Given that the Greeks are flat broke and are seeking massive handouts from the rest of the world, they should realise that they have zero influence on this planet and they should know their place. Macedonia is an independent country.
Amen to that brother. I think the Greeks and Macedonians have lost years with this name crap. Live in peace, and help each other. Every human on earth is born free. So be it.
The real trouble is that the author of this article wants to "let history go", yet he insists upon using an unhistorical name: "Lerin". Today, it doesn't exist. n fact, it was not named that way even in the Ottoman era.
For some weird reason, the author does not bother to name Skopje into "Uskub", the Ottoman name of that city - at least in an attempt to synchronise it with his attempt to name Florina as "Lerin", a name that has been used only informally and never officially.
The real trouble is that the neighbours in the north refuse to understand that they are not the descendants of the ancient Macedonians, but Slavs who invaded Macedonia during the Middle Ages. We pushed them back a century ago, in almost the same way.
We cannot possibly accept that those people are trying to masquerade into the people who their ancestors tried to exterminate. We cannot comprehend how they can claim that places like Skopje belong to Macedonia, when it is well known that Skopje was never part of Macedonia.
We cannot comprehend how they raise statues of Alexander the Great and Phillip in Skopje, when none of them has ever been in that place during their lifetimes. It is also debatable if Justinian, another statue in Skopje, ever visited that city.
We cannot comprehend why they do not raise statues of Bardyllis, the ancient warrior king who lived in their area and possibly had Skoupi as his capital. Probably he is punished for being Illyrian. We cannot comprehend why they do not raise a statue of Stefan Dusan, who ruled his kingdom from Skopje during the Middle Ages. Probably he is punished for being a Serb.
We cannot understand why these people spend all that money to project a mythical past, while they are abandoning their true heritage to fall apart in many different locations within their country.
We cannot comprehend what is the route that these people have taken, but for sure it is not European. We are not interested in their path, we have our own problems. Let them stick to their lonely path.
They can have their own private schools in our country, and they have them, as we have our private schools in their country. Unfortunately those schools do not teach just language but, also culture, traditions and inevitably history.
Their mutually incompatible versions of history: that they are direct descendants of the ancient Macedonians and that the Medieval Slavic tribes first invaded, expelled and later merged with the Macedonians are both wrong.
Until they realire that the Macedonians survived despite their actions and fought them almost outside of the historical Macedonia, we shall never find a compromise - and they shall remain outside of the EU and NATO.
The writter of this article is bang on. Greece came to Macedonia with the help of the big powers in 1913. Fact is, Greece never before set foot in Macedonia. Lerin was called Lerin durring the Ottoman Empire.
Just look at history. In 1936-1940, durring the dictatorship of General Metaxas, an order was issued to change all names from Macedonian to Greek sounding - the toponims of mountains,rivers,lakes,and villages were changed.
The 1982 secret service was created to shut down the will of the indigenouse Macedonians. There are still more than 1,500,000 Macedonians in the Greek-occupied Macedonia. I am from the Lerin area. In 1955, I met a Turk by the name of Murat who was born in Lerin before Greece occupied this area of Macedonia. Greek fabrications are never ending. How can you co-exist with a neghbour like Greece that does not even recognises its own citizens - Macedonians - who lived there for centuries?
Greeks, please stop, let go.Every person has the right to identyfy themselves of their idiom, as free citizens. The Republic of Macedonia is populated by a Macedonian majority, the same is true in the Aegean Macedonia.We are one and the same people, even though we have been occupied by foreign powers for centuries. Who gives you the right to change my name?
Peter - Canada
This article is a bunch of anti-Greek baloney, omitting so many issues. Where is the discussion of the identity right of Macedonians in Greece? Since when is Paeonia "Macedonia"?
And where is the discussion about their ethnic Bulgarian past? Where is the discussion that FYROM's own politicians used to assure everyone they were not related to ancient Macedonians?
Where is the discussion that FYROM nationalists teach their school children that Macedonia Greece is "occupied"? Sure is easy to hand over my identity to the former self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians of the former Yugoslavia. Not your kin facing a potential ethnic cleansing down the road.
The creation of the Macedonian nation, for almost half of a century, was done in a condition of single-party dictatorship. In those times, there was no difference between science and ideology, so the Macedonian historiography, unopposed by anybody, comfortably performed a selection of the historic material from which the Macedonian identity was created.
"We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great." FYROM'S Ambassador Ljubica Acevshka, speech to US representatives in Washington on January 22, 1999.
We have never had a problem recognising this small ethnic minority in Greece. We understand and support such a minority that is of Bulgarian Slavic ethnicity. Why do these Fyromians complain when the truth is to be told and the facts are stark naked in front their eyes?
They claim Delchev ,Gruev, Sadanski, Tartachev, Sarafov and countless others as their own - yet these same people left a Bulgarian legacy in the Balkans as freedom fighters for Bulgaria.This tiny country should be called by it's proper name The Balkan Central Republic that constitutes a diverse ethnicity of Albanians, Bulgarians, Turks, Vlachs, Jews, Serbians, Roma and Greeks.
Peter Kalla - Melbourne Australia
Peter from Canada. The official Ottoman name of Florina was Florina. Only the south Slavs used the name "Lerin". Even "Bitola" was named Manastir by the Ottomans and Monastirion by the Greeks, but the truly Ancient Macedonian name is Heraclea Lyncestis.
You say that: "In 1936-1940, durring the dictatorship of General Metaxas, an order was issued to change all names from Macedonian to Greek sounding - the toponims of mountains,rivers,lakes,and villages were changed."
No, it did not happen under Metaxas - but under Pangalos at 1926. "Occupied by Greece in 1912, that have forcedly been changed from 1926 and forward."
"Greece followed a policy of assimilating the Macedonian minority and Hellenizing the Macedonian region in northern Greece. The government changed place names and personal names from Macedonian to Greek, - decree no. 332 of 1926 - ordered religious services to be performed in Greek, and altered religious icons."
"The large colonisation brought about by the Greeks was followed by a law passed by the Greek government in 1926 on the change of the toponymy of Aegean Macedonia. All villages, towns, rivers and mountains were renamed and given Greek names."
Of course one has to question how "the Macedonian names were changed to Greek" when... the "Macedonian" name Gida was changed to the Greek name Alexandreia. So, Alexandreia is not a Macedonian name, but it is Greek?
The same applies with the most names that were changed by the Greek authorities in Macedonia, especially the ones whose name was preserved in history. Thessaloniki - sister of Alexander the Great - Serres, Edessa etc.
No secret service was created at 1982 in Greece. The reports that you have read - never authenticated - were supposedly the work of the existing KYP, later named to EYP.
You say that: "There are still more than 1,500,000 Macedonians in the Greek-occupied Macedonia." Actually we are over two million people in Macedonia right now, and only half are indigenous.
So we are one million indigenous Macedonians, but we are not related to your kin that numbers less than 40.000 people.
Furthermore, i reject your claim that "the Republic of Macedonia is populated by a Macedonian majority, the same is true in the Aegean Macedonia".
"The colonization by this population, whom the Macedonians called madziri - in-comers, foreigners - resulted in Aegean Macedonia losing its Macedonian ethnic character. The Macedonians, 240,000, became a minority; they were present as a majority only in the western part of Aegean Macedonia -Kostur, Lerin and Voden regions)."
You see, I can use your very own sources to contradict your arguments, although I can use your sources in order to contradict each other.
"Currently, the ethnic Macedonians, estimated around 1,000,000 by some sources, still constitute the majority of population in that part of the Greece, Aegean part of Macedonia."
Wikipedia appears to show different numbers than all of your accounts.
"Slavic-speakers" or "Slavophones" is also used as a cover term for people across the different ethnic orientations. The exact number of the linguistic minority remaining in Greece today, together with its members' choice of ethnic identification, is difficult to ascertain; most maximum estimates range from around 180,000-200,000, with those of an ethnic Macedonian national conscienceness numbering possibly 10,000 to 30,000."
In any case, you have never sent anybody to the Greek parliament. It used to take 12.000~20.000 votes in one prefecture in order to do so. The Turks succeeded that from 1912 to 1922, and more recently. The Jews succeeded this from 1912 to 1935. Why did you fail to send your representatives to the Greek parliament, and why do you cry about "mistreatment" of "hundreds of thousands of people" who had dozens of chances to vote from 1912 until today?
The real names - the first ones that you used during the Middle ages - were quite different: Draguvici, Berezici, Strumovici, Keramici, Velegezici, Ezerici etc.
You'd better familiarize yourselves with the idea that the Macedonians were not a Slavic tribe in the Balkans. And their language was Old Church Slavonic, not "Macedonian".
I'd like to thank the author for the support, that was a beautiful article and I commend him for realising Greece must also compromise, yet they believe Macedonia must give everything up. Greeks argue about history, when they don't realise modern Macedonians state they are a mix of the ancient Macedonians and Slavic people's merged several hundred years ago.
They also ignore that Macedonia was divided in 1913 - by Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece. In Greece, an ethnocide-like Hellenisation occurred in which Macedonian language and religion was declared illegal and Macedonians forced to adopt Greek language and religion, over 600000 Asian refugees settled into Macedonia while countless amounts of Macedonians were evicted or killed from there native homes.
And let's not forget Greeks destroyed all evidence of Macedonian presence by changing frescoes, street names, landmarks and even tombstones into Greek. If Macedonia was Greek then this Hellenisation, especially under Metaxas, would not have been necessary.
The funny thing is in the 1920s Greece respected the Macedonians and actually recognised them - but today they are obsessed with hidding the books and maps written during those times in order to avoid embarrassment.
Greeks spend all their EU money on conducting anti-Macedonian activities. Greece claims Macedonia has territorial aspirations yet they are the ones who divided Macedonia in 1913. They are the ones who wanted to divide Republic of Macedonia with Serbia's Milosevic in the 1990s, and they are the ones with priest talking about invading Bitola in the 2000s.
No one takes you seriously anymore Greece because the Macedonians are right. Recognise the Macedonians in Greece like you did in the 1920s - and give them their human rights, recognize the Republic of Macedonia like you did before you realised their independence in the 1990s was immenent and stop trying to ignore the history of Macedonia since it is complex and it is not solely yours.
Warrior on a horse - USA
Peter - there are still more than 1,500,000 Macedonians in the Greek-occupied Macedonia. I will remind you that recently in euro-election, in Greece, the slavic-bulgarian origin party took less than 4,000 votes.
"But that two neighbouring countries with a long and rich history." This not true. The Macedonians, from antiquity until today, were Greeks - Hellens - and spoke the Greek language.
This article is rather comical claiming that Greece and fyrom "share common rich history". Fyrom are Slavs with Bulgarian idiom as language and they were ever known as Bulgarians until 19th century. Misirkov spoke for "Macedonian" Slavs part of south Slavic nations, brothers with Bulgarians.
There is no historical link with antiquity and ancient Makedon. Upon they arrival in the Balkans in the 7th century until 1900, they were Bulgarians and fought against Greece in Balkan wars 1912-13. What common history is there with Greeks?
likoyrgos katexakis - Greece
The name Lerin hurts the most. Even that they call Bitola - Monastiri, Izmir - Smyrna, Istanbul - Constantinople, the Greek government changed 5.000 toponyms since 1923, and forbade people to talk in Turkish or Macedonian even at home.
It's high time for reality - Macedonians existed for centuries and we exist now. And it does not mean that USSR and satellites will send weapons to help the communist struggle, again. Those days are long gone, but Macedonians will always be here. Along with Greeks, Albanians, Bulgarians, Vlachs, Serbs and Turks.
Kiro Velkovski - Skopje, Macedonia
You are forgetting an important fact. Macedonia existed prior to the Ottomans arriving almost 600 years ago. Did Greece? Answer: no.
Tom - Turkey
So Peter, here is the official census from the year 1904. How does that compare to the statement there where no Greeks are in the area. The 1904 Ottoman census of Hilmi Pasha recorded 373,227 Greeks and 204,317 Bulgarians in the vilayet of Selânik - Thessaloniki - alone.
According to the same census, Greeks were also dominant in the vilayet of Manast?r - Bitola - counting 261,283 Greeks and 178,412. The Fyromian people 1903: "We are Bulgarians, more Bulgarians than the Bulgarians in Bulgaria themselves."
Krste Misirkov, "On Macedonian Matters" 1903. The Fyromian people 1992. "We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century AD, we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians."
Kiro Gligorov, (first democraticaly elected president of FYROM, referring to the citizens of his country), Foreign Information Service Daily Report, Eastern Europe, February 26, 1992.
What about the human rights for the real Macedonians? They dont have any rights to keep their identity and history? You know the ones that actually lives on historic Macedonian land versus the former self determined Bulgarians that don't.
You know the ones that can read the ancient Macedonian inscriptions versus the former self determined Bulgarians from Fyrom that speaks a Bulgarian dialect. You know the ones that uses ancient Macedonian names for it cities like Thessaloniki and Pella versus the former self determined Bulgarians from Fyrom that uses Bulgarian city names like Solun and Postol.
Johan - Clearwater
What about the real Greek Macedonians that can be tracked through every time period? They have no rights at all. Who speaks up for them?
Johan - Clearwater
Aegean Macedonia is under Greek occupation. Macedonians must be allowed to unite because Lerin, Solun have always been Macedonian cities inhabited by Macedonians. Greeks and Macedonian can be friends when the Greek army goes south of Olymp mountain.
Lerin the Macedonian
"Lerin"? Now you are using even Slavic names for cities in Greece? How incredibly offensive and hypocritical is that?
Macedonia suddenly became of great importance to Greece after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and Macedonia's realisation of independence in 1991. As long as Macedonia was subsumed under another nation state, and had no international expression of of identity, Greeks paid no attention to it.
Now suddenly, Greeks claim they have a deep national consciousness and attachment to Macedonia. What a complete, utter farce. History is coming back to haunt them and so their strategy is to claim Macedonia as Greek.
Greece seems to be the only nation with multiple identities: Greek, Hellenic and now Macedonian.
James - Windsor, Ontario
I am married to a woman whose parents came from Greece in the 1990s. Her father told me there is no such thing as Macedonia.
Today, he tells me Macedonia is part of Greek history. These people are confused.
Peter - Canada
@Peter - Canada. It seems as if you are confused, or you don't listen properly.
Kuraz - pickograd
If such ill researched views is what Mr. Dawens EFA groups frames as "human rights" then his organization should be feared by every European that wishes to keep their identity. Using his rationale of self-determination as an absolute - ignoring history completely - then any ethnic group could instantly face erasure purely on the basis some political faction in some another nation decided to rename themselves.
In this case Mr Dauwens seeming supports the ethnic erasure of Macedonians, that is - Greeks in the Macedonia - to replace them with the former self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians of FYROM located in ancient Paeonia not Macedonia - Dauwen, at least with regards to this issue, seems to share the same views as cold war communist thugs. Stalin, also involved in ethnic engineering, sometimes framed his views as "human rights" too.
To the "Greeks" on this forum - perhaps, you have a problem with your identity. The name Greece and Greeks is only a few centuries old.
The ancient nation Hellenes was different than what Greeks call Greece. Macedonia, on the other hand, has remained Macedonian for nearly 3,000 years. Ethnic Macedonians live in oppression in "Greece". Indisputable facts.
Alexander - Toronto, Canada
@Alexander Toronto Canada. You miss a little detail though mate. Aristotelis says clearly that Ãñáéêïò (Greek) is an older name for Greeks than the name Åëëçíáò(Hellenas). So there's no difference, it's exactly the same.
Anyway, Greeks were known since antiquity with many names like Danaoi (=Äáíáïé), Achaoi(=Á÷áïé) and Romioi(=Ñùìéïé).
Before Macedonia became independent in 1991, Greeks would commonly state that there was no such thing as Macedonia or a Macedonian ethnicity. After independence, they now laughably claim that they are the "real" Macedonians.
Until Greece reaches an historic rapprochement with the Republic of Macedonia and recognises its people and nation, the farcical and contrived "name dispute" will go on forever because the hard truth is that there is no resolution to it. It's Macedonia, period. Greece must end its overbearing stance toward a country with one-fifth its population and aim for harmony in the Balkans. Surely its ongoing debt crisis, and the remarkably unflattering, and ongoing, scrutiny Greece has been under for over a year-and-a-half, should make Greece learn some lessons in humility.
James - Windsor, Ontario
To all of you, get your facts right before you comment. The original inhabitants of that region, current border of Macedonia and Greece, were Latin-speaking people of Roman descent called Aromanians - or so-called Vlachs, and a Justinian could have been of Vlach descent.
Slavs were not present during that period and Hellenic people were further south from the contested border. The Vlachs are still found today in Greece and not recognised in their original homeland.
Donna Nastevski - Australia