Ethnic Macedonians are by definition the most indigenous Macedonians to the area of Macedonia. Three hundred and forty scholars have recently rebutted the current propaganda emanating from Skopje that the ancient Macedonians were Slavs. This has ruffled a few feathers and has caused a spur of activity in certain segments of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Coincidentally ‘The History of the Macedonian People’ was published by the Institute of National History in FYROM and is available in FYROMacedonian and English, apparently with the aim to be distributed to foreign organizations worldwide. The book has erased the words Hellenic and Hellenism from historic discourse. These terms have been replaced with the appropriate (sic) Macedonianism and Aleksandarism… In the book it is claimed that the terms Hellenism and Hellenic were “coined” for the first time by historian Johann Gustav Droysen in 1836 – so nothing Hellenic existed before. In response to this and in combination with the letter to the US president by the Macedonia Evidence Team (http://macedonia-evidence.org/obama-letter.html), the archaeologist Pasko Kuzman, was invited to a TV debate. There he was asked if the foreign signatories (all academics) represent some authority to him and if it “would be possible for a Greek diplomat to go and to put 5000 euro under the hand to him and make him sign a letter like this”. Pasko Kuzman bravely replied “No, I think that we are ourselves a problem, and I begin to doubt a little bit that we are a state-forming people for a longer time, and that is our biggest problem.” ( Ljubco Georgievski, another speaker in the programme, echoed Kuzman´s sentiments. Other inhabitants of FYROM, mesmerized by the Gruevski doctrine and by his continuing provocation and demonisation of Greece, must have been dumbfounded that the academic world might not consider them “ethnic Macedonians”.
Mr Gandeto (a.k.a. Josif Grezlovski) has written a series of articles as a rebuttal to the academics (eg. http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/102727) and just recently one (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/109810) against my recent article on the issue of Ethnic Macedonians. I will concentrate on his rebuttal of my own article, in which he practically rebuts next to nothing. There is almost no single reference to a source or a document but mostly a long series of rhetorical questions. It is near impossible to verify any such statements made in the form of questions and it is almost certain that he either selectively quotes or quotes out of context or makes something up when asking a question as if something had been already established and is well known. I will therefore attempt to answer some of his questions even while not knowing what sources he is referring to. As my time is not infinite and one can invent “facts” much more easily than one can discover evidence about facts (or the absence thereof), I must limit myself to some of these questions.
Mr Gandeto starts his article with phrases such as “their repugnant distortion of truth” in reference to his presumed opponents. The statement coming at the face of a condemnation from 340 academicians of international repute, sounds like a donkey calling a chicken big-headed. A degree of humility would not go amiss, when one is continually engaged in a campaign to prove that the ancient Macedonians were not Greek but Yugoslavs.
To get an idea about Mr Gandeto´s claims, let us look at the summaries of some of his American Chronicle articles:
I “Educators should keep their noses out of Macedonia´s political issues (May 17, 2009):
I challenge all those university professors who have signed Professor Stephen G. Miller´s petition—helping Greece in the dispute about the name with the Republic of Macedonia—to be sent to President Obama, to explain Diodorus´ passage and provide plausible rationale or justification for their position. I would like to know how and at whose expense this alleged Greekness of the ancient Macedonians will come from. For, without an outright corruption of the existing evidence, no other conclusion is possible.”
The Diodorus passage is about a desire for some city states of mainland southern Greece to free themselves from Macedonia. Just decades previously, come of these same city states had sought to free themselves from Spartan or Athenian or Theban rule. This is the best evidence Mr Gandeto can find that the ancient Macedonians were not Greeks.
II “The Greek obsession with numbers—the Macedonian language (April 27, 2009): So, where in the world is this “Panhellenic crusade”? Where is this Greek army? Where are the Greek commanders, soldiers, etc, etc,. If this was a “Panhellenic crusade” as they would like us to believe, where did the spoils of victory go? Not Athens for sure. The truth is that there was no Greek army with Alexander. There was no Greek crusade, and certainly, there was nothing Greek with the Ancient Macedonians.”
For Mr Gandeto Athens was Greece. And there was nothing Greek with the Macedonians (except for their names, city names, religion, festivals, language, coinage and that they are referred to as Greeks in the Old (Hebrew) and New (Greek) Testaments, on Darius I tomb (Persian) and in the Asoka Edicts (Sanskrit)). Mr Gandeto knows best.
III “Macedonians and Greeks, the unfinished saga (February 22, 2009): Ancient Macedonians were simply a different race from the Greeks. You Greeks should look for sameness among the Medes with whom you shared many comforts in the past. Macedonians are an esoteric notion for you Greeks. Only through corruption and fabrication can you make some inroads for now, but eventually, the ultimate victory is reserved for the true inheritors of the ancient Macedonians. You Greeks are temporary impostors. Even if you win the battle with the Republic of Macedonia, rest assured that the world at large will expunge your poisonous Hellenic racist tentacles from the realm of the Macedonians.”
Ethnic hatred? Living in a parallel universe? Or how would one call this?
Let us take a look at some of the sweeping statements Mr Gandeto makes to demonise Greece, before embarking on specifics (but mostly rhetorical questions) about the ethnicity of the Macedonians (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/109810). Mr Gandeto claims: “Greece´s “trained soldiers” in the Diaspora attempt to present the Macedonians from the Republic of Macedonia as a “fictitious entity” created by some communist monster bent on stealing Greek territory”. That presumably applies to the 340 academicians. It might also apply to the Stettinius airgram among much else stating the artificiality and expansionistic motives in the creation of the Macedonian Republic of Yugoslavia in 1944: “The Department has noted with considerable apprehension increasing propaganda rumors and semi-official statements in favor of an autonomous Macedonia emanating from Bulgaria, but also from Yugoslav partisan and other sources with the implication that Greek territory would be included in the projected State. This Government considers talk of “Macedonian Nation”, “Macedonian Fatherland”, or “Macedonian National Consciousness” to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic or political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece.” (U.S. State Dep. Foreign Relations Vol. VII, Circular Airgram [868.014] – 1944, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Edward_R._Stettinius)
Mr Gandeto, with reference to Greece, adds in his preamble of Greek demonisation:
“This so-called “democracy” exhibits pervasive signs of decadent, almost paranoid tendencies.”
There are several measures of democracy. In one of them (The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy 2008) Greece sits at position 22, close to France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, as a full democracy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index
After a grand display of venom and prophesies of doom for Greece (who else?), Mr Gandeto rhetorically asks with the wrong government in mind:
“How else can one reconcile with the fact that Greece today, shows total and defiant disregard for international covenants of human rights?”
Total disregard for international covenants for a country that is a member of the United Nations, the European Union and NATO? A country that has the presidency of OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe? Mr Gandeto, is this not 2009 but 1984? AND total disregard for human rights – in what may be the only EU country with a communist party along with the Republic of Cyprus, in a country where my American friends say it is impossible to believe so much anarchy exists without the security forces apparently trying to contain it, evidently so as not to upset the arsonists. But let us look at some third party indices again:
Greece IS NOT in the list of the EIRIS human rights countries of concern (corporate responsibility): http://www.unepfi.org/humanrightstoolkit/EIRIS_human_rights_countries_of_concern.pdf
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) does not list Greece as a problem country and Freedom House gives Greece a status for “Freedom of the Press” of “Free” with a total Score of 27. The equivalent scores for the UK is 18, for Italy 29 and for France 22. For FYROM it gives a status of Partly Free with a total score of 47.
In the Civil Liberties Index, which is probably what Mr Gandeto has in mind, Freedom House gives Greece a score of 2, less than perfect, but to FYROM a score of 3, with scores ranging from 1 (best) to 6 (worst).
In the political rights field, Freedom House gives Greece a score of 1 and FYROM a score of 3. In total Greece is considered “Free” in the category “Freedom in the World” but FYROM only “Partly Free”.
This does not bode well for our analyst who is claiming that Greece shows a “total and defiant disregard for international covenants and human rights”. It does not measure up. Hot air may rather be inversely proportional to any real commitment to human and civil rights.
Let us finally turn to Mr Gandeto´s rhetorical questions:
Question: “How else can one justify the fact that this Greek government, through various channels of its propaganda machine, denies the existence of people who dare to identify themselves as ethnic Macedonians?”
Answer: Both Kanal 5 of FYROM and Greece agree that there are 2,500,000 ethnic Macedonians in Greece .
Question: “Is it really up to these Greeks to tell their minority populations living in Greece who they are and how to ethnically identify themselves? Isn´t that clearly stipulated in the Covenant that: (a) all peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development and (b) the States Parties to the present Covenant shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations?”
Answer: The United Nations “Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” including the right to self determination that this quote comes from has a few further articles, qualifying the above definition. They include: “Article 2. 1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
You know very well that 2,500,000 inhabitants of Hellenic Macedonia regard themselves as Macedonians. The Greek Prime Minister is one of them. They have done so on many historical circumstances, in modern history since the 1821-22 uprising against the Turks (Greek War of Independence). They have at least as much right to call themselves Macedonians as anyone else – but much more as they both speak Greek and live in actual Macedonia. That right, to call oneself Macedonian, does not belong to 1600 people only. That is the very opposite of the definition of self-determination, that would deny two and a half million people to call themselves ethnic Macedonians, even though they speak the language of ethnic Macedonians and have the customs that Macedonians have preserved throughout history (see George F. Abbott´s “Macedonian Folklore” http://www.scribd.com/doc/12698001/Abbot-Macedonian-Folklore-1903-Complete).
In contradistinction, the followers of Vinozito, 1600 of them in Macedonia, neither consider Greek their mother tongue nor do they have the Macedonian customs but rather differentiate themselves from the Macedonians due to some Slavic customs including their language. For the Greek government to deny the right to be called a Macedonian to two and a half million of its citizens would be simply unthinkable. What on earth do you expect? What kind of thinking is this? If these 1600 people want a name for themselves that determines them and sets them apart from the Macedonians, they cannot possibly choose the name Macedonians. It is not too complex to understand. They should find in their language a word that describes themselves and sets them apart not from the Bulgarians but from the Macedonians because of their ethnic identity, customs, traditions, language, that is those things they claim to identify them as distinct. Perhaps you need some imagination but it would not hurt to try.
Logical solutions would be to call themselves something that the other inhabitants of Macedonia are not. Even Slavic Macedonians would not be enough, because not all Slavic speaking Macedonians consider themselves allied to FYROM. The decision for at least some of them to stay in Greece during the population exchanges with Bulgaria – at least that was what they claimed – was that their ethnic consciousness was Greek. Even some of those who spoke little or no Greek among them had an ethnic consciousness that was Greek and fought against the Bulgarian Kommitadjis emanating from modern FYROM (http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/81370). Indeed since you bemoan the village name changes from Slavic to Greek after the population transfers (but do not bemoan the renaming of major cities such as Pyrgos and Philippoupolis in Bulgaria, Monastiri or Achris in FYROM, Constantinople or Smyrna in Turkey), you should be pleased that the village of Roulia was renamed Kota after Captain Cotas, the name of a Slav-speaking Macedonian and a man who truly defended the freedom of Macedonia.
Question: “Please, do not portend ignorance that you did not know why Vinozito received the number of votes you quoted in your article. Do you think people believe in and trust the Greek government´s policies? Do you think the elections and the counting of votes proceeded in a normal environment with clearly defined and reliably implemented judicious standards?”
Answer: If people did not believe the policies of the Greek government, they should have voted for Vinozito. Looking for scapegoats now in the Greek postal service is bad form. Everyone who would have not identified as a Macedonian but as a FYROMacedonian would have heard of Vinozito. It is far more likely that people from the rest of Greece would have not heard about what the Rainbow Party (Vinozito) stands for and would have voted for a party that has a rainbow and flowers on its logo in thinking it was a Green party or a Peace group or something like that. Vinozito leaders have made enough appearances on Greek tv that anyone who follows politics in Greece would have known who they are and what they represent. In any case the European Parliament Elections went through without problems, if you disapprove you should take this up with the European Union.
Question: “Do you think that your government´s credibility is an issue here, especially after the revelation of the Top Secret document issued by the Ministry of Public Security, National Security Service in Athens from February 16, 1982 number of protocol 6502/7-3042?”
Answer: This is just about the only point you have. That faced with Tito´s propaganda, continued until 1982 – and indeed until today – and with the abducted children of 1949 fully indoctrinated by 1982, there was a proposal by the Secret Service that is not fully agreeable to read today. If it had proposed a nice proposal, it would have not been a secret one and it might have not been called a Secret Service. In any case, at the time communism was still a reality. Even so not everyone would have approved these measures then and we do not know what happened in practice. How might any seemingly partial treatment compare with the rest of the Greek population? When civil servants who spoke the Slavic idiom were posted to positions away from home, did this happen more often than with other citizens? Note that unlike Mr Gandeto´s claims, there is nothing in that directive proposing that the Aristoteles Association spies on anyone. The directive says that the positive influence the Aristoteles Association has in the region should be encouraged. The Aristoteles Association of Florina (http://www.fsfa.gr/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=47) existed since 1941. On the 9th of August 1943, 15 members of the Association were hanged by the German occupation forces for their patriotic activities. The Bulgarian occupation forces executed another 7 Macedonians of the Aristoteles Association in January 1944 (http://www.fsfa.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=41&Itemid=88). The Association was not set up to spy on the Bulgarians unless you are protesting the right of people to fight for their freedom from their fascist and nazi occupiers. The modern activities of the Aristoteles Association have to do with the promotion of the culture of the Florina region, dance and music festivals, organizing classical music lessons, Byzantine and demotic music, and it supports several sports activities, including a basketball team, volleyball team, etc. What kinds of activities would you have preferred?
Although the world does not revolve around Mr Gandeto and his historical revisionism, I may answer some of the other questions in a separate article. Life is short and some of us have real jobs. Mr Gandeto, if you care for civil rights and human rights as you claim you do, then perhaps show your good will by writing an article on the disappearance of one of the most vocal critics of your present government.
Source: American Chronicle
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