Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Rainbow/Vinozhito Press Release Regarding Greece's Blacklisting of Ethnic Macedonians

Press Release

...but all that Ulysses desires is to see the smoke rising from his own chimneys once more before he dies (Odyssey, i, 57f.)

After more than fifty years the Macedonian freedom fighters, soldiers of the Democratic Army and thousands of refugee children, victims of the civil war, are still trapped in forced exile from their homes.

Tashkent, Bucharest, Varna, Warsaw, Budapest, Prague and Skopje still hold thousands of grandfathers, fathers, sons and daughters - many miles removed from their families, relations and friends.

The inhuman decision of the Greek Ministries of Internal Affairs and Public Order still bars the door to their return.

Athens 29.12.1982
Subject: Free repatriation and granting of Greek Citizenship to political refugees.

Bearing in mind: The provisions of Law 400/76 'On the Cabinet and Ministries' as amended by Law 1266/1982, and in the framework of the policy of the Government on National reconciliation and unity,


All individuals of Greek race (our emphasis) who during the Civil War of 1946-1949, and because of that Civil War, sought refuge in a foreign state as political refugees, may now return to Greece, even those who have been stripped of their Greek Citizenship…

G. Yennimatas, Yiannis Skoularikis

How is it possible in a legal document issued by a European country such as Greece to find such divisive expressions - divisive of its own citizens - as 'of Greek race', expressions which remind us of the South African apartheid?

It is evident that in its use of the term 'of Greek race', the decision seeks to deny certain individuals their inalienable right of return. Namely those who certain people, pursuing their own interests, have chosen to describe as Bulgarian, Slav-speaking, Slavo-Macedonian, bilingual, non-existent … and so on.

The decision - racist in its inspiration - by the Ministries of INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC ORDER of Greece, keeps the doors to return firmly locked and bolted. Many of these people are also included on lists of 'undesirables', and do not even have the right to visit Greece.

By what right do the authorities continue, even today, to keep families apart, to deny them their right to enjoy together life's sweet and bitter moments?

We often hear certain people speaking of the Greeks of Imbros and Tenedos, of the Greeks of Istanbul/Constantinople, of the Greek minority in southern Albania, of human rights…

Today, following the decision by the Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas to open up the borders, everyone in Greece is talking about the Greek Cypriot refugees in Cyprus, and the emotion they feel on seeing once again, after thirty years, their family homes, their great patience as they waited for the opportunity to cross the dividing line, to see their homes and their villages once again, to smell the lemon tree in the courtyard of the family home…

Today, in the Greece of 2003, a member of the European Union, a country which boasts that it was the cradle of democracy, a country which this year is hosting summit conferences of the EU and next year will be hosting the Olympic Games, under the slogan 'For a civilisation of cultures' - this decision which denies Macedonian political refugees their rights of return, and even denies some of them the right to visit Greece, should be an insult to the feelings of all democratic people.

What is certainly an insult is the guilty silence of politicians, journalists and intellectuals.

Greece should feel deeply ashamed that in the 21st century the regime of Denktas shows more true appreciation than does our government of the lines of the Odyssey we quoted above…

The Political Secretariat