Πέμπτη, 10 Νοεμβρίου 2011

Partition of Macedonia in 1913


Macedonia was a single geographic entity until the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. As a result of the Treaty of Bucharest, Macedonia was partitioned among Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. These regions are known as the Republic of Macedonia (independent since 1991), Aegean Macedonia (presently within the borders of Greece), and Pirin Macedonia (within the borders of Bulgaria). There are also small parts of Macedonia presently in Albania (known as Mala Prespa and Golo Brdo) and Yugoslavia (Gora and Prohor Pchinski). Upon annexation of Macedonia's territory, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria began terrorist campaigns aimed at expelling or forcibly assimilating the indigenous Macedonian population. Greece and Bulgaria continue this policy today by denying the existence of the large Macedonian minorities within their respective territories and refusing to grant them their basic human rights.

The ethnic Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria do not wish anything more than the recognition of their fundamental human and national rights: the right to speak their own language; to assemble for peaceful purposes; and, the right to call themselves Macedonian without fear of persecution or discrimination. Increased pressure must be placed upon the governments of Greece and Bulgaria to comply with the many international human rights agreements to which they are signatories..

Slusam Kaj Sumat Sumite


If Macedonia was always Greek, why would the Greek government have to change the Macedonian names of people, towns, and villages to Greek?

Between 1913 and 1928 the Slavic names of hundreds of villages and towns were Hellenized by a Committee for the Changing of Names, which was charged by the Greek government with 'the elimination of all the names which pollute and disfigure the appearance of our beautiful fatherland and which provide an opportunity for hostile peoples to draw conclusions that are unfavourable for the Greek nation' (Lithoxoou 1992b: 55). In 1927 the Greek government issued a directive calling for the destruction of all Slavic inscriptions in churches and forbidding church services from being held in a Slavic language. Finally, in 1936 a law was passed ordering that all Slavic personal names, both first and last, be Hellenized (Human Rights Watch/Helsinki 1994b: 6-7). Jovan Filipov, therefore, became Yannis Filippidis, and Lena Stoikov became Eleni Stoikou

The participants in this partitioning claimed right to parts of Macedonia, declaring Macedonians to be Southern Serbs, Bulgarians and Slavophonic Greeks. They changed their new subjects' names and surnames. They forbade the Macedonian language, forced Macedonians to learn in foreign languages and imposed their own interpretations of history. They forced them to go to their churches. In short, they turned them into second-rate citizens, subjected to systematic re-settling and permanent exile. The common denominator of such politics was denationalization of the Macedonian people, erasing them from the Balkan's map of peoples, usurping its history, identity and desire for its own state. They forced upon us the fate of disappearing through assimilation

"After the Greeks occupied Aegean Macedonia, they closed the Slavic-language schools and churches and expelled the priests. The Macedonian language and name were forbidden, and the Macedonians were referred to as Bulgarians, Serbians or natives. By a law promulgated on November 21, 1926, all place-names were Hellenized; that is the names of cities, villages, rivers and mountains were discarded and Greek names put in their place. At the same time the Macedonians were forced to change their first names and surnames; every Macedonian surname had to end in 'os', 'es', or 'poulos'. The news of these acts and the new, official Greek names were published in the Greek government daily Efimeris tis Kiverniseos no.322 and 324 of November 21 and 23, 1926. The requirement to use these Greek names is officially binding to this day. All evidence of the Macedonian language was compulsorily removed from churches, monuments, archaeological finds and cemetaries. Slavonic church or secular literature was seized and burned. The use of the Macedonian language was strictly forbidden also in personal communication between parents and children, among villagers, at weddings and work parties, and in burial rituals.

The treaty of Bucharest

It is good to have this important historical document handy, considering that we are still suffering the consequences from it, as a nation that "didn't made it" to become a party in it, despite the will of the Macedonians for their own independent country - a dream that finally came through after the World War II.
The Peace Treaty of Bucharest was the outcome of the conference convened after the conclusion of the Second Balkan War, on the initiative of King Carol of Roumania. Bulgaria lost the greater part of Macedonia, whose territory was divided between Greece and Serbia. During the conference, the Bulgarian delegates at times adopted an attitude that was seen as provocative by the other participants, given that Bulgaria had been the aggressor and was, moreover, the defeated side. There were also times, however, when they were strikingly conciliatory. This was because Bulgaria hoped that the Great Powers would revise the treaty, a hope encouraged by both Austria and Russia. France and Germany were opposed to such a revision, while Italy and Britain were prepared to accept it only if it was unanimously agreed upon. The European Powers were wary of the possibility of further unrest in the Balkans.

The delegations were headed at the conference by their respective Prime Ministers; Greece was represented by Eleftherios Venizelos, Serbia by N. Pashic, Romania by T. Maioresco and Montenegro by S.Voukotic, whilst defeated Bulgaria was represented by the Finance Minister D. Tontchev.

Through the Treaty of Bucharest, the territory of Greece doubled in size and its population increased by some two million, reaching 4,718,221 inhabitants. Although this expansion could have been considerably greater, it was significant as it included sources of wealth, providing the conditions for industrialisation and economic development. It also improved Greece’s international standing. With its special position in the network of Balkan relations and in the balance of political and military power in Europe, the modern Greek state acquired an unprecedented role.

Long live Macedonia

Παρασκευή, 23 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

Greek Denial of Macedonian Minority

When the Republic of Macedonia was seeking international recognition of its independence in 1991, the Greek Council of Ministers defined its terms of recognition of this new state.
"It should not use the name 'Macedonia' which has a purely geographic and not an ethnic meaning. It should recognize that it has no territorial claims on our country. It should recognize that, in Greece, there is no 'Macedonian' minority".
The Greek government denies the existence of a Macedonian ethnicity,even worse it denies the existence of a Macedonian minority within its borders and refuses to grant these people their basic human rights. The United Nations and other international organizations recognizes each nation's right to self-determination. The Macedonians throughout the Balkans, regardless of what borders they find themselves in, have their own language, history, culture, and traditions. Greece and Bulgaria are the only two countries to continue to deny them this right.
"...they have carefully fostered this delusion, as if to give the impression both to their own people and to the world that there that there was no Slav minority in Greece at all; whereas, if a foreigner who did not know Greece were to visit the Florina (Lerin) region and from his idea of the country as a whole, he would conclude that it was the Greeks who were the minority. It is predominantly a Slav region not a Greek one. The language of the home, and usually also of the fields, the village street, and the market, is Macedonian, a Slav language."

  • "Greek is regarded as almost a foreign language and the Greeks are distrusted as something alien, even if not, in the full sense of the word, as foreigners. This obvious fact, almost too obvious to be stated, that the region is Slav by nature and not Greek cannot be overemphasized."
  • "...we note Greek claims that Northern Greece, or Aegean Macedonia, is 'more than 98.5% ethnically pure.' The purity is held to be Greek. However, the statement is not accepted by reputable opinion outside of Greece. For instance, the 1987 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica indicated that there were still 180,000 Macedonian speakers in this area, indicating a much greater percentage than 1.5%. If Macedonian activists from these areas are correct, there may be as many as 1,000,000 people from Macedonian-speaking backgrounds in Aegean Macedonia.
  • "For most of the past eighty years, the Greek government has consistently denied the existence of both a Macedonian nation and a Macedonian minority in northern Greece and has adopted a policy of forced assimilation toward the Slavic-speaking inhabitants of Aegean Macedonia."
  • "The United Nations, the United States State Department, Amnesty International, and various chapters of Helsinki Watch throughout the world disagree with the Greeks, in particular, about the presence of Macedonians (and other minorities) in Greece and have pressured them in recent times to change their behaviour toward their Macedonian-speaking minority.
  • "Greece is the only Southeast European country that does not recognize the presence of any national minorities in its territory. Turks are recognized as a mere “religious, Muslim” minority (which nevertheless is educated in Turkish), while Macedonians are not considered even a linguistic minority. The words “Turkish” and “Macedonian” have repeatedly led to the prosecution of their users, with courts handing down prison sentences or banning minority associations.
  • "Whereas, concerning the Muslims, the controversy relates to the character and the identity of the minority, when dealing with the Macedonians, there is a near unanimity in denying the very existence of any such minority, and supporting the persecution if not the prosecution of such claims.
  • "The Macedonian minority continued to face various forms of harassment and discrimination in 1996. These included restrictions on freddom of cultural expression, violations of the freedom of association, harassment of its political party, Rainbow, denial of entry to Greece by ethnic Macedonians and former Greek citizens living abraod, and citizenship issues.

Atentat na VMRO 1934