The Macedonian Tendency: September 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Canada Says Macedonia!

By David Edenden

I really can't blame Alan Freeman for ignoring the plight of ethnic Macedonians in Greece as part of the Greek Macedonian dispute. See this note here as to why this is so.
Canada to recognize Balkan state as Macedonia:

OTTAWA — The Harper government has become embroiled in a major dust-up between Canada's ethnic communities after deciding to recognize the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia as just plain Macedonia, despite strong objections from Greece, which claims the name as its own.

The decision to refer to the tiny Balkan nation as Republic of Macedonia, rather than the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM for short), as it has been known by the United Nations since independence in 1992, was hailed by the Prime Minister of Macedonia.

Both nations claim sole ownership of the name.

In a statement from the capital of Skopje, Prime Minister Nikola Gruveski said yesterday hat "we were informed by the Macedonian embassy that Canada recognized Macedonia under its constitutional name, which is a good thing."

Greece immediately objected. "Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is expected to communicate today with her Canadian counterpart and convey the Greek government's displeasure," the Greek Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

And the Greek government made clear it intends to mobilize its diaspora in the battle. "It is certain that this decision also displeases hundreds of thousands of Canadian citizens of Greek origin," the Foreign Ministry said.

Foreign Affairs Canada did not comment, but its fact sheet on the country on its website now refers to Republic of Macedonia. The web page notes it was last updated on Sept. 20, 2007.

"The Greeks are pissed," seethed Jim Karygiannis, the Greek-born Liberal MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, who said that the Greek-Canadian community plans to mobilize to get the government to change its mind, noting that it had successfully fended off earlier efforts to get the name change approved under administrations of Brian Mulroney and Jean Chr├ętien.

"How would you like part of the United States to call themselves Canada?" he continued. "What if all of a sudden New York State begins to call itself Canada or Ontario?" Greece uses the name Macedonia to designate its northern province.

The MP said the Skopjans, as he referred to the Macedonians, did not even settle the area until 800 or 900 AD. "The speak a different language. They don't speak Greek. Why are they trying to distort history?"

Efforts to contact members of the Macedonian Canadian community, concentrated in Toronto, were not fruitful, but the decision was hailed on Macedonian websites.

The U.S.-based United Macedonian Diaspora headlined the news, congratulating the "dedication, perseverance and endless efforts" by Macedonian Canadians to get the name changed. It encouraged readers to send a thank-you note to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the decision.

A secretary at the St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Congregation in Toronto would not comment but was clearly incensed when told that The Globe and Mail had contacted the Greek community for its view on the issue. "You called the Greeks?" she asked. "Why did you call them?"

Canada joins the United States, China and Russia in referring to the country as Republic of Macedonia in bilateral relations. It is still referred to as FYROM by the European Union and the United Nations.

Prolonged efforts at the UN to solve the dispute and come to a mutual agreement on the name have so far failed.

How To Find News on Macedonia

By David Edenden

My attempt to turn The Macedonian Tendency into a group blog covering breaking news on Macedonia has been less than successful for a variety of reasons. I will revert to my original format, which was a vehicle for occasional insights into Macedonia's place in the world. A "News Reader" makes it easy monitor my blog without having to check back here constantly. Here is Google Reader, which is one of the best. Anyone who wants to contribute is welcome to do so. See "A Revised Guide to Contributors to "The Macedonian Tendency"

For those of you who would like to read news on Macedonia, on a daily basis, see
Macedonian News Service at Yahoo Groups. It is the most comprehensive digest of the daily news monitoring a variety of Macedonian outlets. It's main drawback is that there are no links to the original source so journalists may be skeptical about the information reproduced here.

A similar, less comprehensive, but more readable news outlet, in the form of a blog, is
Macedonian News. The major drawback is its policy of reproducing Greek propaganda without providing a Macedonian perspective. See an example here and see my response here.

Makfax is a major news service in Macedonia. It does not produce any original content but merely repackages existing material. Like Macedonian News, it reproduces Greek propaganda without providing a Macedonian perspective. Any journalist visiting this site would get a Greek perspective on the Macedonian Greek dispute. See my comment here. Also, Makfax spends a great deal of time, energy and money reporting on foreign news. I can understand this policy for its Macedonian language readers, but no one goes to Makfax to read about Poland and Russia in English. Bizarre! And finally, Makfax, along with some other Macedonian media, does not know how to spell the name of the mediator of the Macedonian Greek dispute. It is Matthew Nimetz ... its not"Niemitz". I have contacted Makfax several times and they refuse to correct it. Embarrassing!

If you want a few good links, along with a few daily news stories and articles, go to
Mak News. This sight specializes in major news stories with good links and a few good articles in its archive. There is also a well developed and active bulletin board. The drawback it the links are dropped after a month or so, and there is no archive of quotes from the articles. It is not very useful for journalists as a guide to what other journalist are saying about Macedonia ... good or bad

Finally, interesting items are often posted to
Reality Macedonia's Yahoo message board. There are other message boards around but they tend to be repetitive of what has been posted here. Why these boards cannot get together is a mystery.

The Reality Macedonia news site is defunct which is a low down dirty rotten shame.

Alt.New.Macedonia used to be a source of interesting articles and its archive is still worth searching, but currently, there is no sign of intelligent life.

I will be posting an article about political sites and historical sites in the near future.