The History of the FYROM's name dispute
We the Macedonians, together with all our fellow Hellenes prepared this treatise in peace, true to our traditions and beliefs expressed by our own Alexander the Great (Plutarch’s Moralia On The Fortune Of Alexander):
“ ... he bade them all consider as their fatherland the whole inhabited earth, as their stronghold and protection his camp, as akin to them all good men, and as foreigners only the wicked; they should not distinguish between Grecian and foreigner by Grecian cloak and targe, or scimitar and jacket, but the distinguishing mark of the Grecian should be seen in virtue, and of the foreigner in iniquity ...”
Over the millennia, as Hellenes we have shared willingly our heritage and our culture with all the peoples of this earth, for truly we consider the “whole inhabited earth” our home. The Oracle at Delphi is the undisputed proof of our belief in our international outlook and the inclusiveness of all mankind in all that is sacred.
By contrast, Olympia where only Hellenes could compete in the Olympic games, is the undisputed evidence of our strong sense of ethnic identity and the exclusiveness of being Hellene. The strong ethnic identity extended also to the reverence of “fatherland” which is best expressed by Socrates himself who said:
“ ... our country is more to be valued and higher and holier far than mother or father or any ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the gods and of men ... ”
These two Hellenic characteristics of international orientation on the one hand, but possessing a strong ethnic identity on the other, reach deep into the past and explain our unequivocal resolve not to share the name of our Macedonia with those who preach and teach “ethnic falsehoods.” This is not, as some have suggested, a matter of hysteria, or unnecessary worship of ancestry, or even hostility toward Greece’s multi-ethnic neighbor to the north. It is a matter of intellectual and political integrity, without which Greece’s neighbors will never find their own true identity, without which they will never be able to make a new beginning and prosper. In her book Not Out of Africa, professor Mary Lefkowitz points to the dangers of rewriting history to serve “ethnic truths”:
“ ... although such new and daring hypotheses about the past can easily win adherents, especially when they favor present cultural and political aspirations, everyone should be aware that there are real dangers in allowing history to be rewritten, even for culturally useful purposes. Even though it may inspire students with pride and self-confidence, writing and teaching such ethnic histories, each with its own brand of “ethnic truth,” sanctions the invention of falsehoods.”
We believe that building nations on falsehoods, as Greece’s northern neighbors are attempting to do, is like building on sand. Ultimately the structure collapses and destroys the very people it was meant to protect and nurture.
We, therefore, extend a friendly hand and invite the people in the “whole inhabited earth,” including Greece’s neighbors, to become Grecian by virtue instead of foreigners by iniquity.
2. CREATION OF THE FYROM AND THE NAME DISPUTE
In September of 1991, after the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, its most southern republic declared independence from Yugoslavia and it named itself "Republic of Macedonia" as a new independent country. Greece immediately objected to the name used by the new country because Greece’s northern province is also called Macedonia from ancient times.
The new republic designed a new flag with the Sun of Vergina at its center and printed new currency with the White Tower of Thessaloniki, symbols clearly from the northern province of Greece. Because of these actions and also because of certain articles in their constitution which implied that the their country had territorial rights to all of the ancient Macedonian area, Greece imposed a trade embargo and prevented any trade commerce through Greece's northern border. Greece reluctantly lifted the trade embargo when the new republic redesigned and accepted a new flag, stopped the issuance of the new currency with the depiction of the White Tower of Thessaloniki, and passed amended articles to their constitution implying that they have no territorial rights outside their present boundaries.
Greece, however, continued to object to their use of the name Macedonia. Because of this objection, the United Nations accepted this nation as a new member with the temporary name of "The Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia (The FYROM)" (UN Resolutions #817 of April 7 and #845 of June 18 of 1993) and the Interim Accord of September 13, 1995, until a permanent solution to the name is found. Originally, The FYROM was accepted to the UN without a flag to be raised at the UN until their flag was changed to Greece’s satisfaction.
According to the above documents signed and accepted by both parties, the FYROM will have to assume a constitutional name by September 13, 2002, which would be mutually acceptable, by both concerned parties. The spirit behind the documents signed springs up from the letter of the UN negotiator Cyrus Vance to the then UN Secretary - General Boutros Boutros - Ghali, with the understanding that "if a mutually agreeable settlement could not be reached by the parties, peace in the region might be put at risk."
To this date no solution has been found and the UN deadline of September 13, 2002 has passed by with the two countries only agreeing to extend discussions on this matter for one more year. Clearly, it is to FYROM’s advantage to delay a solution to the name problem indefinitely. Consequently, they are not serious in the discussions at the UN unless they are pressured to settle the dispute.
The FYROM actually never had any active negotiations on changing its constitutional name although its government has accepted the fact that Greece has a different view in relation to this question. This has been expressed time and again by the person responsible according to article 86 of the Constitution of the FYROM for the name of his country, the President of the FYROM, Boris Trajkovski. One indication that the FYROM never cared about changing its name even agreeing to a composite name, is that its e-mail address in the UN is firstname.lastname@example.org, but why not FYROM@un.int? It must be noted, however, that the difference of opinion on the name has not obstructed the multilateral or bilateral relations of the two countries.
During the period between 1995 and the present, the FYROM paid attention neither to the spirit nor to the letter of article 7 of the Interim Accord. The deliberate and systematic campaign throughout the world to refer their country as the Republic of Macedonian has intensified and is ongoing today with full and untiring strength. On the other hand, neither the Hellenic government nor the UN never bothered to demand enforcement of the provisions of the above article which prohibits such actions. Thus, we are today in the precarious situation that the FYROM does not want to change its name since everyone call it "Macedonia." There is merit to the strategy that the FYROM has exercised thus far. The more they wait the better it is for them.
The following is taken from the minutes of an intergovernmental meeting that took place in February 2001. The speaker is VMRO-DPMNE leader Boris Stojmenov. "No one has the right or authorization to change this country's name. This is not merely a party matter, but also concerns the citizens inside the country and abroad. It should not be raised bilaterally, in our relations with Greece. The UN Security Council should resolve this issue. Our experience has shown that if we find the solution unfavorable, we will certainly win justice in court" … "there was no need for Macedonia to hurry with the negotiations. Time is on our side. Also, Greece's euphoria over opposing Macedonia's name has subsided. We only need to wait a little longer."
3. WHY THE NAME DISPUTE
After the unfortunate dismemberment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) the individual countries proceeded with imperialistic visions of their ethnic groups claiming not only territories, but also ancestry from various ancient peoples to have some type of proud history and legitimacy for their modern existence.
In this respect the Slovenes claim to be descendants of the Wends, an ancient Illyrian tribe, the Croats of the Persians, the Slavs of the FYROM from ancient Macedonians, the Bosnian Moslems from the ancient Illyrian tribes of Bosnia.
But the FYROM is a unique case. The sole purpose of the creation of the Socialist Republic under the name "Macedonia" was the eventual claim and incorporation of Greek Macedonia into communist Yugoslavia with the port of Thessaloniki as the trophy. During the period of communist Yugoslavia, a systematic "macedonization" of everything possible took place. As long as something took place in or someone was born in the Geographic Macedonia at any time from the beginning of time until today it was being changed into "Macedonian" meaning Slav.
The area that later comprised of the former Yugoslavia's southern republic was not called Macedonia but was called Vardarska Banovina (Province -of the river- Vardar). It was in 1944 that Marshal Joseph Broz Tito, the communist dictator ruling Yugoslavia at that time, created Yugoslavia's southern republic and called it "People’s Republic of Macedonia" and in 1963 "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" for purely political and expansionist reasons. However, "Macedonia" was already the name of one of Greece's northern provinces. In ancient times, the land that Macedonia covered included this northern province of Greece (about 80%), a small part of Bulgaria (about 5%), a small part of Albania (about 5%), and a small part of the region that Tito named the Socialist Republic of Macedonia (about 10%). It is pertinent to note that this 10% of ancient Macedonia in Tito’s Socialist Republic of Macedonia was only 1/5 of this Republic’s area while the other 4/5 was actually from Slavic Yugoslavia.
Extremely interesting is the U.S. State Dep. Foreign Relations Vol. VII, Circular Airgram [868.014], which was sent by then Secretary of State E. Stettinius, December 26th 1944, to all consular officials, informing them of the act to create a separate "Macedonia," as a "cloak for aggression against Greece." "The Department has noted with considerable apprehension increasing propaganda rumors and semi-official statements in favor of an autonomous Macedonia emanating from Bulgaria, but also from Yugoslav partisan and other sources with the implication that Greek territory would be included in the projected State. This Government considers talk of "Macedonian Nation", "Macedonian Fatherland", or "Macedonian National Consciousness" to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic or political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece".
After 1944 a deliberate and systematic campaign was initiated for Yugoslavia's southern republic to take over the history of ancient Macedonia. “Scholars” from the “People’s Republic of Macedonia” were commissioned to re-write their history books to include the ancient Macedonian History according to the wishes of the League of Communists of communist Yugoslavia, accompanied by perverted maps showing their "Macedonia" going all the way down to the northern half of Mount Olympus. Also, “linguists” led by Blagoj Konev, a.k.a. Blaze Koneski, were appointed to create the alphabet for and refine the "newly discovered" Macedonian language, which, of course, was made to sound as if it were the “natural development” of the ancient Macedonian language. Through their control of mass media and education, the government of “People’s Republic of Macedonia” then introduced this language and claimed that it is the language that was spoken by the ancient Macedonians. However, this language is grammatically nearly identical to Bulgarian and, due to continuous government interventions, its vocabulary tends to include more Serbo-Croatian words that have replaced the Bulgarian words. They clearly overlooked the unquestionable fact that the inhabitants of ancient Macedonia were Hellenes and spoke the Hellenic language. Numerous excavations in all of the ancient Macedonia area have consistently unearthed relics clearly with Hellenic writings, and depictions of rulers clearly designated with Hellenic names.
The GREEKNESS of the following which are examples of countless others cannot be denied:
Macedonian = GREEK for "the tall one"
Amyntas (father of Philip) = GREEK for "defender"
Philippos (Philip) = GREEK for "one who loves the horse"
Alexandros (Alexander) = GREEK for "the protector of man"
Bucephalus (Alexander's beloved horse with a large head)= GREEK for "ox-like head "
Aristotle (Alexander's teacher) = GREEK for "the best and perfect one"
Thessaloniki = GREEK for "victory over the Thessalians"
The deliberate and systematic campaign of distortion, stealing and absorption of the history and ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians has intensified and is ongoing today with full and untiring strength. Although officially this country is known as The FYROM, through a vigorous campaign they have managed to contrive the world to call it “Macedonia” in common day usage disregarding the UN resolutions. The Internet and mass-communications have made it easy for them to do this and they have used these tools to create a flood of misinformation. One such example that clearly shows their devious actions is the Web site: http://faq.macedonia.org/. Hitler is credited with saying "Tell a big enough lie, tell it often enough, and it becomes the truth." In some way this provides an explanation as to why the inhabitants of The FYROM are so adamant about keeping the name “Macedonia.” Now, fifty-eight years after the start of the campaign of distortion, stealing and absorption of the HELLENIC history and ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians, we find that the inhabitants of The FYROM are mostly the children of 1944 and those that were born afterwards and who grew up with these untruths. To them these have become facts.
There has been much confusion since the FYROM's independence. There have been many discussions and misunderstandings with respect to its name and its dealings with Greece. It brings out the fact that neighbors of Greece, irrespective of international alignments or internal political regimes, have pursued, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, schemes for expanding into Greek Macedonia and Thrace. Furthermore, it supports the thesis that no single Balkan neighbor dared challenge Greek sovereignty over the two Greek northern provinces, unless it was in alliance with one or more external Great Powers.
After its independence The FYROM pursued the expansionist policies of the Communist Yugoslavia claiming lands from all neighboring countries with no exception. Unquestionably, Greece and the Greek people do not feel threatened today by a frail FYROM. However, if the FYROM is permitted to progress on a nationalist, expansionist and even revanchist course, it is guaranteed to seek its own patron who will hand over the "promised lands." The cases of Eastern Rumelia in 1885 and Kosovo in our days fully support the above perception.
The government of the FYROM has already officially appropriated Sts. Cyril and Methodius as being "Macedonians" meaning Slavs only because they were born in Thessaloniki, Greek Macedonia. This is as if the Yugoslavian government declares the Roman Emperor Constantine I, the Great, a Yugoslav only because he was born, in Nis, Serbia. Should Greece call Mustafa Kemal a Greek since he was born in Thessaloniki?
4. THE GREEKNESS OF MACEDONIA
Countless historians and other scholars have written extensively about the Greekness of Macedonia. Henry Morgenthau served in Constantinople as US Ambassador (1913-16), served as Vice President of the Relief Committee for the Middle East (1919-21). He was appointed by the League of Nations and served as President of the Greek Refugee Settlement Committee (1923-28) and is known as a most reliable source of historical facts. In 1929 (please note that this was 15 years before the start of the campaign of distortion, stealing and absorption of the Greek history and ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians by Tito’s propagandists) Henry Morgenthau published his book “I was sent to Athens”, in which he writes:
"Soon after Athens had reached the height of its glory under Pericles in the Fifth Century, B. C., and had started on its decline, the rise of Macedon under Philip carried Greek influence into new regions. The glory of Athens had been based upon sea power, but the conquests of Macedon were the work of land armies— Philip invented the invincible phalanx. Upon Philip's death his son, Alexander the Great, set forth to conquer the whole of the then known world, and as that world in his day lay to the east, his marches were in that direction. In a few years he had overrun the fertile plains and opulent cities of Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia, and had carried his conquests to the gates of Delhi. In all the cities in the intervening countries he left large garrisons of Greek soldiers. In many of these countries he founded flourishing new cities. In every place his soldiers were followed by large colonies of Greek civilians. The result was that the whole of western Asia, and of what we call the Near East, including Asia Minor Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Persia, and northwestern India, was saturated with the Greek influence and with Greek colonies."
"The imagination of these conquered peoples was dazzled by the introduction of Greek art, literature, philosophy, and public works. Though the successors of Alexander were unable to maintain the political control of the lands he conquered, and though successive waves of Roman, Arabian, and Tartar conquests swept over these lands in succeeding centuries, none of the later conquerors has been able wholly to eradicate the influence of Greek culture, nor to exterminate that element of population which was of Greek blood."
"….The Greek War of Independence, which came to a successful conclusion in 1832, affected less than one half of the Greeks in the Turkish Empire. It did not bring freedom to the Greeks of Macedonia and Thrace, of Crete and the Aegean Islands, nor to the more than two million Greeks in Asia Minor and Constantinople."
5. THE ETHNICITY OF THE FYROM
The Yugoslavian Military Encyclopedia lists the ancestors of the present FYROM inhabitants as Slavs, people of the first Slavic tribes of Brsjaci, Dragudati, Smoljani, Rinhini, Velegiziti and others, that arrived in the area in the 6th century AD.
But who are these people? The history of the Slav inhabitants of The FYROM goes hand to hand with the history of the Bulgarian people up to 1913, for they started together by fate and they were forced to separate by politics. The present day Slavic population of The FYROM has nothing in common with the ancient Macedonians. They are simply put Slavs.
The southern Slavs used to be called Venedi, but the Byzantines changed their name when they migrated to the south part of the Balkans to Sklavini because the Slavs established alliances, or unions among themselves called ‘sklavinije’ with a regular hierarchy of princes like Hatson, Akamir, Prvud as their high commanders. In the middle of the 5th century AD the southern Slavs crossed the Carpathian Mountains and settled in the former Roman provinces of Panonia (modern day Hungary) and Dacia (modern day Romania). It seems that the first Slavic and the Hunnic (Turkish) tribes of the Bulgars started attacking the Balkan areas together in the 5th century AD. In the beginning they robbed the Byzantine population, devastating the countryside and then returning to their bases.
Lasting settlements of Slavs in Macedonia began at the end of sixth century. Up to the middle of the seventh century seven Slavic tribes, such as Draguviti, Brsjaci or Bereziti, Sagudati, Rinhini, Strumljani or Strimonci, Smoljani, Velegeziti united in tribal unions, thus turning into an important political and ethnic factor in the history of the Balkans. They are the ancestors of the present day Slavic population of the FYROM and originally they inhabited the territory from the river Nestos to Thessaly, and from Thessaloniki to the Mountains Shar, Rila, and Osogovska.
Smoljani and one part of Draguviti settled on the Rodopi Mountain Range; Sagudati and the other part of Draguviti inhabited the area north of Thessaloniki; Strumljani / Strimonci preferred the lowlands of Strymon; whereas Rinhini went down to Chalkidiki and some of them even to Mt. Athos. On the other hand Brsjaci / Bereziti along with the Velegeziti settled the areas of Ohrid and Prespa. There were a few other tribes of Timocani, Abodrini, and Moravjani, which inhabited the south part of the present day Serbia and later they were incorporated to the Serbia Nation. The Timocani lived in the lowlands of the river Timok, the Abodrini inhabited the west lowlands of Timok and the Moravijani populated the area of the river Morava in the heart of present day Serbia, called Sumadija. As time passed the trapped Thraco-ilirian population was either pushed to the mountain regions, or at a later time assimilated by the Slavs.
Because of their strong culture and population the Greeks could not be assimilated, but stayed intact. So that areas with strong Greek presence remained Greek. Thus even if Slavic and Bulgarian elements were living in Macedonia and Thrace the main bulk of the populace was Greek. The Illyrian lands that form today's Albania and its neighboring areas were out of the Slavic and Bulgarian reach.
So, these are the Slav inhabitants of the FYROM. What is interesting about the whole matter is that very few of them know their own history and even those who know it don’t want to say anything afraid for their safety or the stigma of being a “traitor.” What is more interesting is the fact that notable citizens of The FYROM, like the following, have acknowledged publicly that they are descendants of the first Slavic tribes.
February 26, 1992: The FYROM's President Kirov Gligorov, at an interview by the Foreign Information Service daily report, Eastern Europe, stated: "We are Slavs, who came to the region in the sixth century. We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians.
January 22, 1999: The FYROM's Ambassador in Washington D.C., Mrs. Ljubica Acevska, gave a speech on the present situation in the Balkans, she stated: "We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great. We are Slavs and we speak a Slavic language. Greece is The FYROM's second largest trading partner and its number one "investor."
February 24, 1999: The FYROM.'s Ambassador to Canada, Gyordan Veselinov, in an interview with the "Ottawa Citizen", he admitted: "We are not related to the northern Greeks who produced leaders like Philip and Alexander the Great. We are Slavs and our language is closely related to Bulgarian. There is some confusion about our identity."
December 29, 2001: Even recently, in an interview to Utrinski Vesnik of Skopje, the Foreign Minister of The FYROM Slobodan Casule said that he mentioned to the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria Solomon Pasi that they “belong to the same Slav people.”
And yet nobody neither internally nor externally has asked “then what’s with the name Macedonia?” The only ones who believe they are descendants of the ancient Macedonians, are the ones who received their high degree of education from the "Titoic School of History" under the auspices of communist Yugoslavia.
6. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
Our ancestors are the original Macedonians, the Macedonian Hellenes, who arrived in the area around 2000 BC. The Macedonian Hellenes were descendants of the Heracleides. As such the ancient Macedonians were part of a larger and the last group of Hellenes, which reached the area of present day Kastoria (ORESTIS) along with the Dorians, Acarnanians and Aetolians around 2000 BC. Herodotus, the father of history, very carefully describes the 800- year wanderings of that large group, which eventually split into three smaller groups. Just after the Trojan War, the first group under the leadership of Dorus inhabited Peloponnesus and the second group, the Acarnanians and Aetolians, went south. The third group marched east and by pushing the Phrygians, established the Kingdom of Macedonia on a loop of the River Aliakmon. The first king of Macedonia was Karanos who reigned between 813 and 786 BC. More recent archeological discoveries of the tomb of King Philip II (father of Alexander the Great) at Vergina, in 1985 and lately at nearby Aiani, the discovery of remnants from the 600 BC Mycenean civilization (southern Greece) add to the tangible evidence that Macedonia is Greek.
Alexander was as much a Hellene as the southern Hellenes, speaking the same language, worshipping the same gods, uniting the Hellenes against the common enemy, spreading the Hellenic language and civilization throughout his vast empire and leaving nothing but Hellenic footprints everywhere he went in his short life.
Alexander's own words are quoted as: "Men of Athens... Had I not greatly AT HEART the common welfare of GREECE I should not have come to tell you; BUT I AM MYSELF GREEK BY DESCENT, and I would not willingly see Greece exchange freedom for slavery.... If you prosper in this war, forget not to do something for my freedom; consider the risk I have run, out of zeal for the GREEK CAUSE, to acquaint you with what Mardonius intends, and to save you from being surprised by the barbarians. I am ALEXANDER of MACEDON."
[Herodotus, The Histories, 9.45, translated by G.Rawlinson]
"...consider all Hellas your fatherland, as did the founder of your race,..."
[Isokrates, To Philip 127]
In 324BC, after the establishment of his state, Alexander the Great gave an oath to the officers and soldiers of his state. The oath was also addressed to all the races that lived in the territories of his empire, it was given near Babylon (in Opis) and the philosopher Eratosthenes passes it to us. By the reading the oath one can quickly realize how much Greek Alexander felt, and how proud he was of his Greek origin:
"I wish all of you, now that the wars are coming to an end, to live happily, in peace. All mortals from now on will live like one people, united, and peacefully working towards a common prosperity. You should regard the whole world as your country, a country where the best govern, with common laws, and no racial distinctions. I do not separate people, as many narrow minded others do, into Greeks and barbarians. I am not interested in the origin or race of citizens. I only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. For me each foreigner is a Greek and each bad Greek is a barbarian. If ever there appear differences among you, then you must not resolve them by taking to arms, you should resolve them in peace. If need be, I will act as your negotiator.
You must not think of God as an authoritarian ruler, but you should consider him as a common father, so that your conduct resembles the uniform behavior of brothers who belong to the same family. For my part, I consider all, whether they be white or black, equal. And I would like you to be not only subject of my common-wealth, but also participants and partners. You should regard the Oath we have taken tonight as a Symbol of Love."
Alexander I - Opis (324 BC)
There is no doubt that particular area endured many conquests by various conquerors. But even during the Roman Conquest, which continued into the Byzantine Era - a period of about one thousand years - that Roman territory, with Constantinople as its capital and Thessaloniki (in Macedonia) as a cultural and commercial center of the Empire, remained fully Hellenic. Furthermore, during Justinian’s time it adopted the Hellenic language as the formal and official Language of the Byzantine State. Although the Romans came as conquerors they were instead conquered by the Hellenic spirit, education and culture.
Throughout the Ottoman Empire the geographical area of Macedonia was divided in three administrative areas called vilayets. Each vilayet was further divided in smaller areas called sandzaks and each sandzak was further divided in kazas. Thus during the period of the Ottoman Empire there were three vilayets that included, but not limited the area of geographic Macedonia. One vilayet was Manastir with its capital the city of Manastir (present day Bitola, the FYROM). The other one Kosova, with capital Prizren (present day Kosovo), which included parts of present day Kosovo and the northern part of the FYROM). The third one was the vilayet of Selanik with its capital Selanik (present day Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece). This included parts of the Greek Macedonia, parts of the south-eastern FYROM and parts of southwestern Bulgaria.
After the demise of the Ottoman Turkey the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913 Greece was awarded the south geographical part of Macedonia, Serbia the north geographical part, and Bulgaria was awarded a small northeastern geographical part of Macedonia. The Serbs called their part South Serbia and later Vardarska Banovina, which included the whole territory of the FYROM, Kosovo and part of present-day south-eastern Serbia.
During the Ottoman Occupation of Greece, which lasted about four hundred years, the Greeks, including those in the Macedonian area, never lost their Hellenic identity. Through about twenty generations during that era they were able to preserve their language, religion and most importantly their Hellenic conscience under the most difficult circumstances of an enslaved nation. Southern Greece was liberated in 1821 and during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 Greece liberated its province of Macedonia from the Ottoman rulers.
7. THE FYROM’s ILLEGITIMATE CLAIM TO THE NAME MACEDONIA
If the entire region of The FYROM were from ancient Macedonia they would have some legitimate claim for The FYROM to be called Macedonia. But it is not. Over 90% of the ancient Macedonian area is outside of The FYROM's borders and less than 1/5 of its own land within its borders is from the ancient Macedonian area. The FYROM is clearly mostly a Slavic region.
If a vast majority of the inhabitants in The FYROM were Greeks, they would have some legitimate claim to have this country named Macedonia. But they are not. The Greek inhabitants in The FYROM are a small minority. Officially they don’t exist.
So where does their claim for The FYROM to be called Macedonia in any form comes from? There is no valid reason, which is based on facts for this country to have any form of a name that contains "Macedonia" in it.
If one group of people could be called Macedonians, these are the Macedonian Greeks as the direct descendents of the ancient Macedonians.
Even if the whole world recognizes The FYROM’s inhabitants as Macedonians, if Greece does not recognize them as such, they are not and they can not be Macedonians. They know that too.
8. RECOMMENDATION FOR A JUST NAME FOR THE FYROM
Except for a narrow strip in the south, the FYROM's territory has never been part of ancient Macedonia. Further this state never existed before 1944 when Marshall Tito created it as one of the constituent republics of communist Yugoslavia. To claim the name, ethnicity and culture of "Macedonia" by the FYROM which has only about 10% of the ancient Macedonian area is ludicrous and irritating to those that live in the other 90% of that area. Furthermore, since this 10% is only 1/5 of its own land, calling the whole country "Macedonia" is ludicrous and irritating to many inhabitants of the other 4/5 of the FYROM which have no connection whatsoever to ancient Macedonia. It is therefore most logical for the FYROM to change its name to what that area was called prior to 1944 ("VARDARSKA") such as "VARDARSKA REPUBLIKA " or "REPUBLIKA VARDAR". This would serve as a unifying force for the various factions within its borders, it would eliminate the name controversy with its neighbors, and it would put them on the road to their proper identity, ethnicity, heritage and most of all dignity.
The term Macedonia was used officially within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since April 30, 1944. But now as an independent state The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has in the past and will claim in the future exclusivity on the term Macedonia and its derivatives. Now the country, which wants to be called “Macedonia” wants to have exclusive rights on the name Macedonia and its derivatives. The danger in this is that The FYROM could find patrons and then it could very well claim all adjacent Macedonian territories with the Capital of Greek Macedonia, Thessaloniki, as its prize. That is why The FYROM's inhabitants and their compatriots abroad insist on the ethnic name Macedonia, although prominent citizens of The FYROM admit they are Slavs.
The matters that Greece must be concerned with have to do with more than the name of the newly created Slavic entity. A composite name that includes "Macedonia" or its derivatives will not be respected by anyone not only within the FYROM, but also the World unless the Slavic part of the name in not translated into any language. The name Yugoslavia or the land of South Slavs is established and accepted by all countries as is, although its first component means "south" in Serbocroatian. Under similar conditions a composite name could remain without translation. But in the case of The FYROM, the first component will disappear while the ink is still wet.
The name Macedonia is part of the historic and cultural legacy of all Hellenes. Macedonia’s history, including its name, was not, is not, and can NEVER become a negotiable commodity.
- FYROM: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, known as Vardarska until the 1940's, when Yugoslavia changed its name and falsified its cultural heritage in order to try to steal Macedonia from Hellas.
- FYROM's final name with any inclusion of "Macedonia" in it, or a derivative thereof, would be the falsification of history and an injustice to humanity.
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