The Macedonian Tendency: Macedonian Contiune To Fight Against Greek Racism!

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.

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