Macedonia Isue

Its Political Dimension

By: Stelios Papathemelis (Former Minister of Macedon -Thrace, Greece!)

Let me begin by ascertaining certain facts. First: with a delay that is not excusable, we are finally discovering the so called "Macedonian Issue" and we also have an awakening that has been happening for a long time now. Second: Despite the strong political disputes in our country, it is definite that all political parties want to face the issue as a national issue. Which means, with unity and a general mobilization of all Hellenism.

"Popular" and later "Socialistic Republic of Macedonia": This new "Macedonia" acquired citizens, who learned that they belong to the 'Macedonian Nation" (unknown till then), and their till then unwritten dialect will be called "Macedonian Language, with the same easiness and speed that it acquired a name and a state existence. At first sight, in the language of the international diplomacy, these events would be characterized as an internal affair of our neighboring country, and therefore its right and something in which third parties have no business to intervene.

But things are not like that. Here Yugoslavia appropriates a Greek name, the name Macedonia and its derivatives. It counterfeits the scientific meaning of this name, which declares the area, that is, its clearly geographical term, and gives it an ethnological content. It embezzles the whole history and the tradition that are interwoven with that. It forges the Greek history Certainly all these things are not "an internal affair" of our neighbors. It's an affair that concerns all of us, and doesn't end with the nomenclature. In Yugoslavia, a new nation has been created, but it claims that it's old. A new language has been made, which is claimed to be old. The motive and the aims are obviously political, and don't end with the settling of certain domestic problems. They have other aims, which, besides, cannot be hidden.

The creation of a nation is not unusual in our times, I would say that it's legitimate. We know the American nation, which is the product of; the common conscience of the emigrants from all over the world, who are united by the "American dream." The same thing applies to the Canadian and the Australian nation. But here we are not talking about a birth. The case is being presented as a discovery! All of a sudden, something that "existed" for centuries, was discovered. Even if, during the centuries, nobody ever knew about or saw this spurious nation. In Skopje, hundreds of academicians, historians, linguists, etc. have fabricated and reproduced this tale with a name. They strip Macedonia of its Greek character. They strip their citizens of their Bulgarian and Serbian origins. And at the same time they imbue them with the "great idea" of their alleged origins from the ancient Macedonians and its consequences.

So, a population that in its greater part had a Bulgarian conscience during the years between the two World Wars (they manifested their conscience with the glorifying reception they gave to the troops of Bori of Bulgaria in 1940, treating them as liberators, and later confirmed it when the local communists cut themselves off from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and joined the Bulgarian Communist Party), these people were informed by the media one day that they have

another name and another ethnic conscience. Ever since that, the whole system, education, mass media, social incorporations, work day and night for the case. Jhe local historiography adjusts the interpretation of the historical events and phe

nomena to the measures of this strategy. This mania takes tragi~omic dimensions. Everything is relocated and reinterpreted. From Alexander The Great to Cyril and Methodius and even Markos Botsaris. Everyone acquires the skopjian citizenship in a magic way, as if in a fairy tale. The procedure of the spurious Macedonian language is proportional. The unwritten dialect of the area, known as "Bulgarian" gets into the laboratories and acquires writing, syntax, grammar and dictionary.

The question that arises is why is all this happening, why should a state make a tale and spend enormous amounts of money, inversely proportional to its potential, in order to support this tale? It is clear that the tale isn't for the tale. This whole creation is ideological - political and psychological substratum of a methodically cultivated spirit of unliberation (enslavement). The free "Macedonians" have enslaved brothers and enslaved lands in Greece (and in Bulgaria), and they must liberate them when the conditions are appropriate. This unliberated spirit is diffused these days all over Southern Yugoslavia. The educational system, the mass media and all the surrounding atmosphere, consolidate it. And here they are not "playing" with names and historical forgeries. They claim and they wait.

At the same time, the things that take place in Skopje, are being exported. First to the countries where after the fifties, there emigrated citizens from that area. And today, to all the countries in the world.

Skopje have a very powerful means, the title of the small state. Its legal capability to make direct contracts with other countries for educational, scientific, and other subjects, that is for the internationally present, is. the main free of charge and primarily effective capability that Skopje have. Their second equally powerful weapon in the multinational land multi-cultural countries of the immigration, Canada and Australia, is their claim that they constitute an ethnic group that speaks a particular native language. These are entitles that today they have a great protection in those two countries (University Seats, introduction to the public education financing for the teaching of the language at home, presentation of programmes in that language at the radio-television channels, etc.).

With the legal capability of the small state, the foreign governments, including the Vatican, join the "game" automatically. While the International public opinion, which is uninformed or anyway historically indifferent, even without an expensive propaganda like the skopjian one, gets trapped.

Today, very few people in the world don't identify Macedonia with Skopje. At the same time, the capture, using various means (trips, Homoris Cause, medals, etc.), of a part of the academic society in various countries, complicates the confusion even more.

The steady, systematic, continually modernized and acting unobstructed, by default of the Greeks, Skopjian propaganda, has passed its message and its view in almost all the encyclopaedias of the world, in some places totally, in others partly and this thing is not surprising at all.

The case of the Harvard encyclopaedia, which echoes the views of the skopjian historiography and for the time being insists on them, is characteristic. Despite the public criticism, the University administration refuses to reveal the author of the text and confines itself to calling him "a Slavian who is traveling in Greece." The fact that the author does not include some particular truths like the following, that for the experts refutes both the previous and the subsequent, still does not convince the editor to revise the entry.

"The greatest progress for the development of a separate Macedonian ethnic group started in the late fifties, with the arrival of Yug9slavian emigrants who, after the second World War were taught to believe that the Macedonians are a separate linguistic and cultural ethnic group (nation). Also, they became the

means of the conveyance of these feelings to the emigrants that had Bulgarian conscience."

Harvard is a very bad example for other encyclopaedias. The most recent example is the Australian Ethnological Encyclopaedia that was published for the Bicentennial of Australia. The original text, as it had been pre-published to the slavic newspapers of Australia, could have been written in Skopje. The strong Greek reaction, from the state and from the members of the Academy, did not modify the entry. But it gave a categorical Slavic identity, with the following intro~ duction by the editor: The geographical area of Southeastern Europe, known as Macedonia, has now been divided between Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania and in the modern years it has never been an independent state. It is inhabited by many ethnic groups, including the Slavo-Macedonians, the Greeks, the Gypsies, the Vlahs, the Turks, the Serbs and the Bulgarians. There are cultural differences in various villages even with families. In this article, the term "Macedonia," refers to those who have a Slavic language, civilization and orientation. Additional information about Macedonia, can be found in articles of this encyclopaedia that refer to the Greeks, the Bulgarians, the Albanians, the Serbians and the Gypsies."

The Greek side, obviously considering that the theories of the Skopjian history-researchers cause general hilarity, and do not deserve to be answered and followed, confined itself for years to the doctrine: We do not discuss the non-existent Macedonian issue. This attitude is correct, but it covers only a small fraction of the whole issue: the claim of the Scopjans they have no minority in Macedonia.

This Greek self-confinement is self-trapping. Skopje know very well that they have no minority in Macedonia, that is why they broadcast in Greek. They just ''play,'' very cleverly, the tale of the ''minority'' which is now being repelled clearly by the united political world of Greece. But the Greek side has defaulted and did so consciously, to all the other the major part of the problem. This, that today has taken the dimensions of an avalanche.

Skopje have worked undisturbed for years in the international market and since there was no resistance, they succeeded in achieving many things. The elimination of the results of this long-lasting work of theirs, on many levels of the international scientific, state and public opinion, is a great work. But it is also very urgent work.

- What is needed is a crystallization of a political, scientific and diplomatic "counter attacks." I could say that we are forming it using all the potential we've got, regardless of the people's political beliefs and the parties they belong to. We support the necessary priorities for its materialization morally and financially.

- We are confronting dynamically the issue "updating." Books translated in various foreign languages reach serious receivers. New series of books are being published and will be circulated in thousands of copies.

- The archaeological research in the area is being intensified. A fast program is being promoted, with the financing from several banks, for the publicity and pushing forward of the great centers of the Macedonian Hellenism. We say that we have started in such a way that the continuance is binding for anyone that succeeds us.

- Another organization of the Greeks abroad.  It is a fact that Skopje, beyond their actions as a state, today they base a great deal of their actions especially in Australia and Canada, and their patriots there; to their fanaticism and fighting spirit. On the other hand, the Skopjians abroad, compared to the Greeks are insignificant in all dimensions. Despite that, they succeed to our disadvantage because they are organized and use the local possibilities to the ultimate degree. The Skopjian executives offer political influence and ties with the people of the mass media and the mass areas.

For years, Greece has been trusting informally the confrontation of the Skopjian actions to the Panmacedonian unions. The latter ones deserve praise because despite the difficulties they do a national work. But they alone, are not enough. All the Greeks abroad and not just the Macedonians must realize that this issue concerns the nation and can be eliminated with their general commitment. Greece wants positive relations with our Balkan neighbors, especially with Yugoslavia. From its side, Yugoslavia has excluded in action as a presupposition for this friendship, the action of Skopje. The foundation of the relations between countries is that they must be mutual. Hellenism has kept away one-sidedly for many years from the necessary reactions. It is time for us to react and act like Skopje. We will do better. We carry inside us a "a Greek new world and the common Greek language, we spread till Vactrian and India, all over the world."

Although Alexander the Great could not have foreseen the appearance of a people who doubted his greek origin after thousands of years, unfortunately for them, he left a letter. The one that he sent to Darius, and shuts them up forever:

"Your ancestors came to Macedonia and to the rest of Greece and treated us badly, without having been harmed by us before. After that, I just became the leader of." (Arianos II, 14, 4)

*Speech at the Archaeological Society in Athens, for the Commission of Information about the national issues. Mr. M. Andronikos, K. Svolopoulos and A. ~zarou also took part. Athens, 8/12/89. Using this text as reference, Mr. Papathemelis spoke in Utrecht Holland 26/1/89, Thessaloniki 5/2/89, Kilkis 19/2/89, The National Research Foundation 22/2/89, Series 7/3/89, Kastoria 4/2/89, Munich, Germany 4/7/89 and Dusseldorf Germany4/9/89.

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