Melbourne - 8/4/2015
A prominent ethnic Greek community spokesman, Anastasios Tamis, in an opinion piece recently penned for the Greek-Australian newspaper, Neos Kosmos (1/4/2015*), referred to Macedonians as possessing a "pseudo-identity". The shameless use of such offensive language appears to be part of an attempt to buttress a repugnant desire to undermine respect for Macedonians and the right of Macedonians to maintain their identity and culture in general.
It seems that Tamis' bigoted outburst came in response to calls recently made in the Australian parliament by West Australian MP, Luke Simpkins, for the Australian government to show respect for the Republic of Macedonia by recognising its official name.
In his intolerant and disrespectful rant, Tamis also made questionable and in any case, irrelevant assertions in relation to ancient/medieval history and liberally used the offensive "Macedoslavs" term, in reference to Macedonians. The affixation of a "Slavonic" label to the end of the name of the Macedonian language, was ruled by the Australian judiciary, in a landmark 2000 human rights case, to be an unlawful violation of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Finally in a grubby attempt to dissuade Australia's politicians from supporting moves to recognise the Republic of Macedonia, Tamis made use of dubious population figures in order to make an implied voting numbers argument. Tamis claimed "550,000" Greeks in Australia and only "70,000" Macedonians (he used the offensive "Macedoslavs"). The official ABS census data of 2011 shows that there are only 378,270 Greeks in Australia and moreover, that there are 93,570 Macedonians.
The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee deplores Tamis' attempt to spread hatred and expresses the hope that more sensible, tolerant and respectful members of the ethnic Greek community will find a way to supplant purveyors of intolerance like Tamis, who tarnish that community's image. There is no room in multicultural Australia for such intolerance and we call on the wider community and political leaders to condemn it.
Established in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) is a non-governmental organisation that informs and advocates before international institutions, governments and broader communities about combating racism and promoting 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, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via +61 3 9329 8960.