Greek Shame Revealed on National Television - The Character Assassination of Father Nikodimos Tsarknias

Father Tsarknias, a Macedonian Orthodox priest, is fighting to reintroduce the centuries old tradition of Macedonian religious services to members of Greece's oppressed Macedonian minority.

By Risto Stefov
rstefov@hotmail.com

I was recently invited to view a video of what was to be a discussion on the progress of Macedonian human rights and the construction of a new Macedonian church in Greece. The video was a recording of a program that aired live on Greek national television.

The host introduced his guests, two of whom were politicians, one from the PASOK party and the other from the New Democracy party. In the introduction a piece was included about Father Tsarknias (shown in the picture above) as well as a clip showing the exterior of the newly built Macedonian church, Sveta Zlata Meglenska.

After viewing the program for a few minutes it became clear the video was not what I had expected. As I watched further more guests were introduced yet still no discussion about human rights or the church.

The program was nothing more than an attack on Father Tsarknias and a bashing of the Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian people in general.

The following are some highlights of what transpired:

In one instance, one of the guest politicians accused Father Tsarknias of collaborating with outside organizations, including the Soros Foundation and the CIA, in order to bring harm to Greece.

Father Tsarknias was repeatedly asked if he was Greek, to which he replied, "I am a Greek citizen, but my nationality is Macedonian."

Macedonian apparently was not acceptable to the panel so they repeatedly called him "Slav". At one point a guest who was also a priest attacked Father Tsarknias for referring to himself as a Macedonian. The attacker said, and I quote, "The name Macedonia has been bathed in blood and buried in bones and is not negotiable." He then went on to accuse Father Tsarknias of being a liar and exclaimed that liars cannot be priests. Priests are representatives of Christ and cannot lie.

He continued with his accusations declaring "Skopians," "thieves of the name Macedonia" and making grand gestures that "Macedonia is Greek" and that "Alexander the Great spoke Greek".

[Note: "Skopians" is a derogatory reference for Macedonians and its use in Greece is widespread.]

In his anger, the priest threatened Macedonians declaring, "The Albanians will fix you, and they will mold you into a pancake."

All this happened on a live program on Greek national television.

Another guest used a slew of unfounded accusations to associate Father Tsarknias with a Bulgarian organization.

The discussion became even more bizarre when another priest telephoned the studio and attacked Father Tsarknias accusing him of being a "terrorist" a "Satanist", "dangerous" and a danger not just to Greece but to all people worldwide.

This is "Greek democracy" in action. Here was a man of God, invited to be a guest on a television program to talk about the supposed progress in human rights for the Macedonian minority in Greece. Instead of being treated with dignity and respect, like a human being and a man of the cloth should be treated, Father Tsarknias was attacked. He was personally demonized and called a terrorist to be feared by all. What did the host do? He told Father Tsarknias to keep quiet when he tried to protest against such biased and unfounded accusations.

After one and one half-hours of watching this program, clearly designed to assassinate the character of Father Tsarknias and to bash the Macedonian nation, I felt frustrated and terribly disappointed. I could not watch any further.

This is a "must see" video, not because there is anything worth learning, but to experience the insults and humiliation Father Tsarknias had to endure, merely because he was Macedonian. If this is how Greeks treat representatives of their national minorities on live television then I can only imagine how they treat them in dark alleys and police stations.

This is a "must see" video if only to experience the intolerant behaviour exhibited by the Greek clergy and Greek political class toward members of the Macedonian national minority in Greece.

This is a "must see" video for members of the European Union and supporters of Greece in general, so they may have a better sense of the human rights abuses they perpetuate.

Racism and bigotry are alive and well in Greece today.