North American Museums Perpetuate Myth of Greek Ethnic Continuity
December 15, 2014
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Four North American museums, in association with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, have embarked on an ambitious quest to spread the myth of a 5,000 year-old "Greek" culture, including the misappropriation of Macedonian king, Alexander the Great. The exhibition is called "The Greeks – Agamemnon to Alexander the Great" and is currently on display at Pointe-a-Calliere, Montreal and will be followed by displays at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, the Field Museum in Chicago and the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. Irresponsibly, the project was sponsored, in part, by the Department of Canadian Heritage and promoted by the Embassy of Canada to Greece.
The Western world's romanticizing of Greece's history has contributed to the perpetuation of the Greek myth of ethnic purity and self-proclaimed superiority and has resulted in the most openly racist country in the Western world. Yet, Western culture has no problem in celebrating Greece as the “cradle of civilization” and “birthplace of democracy”, even though the idea of “Greece” as a unified entity, territorially or culturally, didn’t exist.
Greece's intense propaganda campaign, aimed at convincing the world that the Ancient Macedonians were "Greek", has no basis in historical fact, and is part of Greece's racist policy of denying the existence of Macedonians, present-day, or at any time in history. Greece is the only Western country to deny the existence of any ethnic minorities on its territory, and "proudly" makes claims that its country is "ethnically pure". Racism is so rampant in Greece, that it became the first country since Nazi Germany to elect members of a neo-Nazi party to parliament, 21 members of "Golden Dawn" in fact.
Ironically, until 1988, Greece’s well-documented policy was that Macedonia did not exist, and it violently tried to eradicate its very existence. Then, for fear that it would lose the part of Macedonia that it annexed in 1913, Greece's propaganda machine changed course to claiming that Macedonia's land belongs to them, while the people still do not exist.
The fact that Greece was able to convince North American museums to display and promote such historical inaccuracies as seen in "The Greeks – Agamemnon to Alexander the Great" exhibition, and allow themselves to be used as part of Greece's propaganda campaign is shocking. MHRMI calls for the immediate removal and discontinuation of this display. To make your voices heard, please use the contact information below.
Furthermore, MHRMI calls on Macedonians to voice their concerns about the inclusion of any historically inaccurate information included in North American libraries and schools, and to demand the teaching of Ancient Macedonian history in an accurate and unbiased fashion. In 2009, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee and Macedonian Human Rights Movement International added to this effort by publishing a research paper on Macedonian history (www.mhrmi.org/news/2009/june09_e.pdf) which gained a tremendous amount of support by international scholars.
Pointe-a-Calliere, Musee d'archeologie et d'histoire de Montreal
350 Place Royale
Corner of de la Commune
Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 3Y5
Canadian Museum of History
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada K1A 0M8
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605-2496
National Geographic Museum
1145 17th Street, NW (17th and M)
Washington, DC 20036
Department of Canadian Heritage
15 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada K1A 0M5
Embassy of Canada to Greece
4, Ioannou Gennadiou Street,
115 21 Athens, Greece
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: www.mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-416-850-7125.