The Identity of Macedonia

According to Article 2 of UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, “it is essential to ensure harmonious interaction among people and groups with plural, varied and dynamic cultural identities”.

5 million people live in the modern region of Macedonia, and more than half of them have a Greek national identity, along with their Macedonian cultural identity, due to their Hellenic heritage. Another quarter has Bulgarian, Albanian, Serbian, Roma or Turkish national identity.

That leaves us with a minority; less than a quarter of the region’s population. These are the people inhabiting a former Yugoslavian province, prone to state-sponsored propaganda and historical falsification. They refuse to accept that they constitute only a small part of Macedonia, have a different origin, and should define theirselves accordingly.

Over 3.5 million people worldwide with a Greek national identity and a Macedonian cultural identity, have a right to self-determination and preservation of their historic cultural identity. If their northern neighbours monopolise the terms “Macedonia/Macedonian” for international use, in practice they are being denied one of their basic rights.

But what’s the story about Greeks having different cultural identities? People from the island of Crete have their own cultural identity, and the same goes for Macedonians. When two Greeks discuss about their origins, they say “I am a Cretan” or “I am a Macedonian”. If foreigners are involved, they might ask “So, you’re Greek… from where exactly?”. Ross Daly, an ethnic Irish musician living in Greece for decades, being completely integrated, would say in his thick Cretan accent: “I’m a Cretan”.

Macedonians belong in the Greek nation: they do not claim a separate ethnic identity, only a cultural one. This is very common. Sicilians and Bavarians are proud of their heritage. Sicilians are Italians, Bavarians are Germans. However, Germans aren’t Bavarians, and Italians are not Sicilians.

Point of Interest: United Nations seem to agree that cultural identities should be protected.

Over 3.5 million people worldwide with a Greek national identity and a Macedonian cultural identity, have a right to self-determination and preservation of their historic cultural identity. They claim what is rightfully theirs. If their northern neighbours monopolise the terms “Macedonia/Macedonian” for international use, in practice they are being denied one of their basic rights. In that sense, the term “Greek Macedonian” is problematic because it implies mixed ethnic background (another example: “my German Italian friend“).

Greeks do not want to be associated with “ethnic Macedonians”. This is where a “pure” identification term for the latter (a 25% minority in the region of Macedonia) leads to. There is no reason why a majority with continuous presence in the area, should give up their cultural identity, in favour of a newly emerged nation whose folk heroes described themselves as Bulgarians.

Related posts:

Demetrios Panagopoulos says:

Possibly the problem with the different associations of Greeks, “I am Creton” or “I am Spartan” is that it separates the Greeks today as they were in ancient times. Once the Greeks start thinking “I am Greek” or “I am Hellenic” there will continue to be problems with world powers thinking they can step all over Greece. Additionally, it is the liberal thinking that a minority has more privleges than the majority is nothing but a lot of bullshit! Creating turmoil within a country or setting up boundaries as Great Britain did in the Middle East by grouping warring faction within a nation so the different peoples would be at each other’s throat, the Britsh could keep control over their Empire. This is what happened in the creation of Macedonia. An action against Greece as was the giving of Constantinople to the Turks!

Macedonian says:

The article exist now…
and in the Slavic language of FYROM.

D-Mak says:

Nice one, Macedonian. Keep up the good work.

Vangelis says:

Aπό πού κι ως πού ρε παιδιά, βορείως του Demir Kapi (Σιδηρών Πυλών) του Aξιού, είναι Μακεδονία; ΑΠό πού κι ως πόύ τα Σκόπια είναι στην Μακεδονία και μας τσουβαλιάζετε όλους με τα γουρούνια αυτά;