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Macedonia: Bloggers Discuss NATO Summit and Greece

Last week, the Macedonian blogosphere buzzed about Greece's obstruction of Macedonia's NATO entry. This post presents a set of typical initial reactions to this news.

Filip Petrovski described (MKD) the atmosphere in Macedonia several days before the NATO Summit:

The tension in the air is incredible. The upcoming NATO Summit in Bucharest created a heavy atmosphere of expectation in the region. It is absolutely impossible to predict what will happen there. Expecting closure is already unavoidable part of our lives, of all everyday discussions… I recently observed two friends who had different opinions about Macedonia's stance on the latest proposal by the mediator Nimetz. I've known these two persons for a while, and I have never seen them being nervous, aggressive or intolerant of each other on political or historical issues. But this time it wasn't so. One of them simply got up and left in the middle of the discussion.

On the night of April 2, upon learning that Greece would stop NATO from reaching a consensus on invitation of new members, dozens of Macedonian bloggers reacted with angry posts.

Some placed pictures of the current Macedonian flag on their sites, while others chose to display (MKD) Macedonia's 1992-1995 flag, which carried the Vergina Sun symbol and is no longer in use due to Greek objections. Many, including Toast Government (MKD), expressed an opinion that the goal of Greece is to completely negate the Macedonian identity and eradicate the nation. Along with congratulations to Croatia and Albania (MKD), the countries that succeeded in receiving NATO invitations, some bloggers recommended (MKD) that Macedonians unite in the time of a calamity and offered ideas (MKD) to the Macedonian government on how to act in the future.

The next day, there seemed to be more optimism in bloggers’ responses; some included video clips with Macedonian music in their posts. One blogger wrote (MKD) that this was not the “end of the world”:

Since morning, people around me seem possessed by some kind of madness or hysteria. They come and go out of my office, and I hear wailing, sighs, conversations about NATO, […] VETO […] …

I see higher spirits on the blogs, but they seem to slide into it, too. Oh, what shall we do, too bad for our youth, loads of such stuff… Hey, people! You were not this scared when the war started in 2001! Come on, let's all cry out to heaven and wait for the judgment day. As far as I can see, the Sun rose up again, my house is still in the same place, and the work I have to do is still waiting for me!!!

Zoriv commented (MKD) ironically on the Greek attempts to monopolize the world's historical heritage, saying that the true heir of Alexander the Great would not show fear that “his country could be invaded by a nation which is five times smaller.”

Anti and Bi (MKD), bloggers who have been promoting principled pacifism for years and advocated Macedonia's non-involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, reiterated their stance against participation in military alliances.

Kalina reacted (MKD) to the new breed of skepticism towards NATO and EU integration, pointing out that after the failure at the NATO Summit, some inconsistent analysts, who have never before questioned this long-term strategic objective of the country, started talking that maybe Macedonia should give up trying to gain membership in these international institutions.

Human rights experts Mirjana Najcevska and Zharko Trajanoski (MKD), held the government accountable for failing to fulfill its obligation to provide NATO membership for Macedonia. The latter warned that the huge obstructive force of Greece could not be the sole excuse for all Macedonian failures.

Bazhdardzhijata criticized (MKD) the Macedonian journalists who protested by leaving the press conference of Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest:

I still can't get over the prideful stupidity of these journalists. Instead of staying at the event and bombarding with revealing questions, which would have caught the Greek fascist policies with their pants down, they decided to leave. And the way they left! They did not make any noise, they just turned their backs on them. After such a departure, I am sure Dora [Bakoyannis] sincerely and silently thanked them.

In the following days, some Macedonian bloggers realized how important it was to communicate about these issue with the world and started publishing more English-language posts.

VBB used historical examples to emphasize that Greek arguments were unsustainable:

There's an island called Ireland. Because of historical reasons similar to those described above, that geographical region became divided between the Republic of Ireland (an independent state like the Republic of Macedonia) and Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of another country- the United Kingdom (similar case as the Greek province of Macedonia). The British crown has imposed harsh measures on its Irish possesions, that also included colonising loyalist elements from Great Britain. Basically its the same story as with Greece. However, the difference is that, today the UK does not demand from the Republic of Ireland to change its constitutional name.

Taking into account the role that politics plays in Macedonia's daily life, it is quite possible that NATO integration will remain one of the hottest political subjects for Macedonian bloggers in the near future.

98 comments

  • schizomorph

    I think the issue of Macedonia completely changes face depending on the way you see it.
    From a right government point of view, focus is given on ‘national pride’and sovereignty; and the name issue becomes very important. This is because of the way ‘right’ thinking people define themselves as ‘greeks’ or ‘macedonians’. It assumes that all greeks and all macedonians are two homogenous mixtures of individuals that share the same language, religion, culture, aspirations and interests. Therefore, these two groups have conflicting interests.
    On the other hand, from a more ‘left’ point of view, focus is pointed at the interests of the public regardless of race, religion and culture. National issues are still importand but from a scope that will benefit the interests of the public and not the international interests which are seen as the enemy by most leftinsts. From this point of view, NATO and the EU are institutions that promote the interests of the capitalist elite and ‘left’ thinking people are against their countries entering such institutions. Also these and other such institutions heve received harsh criticism on the way they have reacted on international issued like the american wars. Personaly i don’t trust it when people of great power meet behing closed doors.
    Obviously the two points of view above are the two extremes and public opinion is spread across the political spectrum. I think polls are inaccurate in this issue because the answers people give realy depend on how the question is asked. For example: If the question in a greek poll is ‘Should Fyrom be invited to enter Nato with the name Republic of macedonia?’, the vast majority would be no. But if the question was ‘Would you like to see NATO expand to the balkans?, you would get a radicaly different image. Ok, maybe the questions on the example are not perfect but i think you get my drift.
    Personaly, I think greek and macedonian people have many things to connect us and only one to seperate us. I see that the majority of the public in greece don’t want the term macedonia at all for fyrom. And in macedonia, this is the only way they define themselves. I cannot hate someone because he was born on the wrong side of the border. And i think that people who live next to the border have more common interests with each other than twith people who live in the capitals, hundred of kilometers away. Both sides have grand parents who were killed in wars for this land and i think any change of land would bring war. This is not for the interest of either the skopjians or the greeks. This would only be good for albania who would find a chance to claim parts of both and for the international vultures that want more control on the borders of russia. And also for russia who is the greatest investor in the region. My best reaction is to unite with the people of skopjie and try to produce a common strategy for the region benefiting both of our people. I would leave the name issue for later on when we are already alies and we have more interest by solving it. After all i think this whole thing will take a different timbre when bush is out of the way. I don’t want to see a new middle east in the balkans and i think the same goes for the rest of the countries in the balkans.

  • Yianni Kouzeleas

    Based on historical facts Macedonia is indisputably part of Greece. Those who believe the opposite have other motives on the dark side and certainly need to learn their history before commending. Yianni K (in China).

  • Hellenic Headbreaker

    Yianni, those who dispute the Hellenic nature of Macedonia don’t need to get their facts straight- they first need to be issued one of these special jackets with the extra long sleeves, a lobotomy and a padded cell and then if they still have any semblance of mental faculty can they only learn the truth.

    Give it Spokians- soon you will be starving and change your identity all over again to ensure your survival. Hellas spits on you and your supporters; we’ve already slapped America around on Afghanistan, Iraq, the Veto and now SouthStream; ain’t nobody messing with us.

  • schizomorph

    Hellenic Headbreaker, you are exactly what i hate about greeks. Even if i am greek myself. Don’t even dare to bring up the ancient greece story because the ancients would be ashamed of you. We are supposed to be the first ‘civilised’ nation but it looks like you have forgoten all that. Go live in the states or something.

  • MacedonianSoldier

    Arrian and ancient greek historian says

    [Book II – Battle of Issus] “Darius’ Greeks fought to thrust the Macedonians back into the water and save the day for their left wing, already in retreat, while the Macedonians, in their turn, with Alexander’s triumph plain before their eyes, were determined to equal his success and not forfeit the proud title of invincible, hitherto universally bestowed upon them. The fight was further embittered by the old racial rivalry of Greek and Macedonian.” [p.119]

    He also says:

    “The same painstaking attention to details is evident in administrative matters. Appointments of governors are duly mentioned, and throughout his book Arrian is careful to give the father’s name in the case of Macedonians, e.g. Ptolemy son of Lagus, and in the case of Greeks their city of origin.” [p.25]

    Demosthenes an ancient greek orator says:

    “… not only no Greek, nor related to the Greeks, but not even a barbarian from any place that can be named with honors, but a pestilent knave from Macedonia, whence it was never yet possible to buy a decent slave” – Demosthenes, Third Philippic, 31. The famous words that this Greek orator from Athens used to describe the Macedonian king Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great, prior to Philip?s conquest of Greece.

    SO THIS PROVES SOMETHING THAT IN 1913 THE GREEK STATE(MADE BY ENGLAND) STOLE 51% OF MACEDONIAN LAND,and in 1948 General Metaxas killed more than 150.000 Macedonians and exiled also a big numver of Macedonians.But the macedonians still live in Aegean Part despite all the problems greeks are trying to do to them,like for example not letting the to form a parti of their own even do that is a basic human right.

    Greek fascism still lives on besides that General Metaxas death.

    MACEDONIA TO THE MACEDONIANS – William Gladstone

  • schizomorph

    If you google ‘william gladstone macedonia’, the first link will be mr gladstone’s sad(in my opinion) attack on wikipedia because it wouldn’t accept the opinion he was trying to pass. Mr gladstone please be more careful with the traces you leave on the internet. People are not stupid anymore and don’t accept your propaganda. Stop spreading hate or macedonia will be either american or russian in a few years time.

  • MacedonianSoldier

    I think you dont google much do you?

    William Ewart Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898) was a British Liberal Party statesman and Prime Minister (1868–74, 1880–85, 1886 and 1892–94).

    He is and english (british) Politician from the 19 century what Macedonian Propaganda?
    Macedonia did not funcion as a state at that time it was under Ottoman Rule so how could they have spread their propaganda to Britain?
    Please read something from Misirkov,something from Gjorgjija Pulevski or even from Mr.Borza and you will see that the Macedonins were never greek

  • MacedonianSoldier

    …Or Bulgarian (Vulgarian),Serbian or something else.Macedonians are simply Macedonians !!!

  • schizomorph

    Yes, you are right. I did find out about William Ewart Gladstone but i couldn’t see the relation with macedonia. I think my point remains valid though. After all you haven’t denied it. You have been using that quote from mr gladstone as your signature and you used it when you retired from wiki when they found out you were trying to pass your propaganda.

    Since you brought arrian up:

    ” There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service — but how different is theirs cause from ours ! They will be fighting for pay— and not much of it at that; we on the contrary shall fight for Greece, and our hearts will be in it. As for our foreign troops —Thracians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Agrianes — they are the best and stoutest soldiers of Europe, and they will find as their opponents the slackest and softest of the tribes of Asia.”

    Arrian – The Campaigns of Alexander. Alexander talking to the troops before the battle. Book 2-7 Penguin Classics. Page 112. Translation by Aubrey De Seliucourt.

    (Quote copied from http://historyofmacedonia.wordpress.com/2007/03/16/ancient-sources-about-alexanders-army-greek-character/)

    I guess i google enough…

  • MacedonianSoldier

    So whats seems to be the problem there with Arrian.”There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service ” So the greeks were in the Persian Army also,there were greeks in the Macedonian Army too,because Greece was under the rule of Macedonia under that time.

    Plus that you have only chosen one source – Arrian and you have chosen it from a greek web site(i have read the book),as for me i showed you more sources.

    But let me teach you a bit of history.

    Quintus Qurtius Rufus:
    Patron, the Greek commander, speaks with Darius: “Your Majesty”, said Patron, “we few are all that remain of 50,000 Greeks. [p.112-13]

    50,000 strong Greeks were with Darius fighting the Macedonians, while Alexander took only 7,000 Greeks next to his Macedonians which served as “hostages” and “were potential trouble makers”, (Green) which he got rid of only when he learned that the rebellion in Greece against the Macedonian occupation forces there was suppressed (Badian, Borza). The fact that 50,000 Greeks were fighting Alexander’s Macedonians shows clearly that their loyalty and their numerical superiority lies with Darius and his Persians, not with Alexander and his Macedonians. As Peter Green puts it: “if this was a Greek conquest where were the Greek troops?” Alexander’s conquest can not therefore be at all a Greek conquest, but simply a Macedonian conquest.

    Strabo:
    “The Thessalians in particular wore long robes, probably because they of all the Greeks lived in the most northerly and coldest region” [11.14.12].

    North from Thessali is MAcedonia and Greeks who lived the northest were the Thessalians.

    I offer you writen proof,and you give me nothing.Using greek propaganda wont let history say the truth.

    I guess you dont google or read enough to have this historical argue with me,as all greeks dont because they only learn their propaganda material.

    Macedonia To The Macedonians!!!

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