Risto Stefov, April 04, 2009.
Recently one of my readers wrote to me asking for my personal opinion of what I think is Greece´s dispute with the Macedonian people. More precisely as a Macedonian from Greece what do I think is the core issue that troubles Greece with regards to the Macedonians?
Let me start by saying that, in my opinion, there is one core issue that troubles Greece and that is the Macedonian lands. Greece in 1912, 1913 occupied 51% of Macedonia´s territory and since then has turned it into Greek lands at the cost and exclusion of their real owners, the Macedonian people.
Irrespective of what one calls them and how they identify themselves, I see the Macedonians as the indigenous people that have lived in Macedonia for millennia. Macedonians have no collective memory of ever arriving in these lands or having lived anywhere else except in Macedonia. So naturally I support the fact that those lands belong to the Macedonians.
On the other hand the Greeks in 1912, 1913 invaded, occupied and annexed Macedonia, which never belonged to them and makes their annexation illegal under international law.
But worse than that, after annexing Macedonian lands the Greeks were not satisfied with having the Macedonians living on them so they implemented assimilation policies to turn Macedonians into Greeks. Naturally many Macedonians resisted and over the years were punished by Greece. Many were tortured, exiled, jailed and even murdered.
It is difficult for people to believe that Greece would want to assimilate alien ethnic groups and turn them into Greeks. What would be their motive?
There is plenty of evidence that suggests that the Greeks did this to expand their manufactured Hellenic Empire and bring back the glory of the mythical Hellas of ancient times, a type of Hellas that never existed before. Given that Modern Greeks themselves are a manufactured entity and having nothing to do with the so-called Ancient Greeks, these modern charlatans felt it was their duty to convert every Macedonian into a Greek, even if it meant doing it against their will. The Greeks did this in order to create a false idea that Macedonia somehow was once part of Greece and that the Macedonian lands, heritage and people belonged to Greece.
Today however we know that the Macedonians are a unique ethnic entity entirely different from the Greeks and that the Modern Greeks are in reality the descendants of the Slav, Albanian and Vlach immigrants who came to Greece during the 11th to the 14th centuries AD.
So through its assimilation policies Greece turned the 51% of Macedonia it occupied into a type of Borg-hive (like in the fictional Star Trek movie series) where people were not allowed to have real names, speak a real language, or express themselves in their own familiar culture. Real things like personal names, place names, mother language and familiar writing were forbidden from being used and were replaced with alien names, an alien language and an alien writing system all in the name of Hellenism and all for the glory of modern artificial Hellas.
The Macedonian peoples´ lives in Greece are full of tragedy. Not only was one occupier (the Ottomans) replaced with another (the Greeks) in 1912, but many Macedonians lost their lands and all of them lost their identity, language, culture and continuity. But their tragedy doesn´t end there.
Outside of the Macedonians who were forced out of their homes and lands and outside of the ones who submitted to Hellenism because of fear or for personal gains, there are also the majority of Macedonians who felt oppressed with no opportunity to improve their lives and political situation. These Macedonian are left in limbo waiting for an opportunity to bounce back. Unfortunately the Greeks know this and have made sure such an opportunity never presents itself. That is why consecutive Greek governments since 1912 have made it their mission to suppress and torment the Macedonian people so that such opportunities are avoided at all cost.
Besides losing their lands, freedom and identity and being treated like second class citizens in their own lands, the Macedonians in Greece who feel Macedonian, even without publicly expressing it, have been unjustly persecuted. Greece continues to this day to close the border to Macedonians and to confiscate Macedonian lands. Greek authorities look away when Macedonians are harmed and Greek courts often side with the perpetrators in such cases. Putting it more bluntly, Greece not only discourages people from expressing their ethnic sentiments but will legally prosecute those who do.
Given the current situation and Greece´s attitude towards the Macedonians what can be done to help bring positive change?
A valid question indeed, a question I have struggled with for many years but to this day I have found no answer. Since Macedonia´s occupation in 1912 Greece has maintained a singular policy; exterminate the Macedonian people and permanently annex their lands and heritage. This policy has not changed since it was implemented in 1912 which leaves the Macedonian people with little room to maneuver. In fact the only options left for the Macedonians in Greece are to disappear all together or fight back for their survival! In my opinion there is but one option for the Macedonians and that is to „liberate Macedonia from the Greeks“!
To do that, however, Macedonians must first stop responding to Greek engagements in nonsensical issues and start focusing their effort in highlighting the truth about their status in Greece. Macedonians must let the world know what Greece has done and is still doing to them. All Macedonians originating from Greek occupied Macedonia who care about their inheritance, who care about their family´s lands, properties and homes which their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers poured sweat and spilled blood to build and protect, must stand up and demand their human rights from Greece. Failing that, they must then demand that the Greeks leave Macedonia.
It doesn´t matter what the world thinks and what the Greeks will do; Macedonians have a duty to express their own feeling, their own desires and their own needs. By any definition, the 51% of Macedonia that was occupied by Greece in 1912 is still occupied by Greece to this day. Greece had all the time in the world and plenty of opportunity to voluntarily stop its persecution of the Macedonians and award them their human rights as prescribed by International law. Unfortunately Greece to this day has ignored every call from every International institution to voluntarily comply.
Perhaps what the Macedonians need to do, to give Greece a wakeup call, is amass in every major city in the world and hold human rights demonstrations with huge placards held high with slogans like „Macedonia is Macedonian“, „Greeks get out of Macedonia“ and „Greece stop the ethnic cleansing of Macedonians“. It´s about time the Greeks are given reciprocal treatment by challenging their identity as they have challenged ours for the last one-hundred years. It´s time we raise placards with slogans like, „There is no such thing as a Greek“, „a Modern Greek is nothing but a Slav, an Albanian and a Vlach“, „Hellenism is Barbarism“ and „I am a Macedonian from Greece and I exist“.
Greece has proven it will not yield on human rights on its own unless it is extremely pressured from the outside. Greece has a long record of abuse against all people who are not committed to Hellenism and fear they are a threat to its integrity. Greece feels that if it recognizes any of its ethnic groups living on its soil it will have to justify to them the violence and criminal conduct it perpetrated against them over the years. In other words, what Metaxas and others like him did to the Macedonian people in pursuit of Hellenism, will no longer be viewed as an act of „glory for Hellas“ but a criminal act of „cultural genocide“ against an innocent population.
If the Greek government recognizes a single minority it will have to explain to the people why in the past it committed cultural genocide against that minority. It will also have to punish all those involved in perpetrating the „cultural genocide“. And how can it do that when everyone in the entire Greek government today is a devout Hellene who believes in the glory of Hellas and that no „minorities“ exist in Greece? How can it do that when Greeks who today hold high positions in Greek society are the pillars of Hellenism and claim to be the descendants of Plato and Pericles? What are the chances of the Greek government ever doing that?
Greece will not become a democratic state and will not allow its ethnicities to self declare until racism and intolerance are completely eradicated in that country. Greece cannot and will not free itself from its prejudices until it deals with its past and corrects the injustices perpetrated against its innocent population. There can be no closure for any of the ethnic groups living in Greece until Greece gives up its Hellenism and its imperial plans for glory and the pursuit of its expansionist Megali Idea, an Idea that today lays dormant.
Given that Greece will not yield on its own, what can be done to improve the Macedonian situation in Greece?
First and foremost we need to fight for our human rights as a people protected by international law. As people we have certain rights that need to be exploited. We can´t continue to dismiss what Greece is doing to us thinking of it as „an act of fate“ when in fact it´s „an act of crime“.
Second we need to learn to voice our concerns and no longer be silent and put up with abuse. After all the harm Greece has done to us, how much more harm can it do? Keeping silent only prolongs our agony and allows Greece to further rob us of our lands, heritage and dignity. The Greeks today live warm and comfortable lives in our homes, the very same homes our Macedonian ancestors slaved to build and died to protect. And while the Greeks live comfortably consuming „our inheritance“ we roam the Diaspora.
It is time to speak up and tell Greece to recognize us and accept us for who we are, Macedonians, or to speak up and tell the Greeks to „get the hell out of our Macedonia“!
„The relationship between the Modern Greeks and the Macedonians is a relationship marked by bloodshed, murder, unimaginable atrocities that have yet to be accounted for – and it all started with An Invasion in 1912 that broke every international law, and treaty of its time. This is what needs to be addressed – if the Macedonians raise this one point, it will be a massive blow to Modern Greece, and significantly Europe too, which has unofficially sanctioned Greece’s state sponsored genocide of the Macedonians. If the Macedonians, anywhere in the world, can get this point (and only this point), there is hope some wrongs of the past, might be addressed.“ Paul from www.maknews.com/forum
And now I leave you with this.
Thanks to one of my readers for bringing it to my attention;
Read Part 15