Mikis Theodorakis: “Skopje’s concessions are a gimmick for suckers!”

The leading composer speaks to Proto Thema: “The rally is of historical importance”

Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, with the fiery political speech, argues for the reasons why Macedonia should not be included in the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), arguing that in the neighboring country “extremists and moderate ones” they follow the same irredentist agenda, naming Zaev’s concessions (renaming of the airport and motorway) to Davos as “gimmick for suckers”.

What also makes an impression ia his position for amending the Constitution so that the President of the Republic can acquire substantial powers “so that the country is not ruled by a prime minister-democratic dictator, even with as low as a 20% of the electorate”, while pointing out that the country needs a strong majority government as soon as possible, because it is “not only unacceptable but foolish to be ruled by people like Mr. Tsipras at a historical time when the sea of historical events tends to become a storm that will test the strengths of this ship called ‘Greece’ to an extreme degree”.

 – What do you call the Thessaloniki rally?

Of historical significance! With the memoranda and in particular that of the current government, the resistance of our people has reached rock bottom. This situation was enough to increase the conquering appetites of the reactionary circles in our neighboring countries (Albania, FYROM, Turkey) who conspire with the help of the known international forces against our national integrity. The name ‘Macedonia’ is the vehicle of the extremists in FYROM, expressing the always present irredentist aspirations that aim at the creation of ‘Aegean Macedonia’ with the conquest of our Western Macedonia, Thessaloniki and Halkidiki. So the name of Macedonia is not just a name but awaits the Greek ‘vote’ to receive the historical validation that they know very well that they are missing.

Because they are not stupid to believe that their Slavic ancestors who arrived in the Balkans seven hundred years after Christ, were descendants of Alexander the Great who lived a thousand years ago! They succeeded, however, starting with Tito in 1944, who utterly arbitrarily gave the name ‘Macedonia’ in the southern part of the then communist Yugoslavia, to educate many generations of their people with the certainty that they are genuine Macedonians, more authentic than those who reside in Greece. And for this reason, they have a national duty to…liberate them from the ‘Greek conquerors’, creating the genuine and great ‘Aegean Macedonia’.

Extremists and moderate ones follow the same irredentist agenda

There is not one Skopjan currently thinking otherwise. In my opinion, there are not two types of people in FYROM, the extremists and the moderate ones. They are all the same. Their differences are not strategic but tactical. And I would say that I understand the way they are thinking, since from 1944 to 1992 there was no protest on behalf of all the Greek governments. And for that, as I wrote earlier in the newspaper “Ta Nea”, I had told then Prime Minister K. Mitsotakis, in his capacity as minister of government, that “you Greek politicians should be ashamed for leaving the name dispute unresolved for so many years”. So we have to look at reality.

Because it is our responsibility that we allowed so many generations of these people to be raised with the ideas I mentioned so that today it is futile and it also appears as…unfair to ask them to change their name, which has become one with themselves. On the other hand, we are not allowed to agree with this counterfeiting of history, because then we become accomplices with the forces that are openly targeting our territorial integrity!

– Then what can be done?

I think we should admit our mistakes and our responsibilities to our neighboring people. The only solution, in my view, is to let the Macedonians believe in their national myth and at the same time we always remain faithful and unyielding to true Greek history and identity of Macedonia. And never agree that there is another illegitimate Macedonia, because if we do, it will be like shooting our own feet.

– The Thessaloniki rally was a reaction to the Tsipras government? How should the prime minister take it?

Of course it was. Moreover, the government itself proved it by dealing with it with methods and measures absolutely unacceptable, which reveals the degree of septicemia in which even the most liberal forces can develop when they are grabbed on power.

– It has already begun a devaluation operation for the Athens rally by government officials, governmental media, etc. What is your answer to them?

Based on my personal experience, the attitude of the government, the Archbishop and all the officials of the state controlled by SYRIZA & ANEL has hardened the will of the people. That’s what we call “don’t push them”. Before the Thessaloniki rally, it seems that they had “pushed them”, and that is why the people reacted in that way that made us proud. Now, with the government’s unfortunate actions (stopping the buses, the silence from the TV channels) that are continuing with more intensity the current increase in the usual misinformation, the government is “pushing” the people even more. A fact that makes me think that after the rally, I can say again that the “People” has made a stand!

– How do you see Zaev’s “concessions”, such as the renaming of the “Alexander the Great” airport in Skopje?

I believe that these “concessions” are just a “gimmick for suckers”, which is a shame to us, as the name of any airport or boulevard is in their sole discretion to change again as soon as they achieve their goals. Really, does the Prime Minister of FYROM think we are so stupid or so ready to drop our trousers? And I apologize for this expression, but it is the only one that can be understood by all these abroad and some here as well who believe that because of the memoranda they imposed on us which sank us to that low level, we forgot our History and the fundamental characteristics of our education and character. This is not the first time that the Greek stands up when everyone around him thinks he has changed into a slave.

Here, if you may, I will conclude my answer to what needs to be done. The continuation of this status quo and peaceful coexistence must be seen as our last retreat in the face of reality. In fact, we have nothing to lose. The fact that there are countries that have recognized FYROM under the name “Macedonia”, ignoring the fact that they are ridiculing themselves in the eyes of history by doing so, has nothing to do with us since it is our own decision that will ultimately judge this issue. If we refuse, as I said, to shoot our feet just to be liked by the United States, NATO, the EU etc., we can continue our lives unhindered as we have done for so many years.

However, this means that we should refuse any other concession, such as our consensus to become a member of Europe and NATO. Is it possible to coexist peacefully knowing that on the other side there is a deep state conspiring with other international powers against the integrity of our country? And that’s why we must not have delusions, but we should take all the measures that will ensure the defense of our country. We need a strong government that expresses the majority of the Greek people. And this should be done as soon as possible because it is not only unacceptable but foolish to be ruled by people like Mr. Tsipras in a historical period when the sea of historical events tends to become a storm that will test the strengths of this ship called ‘Greece’ to an extreme degree.

– The Prime Minister seems to have ignored the will of the people and continues towards a solution containing the term “Macedonia”. What would you say to him?

“Our ancient ancestors told us that “the way a man rules shows his character”, meaning that if you want to try a man, give him power. Indeed, Power has been shown to be responsible for all the evil of mankind. It changes even the noblest characters, which can turn them into extremists tyrants capable of committing even crimes if they are given the tolerance of the majority and the historical opportunity. Alexis Tsipras, thankfully, does not belong to this extreme version. He still, I think, is a noble and gentle man. But, apparently, Power has got him like a spider in its web. That is why I think he should understand that the path he follows is becoming more and more slippery and can lead him to irreversible situations.

Ethnicity and oblivion

– What are you responding to those who methodically attempt to characterize the rally “nationalist”, “far right” and even “fascist”?

Let’s not forget that when SYRIZA was at 4% an ideology against the concept of “Nation” was greatly developed. The concepts of “nation”, “motherland” and what is associated with them, such as the poets Dionysios Solomos talking about the “sacred bones of the Greeks”, Ritsos with the “dead who are waiting for the moment to mark the Resurrection”, Elytis with “it takes thousands of dead to turn the wheels”, all this became objects of resentment. Unfortunately, the Greek Left, the Greek Communist Party, which started the national resistance by creating the EAM with the main concern of the struggle and the sacrifice for the homeland and thus became the main contributors to the national struggle for the freedom of the homeland, changed over time into deniers of anything that has to do with “homeland” and “nation” as concepts that embrace and rally all Greeks, regardless of social status and political identity.

Now, for example. with the raid of the memorandum, something like a foreign attack with a weapon of economic oppression, the KKE and the hard-liners of SYRIZA did not want to admit that our basic opposition was of a national character and continued to promote the rhetoric of “social classes”, namely dividing and weakening of the people against the frontal assault of foreign banks and international financial monopolies, and thus to zero the resistance of the people, which eventually transformed into a flock of sheep, disciplined and ready to be slaughtered.

Near them, the Left side of PASOK “distinguished” itself during the time Georgos Papandreou was Prime Minister when he removed the word “national” from all ministries and public places. In a nutshell, a powerful but nonetheless a minority power, has been created to fight patriotism by resorting to the cheapest weapon, throwing mud in order to face the majority of Greeks who showed their strength in Thessaloniki, and I am sure that they will have an even bigger rally in Athens also.