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[soc.culture.greek] Macedonia FAQ


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Archive-name: cultures/macedonia/faq
Posting-Frequency: biweekly
Last-modified: 1997/02/01
Version: 1.4
URL: http://www.abest.com/~angelos/macfaq.html
Copyright: (c) 1995-1997 Angelos Karageorgiou
Maintainer: Angelos Karageorgiou <angelos@abest.com>

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******************** Macedonian FAQ (Hellenic) *************************

   This is a FAQ about the Greek main positions,  but also covers issues
that have arisen during our discussion in the group,  so  that  visitors
and newcomers to the group can follow the discussions easier.  I hope it
will be a useful primer.

   In 1994, Greece imposed an embargo on products from FYROM (except for
food, medicine and humanitarian assistance), on claims that the adoption
of a Greek name  ("Macedonia")  for  the  country,  a Greek symbol  (the
Vergina Sun/Star) for its flag and certain articles in its constitution,
hide irredentist designs against Greece.   For the  embargo to  end, the 
flag, certain articles in its constitution, and the  hostile  propaganda
have to be changed ("small package"), while the name  can be  decided in
later negotiations.

   The  Embargo has recently  been lifted but the reasoning behind it is 
still relevant, and  even  more  pressing since the assasination attempt
against FYROM's president.

   But the foremost reason for this FAQ's existences is to reply to
irredentist aspirations, against Greece and its people, like the
following:


          "Actually, WE FORESEE a unification of all the parts of
          Macedonia the Pirin, the Aegean, the Vardar (presently the
          INDEPENDENT Republic), and Mala Prespa/Golo Brdo. That will be
          achieved in a peaceful manner, for NOONE CAN DENY THE RESOLVE
          OF THE MACEDONIANS TO LIVE IN A MACEDONIAN STATE FREE OF
          FOREIGN RULE. Macedonia was divided among its neighbors in
          1913; it's time it got reunified."


                (Boris Docevski, Brainwashed Internet Propagandist,
                posted in soc.culture.greek on April 21, 1995)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               CONTENTS


 1)  Why does Greece dictate to FYROM its name, symbols and constitution?
 2)  Why does Greece  object to the use of the `Vergina Sun' on the FYROM flag?
 3)  Why did Greece impose the embargo?
 4)  Why do you claim  exclusive rights to the symbols of the ancient Macedons?
 5)  What proof do you have that the ancient Macedonians were Greek?
 6)  How can appropriating Greece's history, be irredentist?
 7)  Who populated the lands of modern FYROM in the past?
 8)  What about their claim of a large minority in Greece?
 9)  Why  doesn't  the  Greek  government recognize the "Macedonian" minority?
10)  What are Greece's objections with FYROM's constitution?
11)  Does Greece have any territorial or other claims on FYROM?
12)  Is Greece really afraid of FYROM?
13)  Appendix of FYROMian intransingence




1)  Why does Greece dictate to FYROM its name, symbols and constitution?


    Greece  does not  dictate to FYROM  what name or flag to adopt, just
    to choose any of the million possibilities  that are  not  Greek  or
    offensive to Greeks. Countries have to choose their national symbols
    based on International norms.  (i.e. Can Syria employ the Nazi cross
    as their flag, if they choose so?    Can Cuba  change  its  name  to
    Florida,  employ  the statue  of  Liberty  as  its  flag  and  start
    propaganda  that  the Maine state   in  the USA belongs to Cuba,  by
    virtue of so many Cubans living there?)

    Naming  a  country  after  a  neighboring  region   is  a  de  facto
    irredentist strategy aimed at destabilizing the region,  and  hoping
    that the country, will absorb the neighboring region.




2)  Why does Greece  object to the use of the `Vergina Sun' on the FYROM
    flag?


    The Vergina Sun,  the emblem  of  Philip's dynasty,  symbolizes  the
    birth of our nation.   It was the first time  (4th century BCE) that
    the Greek mainland (city-states and kingdoms) with the same language,  
    culture, and religion were united against the enemies of Asia in one  
    league. At the same time the fractured Greek world grew conscious of
    its unity. And, in this sense, we have never been  apart since then. 
    The `Sun' was excavated  in Greece in 1978, prior to  that date this
    symbol never  appeared  in any  slavic  motif anywhere on the planet, 
    much less in any  motif inside FYROM  even prior to its adoption  by
    the current  regime. This motif does  appear in many Greek buildings 
    and paintings throughout the ages.
    


3)  Why did Greece impose the embargo?


    After talking  with the FYROMian Government  fruitlessly for 2 years
    and going nowhere,  then and only then did the Greek state implement
    the partial embargo as last resort to advance the issue.



4)  Why  do you claim  exclusive rights  to  the symbols  of the ancient
    Macedonians?


    We have linguistic,  cultural,  genealogical, and geographic ties to
    the ancient Greeks and Macedons.   They (FYROM) are mostly Slavs who
    descended after 600 CE in the region,  and have  no ties  whatsoever
    (ancient Makedonia  was  within modern Greece  since its inception).

    Even after the great expansion by Philip the II  and  Alexander  the
    Great in the 400s BCE, perhaps even less  than  10%  of the FYROMian
    land was part of the `enlarged kingdom'.   The reader should realize
    that the punitive expeditions  of  the Macedonians in the north,  as
    well as their imperial acquisitions in the Balkans and Asia  did not
    necessarily produce a `wider concept of Macedonia'  - a country with
    boarders extending to India.  That would be most simplistic!

    Pella, the capital of the ancient Makedones,   is well within modern
    Greek borders.



5)  What proof do you have that the ancient Macedonians were Greek?


    The vast majority  of major  historians  believe  that  the  ancient
    Macedonians were Greek.   Those who still remain skeptical, say that
    they need more evidence  before  proclaiming the ancient Macedonians
    as Greek.  But no one says that ancient Macedonians were not Greek.

    Recent excavations close to their ancient capital, Aigai,  including
    the discovery of the `tomb of Philip the II',  reinforce  the  Greek
    identity of the ancient Macedonians categorically.

    Thousands of items , including columns, inscriptions,pottery, paint-
    ings, etc. can be found  throughout  the museums  of  Macedonia. All 
    without exception are of the Greek culture beyond any doubt. 

    In any case,  all historians  admit that by Roman times  the ancient
    Macedonians were fully homogenized with the rest of Greeks, and that
    Macedonia stopped existing as a separate socio-cultural entity  some
    600 years before any contact with the first Slavs in the Balkans.




6)  How can appropriating Greece's history, be irredentist?


    History  is  the means  for  laying claims  on  foreign  lands.  The
    Macedonian argument was promoted  by  the 3rd Commintern (USSR)  and
    their  allies  in the region  just  prior  to  WWII,  to  create  an
    independent greater Macedonia for social experimentation. Bulgarians
    have said that Alexander the Great was a Bulgarian   while occupying
    Macedonia (Greek) on behalf of the Germans in WWII.

    Tito sent 5,000  Yugoslavs  and  "Slav-Macedonians" to Greece  after
    WWII  to work  with  their allies in the region  to annex  Makedonia
    (Greek) while we were too busy fighting a civil war.  These were the
    same people that now live in FYROM.   3 times in the recent past the
    same  propaganda  has  been  used  as  justification   by  different
    interests  (Commintern, Bulgaria, (S)NOF-Yugoslavia)  to invade  (or
    try to) Greece.  Even today,  just when  the name and flag were been
    adopted in independent FYROM,  VMRO and Gligorof  were talking about
    reclaiming "their" lands in Greece and Bulgaria.



7)  Who populated the lands of modern FYROM in the past?


    The ancient people inhabiting the area around Skopje, at the time of
    the ancient Macedonians, were the Dardanians,  and  their  land  was
    called Dardania.  Throughout  their  modern history,  the region now
    occupied by FYROM was populated mostly by Bulgarians.

    The creation of "Macedonia" (FYROM, SROM) was artificial.
    Ex-Yugoslavs will attest to that.   FYROM is comprised of Albanians,
    Serbs, and Bulgarians and their language is a Bulgarian dialect with
    a few  Serbo-croatian  words.   Bulgarians  will  attest to that and
    understand/speak "Macedonian".

    In any case FYROM's president admitted publicly that the current
    inhabitants of FYROM are slavs.

          "We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century . . . 
           we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians."
       			( President of FYROM Ciro Gligorov, 
	 		  from the Foreign Information Service Daily Report, 
			  Eastern Europe, February 26, 1992, p. 35.)




8)  What about their claim of a large minority in Greece?


    After usurping the name and the flag, surprise!  They start claiming
    that Greeks in Macedonia (Greek) are a FYROM minority.  After all we
    all identify as Macedonians. Thus, we must be the same...

    Some people in the Net claim  1 mill minority  in Macedonia (Greek).
    The population of Macedonia (Greek) is 2 mill.   I am  a  Macedonian
    (Greek) same with other Greeks on this group. We don't have anything
    in common with FYROM. We are Greek.Finally the recent Euro-Elections
    revealed  only  with  their  cause   (therefore   propably  a  FYROM
    minority)  10,000!   Not fantasies  of  1 million!

    The  latter  can be found in the latest State Department report about 
    the Slavic minority of Greece.



9)  Why  doesn't  the  Greek  government   recognize   the  "Macedonian"
    minority?


    Greek parents have been sending their children to Macedonian schools
    for years, expecting them to learn Greek, not Bulgarian.  Macedonian
    people (Greeks)  are  already a majority in Greece,  with Macedonian
    churches, schools and cultural centers teaching Greek  and  regional
    dances and songs.

    The Greek government can neither recognize a minority  with the same
    name, as the majority,  nor  build  non-Greek schools  and  churches
    with the same name.   Greek courts  have offered  to  open  cultural
    centers  for  their  minority,    under   a  different  name   (than
    Macedonian). They have refused.

    As long  as  they  use  the  term  "Macedonian"  to  describe  their
    nationality,    their  minority  in  Greece  cannot   be  recognized
    since the same name is used by  the  Greeks of Macedonia to describe
    themsleves  for much longer that  the  written history of any slavic
    tribe.



10)  What are Greece's objections with FYROM's constitution?


     There are two points of concern
     
     In their preamble, they  define  their  FYROM  state as a departure 
     from the  " ...historic decisions of the  Anti-Fascist  Assembly of 
     the People's  Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM)... ".  The problem is 
     that  ASNOM had called  for the "Macedonians" in Bulgaria and other 
     countries to unite under Tito's rule.
     
     Their language in article 49 is also problematic (too  extensive to
     go into here).

     At Greece's request they have added 2 amendements stating that they
     have  no  claims  on  neighbouring  countries.  Still,  that  is in
     contradiction  with  their  preample,  and  it  is to their benefit
     to rewrite those articles to avoid  contradictions and vagueries in 
     their Constitution.



11)  Does Greece have any territorial or other claims on FYROM?


     In 1993, Serbia's President Milocevic,  invited  Greece  to  invade
     FYROM.  Greece declined it.

     FYROM is surrounded by claims of Greater Albania,  Greater Bulgaria
     and Greater Serbia. Greece is the only one not interested in FYROM.

     It is a poor, barren place with no Hellenic ties or history. Greece
     has the beach-front property (Aegean), and the economy differential
     between  the two  countries  would  only  create problems  for  the
     richer one (Greece).




12)  Is Greece really afraid of FYROM?


     Presently  FYROM  is too weak  to  threaten  Greece  militarily  or
     otherwise. However, considering that

     a)  A general draft can raise an army of 700,000 in FYROM;

     b)  Greece has had to fight several times against similar claims in
         this  century  to  secure   and  defend   its  northern  region
         (Macedonia);

     c)  the Balkans are currently in a map-changing mode;

     d)  shifting alliances may change  the balance of power in the near
         future;


    The Greek state  feels  that  the  "inexplicable"  adoption   of  an
    Irredentist name and flag  by FYROM   are  hostile  and  provocative
    acts designed to establish future claims on Greek Macedonia.

    Especially since the lifting of the embargo, the designations in the
    FYROMIAN passports appear without the Greek cities marked as such,as
    if these  cities  were  part of  FYROM. To add  insult to injury the
    cities are printed with the  slavicized version of their name , i.e.
    Solun instead of Thessaloniki, Ler instead of Florina etc.
                   


       The recent assasination attempt against the president of FYROM by
    ultranationalists,  on the  wake of the signing of an agreement with
    Greece, only enforces the belief that this newborn state is a cradle
    of violence and instability.

         It is very interesting to note that official FYROM circles have 
    blamed  Bulgaria in this attempt ! It seems that this little country
    is surrounded by enemies !





13) Appendix:

    All the above points are easily supported  by availlable evidence, a
thimblefull of which appears below. The  extent  of propaganda unleashed 
against  Greece on this issue is simply staggering. FYROM is believed to 
use  the  Soros development  funds  on  an international smear campaign.


                            

	Collection of various FYROMian propaganda items.


Quotes:


"A major campaign will soon be underway to inform the rest of the
 Balkans about the truth concerning the sections of the Macedonian
 people in Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria who were divided and ENSLAVED
 after the Balkan Wars. The leading Macedonian nationalist parties,
 in their desire to see a larger Macedonia, made no secret of their
 intention to bring these territories back within the sovereign state,
 and do not hide their determination that it is only a matter of days
 before the power of Macedonia redraws the borders of Bulgaria, Greece
 and Serbia."

 			(Kiro Gligorov, interview in the
 			 periodical Nin, Feb. 1, 1991)


"Actually, WE FORESEE a unification of all the parts of Macedonia
 the Pirin, the Aegean, the Vardar (presently the INDEPENDENT
 Republic), and Mala Prespa/Golo Brdo. That will be achieved in a
 peaceful manner, for NOONE CAN DENY THE RESOLVE OF THE MACEDONIANS
 TO LIVE IN A MACEDONIAN STATE **FREE OF FOREIGN RULE**. Macedonia
 was divided among its neighbors in 1913; it's time it got reunified."

 		(Boris Docevski, Brainwashed Internet Propagandist,
 		 posted in soc.culture.greek on April 21, 1995) 


Instances of the FYROMian misinformation campaign:

On 17 June 1990, the founding conference of VMRO-DPMNE
  (the 'Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation'),
  the extreme nationalist party within the 'Socialist
  Republic of Macedonia (SRM), adopted a proclamation stating,
  inter alia, that it would "fight for a free, autonomous and
  united Macedonia" within the framework of a prospective "European
  federation " on the basis of "the Ilinden ideals". VMRO won more
  seats than any other party at the elections in the SRM, with 37
  out of a total of 120.
 
Ljupce Georgievski, President of VMRO, has stated that he
  is "in favour of the spiritual, intellectual and territorial
  unification of Macedonia" (Borba, 31.12.90). On 7 November
  1990 he had this to say: "The Macedonia of Pirin, the Aegean
  and the Vardar is not Greater Macedonia: it is simply Macedonia.
  We shall be talking of Greater Macedonia when we claim Belgrade, Sofa,
  Thessaly, Valona and elsewhere".
 
During a tour of Canada, Vasil Tupurkovski-who represented Skopje in
  the former collective Presidency of Yugoslavia-made the following
  statement on television:  "Europe has already proved that it can
  resolve the question of unification among peoples, as happened in the
  case of Germany. And if that can be done once in Europe, there is no
  reason why Europe should hold itself aloof from the national ideals of
  a people such as the Macedonian people ".
 
Asked by a journalist whether the Macedonians ought to struggle harder
  for cultural and spiritual unification rather than territorial unity,
  he replied: "I believe that the national ideal cannot be subjected to
  constraints, and that it includes territorial unification ".
 
SRM deputy K. Petrov submitted a VMRO-supported proposal to the
  Parliament of Skopje early in January 1991 calling for the adoption of
  a declaration concerning the independence and sovereignty of the SRM
  and for it to submit to the international organisations claims "for the
  return of territories held by Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania,
  which belong to the SRM by virtue of the fact that Macedonians live
  there".
 
An extract from an article in the periodical Nin (1 February 1991):
  "The new President of Macedonia, Kiro Gligorov, has stated that a
  major campaign will soon be under way to inform the rest of the Balkans
  about the truth concerning the sections of the Macedonian people
  in Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria who were divided and enslaved after
  the Balkan Wars. The leading Macedonian nationalist parties, in their
  desire to see a larger Macedonia, make no secret of their intention
  to bring these territories back within the sovereign state, and
  do not hide their determination that it is only a matter of days
  before the power of Macedonia redraws the borders of Bulgaria,
  Greece and Serbia ".


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