Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia
7 March, 2011
Even more disturbing than every Macedonian government's continued participation in the nonsensical name negotiations is the recent letter by Foreign Minister Antonio Miloshoski to the United Nations Secretary-General that states, "In the course of those negotiations, the Republic of Macedonia accepted a number of proposals put forward by Mr. Nimetz as a basis for a solution, including the proposal of March 2008 of "Republic of Macedonia (Skopje)", which the Hellenic Republic regrettably rejected."
If any Macedonian government is willing to change Macedonia's name, they would go down in history as traitors to the Macedonian people.
The leader of SDSM, Branko Crvenkovski, is headed down this path as he repeatedly calls on Macedonia to change its name to enter the EU and NATO, and uses the pro-SDSM media to instil fear among the public and threaten Macedonia's collapse without membership. Ironically, Crvenkovski criticises VMRO-DPMNE for its handling of the "name dispute", yet he was the President of Macedonia when the Nimetz proposals were accepted. He was Prime Minister when the ruling SDSM accepted the ludicrous acronym "FYROM" and had the audacity to change Macedonia's flag. Branko Crvenkovski and the SDSM are in no position to criticise anybody based on Macedonia's national interests.
If the recent letter to the UN is a ploy to appease Western pressure on Macedonia to find a "solution", it is backfiring. By participating in the name negotiations, Macedonia is legitimising Greece's ridiculous claims and is indicating that it will change its name.
Greece is using the standard "offence is the best defence" tactic. Macedonia should be employing the same strategy, especially because of one distinct advantage; the truth.
Macedonia should make it clear to the world that Greece, ironically, now claims that "Macedonia is Greek", but it was not until 1988, when Greece realised that independence for the Republic of Macedonia was imminent, that it renamed "Northern Greece" to "Macedonia." Prior to 1988, Greece’s policy was that Macedonia did not exist.
Macedonia must expose the reason for Greece's initiation of the ridiculous name dispute - to deny the existence and persecution of its large Macedonian minority. Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis admitted as such in 1995.
Instead of vehemently defending Macedonia's name and identity, the Macedonian government, in the letter to the UN, apologetically explains the building of Macedonian historical statues in the context of the 1995 Interim Accord. How many other countries would need permission to celebrate their history?
In response to Greece claiming a violation by the Republic of Macedonia "...of article 7 of the Interim Accord in the form of 'a series of relief representations of prominent Greek historical figures of Ancient Macedonia, such as the Vergina sun … on the basis [sic] of the lion statues at the 'Goce Delcev' road bridge in Skopje'", the government even "proudly" states "...that the symbol formerly displayed on the Republic of Macedonia’s national flag...had been removed from the statues on the bridge in question."
There was no entity known as Greece during the time of Ancient Macedonia. Greece was created by the powers of Europe in the 1830s, yet it has the temerity to dictate present-day politics based on arbitrary interpretations of ancient history.
According to former US Secretary of State, Lawrence Eagleburger, "Greece claims that Macedon or Macedonia, as well as Alexander of Macedonia are its own. This is a false claim and it is time someone confirms this." He added, "The Greek claim about Macedonia is based on historically incorrect information and are therefore not fact-based."
Macedonia must point out Greece's twisting of ancient history in an attempt to deflect attention away from the current situation. 131 countries have recognised Macedonia, including four of the five permanent UN Security Council members. As stated in the Our Name is Macedonia campaign, "We are winning. We have the power to end this. Stop negotiating our own name".
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) and the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) initiated the Our Name is Macedonia campaign in July 2010, which demands that Macedonia end all negotiations with Greece over its name. The campaign includes billboards throughout Macedonia, ads in print and online editions of major newspapers, television commercials, press conferences, radio interviews and the distribution of hundreds of thousands of flyers throughout the country.
Silence is not an option. Our Name is Macedonia
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non governmental organisation that informs and advocates to governments, international institutions and broader communities about combating discrimination and promoting basic human rights. Our aspiration is to ensure that Macedonian communities and other excluded groups throughout the world are recognised, respected and afforded equitable treatment. For more information please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at email@example.com or via +61 3 9329 8960.