Monday, 5 February 2018

Macedonia; A dispute that is not about the name

Alexander Mosaic (c. first century AD), ancient Roman floor mosaic from the House of the Faunin Pompeii

For those that fail to see why Greeks deny their northern neighbors the right to use the name of Macedonia, it’s quite simple. First of all, it’s not about the name. It is mainly about the identity claim and the symbols of a “nation” that needs to be identified for something that they cannot be.

The kingdom of ancient Macedonia was located to the south of the borders of the former Yugoslav region, in the territory of Greece. Their language, nature, culture and traditions were as Greek as those of any other Hellenic people of the time.

The new State currently bearing the same name of the kingdom of Alexander the Great is part of a region that was added to the ancient one under Roman administration, centuries after the demise of Alexander and its Great Empire without any other obvious reason than proximity. This region and not only, was later, almost 1000 years after, around 900 AD inhabited by Slavic people, the same ones currently proclaiming their origin to the Classical times and Alexander.

At the same time, Macedonia has always been an integral part of the Greek national continuum, part of the Hellenic heritage and culture, like Crete, Thessaly, Peloponnese, the islands and so on.

Thus, it’s not about the name. Any country may be named after anything they like but they cannot and should not forge history in the process. However, we cannot accept equal use of the name and/or identity and of course any claim of the so called ethnic Macedonian - Slav minority.

That said, of course today there are people living in the neighboring country that feel Macedonians and have no Greek roots or language and they too have the right to self determination. That is why we accept a composite name for the former Yugoslav Republic that was named Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Macedonia by Tito after WWII. But we will never accept the pseudo-nationalism, the fake artifact of today’s FYROM.

It sounds strange but actually it isn’t. If there is a modern-day Slav Macedonian identity, this has nothing to do with the ancient one and the Modern Greek region of Macedonia that naturally has the name, the archaeological sights, the evidence and the language that marks the link. So when you say Macedonia, you may mean whatever you like. This doesn’t make it right and we will never accept it. The new and lasting name for FYROM and its subjects may be as Macedonian as they like. But they cannot use the ancient heritage to support it.

Also, Greeks of the real Macedonia need to be recognized as such, too. And this is what it makes it complicated. You cannot have another “Deutschland” established on the borders of Germany with Slavic speaking people that want to be named Deutsche or a Venetian State on the borders of Italy established by Croats.

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