The inexplicable irrationality of Greek Nationalists

by Borce Georgevski

The Balkans are a strange place.  Nations hate the nations they border and are friends with the ones they have no physical contact.  Unfortunately, the Balkans are big and mountainous, while the nations occupying them are small and obstinate, which accounts for much more hatred than friendship.  The feud between Macedonia and Greece is well known and much has been written about it from every possible point of view.  The nationalists from both sides are vicious and very creative in hurling insults towards each other, sometimes even venturing in the areas of science fiction.  It is a fact, however, that the Greek side has a much greater human and economic capital and thus rules over most of the forums, discussion boards and comments sections across the internet. Sometimes it seems like some of the Greek nationalist commentators have no other full-time jobs besides the posting of anti-Macedonia comments after every single sympathetic article about Macedonia on the Internet.

A recent case was the publication of a sympathetic blog on http://www.thehill.com/ urging the US administration to invite Macedonia to join NATO at the upcoming Chicago summit.  The fact that that such sympathetic articles are published on influential web sites, as well as the fact that 54 US congressmen signed a petition urging President Obama to extend a NATO invitation to Macedonia, is a testament to the arduous and consistent struggle that the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) has fought to present a realistic and honest image of Macedonia and its values.  As with most articles on Macedonia around the globe, especially positive ones, the comments section is much, much longer (and brutal) than the article itself.

The content of the comments section of The Hill blog is alike most others dealing with Macedonian issues around the Web.  It is the same insults, same name-callings, the same questionable, or outright fake, “facts” and it seems as if written by the same people present on all other web boards.  However, the most irrational comments from the Greek nationalists are telling the Macedonian commentators (and people) to admit that they are Bulgarians.  The statements usually go like: “Your are Bulgarians! Admit it!”, or “You are nothing but Bulgarians!”, or “You damn Bulgarian-Slavs!” and similar, supported by countless, countless (and yes, I mean countless) alleged quotes by different people from Macedonia claiming relationship or kinship with the Bulgarians in the last 150 years or so.

Now, surmising the fact that quotes are way too easy to be taken out of context or outright fabricated, let’s analyze in whose interest is that Macedonians are being pushed towards a Bulgarian identity by these purported Greek nationalist and defenders of the Greek cause, purity, greatness, blah, blah, etc.  If we take the statements of these Greeks that the Macedonians are Bulgarians to their logical conclusion we might deduce that these people do not want Macedonia as a separate state for the Macedonians but for Macedonia to be reunited with its historic parent, according to them, Bulgaria.  Bringing these statements to their logical conclusion, let’s analyze who will benefit from such an outcome.  Greece, in the new situation would have a new neighbor, covering almost its entire northern border, having a population of almost 10 million people (the same as Greece), controlling all the Greek land access to Europe and the sources of most of the rivers in Northern Greece.  Hmmmm… Does such situation seem beneficial to Greece? Not likely.  But it is definitely beneficial to Bulgaria!

Now,intelligent Greeks and Greek politicians should maybe add 2 and 2 and realize whose interests are these ultra-nationalist Greek commentators and writers serving by pushing ethnic Macedonians toward a Bulgarian identity.  Because they are definitely not serving the Greek geopolitical interests.  This might explain why some of these “irrational” Greeks have so much free time to write vitriol against Macedonian articles around the Internet, especially if some other entity is paying their bills.  Occam’s Razor says the explanation could be very simple, even trivial and the irrationality turned into a hidden logic.

As a parting gift, here is a link to an email campaign from the “American Hellenic Institute” against the inclusion of Macedonia in NATO. Despite the factual inaccuracies in the email , notice the ending: “This email is UNCLASSIFIED.”  Darn, talk about delusions of grandeur! As if anyone cared about classified or secret emails from the super-important “American Hellenic Institute”.  Hey, maybe they are planning an invasion (with what money, one wonders)? Or maybe we should ask the contact people listed what were they smoking when they wrote it and if they can share some.