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Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC)
A Non-Profit Organization Registered in the US
with 37,000 Hellenes as members and
36 Hellenic associations in the US and abroad
December 14, 2007
The bias of the December 10 op-ed criticizing Greece is blatantly obvious given its reference
to "Republic of Macedonia" rather than FYROM. It is ethically, historically, and politically
inaccurate. Separatist extremists from FYROM continue to openly advocate seizure of the
Northern Greek province of Macedonia. During the 1990's, Skopje provocatively used the
the Greek Macedonian Sun of Vergina on its flag. Claims toward Greek territory continue 
to be put forward by extremists in Skopje.
The Greek province of Macedonia is historically Hellenic, and not Slavic. Citizens of FYROM
have absolutely no connection to the heritage of Macedonia whatsoever. Slavs arrived in
the Balkan peninsula well over 1,000 years after the time of Alexander the Great. During
the 1940's, Communist Yugoslavia created this new artificial nation in order to seize the
Greek province of Macedonia. The editorial completely and entirely ignores historical facts,
as well as the present day provocations directed against Greece by Skopje.
Only recently, Skopje attempted to name its airport after Alexander the Great, an outrageous
and unacceptable provocation. The op-ed would have Greece abandon its history and heritage,
and ignore territorial claims put forward by an aggressive neighbor in order to placate the well
organized propagandists working on behalf of Skopje. On the issue of minorities, Greece has
an impeccable record. The Journal ignores the Communist insurgency of the 1940's fueled by
Marshall Tito, which threatened Greece's very survival. The editorial is unsubstantiated
by history, and is nothing more than the repetition of distortions and lies being advanced by
a deceitful lobby emanating from Skopje.
Theodore G. Karakostas This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Member of HEC Executive Council

http://www.journalg azette.net/ apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20071210/ EDIT05/712100368



Published: December 10, 2007 6:00 a.m.

Name dispute covers up real Macedonian problem
By Argie N. Bellio and Metodija A. Koloski

A diplomatic point of no return is inching ever closer in the Balkans,
threatening to make it once again live up to its reputation as the powder
keg of Europe. No, this is not the Kosovo dilemma, but the 16-year-old
dispute initiated by Greece over the Republic of Macedonia's constitutional

The dispute erupted after the Republic of Macedonia declared its
independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and, according to Athens, is based on
its fears that Macedonia will press irredentist claims on a province in
northern Greece, which it renamed Macedonia in 1988. How the Republic of
Macedonia could ever pursue such claims has never been explained.

After years of Greek stonewalling and a three-year illegal embargo, the
Interim Accord between the two nations allowed Macedonia's admission into
the United Nations. However, this was achieved only when Macedonia was
forced to accept the interim name "The former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia," or "FYROM," and with its seat in the general assembly between
Thailand and Timor Leste.

Understandably, the term "FYROM" is demeaning to Macedonians, and it makes
about as much sense as "Former Ottoman Province of Greece" or "Former German
Province of Poland."

Despite Greek objections, more than 120 countries, including the U.S. and
all of the other the former Yugoslav nations, recognize the Republic of
Macedonia's under its true name.

The recognition by the U.S. is important to Macedonia and shows the close
bond between the two nations. Macedonia is participating in military
operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Lebanon. It is also a candidate
for NATO membership and expects an invitation to join NATO in the near

Greece, sadly, is threatening to veto the Republic of Macedonia's NATO entry
unless the term "Macedonia" is removed from its name. Such threats are in
direct contravention to the Interim Accord, which bars Greece from impeding
the Republic of Macedonia's accession to international bodies including NATO
and the European Union, as long as Macedonia is admitted under the U.N.
provisional reference term.

Vetoing the Republic of Macedonia's NATO membership will create great
instability in the region, with potential spillover effects in Kosovo,
Albania, Serbia and even Greece itself. Hence, the name dispute remains a
potential fuse for yet another Balkan war.

So why does Greece continue this quixotic war against Macedonia's name? It
is about a skillful cover-up of continued Greek oppression of its ethnic
minorities, including ethnic Macedonians who continue to live within Greek
borders and number in the hundreds of thousands. According to the Greek
government, Greece is an ethnically pure state, though a proper census has
never been permitted in modern times to prove that.

Thus, the obvious fear in the Greek psyche has nothing to do with the
Republic of Macedonia at all. It has everything to do with the large ethnic
Macedonian minority in Greece. This ongoing denial of basic civil rights to
ethnic Macedonians in Greece is well documented by the U.S. Department of
State, the European Court of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and other
international human rights groups.

The Republic of Macedonia's existence and choice of name are sovereign
rights, and it is the Republic of Macedonia's prerogative to promote,
preserve and protect the Macedonian ethnic identity and culture on behalf of
millions of Macedonians around the world. Such are the rights and
prerogative of any sovereign state.

Greece should end this farce of a "name dispute" for the sake of regional
stability. The U.S. should pressure its NATO ally Greece to do just that,
and the U.S. Congress should continue promoting stability in the Balkans by
not passing SR 300 or HR 356.

Argie N. Bellio is a Fort Wayne-born Macedonian-American and member of the
United Macedonian Diaspora, a global non-governmental association addressing
the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout
the world. Metodija A. Koloski, is a Macedonian-American living in
Washington, D.C., and is president and co-founder of the United Macedonian
Diaspora. They wrote this for Fort Wayne newspapers.

Letters to the editor: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

[Ecumenical Patriarchion - 06/26/07]   [Europe View 11/25/07]   [Brussel's Journal 12/14/07]   [FORT WAYNE JOURNAL GAZETTE (USA) 12/14/07]   [Laughland 12/12

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