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MHRMI Response to National Post Letter "Canadian Greeks: Don't rewrite Balkan history"

January 17, 2012

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National Post Why the National Post chose to be "objective" and let the Greek community have equal time in responding to the recent op-ed about Macedonia is beyond me. One should not give the oppressor the opportunity to justify its brutal actions against the oppressed.

The vast majority of readers, understandably, have no interest in hearing the long, drawn out version of Greece's romanticized history. Greece is the only country in the Western world to claim that it has no ethnic minorities and proudly proclaims its "ethnic purity". Dangerous statements coming from the self-proclaimed "birthplace of democracy".

In their Letters to the Editor, the Consul General of Greece and various Greek organizations referred to the Republic of Macedonia as "FYROM". ( "In sharp contrast to Greece's constructive efforts, FYROM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski..." and "This is what Canadians should consider when they hear the complaints of the FYROM partisans..." ). No Macedonian introduces him or herself as being from "FYROM". These statements show readers what the official Greek position is: deny the very existence of a country and an ethnic group. They've taken their directive from the top. Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis admitted in 1995 that Greece initiated the nonsensical "name dispute" to continue to deny the existence of its large, indigenous Macedonian minority. Before partisans from the FOCOG go into an uproar, I clearly meant to say "indigenous". It is a fact that Macedonia was divided in 1913 and Greece annexed 51% of its territory. They like to say "liberated" but one does not slaughter and expel people after a "liberation".

By the way, FOCOG stands for "Former Ottoman Colony of Greece" but, my mistake, "Greece" did not exist during the Ottoman occupation of the Balkans or at any time in history. It was created by the West in the 1830s. Also, after Greece tried to eradicate Macedonia's existence, it only started to claim that it owned the name Macedonia in 1988. The region of Macedonia that it annexed was officially renamed as such in 1988. Before that, they referred to it as "Northern Greece".

Of course, Greece continues to deny the existence of Macedonian people - a very difficult task when one, or several million, are standing in front of you.

The fact remains, Macedonia has existed since antiquity and has always been called Macedonia. Case closed. Or should be.

Despite Greece's intense propaganda campaign, more than 130 countries (including Canada, the United States, Russia, China, and over two thirds of all UN members, including four of five permanent UN Security Council members) have recognized the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia must stop negotiating its own name and the rest of the world must stop calling for a "solution" to the "name dispute". These countries should immediately denounce the name negotiations and stop allowing Greece to hold the rest of the world hostage because of its xenophobic policies.

Furthermore, Greece must be penalized for persecuting its ethnic minorities and for blatantly lying about its economic situation and begging, and getting, huge bailout money from the European Union. But since the EU is intent on handing out this money, how about doing so after Greece starts behaving like a democracy?

Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International

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