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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

  • MacedonianSoldier

    “There are Greek troops, to be sure, in Persian service ”
    So the greeks fought in the persian army too,but doesnt make the Persians greek,does it?- I dont think so,this is a poor peace of evidence.

    I will show you more truthful history,cause i dont like propaganda.

    Quintus Curtius Rufus:

    “Alexander meanwhile dealt swiftly with the unrest in Greece – not only did the Athenians rejoice at Philip’s death, but the Aetolians, the Thebans, as well as Spartans and the Peloponnesians, were ready to throw off the Macedonian yoke. (Diod. 17.3.3-5) – and he marched south into Thessaly, demanding the loyalty of its people in the name of their common ancestors, Achilles (Justin 11.3.1-2; cf. Diod. 17.4.1). And with speed and diplomacy Alexander brought the Thebans and Athenians into submission (Diod. 17.4.4-6) [p.20]

    “Alexander also referred to his father, Philip, conqueror of Athenians, and recalled to their minds the recent conquest of Boeotia and the annihilation of its best known city.” [p.41](Conqueror of Greece not somebody who unites)

    Here is something about the armies you like so much:
    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.

    And what about Strabo (ancient historian)

    “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].

    So he says that the Thessalians were the Greeks who lived the northest from all Greeks,and as we all know MAcedonia is north from Greece.

    I guess you google but you dont know your history very well.Propaganda material is not history.I have read many books and this is just something i can “pull out” and show to you.

    Macedonia To The Macedonians !!!

  • schizomorph

    Are you the same person who retired from wiki because nobody accepted his propaganda or not? You still haven’t denied it :-)

    I didn’t come here to learn history from a random person i met on the internet and i find your post realy boring. There are history books and if i thought they would be interesting i would have read them already.

    I can’t see what you are trying to prove though. At which point did you adopt the slavic language?

    Even if you are right. What do you think you are going to gain from this? I’m sure you are well aware that there will be no change of borders without war, but have you ever thought how poor the region will be if we waste all our money fighting each other instead of making investments? And do you think that the majorities in both countries actualy want this to happen? The world is moving fast and we’re both small fish. Be creative, not destructive!

  • MacedonianSoldier

    Retired?Why should i retire from wiki,im not telling you wiki quotes your telling me wiki quotes.You should be the one that should retire.
    War?Who mencioned anything about war?I never said that the Macedonians are asking for war at this moment,i said that they should get their rights like everywhere else,they should get their cultural authonomy,and someday maybe even teritorial authonomy,because that is their land,but getting that should be done in a peaceful and civilezed way not by war.
    When your greek propaganda will stop givind you disimformation,this will happen.
    Macedonians have never done anything to greeks (except for Phillip II when he subdued the greeks).yesteday two MAcedonians were attacted near the Greek-Macedonian border because the had the MK simbol on their truck.
    Two day ago a group of greeks attacted few macedonians in Larissa.
    I ask you now is that fair,inocent people getting hurt.That is done all because of your propaganda.Nacionalism will get you nowhere my greek friend and neighbours.
    You now as well as i do that the name issue is just an exuse for the Macedonian minority living there.They had lands once in there and they should be returned to them now.Thats the real problem not the name of my Country -Macedonia.

  • schizomorph

    Macedoniansoldier, thank you for demostrating in public the reasons why greeks are worried. Talking about territorial autonomy already? THAT’s why we don’t like you using the name macedonia. As for the attacks on macedonians in greece, they are the sad result of fanaticism and they happen in both countries. I condemn them in both cases as most reasonable people would do.
    I told you before and I’ll say it again: Be creative, don’t be destructive. All you care about is borders and control. All I care about is the well being of all people and the enviroment we live in. That’s why we cannot agree on something, not because we’re from different sides of the border. Hopefully we’ll solve this issue once and for all and you’ll join the EU and there will be no borders. But you need to get you true interests straight first. Wake up and see the big picture!

  • MacedonianSoldier

    Macedonia will not get in Eu because of the word Greece loves so much “VETO”.Greece and its politicians should be ashamed,i have no territorial pretences,and im not for changing borders at the moment because that leads to wars and destructon,and killin inocent people.Im talking to ypu about giving the Macedonians that live in the Aegean part of Macedonia their cultural authonomy and their right which they dont have.If you were the cradle of democracy as greeks like to say than there cant be only two kinds of people living in greece (approved by law).There cant be only greeks and muslims living in Greece,you have a large Macedonian minority living in the Macedonian part.And giving them their right isnt territorial pretensions.We gave Albanians,Turks,Gypsies,Serbs and everyone who lives in here their rights their basic human rights.
    Your country cant call its self democratic,firtsly because you dont even want to say the name Macedonia when you are writing to me,and i say the name of your country because i respect you as a human beeing who has the right to say that he is whatever he wants to be,you want to call your self greek do it i dont mind,you think you are a descendent of the ancient greeks do it but you cant have all the ancient culture to your self,many people lived in these territories!!!
    Cultural authonomy means giving the Macedonian minority do dance and play their national dances without fear that they will be imprisoned,cultural authonomy means giving them to charish their cultural inheritage as we let everyone in our country do the same.

    I respect your opinions because im democratic,and i dont hate other nations or people.
    Why hasnt greece apologized to the exiled macedonians in 1948 when general Metaxas cilled and exiled over 500.000 Macedonians?That is what every civilez country should do if they call them selfs democratic.

    Respect and all the best to you.

  • schizomorph

    Look man, don’t start the whole minority thing. Macedonians in the aegean are called either greek, or tourists. You say you have no territorial pretences and then you go on to say “at the monent”. That’s why you got vetoed. Because you want to change the borders and we need stability. Not because we don’t like you. I think your politicians are stupid too. They managed to isolate your country quite well. Great job!

    Anyway, what cultural autonomy are you talking about? Who’s stopping them from believing and saying what they want? Half of my customers and neighbours are immigrants and the schools are full of foreign children. You can hear them laughing and they don’t sound any different than greek children. When i was unemployed and went for an unemployment card i was the only greek person in the office. These people got the same help i did. So what exactly do you want more? What is this cultural autonomy you are talking about? Macedonia is not tibet and i’m definately not chinese!
    What is this undefined right you want? Why don’t you become more specific? Is it about not calling you macedonian? That’s because you want to use this name to claim greek territory. You haven’t even got an army so you are trying to lie your way into greece. You and what american? Bush is almost out of the door. Bye bye macedona, hello fyrom :)

    You are abviously confusing human rights with identity theft. One is a right, the other is a crime!

    You can come here and dance and talk slavic all you want. You can knock yourself out.

    I a have dutch grand grand father. Does this mean i have to call myself dutch even though me or my parents or even my grand parents have never even been to holland? Should I claim holland as part of greece? And draw maps of greece including holland. You live in fantasy land. Wake up. The world is moving and you’re sleeping!

    One last thing. What reasonable person cares about who owned this land more that 2000 years ago? Do you know how many times it’s changes hands since alexander? Imagine what would happen if all those people wanted it back! Do you want an israel-palestine type situation? I think that’s your best case scenario. (except that you’re not as rich or influential as the jewish:)

    Good like with your american friends, i’m sure they’ll be happy to help you for free. And they’ll give you a piece of the profits too! Yeah right.. I’m sorry but you’ll probably be working for macdonals soon.

    McDonia to the americans!

  • MacedonianSoldier

    OK man now you just beeing ignorant and rude and runing away from the discussion.I have relatives in Aegean Macedonia and they dont have any rights there.What do you think-why is the Rainbow party fighting for in Greece.
    Greeks are just trying to be nationalist.you also said this:
    “What reasonable person cares about who owned this land more that 2000 years ago? “- the answer would be both Greeks and Macedonians.Do you know how greeks took the territory of Aegean Macedonia 100 years ago?Ill tell you how by war,remeber the Balcan Wars(1913)?Thats when greece claimed that Aegean was their land,that it was their land 2000 years ago.See my point.
    By cultural authonomy i mean giving the people,the minoriti in Greece the right to do everything the other greeks do.But its not like that because when someone will say that he is a macedonian,the greeks attack him.Remember what happend to the guy who ownes a church in Aegean Macedonia?Nikodim Carknas,they trew egs and stones at his house but not older people but kids,5-8 graders.And when he went to the school to tell the teachers what happend they told him to leave Greece once and for all because Greece was no place for him to live,even ,though he was borned there,hes parents,grandparents and so on were borned in there.
    OHI DEMOKRATIA IN HELLAS man.Thats the moto of greek politicians.Who has the right to change someones name?Noone.What do greeks think they are.And man if you have someting dutch inside you that shows that greeks are not hellenic descendents,because half of the population there has mixed genes.

    Macedonia To The Macedonians,respect my name!!!

  • Pavlos from Thessaloniki

    I will like to talk only to people who really want to understand the Greek point of view, and only with honesty:

    Greek macedonia is a place now that is habbited with 2,2 million greeks who consider themselves greek macedonians, more than everything. The current prime minister of Greece also feels Greek macedonian more than everything. And all these people have lived there for many years. What do you “macedonians” think, these an people feel about you, when you say I am the only macedonian?? What do you think the leader of Greece, Karamanlis felt when your politicians say “we are the only macedonians”?

    Yes, it is true that right now in Greece there are about 2.500 people, feeilng like patriots of you “macedonians”. Yes, they exist. And of course they enjoy every political right as all the greek citizens. That’s why, the rainbow party is taking part of every time election. (And their politcians are not being shoot like in “macedonia”…)

    But do you know really what you people really are? When you say we are “macedonians”, do you really mean that you have connection to the ancient macedonian greek tribe? Do you?? Because if you do, then this is a clear effort to steal from someone’s identity and culture. You have absolutely NOTHING to do with anything related to ancient macedonian greek tribe. And finally you have to admit it. If you do, then Greece and the greek people could ALLOW you to use “macedonia” as your name, with a clear prosonym in front. And I say ALLOW because the word “macedonia” identifies the nature of the Greek idenity.

    You can be “macedonians”. But – I repeat – you have absolutely nothing to do with ANYTHING related to ancient macedonian greek tribe, and finally your today nationalistic politicians have to adlimt it. Like your ex MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT Kiro Gligorov did. You remember his public statement in his bibliography???

    “We are SLAVOmacedonians, that came to the balkan region during the 6th century, and we have NO RELATION to the ancient macedonian greek tribe”. Do deny this statement??? Is that a lie? Your own macedonian president said this just some years ago, not me or any greek!

    So why can you not stick on that? Why say totally CRAZY and PROVOCATIVE things like “we are the descedants of ancient macedonians and Alexander the Great”. This is not true and even your president admitted it! So, stop being provocative and accept your real identity. We will call you macedonians, as far as you will say the truth like your OWN EX PRESIDENT KIRO GLIGOROV DID!

    Your today VMRO nationalistic politcians decided that they want to build a new national idenity for your people, that is a lie, and is based on someone else’s national idenity. Well, Greece and Greek macedonians will never allow this.

    So, you macedonian people have two choices:

    1) Live in peace with Greece and the greek people (who really feels hate for you right now…), get into NATO and the EU and be developed economically. You will do this by agreeing in a common accepted name with Greece.

    2) Don’t agree with Greece, stay out of NATO or the EU, and be isolated. Don’t get any security from anyone. And let the albanians break your country and your own people in just a few years. You know very well this will happen soon.

    Really, the choice is all yours.

  • schizomorph

    Thanks Pavlos. You covered how i feel quite well. The only thing missing at the end is the role of the americans. I don’t think the “macedonians” would have got themselves in this mess without the backing of the americans. What they didn’t take into consideration is that the albanians have a very strong lobby in the states(I know, it sounds strange) and they’re working their way into “macedonia” just like they did with cosovo. If greece allows the name macedonia to be used, there’s absolutely no reasurance for the ways it could be used in the very unstable balcans. I think you are to busy looking at greece and you’re missing your real enemies and threats. And that the americans (and some europeans) are playing the “divide and conquer” game again.

    Macedoniansoldier, I’m sorry but i quit with you. I don’t have the time or mood to talk about the same arguements that have already been said. They are based on lies and propaganda. Nobody gets abused in greece because he’s “macedonian”. Although I can’t say the same for someone who tries to spread propaganda and create incidents.

    Here are some know propaganda techniques you used that i recognise from the CIA handbook(anyone can find it on the net):

    1 Refusing to answer the difficult questions by

    2 Generalising

    3 Flooding known sites with propaganda(you failed with wiki)

    4 Victimising yourself to attract sympathy

    5 Demonising the opposition

    6 Dissinformation

    Try again ;)

  • Pavlos from Thessaloniki

    To schizomorph:

    My personal opinion my friend is that I really do not believe that the Albanians, either by the help of their lobby in the US or alone, could cause any harm to Greece, even if they want to.

    Greece has nothing to fear if Albania increases, from 4 million to about 7 million (including Kosovo and Tetovo in their dominion). Greece is still too far in front, in terms of military strength, economic strenght, population and also… political strenght and importance if you like. And most importantly Greece has no albanian minority inside her dominion, unlike Serbia and “Macedonia”, but only immigrants. Anyway, no help from nobody could make the Albanians claim anything from Greece. No matter if they unite with Kosovo now, or Tetovo in the near future.

    To MacedonianSoldier:

    My friend, I would really like you to read my first comment above (18). We want to live in peace with you. We will also allow you to use any name you want, even if it is about our own name. But only if you admit what and who you really are. Like your own ex-president Kiro Gligorov did. I repeat his statement in his bibliography: “We are SLAVOmacedonians, that came to the balkan region during the 6th century, and we have NO RELATION to the ancient macedonian greek tribe”. Your own macedonian president said this! Not me or any Greek.

    So if you people accept what you really are, then there will be peace and prosperity between your country and Greece.

    But you were mentiong incidents about ancient Macedonian and Greek history in your previous comments?? You were saying how macedonians and greeks were fighting with persians?? Why? You have no relation neither with ancient macedonia nor with ancient Greece. You are Slav (macedonian slav if you like) , and you talk a slav language. Enough with the nationalistic behaviour of you people. Accept who you really are and there will be future in the relations with Greece, and your existance as a country as well. But stop the “ancient macedonia tale”. You have absolutely nothing to do with anything related to ancient macedonia. You are slavs (macedonian slavs if you like, I repeat it again…) either you like it or not. Like your own macedonian president publically stated a few years ago.

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