The Greek-Australian community in Melbourne, Australia is organising a rally on the Macedonian issue on Sunday, February 25 outside the General Consulate of Greece in Melbourne, at 2pm local time (5am Greek time).
The large Greek diaspora, which has been one of the most active groups in promoting matters of national interest for Greece, is once again at the forefront of initiatives abroad on the pressing Macedonian issue, which has resurfaced after the current Greek government appears to be planning to reach a compromise-deal which could prove disastrous for Greece’s national interests.
The rally aims to raise awareness on the name dispute between Greece and FYROM, while put pressure on the Greek government to stand by the long-standing policy of rejecting FYROM’s use of any name that would include a derivative of the term “Macedonia”. It also aims to urge the broader Australian community to support the just cause of Greece on the matter. The organisers of the rally are expecting a large turnout, with the more reserved estimates putting the crowd at 10,000. Following is the press release on the rally by the organising committee.:
Organising Committee for “Rally for Macedonia”
“Victorians are Australian just as Macedonians are Greek”
Our name is NOT negotiable
Melbourne, 25 February–Outside the office of the General Consulate of Greece in Melbourne, 2pm
First and foremost, the Macedonian Community of Victoria, an integral part of the broader Greek Community, extends its deepest gratitude to the Australian Government for its long standing position on this very sensitive issue. By recognising the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) by its provisional name, as used within the United Nations, our government has kept a neutral stance thus not encouraging intransigence from either side during the UN sponsored negotiation process for a mutually acceptable solution to FYROM’s problem with it’s constitutional name.
We inform the Australian public that the Macedonian Community of Victoria, in conjunction with the entire Victorian Community of Greek descent, will be holding a peaceful rally/gathering on 25 February 2018 under the motto ” Macedonia- Our name is NOT negotiable”. Participants will gather by 2.00PM at the General Consulate of Greece in Melbourne, at 37-39 Albert Road, Melbourne.
Why are we rallying?
This peaceful rally is organised in response to the Greek Government’s decision to accept the use of the ancient Greek name of “Macedonia” in the name of the above mentioned Republic. Over 80% of the population of Greece opposes such a compromise as was evidenced by the two recent mass rallies in Thessaloniki and Athens, where approximately 2 million people protested against such an agreement.
Furthermore, a recent survey conducted in Skopje (capital of the FYROM) by the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” showed that 61% of the multi-national residents of the republic accept the change of the republic’s name, of which 44% accept a new name that does not include the Hellenic name of “Macedonia”.
Pseudomacedonism is the falsification and distortion of ancient and modern Greek Macedonian history in order to create a new ethnicity that up until 1944 was non-existent and primarily considered itself Bulgarian. Pseudomacedonism is the legacy of cold war politics and the brainchild of Marshall Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia. Tito feared losing the southern Yugoslav province of Vardaska, whose population after the withdrawal of the Ottoman Turks were primarily Bulgarian speakers, with a national consciousness inclined towards Bulgaria. By usurping the legacy of Macedonia Tito figured he could save the province of Vardarska by having them believe they were descendants of some ancient glorious past. Coupled with the support of the Greek communists who were supporting an autonomous Macedonia that would enter the communist sphere of influence Tito’s plan looked even more enticing as now he could see communist Yugoslavia extending to the Aegean sea. Thus a new ethnicity was created with a language re-labelled as “Macedonian” from Bulgarian to give a further element of this preposterous ethnogenesis. We can assure you that the language of this state is as much “Macedonian and not Bulgarian, as much as the language we are communicating to you in is Australian but not English.
Albeit a very brief discussion on the emergence of Pseudomacedonism, we apologise for taking more of your time, but felt it necessary to convey the reality that this issue is not a debate about whether Alexander The Great and his Macedonians were Slavs or Greeks. History is indisputable and in the past. This is a national security issue for Greece that also threatens the stability of the whole Balkan region. Pseudomacedonism must end if there is to be lasting peace and prosperity in this “powder keg” of a region.
While in recent times Pseudomacedonism was heavily propagated by the previous corrupt and ultra-nationalist Gruevski government the people of FYROM have finally elected a government, whose leadership is showing signs of hope. They appear to be dismantling the pseudomacedonism policy the previous government so vigorously applied spending billions of Euros on a project that transformed Skopje city centre into a kitsch, Disney land type of ancient Greek city. All while inflation was rampant, unemployment soaring and the state being rejected from joining global institutions that would guarantee their security and put them on the road to prosperity.
In the bid to transform public opinion, many of its leaders and influential personalities have acted responsibly and followed the example of their first President Gligorov and former Prime Minister Ljupko Georgievski in distancing themselves from Pseudomacedonism. For anyone interested we can supply many references to such leaders making statements that admit their Slavic/Bulgarian heritage and condemn pseudomacedonism. Fyrom is desperate to enter NATO and the EU and Greece is ready to support their Euro-Atlantic aspirations once they drop pseudomacedonism and their expansionist propaganda, while guaranteeing the Greeks that any agreements between Athens and Skopje will be guaranteed by relevant amendments to their constitution.
The Australian connection
Unfortunately, the growing sentiment against Pseudomacedonism in FYROM has not reached their diaspora, who in the comfort of their stable employment and economic prosperity, prefer to support proponents of Pseudomacedonism. Despite their Slavic heritage, which they should be very proud of, prefer to parade around as descendants of Alexander The Great and other ancient Greek historical figures. Unfortunately, here in Australia such supporters are more militant and would not hesitate in provoking anyone that challenges pseudomacedonism even to the point of intimidating and threatening violence. Regrettably, this behaviour has raised its ugly head In Melbourne last Sunday morning when some FYROMian community members pasted racist and very offensive posters at a Greek Church. The posters proclaim their expansionist agenda at the expense of Greek, Albanian and Bulgarian territory while using images of the star of Vergina (a Greek national symbol) and Alexander Ther Great. Another had an image that desecrates the Greek flag with some very racist and derogatory terms that captioned the image. This behaviour is reminiscent of the 90’s where tensions grew so high between our communities that it lead to violence and fire-bombing of churches and other community property. The windows of the Pan -Macedonians Hellenic centre in North Fitzroy, still display the bullet marks. We are confident that our outstanding police force will get on top of this unfortunate situation and prevent matters from escalating.
We have had enough of this rubbish and remind the Greek Government that they have no right to negotiate the use of our Hellenic name and offer future ultra-nationalist governments of FYROM the opportunity to reintroduce pseudomacedonism and threaten the Balkan regions’ territorial integrity and regional peace and stability.
The rally’s aims
Therefore, the aims of this peaceful rally are:
• To call upon Australian compatriots to support its Greek community’s rightful stance against those negotiating the use of the Hellenic name of “Macedonia” to be part of a composite name of the FYROM
• To raise community awareness of the inherent injustice flowing from Australia’s FYROM community who usurp Greek history and aspire to expand into Greek territory.
• We are deeply offended by the unjustified persistence of mainstream Australian Media to refer to FYROM as “Macedonia” even though our government and the UN recognises it as such.
• We have had enough of being discriminated against by media and many semi-government organisations who refer to FYROM as simply “Macedonia” and the Slavs of FYROM as “Macedonians” Their right to self-determination does not mean that our rights should be infringed upon.
• To call for the observation of human rights of ethnic Greeks living in the FYROM. At the conclusion of this peaceful rally, an appointed committee will submit a Declaration to the Consul General of Greece.