PAN MACEDONIAN STUDIES CENTER, INC.
ΚΕΝΤΡΟ ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΚΩΝ ΣΠΟΥΔΩΝ
A Non-profit 501(c)(3) Organization
149-14th Ave, Whitestone, NY 11357-1730, U.S.A.,
Tel. 718-747-0488 – Fax 718-747-0489
Press Release of the Macedonian Studies Center and the Pan-Macedonian Association of USA & Canada
Author: Christos Karatzios M.D.
Communication: Nina Gatzoulis: [email protected]
New York-March 26, 2009
RE: Blatant propaganda on Greek TV
Encouraging message by P. Voskopoulos for “Macedonian” minority action in Greece
“Do not fear! Lift your heads high, we can do this very well!”, is the message that the representative of the so-called “Macedonian” minority, Pavlos Voskopoulos, promoted in a sly manner to the inconspicuous participants of the televised program “Atheatos Kosmos”, on March 10, 2009 on the Greek television station ALTER. During the program representatives of the political party “Rainbow”, Greek politicians, historians, and journalists discussed the recent United Nations report by Ms. Gay McDougall, on the “minority” issue in Greece.
In particular, towards the end of the broadcast, Mr. Voskopoulos, openly addressing the supposedly oppressed “Macedonian minority”, which he calls “Makedonski”, said: “Dosta veќe da se plašete, gorno glavata, možno e, mnogu dobro.” When asked to translate into Greek what he had said, he replied falsely: “this is a matter of pride for us.” Mr. Voskopoulos virtually called for an uprising by members of his political faction in Greece.
We welcome the initiative of ALTER channel to address the critical Macedonian issue. However, expressing the historical concerns of the Diaspora, the Macedonian Studies Center and the Pan-Macedonian Associations of U.S. and Canada, we wish to inform the Greek public about certain inaccuracies during the broadcast.
First, the amiable journalist Mr. Hardavelas, referred to Nicodemus Tsarknias of the sectarian and self-called “Macedonian” Church in Aridaia, Greece saying that the building is incomplete, “as if no one wants to see it.” This statement was unfortunate. The Tsarknias church building was not built back then because it lacked sufficient funds for its completion (and virtually no support from the alleged minority that it was allegedly serving!). Mr. Tsarknias is the one who sent an inflammatory letter to the legitimate Bishops of Kastoria, Florina and Thessaloniki, demanding the keys to their churches, because he believes Greece has occupied “Macedonia” since 1912! During the program it was said that people who make frequent visits are from the FYROM and its Diaspora (Toronto and Australia). Where are the “ethnic Macedonians” from Greece? Unfortunately there was no mention about it during the broadcast.
The “deported Aegean Macedonians” declared to the young journalists, who were sent to FYROM to interview them that they have been grouped into an organization that lists 50,000 people! What kind of organization has 50,000 as members and why is this organization not known throughout the world? The repeated question of the journalists: “Do you feel Greek?” prompted them to declare: “No, I am Macedonian”. Then, they claimed that their ancestors were the owners of properties that were left behind when they fled Greece. They proclaim that the Greek government does not permit them entry to Greece after the Greek Civil War.
During the broadcast a member of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) during the 1940s and then a NOF fighter, who took arms against the Greek government during the Greek Civil War, made certain statements. She concluded that the Greek authorities did not allow her to return to Greece! Her statement was interesting in that her only wish is “to come back in Greece,” in order to see the grave of her mother. A few seconds later, negating her own words, she said that she has already visited Edessa and Florina!
The vast majority of NOF “fighters” initially took weapons against Greece and served Bulgarian interests, under the command of Axis Bulgarian army officers, such as Anton Kaltseff. In the summer of 1944, when the Germans were preparing to retreat from Greece, they were transformed from Bulgarians to “Macedonians”, enlisted in SNOF (Slavomacedonian EAM, or Slavomacedonian National Liberation Front), and fought along side ELAS (Greek People’s Liberation Army) hoping to avoid punishment for their treason against Greece during the Axis occupation of Nazi Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria. In October 1944, after they broke away from ELAS, they left Greek territory and went to Yugoslavia, where they joined Tito’s partisans, bearing the name “The Aegean Shock Brigade.” In the summer of 1946 they returned to the mountains of Greece as NOF (Slavomacedonian National Liberation Front) to fight alongside the communist “Democratic Army of Greece” (DSE), and to exploit Greek divisions during the Greek Civil War. In the summer of 1949, some before and others after the final defeat of the DSE again left Greek territory and eventually settled in Skopje and adopted Slavic names. Many among them including the leaders of the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) returned to Greece. Others did not return, or chose to return only on condition that Greece will accept their changed names, recognizing them as “Macedonians.” Still others did not return, or chose to return only on condition that Greece will recognize them as “fighters of the “Macedonian” Iliden Revolution”.
We should all know about the 28,000 Greek children who were sent to Iron Curtain countries by the communists for “education”, the majority of whom are now middle aged and have been taught that they were expelled. Also, we must have in mind the numerous UN resolutions calling for the return of these children from the Communist countries, especially from former Yugoslavia (UN Resolutions 382 (1950), 517 (1952) and 618 (1952)).
Furthermore, in another interview with a representative of the “ethnic Macedonian minority” from the village of Meliti, Greece there was again an unfortunate mention that “the only wish all these people have is to find work” and one father even claimed that he is “forced” to take care of his adult children (one of his children is 31 years old) because they can not find work in Greece, simply because they are “Macedonian”! In an era where many immigrants (legal and illegal) can find jobs and make a living in Greece, this claim is ludicrous.
It is crucial that Greek TV invites historians and politicians who are knowledgeable in this issue, so that they can rebut the historical inaccuracies, distortions and propaganda. It is also important that individuals who know the language spoken in the FYROM, and the Slavonic idiom used in some Greek border areas (the two are different), be present during such broadcasts, so that Greek television does not promote messages against our national interests.
We also understand the progressive and humanitarian ideas of some of the guests. In addition, we, the Macedonians of the Diaspora, want friendly relations with Greece’s neighbour and wish for an equitable solution to the issue. However, friendship and progressiveness cannot be promoted by ignorance and misrepresentation of historical facts, especially at a time when negotiations for the name of Greece’s northern neighbour are ongoing. This is especially true when intolerant and irredentist behaviour of the FYROM against Greece is ever escalating.
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