i.e., United Europe, United Asia etc), it’s only a matter of time before none of this nonsense over names really means anything.

    If you follow the trend toward one world government that seems to be where we are heading the USA recognition of Macedonia truly doesn’t really matter.

  12. zardoz
    April 9, 2008    

    IN TWO YEARS THERE WILL BE NO SUCH COYNTRY

    AS MACEDONIA , 1) BECAUSE THE STATUS QUO OF

    AMERICAN IMPERIALISM REALMS THAT THERE BE A STRONG

    ARMED COYNTRY TO DEFEND AMERICAN INTERESTS ,,MAINLY

    THE “BOYRGAS-TIRANA ” OIL PIPELINE , IN ORDER TO KEEP

    IN CHECK THE WORLDS OIL , THIS COYNTRY WILL BE

    ALBANIA WHICH WILL ANNEX A PART OF EX-MACEDONIA

    ESPECIALLY THE PART WHICH THE PIPELINE RUNS THRU .

    AN AMERICAN ARMY BASE ALREADY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED

    ILLEGALY BETWEEN

    ALBANIA-FYROM MACADONIA .

    IT IS THE LARGEST ARMY

    BASE IN THE WORLD , CONSISTING OF SEVERAL BATTLE READY BATTALIONS

    OF SEVERAL THOYSAND (SOME SAY 5300 , READY TROOPS –300 APACHE ATTACK HELICOPTERS ?)

    I MEAN ARE THEY WAITING FOR ALL HELL TO BREAK LOSE ?

    OR ARE THEY GOING TO INCITE UNREST…?

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,ANYWAYS WHATEVER DOESNT STAY WITH ALBANIA

    THRU SOME KIND VOTE ,,

    WILL PROBABLY HEAD ON DOWN SOUTH OF THE BORDER

    AND GET A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP AS AN ANNEXED GREEK TERITTORY

    OR IN ALL HUMILIATION THE AMERICANS WILL BUY IT AS COYNTRY

    (AND NOW THEY CAN BUY SOME HISTORY , BECAUSE WHEN YOU DONT HAVE ROOTS AS A COYNTRY ,, YOU BUY SOME ,, SIMPLE AS THAT.)
    /
    /
    /
    /(MAYBE MAKE A MOVIE IN HOLLYWOOD
    ABOUT ALEXANDER THE GREAT
    ……….BEFORE TO SOFTEN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE )
    /
    SO THEY KNOW WHAT KIND HISTORY COMES WITH THE COYNTRY
    /
    THEIR BUYING………………….!
    /
    /
    /MAYBE MAKE ANOTHER MOVIE TO PISS OFF THE IRANIANS(PERSIANS)
    LIKE the “300” SPARTANS ……………..thus piss off the arab population in general against the greek population ,
    .

    when americans ever since HENRY KISSINGER
    (FOREIGN STATE -NIXON PRESIDENCY)
    .
    used to say about greeks , that their anarchists and cant be controlled,
    so lets wipe them off the map , take away their way of life
    LANGUAGE , history , change them ……betray them against natural allies
    as is the arab world ,

    well i think the time is nearing ,,, as it (THE EVIL EMPIRE )
    heads closer to my home, ,,…….FOR a showdown with craziest of the lot .
    .
    your funeral guys, personaly i’m gonna die defending my coyntry
    what are YOU dying for ,, besides cheneys riches….xmmm?
    .
    .
    blowin steam ….. thank you =Z A R D O Z =
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    P.S. macedinian ,,,.? what macedonian ethinicity..?
    .
    .I HAVE MY PERSONAL OPINIONS ON THE SUPPOSED MACEDONIAN
    ETHINICITY , BECAUSE IN MANY WAYS ITS ROOTS IS LIKE
    .
    TIBET ,,,,long long time ago in the kingdom of tibet
    there lived a beautiful tibetan princess , one day
    a roving prince of th hu dynasty passing by for trade in india
    saw her , and fell in love . …..long story short
    communist china (edo gelane) remembered 700 years later
    that the tibetans hadnt payed a dowry when the 131ST crown prince
    stole the tibetan princess . so they proceeded to take over the whole
    coyntry .
    This macedonian issue apart from what i am writing on top
    is somewhat the same with the tibetan issue.
    ……………….
    ……….i think ITS 1380 OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT
    AND 20 TO 30 FAMILIES BREAK OFF FROM THE
    BYZANTINE EMPEROR APARENTLY PUNISHED FROM HIM
    THEY ARE TRYING TO BREAK AWAY , AND MAKE A NEW KINGDOM ,,?
    OR OTHER.
    THEY DONT MAKE IT
    THE EMPEROR STRIPS THEM OF LANDS AND TITLES AND RICHES
    and they are left with nothing .
    Seeing as this takes place geographically between todays city of veroia
    and the old city of syrakou(now an abandoned village) in IPIRUS
    they were all displaced all over, even in romania and austria and moldavia.
    result and this is the story as i get it and my own personal view,
    these are the remnants of an old story to go against the emperor
    .
    and restore the macedonian kingdom
    (gave them somethin to gather about
    something like arthur and the round table fable).
    .this gave some people asense
    of local ethinicity , the supposed macedonian dialect is the greek byzantine dialect of this story ,

    anyways some people have remained in the past,
    trying to find ways to get back lands and riches of forefathers
    long gone .

    just the same if their are two people or more that want to be called
    a macedonian minority thats fine .

    if i can help fine ,
    BUT IF ALTERNATE INTERESTS OF OTHER COYNTRIES
    ARE AT TOP OF THE AGENDA , USING SUPPOSED MACEDONIANS

    AND THEY USE ETHNIC GROYPS AS A CARVING GAME
    FOR THE DISMEMBERING OF COYNTRY AS IS ,
    THIS IS PROBLEM , ON A PERSONAL BASIS.

    ……SO … TOO BAD.!.

    –P.S.—–SAY GEORGE ,,

    I’M gathiring a petition of people with common upbringing
    .
    in the united states , see if you can sign
    .
    were already 15,000 thoysand strong
    .
    we think thats enough to proclaim a part of attica

    as the ” new texas ” what do you say,,

    lets stick it to ol”’e george W bush…………….=Z=

  13. Xenos
    April 9, 2008    

    The whole thing with Greece and Macedonia is ridiculous. First of all, Greece does not own the name. The only reason Greek Macedonia is part of Greece is because of the Balkan Wars, during which the Greek army slaughtered Muslims and “Bulgarians”, effectively made refugees out of those they didn’t kill, destroyed most of the villages, and filled the vacant spaces with Greek refugees from the Exchange of Populations in 1922. This was the first ethnic cleansing in modern western history, and a shameful act on the part of Greeks. Before all that, the Greeks were a very small minority in the region — less than 20% on average. Even the village and placenames had to be changed from Slavic to Greek forms, because that region was never Greek.

    Secondly, the real issue now is the viability of this tiny country which calls itself Republic of Macedonia. Greece should be very concerned about this, for several reasons:
    (a) Greece is the biggest investor there
    (b) The country has real political instability with 30% Albanians, concentrated in the border region with Albania
    (c) the USA has taken too strong an interest in that country.

    What would be the intelligent thing for Greece to do? [forgive me for laughing at this concept]: it would be to make Macedonia so dependent on Greece politically, economically and militarily such that there is no danger to Greece. Instead, we have this childish nonsense about who “owns” the name, or the flag, or this or that. Far from making an ally of the country, Greece has made itself an enemy.

    So, when it all falls apart and Greece is marginalised in political and military reality, nobody will have any sympathy. Greek nationalism will have taken you there, and you will pay the price for that stupidity.

  14. George
    April 9, 2008    

    Hey Zardoz,

    You guys can have Texas.

    Just leave New York, California and Florida alone, OK ?

  15. zardoz
    April 9, 2008    

    OK …….GEORGE
    and since your very generous ,
    and i am in charge for cutting up the states,
    AFTER THE DECLARATION
    i’ll throw in ILLINOIS and HAWAII
    AS
    A
    FREEBIE…………………….HAVE FUN

  16. Oath taken
    April 10, 2008    

    Thanks for the history lesson Xenos. It would have been nice if you had not followed the usual trick in dealing in absolutes:

    If the ones that were not slaughtered were all made refugees who the fuck was exchanged with Bulgaria and Turkey? The Martians? And who formed the Slavomacedonian separatist units during WWII? Confused Greeks? While in the case of Kilkis and environs especially indeed one can speak of the creation of vacant spaces (it was largely Bulgarian-inhabited and ethno-cleansed of Bulgarians in the same manner that Serres were cleansed of Greeks by the Bulgarians) the vacant spaces were created mostly by ~400000 or more Muslims that were exchanged (the biggest single group in Greek Macedonia as the more numerous Christians were divided along religious as well as ethnic lines). I guess Greece should have distributed the lands they left behind to their Christian neighbors and left the exchanged refugees to live in permanent poverty to satisfy your humanist sensitivities. Ethnic cleansing (employed by all sides in the Balkans, not just the Greeks) is definitely shameful (although there’s enough hypocrisy to go around as the colonial Western powers that would do the criticizing at the time were very much involved in it elsewhere at the time). But the first in modern Western history? I guess if you start it in 1912…

    And why the quotations marks around “Bulgarian”? Do you have a source where Greeks themselves claim to be killing “Macedonians”? Or you’d rather go back in time and teach them that they were not killing who they believed to be killing?

    Regarding the 20% etc. – thankfully some people actually took some of the material in Wilkinson’s definitive work on the ethnography of Ottoman Macedonia and put it up on Wikipedia so anyone can understand (that is if they want to understand rather than reproduce the same tired talking points).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Macedonia
    The numbers are extremely fluid depending on what ones defines as Macedonia (which Ottoman administrative regions) and also on whether one uses language or religion as a more clear indication of national allegiance. Not to mention that each source reflected the interests of their side (directly or indirectly) on Macedonia. But even Bulgarian and Serbian maps show the bottom half of Greek Macedonia as Greek (so much for “the region was never Greek”) and they considered all Slav speakers to be non-Greek irrespective of the fact that they stuck to the Greek side in the face of a lot of pressure to switch to the Exarchy. And the line between the Patriarchate and the Exarchy dominated areas was much further to the north.

    As for the name changes – which happened all over Greece in the 20’s and 30’s in an effort to cleanse the non-Greek toponyms – what do they mean exactly? My father’s village in the border of Roumeli became Pelasgia from Gardiki (think of the Slavic Grad). Your point?

    Finally the nonsense about making them dependent on us: Despite the massive investment they still talk of an occupied Aegean Macedonia. I guess they don’t understand your superior Western logic. Maybe instead of telling Greeks how silly they are you should teach them a lesson as to how they should react. But I forget – it’s only Greek nationalism that gets to your sensitive nerves.

  17. George
    April 10, 2008    

    to Oath Taken: Wikipedia is not considered a reliable witness. Most leaders of academia acknowledge this.

  18. Xenos
    April 10, 2008    

    Oath taken: Balkan nationalism is present everywhere, although from an historical point of view we can blame Greeks for starting it in this region. My point was simply that Macedonia is not a natural part of Greece: it was one taken by war. All of this happened before WWII, which is what Greeks always focus on. The Greek popular history starts 2,000 years ago, has almost nothing to say about Byzantium, and proceeds to completely ignore everything before 1920.

    Insofar as the ethnic composition of the region’s population is concerned, there are several points to be made. [None of them has anything to do with things on WP.] First, the historical evidence is very clear that the inhabitants of the region did not consider themselves to be Greeks or Bulgarians, but “Macedonians” regardless of which language they spoke. This is not derived from Ottoman census data, but from various historical investigations which can easily be found. THe Ottoman population datasets tend to show a low proportion of “Greeks” in various definitions, and in some regions of modern Greece in 1904 there were no Greeks at all. The ambiguity arises in that many people spoke Greek and could be classified as Greeks; for centuries, Greek was the language of educated people, and this had been very aggressively promoted by the Church. Therefore, speaking Greek meant little, in terms of identity. However, this tends to be the definition that Greece favours — for obvious reasons.

    THe accounts of the atrocities of the Balkan Wars are well documented too, but few Greeks want to hear about them. The villages that were left alone tended to have Greek speakers living in them; those without, were mostly burned down and their inhabitants killed or fled as refugees. Insofar as concerns who participated in the Exchange of Populations, you will note that Greece exchanged only about 500.000 Muslims: some of these were Greeks anyway, so the whole exercise was flawed. Very few “Bulgarians” were exchanged with Bulgaria, and most of these people remained in Greece and just adapted to the status quo.

    My point is not to promote the irredentism of the Republic of Macedonia: what was done was done, and we cannot reverse history. It is simply to tell you that Greece does not own the name of Macedonia. The Greek borders must be left as they are, and stability is needed in this region. The nationalism of non-Greek Macedonians is not aceptable either: this is where the arguments should be directed, not with absurd propositions of cultural authenticity and suchlike. And I still insist, that economic and political power matter more than anything else in shaping realities: this is the way forward for Greece.

  19. George
    April 11, 2008    

    Xenos, I agree, and more importantly, I think that Greece should work on keeping the garbage from piling up and keeping the Electricity working before they take on serious issues like “Macedonia”.

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