The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle Foundation is pleased to present to the international public its latest publication, Μακεδονία (Macedonia): A Greek Name in Modern Usage.
It is not the aim of this publication to analyse the political controversy between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the name of the latter. For a detailed study of this issue please see our recent publication Athens-Skopje: An Uneasy Symbiosis (1995–2002), edited by Evangelos Kofos and Vlasis Vlasidis, KEMIT/MMSF (Thessaloniki) and ELIAMEP (Athens), 2005.
The present publication is a unique effort prepared by scholars and graduate students of our research department (KEMIT). By means of visual and documentary material they seek to present the powerful impact of the Macedonian name on Greek society, administration, social life, culture and economy since the integration of Greek Macedonia with the Modern Greek State in 1912.
This is by no means a surprise for the Greeks. The use of the term ‘Macedonia’ and its derivatives is commonplace in the Greek language since antiquity. It has been used extensively and uninterruptedly not only as a geographical term but also as a powerful symbol of Hellenism in Classical and Hellenistic antiquity, the middle ages and in modern times.
The present research study simply demonstrates the extensive—indeed impressive—presence of the term ‘Macedonia’ in modern Greek usage, both as a regional and as cultural appellation. It has been and is still considered as a regional token of Hellenism; a token beyond challenge.
If the ample evidence presented by this publication cannot contribute to a sober dialogue about the proper identification of the diverse Macedonian variants, at least it can explain why Greeks—especially Greek Macedonians—cannot consent to the monopolistic use of their own name and culture by another state and a Slavonic people.
When in 1821 Greeks started their revolt against the Ottoman Empire and fought for an independent state they had two major ideological issues to deal with: the identity of the new state and its future borders. If Hellas (Ελλάς) was the appropriate name for Modern Greece and ancient glory the most valuable argument for Greek independence, then how could Macedonia been kept apart? After all it was an integral part of Greek ancient history, which had nourished every single generation of educated people—not only Greeks—even before the war of Greek independence. The legendary figure of Alexander the Great had surfed smoothly over centuries of ignorance escorted by powerful myths and tales to find its appropriate position in the last part of 19th century, ancient history textbooks. They were the chapters of the Macedonian Hegemony and the Hellenistic period (4th and 3rd centuries B.C.), which had brought Greek culture to the frontiers of the then known world.
Ancient History proved a very solid and enduring foundation for the modern Greek state. In this context, in the last quarter of the 19th century the case of Macedonia, this ill-defined region, was regarded as the final frontier of Hellenism, which Greece had to defend against the Slavs, if it was to survive as a state and not to end up as a sad caricature of Ancient Hellas.
During the lengthy period of dispute, from the end of the 19th century to World War II, the word ‘Macedonian’, in any use and form, simply meant ‘I am Greek’. However, in the period between the two world wars, this local patriotism was mixed with various doses of energetic regionalism in a growing attempt of Greek Macedonians to stand up, shape their own social, political and economic profile and counterbalance the centripetal forces of Athens. Commercial interests of every kind were a big part of this regionalism. Ancient Macedonian symbols on their trademarks and the name of the region itself, clearly denoted the origin of their products and the home-office of the firms beyond any possible confusion.
In post World War II years a series of successful excavations contributed a lot to the cultural emancipation of Greek Macedonia. Philip, Alexander and their generals were no longer mere symbols. Their magnificent art and impressive wealth was brought back to surface filling with pride Greek Macedonians. At last they could stretch the origins of their own local culture back in antiquity. For them, the royal tombs of Vergina were certainly the equivalent of the Parthenon. Their pride was shared by Greeks in general, in the Hellenic Republic and most of all in the Diaspora.
The more Macedonian symbolism spread in everyday life in northern Greece the less attention was paid to developments outside its border. At a higher level, politicians and academics always new that another Macedonian regionalism has been developing inside Yugoslavia and Bulgaria within a different national context, though with the very same name. They also knew that within the Yugoslav federation this regionalism gradually took the form of Macedonian nationalism and this was no secret to the world in general.
Yet, Greek Macedonians had no real alternative. Macedonia as a name and as a culture was—and still is—their very special bond with the Greek nation. In addition they thought that no Slav nation could go that far as to claim the copyright of Macedonia, i.e. the saga of Alexander and Philip and their cultural heritage. That was Greek beyond doubt. The most cynical foreign observers would even argue that if Greece had lost the monopoly of the name at least it was recognized by educated people as the closest relative or heir to this tradition.
What happened in the 1990s took everybody in Greece by surprise. If the presence of a Macedonian nation-state came as a shock to the ordinary people it was no less a surprise for the cynical. They found out what they ought to have anticipated: that the expediencies of politics weight heavier than historical arguments of romantic nationalism. An alternative version of the past was speedily produced by willing deconstructionists to serve a world already fed up with ‘ancient glories’. Demosthenes himself, well known for his bitterness, would have been surprised with modern cynicism and the extreme use of his sermons against Philip.
We suspect that even some readers of this edition will wonder, at first sight, what Greece has to do with Macedonia. For them, the contemporary Macedonian name, both as a noun and as pronoun is less and less associated with anything Greek.
To those who forgot and to those who will probably never learn we would like to show, through pictures rather than texts, how vivid and unbroken has been the presence of Macedonia, as a name and as a symbol, within the Greek state among the Greeks, and more so among the Μακεδόνες, in any aspect of life. If such evidence cannot stimulate a sober dialogue about the proper identification of the diverse Macedonian variants, at least it can explain why Greek Macedonians cannot consent to the monopolistic use of their own name and culture by another state and a Slavonic people.
The difference over the name ‘Macedonia’, as a state appellation, has been resolved temporarily since 1993 by the adoption of the provisional name ‘the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’. Nevertheless, there is considerable confusion and ambiguity over the derivatives of that name; more specifically, the noun Macedonians and the adjective Macedonian in their ethnic, regional, cultural, historical and legal (citizenship) variants.
The Noun Macedonians
In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) the noun Macedonians (Makedonci = Makedontsi- in the local language) identifies, (a) in the legal and civic sense, all citizens of the Republic (including Albanians, Greeks, Roma etc), and (b) in the ethnic/national sense, a million and a half local Slav-speaking population.
In Greece the noun Macedonians (Μακεδόνες = Makedhones in the Greek language) identifies, in the regional/cultural sense, almost two and a half million ethnic Greeks of the region of Greek Macedonia.
In Bulgaria the same name Macedonians (Makedonci = Makedontsi- in Bulgarian) identifies, in the regional sense, hundreds of thousands of ethnic Bulgarians.
These three variants of the noun ‘Macedonians’ are also in use in diaspora by persons who have emigrated from the three Macedonian regions, namely, Greek Macedonia, FYROM, and the SW Bulgarian region of Pirin.
To complicate matters further, there is a fourth, historical dimension of the name Macedonians, which refers to the first ‘owners’ of the name, who actually gave their name to the region. They were Greek-speaking people who inhabited roughly the region of present-day Greek Macedonia in classical antiquity identifying themselves asΜακεδόνες (Makedhones) in their Greek language.
The Adjective Macedonian
The adjective Macedonian derives: (a) from the noun of the geographical region Macedonia, and (b) from the noun of the name of the people in its regional, ethnic, historical variants as described above. As such, the Macedonian adjective describes identities of persons (Macedonian community, minority, people, personalities etc), abstract values (Macedonian history, culture, traditions), institutions/associations (Macedonian administrative, scientific, professional, educational, civic, business/commercial, religious), as well as tangible objects and items (products, publications, etc). In the Slavonic languages of FYROM and Bulgaria the adjective Macedonian, both in its ethnic and regional provenance, is spelled in Cyrillic, in an identical form as Makedonski. On the other hand, in the Greek language the same adjective Macedonian, in its regional/cultural/historical context, appears as Μακεδονικός = Makedhonikos (-i -o for the feminine and neuter endings).
It becomes clear that the identification as ‘Macedonian’ of abstract values and tangible objects of different ethnic or geographical provenance gives rise to serious problems of communication. Confusion is not confined regionally but spreads worldwide by means of the international usage of the term in the public media and by international agencies involved in one way or another with Macedonian issues.
In the early 1990s, the emergence of an internationally recognized state entity bearing the Macedonian name ‘Republika na Makedonija’ stimulated and, to a certain degree, popularized the monopolization of the ethnic variant of the adjective Macedonian at the expense of the regional/cultural one. As a result, a controversy emerged about the self-identification of diverse groups—Greeks, Bulgarians—in the southern Balkans by one and the same appellation, Macedonian. Moreover, because of their Macedonian provenance and identity, historical and cultural objects, although alien to FYROM and its ethnic Slav Macedonians, ran the risk to be absorbed into the Slavonic Macedonian domain and pantheon. By the same token, long-established cultural property rights of Greek or Bulgarian provenance might be legally challenged. Such dire consequences need not necessarily emerge as a result of government policy directed from Skopje. More likely, they could follow a gradual process of erosion by means of the worldwide monopolization of the Macedonian name by FYROM.
In the early years of the 20th century, a popular axiom claimed that whoever controlled Macedonia could dominate the Balkans. A century later, it appears that whoever monopolizes the Macedonian name might well claim title deeds to whatever is associated or defined by that name: the history, the culture, the peoples as well as the entire geographical region of Macedonia. A careful study of mainly post-1991 school literature in FYROM, propagating the monopolization of the Macedonian identity to the new generations of students would be a revealing exercise, indeed.
A careful assessment of the elements of the controversy leads to the conclusion that different historical, cultural, regional, ethnic and legal references are identified with one and the same name. Locally, the problem is less acute as use of different languages automatically clarifies the divergent versions of the name of the people. Thus, in FYROM, mention of Makedonci is easily understood to refer to the ethnic identity of the persons concerned. In Greece, reference to Makedhones creates no problems about the regional identification of the bearers of that name. In addition, the adjective makedhonikos in Greece defines the regional or historical Greek origin of objects so described. Equally, in FYROM the adjective makedonski assigns an ethnic Slav Macedonian quality.
The problem emerges when the various versions of Macedonian/Macedonians are translated into foreign languages by one and the same name (Macedonian, macedonien etc). The issue at hand is not merely one of semantics. Whoever succeeds to impose on foreign languages its own version of ‘Macedonian’ acquires international monopoly for its use. Moreover, in an indirect way, it lays claim to anything identified as ‘Macedonian’, including different peoples or communities identified as ‘Macedonian’, diverse ‘Macedonian’ historical and cultural values, even commodities from different Macedonian regions or countries.
Under such conditions, it is no wonder that a mini ‘civilisation clash’ is brewing in a traditionally volatile region of the Balkans. Unintentionally, the international community is also implicated by means of its uncritical adoption of the FYROM version of the Macedonian name. Although the issue at hand is no more directly connected with traditional territorial claims or security, a controversy involving conflicting issues of identity and perceptions of heritage should not be allowed to affect adversely the positive climate being built in the region. This is precisely the reasoning behind the U.N. Security Council’s resolution 817 (1993), which stated that the difference over the Macedonian name ‘needs to be resolved in the interest of the maintenance of peaceful and good-neighbourly relations in the region’.
More than a decade has passed since the Security Council’s resolution admitted the ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ to the United Nations Organisation. Relations and co-operation between Greece and FYROM have experienced an impressive improvement in almost all spheres. Such improved conditions in the region may open the way for Skopje to commence entry negotiations with the European Union. Athens appears supportive.
Undoubtedly, this process will be facilitated if the parties concerned realise that the controversy over the sensitive issues of self-identification and cultural heritage need to be resolved. Similarly, the international community, namely, the European Union and the United States, being indirectly implicated on account of the rendition of the ‘Macedonian’ name in their respective languages, should contribute towards an equitable resolution of the problem...
2005: A U.N. Postscript
Recently, the confusion caused in international bodies by the conflicting uses of noun and adjective derivatives of the name ‘Macedonia’ has apparently drawn the attention of responsible international bodies. The United Nations, apart for seeking since 1993 an acceptable solution to the provisional state name ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, is now exploring ways to cope with situations arising from attempts at the monopolization of the Macedonian name by one or the other contender.
Early in 2005, Mathew Nimetz, the Special Representative appointed by U.N. Secretary General Anan to mediate the difference over the name between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, submitted to the two parties his recommendations for resolving the issue. Although the disputed name of the state was at the core of his proposals (he opted for the international usage of the name Republika Makedonija - Skopje) the UN mediator addressed also a number of issues related to the Macedonian name and its derivatives.
Thus, the draft for a new Security Council resolution noted inter alia that the name
‘Macedonia’ has reference to a geographic area encompassing all or portions of several States in the region of Southeast Europe... that ‘Macedonia’ has importance to a long association with the heritage, culture and history of the Hellenic Republic and Hellenic people since antiquity, that ‘Macedonia’ is a name commonly used to refer to a region of northern Greece, and that the people of such region are, within the Hellenic Republic, customarily referred to as ‘Macedonians’.
Moreover, in his own explanatory draft statement to the Security Council, the Special Representative specifically mentioned that within the Greek national territory there is a large area that constituted a part of historic Macedonia as well as a large population who also identify themselves as ‘Macedonians’, albeit ‘Greek Macedonians’. And added:
In Republika Makedonija-Skopje it must be acknowledged that there is an administrative region in Greece named "Greek Macedonia" (and not "Aegean Macedonia" or "Egejska Makedonija pod Grcja" (Aegean Macedonia under Greece) and that those who reside in Greek Macedonia commonly identify themselves as Greek Macedonians in a Greek regional and cultural sense of the name, and such names shall be generally used and respected.
He concluded his report with an important assessment and a practical recommendation:
It is recognized that the terms ‘Macedonia’ and ‘Macedonian’ are broadly used in the region... and these names are not under the exclusive control of any one State or authority... and that the authorities of both States should refrain from challenging legally the use of ‘Macedonia’ or ‘Macedonian’ or similar designations in a commercial or regional context when used in connection with products and services emanating from Republika Makedonija-Skopje or when emanating from Greek Macedonia.
Whereas a final decision on these recommendations is still pending (September 2005), it is important that these points have been initialed and recorded by the most competent authority of the Special Representative acting under the authority of a Security Council resolution. The main actors in the field, Athens and Skopje, now have before them an authoritative blueprint to try to resolve their differences.
From the establishment of the Greek state in 1830, Macedonia was integrated into the wider plan of Greek irredentism, as an inseparable part of historical Hellenic geography. It was only natural. Macedonians had also taken part in the Greek War of Independence from 1821 to 1828, but remained outside the initial borders of the small independent Greek state, just as other subject Greeks (Cretans, Thessalians, Epirots and Thracians) who lived in other Ottoman areas with dense Greek populations. Yet, whether they continued to live in their homelands or had migrated to the Greek kingdom, they contributed to the development and consolidation of the modern Greek nation. As a result, throughout the 19th and up to the early 20th century, Macedonia never ceased to be a focus for revolutionary Greek movements aimed at bringing about union with the independent Greek kingdom. Such revolutionary activities were supported by numerous associations of Macedonians, which had spread to every Greek town within the Greek state and in still unredeemed Macedonia. The driving force behind these movements was a dual symbolism—the revival of the Byzantine medieval state, and, in the case of the Macedonians, the glory of the illustrious Ancient Macedonian past.
It is a fact that the history of Ancient Macedonia was an essential chapter in every Greek school textbook at the time, as well as a major reference point in Greek academic history discourse. Use of the epithet "Macedonian" called forth renowned and highly powerful Greek symbols, such as Alexander the Great, Phillip and their trophy-bearing generals, as well as Aristotle and Dimitrios, patron saint of Thessaloniki.
This symbolism became particularly popular in the early 20th century, when a substantial part of Hellenism, within and beyond the kingdom, took up arms or the pen to defend Macedonia against the Bulgarian threat. Studies on Macedonia proliferated, and the word ‘Makedhonomachos’, i.e. one who fights for Macedonia, became a title of honour.
The Balkan Wars of 1912-13 freed Macedonia from Ottoman suzerainty. Its greater part—over 50 per cent of the former Ottoman Macedonian geographical region—was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece, while the rest was split between Serbia (Yugoslavia) and Bulgaria by a forty-ten ratio respectively. A year later, in 1914, for the first time since classical antiquity, the term ‘Macedonia’ was employed by the Greek state to define once again an administrative region, which from a geographical point of view was essentially identical to the ancient Macedonian kingdom. The name ‘General Government of Macedonia’ (Geniki Dhioikisi Makedhonias) was retained almost throughout the Interwar period, and continued in use even during the German occupation from 1941 to 1944. After World War II, it was named ‘General Government of Northern Greece’, subdivided into the General Governments of Eastern, Western and Central Macedonia. These divisions were retained up to 1950, when they were subsumed into the Ministry of Northern Greece which added Thrace to its jurisdiction. In the early 1970s, the ‘General Government of Macedonia’ made a further brief reappearance, only to revert after a few years to the name ‘Ministry of Northern Greece’ (Ypourgeio Voreiou Elladhos). Since 1988, however, the Ministry of Northern Greece assumed its current name as the ‘Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace’. Earlier, in 1986, the regions of ‘Eastern’, ‘Western’ and ‘Central Macedonia’ were also created.
The existence of a Macedonian administrative entity within the framework of the Greek state, together with the long Greek Macedonian heritage, were contributory factors which consolidated the widespread use of the Macedonian name as a feature of the regional and cultural identity of the Greeks in Macedonia. Such use was not limited to Greek administrative bodies and public sector companies and organisations in Macedonia; it also spread to businesses, as well as cultural and other associations and every relevant event in the private sector originating in Macedonia.
At this point it is worth stressing that in contrast to Greek Macedonia, in the other two parts of Macedonian territory that came under the sovereignty of the neighbouring states, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, the term ‘Macedonia’ was never used to identify an administrative region in the respective countries. Indeed, the name chosen for the Yugoslav region between 1929 and 1939 was ‘Vardarska Banovina’. It was only after the end of World War II, i.e. some thirty years after Greece had extensively used the Macedonian name to identify its own province in the north, that the newly-established communist Yugoslav Federation chose, for its own political reasons, to set up a federative unit, the ‘People’s Republic of Macedonia’ (subsequently, ‘Socialist’).
It would be impossible to list all the organisations, associations and trade unions founded in Greek Macedonia from 1914 onwards. Almost all of them took something from the Macedonian cultural heritage. All of the workers‘ trade union organisations in the broader public sector distinguish themselves from their counterparts in other areas of Greece by means of the geographical designation ‘of Macedonia’. Most professional associations and guilds define themselves in the same manner, ranging from industrialists to skilled labourers. Their associations are ‘Macedonian’. The various social and sports organisations are closer linked to the cultural weighting of the term ‘Macedonia’. It is interesting to note that recently a Greek sports club (‘Makedhonikos’ of Kozani, founded in the Interwar period) participated in European basketball championship. Besides, in this sphere there is more pride and localism. Some include the word as a symbol in the nominative case, while others contain in their name symbols such as Alexander or Phillip or even Pavlos Melas, the most romantic figure in the Greek armed struggle for Macedonia. There is also a large group of associations whose members define themselves as ‘Macedonians’, or their entire organisation as ‘Macedonian’. The inventory includes, on an indicative basis, 450 such names demonstrating the thematic and geographic span of the use of the terms, in almost every village that has social organisation on some level.
For the Greek business world, Macedonia had and continues to have a dual nature. In the first place, as an administrative region, it has been the seat of their activities. Yet it is more than that. The name ‘Macedonia’ and its derivative adjectives are the name of origin of their products, with which they have become established in the Greek or international market. At least 50 businesses are named ‘Macedonia’ and over 200 define themselves as ‘Macedonian’, as emerged from impromptu research mainly in the Thessaloniki area. A further thirty have chosen the names of Phillip and Alexander, the kings of Macedonia, and a few more have in recent years chosen that of Vergina, site of the Macedonian royal tombs. Many more have included the Macedonian sun, or the figures of Alexander and Phillip, in their trademark. In the economy sector, it is clear that symbolisms are neither complex nor numerous. Yet it is obvious that all these businesses have always been sure that those symbols, whether as pictorial representations or as defining epithets, clearly refer the purchasers or consumers of their services to Greek Macedonia.
The earliest Greek newspaper in Thessaloniki was Ermis [Hermes] (1875), owned by the Garbola family of publishers, which circulated from 1881 to 1885 as Pharos tis Makedhonias [Beacon of Macedonia]. The Macedonia newspaper first circulated in 1911—the last year of Ottoman Rule—and is still published to this day. In a time of intense national conflict, both titles chose their name so as to promote their Greek perspective. After 1912, and above all in the interwar years, the daily and periodical press flourished in the new provinces of the Greek state. This publishing explosion was a reflection of the process of social and economic incorporation of Macedonian territory into the free Greek state, as well as of the intense political processes. Every Macedonian town and every political grouping that could bear the financial cost wanted to have its own clamouring voice; it is of course no coincidence that an impressive number of publications defined themselves as ‘Macedonian’, precisely so as to give their geographical position, with or without the aid of Alexander and Phillip, the ancient symbols. There were also numerous regular columns and feuilletons under the ‘Macedonian’ name, which dealt with local issues. The choice made by the dailies was followed by several assorted content periodical publications, though mainly literary magazines, which attempted to define the particular nature of their artistic quests through use of the Macedonian name, while also creating a distinct local Greek Macedonian tradition. In the field of books and academic studies, it is almost impossible to record all the Macedonian titles. Yet, here too, one can discern the geographical use—within the framework of Greek administrative boundaries—on the one hand, and the symbolic use on the other, by reference to the glorious tradition of ancient times and the fighting of recent years.
The word Macedonian (Makedhonas, makedhonikos) has always been used in the Greek language to declare the origin of individuals and not to mark out their ethnic identity. That is why its use is so widespread and unlimited; all the more so, since it drew on the weighty heritage of Alexander the Great, unforgotten even under Ottoman Rule. In 19th century Greece nobody ever cast doubt on the Greekness of the Macedonians, even though it was entirely clear that many of them spoke non-Greek Slavic, Romance and Albanian dialects. The very use of the word ‘Macedonian’ distinguished them from the Bulgarians and classified them as belonging to the Greek stock.
Yet the word ‘Macedonian’ had the same geographical rather than ethnic sense of origin in the corresponding languages in Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania; it was used to define individuals from the corresponding national groups in the wider Macedonian area.
In short, in the closing decades of the 19th century, individuals, belonging to different national and linguistic groups, natives of the wider Macedonian area, were defined using the same Macedonian name, which varied only linguistically, according to their particular language group ( Makedhones, Makedontsi, Matsedoneni).
As emerges from political discussions in Greek parliament and the press, following the liberation of Macedonia from Ottoman suzerainty in 1912-1913, the term ‘Macedonian people’ (Makedhonikos laos) was used to define not just the Greek Macedonians, but on occasion also the totality of its mixed population, even including Albanian-, Greek- and Turkish- speaking Muslims. Yet, particularly after the definitive exchange and population movements, which mainly took place in the 1920s, the non-Greek populations of Greek Macedonia were gradually forgotten.
In the same interwar period, a Slavic Macedonian nation-building movement began to appear among the Bulgarian and communist intelligentsia, under the added influence of Comintern policy, in the wider Macedonian area of Greece, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. In Greece, this movement was treated as a paradox, or a historical irony of which very few people were aware. Even when it became understood—during the course of World War II and, more so, after the crisis of the Greek Civil War, 1946-1949—that the Macedonian name, despite historical titles, was acquiring an autonomous ethnic Slav substance through the formation of the federative People’s Republic of Macedonia within the Yugoslav Federation, nobody in Greece imagined that that name would end up as an international term contrasted to Greece; for this would be a contradiction in terms. For that same reason, apparently as a reaction to the usurpation of a cultural component of their Hellenic heritage, the use of the defining adjective ‘Macedonian’ expanded on all levels in Greek Macedonia and the Diaspora in the post-war years. For its inhabitants, the word was synonymous with Greek; it was both a title of honour and a vital catalyst for the mustering and growth of its population.
The same intensification of use was to be seen after 1991, when the Yugoslav federative Socialist Republic of Macedonia became an independent state. The existence of another Macedonia, which was not Greek, was seen as illogical by those Greeks who had forgotten that a part of geographical Macedonia had not been included in the Greek state, as well as by those who had never learned that as a term of geographical origin, the word ‘Macedonian’ was not a Greek monopoly.
So how can all these people adapt to such an extreme reality as the sudden appearance in their vicinity of an independent state by the name of ‘Macedonia’, in which a ‘Macedonian’ is by definition not Greek?
Moreover, how could they consent to that state‘s constitutional name ‘Republic of Macedonia’ which not only fails to specify the sovereign territory of the new state, but adopts instead the name of the wider Macedonian region, thus laying claims not only on the name of Macedonia but on all its derivatives?
Following over two centuries of intense use of the Macedonian name, and having exalted and fervently promoted Macedonian heritage within and beyond Greece, on both an individual and collective level, how could the Greeks accept not only that this identity does not belong exclusively to them, but that a neighbouring Slavic state is claiming the exclusive right to use it? At a time when regions in Europe are searching for and pushing their distinctive identities to the fore, how can it be possible for the Greek Macedonians to lose theirs?
Preface excerpts from the commentary: Evangelos Kofos, ‘The Controversy over the Terms ‘Macedonians’ and ‘Macedonian’; A Probable Exit Scenario’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Vol.5, No. 1 (January 2005), 129–133. [↑]
1. UN Security Council Resolution 817/1993 and Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers Resolution 95/23 and 19 October 1995. Similar resolutions have been adopted by the EU and OSCE. [↑]
2. The complex ‘dh’ is pronounced like ‘th’ in the Enlglish article ‘the’. [↑]
3. Texts were published in the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, 13 Apr. 2005. [↑]