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Macedonia: Bloggers Emphasize Need for Open Communication with Greece

Amid the internal turmoil caused by Greek actions to block Macedonia's accession to NATO and the EU, and due to an increasing number of reports of attacks over Macedonian truck drivers by nationalist mobs in Greece (official reaction), many Macedonian bloggers are attempting to bridge the gap of ignorance existing between the two nations. On the one hand, they've identified the need to pass information about Macedonians to Greeks, and, on the other hand, some have taken to the task to share information from Greek media with fellow Macedonians.

Many bloggers reacted to a statement by Greek Foreign Minister that even mentioning the existence of Macedonian language and ethnicity is “not helpful” to solving the name issue, perceiving it as continuation of the policy of ethnocide. Zharko Trajanovski, referred to the related U.S. Dept. of State Briefing, extracting the most interesting parts (MKD).

In the same vein, dozens of bloggers promoted the video of the song “Postojam” (“I Exist”), by embedding it in their own posts and even reposting copies of it on YouTube. The video features scenes from documentary films about the ethnic cleansing of Macedonians during the Greek Civil War of 1946-49, accompanied with humanistic lyrics: “I exist… All is forgiven: even your wish for me to be no more.”

The author of the blog Agnes wrote (MKD):

Since its official release, the video of the single “Postojam” by the pop rock singer Miyatta received wide media coverage and it is a topic of discussion among the Macedonian population all around the world. Interest for the English translation of the lyrics and releasing it abroad has also been shown. Regardless of the context, the video has become something worth a comment. Those who were familiar with that part of Macedonia's history congratulated Miyatta for delivering this audio-visual expression. Those who see such pictures for the first time, think that it is too painful to be true. Some believe that this is just an attempt at attention-seeking. All kinds of positive and negative comments are yet to be heard. I am happy that the number of people who were indifferent towards “Postojam” is rather small.

Images of sorrow and exile on the one hand, and images of unity and pride on the other make for a rather authentic representation of Macedonia.

The past is not to be revived, but to be outgrown.
Let us outgrow it, but first,
Let us know it!
Macedonia exists.

In the other direction, the blog Drugarche posted translations of articles from the Greek press, including cartoons [MKD]. A number of bloggers also praised the interview of the Macedonian director Milcho Manchevski [GRE], given to the Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia, and posted links to its English translations. Some offered more historical information from ancient books [MKD] and Western newspaper archives [MKD], as well as about the possible origins of the Greek flag.

But, most importantly, blogs have proved to be the primary vehicle for distributing information on grassroots peace-building. The news about the upcoming visit of about 50 Greek peace activists to Macedonian capital Skopje scheduled for May 17, 2008, appeared [MKD] on the influential Vuna blog first:

This is not an attempt to stoke fires of the Macedonian nationalist sentiments. This is not a call to stone embassies, supermarkets or whatever.

On the contrary, this is a call to participate in an event intended as opposition to all the madness. Greek citizens are first and foremost human beings, and most of them have nothing to do with their retrograde and fascizoid state policy, nor with the hordes of morons who harass people on the highways. At the same time, not all Macedonian citizens are hotheads who “hate every Greek thing” and can't wait to throw stones on the Liaison office.

[…]

Peace, love, empathy!

38 comments

  • james gabriel

    MR, PHIL OR FILIP? SIR, MACEDONIA WAS ONE GREEK STATE LIKE MANY OTHERS ! LOOK AT HISTORY ! EVEN HIMSELF ALEXANDRE , DECLARE AT ATHENS , THANKS GOD BORN GREEK ,NOW YOU TRY TO MAKE NEW HISTORY ? SINCE THE ANCIENT TIME EVERY ONE WANT SOME THING FROM THE GREEKS ! AND ABUSE THEIR HOSPITALITY THEIR LIBERAL WAY OF LIVING ! THE SLAVIC PEOPLE CAME ON THE AREA THE SEVENTH CT, AD, WHAT BUSINESS TO HAVE WITH MACEDONIA ? I DON,T KNOW YOU DO ? THANK YOU, GOD BLESS ALL !

  • peter givens

    For those Greeks who dont realy understand about Alexander the Great, who he was.If any Greek can tell me what protoslavs mean? Alexander the Great was a protoslav, Are you protoslavs?The protoslavs were Europen people, Greeks came from Ethopea and Asia.The word Protoslavs is Greek word I dont have to explain it to you.Alexander the Great was Macedonian, not Greek by any means.You are being laft around the world on this issue my friends.The only history Greece has is the Mythical history like Kiklopas.

  • Alex

    I think the posters above missed the point of this article.

  • Brian

    I have my Phd in Classical Studies at Oxford University and as an academic I can tell you that Alexander was Greek and I’m sorry to tell you but the Slavs did not appear in the Balkans until AD when Constantinople was busy with the Arabs. To concentrate on the Arabic threat it was Imperial strategy for Constantinople to Christianize your ancestors, the Slavs, so as to eliminate their threat. If the Slavs had appeared in Europe earlier than this time than the Romans would have definitely noticed and dealt with it, but they did not.
    As for your theory that Greeks originate from the Ethiopians, there is not scientific data that suggests this. The study from which this theory originates is biased and has no supporting evidence and for that reason it was rejected by the scientific community.

    Veritas Omni Vincit = Truth Conquers All

  • Rade Petkoski

    James Gabriel, Macedonia was never a Greek State, and the bit where you mentioned Alexander declares at Athens “Thanks God Born Greek”, you are reading too many biased political propaganda. Our Macedonian’s from Aegean Macedonia have suffered far too long, to have lost homes and loved ones, this clip is not changing history or making history, it is only showing a slice of what had happened to the innocent Macedonian civilians. You are lucky you have not suffered or feared as these innocents, have you had you’re comment would be of difference. Fillip you have done a good job, gospot da ti da strekaj i radost

  • I DONT SKI

    Alexander exported Greek culture to the vanquished. No Get stuffed, stay out of europe and stay out of NATO

  • vasil

    Most Athenians have been proven to have Ethiopian DNA
    it is a fact.
    The study was done by unbiased European experts..not athenians.
    Just go to athens and you’ll see many northern African characteristics in the people.
    The same study proves Macedonians have European dna.

  • And, by the way Mr. “Peter Gives” please explain to me how do I come from Ethiopia or Asia or Antarctica? What are your evidences?

  • Alex, I agree. As much as I like to debate about history, these mentions of Alexander and whatnot are totally off the mark.

    Maybe such arguments were “valid” as excuses for conquest when nation-state concept emerged in the XIX century. When dealing with people who bragg with a a PhD and don’t show even basic understanding of the concept of human rights I feel like I’ve used some sort of time machine to transport me in 1876 or some similar year.

    Can you imagine someone saying to Mexico, or New Mexico, that they cannot use their name because the current population has only partial genetic links with the ancient people of Mexica (AKA the Aztecz) who had a state covering parts of that geographical area? :-) Rediculous when viewed from outside, but often deadly when people with such mental outlook have some power over others.

  • peter givens

    Greeks are uneasy about the Macedonian minority.Ex-premier of Greece Mitsotakis in 1995 recognized that the problem with Macedonia was not the name but the Macedonian minority in Greece.He does on to say,What made me uneasy from the beginning was not the name of this country…the problem for me was how to avoid creating a second minority in Western Macedonia,If the problem of the Slavo-Macedonian minority in Western Macedonia is added to the muslim minority,which sadly, with our errors is a dagerous development, the situation will become unsustanable for Greek external politics.Outside of official Athens however, there are some Greek intelectuals who have entirely different views on the name dispute. Athena Skoulariki a sociology proffesor at the University of Crete, for example says that Greece is tangled in a strategic dead end.In the course of the last 16 years we have lost one battle after another and still have not seriously considered what we are doing wrong.According to Skoulariki the Greek arguments are not convincing because it is a fundamental right of all people to freely choose their name.We insist that our neighbor has no right to use the name Macedonia, ignoring the fact that during the 19 and 20 century there was a wider region called Macedonia.

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