Ah Greece what have you done to deserve this? July 8, 2010Posted by Yilan in Yunanistan.
Tags: Greece, Risto Stefov
While contemplating “bailing out” Greece from its current economic woes let us ponder the following;
According to a report published on December 15th, 2009 by Macedonia online
(http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/10962/2/) Greece paid journalists 130 million dollars to promote the “Greek-ness” of Macedonia.
From 1989 to 1993 the Greek Foreign Ministry, headed by Andonis Samaras, used a secret fund to pay Greek journalists 130 million US dollars to promote propaganda about the “Greek-ness” of Macedonia!
Although these funds were originally intended for external propaganda campaigns, according to the testimony given by former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis, they ended up in the pockets of Greek journalists.
“All of the funds were put in black plastic garbage bags filled with 5,000 bank notes of cash money to be used mainly for propaganda purposes against Macedonia’s name, but instead of being sent abroad, the propaganda was directed inwards towards our own country” said Mitsotakis in front of a commission.
The payments of huge lump sums coincided with the independence of Macedonia and the strengthening of internal propaganda.
The dilemma whether the Greek Government bribed journalists and publishers across the country to write material that would promote Athens´ agenda hangs in the air. Andonis Samaras, however, publicly acknowledged that a large amount of money was paid to publishers, journalists and local officials.
What more has Greece done to deserve this you say? Well, let us look at some “other things” that Greece has done over the years;
By the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest Greece annexed 51% of Macedonia along with a large Macedonian population which Greece immediately subjugated. For a century now Greece has continuously and systematically used extreme measures to eliminate all traces of the Macedonian identity.
Greece has taken many steps including eradication, expulsion, colonization, forced denationalization and assimilation in order to destroy the Macedonian consciousness and erase the Macedonian identity forever. For example;
In 1914 Professor R.A. Reiss reported to the Greek government that: “Those whom you would call Bulgarian speakers, I would simply call Macedonians. …. I repeat the mass of inhabitants there (in Macedonia) remain simply Macedonians.”
In 1919 a Greek Commission on Toponyms issued instructions for choosing Hellenic names to replace Macedonian place names.
In 1920 the Greek Ministry of Internal Affairs published an administrative booklet, “Advice on the Change of the Names of Municipalities and Villages.”
In 1920 approximately 70,000 Macedonians were forced to leave Macedonia and move to Bulgaria in exchange for approximately 25,000 so-called Greeks.
In 1923 approximately 565,000 Christian Turkish colonists from Asia Minor and approximately 55,000 colonists from Greece were settled in Macedonia.
In 1925 Greece denied the existence of Macedonians and referred to the Macedonians as “Slavophone Greeks” or as “Old Bulgarians”.
In 1926 Legislative Orders in Government Gazette #331 ordered the names of Macedonian towns, villages, mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. to be changed to Greek names.
In 1927 all Cyrillic (Macedonian) inscriptions in Macedonia were destroyed or overwritten. This included inscriptions found in Macedonian municipal buildings, churches, tombstones, and icons, prompting English journalist V. Hild to say “The Greeks do not only persecute living Slavs (meaning Macedonians)…., but they even persecute dead ones. They do not leave them in peace even in their graves. They erase the Slavonic inscriptions on the headstones, remove the bones and burn them.”
Church services in the Macedonian language were outlawed. Macedonians were forced by the Greek state to abandon their personal names and adopt Greek names assigned to them. Some of the Hellenized names still echoed their original forms. For example, Mr. Popov became Mr. Pappas whereas other Macedonian names were replaced with completely different Greek names. For example, Mr. Itskarov became Mr. Christidis, etc.
From 1926 to 1928, 1,497 Macedonian place names were converted to Greek ones. Decree 87 ordered accelerated denationalization of Macedonians. The Greek Ministry of Education sent “specially trained” instructors to accelerate conversion to the Greek language.
In 1938 Law 23666 was enacted which banned the use of the Macedonian language and strove to erase every trace of the Macedonian identity. Macedonians were fined, beaten, jailed and exiled to arid islands for simply being Macedonian by birth and/or for speaking Macedonian. Adults and children were further humiliated by being forced to drink castor oil when they were caught speaking the Macedonian language.
From 1929 to 1940, 39 more Macedonian place names were changed to Greek ones.
In 1945 Law 697 was enacted which brought into force more regulations for changing Macedonian toponyms to Greek.
In 1947 Law L-2 was enacted which arbitrarily and without due process stripped citizens of their citizenship.
In 1948 Law M was enacted which provided further means for confiscation of properties.
In 1948 approximately 28,000 Macedonian children were evacuated out of the Greek Civil War hot spots and sent to Eastern European countries. Their evacuation became permanent and the children remain exiled to this day.
In the 1950’s Greece continued to colonize Macedonian lands with colonists from Turkey, Egypt and parts of Greece.
In 1953 Greek authorities met in Solun to plan the expulsion of Macedonians and to bring Greeks from the south to colonize their lands. By decree 504 the Greek state continued to confiscate properties from Macedonians and give parcels of these lands, along with financial incentives, to Greek colonists.
In 1954 Law 2951 was enacted which called for confiscated land to be placed in the hands of Agricultural Institutions and Commissions for Expropriations which decided how to redistribute properties.
In 1959 Law 3958 was enacted which allowed for confiscation of the properties of those who left Greece and did not return within five years.
The populations of many Macedonian villages in the districts of Florina, Kastoria and Edessa were forced to swear language oaths never to speak Macedonian and to speak only Greek. The people were forced to gather at an appointed place in their respective villages and were made to take the following oath in front of Greek church, government and military officials:
“I promise before God and men and the official authorities of the state that from this day on I shall cease speaking the Slavic Idiom, which only gives grounds for misunderstanding to the enemies of our country, the Bulgarians, and that I will speak everywhere and always the official language of my fatherland, the Greek language, in which the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ is written.”
In the 1960’s Greece continued to hand over the confiscated properties of exiled Macedonians to persons of “proven Greek patriotism”.
In 1962, Decree 4234 was enacted which reinforced past laws regarding confiscated properties of exiled Macedonians and denied them the right of return.
From 1940 to 1979 another 135 Macedonian place names were changed to Greek ones.
In 1982, the Greek internal security police urged intensive campaigns to wipe out any remaining Macedonian consciousness and use of the Macedonian language. Law 106841 allowed the right of return to political exiles provided they were ethnic Greeks by birth. Macedonian exiles continue to be denied the right of return.
In 1985, decree 1540 was enacted allowing the right to reclaim confiscated properties to political exiles provided they were ethnic Greeks by birth. Macedonian exiles were denied and are still denied this right.
In 1987, Greece established special “kindergartens” for two and three year old Macedonian children to ensure they learned the Greek language and prevented them from learning the Macedonian language at home.
In the 1990’s Greece continued to colonize Macedonian lands with persons from the Caucasus who say they were Greeks.
Fear of Greek Authorities and State Harassment Greece is probably the only member of the OSCE which has not granted any freedoms and human rights to the diverse minorities living on its soil.
Apart from the Muslim Turkish minority in Western Thrace, other ethnic minorities in Greece, including the Macedonians, are prohibited from organizing their own cultural associations, schools and religious institutions.
Greece is the only member of the OSCE which does not permit the return of political refugees and others whose citizenship has been arbitrarily revoked without due process.
The present population of the Macedonian districts in Northern Greece is approximately 2 million. Approximately 1 million are of direct Macedonian descent. After nearly a century of systematic effort to denationalize the Macedonians, many succumbed and developed a Greek consciousness and refer to themselves as Greeks or Greek Macedonians. The Greek state has always portrayed the Greek identity as being more cultured and superior. The Macedonian identity has always been portrayed as an uncivilized, barbaric and dirty presence within a pure Greek space. The psychological aim is to make people abandon use of the Macedonian language. It has gotten to the point where one is looked down upon for speaking Macedonian. The language is referred to as the “local idiom.”
It is interesting to note that the Macedonian language is recognized internationally, but it is forbidden in Greece. After many generations of policies of denationalization by the Greek state, the Macedonian consciousness among the population has been badly damaged to the point where those who retain their Macedonian consciousness fear to declare it openly. This fear is difficult to comprehend by those who grew up in free and open societies. You have to experience it to understand it. Among the older generation of Macedonians the fear is pervasive and ingrained. It is as if the person is always on guard for his or her actions and words for fear that he or she will be betrayed or heard by Greek authorities. When one Macedonian was pressed further on this issue he blurted out in exasperation, “It (fear) has gotten into the genes!”
In 1993 a delegation from Human Rights Watch/Helsinki visited the Greek province of Macedonia and reported that: “Harassment of the Macedonian minority has led to a widespread climate of fear. A large number of people interviewed by the mission stated specifically that they did not want their names used, for fear of losing their jobs or suffering from the kind of harassment experienced by human rights activists—being followed, threatened and harassed.”
Why has Greece done all these things you say?
First, let me say that this is only a mild and small fraction of the “evil acts” Greece has committed against the Macedonian people. I have not mentioned what they did during the various wars, the various dictatorships and in their prisons and concentration camps over the years.
Greece has done this for two reasons;
1. To build the so-called “Greek nation”. Since there are no “real Greeks” the kind of Greeks that are descended of the ancient Greeks, Greece had to create “Greeks” by assimilation from its indigenous ethnicities or from the colonists Greece imported from Albania, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and other places. To enforce this, the Greek state had to use harsh measures and strict laws.
2. The “newly fabricated Greek nation” had no history, country or lands of its own so it had to occupy and annex “other peoples´ lands” and hide this fact. The Greek state needed to eliminate all traces of the previous owners. So to make a long story short, Greece has made every effort to extinguish the presence and erase the past of everything Macedonian in order to expropriate Macedonian history and the Macedonian land it occupied and annexed in 1912, 1913.
In 1912 and 1913 when Macedonia was invaded, occupied and brutally partitioned by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, these countries and the Great Powers of Europe knew very well that Macedonia was populated with Macedonians. They very well knew that only a decade earlier the Macedonian people rose up and fought in a Macedonian National Uprising in an attempt to create their own free, democratic and independent Macedonian state. In spite of all that Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria, along with the Great Powers of Europe, decided to ignore the Macedonians and partition their country anyway. And if that was not enough, they also took the extra step to permanently extinguish the Macedonian existence.
Guilty for what they have done, Greece, Bulgaria and the Great Powers of Europe now do not want to face the consequences of their actions and are still insisting that “Macedonians don´t exist”.
Greece, Bulgaria and some countries in Western Europe will continue to give Macedonia and the Macedonian people a hard time as long as the Macedonian people keep quiet about what has been done to them. But once the truth is out then there will be no reason for them to harass the Macedonians.
The truth is Greece and Bulgaria illegally annexed Macedonian lands that were forcibly taken away from the Macedonian people. Greece, Bulgaria and some Western European countries don´t want the world to know this! And that is the entire crux of the problem between Greece, Bulgaria and Europe on one side and the Macedonian people on the other.
It is time for the truth to be revealed!
Other articles by Risto Stefov:
You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org