October 26, 2009
President Michael K. Young
University of Utah
201 Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112
Dear President Young,
On behalf of our multi-thousand membership of our organization and indeed of all U.S. citizens of Hellenic descent, we want to protest in the strongest possible terms the presentation of distorted facts pertaining to the history of Greece. Some of the presenters of the “7th Macedonian-North American Conference on Macedonian Studies” which will take place at the grounds of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 5-8, 2009 are promoting anti-Hellenic hate speech and disparagement: http://www.hum.utah.edu/languages/?pageId=4549.
Although a number of presenters strictly deal with issues of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), there are politically motivated lectures that attack and disparage the people of Greece as they twist historical facts through their disturbing presentation. We acknowledge the concept of academic freedom, but we are greatly concerned that your University is being used to promote a political agenda based on historical untruths and falsehoods. Anti-Hellenism is equal to anti-Semitism and the United Nations has enacted severe measures for such racism. Nationalists from the FYROM and its Diaspora (both at an official and unofficial level) have expressed hatred directed at Greeks and the Hellenic nation based on their impression of racial superiority and obsession with genetic purity. Official television advertisements in the FYROM have even informed the masses through God’s voice that they are “Macedonoids, progenitors of the white race” whereas others are “Mongoloids”, “Negroids”, and “Mullatoes” (see, especially from 4 minutes, 28 seconds on: ). Official government and academic sources in the FYROM refuse to recognize Greece’s sovereignty over her lands referring to Greece’s northern region as “Aegean Macedonia”, or “the Macedonian region under Greek jurisdiction”. This is evident in Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s recent speech to his country’s Diaspora in Australia (http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/8657/45/) and throughout the newly written “Macedonian Encyclopedia” promoted by the “Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences (MANU)” in Skopje.
We have heard some of the presenters of the”7th Macedonian-North American Conference on Macedonian Studies” in other forums, regarding the following topics and we would kindly ask the organizing committee of this symposium to provide us with a copy of their presentations:
Alexander the Great and mythic homelands
Tasos Kostopoulos on Macedonia and the Slavs in Greece: When a forbidden language speaks truth to power;
Between nationalism and solidarity: Assessing the KKE’s post-war positioning of the Macedonian national liberation struggle;
Macedonian refugee children from the Greek Civil War;
From Trnaa to Toronto: The life story of a dete begalec;
A Macedonian child in a Greek technical school during the Greek Civil War;
Cleansing the national, polluting the natural: The politics of development and cultural homogeneity in the Florina region;
It is true that we don’t know the content of the presentations. However referring to the title Alexander the Great and mythic homelands, we would like to call your attention to a letter to President Barack Obama, endorsed by 350 (and still growing) archaeologists and academics from worldwide universities and institutions of higher learning. This attests to the falsification and revision of history propagated by the FYROM and its supporters (please visit the web site: http://macedonia-evidence.org/). The letter to President Obama by the archeologists, the historians, and researchers was written to curtail the attempts of historical revision/distortion, and to protect the integrity of historic truth in their academic specialties. The decision of the 350 scholars who cosigned the letter to President Obama was made so that “the scholarly community has a duty to preserve historic truth.”
The title of the presentation: Tasos Kostopoulos on Macedonia and the Slavs in Greece: When a forbidden language speaks truth to power alludes to the attempt of Skopje’s leadership to inflict a “Macedonian” minority in Greece who speak the “Macedonian” language. This so-called “forbidden language” however, is an idiom (which did not have a written form) and was detected around the 18th century forming a part of various slavophone idioms in northern Greece. Its creation was purely utilitarian and practical, and it was used as an unofficial lingua franca so to speak because the area during the Ottoman Era was a colorful tribal mosaic of linguistic and religious groups: Turkish conquerors, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Albanians, Turkmen nomads (Yuruks), Gypsies, Bosnians, Armenians, and Jews among others. They needed a way to understand each other regarding the needs of their daily coexistence. The idiom therefore appeared gradually and has served well the purpose for which it was created, or rather, for which it emerged.
Moreover, it should be noted that the idioms spoken in Ottoman Macedonia were in no way reflective of the ethnic affiliation of its inhabitants since the majority of the people espoused Hellenism. In addition, the present “Macedonian” language of the FYROM is a manufactured language with a Bulgarian base, inflicted on the inhabitants of what was roughly Vardarska Banovina by Marshal Josip Broz Tito and a group of linguists throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s so that he can expedite his plans of annexing Greek Macedonia. The language spoken by the citizens of the FYROM and the idioms spoken in northern Greece are not the same. The leadership of Greece’s neighboring country is attempting to connect this idiom with the language spoken in Skopje, to further press Greece about an ethnic “Macedonian” minority in Greece.
During this conference, time will be spent discussing the supposed expulsion of “Macedonian” children from Greece during the Greek Civil War. Not only is this a legitimization of Stalinist demagoguery, it is also a slap in the face to reality. As has been attested by numerous United Nations resolutions (UN Resolutions: 382 (V Section C), 1950; 618 (VII), 1952; 517 (VI), 1952), these children were Greek. Some were the children of those who collaborated with fascist Bulgarian and Italian forces and later with communist guerillas, many were unrelated children abducted by these fleeing communist guerillas, and most were never repatriated leaving them to the mercy of Communist propaganda in Iron Curtain countries. President Harry S. Truman and the United States of America were staunch supporters of these UN resolutions calling for the repatriation of these children having realized the re-education dangers they faced away from Greece as is clear in his April 19, 1950 address to the Speaker of the House of Representatives: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=13766.
Looking at this in the view of the then US Secretary of State’s Stettinius’s 1944 Circular Airgram to US Diplomatic and Consular Offices (868.014/26 Dec. 1944) as “aggressive intentions against Greece”, these children and their offspring have been brought up to believe that they were once not Greek and that they were expelled. Although one must sympathize with their plight because they are truly victims of a dead ideology, perpetuating and sponsoring their ideas is a disservice to them and to history.
Furthermore, a screening of the fictional film “The Secret Book” during this conference is oxymoronic for a meeting that is supposed to be scientific. It is akin to showing “The Da Vinci Code” during a meeting of Catholic bishops. The movie implies a unification of “the whole Macedonian fatherland” erroneously believed by Macedonist nationalists to have been split up in 1912. What is the motivation of showing this fictional film in a scientific conference, other than alluding that neighboring territories should be annexed? Would the University of Utah also open its halls to disgruntled supporters of a confederalist America? It’s time to look at things with facts in mind.
We are sure that you were not aware of the motivated sinister intentions of some of the participants of the conference in their quest to present their views on historical events of the area using hate speech in order to promote their “pseudo-Macedonism;” but please be aware that the fine institution of the University of Utah is being used as an accomplice to promote hate speech towards, and disparagement of the Hellenic nation.
Nina Gatzoulis Maria Hatzinakou
Supreme President Supreme Secretary
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