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Macedonia: New Statue Awakens Past Quarrels – Analyis

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Forget the row with Greece over Alexander. What now has Macedonians at odds are new monuments resembling, or commemorating, historic figures linked to Bulgaria.

Seventy-four-year-old pensioner Andon Denkov from Skopje pulls a grouchy face every time he goes out to the grocery store.

The reason is a newly erected equestrian statue near his home that bears a striking resemblance to Todor Aleksandrov, a controversial figure in Macedonian history.

Macedonia
Macedonia

“He was the biggest enemy of the Macedonian people and now in my old age I have to look at him every day,” he complains.

“God help Macedonia with politicians who glorify such people. They should be put on trial for treason!” he adds.

The statue, financed by the Ministry of Culture and erected by Skopje’s municipality of Kisela Voda in June, caused headlines for days, sharply dividing opinion.

Whether Aleksandrov was a Macedonian or a Bulgarian hero, and who approved such a statue, is a hot topic – temporarily pushing aside the long-running row with Greece over which country “owns” the memory of such Classical heroes as Alexander the Great.

Although officially entitled “Macedonian equestrian revolutionary”, most people are in no doubt that the statue in Skopje is intended to resemble Aleksandrov, a key member of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman era Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, VMRO.

This clandestine organisation fought for Macedonia’s independence from Ottoman rule, but was divided between those who sought an independent Macedonian state and others who saw freedom from Ottoman Turkey as a stepping-stone towards union with Bulgaria.

During the five decades of Socialist Yugoslavia, and after Macedonian independence in the early 1990s, most historians reviled Aleksandrov’s memory because of his close ties to Bulgaria.

But since the centre-right VMRO-DPMNE party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski took power in 2006, the atmosphere has changed, and Aleksandrov has recently had a street and a bridge in the capital named after him.

As the ruling party pushes on with its bid to rename hundreds of streets in the capital Skopje, and continues erecting statues to people who were previously on the black list, historians – as well as the public – are taking opposing sides.

Supporters of the new monuments say it is time to correct a distorted view of Macedonia’s history that has prevailed since 1945, when the Yugoslav Communists took power and filtered history through their own perspective.

Critics, on the other hand, accusing the ruling party of playing around with the national identity and of unscrupulously re-writing the history books.

The main opposition Social Democrats have repeatedly accused the government of pursuing double standards.

“While maniacally spending millions of euros on new monuments, some of which are dedicated to controversial historical figures… the government feels no need to renew the vandalized busts of World War II [partisan] heroes,” Sofija Kunovska, a Social Democrat on the Skopje city council, complained recently.

She was referring to bronze busts of several Partisan fighters that were stolen more than ten years ago from a park and not replaced.

She resents the fact that the Culture Ministry, while pouring in money to the government revamp of the capital called Skopje 2014, has little money left over for other monuments.

Some historians, as well as opposition supporters, are far from happy with the new monuments.

“Views may, and should, change, but they need to be accompanied by scientific debate and arguments. In this case, politics, and not science is running the show, causing greater controversies and divisions,” Todor Cepreganov, head of the National History Institute, said.

He said he was “surprised” to see a statue of Aleksandrov erected. Along with many other historians, he thinks the move hasty.

“There is much written historical evidence that Aleksandrov actively worked against the formation of an independent Macedonia and a Macedonian ethnicity different from Bulgaria’s,” he told Balkan Insight.

But other academics welcome the change in official tone, seeing the old anti-Bulgarian line as itself forced, artificial and unhistorical.

“These processes should have started earlier, together with Macedonian independence [in the early 1990s],” historian Zoran Todorovski said.

The head of the National Archive, a member of the ruling VMRO DPMNE party, shook academic circles with his thesis in 1995, which said Aleksandrov deserved hero status in Macedonia.

His theory earned him a Bugarophile reputation, which he resents.

“What is happening is a natural process of re-visiting certain historical chapters that were previously seen as taboo by Communist Party historians,” he maintains.

“It is not an attempt to re-write bur rather to upgrade our historical knowledge,” Todorovski adds.

He denies having been one of the masterminds behind some of the more recent controversial moves like the erection of the statue.

But he says continuing divisions in Macedonia over its recent history are absurd.

“Just as there were brothers from Macedonia fighting for opposing Serbian and Bulgarian armies in the Balkan Wars [of 1912-13], today we are in the same absurd situation, accusing ourselves of taking ‘Serbian’ or ‘Bulgarian’ views,” he says.

Nationalists vs. Communists:

The modern disputes over statues and bridges all have their origins in contrasting views and memories of the period of national revolutionary struggle in the late 19th and early 20th century.

This was when the modern Macedonian national identity was forged amidst the turbulent collapse of Ottoman rule in the Balkans and the subsequent wars between rival Balkan states.

At the time, Macedonia was a geographical expression, inhabited by a medley of Slavs, Greeks, Albanians, Jews and others, all with different aspirations, some seeking freedom for Macedonia, others seeking union with Bulgaria, Serbia or Greece and others again wanting the status quo.

The devastating blow to the champions of an independent Macedonia came in 1913, in the aftermath of the Second Balkan War, when Ottoman Macedonia was partitioned between Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece, with the lion’s share going to Greece and Serbia.

All three victorious states vigorously supressed any movements to uphold a specific Macedonian identity in their respective portions.

Today’s Macedonia consists only of the Serbian part of Macedonia, which obtained a measure of cultural freedom after becoming one of six federal units in Communist Yugoslavia in 1944-5.

After 1945, in ex-Serbian Macedonia, the authorities rehabilitated the idea of a separate Macedonian langage, identity and consciousness, sponsoring the creation of a separate Macedonian Church.

At the same time, official history rehabilitated only certain VMRO-era revolutionaries, like Goce Delcev, Nikola Karev and Dame Gruev, who they deemed deserving because they were not associated with the idea of union with Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, most emphasis was placed on celebrating the joint Yugoslav history of the World War II struggle.

Other VMRO figures, like Todor Aleksandrov or Ivan Mihajlov remained blacklisted owing to their pro-Bulgarian stands.

Historians today agree that the truth was not so black-and-white.

“Almost all Macedonian revolutionaries from that era at some point of their life took pro-Bulgarian stands or pronounced themselves as Bulgarians – this is not disputed,” Cepreganov explains.

“You have to have in perspective the non-existence of a Macedonian state [at the time] and the strong influences of neighbouring countries. Many people were then educated in Bulgarian schools,” he adds.

Feud rooted in history:

The current historical feud between today’s VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democrats has its roots in the two parties’ very different backgrounds.

While VMRO-DPMNE emerged in early 1990s as a nationalist party, uniting opponents of the old Communist regime, the Social Democrats descended from the former League of Communists of Macedonia, which ruled unchallenged for five decades in post-war Yugoslavia.

VMRO-DPMNE accuses the Social Democrats of taking a pro- Yugoslav, and indeed, a pro-Serbian line, and of dwelling too much in the Communist past.

In return, VMRO DPMNE is accused of conceding too much to pro-Bulgarian views of history.

The party put up pictures of Todor Aleksandrov in its headquarters in the early 1990s, when party officials said he was undeservingly blacklisted. But even today they are reluctant to openly talk about the sensitive issue in detail.

To be called pro-Bulgarian still has negative connotations in Macedonia.

In 2006, the former Prime Minister and VMRO DPMNE head, Ljubco Georgievski, was damaged politically by claims that he had a Bulgarian passport – a serious blow to his patriotic image.

However, the party survived unharmed as Georgievski was by then no longer a member, and had been succeeded by the current Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski.

Historians explain that the suspicions that many Macedonians still feel towards Bulgaria is not groundless.

While Bulgaria was the first state to recognise Macedonia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it has not recognised the existence of a Macedonian language, separate from Bulgarian. Many Bulgarian historians still insist that Macedonians are part of the Bulgarian nation.

In addition, the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria has often complained of unfair treatment by Sofia, a complaint echoed by the Bulgarian minority in Macedonia.

For now, many people are confused.

“It seems that everyone is entitled to erect monuments and rewrite the past according to their own liking,” Spase Najdenovski, an electrical engineer from Skopje, says.

“I have no idea what is going on with the new statues and street names. I just hope they know what they are doing,” Perica Naneski, a carpenter from Prilep, adds.

Ivana Todorova, a mother of three, is tired of listening to the big parties quarreling all the time about history.

“Is that all they have to offer? Instead of telling me how my husband should find a job they are playing big patriots!” she says.

“They should all go to hell!”.

Street opposition:

Meanwhile, some opposition supporters are taking to the streets to defend their view of history.

Last month, they blocked a street in central Skopje named after the World War 2 resistance fighter Stiv Naumov, after the authorities renamed it after the Ancient warrior, Philip of Macedonia.

The ruling party plans to rename several hundred city streets in the first “mass renaming” of streets in the two decades that have passed since Macedonia declared independence.

“They should not have done that. Removing the name of Stiv Naumov is a clear example of their brutal attempt to impose their own views,” Cepreganov says.

The move angered war veterans, who accused the government of writing off important figures linked with Yugoslavia’s wartime struggle and replacing them with controversial names that fit the party’s nationalist ideology.

“We are not revising history but only changing about 8 per cent of the street names that had nothing to do with Macedonian history,” Aleksandar Bicikliski, spokesperson of VMRO DPMNE, responds.

But some dispute this, saying that with the rushed renaming process, Skopje is losing another dimension of its history, the image of city of international solidarity.

Vlatko Stefanovski, leader of the famous rock band, Leb I Sol, together with his brother Goran, a playwright, filed a petition to the city against the renaming of “Meksicka”, [“Mexican”] street, where they grew up.

This is “sign of utter short sightedness and rudeness”, the two brothers wrote, arguing that the old street name, along with many others, enshrines memories of the city’s devastating 1963 earthquake, and of the solidarity that the world showed in rebuilding the city.

This street, as well as many other newly built streets, bridges and blocks, was named after one of the countries that helped rebuild Skopje.

“The great actress Nada Geshovska and the painter Spase Kunovski lived on this street. Here the politician Stojan Andov still lives and here the band Leb I Sol was born,” they wrote.

The city authorities replied that they will see what they can do, noting that the decision to rename the street had already been made.

This article is funded under the BICCED project, supported by the Swiss Cultural Programme.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

17 thoughts on “Macedonia: New Statue Awakens Past Quarrels – Analyis

  • Avatar
    July 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm
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    It’s refreshing to see some citizens of FYROM are willing to face up to FYROM’s mostly ethnic Bulgarian past (and to a lessor degree Serbian). Unfortunately Grueski-bots are ruining any chance of a comprise with Greeks but pushing their direct descendents of ancient Macedonians historical gibberish (which they then go on to manipulatively insinuate Macedonia Greece is occupied territory)

    To moderate FYROM nationalists out there, I know its annoying that Greeks don’t call you Macedonians, but the chief reason for this can largely be found in irredentist extremists within FYROM. They are dragging both our countries down a very dark road. (also leading to far right Gruevski counterpart extremists like Golden Dawn in Greece).

    No matter who “recognizes” what, ancient macedonian artifacts will forever be written in Greek and suggest they identities with Hellenic culture and language not Slavic. The are no clean lines of race or culture but nations cannot claim the history and identity of other nations. They have to find their own unique identities else it leads to conflict over conflicting ethnic narratives. Greuvski is a self-serving megalomaniac that fails to understand this. He’s only generating the conditions for another Balkan conflict needlessly.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm
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    It is clear that Alexander the Great, a Greek ruler, and many of the Bulgarian heroes mentioned in this article do not share the same ethnic identity. The confusion in FYROM is growing given the governments attempt to create an identity that is not based on historical reality.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      July 14, 2012 at 9:08 am
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      if you are not bulgarian origin nation why all of yours 19th century heroes like MISIRKOV,SANDANSKI,DELCHEV,GRUEV,etc.. had proclaimed their selves as bulgarians? except they were all relatives of Aristotle like todor Alexandrov ,if you are “refugee child” why the greeks called you “bulgarous”?

      Reply
  • Avatar
    July 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm
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    I have travelled to many countries in Europe, including Greece,and I have seen thousands of statues in each of these countries. I dont see why Macedonia is criticized for putting up statues of its own historical figures. Any Greeks who exclusively claim Philip of Macedon or his son Alexander the Great should read a little history written by the people who lived during the times of Philip and Alexander to see how much the ancient Athenians, Spartans, Thebans, etc liked the Macedonian Kings. At worst the Greeks should agree to share these historical figurs. I am going to Macedonia this summer to see family and the new statues as well as old statues and buildings. I will also visit my family living in northern Greece, where both of my parents were born. My relatives in northern Greece are not so vocal about politics because they still feel the pressure of the Greek government to be `Greeks`, but I love how they all speak Macedonian and identify as Macedonians.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      July 15, 2012 at 6:14 am
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      Donto Pozdivski QUOTE…”I dont see why Macedonia is criticized for putting up statues of its own historical figures’ hahaha!!!
      Simply because Alexander the great it is not part of fyrom history these people are slavs (bulgarians)THEIR CULTURE -LANGUAGE SAYS WHO THEY ARE they have nothing common with antiquity , except if alexander the great and his father were slavs and spoke the bulgarian dialect like today’s slavs in fyrom are speaking

      Reply
  • Avatar
    July 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm
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    You seem to have “forgotten” to mention this little part in your fantasy narrative Peter.

    “This (US) Government considers talk of Macedonian “nation”, Macedonian “Fatherland”, or Macedonia “national consciousness” to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece” – US State Department Dec, 1944 (Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram – 868.014/26)
    http://tinyurl.com/nel46d

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm
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    The history of Macedonia belongs to Macedonians in THE Macedonia… not the former self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians who intentionally confuse ancient with modern place names to encourage irredentism. Ancient Macedonia is in Macedonia Greece not the ancient Kingdom of Paeonia and Dardinia where FYROM is situated.

    And what do pray tell do ancient Macedonians have to do with former ethnic Bulgarians that are anti-Hellenic while bizarrely claiming to be “Macedonian”.

    FYROMs “ethnic Macedonian” identity is 100% fabricated and due to assimilation. Its not the fault of Greeks that FYROM ultra nationalists like Peter prefers a policy of assimilation that wipes out all traces of FYROM’s prior ethnic Bulgarian identity (and to a lessor degree Serbian).

    Irredentist propagandist Peter can’t even report history from a few years ago honestly much less ancient history.

    “We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century … We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians” – Kiro Gligorov, FYROM’s first President
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBB8UjOHG_8

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 15, 2012 at 3:02 am
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    It is always these same Slavic nationalists who continue to be the driving force behind these stupid and very expensive pieces of metal. The indigenous Albanians stand by and watch while the skopjian government of Gruevski builds its way into history infuriating its Bulgarian motherland on the one hand and stealing Greek historica figures on the other.

    For many years now we have noticed that the skopjian government will single handedly destroy FYROM by imploding our nation from this nationalism. For 3000 years this sacred Illyrian land has watched ivaders come and go and now with this last lot who try to reinvent themselves from former Bulgarians, to Yugislavs, and now to ethnic Slavs of FYROM we can onl;y pray they find something which is original.

    The indigenous people of FYROM will live in peace with our Slavic neighbours but if they continue to infringe on our rights on our ancestral land we will make them remember that they as immigrants to this land of ancient Illyira and Paeonia they have only been here for a few hundred years like all Slavs who came to the balkans.

    We should all try and live in harmony andthe skopjians government should not try to steal other peoples ancestral history. Albanians have lived here forever, as the Greeks have over the southern border and later the Bulgarians came. We should all remember that this is the facts as Bylazora shows the Paeonian settlements. All of FYROM was once our ancestral sacred land where we can see evidence.

    No Greek settlements here from ancient Macedonia only Paeonian!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 15, 2012 at 9:16 am
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    I’m sorry for the confusion of my Slavic neighbours in skopjia but you are first a Slav people from FYROM and you are not here before the indigenous Illyrian people of skopjia area and most of FYROM. This so-called proto people of FYROM land was always the indigenous Ilyrians since 4000 years. The Bulgarians came here to our sacred land in 700-900AD not before. We also know that the Greek people live in the south for thousands of years like my ancestors live on the ancinet land of FYROM and was called Illyria.

    The skopjia government was is only 50 years old and all the Yugislav people were later changed to Slavs. Many of my people have always called the Slavs Bulgarians but later changed only to Slavs because some from the skopjia government don’t like to be called Bulgarian anymore. But ther are many who call themselves Bulgarians in skopjia.

    This confuses our indigenous Albanian peoples because the Slavs build statues which we all know only belong to the Greek people in the south area, only they have Alexander and Philip because they were Greek people not Slavs. And also statues that are Bulgarian heroes like Delchev, Karev, etc.

    Why you ashame of your Bulgarian roots is difficult for many indigenoius Albanians to understand. When the Bulgarians settled on our land that is now FYROM they were not to primitive and dangerous. Now the Slavic leaders of skopjia think they can have Greek and Bulgarian history this is not right. The Greeks have a long history like our Illyrian forefathers and the Bulgarians come much later and this is very true.

    Maybe skopjian governent when you stop hating Albanians, Bulgarians and Greeks then you can understand how wrong it is and why your Slavic people are so confused in our country. Hate makes you bitter about my indigenous people and worse you hate your Slavic brothers who you think are bad.

    Many Slavs from skopjia government are corrupt, self-serving, and only looking out for their own interests and they are no better than other bad people in the Slav opposition. For many years the skopjia government has some corrupt people who have been supported by bad people, this you have to realise.

    Our Indigenous Albanians are willing to live peacefully with the Slavs of skopjia but this must be mutual and not this big racism that exists among many young Slav skopjian residents. Everytime we move in skopjia many people don’t feel safe, this is no good for a country that wants EU. When Slavic racism drops in skopjia then people will have a better
    life.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm
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    Ideology shouldn’t blind today’s Macedonians to our past. The historical VMRO was a massive organization/movement within which there many different factions arose, such as socialists and those interested in union with Bulgaria. I think, at root, all the historical figures of VMRO wanted what was best for Macedonia and Macedonians, regardless of ideology, and that’s what made VMRO a distinctly modern/progressive organization. I’m not ashamed of any VMRO figure, including Aleksandrov and Mihailov, no matter what any former League of Communist official says.

    As for you Greeks: just remember that VMRO was established in what today is Thessaloniki, which was probably not by chance…

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 16, 2012 at 1:58 am
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    @ stavre. Just because some Bulgarians wanted to take Macedonia doesn’t make it right. The Greeks were the vast majority and liberated the land from the Ottomans. There was some population exchange afterward. And all this doesn’t change the fact that todays Macedonians are the Greeks who have the only ethnic link to the ancients and to the name. Calling yourselves Macedonians while inhabiting a land that adopted the name 60 years ago andwhile denying the Greek ethnicity of ancient Macedonia will at the very least leave you confused every time you walk into a university outside of Skopje.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      July 16, 2012 at 3:05 am
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      @Akron. I have 3 university degrees outside of skopje, 2 from a top 20 in-the-world school. I took classics courses and political theory courses, the latter taught by a Greek professor, the former by a professor who reads ancient Greek, Arabic, Aramaic, and others. In both cases, ancient Macedonia was distinguished from ancient Greece — the Greek students were not pleased. This idea about “universities outside of Skopje” teaching the Greek interpretation of history is completely false in my experience; it’s probably more accurate to say that there’s a mix, which is fine with me, even if it’s not with you. I’ll always be Macedonian, and, for what it’s worth, I think in terms of mentality and culture, Macedonians and Greeks have just as much in common as Macedonians and Serbs and Bulgars.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    July 16, 2012 at 4:20 am
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    Mr Stavre you can have 10 university degrees but this doesn’t change the fact that your ancestors came to this sacred Illyrian land between 700-900AD. Before then the indigenous Illyrian and Paeonian tribes inhabited this land down to the south as far as the Greek speaking tribes.

    When the indigenous Albanians of FYROM speak to the skopjian government about history, your politicians think they have been here for many years. The Bulgarian expansion into our sacred lands only left a Slavic cultural veneer in the countryside. This is why the indigenous Albanians are 30% of the FYROM population. In another 10-15 years we will be nearly 50% because there is a low Slavic reproductive culture due to different relgious priorities. The indigenous Albanians hold family as the priority. Even the skopjian government cash incetives 2 years ago to all Slavs to reproduce failed because the Slavs are more interested in drinking and getting drunk than spending time with their partners.

    I know our religion and culture rejects alcohol in our people but we still reproduce because we priorotise.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm
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    Great, let’s say Macedonians have stolen Greece and Bulgarian history, although only a uneducated person can state that the history can be stolen.
    If that’s the case than why Greece and Bulgaria are against inclusion of Macedonia into EU. It would be a simple solution of a problem. Since the Bulgarians and Greeks state that the Macedonians are either Greeks or Bulgarians, the problem will be solved by Macedonians accepting the culture they like, being that Greek or Bulgarian.
    The answer is that such a solution does not provides stability to the false foundations of the Greek and Bulgarian states. Right now Macedonia is a carpet under which Bulgaria and Greece hide all of their illogical and most of the times questionable stories and myths. They need the unresolved question of the Macedonians, for their own sake. Now they realize that it is in their common interest to keep this issue unresolved, and you will see a strange situation where Bulgarians and Greeks have a same rhetoric about Macedonian people, although that was the only reason why they were fighting for in the Balkan wars.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm
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    The ancient Macedonians spoke Greek, wrote Greek, worshiped Greek Gods, shared Greek culture and customs, and self identified as Greeks. Other Greek city states saw them as Greeks and that is why they allowed them to participate in the Olympics. Modern archeologists validate Alexander’s owns claim that he and the Macedonians were decendants of the Dorian Greek tribes, just like the Spartans. There isn’t a historian in the world that believes Skopje’s claim that the ancients were Slavs. It’s that simple.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm
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    One more thing. Alexander comquered the world and spread Greek culture. His own culture. His attack on Persia also an act of revenge for Persia’s attack on Greece 200 years prior to Alexander’s birth. I can go on and on with evidence of Macedonia’s Greekness. I am not against Skopje using the name Macedonia, but they should respect Greek history and stop fabricating their own identity.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    July 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm
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    @meglena

    the fact is most people in what is today FYROM used to freely self-identify as (mostly) ethnic Bulgarians in the early 20th century (and to small degree Serbs). For some strange reason the Gruevski regeme prefers to hide and oppress this fact 20 years post communist Yugoslavia and instead pretend to be related to ancient Macedonians.

    It is a fact ancient Macedonians were self-identifying Hellenes that identified with Hellenic culture and language….not Slavic like Gruevksi-bots (which is backed up by the historical record – see ancient Olympics where ancient Macedonians competed as self-identifying Greeks)

    . Today’s FYROM ultra nationalists claiming to be “real Macedonians” is like Polish people claiming to be the “real” Germans because Slavs and Germans lived together in Prussia. Since FYROM nationalists themselves are anti-Hellenic why did they rename themselves as Macedonians in an ethnic sense? What ethnic group on earth hates its own allege culture and language? It makes no sense.

    This confusion of ethnological/linguistic/culture space with geographic space is not only bizarre but dangerous and disrespectful. Identities and history are not some sort of trading card to rewrite on a whim. For instance Americans, who are not even an ethnic group, would not tolerate neighbours attempting to claim George Washington their national hero and using it to insinuate their country is occupied.

    The arguments FYROM ultra nationalists and its patronizing apologists use to excuse blatantly obvious state propaganda by Gruevski is so irrational they comes off off as racism directed against Greeks. No nation on earth would tolerate FYROM’s behavior if it had been their own history and identity up for auction. Not one. If very real prejudice isn’t a very real factor how is possible so many have selectively forgotten what FYROM government itself used to assure everyone about its “Macedonian” identity only a few years ago?

    “We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century … We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians” – Kiro Gligorov, FYROM’s first President
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBB8UjOHG_8

    Reply

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