Greece and the Macedonian Question Yesterday
Friday, October 20, 2006
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GREECE SET TO OPEN BORDERS FOR ETHNIC MACEDONIAN CIVIL-WAR REFUGEES. Fifty-five years after the end of the civil war that ravaged his country between 1946 and 1948, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos gave a remarkable interview to the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" of 8 June. In the first-ever such statement by a Greek official, Loverdos signaled that his government is set to change a 1982 law on political emigrants so that Greek-born ethnic Macedonian civil-war refugees would be allowed to re-enter the country. The announcement came just in time for the preparations for the third international meeting of civil-war refugees, which will take place in the northern Greek town of Florina on 15 July.
YOU KNOW YOU ARE MACEDONIAN WHEN:
- Your granfather always has a shot of Rakija for breakfast.
- The minute church services are over you go straight for the bar and get smashed.
- You only go out of town for Macedonian Tournaments and Dances.
- Even if you're a girl, your parents (who can't remember your name) call you "sine".
- You are hopelessly trying to bring the Macedonian community in Australia together.
- Your uncle makes his own wine that's stronger than 'rakija'.
- Your mother insists that 'promaja' will kill you.
- Your mother insists you must eat something with 'Sirenje' at least three times a week.
- You base your whole life on the fortune in your coffee cup.
- You use 'Rakija' to cure all illnesses, celebrate all occasions and as a massage lotion.
- You celebrate Christmas, Easter and New Years two weeks after everyone else.
- Your baba will not accept the fact that you're just not hungry
Friday, October 06, 2006
In response to a posting on by Samovilla at Alt.News.Macedonia, I totally apologise. I now agree with you that the headline was not bombastic, but instead a uncannily accurate reporting of the length and breadth of the canals in in Nacolec. I'm sure that Dolno Dupeni (the hole below) is a very fine place, notwithstanding its name. However, in the spirit of Macedonian unity, we can all agree to make fun of Podmochani even though it will totally "piss" them off. I was going to make fun of Smrdesh, but I did not want to have Slavko Mangovski create a big stink about it. Has anyone ever admitted to being born in Podmochani?
"Another similar incident occurred with the editor and rights activist Slavko Mangovski, the son of a political refugee who was born in the Macedonian village Smrdesh or Kristalopigi in Northern Greece. Slavko Mangovski is editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Makedonsko Sonce, published in Skopje, and is also known for his defence of the rights of Macedonian minorities in the Balkans. On 28 August, 2000 he attempted an entry at the border crossing of Negochani or Niki in order to visit a festival in a Macedonian village. After the routine computer check, he was advised to wait and after approximately 10 minutes was summoned to the office of what appeared to be the chief of the police and given a Notification Certificate for the Refusal of Entry specifying "other reasons" as grounds for the refusal. At the same time a crossed stamp was placed in his U.S. passport, apparently in order to alert border authorities that he is effectively banned from ever entering Greece."Note created Oct 1, 2006Slavko Mangovski: ZoomInfo Business People Information -
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Preface: Copywrite: David Edenden, 4th, Oct 2006
This novel is a work in progress on the web. As I write this story, any links that might be of interest to the novel would be appreciated. I am especially interested in real individuals at work in the Balkans during the Thirties and Forties with information on the Web.
My two favorite modern mystery authors are Robert Ludlum and John le Carre. Eric Ambler, who started writing in the Thirties, is also interesting to me because of his novels on the Balkans. His novel, The Schirmer Inheritance, which is set in Florina during the Greek Civil War, has some nice local color of ethnic Macedonian partisans.
The “Macedonian Tendency” was originally thought of as a name for a novel. I always liked the Robert Ludlum titles: The Bourne Identity, The Holcroft Covenant, The Osterman Weekend and The Chancellor Manuscript. The Macedonian Tendency seemed to fit right in and has a good ring to it.
Ludlum and le Carre are at opposite ends of the spectrum. With Ludlum, the reader is taken along on a vast thrilling roller coaster ride. Like some rides, you may want to close your eyes and skip a few pages because it won’t really matter. It is the process of reading the improbable plot that provides the entertainment.
My model for the novel, however, is John le Carre because of his ability to weave a probable story with complexity, double identities and double crosses. You can’t miss a page or you will be lost, like in a fog. I will foucs on the behavior of “outside forces” at work in the Balkans. Too many articles have been written with the view that most problems in the Balkans are the result of “ancient hatreds”. This is not true. Two people can always find an accommodation with each other, unless a third party is determined to sow discord: see Jean Paul Sartre’s “No Exit”.
These outsiders will have to distinguish between those who are pro-Communist vs. anti-Communist, pro-Greek vs. pro-Bulgarian vs. Macedonian nationalist. Sometimes, these people could be in the same family, sometime even within the same person
The main character is a naïve young woman, a recent Harvard University graduate, who has been recruited to work for the CIA, circa 1990, before the collapse of Yugoslavia. (I swear, I had this character already formed in my mind before I read about Lindsay Moran). She is intensely religious which means she believes in God and … the devil. Her first assignment is as a desk officer for Yugoslavia, specializing in (you guessed it) Macedonia. All the characters will be fictional but real people will make their appearance when she read newspaper accounts, CIA field reports and prepares classified documents for her superiors
She is not aware of it, but she has some secret family ties to the Balkans since her grandfather was parachuted into the Balkans during WW2 to help in the struggle against the Nazi’s and then against the communists (and Macedonians) during the Greek Civil War. Captain Evans, N. G. L. Hammond and Horace Lunt, will all make an appearance in some fashion.
A Macedonian partisan group in Greece will be working with American agents during WW2 and against them during the Greek Civil War. A few will eventually immigrate to the United States. There will be a Jewish partisan from Florina, who will also find himself in the US after the Greek civil war.
There will be betrayal, division, lies and despair. There will also solidarity, unity, truth and hope. It will be a lot like Macedonia and its history.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Cannes, Cathars and Conspiracy
Friday May 26, 2006
Purporting to rock Christendom and the Papacy to its white silk slippers, the Da Vinci Code opened the Cannes film festival last week and quickly became one of the fastest grossing films of all time. But has a hidden hand been at work here?
Why, you may wonder, with so much money at stake, did its producers take the risk of releasing it at the world's snootiest film festival, knowing it might suffer the critical mauling it got?
It may be because they knew that another film about the real heretical "bible" suppressed by the church for the past 1,000 years - a film begun before Dan Brown even set pen to paper -was finally about to be shown.
The Secret Book is the official Macedonian entry at Cannes. But you won't have read anything about it. Oh no. They have made sure of that. Call the Cannes press office and you will be told, as I was, "Quel film est ca? Mais il n'existe pas . . ." It may as well not, for its premiere was hidden away in a tiny screening room at the festival' fag end.
Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide. Brown's novel is based on the "discovery" of a set of highly disputed parchments called Les Dossiers Secret identifying members of a secret society, the Priory of Sion, allegedly descended from the Cathars. The Macedonian film is based on Le Livre Secret, a real mystical book written by the Bogomils, a Manichean cult whose ideas, carried back to France and Italy from the Balkans by returning crusaders in the 11th century, became the basis of the Cathar heresy. Like them, the Bogomils were massacred by the church and their name almost burned from history.
Two later copies of the Secret Book survive - one still hangs in punishment from the ceiling of the Museum of the Inquisition in Carcassonne - but the original written in Glagolic, the old Slavic script wiped out by the cyrillic alphabet imposed by the church, has never been found. Strangely, there is no mention of the book, or indeed of the Bogomils, in Brown's book.
Since it wrapped four years ago - a year before the Da Vinci Code was published - the Secret Book has been beset by obstacles. But Jordan Plevnes, one of three brothers who wrote the script (symbologists take note), is too much of a diplomat to suggest that the whole Da Vinci Code phenomenon is an elaborate smokescreen cooked up to obscure the light they shed on the Bogomils. He is after all, the Macedonian ambassador to France, one of the Balkans' leading playwrights, and his latest novel, the Eighth Wonder of the World, has won one of France's top literary prizes, the Silver Jasmine.
"But it does make you think," he confessed. "And yes, there is definitely a conspiracy at work - a conspiracy of blandness. There is a tyranny of banality now ruling the world; Hollywood and Dan Brown are part of that. This is our European story and we should be allowed to tell it ourselves."
So will we ever see Plevnes' film? That depends on a secretive, semi-masonic group, more powerful than any inquisitor, who decide in darkened rooms what films we get to see - the Distributors of the Priory of Soho.
So if you never hear of the Secret Book again, you will know that they, like Opus Dei and the mad monk Silas, have done their work.The Secret Book's website is www.tajnatakniga.com.mk
It is really good news that the Abecedar is being published in Greece. It is interesting to note that the first government publication in the Macedonian language was produced (but not published) by the Greek government in 1925. It's hard to argue (but not impossible, I suppose) that Tito invented the Macedonian language with this book floating around in Greece.
Macedonian Abecedar re-published in Greece after 81 years
Makfax Skopje, October 3, 2006
The Macedonian-language primer entitled Abecedar, which was published in Athens in 1925 as a result of recognition of Macedonian ethnic minority after the World War I, was re-published in Greece.
The re-publication of the Abecedar, which actually never reached the children of the Macedonian national minority in Greece, was wrapped up recently in Thessaloniki, Skopje's Dnevnik daily said.
The promotion of Abecedar will take place soon in Athens as well as in Thessaloniki and other cities with Macedonian population.
Athanasios Parisis, head of Greek Committee at the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL), told Dnevnik daily that re-publication of Abecedar is a living proof on Greece's failure to deny the existence of Macedonians.
The publication of the Abecedar was supported by the European and the Greek Bureau on Lesser Used Languages, including the Rainbow party funded by Macedonians in Greece, a member of the European Free Alliance.
The Abecedar, featuring the letters of the Macedonian language spoken in the Aegean part of Macedonia, was printed in Latin alphabet as Greek authorities wanted to make a distinction between the Macedonian, Serbian and Bulgarian language.
In 1920 the League of Nations initiated the signing of treaties relating to the protection of the minorities in a number of European countries, which specified the obligations of the states with regard to providing such minorities with civil and political equality. On August 10, 1920 such a treaty for the protection of the non-Greek ethnic minorities in Greece was signed between the Great Powers and Greece; it was named the Treaty of Sevres. The Treaty of Sevres guaranteed that minorities in Greece free use of their mother tongue in their personal and official relations. /end/
I believe this issue is so important as to put it the scale of Misirkov's "On Macedonian Matters", the ABCEDAR and the founding of the Macedonian literary language in 1944. I have yet to find a good detailed article about this issue. Any good information would be appreciated whether it is a link or some insight. At a minimum, the "Elefteros Tipos" article(s) should be translated.
My theory is that Greece's policy of denying the ethnicity of its Macedonian minority was a model (along with Turkey's treatment of its Kurdish minority, and the invasion of Cyprus) for every fascist, every racist and every ethnic cleanser in the Balkans. It is one of the factors that led to the vicious fighting during the fall of Yugoslavia that seemed to puzzle so many western journalists. Yet few journalists even thought about this issue.
According to "Elefteros Tipos" Papandreou was ready to recognize the Macedonian as a language of Yugoslavia in 1986 and recognize Macedonians as a minority in in Greece 1988. I believe (but am not sure) that Mitsotakis used the "soft on Skopians" argument to defeat him in 1991 with the assistance of the USA and most of the EU who viewed Papandreou as an erratic bogeyman.
Meanwhile Mitsotakis allowed (or continued to allow) Greek students to study in at Kiril and Metodi University in Skopje which indicated a passive recognition of the Macedonian language.
It is my understanding that Papandreou used this issue to outflank Mitsotakis the right by denouncing it as a betrayal of the Greek position on the non-existence of Macedonians. He returned to power in 1994. Like George Wallace in Alabama, he was not going to be "out niggered" on the question of human rights of ethnic Macedonians in Greece and the status of the Republic of Macedonia.
Let us now pause and consider the US position on Greece, which supported the Greek Right and totally ignored human rights abuses against ethnic Macedonians. Papandreou received no "brownie points" from the US/EU for his progressive treatment of Macedonians. Calling US/EU policy hypocritical is like saying the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It may be human rights abuse in "The West" but in the Balkans its called "life".
It is also worth noting that Robert Kaplan (Balkan Ghosts ) lived in Greece at this time, yet never mentioned this affair in any of his writing.
In Greece, the 1990's were used by the left and the right to see which party could be more hysterical on the "Macedonian Question". US and European reporters (which seemed to suffer from "50 First Dates" syndrome), were perplexed at the Greek position. In all the articles that I have read, no one to my knowledge linked the behavior of the Greek government towards Macedonians as part of the "Balkan problem.
What to do? Why Bother?
There are large forces in operation against Macedonian interests but things change. We have to develop a broader written record of the issue affecting Macedonia to be able to maneuver when change happens. We cannot wait for others to do it for us. Someone with knowledge of Greek should translate these articles.
The Greek paper "Elefteros Tipos" announces that Prime-Minister Papandreu in the talks with Yugoslav presidency member Stane Dolanc has agreed to recognize the Macedonian language as one of the official languages in Yugoslavia. 1988]
Greek Prime-Minister Papandreu and the Foreign Affairs' Karolos Papulias, agree to recognize the Macedonian language in Greece. The banker's affair "Koskotas" brings down the PASOK government, and the documents were never signed
M I L S N E W S Skopje, 20 September, 1994
PAPANDREOU RECOGNISED MACEDONIAN LANGUAGE?
The opposition right wing Greek paper "Elefteros Tipos" (paper
of Nea Demokratia) published a "confidential document" from the
former Yugoslavia, issued 16 March, 1988, proving the then
PASOK govt, i.e., Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and Foreign
Minister Karolos Papoulias officially agreed to recognise the
Macedonian language. The paper believes president Gligorov is
using the document, which has a decisive influence on
negotiations on the Macedonian question. The document was
signed following a two-day meeting of the then Yugoslavia's
foreign minister Budimir Lonchar and his counterparts from
Bulgaria, Albania, Greece and Romania. It also states minority
issues and improvement of co-operation from aspects of
language, passport regime and border areas. The paper claims
this concession by PASOK dated from a previous Lonchar-
Papoulias meeting back in 1985, and the 1986 meeting between
Papoulias and Stane Dolanc, member of the then Yugoslav
presidency. "Tipos" claims the PASOK did not only recognise the
Macedonian language, but was also ready to recognise the
Macedonian minority in Greece, as well.
Macedonian Students at State Department
They also met with Paul Pfeuffer, the department's desk officer for
Macedonia, who said Macedonia has had a greater impact in the southeast
European region than might be expected of a nation of only 2 million
"You're hitting above your weight," Pfeuffer said, an expression used for
boxing competitors who compete successfully in a weight class above those
for which they qualify.
Zoren, who plans to study business and economics in college, said
unemployment is Macedonia's biggest problem, while Ana pointed out that the
country "has a lot of talented young people, but many can't go to the
university because their parents can't afford to send them."
Pfeuffer responded that bolstering the Macedonian economy by setting up the
conditions to attract foreign investment could help fight poverty and
reduce unemployment. He also said U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Gillian A.
Milovanovic recently visited the United States and encouraged
Macedonian-American groups to establish scholarships for talented students.
The United States will "stand by Macedonia and help it achieve its goals of
EU and NATO membership and a prosperous future," Pfeuffer said. "We want to
be Macedonia's best partner."
To: Vasil Tupukovski,
From: David Edenden,
Vasil, when you broke with Kiro Gligorov and indicated that you would write a book about "Ancient Macedonia" I was speechless. I could not understand why you would waste your time with this subject which has been beaten to death by better writers and better historians, when you could have written,
intelligently, about the collapse of the former Yugoslavia and gained a wide audience among the opinion leaders of the US/EU. Among the Western elites, there was a genuine desire to try to understand the collapse of Yugoslavia, which was the most advanced and liberal communist country in Europe.
You were well thought of by the western media and with your command of English would have gained a large sympathetic audience for the Macedonian cause. I had the thought that the position of President of Macedonia should have been ceremonial and real power should have rested with the Prime Minister. Vasil, you should have been President and spent most of your time outside of Macedonia promoting Macedonian recognition. As Macedonian President, world leaders would have been more likely to meet with you, than with some foreign minister whose command of English was limited. Gligorov would have been Prime Minister.
As the Macedonian member of the last Yugoslav "Presidency", you were in an enviable position to write about the collapse of Yugoslavia, which would have found a large audience in the English speaking world. Instead Macedonians have had to content themselves with writers (some more sympathetic than others) like Loring Danforth, Robert Kaplan, Misha Glenny, or Hugh Poulton With your roots in Greek Macedonia, you could have influenced a generation of writers about the Macedonian question.
Its not too late to share your experiences. If you do write a book about the collapse of Yugoslavia, please concentrate of on why the Germans thought Croatia deserved independence while the Kurds of Turkey were being suppressed. Was US/EU/Nato promoting human rights, if so why no action on the plight of Macedonians in Greece.