22 February, Thursday


Why "Macedonia" matters for the Greeks - EXCLUSIVE

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This week Greece has welcomed an announcement by the Macedonian prime minister that his country is willing to change its name, in a sign that one of the world’s most vexing disputes could soon be solved. Political expert and historian Ioannis Papagrigoriou stated for Euraisa Diary that the Greeks' unwavering stance against the use of the name of a part of Greece by another sovereign country stems from of self-preservation.
 
Ioannis Papagrigoriou
Political analyst
 
According to him, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is not a real national country. It was a region encompassing numerous leftovers when Yugoslavia was hastily put together in Yalta, right after WWII, by drawing lines on a map. Then this "Macedonian" province was designed by the Communist Block by stapling together parts of land that used to belong to Albania, Greece and Bulgaria. For geostrategic reasons, they called this southernmost province of the Warsaw-Pact "Macedonia": then, in case the USSR needed to invade Greece (a NATO country and essential in securing the flow of oil through the Suez canal), the pretext for invasion was set to trigger at any moment. This occurred sometime in the late 1940's. Greece did start to protest from the very beginning but, being during the Cold War, was told by the heads of NATO not to make waves for now. 
 
Then Communism found its way to the dustbin of history, Germany wanted to prevent a unified Yugoslavia next to what its leaders still consider the southern borders of their Lebensraum (yes, apparently that includes Austria and Croatia) and the Balkan Wars of the 1990's left Yugoslavia fractured into numerous pieces: some ethnic, others relics of the irrational Communist era. The later were in desperate search of an identity.
 
All the FYROM's leader’s posturing and history-mongering is so ridiculous that can be wiped away with a single argument: if the inhabitants of FYROM are "Macedonians" and "decedents of Alexander the Great", as they claim, where is their own language? And how come not one of their claimed "ancestors" ever used it?
 
"If I were to conquer half the known word and carve such a vast empire for myself, wouldn't there be a single temple, or statue or even a humble tomb with this mysterious "Macedonian" language inscribed somewhere? Instead, Alexander was the leader who unified the Greeks (the same way Qin unified China and Tokugawa unified Japan) and then went to spread the Greek culture and language from the Adriatic Sea to the borders of India, making it so popular that, 3 centuries later, even the original Gospels were written in Greek."
 
To put this in perspective, if Cuba were to rename itself Southern Florida, continue to claim them to be "the only true Floridians" and amend its Constitution to include clauses that would dictate the "liberation of our Northern lands", the US would undoubtedly react. And not with the restraint shown by Greece.
 
It would not be because the US would be afraid of Cuba. But it would be wary of what allies Cuba might bring to their backyard.
 
That is exactly why Greece reacts to the legitimization of such a Franken-country.
 
Political analyst said that the name “Macedonia” in relation to the Former Yugoslav Republic represents no ethnic, historical or political reality. Greece is very right to oppose the use of its historical name for what is clearly an expansionist agenda.
 
The ancient Kingdom of Macedonia was in the northern Greek peninsula.
 
The modern province of Macedonia is in the northern Greek peninsula.
 
There is an unbroken record of people identifying with a Greek ethnic linguistic and cultural identity, continuously inhabiting the land of historical Macedonia from the present to ancient times.
 
Macedonia was liberated from foreign occupation in 1912.
 
The (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia is a newly founded Slavic state on what was once the kingdoms of ancient Paeonia and Dardania and is unrelated to the historical Macedonia on the northern Greek peninsula.
 
As part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FYROM was known as Vardar Banovina but was renamed, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1946 as part of an agenda to wrest historical Macedonia from Greece and forge for Yugoslavia a pathway to the strategically located Aegean Sea.
 
The use of simply “Macedonia” to describe this Slavic state is in violation of Article 2 of the UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity that states that in the interest of harmonious interaction, one nation (The Former Yugoslav Republic) in exercising its right to self determination, cannot diminish the equal right of another nation (Greece) to identify simply by its millennia old historical identity (Macedonia).
 
While other name disputes do exist they are disputes between the use of multiple names or as in the case of the Sea of Japan/East Sea/East Sea of Korea, a body of water shared between three countries.
 
The name dispute of Greece with the FYROM however is unique in that the FYROM and the people of FYROM are not only unrelated geographically, historically, ethnically and culturally, and not only do they have a long history of an agenda to lighten Greece of its northern Greek province and not only have they undertaken a policy of “Antiquization” misappropriating the heroes and history of Greece to serve that agenda, but that they wish to also be known simply and exclusively to the violation and exclusion of all others as “Macedonia and Macedonians” when a historical and unrelated “Macedonia and Macedonians” have already existed for 4000 years.
 
Ayaz Mirzayev

Eurasia Diary

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