Australian Macedonian Advisory Council
May 06, 2010
This article is a response to two articles from Risto Stefov, the first being “Greeks and identity theft”
and the second one “How Macedonia became Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian”
If one wonders how and why I have decided “to kill two birds with one stone” as they say, the answer is very simple: so many outrageous lies and distortions of historical truth based nowhere else besides vague statements, assumptions and unsubstantiated assertions like those written by Mr. Stefov in these two articles can be refuted only with solid evidence to the contrary. I am able to provide plenty of it whereas Mr.Stefov´s argumentation is solely grounded on his wishful thinking.
To begin with, the bottom line of Mr.Stefov´s both articles is that the geographic region of Macedonia was illegally attacked by the allied Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs in the Balkan wars (1912-13) and divided amongst them,while it was inhabited by an overwhelming majority of “ethnic Macedonians” that were never asked whether they consent to join Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia respectively. However, in an inconsistent manner that reveals the fallacy of his claims he admits that Macedonia suffered this terrible fate without any objection:
“Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria´s wishes came true in 1912 when they invaded Macedonia without any opposition from the outside or from within”.
So why didn´t “ethnic Macedonians” resist to the invading armies since they formed the majority of the population throughout Macedonia, as Mr.Stefov claims? How is it that only FYROM propagandists interpret the Balkan wars as a combined attempt of three Balkan states (Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia) to divide illegally amongst them territories inhabited by a fictitious “Macedonian ethnicity”?How is it that all the other sources view the Balkan wars as a campaign of the aforementioned states to liberate from Ottoman yoke their enslaved brethren in Macedonia? Let´s see some of them:
The New York Times, November 2,1912:
“Had Turkey enforced this law, had the powers successfully insisted
upon its enforcement, the present war would not have been fought and the
Balkan States would not have to be giving their blood for the freedom of their
oppressed kinsmen in Macedonia”.
“The Bulgarians and Serbians and Montenegrins and Greeks know this. They live next door to Macedonia, and it is their own flesh and blood which are being offered up every year as the price of maintaining the Turk in Europe”
During the past Summer The Times correspondent has been through Macedonia and seen with his own eyes the unspeakable conditions there….The Balkan states are risking everything to aid their enslaved Macedonian brethren”.
“The Balkan wars,1912-13″ by Jacob Gould Schurman pages 28-29
CAUSES OF THE FIRST BALKAN WAR
What was the occasion of the war between Turkey and the Balkan states in 1912? The most general answer that can be given to that question is contained in the one word Macedonia. Geographically Macedonia lies between Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Ethnographically it is an extension of their races. And if, as Matthew Arnold declared, the primary impulse both of individuals and of nations is the tendency to expansion, Macedonia both in virtue of its location and its population was foreordained to be a magnet to the emancipated Christian nations of the Balkans. Of course the expansion of Greeks and Slavs meant the expulsion of Turks. Hence the Macedonian question was the quintessence of the Near Eastern Question.
But apart altogether from the expansionist ambitions and the racial sympathies of their
kindred in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, the population of Macedonia had the same right to emancipation from Turkish domination and oppression as their brethren in these neighboring states. The Moslems had forfeited their sovereign rights in Europe by their unutterable incapacity to govern their Christian subjects. Had the Treaty of Berlin sanctioned, instead of undoing, the Treaty of San Stefano, the whole of Macedonia would have come under Bulgarian sovereignty; and although Serbia and especially Greece would have protested against the Bulgarian absorption of their Macedonian brethren (whom they had always hoped to bring under their own jurisdiction when the Turk was expelled) the result would certainly have been better for all the Christian inhabitants of Macedonia as well as for the Mohammedans (who number 800,000 persons or nearly one third of the entire population of Macedonia).
“Leavening the Levant” by Reverend Joseph K. Greene,1916,page 13
“Secondly, the peoples of the Balkan States were moved by sympathy for their co-religionists still under the Turkish rule. The kings of all the allied states set forth is their declaration of war that their object was to deliver their fellow countrymen from oppression. And this was true, though not the whole truth. Indeed, had the Bulgarians, Serbians and Greeks of Macedonia come to an agreement among themselves, they might vary greatly have ameliorated their sad condition”.
The author of the above book was a clergyman and well acquainted with Balkan matters since he was a resident in Turkey for 51 years, as it is stated on the cover page. Why would we not believe a clergyman? Should we instead pay more attention to Mr. Stefov´s claim that “Greece illegally and by act of war annexed 51% of Macedonia in 1913″? As far as the part of Macedonia that was incorporated into the Greek state concerned is, Greece didn´t “illegally annexed” not a single acre of Macedonian soil. The Greek army liberated territories with clear Greek majority. How did the local population of Macedonian territories that were liberated by the Greek army reacted to what you arbitrary call “illegal occupation”?Let´s see the view of some contemporary newspapers. Let the facts talk again, and when facts talk shameless liars and fraud propagandists should close their mouths.
Poverty Bay Herald,22 November 1912:
“The main part of the Greek army has entered Salonika. General.Kleomenes is the idol of the hour and people crowd about him waiting to kiss his hands. The troops looked as fresh as if they had just left Athens”.
The Christian Science Monitor November 29,1912
“Greek flag borne into Salonika amid wild cheering of citizens”.
Poverty Bay Herald,28 October 1912
“The inhabitants of Kozani welcomed the Greek cavalry brigade”.
The New York Times, November 3,1912
“The inhabitants of the Turkish town of Niausta, northeast of Verria have expelled the Turkish authorities and invited the Greek Crown Prince to occupy the town.They have promised to supply the Greek army with 25,000 rations of bread daily”.
The New York Times, November 19,1912
“GREEKS ARE WELCOMED.
Occupy Kassandra Peninsula, Expelling Turkish Officials.
Major Zachos sends the following telegram:
After landing at Kassandra, 50 miles south of Salonika. I expelled the Turkish authorities and hoisted the Greek flag over a dozen villages of the peninsula. The Inhabitants were wild with joy”.
The New York Times, November 18,1912
“Details have been received of the occupation by the Greeks on Friday of Mount Athos, at the extremity of the easternmost of the three prongs of the peninsula of Chaicidice. Early in the morning the squadron under Vice Admiral Countouriotis, lying at Lemnos weighed anchor and proceeded to Fort Daphne.Bluejackets landed pear the custom house and occupied the government building, over which the Greek flag was hoisted. The bells of all the monasteries and chapels rang out and the monks fired a fusillade to express their joy. Many welcomed the Greeks on the shore”.
Doesn´t all this sound to your ears rather as liberation than “illegal occupation” as Mr. Stefov claims? Where is the alleged resistance of the local “ethnic Macedonian” population? The only resistance in Macedonia during the Balkan wars was the resistance of the native Greek population against the occupying Bulgarian army in some predominantly Greek regions of Eastern Macedonia that were captured by the Bulgarians:
“Report of the International commission to inquire into the causes and conduct of the Balkan Wars” 1914,by the Carnegie endowment for international peace.
“In forming an opinion upon the series of excesses which marked the Bulgarian withdrawal from southeastern Macedonia, it is necessary to recall the fact that the Bulgarians were here occupying a country whose population is mainly Greek and Turkish. The Bulgarian garrisons were small, and they found themselves on the outbreak of the second war in a hostile country. The Greek population of these regions is wealthy and intensely patriotic. In several Greek centers insurgent organizations (andartes) existed. Arms had been collected, and some experienced guerrilla chiefs were believed to be in hiding, and ready to lead the local population. All of this in existing conditions was creditable to Greek patriotism; their race was at war with Bulgarians, and the more enterprising and courageous among them intended to take their share as auxiliaries of the Greek army in driving the Bulgarians from their country. From a nationalist standpoint, this was morally their right and some might even say their duty. But it is equally clear that the Bulgarians, wherever they found themselves opposed by the armed civil population, had also a right to take steps to protect themselves. The steps which they elected to take in some places grossly exceeded the limits of legitimate defense or allowable reprisal”.
So where were your “ethnic Macedonian” ancestors during the Balkan wars and on what side did they fight? The truth can´t be hidden, Mr. Stefov:
“The war correspondence of Leon Trotsky :the Balkan Wars 1912-13″ by Pathfinder Press,1980,page 227
“Our internal Macedonian organization” began Khristo Matov, leader of one of the Macedonian revolutionary tendencies, “has been in existence continuously since 1893…..”
This narrative continues on page 233:
“What part are the partisans playing in this war?” ‘That is a question which, for obvious reasons, I can answer only in the most general terms. We operate alongside the Bulgarian army—not only in its interests, but under the command of its
officers”…. “The Macedonian fighters are led by such experienced commanders as Efrem Cuckov, Kristo Bulgariyat, Misel Gerzhikov, and others. You will hear these names more than once during this war.”What is it that we want to achieve—autonomy for Macedonia or union with Bulgaria? That is a perfectly natural question for you to ask. And if you had put it to me before the war I should have had no hesitation in answering it. Now, however, when we are fighting with Serbia and Greece as our allies, I must ask permission not to reply to that last question of yours.
Your hero Jane Sandanski liberated Macedonian regions on behalf of his Bulgarian motherland:
“The story of the great war” by Francis J. Reynolds,1916,vol.1,page 254
And when the war did actually break out, Sandanski was leading some thousands of his Macedonian commitajis against the Turks In the Razlog district, which he conquered and turned over to the Bulgarian authorities when they came there to establish a civil government.
And 30 years after, during the occupation of the Greek province of Macedonia by the allied German and Bulgarian troops in WW2,your “ethnic Macedonian” kinsmen once again demonstrated their true ethnic character collaborating with the Bulgarian occupying forces against the Greek partisans:
“British reports on Greece 1943-1944″ by John Melior Stevens, Christopher Montague Woodhouse, David John Wallace, Lars Bærentzen,1982,page 28
“The most striking feature of Free Greece to-day is its safety. It is perfectly safe to move about alone and unarmed in practically all of Free Greece, except in north West Macedonia where Comitajis (Slavomacedonian irregular troops that collaborated with the Nazis and the Bulgarian occupying forces) wander about at night shooting up Antartes (Greek partisans).If there are any Axis troops in the neighbourhood, one is immediately informed. This is not the case in areas where the villages are not organised as in the zone of Bulgar villages in the Edessa-Kastoria-Florina triangle. There, as I know from bitter personal experience,one can blunder into a village full of Germans without villagers, working on the outskirts, bothering to warn one”.
“Besides the Bulgarian troops of occupation, there are the Bulgarian Comitajis raised from the preponderantly Bulgarian area of North West Macedonia. The Bulgarians here are intensely Nationalistic and in their fights with Antartes the Comitajis have put up fierce resistance. They are also used by the Axis as agents to watch the Greek inhabitants in that area with the result that neither EAM nor any other organization has been able to establish itself”.
And how is it that all the impartial observers way before the outbreak of the Balkan wars held the unanimous view that Greeks, Bulgarians and Serbs formed the majority of the Christian population of Macedonia and therefore a partition between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia would be the proper solution of the so-called “Macedonian question”?
“The Chautauquan” by the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle,1891,vol XIII page 157
“The province of Macedonia could not be held by Turkey for a single week, but for outside pressure that prevents the Greeks on the south and the Servians and Bulgarians on the north from seizing and partitioning it It is not impossible that the Macedonian question may precipitate the final conflict that will end in driving the Turks across the Bosphorus. Russia, now dominant in the councils of Serbia and Montenegro, has incited those small powers to set up claims to Macedonia on the ground of affinity with the inhabitants. But in plain truth, as everybody really knows, the Macedonian farmers are chiefly Bulgarian. The sea coast towns and the southern borders of Macedonia on the other hand are obviously more Greek than any thing else. Austria, with the provinces of Bosnia and Hertzegovina under her control,has also some aspiration to reach the Aegean Sea at Salonika. A partition between Bulgaria and Greece, upon lines to be determined by the great powers, would seem to be the proper future for Macedonia”.
“The independent review”,1903, by Edward Jenks and Charles Roden Buxton ,page 153
“The Serbians in Macedonia have the sympathy, and may have the armed help, of their brethren in Serbia, in seeking to expand the Serbian kingdom. The Bulgarians of Macedonia have a similar and more energetic support from the Bulgarians of the Principality ; and the Greeks of the Greek kingdom would, it is to be feared, rather see Macedonia Turkish, than see it either Serbian or Bulgarian, because in the latter case the chances of the northward extension of Greece would be greatly reduced. It might seem natural to reconcile these conflicting claims by a partition of Macedonian territory between the three Christian elements. But, unluckily, none of these three elements is in the occupation of a well-defined or definable region. Over considerable districts Serbians are mixed with Bulgarians, over other districts Bulgarians are mixed with Greeks, nor is any race disposed to make a friendly compromise with any of the others. These ethnological data need to be stated, in order that the conditions of the problem to be ultimately solved may be understood”.
“The North American review” by O.Everett,1885,page 473
“It is impossible to consider Macedonia as a single ethnical region. The population of the northern part is Serbian, that of the extreme west Albanian, while the Greek element extends to some distance from the seaboard. The remainder, with the exception of the Turks, who are scattered here and there, is purely Bulgarian. So long as Bulgaria and Rumelia remained separated it was felt that if Austria should advance, as had been frequently rumored, to Salonica, the Bulgarians of Macedonia would be permanently separated from those of Bulgaria and Rumelia. The claims of Greece to a certain portion of this region are clear and well worthy of consideration, but their discussion does not enter into the present subject”.
And how is it,Mr.Stefov, that Greeks try to steal your “Macedonian” identity and name, when the vast majority of your people hadn´t the slightest clue of Alexander the Great and ancient Macedonia prior to 1944? If it wasn´t for Tito, your compatriots would probably not have solved till today the question whether they are proper Bulgarians or Serbs.
“Balkan background” by Bernard Newman,1945,page 66:
In a village near Skopje I met two brothers: one called himself a Bulgar, the other a Serb! Yet I found some comfort even in this confusion. I talked to the children of one of these men.”And are you a Bulgar or a Serb?” I asked his son. “Neither. I am a Yugoslav’ he replied. A grand answer: he was a South Slav.”And you?” I turned to the man’s daughter.”I am a Yugoslav too,” she said, “if you include Bulgaria as well.”
“Suitors and suppliants” by Stephen Bonsal,2001,Simon publications, page 215
I did not commit myself, but I did tell him of an incident that occurred years ago when I was engaged in my early linguistic studies on the Vardar. I was walking along the noisy river with Spiridon Gopsevich, the apostle of Pan-Serbism in these parts. We met a poor peasant staggering along the path under a load of wood for his cabin fire. Thinking to do a little spot of propaganda, Gopsevich said: “My good man, what is your nationality?” “la sam Bougarin” (I am a Bulgarian),the thoughtless fellow answered.
Australian Macedonian Advisory Council
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