Macedonia: the stupid, it burns

The latest news from Macedonia: a local art gallery did a billboard showing the Greek flag with a swastika in place of the cross.

The Greeks have, of course, gone completely apeshit. Front page news, demonstrations, formal diplomatic protest.

This is one of those perfect Balkan storms where you have obnoxious and stupid behavior that leads to even more obnoxious and stupid behavior. The billboards are both obnoxious and stupid; they’re nothing but a finger in the eye to Athens, and deliberately done a few days before the NATO summit where Macedonia’s membership is on the table. The owner of the art gallery apparently is from Greek Macedonia, where the Greeks have been treating the Macedonians like dirt since they took over in 1913, but that’s neither here nor there; it’s just a really fucking stupid thing to do.

That said, the Greek response is even dumber: demands that Macedonia take the billboards down and apologize. (The billboards are paid for by a private organization, so the government can’t do much about them and isn’t responsible for them.) This accompanied by a descent into narcissistic, self-righteous outrage that’s… well, I wanted to say very Balkan, but in this case there’s something particularly Greek about it.

Anyway. This pretty much eliminates Macedonia’s chance of joining NATO this year. Which by itself is no big deal — the Greeks were probably going to veto them anyhow — but Athens has been given a wonderful gift. Now instead of being disgusted by Greek stupidity and stubbornness, the rest of NATO will be disgusted by both parties. So, a net loss for Macedonia.

There are already plenty of the usual Balkan conspiracy theories floating around, but you know? Sometimes stupidity is all.

I should probably add here that I lived in the Balkans for five years and hope to go back and live there some more. But: Jesus Christ, people. Is it something in the water?

97 thoughts on “Macedonia: the stupid, it burns

  1. ha, when we are right, when we found proffs about the truth, … now stop with stupidness ?
    NOPE… GREEK use Alexander the Great – Macedonian – to make SHADOW over MACEDONIAN HYSTORY !!!

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  3. There is not a serious person in the planet that will deny that “macedonians”, defined in a non-geographical sense, are part of a larger ethnic group defined as “greeks” (or “hellenes” as they call themselves, while perfectly accepting the term “greeks” used by everybody else).
    It is an oversimplification to compare Macedonia with New Mexico or California, using thereby only a geographical connotation. Being “macedonian” is much more than a mere geographical term and one should compare it with being a “Sicilian”, a “Scot” a “Bavarian” or a “Kurd”.
    It makes much more sense to think that some leaders of this new country proposed the name, not geographically any more, as it was when Yugoslavia split, but ethnically, trying to unite the different ethnicities and starting to forge a new identity.
    While I personally have seen enough evidence of irredentism and expansionism, I tend to qualify these as extreme behaviors, causing, by reaction, similar (but a lot fewer) responses in Greece. Much more alarming is the fact that the name question becomes dangerously the major issue, distracting these people from other much serious questions they have to face.

  4. “I’m sure that is what Britain will tell any Scotsmen or Spaniard will tell any Basque or any American tell any Texan/Alaskan/Californian if they make a case for minority status.”

    I don’t have anything really to add to this discussion, except that I found the comparison to the UK and Scottish nationalism hilarious. Scotland has its own parliament, established 10 years ago by the British government, and its First Minister is someone who has advocated complete Scottish independence for decades, leading a party founded solely for that purpose. However much militant unionists might dislike all this, no-one is telling the Nationalists to leave their own country!

    A more sensible comparison might be Northern Ireland. But really, the reason that’s a mess is because the Northern Irish themselves disagree about which country they belong to. Mainland British generally don’t care, and these days it isn’t a big issue in the Republic of Ireland either (which changed its constitution to drop its claim to the North, and in the referendum this change had 95% support). People do sometimes get a bit upset when Northern Ireland is called ‘Ulster’ by pro-British sources (the traditional province of Ulster is divided between Northern Ireland and part of the Republic), but not to the point of causing a political shitstorm in and of itself.

  5. Colin, you are missing the point completely.

    This is not about a slav-macedonian minority living in Greece, nor a greek-macedonian group seeking independence. It is not a political issue either. Slav-macedonians, or whatever they will be called finally, are free to choose the political regime for their country.

    Greeks feel their claim to the name macedonia in any sense other than geographical, is an unjustified claim of greek cultural and historical heritage. I’ll agree it is very difficult to find an analogy, as this is unprecedented.

  6. Petar, nobody is too small to have an opinion. But Greece is also not too small to act as a slave to the US. The only point is: You call yourself Macedonian, Greeks in Thessaloniki also call themselves Macedonian. Are you the same? No. Can you have the same name? According to the rules of logic, no. Yes there is an Athens, Georgia and a Paris, Texas, but this is not the same. Asking you to take a name that will distinguish you from the 2500000 greek Macedonians, so that we can all understand what you are talking about looks perfectly logical to me. I really do not understand why you have a problem with that and to me this justifies the greek claims that you deny that these 2500000 greeks in greek Macedonia are Macedonian -and they are no less Macedonian than you are.

    There is a mixture of things the FYROM side is claiming(and by the way FYROM is the MUTUALLY agreed UN-accepted name, pleasant to none, but acceptable to both-at least that’s what both countries agreed to in the UN):
    1) Ancient History. Philip, Alexander the great etc was Macedonian in the sense of fyrom and non-greek. This is plain stupid. First because Slavs do not appear in Macedonia before many centuries after Alexander the Great and second because
    apart from the names and history records, the findings in Vergina, the fact that Alexander considered himself greek is also to be found in the history of other nations in the region. Jews for instance celebrate their victory over (Alexander’s descendants) as their victory over the Greeks, not the Macedonians.
    It may be part of what Fidel was arguing very convincingly about inventing a history, with Mother Teresa etc. So falsifiying history will understandably not sit well with the greeks.
    Use of ancient Macedonian symbols such as the 16-point star was thus seen a a clear theft of ancient greek cultural heritage, coming from a country with NO connection to ancient Macedonia.
    So when Fyrom tries to advance and promote such theories abroad, this does not make for friendly relations.
    2) Modern History:
    With the arrival of Bulgarians in the region and after a lot of fights with the greeks(byzantines) populations were mixed all over the region. But it makes no sense to suggest that Macedonia was all slavs. There were many greeks there , and after the Balkan wars the population exchanges homogenized the region, both in Greece and in Bulgaria or South Serbia(the name for Fyrom then or Vardarska Banovina -a subsequent name)

    3) Irredentism:
    Fyrom removed official irredentist claims and has kept the low profile on the issue, but has never answered the hard questions:
    -why were the irrendentist claims there in the first place?(such as the 91 constitution with a number of articles, such as 49 or schoolbooks with maps of Greater Macedonia printed in 1992) It is much harder to drop these claims in the popular feeling than in official documents.
    If one makes an aggressive gesture and then under pressure says he means no harm, do you take this at face value?
    -I think there was a reference in a previous post from BBC with FYROM’s PM in front of a map depicting “Greater Macedonia”
    -there is probably a lot more

    4) Personally, many people who are NOT affected may not care if a new country wants to call itself “Republic of Europe”, “Republic of California” and so one, but people who have an interest certainely have a right to care. Since I have discussed the issue with both greek and american friends(from California), all american s in the discussion said they would have a problem with a similar situation. Plus, my first reaction as a European with a “Republc of Europe” is that this woud be a crazy guy, why would I want to have anything to do with such an arrogant ***?
    5) I do not see the greek position as strong-arming tactics. A strong arming tactic would at least adopt public opinion and say “we will not accept anything that includes the term Macedonia”. Greeks do not think the inhabitants or fyrom are Macedonians, yet the government offers a mixed name, like Upper Macedonia that will correctly recognize that there are people who call themselves Macedonian in both countries and no country has ALL of the geographical area.
    On the contrary, the fyrom position looks extremely arrogant to me “we will accept nothing except Republic of Macedonia and you have to go along because papa-Bush is on our side.” Sorry, but this is not a realistic position.

    Incidentally and funny enough, there was an interview by the guy who started all tis(The stupid, it burns) claiming that the swastika was used as a symbol of happiness…

  7. I’d put it this way: what gives anyone the right to claim a name (and it seems, if you read between the lines, the claims do not stop at the name) that is traditionally, historically, culturally, linguistically, ethnically and even geographically greek, since most macedonian territory is a greek province?

    Given that, the greeks really do not care what their neighbours choose to be called.

  8. First, a correction:
    Greece is not telling anyone what name they should go by; just what name they can NOT go by.
    The first imposes one name; the second allows an infinite number of possibilities.

    There are many reasons for this “right”:
    First, logic and common sense. Two different things cannot have the same name.
    This creates confusion and may well hide darker motives:
    (On a lighter note, in some cases
    even two identical things compositionwise cannot have the same name. For instance, only France can make
    cognac. If Germany or England makes the exact same product, it would have to be called Brandy.)
    When Siam changed its name to “Thailand” in 1939, it started printing schoolbooks showing
    ‘Greater Thailand’ as taking in China’s Southwest Provinces as far as Szechuan.
    This territory was once part of ancient Thailand.(

    Second, prior art: After WWII, the allies denied Austria the name “German Republic of Austria”

    Third, irredentism: In 1944 Tito renamed the province Vardarska Banovina “Macedonia”
    and offered his assistance to greek partisans to drive the Axis forces off (greek)Macedonia,
    which they wisely declined, even though they were allies as well as ideologically related.
    Tito then started a propaganda that greek Macedonia is somehow occupied, which propaganda has outlived
    Tito or Yugoslavia. Today the government of Fyrom cannot openly say that they seek to annex the
    greek part, but this does not prevent them from:
    -taking part(I mean the PM, which is as official as it gets) in ceremonies including monuments with maps
    of “Greater Macedonia”
    – having schoolbooks cultivating the idea of a greater Macedonia
    -army maps of greater macedonia
    -denying the right of some 2,5 mil greek Macedonians to be called Macedonians. I have never seen
    anyone from fyrom, either official or any post aknowledge that right, as this would kill the idea of
    a “macedonian” nation.
    -promoting the idea that somehow they have been harmed and that “Aegean Macedonia” is occupied.
    Just look at the posts
    -following tactics that are reminescent of nazi Germany, that is building a national myth
    as though they are descendants of Alexander the great, which is plain stupid(even Kiro Gligorof
    said he did not subscribe to such nonsense), but more importantly building the national myth
    not on who you are, but on who others are not. An example is the recent idiotic DNA “study”
    finding that greeks come from “subsaharan Africa”, which bears at best a very strong resemblance
    to nazi tactics with respect to non-arian race.
    Luxemburg has none of the above with respect to Belgium.
    All these are clear examples of “the stupid, it burns”
    : You cannot hold a meaningful discussion by insulting the other party.

    Finally, having lived in Greece, and knowing a lot of people there my impression is that
    there are a lot of things that are wrong there, but these are not the things Greece is
    usually blamed for. For instance claims of systematic police mistreatment of ethnic immigrants(I must say
    I never considered myself a minority when in Greece) are no more founded than a similar claim based
    on British police shooting an innocent Brazilian after the London bombings. I have seen Roma
    settlements, I am amazed to find 6 year old children smoking there(I think this is criminal behavior
    by their parents, not the state). I also think it is criminal behavior from the part of the parents to
    send their kids begging instead of sending them to school, as this everely limits their
    chances in life.
    It is also true that some settlements have become a hotbed for drugs.
    I do not think this would be acceptable to any EU government to have an area where the police
    cannot enter to stop drug trafficing.

    On the other hand I know of people with no minority background, i.e. as greek as it gets
    whose human rights were violated, for instance even though they were the best candidate at the time
    by far, they were denied a position because they had worked in the US on what was erroneously perceived as
    military programs. But the issue of Macedonia is one where I think Greece is 100% right.

  9. a typo: The Austria issue it should read WWI instead of WWII

    “Between 1918 and 1919, Austria was officially known as the Republic of German Austria (Republik Deutschösterreich). Many territories it claimed under its control included regions that were later assigned to neighboring nations. Not only did the Entente powers forbid German Austria to unite with Germany, they also forbade the name; it was therefore changed to the Republic of Austria”
    (see for instance).
    This case was actually much worse, since it was not an interested party(germany) that forbid the name, but a third party.

  10. There is some interesting information at

    With enough hindsight, the stupid thing was to choose the name Macedonia, to promote communist expansionist policy in the mid 20th century, in a manner typical of the times. The original reasons may now seem obsolete, but the propaganda has had its effect.

    Petar, who most probably belongs to the indoctrinated generation, understandably feels affected. Others, however knowledgeable, but not immediately affected, are more likely than not to a have a shallow view on the matter. Still others, for their own reasons, choose position according to their particular interest of the moment, even if this means deliberately ignoring or falsifying facts.

    Many greeks, like Alexander himself, are not interested in the origin or race of citizens. They only distinguish them on the basis of their virtue. It is hard to find virtue in these claims and positions.

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  12. But the nationalists in Skopje are saying that Macedonia is only theirs, even though they have a small part of it and have been there for a much shorter time than the greeks. Greece has been trying for 15 years to prove the obvious.

  13. I’m sure if Tyrolians in either Italy, Austria or Switzerland started a movement to claim the totality of Tyrol for themselves, they would immediately find supporters in the rest of the world.

    Slowly, there will be plenty of “historical” justification of their cause, “documentation” about atrocities commited by the other side(s), minorities will appear in all three countries, after a few years or maybe a 2-3 generations, their descendands will self-identify as Tyrolians etc etc. Next, french speaking swiss will start to move towards the liberation of their brethren in occupied France, etc etc. French-bretons will claim Britain. American Indians will take over the US, Peru will have inca as their official language, and Greeks, to come to the bad guys, will start thinking of “liberating” Sicily, Marseilles and many other cities of the mediterranean, also re-claiming Persia, Afghanistan and probabaly Pakistan as well and, why not, put Egypt in the package as well. Meanwhile, sub-saharan africans –self-identifying as the “original” greeks — will wait grinning for the “ancient” world to destroy itself.

    If you are into alternate truths, why not support such statements?

  14. Doug(not Muir),
    come on! You really have not seen attempts by
    Skopje to change history, e.g. portray the inhabitants of Macedonia from ancient times till today as distinct from greeks and that somehow
    Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria somehow partitioned Macedonia as if the people who were living there
    were not greeks and bulgarians(not to mention the turks) who wanted to reunite with their own countrymen , but something else?

    Plus, you have NEVER seen maps referring to “occupied Macedonia”, e.g.

    You do not read even the posts in this blog, e.g.(Dejan)
    “How come that more than 200000 (!!!!!)people in so-called “Greece” Macedonia speak Macedonian that is spoken in Skopje?[Not the so-called]

    Question Two:
    Is this really about the name and the legacy of Alexander The Great, or about the properties that the Greece should return the Macedonians that were ethnically cleansed in 1944-48?
    (right, as if the greeks were not busy fighting a civil war at the time)

    Unable to understand that over 50% of historical Macedonia is inhabited by greeks? Always has been.
    I understand this sort of stupidity coming from people who were brainwashed for generations by Tito’s propaganda, but from people from the west?

  15. I am a true Macedonian. I was born there, my family and indeed the entire village was there for a long as anyone can remember and they have always considered themselves nothing but greek. And they have not forgotten the treatment they have received for being greek.
    So just a question:
    Who the hell do you think you are, Douglas Muir, to tell me that greeks have been treating me like dirt? And what gives you the right to associate me with people that have nothing to do with me -or Macedonia for that matter?

  16. The history of the “Republic of Macedonia”:

    The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was founded in 1893 in Ottoman Thessaloniki by a “small band of anti-Ottoman Bulgarian revolutionaries.

    They considered Macedonia an indivisible territory and all of its inhabitants “Macedonians”, no matter their religion or ethnicity.

    The organisation was a secret revolutionary society operating in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with the goal of uniting Macedonia with Bulgaria in a federated Slav State. They shortly after realized that ideal was too similar to San Stefano Bulgaria and changed course an strive for an autonomous, free and independent state.

    According to Ivan Hadzhinikolov(one of the founders)
    The five basic principles of the MRO’s foundation:
    1.The revolutionary organization should be established within Macedonia and should act there, so that the Greeks and Serbs couldn’t label it as a tool of the Bulgarian government.
    2.Its founders should be locals and living in Macedonia.
    3.The political motto of the organization should be the autonomy of Macedonia.
    4.The organization should be secret and independent, without any links with the governments of the liberated neighborly states, and
    5.From the Macedonian emigration in Bulgaria and the Bulgarian society, only moral and material help for the struggle of the Macedonian revolutionaries should be required.

    Dr. Hristo Tatarchev(another founder):
    “We talked a long time about the goal of this organization and at last we fixed it on autonomy of Macedonia with the priority of the Bulgarian element. We couldn’t accept the position for “direct joining to Bulgaria” because we saw that it would meet big difficulties by reason of confrontation of the Great powers and the aspirations of the neighbouring small countries and Turkey. It passed through our thoughts that one autonomous Macedonia could easier unite with Bulgaria subsequently and if the worst comes to the worst, that it could play a role as a unificating link of a federation of Balkan people. The region of Adrianople, as far as I remember, didn’t take part in our program, and I think the idea to add it to the autonomous Macedonia came later.”

    Although IMRO was predominantly ethnic Bulgarian since its establishment, it favoured the idea of an autonomous Macedonia and preferred to disassociate itself from official Bulgarian policy and was not under Bulgarian control. Its founding leaders believed that an autonomous movement was more likely to find favour with the Great Powers than one which was a tool of the Bulgarian government.

    Can you now understand what you are? Can you know see that you are not one nation but a mixture of the local nations? Can you now see that you are Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Serbs and Albanians?

  17. To form a nation, it takes more than decrees and political decision.

    It takes more than clandestine organizations.

    It takes more than self-identification.

    It takes more than territorial occupation.

    It takes more than the will and “help” of “friendly” powers (beware of “friendly” powers… people in fyrom surely must have the experience!).

    It takes more than a hero-leader.

    It takes more than all of the above together.

    It takes more than a war (or many wars…).

    “Finding” an enemy is not a good solution either. Nations are formed in peace time, not during conflicts.

    You cannot form a nation by stealing somebody else’s history, culture or identity.
    Greeks knew that, Romans knew that, Turks knew that.

    People in fyrom (and elsewhere) just have to realize that Greeks are not out there to get them, but they’ll have to find/create their own identity + culture + history and respect their neighbors’.

    It will take time, effort, unity, culture, education, goodwill, high ideals but less “big ideas”.

  18. To help defuse the high tensions in this blog, I have come up with an interesting (as in not serious) proposal for the name dispute. I propose for Macedonia to adopt the following name:


    I made the same proposal at the BBC News website on Mark Mardell’s Euroblog where almost a cyberwar has started.

    The rationale behind this proposal:


    It contains a reference to ancient Macedonia — hooray I hear from Skopje!


    It contains a time reference, ie the 21st century — hooray I hear from Athens! They can keep the original Macedonia.


    It’s cool to be 2.0 because it implies confidence and improvement on the previous version. This means a country that will be more confident and better than the home of Alexander the Great. Wow! More confident than Alexander the Great — now, that’s something.


    Finally, Republic of Macedonia 2.0 is clearly different to the Greek Macedonia, but is also open to others. That is, you could be from “lower” Macedonia and still can be a Macedonian 2.0 — you could be from the east, west, north and south of ancient Macedonia and still be Macedonian 2.0 because this identity is not limited to a specific geographic region and thus not mutually exclusive.


    Now, does anyone have Nimetz phone number of email address. I need to get in touch with him because I have something important to say to him!

    Respectfully yours,


    P.S. On the BBC’s website I also suggested that as a peace gesture YouTube move its headquarters to the country and the government as a gesture of good will offer 0% corporate tax for 100 years to all Web 2.0 companies that are established or move their headquarters to the country.

  19. thank you dyia!
    “…Bulgarian revolutionaries.

    They considered Macedonia an indivisible territory and all of its inhabitants “Macedonians”, no matter their religion or ethnicity.
    We couldn’t accept the position for “direct joining to Bulgaria” because we saw that it would meet big difficulties by reason of confrontation of the Great powers and the aspirations of the neighbouring small countries and Turkey. It passed through our thoughts that one autonomous Macedonia could easier unite with Bulgaria…”
    meaning that this was a plot to take all of Macedonia for Bulgaria with or whithout the consent of its non-Bulgarian residents. Which is exactly what IMRO and the comitadji tried to do, but just did not work. And unfortunately, what some people still have on their minds.
    So to dyia, the Macedonia residents are their brand of “Macedonian” whether they want it or not!

    good suggestion. But do you really think your friends from Skopje will keep the 2.0 or just drop it, like they did the FY?

  20. Please d.i.y.a, you are nothing to suggest … Can I say that your child name, or your father name from tomorrow will be called Petar ?

    shame on you !

    We will be only Macedonia, or Republic of Macedonia, and your Macedonia you can change into Greek Macedonia (to get yours with the name, because was ours) …

    And Please do not talk anymore what suggestions you will say… there is only 1 solutions: to look in future, not in history – and we have to be called Republic of Macedonia !!!

  21. Yes Petar look in the future if you dare and move on… What exactly is there in front of you?

    Exactly you don’t know. Take a look in the past then and guess… That is why you need it…

  22. Just a gentle reminder that this is a moderated forum. We try to keep order with a light hand, but we will take firm action if it’s necessary.

    I’ve just deleted one comment from this thread: calling other posters nasty names is a no-no. Play nice, please.

    Doug M.

  23. I have read all the post from this forum and found it interesting and exhausting maybe. I am glad that it has been moderated because it is a real cyber war out there about this name dispute.
    The only thing I can add in here is that both sides have extreme statements which leads nowhere. I don’t want to sound biased but plenty of the so called facts from Greece are inacurate seen from a third party.
    The Macedonians too (I dare to call them that way because they have been called so for over 60 years and nobody complained until just recently) have their extremists (some of them in the government) and looking back 2500 years back doesn’t do any good for them either.
    I just hope there will be a mutual solution and all these confrontations will stop.

  24. why you are calling me Petar the Vardar ? … Because you own know that Egey or (Egej I don’t know how is right on english or greek) you got from us ? because of that you are calling me Vardar ? What about Pirin ? or Bulgarian people you will call Pirin ?

    As I told you, forgot history, it’s on our side … look: youtube videos, your greek archeologists, said that: long time ago Macedonia was kingdom, and Greece was democracy. why can’t you get that, we were always here and will be … why don’t you let me calling me by my name ? I know my name , you know yours …
    but you know why ???
    Because you are power or you think that you are powerfull country, but !!! 🙂 unfortunately the elephant (Greece) it’s affraid of the mouse (Macedonia) as your primer minister said. We are small … but you are affraid of us whyyyyyyyyyyy ????? look healty, not with your cinizm, and non facts….. THERE ARE FACTS !!!

    I didn’t call you cyprus or turkey … I don’t want to abuse you so !!! don’t you !!!

    First of all … read the bible
    Second: ask any people of Athens, who don’t want Macedonian to be called Macedonia ??? from the polls, 80% of the people in Athens don’t care … and who are you few people to take care how to change our name ??? and why ??? YOU ARE NOT GOD !

    leave us to live, and block everything what is greek for macedonia. You blocked Macedonian Airlines (Airplanes) to stop flying on the space of Greece. Is it that natural ??? put embargo for us … no problem, we will still survive… but unfortunately we WILL BE HERE FOREVER ! JUST TO REMIND YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT GOD, AND YOU CAN’T PLAY WITH PEOPLE AND CHANGING THEIR NAMES…

  25. d.y.i.a and felix
    your conclusion is this:
    Can you now understand what you are? Can you know see that you are not one nation but a mixture of the local nations? Can you now see that you are Bulgarians, Greeks, Turks, Serbs and Albanians?

    Shame on you !!!
    You abuse me … we neved did !

    You are telling what to do … we never did !

    You are writing the history by your advantages … history can’t be written by somebody, it’s just like it is … the bible told that .

    You are telling that macedonia doesn’t exist. .. look at the map in Vatican you’ll see .. do you both remember when was that ???

    You are telling that we are no slovenian, macedonian, or I don’t know … we don’t tell you who you are …

    so why just once leave us, and stay on our place … look into your country and don’t look into ours. you have enought problems to solve inside Greece, inside Bulgaria and don’t want to know about MAcedonia. And felix, you are Bulgarian ? You also talk like this, because you want to get rid of this peace of country Macedonia ? … you want to disapear ???

    we will always live, no matter of your wish … we will always be here no matter of your pretensions … BECAUSE GOD WANT THAT !!! not you…

  26. I think it’s time for the moderators of this thread to clean some garbage from here. Calling names an use of indecent language is not allowed in here. Some of you are posting all over the cyber places incredible insults. It is ubelievable how much hatred was developed in this dispute about the name. All of you better watch your language or you will be banned and your posts deleted. This applies especially for the comments of d.i.y.a.

  27. I’ve watched this video, and I ‘ve also watched these “archeologists” talking about Macedonia? Why is it eddited?
    Why is the channel’s name and the subtitles erased? Is this a video played in your schools?
    Why are some parts deleted?
    Take a look to all other videos,from History channel etc, and you will see original videos…

    Don’ t talk about God? Do you think that He is more intrested on you than other nations? God created man not nations.

    Do you want to talk about the Bible? Then comment on everything not only the fact that he mentions Macedonia, or Greece or Israel, or Rome. Go tell God…” please God don’t forget us, you mentioned us in your Bible…” Anyway, 2012 is close… It would be intresting if you write a few things about 2012. Tell us what is going to happen then according to your Bible…

    You are also confusing the region of Macedonia with your country. Yes there isn’ t a “Macedonia” as you mean it. There never was.

    You are where you are. We didn’t ask you to live. We asked you to stop this falsification of the history. Not just Greek history but all the Balkan.

    You insult both Greeks and Bulgarians with all these lies.

    I’ m sorry Paul Brams for my comment. Douglas will delete it in a few hours…

  28. Ok, I also do not see any reason for name calling, so let me bring up a different subject
    that will divert the flames maybe:
    For the record, I must say that there is no denying that Greece has been run dismaly for most of the post war
    period, if not before. For the most part it is a country that does not take itself seriously, on a number of issue: It has a criminaly bad environmental policy(if you can call that a policy), a fat, expensive and inefficient judicial system, a nomenclature of incompetent or corrupt people in key positions , it is not serious enough about its own defence, and I can
    list many more, including the fact that politics is such a good business that one can see the country run almost exclusively by dynasties: The Karamanlis dynasti, the Papandreou dynasty, the Mitsotakis/Bakoyani dynasty and so on.

    Now to the flame part:

    Having looked at many posts by Doug Muir, it is clear that he has a very poor understanding
    of Greece and is quick to accept as truth things that range from half-truths to blatant lies.
    He makes no secret about preferring Turkey, no doubt with its flawless history regarding
    human rights, Albania or Skopje. The very thought of talking about nationalism in Greece looks to me as stupid
    as comparing the allied bombing of Dresden to nazi attrocities during WWII. There is no comparison.
    Greece has no “insulting greekness” law, it does have REAL security problems,
    with often daily dogfights and casualties as a result on both sides(the alternative would be to
    accept that turkish fighters can roam freely unchecked till Athens), it does have
    a extremely free press(even free to report navy movements when the country was in the brink of war
    with Turkey), and a huge amount of immigrants(why would they stay there and not move to a
    less nationalistic place like the UK?) Want to talk nationalism? Look around: Turkey(Attaturk is the
    greatest military leader, the greatest scientist, the greatest politician and so on), Albania,
    Skopje, even the US

    This is typical of anti-greek bias by british sources(another country with a flawless
    human rights record). I somewhere saw in a fistful that the guardian reported that Oliver Stone’s
    Alexander movie somehow heated things up? Why? what’s there to heat up? Is anyone seriously
    questioning that Alexander was greek(except of course for the portayed as perfectly
    non-nationalistic folks in Skopje?) Even clearer are comments that greeks “didn’t do much except
    for giving Mussolini a red nose”. That was not true either(Greece lasted longer than France
    and gave the germans hell with the partisans at a very big price. Much more in terms of
    resistance and much less in terms of collaboration than Albania, Bulgaria
    Turkey for example did during WWII).
    Mr. Muir makes (correctly, but selectively) a big deal of the Bosnia war crimes, but has nothing
    to say about Cyprus,as if no ethnic cleansing and massacres were commited by the turkish troops
    there(come to think of it, he does have some things to say: that current politicians are
    terrorists; the greeks deserve
    what they got; they should grab the Anan plan with both hands, accept turkish occupation troops
    on EU soil and grant Turkey the right to intervene militarily anytime it feels like, with their
    own consent. I assume Mr. Denktash
    was a dove all along; that Kossovo has a right a recede, but Cyprus never did, since this
    did not please the mighty british empire. Or that greece has lost the moral high ground long ago(to whom?
    The UK? Turkey? Albania? The US?).
    Another example is the alleged cleansing of the Chams in 1944. It does not take more than common
    sense to understand that this is a blatant lie:
    But even if one were to believe in fairy tales, there is a consensus that when bad things happen
    it is the government’s job to either prevent it, or else to punish those responsible. And guess what:
    There was no greek government in 1944. Cleansing requires a plan and at the time there
    was no government until very late 1944, and even as late as December 1944, it did not even have
    control over Athens. The area he is talking about, as well as all of the countryside was under
    the control of the partisans. No country can assume responsibility for events that happened while
    it was occupied, so the whole story is incredibly stupid to start with.So if anyone should be
    apologizing it would be the germans; after all Greece was under their jurisdiction when these
    things supposedly happened.

    Lots of bad things also happened at the
    end of 1944 when while the rest of the allies were trying to defeat Hitler, british troops were
    busy exterminating greek resistance fighters and collaborating with black market people and
    nazi collaborators(over which britain umm, never apologized. Come to think of it, I have not seen
    any apologies over those years of colonial rule, or more recently taking part in “shock and awe”
    bombings of civilians, also referred to as “colateral damage”) . Doesn’t that qualify as ethnic
    cleansing too?
    Furthermore, although pro-british partisans under
    Zervas were operating in the area for most of the time, by the end of the war, ELAS had defeated
    Zervas and taken over.
    ELAS partisans were aligned with Stalin and not especially nationalistic-
    to the old communists there was no national enemy, just class enemy-. They did retaliate against
    nazi collaborators, with no regard to their ethnic background. They did not make distinctions between
    nazi collaborators. And, for an organization that prided themselves of “not even shooting a rabbit
    from behind”, they never touched women and children. So this story is obviously false.
    Equally stupid are claims of cleansing against slavs(which he labels macedonians, as though
    greek macedonians were absent or were also cleansed): During a civil war there is no neutrality
    Anyone with the winning side would be well-treated, anyone supporting the losing side
    would suffer IRRESPECTIVE of background. Again ethnic cleansing requires a mastermind,
    and it is just foolish to suggest that the civil war was fought over or was a pretext
    for ethnic cleansing.

  29. I think I can agree with Felix’s view on the matter.

    Most Greeks will also agree with him, even if they won’t easily admit it to foreigners or even between themselves (who said Greeks are famous for their cool head?).

    What Felix describes in his first paragraph is, for decades, precisely what everyday news in Greece is about. The quasi-total inefficiency of the “state”, government and institutions. Then, there is celebrity gossip. Everyday life is also a lot like that. A trait similar to Italy: if it as much as it rains, Italians in the street complain “governo ladro”. Then, there is also celebrity gossip. But if you are Greek you have the right (and the duty) to do so. If you are not, then back-off, we need no lessons on democracy 🙂 You call this nationalism?

    It is very difficult for someone to put aside his own background/preferences/culture etc and see things from an absolutely objective and unselfish point of view. I’m not immune either, so keeping this in mind and hating to generalize, I’d say that British have a fuzzier and distant view about Greece and/or the Balkans than others, let’s say French or Italians. If you must also add Cyprus to the british view mix, then also add a dash of imperialism (and do I discern a hint of revenge? bloody Cypriots didn’t like the british rule…) I would not go as far as to qualify this as anti-greek. To me it looks more like hidden envy for mediterranean laisser-aller 🙂

    Facts? Facts are ok if you are doing math or physics, but in politics, history and economics, facts tend to be subordinate to the outcome. So the real question is not who is telling the truth, but who is bending it less. For example, in WWII, Germans killed lots of Greeks and Greeks killed lots of Germans. If you want a mathematical discussion you can put down numbers of dead soldiers, civilians, destroyed houses, successful sabotages and so forth. People don’t really care for math though, just read between the lines of the posts here, they are prepared to accept whatever they are served. Inevitably, some Greeks will continue to hate Germans for the rest of their lives and vice-versa. Nevertheless, shortly after the war, Greeks went to Germany as “gasterbeiter”, Germans came to Greece for the holidays and everything is fine after a glass of beer (or ouzo) in the sun. Want to fight?, Greeks will remind Germans they still haven’t paid war damages… Want to be nice? lets do business together and have another beer. The choice of the word “German” is intentional for this example. Some would prefer I’d used the term nazi, but this “political correctness” would only serve to obscure my point. Anyway, the bad feelings coming from such things were, as the should be, forgiven and forgotten. It’s a completely different story to forget or abandon your history and identity just to be nice to your neighbor… or because you expect economical, strategic, military or other benefits from him. Even, though in a lesser manner, allowing history and identity to be falsified or distorted, your own or somebody else’s, in the name of political stability, economic growth or other “high-goals” is a bit like watching a wrong committed, and say or do nothing to prevent it, because you believe there is some benefit in the outcome.

    The behavior and feelings between Greeks and Germans, could equally exist between Greeks and people in FYROM (please find a suitable name…), Albanians, Turks or anybody else. When current issues will be resolved, any wrongs should be forgiven and forgotten after a generation or two. Greeks have already proved many times, they can do that.

    To come back to the name issue, as long as the name was used internally in Yugoslavia, or in a geographical sense, Greece whether it liked it or not, had no reason or right to push for changes. But when you have a state claiming name, history, culture and (to put it nicely) having part of the population with visions of enlargement, now that’s another story. Greece cannot change her position on the name without losing her beliefs and principals (the ones emanating from her history and culture), and I think the rope is stretched as far as it can go. In fact, continued intransigence risks to have adverse effects. To make things clear, I’ll say once again, Greece does not want to tell anyone how to call themselves, but don’t expect her to sit back in this blatant falsification (or extreme bending of truth) and do nothing. You can say (in another post) that forbidding airplanes to land is childish. I agree. What would be the adult thing to do? Follow the US example and declare embargo? War maybe? Should we start with phrases like “If you are not with us, you are against us” etc.? When you have to deal with immaturity, do you use mature words to explain your point?

  30. There are not lies. 2012 ? … the World will end ? nope …
    God never tell the future, just telling you to expect the future, and devil has in ahead assign the future. 🙂 Because of that I told you that you are against the peace, against the everything just to prove that Greeks are only nation on this teritory from b.c. ? nope 🙂
    what you think … doesn’t exist people eg. 3-4000-7000 years before on the earth ? and how count they that in 2012 will be end ? in the bible doesn’t write numbers … or years … so maybe you are reading some books from Jehovah, some people writen. also I think that in bible are writen some facts about jesus and etc, because I think that the god written just this:
    I am the Lord thy god, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
    Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
    Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
    Honor thy father and thy mother.
    Thou shalt not murder.
    Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    Thou shalt not steal.
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor.
    Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to thy neighbor.
    And if you respect this, you will stop bothering whole the world trying to tell lie that we are not Macedonians … Imagine what will be with you … where will go your soul because you lie ???

    According that you are trying to tell me that I am the lier, to whole here I am sending you the paragraph from bible:

    “Acts 16:6
    Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

    Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia

    “6Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.”

    “9During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

    Acts 20:1

    Acts 20

    Through Macedonia and Greece

    “1When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said good-by and set out for Macedonia.”

    So please don’t go against the history you can’t change it. Macedonia was Macedonia will be forever and it’s ours. And your Macedonia please change it to Greek Macedonia. And then immidiately you will have peace, you will have everything what you need by us, and we also … we will live in peace and community … if you don’t please make us problems, and be the worst people in history who is the GodFather of the countries, and change all countries names. You CAN’T DO THAT, Can you get that ? want me to paint you ??? how to explain I don’t know … and PLEASE DON’T YOU EVER AGAIN CALLED ME VARDARIAN, BECAUSE YOU DON’T RESPECT ME, I DO. IF GREECE HAS DEMOCRASY IN B.C. WE HAVE NOW, AND YOUR CULTURAL LEVEL ON GENTLEMAN, CIVIL SOCIETY AND HEATH BRAIN, IS LOW . I WILL BE AGAIN GENTLEMAN, AND I WILL NOT ABUSE YOU LIKE YOU DID ! BECAUSE GOD SAY SO 🙂

  31. Good lord!
    So if God had told Peter to go to Sicily would that prove it is not part of Italy?
    You are just asking the greeks to respect your chosen name and tell them that they need to change their to greek macedonia? Like “Italian Sicilians”, “Greek Cretans”, “French marseilleise”
    and “American NewYorkers” and “British Welsh”?

    Really, what is your problem with agreeing
    you are both macedonian(in the sense you live there), just that you are a slav, bulgarian or north-macedonian and they are greek or south-macedonian? It would be clear, it would be
    true and would close the issue.

  32. well … I will finnaly put dot on this issue, and I want not to prove nobody nothing !!!
    Anyway, we are nobody to decide who and how we will be our name, or Greek Macedonia will be Macedonia or something .. there are lot of big games who are lead the more powerful countries … and even we are callen Vardar Macedonia, or even if we are callen Freaks, we know that we are Macedonia. So … I have more intelegent job than proving you something. Anyway Buy to all,
    was pleasure talking to you, and honestly … God didn’t told me .. just I am looking into future … I had and still have friend of Greece, who look into the stuffs really, and also he admited me that there was Macedonia and Greece, Macedonia to Macedonians, Greece to Greeks … but whatever … call me whatever you want … but call me by my name … don’t you FYROM me … 🙂

    I will end my exhibit with this:
    Love people to love you, hate people to hate you, do people what you want they to do to you !!!

    Lot of Love from Petar, to all over the world and everybody who respect me as I am, not as I should be or was !
    Call me Greek, call me Bulgarian, call me Albanian, call me turk, call me serbian, … but Love me and Respect me, so will I.
    I think that you are cheating you by yourself (visual , I am Macedonian.

    Bitola Babam Bitola !
    Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now
    I feel good, I knew that I would, now
    So good, so good, I got you !

  33. Correction: Lot of Love from Petar, to all over the world and everybody who respect me as I am, not as I should be or was !
    Call me Greek, call me Bulgarian, call me Albanian, call me turk, call me serbian, … but Love me and Respect me, so will I.
    I think that you are cheating you by yourself – I am Macedonian.

    Bitola Babam Bitola !
    Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now
    I feel good, I knew that I would, now
    So good, so good, I got you !

  34. For Your Information,

    Please don’t mix the population of the Yugoslav part of Macedonia with the Bulgarians. That would be at least a lack of knowledge.
    One thing you should know that Hitler promised Macedonia (the San Stefano version) to the Bulgarians ruled by Tsar Boris. While collaborating with the Nazis they occupied the Yugoslav part of Macedonia and part of the Greek Macedonia too. The local population had to change their last names by the Bulgarian suffixes “OFF” instead of “ICH” which they already have done during the Yugoslav Tsar Aleksandar and later his son Petar rule in the previous Kingdom of Serbs, Croatians and Slovenians.
    They had to go to schools taught by teachers brought from Bulgaria and the whole government clerk apparatus was brought from there too. Although the communists are now blamed for plenty of nasty things, they were allies with UK, France, USA etc during the WW-2. They, as partisans fought Nazi forces of the tripple axe from Germany, Bulgaria and Italy. So these partisans supported by the local population fought the Bulgarian Tsar soldiers until they withdrew from Macedonia and were replaced by German forces that stayed till the end of the war. As an irony Tsar Boris was poisoned by the Nazis for his “loyalty” toward the axe. The resistance existed in all the parts of this region, sooner or later. Unfortunately there was an idea by both Greek and Slavo-Macedonian partisans/communists after the war to convert Greece into a communist country which led to the civil war in 1947 and became a huge tragedy with consequences felt even nowadays. I believe this is the reason why Slavophone Greek citizens in Northern Greece never gained any public respect later on.
    Anyway, have in your mind that there is no greater insult for the Yugoslav Macedonians to call them Bulgarians although they had some common development a few centuries ago. Even Bulgarian themselves don’t deny their Tatar’s roots. They were named by the Greeks as Vulgars (barbarians). They also widely accepted the Slavic culture, religion and alphabet, mixed with Slavic tribes and were more successful in establishing their own kingdom while the western Slavic tribes did not succeed in such process, divided in smaller feudal territories. These two ethnicities, the Bulgarians and the Yugoslav Macedonians had different developement that split long time ago and they have distinguished paths of life. I know that there are supporters in both parts of Macedonia, so called Bulgarofiles but that is a minor number. The conciseness and the written culture of the Slavic population in this region was kept and maintained by the Orthodox Church for centuries because there were no independent schools for the Slavo-Macedonians in their language during the 5 centuries slavery under the Turks and some 30 years under the Serbs until the end of the WW-2. The influence from the neighboring countries that had established their own states made them to go to Greek, Bulgarian or Serbian schools which planted different conciseness for certain number of the population that still call themselves Bulgarian, Serbs or even Greeks. The latest group are actually Rumanian nomad tribes also called Vlachos that lived in this region for quite long time (some of them populated parts of the current Albania). These Vlachos widely accepted the Greek conciseness, culture and alphabet. It’s also true that they were not always expressing their identity not because it was forbidden but because first of all most of them they blended with the Slavic population in mixed marriages or they simply were afraid of being mocked up by the society. While they used to be called Grkomans or Grkofiles before the war, nowadays they simply express they nationality as Vlachos when it comes to the national census in the Yugoslav part of Macedonia. They also have evening schools for their youngsters that want to keep their national identity, language and folklore which was hidden for a long time ago for a simple reason not to be condemned by the society.
    So, the current population of the Yugoslav Macedonia is not pure Slavic but certainly not 50% Albanians as someone here wrote. The real number of the Albanian population currently is about 25% and its growing.
    It really is a mixture of ethnicities as the population of most of the Balkan countries is. This region is a crossroad of the peoples’ migrations for millenniums and nobody can say we are a pure nation and screw everyone else.
    I also understand that there shouldn’t be border changes in the 21st century and every citizen no matter the nationality has to be loyal to the government where resides, has to accept the language and local customs and there is no reason for irredentism as long as the basic human rights are maintained.
    As for the name of the Yugoslav part of Macedonia I would leave that for the governments of both countries to decide and find a mutual solution.
    Playing with someone’s ethnicity feelings is a very dangerous game that often led to wars.

  35. Paul,
    interesting piece.
    But what is the real origin then of Yugoslav Macedonians? Obviously to claim roots of ancient Macedonia is stupid, so they must have come from somewhere. Their language suggests Bulgarian origin. Is there any other theory?

  36. Hans,

    You can read my post about the history of the “Republic of Macedonia” and you will understand some things…

    They are not only Bulgarians. They are a mixture of the local populations. Mostly Bulgarians and Serbs.In few words mostly Slavs.

    The truth is that their “heroes”, the founders of the IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization,)were Bulgarian.

    As I said “They considered Macedonia an indivisible territory and all of its inhabitants “Macedonians”, no matter their religion or ethnicity[…]Its founding leaders believed that an autonomous movement was more likely to find favour with the Great Powers than one which was a tool of the Bulgarian government.”

    In few words, they “worked” for a free “Macedonia” in order to succeed the annexation of the region with Bulgaria.
    They created this idea of an autonomous and free “Macedonia”. This is the reason they are heroes in both Bulgaria and Scopje… The former claim they were Bulgarians and the latter claim they were “Macedonians”. This is the case at least for one of the founders.

    To Petar…

    Since you want to call yourself a “Macedonian” I can call you anything I want. As for 2012 this is not my problem. It is you who say some things about this year. Tell us what you say about 2012…

    You are not Macedonians the way you mean it. You are residents of the region but you are not ethnic Macedonians. There is no such thing. In the Balkans, there are only Bulgarians, Serbs, Albanians, Greeks, bla bla… but there are no ethic Macedonians. If you want to “create” a nation then you have to create its own history too. Using the history of another nation, just because you live in the region that used to be ours, cannot be tolerated.

    Mr Petar, in order to understand what is Greeks, who is Greek and what belongs to the Greeks, you have first to understand the word Greek. What is common to the Greeks? Why are they called Greeks? How did they come in the Balkans? Do you know these things? Have you ever read anything about the Greeks?

    We know what God said. You should consider these things too.


    Some people cannot understand what is happening in the region. There are more than just a name. These people might understand if they read some of your books. Books used in your schools. Or if they take a look of the maps that your military academy uses. Maps of the year 2019 showing half of Greece as “Macedonian”…This could be a joke, but it isn’t. It is the truth!

  37. For instance claims of systematic police mistreatment of ethnic immigrants(I must say
    I never considered myself a minority when in Greece) are no more founded than a similar claim based
    on British police shooting an innocent Brazilian after the London bombings. I have seen Roma
    settlements, I am amazed to find 6 year old children smoking there(I think this is criminal behavior
    by their parents, not the state).

    This reminds me of the following:

    Lets guess the Dog win the competition, the queen will be entertained by the highly talented thing of 2008 in Britain: A DOG, nobody has got much talent as that DOG.

    One day scientists will genetically create a DOG speaking like the one in Man in Black movie. They will be compared to mankind.


    Meanwhile, I suspect there is a very simple explanation for this:

    Or if they take a look of the maps that your military academy uses. Maps of the year 2019 showing half of Greece as “Macedonian”…This could be a joke, but it isn’t. It is the truth!

    No doubt it is; after all, there’s this province of Greece called Macedonia, right? I mean, what do you want them to call it on their maps?

  38. Alex wrote:

    “No doubt it is; after all, there’s this province of Greece called Macedonia, right? I mean, what do you want them to call it on their maps?”

    Are you joking? You didn’t understand me. Read it again. I mean that they have maps showing half of Greece being Scopjan. (and the other half turkish). The worse is that they believe these things. At least some of them.

  39. I suspect Alex is pointing out that “nationalism is behavior by other countries or nationals(especially these Balkan people) that would be called patriotic if it were our country/nationals”. Certainly this is the case for the US(“Patriot act” anyone?

    Keeping up the “stupid” thing, I see Mr.Gruevski pointing out that among other things “VMRO-DPMNE will stand for supporting minority and natonal rights of “Macedonians” who live in neighboring countries as well as the US, Australia and Canada.”

    And also : “We will continue talks, but will not move an inch from our position”, i.e. no change in name and no qualification of “macedonian” nation. So what are they going to talk about?

  40. A blog that truly lived up to its name! I can understand people in fyrom having been brainwashed to think that they are the descendants of Alexander, but here we have even more stupidity from westerners with a weird desire to represent others! I mean Noel Maurer -last time I checked he was neither the governor of California
    nor an elected member of congress-! Three wingnuts are the nationalists in the US? Right,
    renaming french fries “freedom fries” is not nationalistic, it’s patriotic. Burning Dixie Chick records, also patriotic. Is Cuba a threat to the US to justify an embargo? Only a wingnut would think so. Wait, that’s the government!

    As for Doug(not Muir), who has appointed himself representative of “Macedonians” in Greece,
    how stupid can you get? If there is such a minority, it is in their interest to distinguish themselves from greek macedonians-any greek macedonian can sue any such rep on the grounds that he cannot speak on behalf of macedonians, as greek macedonians are also macedonians and did not authorize any “minority member” to speak on their behalf.
    Another incredibly stupid idea is that somwhow
    Macedonia was empty of greeks(apparently “macedonians” had wiped all ancient greek macedonians out) before the Balkan wars. This was shot down by the comment on the fight with the comitadji, won by the greeks before the Balkan wars. Was it because the turks supported the greeks? Well, the greek hero of the Struggle for macedonia(pavlos melas) was killed by the turks, not the bulgarian comitadji he was fighting….

    A well-justified title indeed!

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  43. I am always baffled by these Balkan / Slavic gypsies with no cultural identity who feel the need to desperately align themselves with the ancient peoples of Macedon (BC). Put simply their is no connection at all. The peoples of ancient Macedon have no connection to the Slavic peasants who are today’s Macedonians. The Macedonians of today are very sad, culturally dead corpses who are generally uneducated, racist bigots who try and connect themselves with both Greek and Slavic history when it suits them. They are obsessed with money and materialism in all its forms. They are a very sad bunch of people.

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