The Macedonian Tendency: 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Reeker Nomination: Something Stinks in New Jersey

Menendez in battle between countries
Sides with Greece against Macedonia's own name
NJ Start Ledger

Sunday, July 20, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Robert Menendez has never been known to shy away from a political brawl, even one that is thousands of miles from New Jersey, has its roots in antiquity and touches the raw nerves of two sovereign nations.

From his perch on Capitol Hill, the New Jersey senator has injected himself into a bitter dispute over the name of a small Balkan nation -- a country that since independence in 1991 has called itself the Republic of Macedonia, and which neighboring Greece insists should be known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYROM.

Menendez, siding with Greece and upset that the Bush administration in 2004 recognized the republic by its chosen name, is holding up the president's nominee for U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, Philip Reeker.

Although he won't confirm or deny it, interest groups on both sides and sources on Capitol Hill say Menendez, a Democrat, and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) anonymously placed a hold on Reeker's confirmation to pressure the administration and the Macedonians about the naming issue.

What's in the name? Plenty.

For Greece, using the name of the Republic of Macedonia implies the landlocked country of 2 million people has territorial claims to the northern Greek region also known as Macedonia, and represents a serious threat that goes well beyond symbolism. For its neighbor, it's a matter of national pride, sovereignty and self-identity.

The contentious dispute has led Greece to veto Macedonia's entry into NATO and has been the subject of lengthy but unsuccessful diplomatic negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations that included talks in New York last week.


Menendez, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has supported Greece's interests including on matters involving Cyprus and Turkey going back to his time as a congressman, and was an active member of the House's Hellenic Caucus.

He said he has had numerous meetings with members of New Jersey's "significant Greek-American community" and feels strongly that resolving the name issue is important to the stability of the region and American interests.

In an interview last week he said the use of the Republic of Macedonia name has created tension in an important region of the world, and is understandably upsetting Greece, a key U.S. ally.

"Beyond the name, there are significant issues of culture, ethnicity and a breakaway element for other parts of the Balkans who want to be recognized as Macedonia when Macedonia is within Greece," he said.

During Reeker's confirmation hearing last month, Menendez said he has seen "school textbooks and maps that circulate in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia showing parts of Greece belonging to the so-called 'Greater Macedonia.'"

Another affront to the Greeks, he and others have pointed out, involves the recent naming of a Macedonian airport in the capital city of Skopje after Alexander the Great -- someone the Greeks consider to be their warrior king.

"This is risky business," Menendez said. "And the Bush administration has created part of the problem by recognizing the name of the Republic of Macedonia and by not working vigorously to solve the name issue."

Reeker, formerly a counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, testified at his confirmation hearing that he has "seen reports of both sides in the Greece-Macedonia dispute accusing each other of taking actions or making statements that have inflamed the issue of the name.

"It's a difficult problem. It's an emotional problem," he said. "But it is one that can be solved. So we're encouraging both sides to show greater flexibility, creativity, cooperation and do what is needed to find a solution."

Metodija Koloski, president of the United Macedonian Diaspora, an international advocacy organization, maintained that Greece's stance has been unreasonable. He accused Menendez of refusing to meet with Macedonian-Americans from New Jersey, taking a narrow one-sided view, and arbitrarily blocking Reeker's confirmation. Koloski speculated that Menendez was seeking to win Greek-American votes and campaign contributions.

"He should be representing the views of all his constituents, not just the Greek-American community," Koloski said.


The U.S. Census estimates nearly 70,000 New Jersey residents have at least some Greek ancestry, and about 5,500 have Macedonian ancestry.

Koloski noted that 124 countries recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name.

"Greece wants Macedonia to change its identity. It wants it to change its passports and change its constitution. It's too much to be asked -- one country dictating to another country what its name should be," Koloski said.

The Very Rev. Father Slobodan Petkovski of the Saints Kiril and Metodij Macedonian Church in Cedar Grove said Menendez' attitude is an affront to Macedonia's people and national identity.

"I don't know why he is doing it. He is welcome to work with the Greeks, but why not the Macedonians?" he said.

The same view was expressed by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-8th Dist.), who called Menendez' approach "absolutely appalling."

The Greek-American community sees the matter quite differently.

Nick Larigakis, executive director of the American Hellenic Institute, said Menendez has been "acting in the best interests of the United States to help create stability in a region where Greece is an important player."

"The issue is not just the name. It is what the name implies and how that will be interpreted, which Greece sees as an attempt to claim it territory," Larigakis said.

Yiorgos Chouliaras, a spokesman for the Greek Embassy in Washington, said he could not comment on internal U.S. politics, but added that Menendez' views have been consistent in holding that "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must stop its hostile propaganda and work for a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue."

He said Greece would accept a "compound name" that included Macedonia. Last week, Macedonia was reported to have rejected four name proposals from the UN negotiator, including the names Northern or Upper Macedonia.

Koloski, the president of the United Macedonian Diaspora, said Macedonia has considered adopting a compound name for use in international organizations like the UN or European Union. But he said it has rejected the Greek idea of changing its constitution and passports or altering its name for dealings with nations that already recognize the Republic of Macedonia.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Long From Home ... Macedonians Return

Alexander’s ‘descendants’ boost Macedonian identity / World

By Neil MacDonald

Published: July 18 2008

On Saturday, an unusual delegation from the Himalayan foothills bids a quiet farewell to the Republic of Macedonia.

Prince Ghazanfar Ali Khan, his wife Princess Rani Atiqa and their entourage claim descent from Alexander the Great’s conquering army, which reached their Hunza tribal homeland in northern Pakistan 23 centuries ago.

The fair-skinned, blue-eyed Hunza people, whose own accounts trace their descent to Alexander’s march-weary troops, are renowned for their longevity and their high literacy rate.

Officials initially rolled out the red carpet for the septuagenarian prince and his entourage, who have toured cultural and historical sites since arriving at Skopje’s Alexander the Great airport on July 11. Nikola Gruevski, prime minister, met the delegation, while a Macedonian Orthodox archbishop blessed it.

Hunza folklore gave a shot in the arm to the ex-Yugoslav country of 2m – still embroiled, 18 years after independence, in a frustrating “name dispute” with Greece, whose northern province is also called Macedonia.

Greece has made sure Macedonia cannot join Nato without a compromise name change. The latest round of United Nations-led talks in New York produced no breakthrough.

Mr Gruevski, who won a landslide re-election victory in June, has raised the ante by this week demanding recognition for a Macedonian (Slav) ethnic minority in officially homogeneous Greece.

But Mr Gruevski’s critics have dismissed the Hunza visit as shallow populism and after ridicule in local newspapers, the youth and sport agency cancelled the princely couple’s planned appearance in Skopje’s main square last night.

The visit’s main organiser was Marina Dojcinovska, a Skopje-based travel journalist who made a film about the far-flung tribe of “Macedonians” in 2005.

“This is a very special occasion for all Macedonians,” Ms Dojcinovska said.

In fact, citizens proved divided about how literally to take their ancient origins. Their Macedonian language is closest to Bulgarian and other South Slavic tongues – pointing to roots in the tribal migrations about a millennium after Alexander.

Ana Petruseva, country director for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, said of the Hunza visit: “Everyone who’s a bit more educated is laughing at this.”

The Hunza of today, who are mostly Muslim, had not heard of modern Macedonia until 12 years ago, when an expatriate Macedonian linguistics professor drew their attention to it.

Ilija Casule, an associate professor at Australia’s Macquarie University, said he recognised common grammar and terms for body parts between the Hunza people’s Burushaski and Indo-European languages.

But there are plenty who question just how robust the links are. Most linguists classify Burushaski as an “isolate” unrelated to other languages. DNA research has also debunked claims of genetic links between Macedonians and the Hunza.

“Macedonia’s doing what other European countries did in the 19th century . . . elevating folk tales to official history,” said Sam Vaknin, an Israeli economic adviser in Skopje. “This belated adolescence has been exacerbated by Greek insecurities bordering on sadism.”

Greece plays the same game, funding cultural centres and schools for the Kalash, another set of Alexander claimants in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In the 1930s, scientists in Nazi Germany also combed the Himalayas in search of lost Aryan cousins.

Athens accuses Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslav communist leader after the second world war, of “inventing” Macedonian ethnicity in the hopes of grabbing a piece of the Aegean coast.

Yet Skopje’s popular identification with Alexander did not blossom until after the 1990s Yugoslav break-up, Macedonians argue.

Sensing threats on all sides, Macedonian patriots have become more stubborn on identity, calling themselves “Alexander’s descendants” even though the ancient conqueror personally had no known children.

Aleksandar Dimiskovski, a business consultant in Skopje, says: “The [Hunza] visit provides affirmation of our ties to the former Macedonia of Alexander the Great. Approval from these people confirms that the legacy of ancient Macedonia belongs to the Republic of Macedonia, not just to Greece.”

That is a view that remains very much in contention.

Bulgaria refuses to recognise a separate Macedonian language. Serbia’s church keeps Macedonians out of the worldwide Orthodox communion. And an ethnic Albanian minority of roughly 25 per cent challenges the young state’s internal stability.

Friday, July 18, 2008

US State Department - Greece and Macedonia to Negotiate Refugee Claims!

"MR. MCCORMACK: Lambros.
Daily Press Briefing -- July 17

QUESTION: On FYROM. Mr. McCormack, the Skopje Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski in a letter to the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis raised the issues of the so-called, “Macedonia ethnicity, language, minority, and property” in northern Greece. Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni accused the Skopjen leader that deliberately is trying to undermine the UN process for a solution on the name issue. Any comment?

MR. MCCORMACK: This is a matter between Macedonia and Greece. I understand the correspondence was between those two parties, so I’d refer you to either party for comment about it. From our point of view, we would like to see Macedonia and Greece work out the name issue, which is a completely different topic. I know a lot of people are devoting a lot of time and energy to that topic. We certainly would like to see those negotiations come to a successful completion soon.

QUESTION: Are you planning to intervene between the two sides on this new issue since you want FYROM to become a NATO member as soon as possible?

MR. MCCORMACK: As I understand it, it’s an issue between the two countries, not involving the United States."

Greece - "Embaro This!"

Macedonia Eyes Albanian Port:

Branko Crvenkovski and Bamir Topi

18 July 2008 Tirana _ Macedonia President Branko Crvenkovski asked his Albanian counterpart on Thursday for facilitated access to Albania’s Durres port.

Branko Crvenkovski and Bamir Topi“The port of Durres should help the development of Macedonia’s economy,” said Crvenovski during a press conference

“The development of the eighth [European transportation] corridor remains important for the economic growth of both countries,” he added.

The eighth European transportation corridor starts at the port of Durres in Albania, passes through Macedonia and ends in the Bulgarian port of Vargas.

The project follows the route of the “Via Egnatia”, one of most important roads of the Roman Empire.

The Macedonian leader argued that the port of Durres, should not be seen only as an alternative to the port of Thessaloniki, due to the difficult relationship with Greece over the so-called ``name’’ row, but should be viewed as an opportunity for businesses on both sides of the Albanian-Macedonian border.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Macedonian Contiune To Fight Against Greek Racism!

By David Edenden

Southeast European Times is funded by the US Pentagon. Unlikely as it seems, it is a model of how the Balkans should be covered since it includes both Greece and "European Turkey". This is the first article about the status of Macedonians in Greece.

As I have said before, Greek values regarding minority rights are Nato values. Nato officials should be held to account for Greece's democratic deficit.

Good for Nimetz for putting this issue "on the table"
The Aegean question emerges in name dispute (
By Goran Trajkov for Southeast European Times in Skopje –
The re-emergence of the so-called Aegean question, which the Macedonian government now insists on discussing with Greece, has raised anger in Athens and hopes among refugee children.

Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis warned on Tuesday (July 15th) that Macedonia would risk reaping "a whirlwind" with its "extreme nationalism". [Getty Images]

The desire by the Macedonian government to expand the agenda of the Skopje-Athens name-dispute talks has sparked emotions in both countries. Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski wrote on Monday (July 14th) to his Greek counterpart, Costas Karamanlis, expressing his determination to discuss the grievances of those refugees and of the ethnic Macedonian minority remaining in Greece.

In an angry response, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis warned on Tuesday that Macedonia would risk reaping "a whirlwind" with its "extreme nationalism". Athens is still preparing a more official response.

Paris, the current holder of the EU presidency, has spoken out in favour of Athens, with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner saying on Tuesday, "We stand in solidarity with Greece."

On the other hand, the Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia (ARCAM) praised the move, asserting it is the only path to solving issues such as refugees' claims on properties they left behind 60 years ago. Ethnic Macedonians suffered reprisals as the Greek civil war wound down, with the victorious government accusing them of siding with defeated communist partisans and of favouring an autonomous state of their own.

Risto Nikovski, former Macedonian ambassador to Britain, agrees that the time has come to discuss the sensitive issue. "Objectively, knowing the Greek position in the name dispute, we should not expect a solution of the problem soon. ... [Greece] does not have a problem with the Macedonian name; it cannot stand the Macedonians."

Despite objections from a surprised Greece that previous Macedonian governments had not raised these grievances, UN mediator Matthew Nimetz said that he would put them on the table.

The controversy is heating up as ARCAM prepares to observe the 60th anniversary of more than 28,000 ethnic Macedonian children's exodus from war-wracked Greece. The gathering in Skopje at the weekend will have a humanitarian goal, according to Georgi Ajanovski, chairman of ARCAM's conference-organising committee. Participants will denounce war and its attendant suffering, as well as exile and violence against children.

Several thousand Macedonians from the Diaspora will participate in the forum, some now living in the United States, Canada and various European countries. There will be exhibitions of books about the Greek civil war and World War II and a scholarly symposium. The event opens in Boris Trajkovski Sports Hall on Friday. Representatives of countries that accepted the refugee children, diplomats based in Skopje and Macedonian government leaders all received invitations to that ceremony.

Obama To Macedonian Abassador "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You"

Obama: Can we believe in his change?
by Jason Miko:
The Conservative Voice

Senator Barack Obama prides himself on his theme of 'change we can believe in' and on studying both sides of an issue. As one promising change and a different way of working from Washington's typical business-as-usual approach, Obama could offer a refreshing diversion from the status quo.

But a closer examination of the way he works only goes to prove that he is an old-style politician, catering to the moneyed interests of those who will help finance his campaign.A case in point is the dispute Greece has with Macedonia over the latter's name, the Republic of Macedonia. Without delving too deeply into this issue “ Greece insists that Macedonia change its name and recently vetoed Macedonia's NATO aspirations despite Macedonia having fulfilled all necessary NATO requirements “ it needs only be pointed out that Obama has signed on to Senate Resolution 300 which, among other things, is pro-Greek Government and against the Republic of Macedonia, proffering false claims and spurious arguments. The bill's supporters in the House version have even now begun to back away from its claims, removing their names after examining the facts.

It is worth pointing out that Obama has close personal ties with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer of the State of Illinois and a prominent Greek-American. Obama campaigned for him when he was a little-known, helping him to beat out his opponents and capture the seat. In return, Giannoulias now heads up Greeks for Obama and is encouraging the well-financed Greek community to pay up. That they expect something in return is obvious and that is coming through even now in the Senate resolution.

Apart from questions about Giannoulias and his family's bank, Broadway Bank, and their ties with reported Chicago mobster Michael 'Jaws' Giorango (convicted bookmaker/prostitution ring promoter), Giannoulias is on record as opposing the Bush Administration's decision to recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name (which he calls 'incorrect') the Republic of Macedonia, and calls for US Senators to use the UN provisional name, 'the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,' considered a slur by Macedonia and most thinking people. He also calls the Bush Administration's decision to recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name as being in violation of the 1995 UN-brokered Interim Accord, a preposterous notion.

Zoran Jolevski, The Macedonian Ambassador to the United States has attempted to reach out to the Senator only to be offered a meeting with a legislative assistant. Despite other attempts at outreach from Macedonian-Americans, to at least offer him the other side of the story, there has been no interest from the Senator in even listening.These dubious ties to those financing his campaign combined with his lack of interest in the other side of the story raise legitimate questions.

Does Barack Obama really want to be openly supportive of a regime in Athens which has an abysmal human rights record and is perhaps the only country in the world to claim that it does not have ethnic minorities, an impossible notion? Does he want to be slavishly devoted to a cause, Greek objections to Macedonia's constitutional name and right to their own identity, when the ability to self-identify is a given? And does he want to be associated with a government that hypocritically refuses to grant property rights to hundreds of thousands of refugees it expelled while at the same time demanding such rights for Greek Cypriots expelled from northern Cyprus?

The big question is, will Obama, if elected president, reverse US-policy on the name issue of Macedonia? Will he go back to the provisional reference and in doing so, open up Pandora's Box? Will he risk American interests in the region by pandering to a regime that is cozying up, even now, to Russian interests in the energy sector while spending billions of Euros on Russian weapons? If Obama is who he claims to be – one open to both sides of an issue – then he will at least have the decency to sit down with the Macedonians, hear their side of the story, and then make up his own mind independent of those who finance his campaign. If not, we can assume that he is just another old-style politician, going where the money is and continuing in the rich history of Chicago politics. This is the exact opposite of the change he claims to offer.

Greek Embargo Won't Work This Time!

Greece may threaten Macedonia with Embargo:
MINA Breaking News

Image Despite numerous financial scandals and economic difficulties facing Karamanlis' Government, Athens spent yesterdays and today's Parliament session dedicated to Macedonia.

All Ministers in the Greek Government were in agreement that Greece must send a stern response to "Skopje's provocations" on raising the issue for the rights and land of Aegean Macedonians.

Greek PM's Cabinet has received suggestions that besides its threats for blocking Macedonia's EU and NATO path, should also threaten with an embargo.

Karamanlis with his closest associates discussed the possibilities of implications regarding Greece's international image if Greek radical groups were to disrupt the Macedonian Ilinden Celebrations in the Forina (Lerin) region.

On Macedonia's request to return Greek citizenships, land and properties of forced out Macedonians from Greece, the Greek Government will send an official complaint to UN's General Secretary, as well as NATO and EU.

In response to the Greek Government, who still stands by its description as a pure homogenous state with no minorities, Macedonian Government Officials say "Athens doesn't have a choice to refuse or accept the topic of the Macedonian minority in Greece".

According to high Government Officials in Skopje, Greece must respect International Law and the Human Rights Conventions it had signed. The statements Greece puts forward of a non-existent Macedonian minority is ridiculous, in a situation when the European Himan Rights Court, European Council and other International Organizations treat the Macedonains in Greece as a national, and ethnic minority.

There is information coming out of Athens that Greek Experts are analyzing UN resolutions brought about during and after the Greek Civil War. We also find that Macedonia in conjunction with the Turkish Government is researching the Turkish State Archives.

The Turkish Government has granted complete access of their massive Archives to several Macedonian experts and historians who are looking at all documents tied to the Macedonians who lived and presently live in northern Greece.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Greece's Democratic Deficit Is Also Nato's and EU's Deficit

MIC - Macedonian Information Centre:

A reform to the so-called Greek nationalism is necessary, says Pavlos Voskopoulos, leader of the RAINBOW Party in his interview to Dimitar Culev in Florina (Lerin) Greece.

Q.: How do you interpret the latest statement of Greek Foreign Ministry’s spokesman in which he called the question concerning the existence of Macedonian minority in Greece “non-existing and ungrounded”?

A.: Kumutzakos’s statement depicts the continual policy of the Greek state against the Macedonian minority since 1912 up-to-date. I would say “ungrounded” and “non-existing” is the claim that Greece is a democratic state.

Greece has a legislative, that is to say a Law from 1981 concerning the repatriation of the “political refugees” of the 1946-1948 Civil War which decisively says who belongs to the “Greeks by origin” category. Why do the state and the Ministry of the Interior mention “Greeks by origin”? Does it mean that the other citizens are not “Greeks by origin”? Does not the state indirectly recognize the existing minority from this Law by mentioning the “non-existing” minority? If Greece clearly declares the expelled Macedonians during the Civil War in Greece as “non-Greeks by origin”, does this mean that their relatives in Greece do not exist? Why does Greece take away the citizenship of members of the “non-existing” minority and forbids the economic emigrants-Macedonians living overseas to enter the villages in which they were born?

Today it takes away the Greek citizenship on the base of the Law paragraph 1 g because our co-citizens declare their Macedonian identity in Australia or in Canada, for example. By mentioning the “non-existing” minority, the Greek state sends a message to the Macedonians, and even to their relatives living in northern Greece. The aim of the modern “sophisticated terrorism” is to intimidate the Macedonians from declaring their Macedonian spirit not only in Australia and Canada but also of their relatives in Greece. Why does not the “self-loving” Greek policy implement a census of the population asking about their identity and language in relation to the “non-existing” minority? Is perhaps the continual denial an expression of fear from the “existing” Macedonians?

Q.: Can the census make any changes knowing that is the quantity side of the problem?

A.: If the Greek-Christian minority in Turkey of about two thousand people in Istanbul is respected and recognized by the Turkish state, how many thousand Macedonians should live in Greece in order to be recognized and respected by the Greek state as a Macedonian minority? Let me not speak about the tortures against Rainbow throughout these years in the elections, in forged figures, manipulations with votes…there is only one official figure from Greece regarding the elections – that 5,000 to 7,500 votes were given to Rainbow. How many more “non-existing” should there be for them to have the rights that the Greeks have in Turkey?

The reports of the commissions of international institutions, for instance the ECRI, the Council of Europe, the condemning decisions of the European Court for Human Rights, and dozens reports of international NGOs have for years clearly mentioned the Macedonian minority in Greece and conveyed strong criticisms against Greece for its non-democratic attitude towards the minority. So, the Greek policy about the Macedonian minority is a totally ungrounded argumentation.

Q.: The Greek president placed the question about the differences over the name, a dispute that Greece itself is creating, in the sphere of “de-stabilization” for the Balkans. Is there anything else behind the dispute that is frightening Greece – not the name but something more substantial?

A.: A part of the destructive general Greek politics in the Balkans there is, first of all, the non-recognition of independent Republic of Macedonia and, normally, the creation of the “dispute” over the name impose by the state. Actually, Greece hopes and wishes to de-stabilize the neighboring state. The denial of the name Macedonia means denial of the national identity and this is clear to all the Macedonians wherever they are.

The reason is the essence of the Greek nationalism. From the position of being a member in EU and NATO, Greece is implementing an aggressive and blackmailing policy, which was demonstrated and evinced in Bucharest and in NATO. Is it not a political nonsense for any Greek politician to claim that the “dispute” over the name is de-stabilizing for the region (a “dispute” that Greece is forcing out), and not the Greek veto against the membership of the Republic of Macedonia in NATO?

Q.: Your party, which is a part of the European Alliance, is trying to push forward the truth about the existence of a different language minority in Greece. How much familiar is Europe with this topic and is it able to understand it?

A.: In the past few years we have been politically active as Rainbow through the membership in the European Free Alliance – European Political Party (ESA-EPP). On the one hand, we have “protective wings”, which means basic protection from the Greek nationalism. On the other hand, we have the opportunity to make Europe familiar with our problems and with the non-recognition of the Macedonian minority.

The member-parties of the ESA-EPP are composed of 30 small minority parties and parties of bigger peoples, for instance the Flanders from Belgium and the Catalonians from Spain. We have made them very well familiar with the essence and the deficit of democracy in Greece. At the same time, we are informing our partners about the destructive anti-Macedonian policy against the Macedonian minority in Greece, the denial of the Macedonian identity or the Macedonian language.

For instance, at the General Assembly Plenary session of the ESA-EPP in the European Parliament and in the presence of hundreds Euro-parliamentarians and others, we imposed official translation from Macedonian into other languages and vice versa. There was “Macedonian language” written on the plates of the European Parliament, which means that we de facto imposed the naming of the language as it is. It seems that we had predicted that Greece would have posed the aggressive question at this time even concerning the language of the Republic of Macedonia and whether it would be called Macedonian language.

Q.: Five years ago, when the 55th anniversary of the exodus of the children-refugees after the Civil War was in preparation, your party tried to initiate the question about the taking away of citizenship of the expelled at that time because they were not “Greeks by origin”.

A.: As Rainbow we constantly pose the question of the Macedonians expelled from the Greek state. Not only the children-refugees, but all the expelled in general. We have asked the European Parliament and the Council of Europe to make political pressure over Greece. We do this in principle on all levels, even in UN commissions and at all OSCE conferences. Unfortunately, mildly speaking the Greek politics is racist and discriminatory against its former citizens because it took away their Greek citizenship and property by force. In 1981 and 1985 Greece decided to give back the citizenship and the property confiscated after the Civil War, including compensations, but only to the Greeks.

Q.: At which stage is it and are there any possibilities for resolving this question?

A.: This problem is a big political question. Greece ignores any attempts for a positive resolution not only regarding compensation for the property, but also for restoring the citizenship. As a matter of fact, with this it wants to eliminate a part of the Macedonian minority. It does not want to restore the citizenship and rehabilitate the Macedonians, because all this people, their descendants and families are aware that they are Macedonians, with Macedonian identity, and with good knowledge of the Macedonian language. This is exactly why Greece does not want to give back their citizenship, so that they cannot have the right to the status of a Greek citizen, something they had before the Civil War. Under such circumstances, the Macedonians would have the same duties, but also the rights like all the their Greek co-citizens.

Q.: Thousands of children, who were totally innocent, were taken outside the Greek borders.

A.: This is another aspect that is not just a detail of the general question of the discriminatory Greek politics against the Macedonians. Let us, as Rainbow, ask the following question: have all (formerly eastern) states demonstrated decades-long hospitality to these expelled Macedonians who used to be Greek citizens?

It is a fact, for instance, that the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia within the SFRY was hosting the Macedonians for decades, providing condition's for them and spending money from the Budget for Greek citizens deprived of their citizenship. Or, in other words, can any of these states ask for compensation from Greece for spending budgetary funds for over 60 years? Does Greece have to give compensation not only to the expelled but also to the states hosting these Greek citizens?

Q.: Can Greece and Macedonia, in spite of the tense relations, close down the question that burdens their mutual relations?

A.: This is a big and a deep question. The most important of all is to make (and it needs time) a reform in the so-called Greek nationalism. No matter how good a neighboring state is and with good-intentioned people, the problem of good relations with the neighbors depends on the general attitude created by the political elites.

Unfortunately, the Greek society has been closed down for decades, self-loving because of the nationalist myth as a selected people. The dominating views of the majority are anti-Turkish, anti-Albanian, and anti-Macedonian, with negative feelings, with even openly anti-western and anti-American feelings. From the psychological point of view, it is true that most of the Greeks, due to the complex incorporated in them by the system, are developing relations that cannot be called sympathy for the neighboring peoples.

There are exceptions and individuals, small parts in the Greek society, non-parliamentarian political currents, including us from Rainbow, who are trying to work on the elimination of the deficit of democracy in the field of human rights in Greece, for a good quality society for all the others, for all the citizens.This is how I see the future.

Q.: Now the question concerning the properties of the expelled is becoming current...

A.: The key to the question is the citizenship, and not the properties and the compensations. In the end, Greece might accept to give some compensations or return the properties. Substantially, however, Greece is continually doing its best for all of them to die with time, that is to say to exterminate and finally erase the Macedonians.

It is necessary to speak loudly about the restoration of the citizenship. The question of compensations and returning back the properties is secondary. The political emigrants, who were ethnic Greeks, were rehabilitated by the state, they received back their Greek citizenship, and then their confiscated properties were given them back, including construction sites and facilities used by the state institutions, as well as compensations.

And this was not all: they also received favorable construction credits and similar, including pensions, because those who participated in the Civil War had previously participated in the war against the occupiers, that is to say in the anti-fascist alliance. And there are also Macedonians who participated in the Civil War who prior to that had participated in the resistance against fascism. Have they not been discriminated again?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Balkan Insight on Macedonians in Greece.

By David Edenden

Balkan Insight is a child of the International Crisis Group, (ICG) a pseudo human rights group that promotes US interests around the world. It sponsors seminars on journalism and one of the main lessons is the "he who pays the piper, calls the tunes". Even though Balkan Insight is run by local people, including Macedonians, this is one of the few articles dealing with the rights of Macedonians in Greece, which until recently has been off limits to the ICG.

It is a testament of the power of the the US and EU that local people can be recruted to work against the interests of their own country and for the interest of foreigners.

Whether this article is an indications of things to come or just an aberration, we will have to wait to see.

Skopje Asks for Macedonian Rights in Greece: -

14 July 2008 Skopje _ Skopje has sent a letter to Athens asking for the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Greece and the return of property to Macedonian refugees who were forced to flee.

In the letter signed by Macedonia’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski addressed to his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis, Gruevski refers to the exodus of Macedonians who fled northern Greece during the 1946-1949 Greek Civil War. Gruevski urged Athens to allow them to acquire the property they left behind in Greece.

Some historians estimate that more than 100,000 ethnic Macedonians in northern Greece fled the country as the war between the right-wing monarchist government and the Democratic Army of Greece, a branch of the Communist party, took hold.

“Large parts of these people, most of them ethnic Macedonians born in Greece, came to live in the then Socialist Yugoslavia or in parts of today’s Republic of Macedonia to be exact,” Gruevski writes. “They have stayed here ever since, probably influenced by the fact that they spoke the same language and felt as part of the same people, the Macedonians.”

Athens does not recognise those who fled as Macedonians and refuses to issue citizenship to them or to their descendants.

In addition Gruevski urged Athens to recognise the existence of the Macedonian minority on its territory and to grant them the right to education in their own language as well as the right to foster their culture and traditions.

In 1998 the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Greece contravened the European Human Rights convention with its refusal to allow the opening of a Macedonian cultural centre in the northern town of Florina.

Greek courts still refuse to register the centre, Rainbow - the party led by the unrecognised Macedonian minority in Greece, told media.

However Athens claims that only several hundred people in Greece support the position of the party and that they can not be called a minority.

“We all know that a political will is needed to solve these problems. I believe that you will have that will as a democratic country and a member state of the European Union and NATO,” Gruevski writes.

A solution to these problems would “enable the creation of a better future for the both people,” Gruevski added, arguing that when it comes to human and minority rights and the protection of private property, a strict following of international standards is essential.

Relations between the two countries hit a new low in April when Athens blocked Skopje’s NATO accession saying the country should change its name first. Greece argues that Macedonia’s name might imply territorial claims towards its own northern province with the same name.

Macedonian Troops Join Nato Exercises Planning For War Against Russia.

By David Edenden

When Barack Obama is elected US president and then promptly adopts the Greek position on Macedonia, a la Sarkozy, will the Macedonia government beg Russia for help, or will it be too ashamed?

Nato is not a friend of Macedonia!
US, Ukrainian Troops Launch Maneuvers Near Russian Border:
VOA News -
14 July 2008

Ukrainian troops have joined their U.S. counterparts in NATO military exercises as tensions mount over the aspirations of former Soviet republics to enter the alliance.

The two-week NATO 'Sea Breeze' exercises along the Black Sea coast also include forces from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and key countries of western Europe. Turkey, Macedonia and Latvia are also participating. The exercises include naval and air maneuvers as well as large-scale armored exercises.

Separate maneuvers are being held this week in Georgia. Armenian, Azerbaijani, Ukrainian and U.S. troops are participating.

Small groups of anti-NATO protesters were reported encamped along the Ukrainian coast.

Ukraine and Georgia are actively seeking NATO membership, despite official warnings that Moscow will not tolerate an additional NATO presence on its borders.

Last month, Ukraine's pro-Western leadership hosted a NATO delegation, which was also confronted by several hundred anti-alliance protesters."

Greek Born Ethnic Macedonians on the Agenda!

Gruevski's letter to Karamanlis - I expect you to take measures in amending injustice caused to Greek-born ethnic Macedonians
Macedonian_News_Service : Message: Daily Bulletin:

Skopje, July 14 (MIA) - Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski sent a letter to his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis, in which he focuses on the issue involving ethnic Macedonians born in Greece regarding the return of their properties, the possibility of traveling to Greece and obtaining citizenship, as well as on the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Greece to enjoy basic rights in line with international standards.

From: Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski

To: Foreign Minister Kostas Karamanlis

Dear Mr. Karamanlis,

I write to You with respect to two exceptionally important topics. If resolved, I am convinced they will amend many historical injustices; injustices that can be felt even today, and will improve the lives of many individuals. Surely, it will positively influence towards bringing the ties between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Greece closer.

Namely, in late 1940s, during the civil war in Greece, several hundreds of thousands of citizens and entire families in the whirlwind of war abandoned their homes, properties and the country in which they were born, as refugees.

A huge portion of these people, most of the ethnic Macedonians born in Greece, came to live in then SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), more precisely in the part of present Republic of Macedonia, and stayed here forever, probably due to the fact that they spoke the same language and felt they belonged with the Macedonian people. Some of them had displaced in other European states, and in USA, Australia and Russia, but those who had moved are also mostly ethnic Macedonians, they speak the same language as our own, they feel they belong to the same Macedonian nation, whereas most of them own double citizenship - Macedonian and from the country they reside in.

Unfortunately, many decades later, after abandoning their birthplaces and residences, even after the war was over, they were not allowed i.e. forbidden to return to their hometowns, in their own houses and properties. Neither they, nor their successors were allowed to come back. As far as I am informed, during the early 1980s, several laws were adopted in Greece, under which they were deprived of their properties. You would concur that these laws are not in accordance with the standards of EU, NATO and with international human right standards. Today these citizens, now nationals of the Republic of Macedonia, even though born in Greece, are discriminated on three accounts. Firstly, they are not able to claim back their properties; secondly, they face serious obstacles for traveling in Greece and thirdly, they cannot, as any other citizen born and raised in Greece, obtain the right of having double citizenship under Greek legislation - one Macedonian and one Greek - in times when Greece permits the right of double citizenship. Taking into consideration that in the past decades, the countries' democracy was developing, whereas your country become a member of EU and NATO - institutions where special attention is paid to human rights and standards for guaranteeing private ownership - I expect that You as Prime Minister will take measures to right these injustices caused to myriad of people whose destiny was painful.

In the Republic of Macedonia these people are organised in several civil associations. During several joint meetings, they urged me to address You as Prime Minister of the neighbouring country, they feel they are discriminated by.

The second topic for which I would like to ask You, and my belief is that You will be fully engaged in order to assist, is recognizing the Macedonian minority in the Republic of Greece and ensuring basic rights in compliance with international standards on education in the mother tongue (in Macedonian), nourishing cultural traditions and customs through various forms of organisations, regulating the use of the Macedonian language in local institutions in Greek municipalities with significant percentage of ethnic Macedonians, including other possibilities that any other democratic country ensures to their citizens, who are of ethnic origin that is different from the dominant one.

Mister Prime Minister,

My belief is that You will review theses issues with good will and I hope You will put forward a solution to these bitter issues in a sensible period of time. I, as well as the institutions in the Republic of Macedonia, are at Your disposal regarding any kind of communication on these issues, additional information, whilst a meeting of countries' expert groups may be organised, which I believe will be able to determine all the facts and details in a period of several months, thus contributing to overcoming these problems, which will surely impact the neighbourly relations.

We all know that in order to resolve these problems, first and foremost, a political will is needed which I believe you possess, since you are a member of EU and NATO. In fact, today, when human standards, guarantees for private ownership and minority rights are concerned, it is not a question of whether we are or aren't willing to solve them. Instead, we are obliged to strictly abide by international standards.

Mr. Prime Minister, both You and I are not able to change history and the past. But with good will, we can right many injustices from the past and certainly we can influence in establishing a much better future for our citizens, unless we deal the real issues unbiasedly.

I hope I would hear from you soon,

Nikola Gruevski

At Least One Frenchman Supports Macedonians

A Frenchman the biggest Macedonian Patriot?
A Frenchman the biggest Macedonian Patriot?

You better believe it. Robin Poupel continues to amaze Macedonians, at the same time drive the Greeks crazy.

We all met Robin when he wore red shirt with the Macedonian Sun in Athens, something not too many would dare to do

His Macedonian Shirt earned him a lengthy search by Greek Security, and no food or beverage while on Olympic Airways. Greek Airline refused to give him water & food...because of a Macedonian shirt!?

Back to Robyn Poupel. The man is on a mission. Everywhere he goes (China, California, Greece....) the Frenchman wears shirts with famous Macedonian symbols (the Sun, Lion.. of course, underneath the symbol says "Macedonia").

Who is Robyn Poupel? He is a recent graduate of the American College in Paris, with degree in Historical Sciences and International Politics. Has written numerous essays on Macedonia, Greece and International Politics.

He visited Macedonia 3 years ago, for the first time and since than has been very interested in Macedonian History and Culture. Robin posts images on his Facebook page about his trips, everywhere wearing the recognizable Macedonian shirts. Recently was also present at a World Affair, again wearing the Macedonian colors.

Robin Poupel, among many things calls on Greece to stop their lies because, as he says there were thousands of facts that Alexander the Great was not Greek, rather Macedonian. He continues to say that Greece has absolute hatred towards Macedonia and its Macedonian minority within Greek borders, and this will not change. Robin stresses on numerous places that Ancient Macedonians had nothing to do with Ancient Greeks, had different language and culture.

He has also applauded the recent release of Boskovski saying "justice has been served", at the same time asking for the release of Johan Tarculovski.

On his Facebook page, two maps can be found. Both of Macedonia. One in its present borders, the other in its pre-1913 borders including Pirin and Aegean Macedonia.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"The Hague" Aquits Boskovski

U.N. war crimes court acquits former Macedonia interior minister of murder, cruel treatment
International Herald Tribune:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: A U.N. tribunal on Monday acquitted Macedonia's former interior minister of murder, cruel treatment and other war crimes stemming from a 2001 police attack on an ethnic Albanian village that left seven men dead.

However, the police officer who led the attack was convicted of murder in three of the deaths and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Supporters in the court's public gallery cheered and clapped as Judge Kevin Parker announced that Ljube Boskovski, 47, had been cleared of all charges and ordered him released.

The ruling said prosecutors did not show that Boskovski had failed to take "necessary and reasonable measures" to punish the policemen who ravaged the town of Ljuboten, 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of the capital, Skopje.

Former police officer Johan Tarculovsky, 33, showed no emotion as his sentence was read out for three murders, cruelty and wanton destruction. He was exonerated of responsibility for the four other deaths.

Parker said Tarculovsky played a prominent role in "a deliberate and indiscriminate attack on residents of Albanian ethnicity involving acts of murder."

The attack on Ljuboten is the only atrocity in Macedonia indicted by the U.N.'s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The country broke away peacefully from the Yugoslavia in 1991 but was rocked by a six-month conflict 10 years later between government forces and ethnic Albanians fighting for more rights.

The village was targeted because it was believed to support the Albanian National Liberation Army (NLA), Parker said.

He said the attack, "was not a law enforcement operation to locate and arrest NLA members. The predominant objective ... was to retaliate against persons of Albanian ethnicity in the village for actions of the NLA, which the village was thought to harbor."

Many Macedonians regard both Boskovski and Tarculovsky as heroes. The government said before their trial started in April 2007 that it was providing "moral, financial and institutional support" for the two men and their families.

The Ljuboten case was the last indictment issued by the U.N. tribunal for crimes committed during the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia.

The court is scheduled to close its doors by 2010, even though its two most-wanted suspects, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, Gen. Ratko Mladic, remain at large.

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal Are Wrong About Macedonia

Don't Trust Foreign Reports about Macedonia!
Sam Vaknin ( articles at LA Chronicle)
Written July 6, 2008

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal are the joint publishers of the much-vaunted "Index of Economic Freedom". The annual publication purports to measure and compare the level of economic freedoms in 155 countries.

Undisputed data pertaining to 2001 now widely available, I decided to scrutinize how accurate the Macedonia chapter of the 2002 index was (it was not) and whether its authors knew what they were talking about (they didn't).

Here are some of the numerous factual mistakes I found in this oft-quoted international index:

In 2001, Macedonia's GDP was $3.4 billion and not $2.7 billion as the index states. Macedonia's GDP exceeded $3 billion in the 4 years prior to 2001.

Nor has GDP grown by 2.7 percent in 2001: it has actually declined by 4.3 percent . As a result, GDP per capita was wrongly computed in the index.

The trade deficit was not $300 million, as the index states - but double that. It has been above $500 ever since the mid-1990s.

Net foreign direct investment has been closer to $100 million in 1999-2000 (excluding extraordinary privatizations, such as Makedonski Telekom) - rather than the paltry $29 million the index misreports.

The index made rice one of Macedonia's "major" agricultural products. It was, actually, first on its list. Alas, little rice was grown in Macedonia in 2001. Nor did the country produce noticeable quantities of citrus, or grains, as the index would have us believe.

The authoritative-sounding introduction to the 2002 index informed us that Macedonia maintained a budget surplus "from the sale of state-owned telecommunications". Yet, in its first decade of existence, Macedonia enjoyed a budget surplus only in 2000 and it had nothing to do with the sale of its telecom to the German-Hungarian MATAV. The proceeds of this privatization were kept in a separate bank account. Only a small part was used for budgetary and balance of payment purposes.

The index stated that Ljubco Georgievski had "privatized approximately 90 percent of (the country's) state-owned firms". These were actually privatized by the SDSM when it was in power until 1998. It is true that major assets, such as Macedonia's refinery and its leading bank were privatized under Georgievski. It is also true that the bulk of state-owned loss making enterprises were either sold or shut. But these constituted less than 15 percent of the number of companies the state owned in 1992.

The fiscal burden of Macedonia was 34 percent of GDP in 2001 - not 23 percent as the index stated. It has surpassed 30 percent of GDP years before. Moreover, in the sub-chapter titled "Fiscal Burden of the Government" the authors contended that "government expenditures equaled 23.3 percent of GDP". A mere three lines later they contradicted themselves: "the government consumes 19 percent of GDP". Which is it?

The "monetary policy" segment of the index is a misleading one-liner: "Between 1993 and 2000, Macedonia's weighted annual average rate of inflation was 7.15 percent." The term "weighted annual average rate of inflation" is not explained. Whatever happened to the hyperinflation followed by near-deflation of Macedonia's first decade? The straight average in this period was 56 percent, not 7 percent.

The index says that "the country's political instability has had a debilitating effect on foreign investment". It sounds logical but does not stand up to scrutiny. Investment flows actually increased in the conflict year 2001 as bargain hunters from Greece, Slovenia, Germany, and other countries converged on Macedonia.

And so this list of errors and misrepresentations continues.

Macedonia is a tiny and unimportant country. But many of the erroneous data used by the index could have been avoided merely by using Google! Sloppy editing, internal contradictions, and outdated information regarding one country, regardless of how inconsequential it is, render the entire index suspicious.

Unfortunately, indices such as these affect both portfolio and direct investment flows, the country's rating, its image in the international media, and the government's standing domestically. The golden rule with such indexes is: "handle with care".

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Maps, Maps and More Maps

By David Edenden

This is slightly overwrought article about the recognition of ethnic Macedonians during the 1920's , pre-Tito and pre-communism. It shows that Macedonians were recognized rather than invented as the Greek slander goes.

I can't find the exact map on the internet, but here is another German or Austrian Map that also recognizes Macedonians as a distinct ethnic group. Barack Obama and Robert Kaplan please take note.

It does not really matter since power politics is in play rather than justice.

If anyone has the name of the map that Dragan has, I will be happy to update this post.

Völker- und Sprachenkarte der Balkan-Halbinsel vor den Kriegen
1912 -1918

Austrian Map from the Past
By Ljupcho Murgoski
Dnevnik, July 9, 2008

Translated and edited by Risto Stefov

Greek census shows half a million Macedonians

Dragan Mitrevski, a resident of Prilep, is in possession of an old atlas which indicates that in 1921 in Greece there were 500,000 residents that were declared Macedonians.

In Greece in 1921, 500 thousand Macedonians were declared, who represented 8.8% of the entire population in Greece. This is recorded in a Universal atlas published in Austria which the Prilep resident Dragan Mitrevski owns. This is yet another document which proves that the Macedonians are not a tree without roots and blows away the assertions that Macedonia and the Macedonians were a Communist-International creation.

“The relevance of this document is huge considering that for years our neighbours have been insisting that there is no Macedonian minority living in their respective states. This document weighs heavily against our neighbour’s claims not only because of its existence but because it was prepared by a reputable and eminent author in an independent state,” says Dragan Mitrevski. “The universal atlas also shows that in Yugoslavia, then Serbia, there were 600 thousand Macedonians or 5% of the country’s entire population. The atlas also shows that Austria recognized Macedonians living in Bulgaria but did not show a separate count only that there was a combined population of 4 million Macedonians and Bulgarians living in Bulgaria. It is interesting to note that on the Albanian flag there is no two headed eagle, but it is red-black with a white pentagram,” says Dragan Mitrevski.

Fifteen years ago Mitrevski discovered this book by chance. He approached a person burning old books in the center of Prilep and asked if he could have some. “I have always been a collector of old books and was lucky to have found this old atlas,” says Mitrevski.

Most important about this atlas is the source it uses which comes from a census carried out in Greece on December 19, 1920. The results of that census were never officially released by Greece but there was much discussion about them because for the first time they included information on the so called “New Territories”.

In the census information included were questions like “What is your mother language?”, “What language do you speak at home?” and “If your mother tongue is not Greek, do you understand Greek?” It is sad that the Greek state only released census information on the “old territories” of Greece and not on the occupied territories (among which is 51% of Macedonia) where there is information on both language and religion.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Peter Gabriel and Macedonians (one more time)

By David Edenden

This a soundtrack from Strange Days (1995), at the very end, ending credits. It is from a Macedonian song

While The Earth Sleeps
Peter Gabriel and Deep Forest (See the Youtube Video)

Original lyrics in Macedonian:
Dali znaesh mila majko
shto sum ne srekjna
Cel den doma sama sedam
Nadvor ne smejam

English translation:
Do you know, mother,
How unlucky I am?
All day I sit at home,
I am not allowed outside

Macedonian Refugees to Greece - See You In Court!

The Macedonians from can paralyze just by lodging a complaint

By Aleksandar Bozhinovski, Nova Makedonija, number 21432

Translated and edited by Risto Stefov

July 5th, 2008

Macedonia has two strong cards against Greece. The first is the suffering of the Macedonians who by descent are from Aegean Macedonia now under Greek control. The second is International laws which by the Norwegian principles of 1946 can legally force Greece to compensate for its wrong doings undertaken against the ethnic Macedonians in Greece.

Sam Vaknin, an expert in this area, who has experience in analyzing and documenting such situations from the Jewish holocaust, has also analyzed the fate and rights of the Macedonians from Greece.

According to Vaknin, the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonians from Greece have an exceptionally strong case if the case is supported by the Republic of Macedonia. For this to work two things are vital. First the government of the Republic of Macedonia must immediately offer citizenship to all Macedonians from Aegean Macedonia no matter where they live. And second, the Republic of Macedonia must immediately declare these Macedonians and their inheritors as refugees. Doing that will qualify them to fall under the protection of International law for refugees

Vaknin thinks the Jewish experience can help the Macedonians because there are close similarities between the two. For example even though Israel did not exist as a state when the holocaust occurred and these Jewish people, citizens of Germany, were not citizens of Israel, the state of Israel was able to help them. Here is what was done;

In 1951 all Jewish organizations got together and held a conference with the Israeli government where all their demands were consolidated and documented. At this point Israel became the guarantor of rights for all Jews. Afterwards the demands were presented to the West Germans and when all the talks were concluded West Germany agreed to pay compensation. From 1953 to 1967 Germany paid 3 billion marks to Israel, 450 million marks to Jewish organizations and 700 million dollars to the holocaust survivors.

It is essential and imperative that Macedonia follows Israel’s example and become the successor-country and protector of all Macedonians.

Following this example the Jews launched around 100,000 disputes against Germany, Swiss banks, insurance companies and other companies which had robbed the Jews of their assets and all of these disputes have been resolved.

The Norwegian principles were adopted immediately after the Nazi trials which recognized the eviction of people from their homes as criminal acts against humanity. “Before the adoption of the Norwegian principles, evicting citizens from their homes was legal,” says Vaknin.

It is interesting to note that most countries that were occupied by the Nazis worked the hardest to settle their accounts with the exiled Jews. Denmark and Norway over the years have paid over 200 million dollars for damages. Besides this, says Vaknin, thousands of Jews who were used as slaves by the German companies like “Mercedes” “BMW”, “Alliance”, “Siemens” and others, were also forced to pay indemnities.

The Macedonians from Greece have been evicted numerous times from Greece between 1913 and today. Many were evicted during the Metaxas dictatorship in 1936 but the most to be evicted was during the Greek Civil War in the late 1940’s. The Norwegian principles are very important for those who were evicted at this time. Also Macedonia was in a better position than Israel to help the Macedonian people because the Peoples’ Republic of Macedonia (under a Yugoslav Federation) was already established at that time and was able to provide the exiled Macedonians with a home.

Now 80 countries subscribe to the Norwegian principles which have become law. The Norwegian principles do not discriminate against ethnic origins, nationality, or citizenship. If people’s assets have been confiscated, it does not matter if Greece has labeled these people Bulgarians or Slavs or if they are Greek citizens or not, the Norwegian principles apply. The key to enforcing these principles lies with the Republic of Macedonia which much choose the role of mother-country, protector and guarantor of rights for all Macedonians.

Let us also not forget that Greece returned assets only to people declared “Greeks by birth” which is discriminatory and according to Vaknin is illegal by US law.

There are examples of past agreements that Macedonia can use as arguments to build its case. In 1923 Greece and Turkey signed such an agreement (Treaty of Lausanne) where Turkey was obliged to pay Greece an indemnity for the assets of evicted so called Greeks from Asia Minor. The same year Bulgaria had to pay compensation to Greece for the evicted so called Greeks from Bulgaria. Bulgaria had to pay Turkey for the evicted 350,000 Turks who were evicted by Todor Zhivkov in the period from 1948 to 1949.

With the help of the Republic of Macedonia the Macedonians of Greece living in the USA too can lodge a complaint against Greece under Resolution 562. The United States Congress enacted resolution 562 on October 13th, 1998 and gave it exterritorial powers, which means that USA law under certain conditions can be enforced outside of the USA.

If a Macedonian from Greece launches a dispute against Greece for confiscated property in an American court, Greece, if found guilty will have to pay indemnity otherwise the USA will freeze all Greek assets which are part of the Greek national reserves in the USA. Eighty countries in the world support such laws and among them included are all Western European countries.

Aegeans in the Government: Our aims are clear

On the occasion of the Association of Child Refugees from Greece holding its 4th World Reunion in Skopje from July 18th to the 21st, the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski held a meeting with Association representatives to inform them that their concerns regarding their confiscated assets were now relayed to Greece.

“The opening of such a question by the Republic of Macedonia is a giant step for the Macedonians from Greece who have been waiting for a long period of time for this” says Georgi Ajanovski, president of the World Reunion Organizational Committee of the Child Refugee Association of Aegean Macedonians.

Athens hopes that after Gruevski’s victory it can have an agreement

In the “Guardian’s”, the British newspaper’s estimation, it is believed that Gruevski’s majority win in the Macedonian elections will have a positive effect on the name dispute. According to the Guardian, now that Gruevski has a majority it will be easier for him to make a change to the name without much risk to his position.

The Greeks believe that now that Gruevski has strengthened his party’s position he will be more amicable to reaching a compromised solution that will put an end to the 17 year old name dispute. This may be hard to believe but the Greeks are grasping at straws here believing that Gruevski will do such a thing, who in fact was given a mandate by the voters to do the opposite; protect the Macedonian identity and the Republic of Macedonia’s name.

The Greeks also believe that Gruevski’s stubbornness will ultimately land him in trouble with the Macedonian Albanians and with the western countries which want him to reach a compromise with Greece.

The Guardian newspaper, to a large extent supports the Greek side, emphasizing that the older generation of Macedonians sees themselves more as Yugoslav while the younger generation sees themselves more as Macedonians and refusing to change the only name they know. “It is hard not to have a little compassion for the Macedonians, especially for the younger generation, who knows itself as Macedonian and finds itself hard against changing the name of its country” says the Guardian.

The leftist “Guardian” calls Gruevski a “hardliner” and a nationalist, who is willing to climb to warrior status just to anger Greece.

The Guardian also writes that Greeks are their own worst enemy in this dispute and that no one outside of Greece’s borders understands why Athens is so hypersensitive and unfriendly towards this mini state which calls itself the Republic of Macedonia.

What does it say in Resolution 562?

Resolution 562 says “Countries which have not returned wrongly confiscated assets to their rightful owners, or have not made appropriate compensation according to the principles of law, should remove all restrictions which are hampering such compensation or the returning of assets to the people who may or may not be citizens of those countries”.

According to this resolution, Greek law which is requesting that the claimant of compensation declare himself Greek by birth is illegal and contrary to US law.

Not a single refugee has sued Greece to this day!

Not a single Macedonian has ever sued Greece before the current lawsuit was launched by the Association of Refugee Children from Aegean Macedonia in the Human Rights Court in Strasburg.

“Yes it is sad, that’s the way it is. For a long time our actions were blocked by Yugoslavia so that Yugoslavia could have good relations with Greece. There were also many people who were afraid of retribution from the Yugoslav secret service if they instigated such actions. But what Vaknin is proposing is truly interesting,” says Gjorgji Donevski, Association president.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Just How Anti-Russian IS Sarkozy?

By David Edenden,

We just have to sit back and pause and mark this occasion to reflect on the degree to which Sarkozy and company are trying to subvert Russia.

It is interesting to me that France and the EU have a plan to cooperate with dictators of the Arab world who will not let their women drive, while at the same time say that increased cooperation with Russia is not in the cards because of Russia' democracy deficit.

I want to see a picture of Sarkozy and Gaddafi walking hand in hand ... spreading democracy no doubt!

Union of Mediterranean, About to Be Inaugurated, May Be Mostly Show
Published: July 7, 2008

"PARIS — Perhaps the grandest new idea of France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, looking to give his presidency of the European Union a lasting stamp, is the Union of the Mediterranean. An effort to bind the 17 nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea with the European Union around regional projects, the new union will be inaugurated next week at a Paris summit meeting."

Friday, July 04, 2008

Hoare on Sarkozy

By David Edenden

In addition to Sarkozy causing problems for all of Europe, we also have to blame his foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, who founded Doctors Without Borders, and as such should be on the road to "canonization" in the struggle for human rights. Instead, he is not only ignoring the plight of ethnic Macedonians in Greece, but is working hand in glove with the Greek government to destroy the ethnic identity of Macedonians all around the world.

The Greek plan is to have Macedonia change its name to "Republic of Skopje" and then afterwords to lobby governments all around the world to change the name of Macedonians, in the their respective census' , to "Skopians". To change the name of their church to the "Skopian Orthodox Church. To change the name of their language to the "Skopian Slavic Language".

Sometime people just live to long. Kouchner has already pissed on his own legacy, not exactly like ... but similar to ... that other Frenchman who lived too long ... that hero of WW1 ... Marshall Petain.

Nicolas Sarkozy - a sorry excuse for a European
Greater Surbiton (also - The Henry Jackson Society)
Marko Attila Hoare

When Nicolas Sarkozy defeated Segolene Royal in last year’s French presidential election, there were some grounds for optimism that French foreign policy might take a turn for the better. Indeed, Sarkozy - no anti-American - has taken the important step of opting to bring France back into NATO’s integrated command, thereby reversing one of Charles de Gaulle’s most symbolic acts of Gallic independence vis-a-vis the US. Yet where South East Europe is concerned, Sarkozy has on at least five counts proven himself to be as obstructive and destructive as French presidents come; an enemy of the region and of the cause of European unity.

1) Sarkozy argued against Turkey’s entry into the EU on the grounds that ‘Turkey is in Asia Minor’ and that ‘I won’t be able to explain to French school kids that Europe’s border neighbors are Iraq and Syria.’ He is, meanwhile, no doubt aware that the state of which he is head includes territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean as its integral parts or ‘overseas departments’. It is difficult to believe that the French president genuinely has difficulty with the concept of an EU including Turkey, which was part of the Ancient Greek world and the Roman Empire and whose largest city was for a time the Roman capital, but has no difficulty with the concept of a France that borders on Brazil. Or that he is unaware that EU member Cyprus is, geographically, more wholly Asian than Turkey. Either Sarkozy really is spectacularly ignorant - which I find difficult to believe - or he is cynically playing up to the popular ignorance and chauvinism of his citizens in the most vulgar manner.

2) At the NATO summit in Bucharest in April, Sarkozy vetoed the granting of a Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine; for all his denial, he appears to have done so because he did not want to offend Russia. This makes no sense in terms of principles; it is as if Norway should have been denied NATO membership so as not to offend Sweden; or Poland, so as not to offend Belarus. A sovereign state’s right to join a military alliance cannot be the subject of a veto by one of its neighbours; otherwise it ceases to be sovereign. The deference to Russia harks back to an era of imperial spheres of influence. Sarkozy appears less interested in the principle of European unity than in pursuing old-style imperial diplomacy on the European continent.

3) Sarkozy has long supported Greece in its dispute with Macedonia without pretending that this has anything to do with principles: ‘I always stressed that we support the Greek position in the name issue. Greeks are our friends.’ In his most recent statement, however, Sarkozy not only argues that Macedonia should back down because ‘the newcomer is the one that should make efforts’, but reportedly also on the grounds that Macedonia is a ‘non-democratic country’. This marks a new low in French efforts to destabilise a fragile country that was deemed sufficiently democratic by the international community to warrant international recognition back in 1992, and whose provisions for minority rights are incomparably better than that of Greece, which does not even recognise the existence of its Macedonian and Turkish minorities. The consequences of a Macedonian collapse for peace and stability in Europe should not need emphasising; Sarkozy is playing his cynical, Gaullist game in the most irresponsible manner possible.

4) While denying Macedonia’s democratic credentials, France under Sarkozy is reverting to the traditional French policy of supporting Serbia, the country primarily responsible for the catastrophes in the Balkans in the 1990s, and whose attempts to undermine Kosova’s independence are endangering peace and stability in the Balkans more than anything else. France’s ambassador in Belgrade, Jean Francois Terral, is reported to have described Serbia as ‘the country with the greatest possibilities in the Balkans’. He is quoted as saying that ‘as far as France is concerned, Serbia has the priority among Western Balkan states’. After all the efforts in which the West has engaged in this decade, to encourage Serbia to change its ways and behave in a responsible manner, France now appears to be reinforcing the old, destructive belief of Serbia’s - that it is a natural regional hegemon with a right to preeminence over its smaller and weaker neighbours. And this without demanding any commensurate change in Serbian policy toward Kosova.

5) While rewarding the two Balkan states - Greece and Serbia - that are pursuing the most destructive, nationalistic policies at the expense of the wider region, Sarkozy has taken efforts to punish Croatia, a state that has turned its back on extreme nationalism. In contrast to Serbia, Croatia since 2000 has abandoned expansionism vis-a-vis Bosnia, abandoned support for anti-Bosnian separatists and come round to full cooperation with the war-crimes tribunal in the Hague. Yet in response to the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, Sarkozy has announced that France will veto further EU enlargement until the treaty is ratified - a step that above all punishes Croatia, which is the next state slated for EU membership. Showing scant regard for the democratic will of his fellow Europeans, he appears to be willing to punish Croatia and other EU aspirants for the fact that votes within the EU have not gone his way.

Nicolas Sarkozy is a sorry excuse for a European. His foreign policy makes no pretence at being guided by any principles or consistency, and he appears to revel in its selfish, nationally egotistical character. Nevertheless, at a certain level, one must admire his readiness to behave so unreasonably: the EU is a body that awards the unreasonable and the selfish and that punishes the well behaved. If an EU member - or indeed a non-member - wishes to get its way, it pays for it to be stubborn and obstructive, as then the EU’s spineless, amoral bureaucrats will pander to it with talk about a ‘compromise acceptable to both sides’ or other such cliches designed to conceal appeasement. It is difficult to see that Sarkozy’s policy toward South East Europe is inspired by anything other than short-term, tactical and narrowly national considerations, but he is at least prepared to go about trying to get what he wants.

It would be encouraging if our own British government were to be similarly stubborn and obstructive in pursuit of goals where, justifiably, our policies have diverged from France’s: over EU and NATO expansion; Turkey; Macedonia; etc. Were it to do so, it would achieve more than it does. But I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Greek "No!" to Macedonian Refugees Returning Home

By David Edenden,

Macedonia is finally bringing up the issue of the rights of the Macedonian "Greek Civil War" era refugees for property redress and citizen issues. (See "Begasli"). The Greek government is not amused!

The Macedonian government has its back to the wall after its membership to Nato was vetoed by Greece with the enthusiastic approval by Sarkozy, even though Bush steadfastly supported Macedonia's bid.

Macedonia's (along with Turkey's) EU bid is also slated to be vetoed by Greece. Macedonia is now merely going through the motions of applications with "zero" chance of admission to either Nato or the EU. (Where is Putin when we need him?)

Macedonia has nothing to lose and everything to gain by pushing this issue. It should press Matthew Nimetz to address this issue in public and in print so that the politicians in Washington, who have adopted the Greek position on the Macedonian question, can have their feet put to the fire!

I'm talking to you Barack Obama!

"The Guardian" on Macedonian Refugees from Greece

Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly

A London Play About Modern Macedonian Refugees from Greece (Olympia Dukakis as a Macedonian - Yikes!)

See "Refugee" Links at Maknews

FYROM pushes ‘refugee’ demands

Thursday July 3, 2008

Athens yesterday rebuffed calls by the foreign minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for current citizens of FYROM who left Greece during the civil war to be allowed to reclaim lost property and apply for Greek citizenship.

Sources dismissed the comments by Antonio Milososki as a departure from the focus of talks between Greek and FYROM government officials which are aimed at finding a mutually acceptable name for FYROM. But Milososki said Athens was trying to address other issues. “If we follow this logic, then it would be good to close all issues that might cause misunderstandings in the future,” Milososki said. “This applies also to the restitution of properties of the refugees from Greece who are Macedonian citizens, but have grounds for receiving Greek citizenship too,” Milososki said.

Greek diplomatic sources said it was FYROM, not Greece, that has been trying to divert ongoing UN-mediated talks from the name issue. Greece has said solving the name dispute is a priority.

The same point was made in a letter sent by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his FYROM counterpart Branko Crvenkovski. “Macedonia is fully qualified to join NATO but it should resolve the name dispute with Greece beforehand,” Sarkozy said in the letter, made public yesterday. In a speech before the Greek Parliament last month, Sarkozy had said France would stand firmly by Greece’s side in the name dispute.

In a related development, sources told Kathimerini that groups representing FYROM citizens in Greece are organizing a rally at the Niki border crossing with FYROM in which they have invited “all refugees chased out of Greece” to participate.