The Macedonian Tendency: The little Dictionary had no chance

Friday, August 19, 2011

The little Dictionary had no chance

The little Dictionary had no chance
By Risto Stefov
April 17, 2011
Ever wonder why the Greeks behave the way they do? Ever tried or wanted to try to explain this “Greek behaviour”? I have, unfortunately for various reasons, not taken the time to do so. But after reading the following chapter in J.S.G. Gandeto’s book “The Theft of a King Who Stole Alexander” I didn’t have to, my friend Joe has done a wonderful job of eloquently “pegging the Greeks just right” in a way that I could only dream of doing!
Here is what Joe had to say;

Greek Alter TV’s program Atheatos Kosmos reviews the Greek-Macedonian Dictionary

By J.S.G. Gandeto

Among European nations, perhaps even in the world, Greece holds a unique position for being absurdly obsessed with national homogeneity and racial purity. As a matter of fact, this exorbitant indulgence with preserving the "achievements" from the Megali Idea, drives the Greek leadership bonkers. They suspect that their "creation", since it was achieved through very dubious historical means, would not be able to withstand the test of time. The whole nation is gripped with fear; they see potential enemies and spies under every nook and cranny. While this fear, this obsession with the "Greek race", is used as a motivational impetus to keep the masses occupied and united in preserving the artificial Hellenic fabric on one hand, it alienates the very segment of the society which they so feverishly try to prevent from escaping the Hellenic net on the other.

Insecure in their own beliefs that others will not be persuaded to see the aim of their foreign policy as they see it, and fearful of the potentially dangerous outcomes thereof, they continually shift strategies, erect cultural barriers, create new conflicts and are endlessly engaged in debates about someone or something. There is always somebody out there who is trying to usurp, to copy or to steal their precious little heritage.

For example, Greeks will debate anything and everything. One must belong to a kemp; you are either for it or against it, but one rarely finds people who would stand and maintain a middle ground. The main objective is to belong somewhere and to have a competing opinion about it. The next objective is to be vocal about your stand and to defend it vigorously. You must be able to argue your point-that is a prerequisite-and even if all else fails, you must find a reason to continue to argue. At the end, no outside opinions matter, because Greeks think and behave like they are the only one authoritative people who have the answer. This obsession with themselves has to be classed as a peculiarly, Greek thing.

But what surpasses all topics, what strongly encompasses and overshadows all other discussions, what overwhelmingly dominates all the political arguments in the media, is the debate about defending the cause of Hellenism and saving Greece from her aggressive neighbors. Here, these topics, these arguments and these issues are seen as being of paramount significance to Greece's survival and serve as an arena where political ideology is being sharpened, the enemies of Greece are being exposed and Greekness is stoically defended and pompously demonstrated. On matters of Hellenism though, its glory and its preservation, there is no choice. If you even dare to stay neutral, you are automatically branded anti-Hellene or even worse; you are labeled as a traitor and a foreign spy and you ought to be dealt with accordingly.

If problems with Greece's neighbors do not exist, then one must be created. If it does not come from the East with Turkey or Bulgaria, then it must come from the Albanians to the north-West. And, if that frontier is quiet and dormant, then, a problem with the new state of "Skopia" (The Republic of Macedonia) must be created, to stirred up and invigorate the "complacent" masses. How else can one justify the Greek mutinous disapproval with a published Greek -Macedonian dictionary? It took seven Greek panelists on this TV program Atheatos Kosmos that aired on 01/07/09, to tackle this well armed and highly dangerous... well... this dictionary.

In all fairness though, I must mention the moderator who, in this case, besides being a cheerleader, occasionally had the presence of mind to ask the Greek panelists to "slow down" , (wipe the foam from their mouths) and coherently explain their thoughts "so people can understand" them. Watching these highly charged Greek "hoplites", I couldn't suppress the sadness that overwhelmed me regarding this lonely, defenseless dictionary, left at the mercy of these highly sophisticated Greeks. I knew right then and there, that it stood no chance; thus the epitaph that I shall write for the fallen dictionary bears some similarities with that of Demosthenes for the fallen comrades at Chaeronea:

"Time, whose o'erseeng records all human actions, bear word to mankind what fate it suffered, how striving to safeguard the holy human rights of the ethnic Macedonians in Greece, upon Athenian TV program it died."
Rest in Peace my beloved little dictionary. Your premature death in the hands of these Greek heroes will bear a witness to the democratic values practiced and promoted in Greece. Farewell my little book. Farewell, indeed.

The well planned attack had two major objectives in mind:

(a) Discredit the author and
(b) Discredit the book.
(a) Attacking the author of any publication that does not agree with Stoho's feudal views, with Chrisy Avgy's neo-fascists ideology and with LAOS's party dark-ages interpretation of the truth, is a well known and documented practice in Greece. This was to be expected; the track record of these Greeks is explicitly clear and proven. They have attacked much more formidable foes than the author of this little dictionary, Mr. Vasco Karadza. Here, among many others, we can mention Eugene Borza, Ernst Badian, Anastasia Karakasidou, and any other author-ancient or modern-who dared to disagree with these Greeks. It is like throwing a bone at a pack of hungry hyenas.

While I can understand, and to a certain degree agree with people who maintain opposite views on various controversial subjects depicted and presented in a given book, I am quite puzzled and totally lost for words as to why anybody would object to a dictionary. Dictionary's main purpose-there is no hidden agenda here-is to be used for practical means-facilitation of communication and improved understanding.

But our ethnologists, our linguists in Greece saw something more sinister than that; they saw this dictionary as a dark horse used by the "Skopjans" (Republic of Macedonia) to elevate the "idiom" spoken in Northern Greece by the ethnic Macedonians-who, by the way, "do not exist"-to the level of a language. In the words of this panelist Ilias Hrisantopoulos:

"They want to impose it (the language spoken in the Republic of Macedonia) on the population that speaks the idiom".

I have a slight disagreement with Mr. Hrisantopoulos' assertion:
(1) The verb 'impose' denotes usage of an outside force; to make people agree or comply with something by having superior strength or authority. The Republic of Macedonia possesses neither means to accomplish such an act, nor power to do it. This practice of imposing ones culture and language on other peoples is a well-patented Greek trademark. Aside from being the most proficient thieves and fabricators of history in the Balkans, Greeks are the best when it comes to suppressing and suffocating other people's culture and language and imposing their own. In the name of Hellenism, Mr. Hrisantopoulos, the Greeks have destroyed and exterminated Macedonian culture and language, Albanian culture and language and definitely, you have done away with the Vlach's language and culture. The fact that you refer to the language that the ethnic Macedonians speak in Greece as an idiom, is an indication that reality and human rights in Greece cannot coexist and do not register on your radar. By minimizing the significance of a language as an idiom, you inadvertently expose your more ominous designs for it-total elimination from Greece. Eliminating or hiding an idiom is much easier to do than it is with a language.

The other panelist, the so-called ethnologist Mr. Evangelidis, in his expose offered an interesting proposal for solving the problem. He said:

"I think that all our actions through historical arguments, linguistic arguments etc., will have no effect; the issue is purely political. We could assist by opening some issues but there is no dialogue with this people."
He did not elaborate his plan of action because he had "no time to explain the stupidities from the whole state of Skopje; the entire administrative and state mechanism; professors, academicians, institutes etc., etc…"
His voice, his composure and his countenance did not hide the hate and the malice that this person possessed. He looked like a person with a sword drawn out and ready for a battle. He reiterated the other panelists' conclusion that there is no such language. That, where these locals live "there is an idiom that is a mixture of Greek, Turkish, Slavic and etc., words" and that "the idiom was made for practical purpose."

However, he cautioned that "they (referring to the ethnic Macedonians) took it and made it an official language and they teach with it." He stressed that he sees danger of a dialect because "in the words of a great linguist Max Weinreich, a language is a dialect with an army and a navy."

Yes, Mr. Evangelidis, you are correct because (a) no dialect can ever exist without a language. If there is smoke, there is fire too. (And it was not Max Weinreicht who coined the term but Joshua Fishman), and (b) that the "idiom" you have described as a mixture of Greek, Turkish, Slavic etc., had evolved in the very same way that your Greek state has. We keep telling you that your state was artificially created from an admixture of Slavs, Turkish, Greeks, Albanians and Vlachs individuals. Disappointed?

The fact that you Greeks claim that this language does not exist is entirely a different ball game. You see Mr. Evangelidis, according to your administrative decrees the language does not exist because it was forbidden by your government. In reality though, it is still there in spite of all your vehement denials and repressions.
By burying your head in the sand, the language will not disappear. You may choose not to see it, you may persecute people who use it and you may pretend that it was fully wiped out but the truth still remains; you did not succeed in eliminating it. The fact that you pretend that this language does not exist and you attempt to reduce its stature by calling it an idiom, is an admission of your insecurities and perceived danger from it. Every dialect, every idiom if you will, has an "elder mother" called a language somewhere. Your statement: "I have stressed so the viewers can understand the language made in Skopje has no relation with the idiom in our area", is a revelation of your masked intentions: by denying the obvious, that the language spoken in the Republic of Macedonia is the same with the language spoken by the ethnic Macedonians living under Greek occupation, you hope to disengage and disconnect the Macedonian identity across the border. Your loathsome attitude over the name issue reveals your vile and dark intentions. Watching the TV segment about a published dictionary and the Greeks' reaction to it, reaffirmed my previously held convictions about Greeks, their sinister intentions towards the ethnic Macedonians and their racist government's policy toward the Republic of Macedonia.

Repugnant and toxic is the revelation that emanates from Greece's hidden agenda to completely wipe out any trace of the ethnic Macedonian identity and language. Repugnant and loathsome is the thought that Greece in the 21 century attempts to denigrate, culturally assimilate and ethnically erase a minority population whose lands they have confiscated and whose rights as people they have abrogated. Repugnant and revolting is Greece's shameful denial that there are no people who identify themselves as ethnic Macedonians in Greece and repugnant, hideous and downright evil is Greece's behavior towards the Republic of Macedonia. There has to be an end to this menacing Greek locust. There has to be an end to this, more than a century old, Greek plague; there has to be a way to get this monkey off of our backs once and for ever. There has to be a way...There has to be a way to abolish the Greek apartheid.

I couldn’t agree with you more Joe and thank you for allowing me to use segments of your book in my articles.
J.S.G. Gandeto’s book “The Theft of a King Who Stole Alexander” is available through;

This is a book that every Macedonian needs to own and must read. Since I purchased it I could not put it down.
J.S.G. Gandeto was born in Lubojno, Macedonia. Educated at Ss Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. He immigrated to United States and continued his studies at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and Nova South-Eastern University in Fourth Lauderdale, Florida where he received his post graduate degrees. He recently completed his 29th year as an educator and has since retired and is continuing to pursue his passion in writing. In 2002 he published his first book Ancient Macedonians - Differences between Ancient Macedonians and the Ancient Greeks. In 2005 he published the romantic novels One Golden Ray upon the Rock and in 2007, The Wolves of Trappers Bluff.

In the Macedonian Language he has published the following novels: Spasa's Light in 2004, Saraf in 2009 and Rosamarina's Grave in 2010. Book of poems Muabeti in 2003, poemata Ko Jagne in 2005 and Majka -Egejka in 2009. Currently, he is preparing for publication his latest novel Folded Impressions.

Articles by Risto Stefov:
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