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MHRMI - Press Release

Would the United States ever entertain the idea of changing its name?

July 7, 2012



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Washington, DC Would the United States ever entertain the idea of changing its name? Why then, is it asking Macedonia to do so?

Apparently, for the "privilege" of joining NATO. Of course, at the NATO summit in May, Macedonia wasn't even on the agenda.

It should have been painfully obvious that Macedonia wouldn't be invited to join NATO until it solves the so-called "name dispute" with Greece. In 2008, every member-state wanted to extend an invitation to Macedonia, but Greece was permitted to use its veto power to prevent it. To make it "official", point 26 of the Chicago Summit Declaration states,

"We reiterate the agreement at our 2008 Bucharest Summit, as we did at subsequent Summits, to extend an invitation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to join the Alliance as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been reached within the framework of the UN, and strongly urge intensified efforts towards that end."

What's worse, that Macedonia continues to negotiate its own name and identity in order to "play with the big boys" or that NATO and the European Union are allowing Greece to hold the rest of the NATO and EU member-states hostage? Of course, Macedonia has also been shamelessly begging for entry into the European Union but, with Greece as a longtime member, that won't happen.

Why is Macedonia so desperate to join two organizations that offer no obvious benefits?

Not only are NATO and the EU allowing Greece to dictate their membership based on its own racist and xenophobic policies, but the European Union also bailed Greece out after it blatantly lied about its economic situation, which has subsequently wreaked havoc with global markets.

The EU also allows Greece to violate its minorities' rights and ignore European Court of Human Rights rulings against it without fear of retribution. All of this while Greece proclaims, and is celebrated as the "birthplace of democracy".

As if it was proving how far it could go, Greek citizens voted in 21 members of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn in the country's May elections.

Macedonia's desperation to join NATO and the EU can only be described as pathetic. Macedonia is one of the highest per-capita contributors to NATO missions, even though it is not a member. The Macedonian government decided years ago to sacrifice its own citizens for the sake of joining an organization that doesn't have the guts to stand up to Greece and extend it an invitation. How sad that NATO can't even stand up to its weakest member.

After the NATO Summit in Chicago, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski expressed disgust at the lack of an invitation, criticized the West and ultimately blamed Greece. Makes sense, but he forgot to include Macedonia's involvement in this mess. By negotiating its own name, Macedonia is telling the world that it is willing to change it. The simple, and only, solution is that Macedonia should immediately end the name negotiations and never should have started them in the first place.

Greece claims that it objects to the Republic of Macedonia's name because it creates "confusion” with the province of Macedonia, that it annexed after the partition of Macedonia's entire territory in 1913. However, 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.

Ironically, Greece now claims that “Macedonia is Greek”, but it was not until 1988, when Greece realized that independence for the Republic of Macedonia was imminent, that it renamed “Northern Greece” to “Macedonia.” Prior to this, Greece’s policy was that Macedonia did not exist.

Despite the intense Greek propaganda, over 130 countries have recognized Macedonia, including four of the five permanent UN Security Council members. So this begs the question, why are countries that have already recognized Macedonia asking it to compromise with Greece and change its name? The answer, again, is because Macedonia is continuing to negotiate its own name.

If Macedonia is just going through the motions to appear diplomatic, as some politicians have suggested, it has obviously been a huge failure. Instead of showing its flexibility in trying to find a "solution", it has frustrated the United States and other western countries because this dispute has been going on for 21 years, with no end in sight. Of course, it's common sense to see that there is no solution when one country is being asked to change its name to appease another country's racist notion that it has no right to exist. It also doesn't excuse the United States demanding that a country change its name. Is this how the US sees itself as "spreading democracy and human rights" throughout the world?

As the Our Name is Macedonia campaign (which demands that Macedonia end the name negotiations) states "Would any other country negotiate its own name?". To clearly show how ridiculous the name dispute is, it also asks "Should the US state of Georgia demand that the Republic of Georgia change its name?"

If this issue wasn't so serious, it would be laughable.

Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit
www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

 
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