Copyright: (c) 1995-1997 Angelos Karageorgiou
Maintainer: Angelos Karageorgiou <email@example.com>
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For the web addicted you can view this FAQ together with more pertinent information at http://www.abest.com/~angelos/macfaq.html There you will see some very interesting things! Or you can search for the word Macedonia in Yahoo !!!! ******************** 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 ".