Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Press Release
MHRMI Defends the Existence of the Macedonian Nation - Yes, It's the Year 2016

The Hill The Hill: It's 2016, and Macedonia is a real place

Georgea Polizos makes a perfect presentation of Greece's illogical and incoherent, ever-changing, position on the Macedonia issue in her response to my op-ed in The Hill. But before I get to Ms. Polizos' technical justification about why it's acceptable to discriminate against someone based on their ethnic origin, she makes a fascinating point that illustrates the ridiculousness of the Macedonia-Greece name dispute. In reiterating Greece's position that they want the Republic of Macedonia to use "a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part”, she inadvertently agreed with a position that MHRMI has stated since the beginning of the artificially created dispute. "Republic of” is the distinguishing factor because it indicates statehood. Name dispute solved. Crisis averted. The United Nations can now go about doing whatever it is that it's supposed to be doing.

Her statement also acknowledges that Macedonia itself is divided. Polizos mentions the "Greek and Bulgarian part”, referring to the fact that Macedonia was partitioned - which is common knowledge and a fact accepted by all parties in the Macedonia dispute. This occurred in 1913 when Macedonia was divided among Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, with a small part going to Albania in 1919. Each of these countries claim Macedonia, while at the same time, ironically, having tried or continuing to try to eradicate its existence. So, since 1988 - after Greece changed its well-known policy that denied the existence of Macedonia - Greece has been on an international rampage trying to claim that "Macedonia is Greek”. But Bulgaria claims that "Macedonia is Bulgarian”, Serbia claims that "Macedonia is Serbian” and Albania, while recognizing Macedonians' ethnic origin and language, still claims some Macedonian territory. So why should we listen to Greece? Shouldn't the false claims by the other Balkan neighbours be taken just as seriously? Or we can just adhere to common sense - that Macedonia is, and always has been - Macedonian.

If using "Republic of” isn't good enough, why not refer to the partitioned regions of Macedonia by their other common names? Aegean Macedonia for the region in Greece and Pirin Macedonia for the region in Bulgaria. These terms are used by international human rights organizations, the Council of Europe, UN and OSCE. Acceptable for all.

Back to Ms. Polizos' attempt at justifying the use of "FYROM”. This ignores two obvious facts - that Macedonia was forced to accept the ludicrous acronym, and that the use of "FYROM” is used to negate Macedonians' ethnicity. Maybe we should start calling Greece anything except its actual name, and refer to their people as "Athenians” like they refer to Macedonians as "Skopjans”. Let's get the UN to revoke Greece's membership until it changes its flag and name. I propose "FOPOG” - Former Ottoman Province of Greece”. It would be quite a sight to see "Greece” walk in at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies behind the letter "F” like Macedonia is forced to.

Ms. Polizos says that I should go to the UN Security Council if I were offended. Already done, over two decades ago and continuing today. Polizos would be well-advised to research an issue before coming to the defence of Greece's false, racist, and indefensible position. She mentions that Macedonia violated the Interim Accord, when, in fact, it is Greece that violated the accord, drew Western condemnation by denying Macedonia's entry into NATO in 2008, and lost the subsequent International Court of Justice decision. Her entire account is a Greek myth, much like the claim that ancient myths were Greek, but I digress.

Polizos claims that Hillary Clinton's call for Macedonia to change its name to appease Greece, the country that's core foreign policy objective is to eradicate the existence of Macedonia, should not be taken as offensive to Macedonians. "Need I say more? I shouldn't, but I do…” If Ms. Polizos had comprehended what I wrote, she would understand that even if she "inexplicably, does not understand why something is racist, if the affected ethnic group says it's racist - it is.” However, she does understand, but chooses to ignore it, much like Greece's nonsensical arguments in having manufactured this dispute as a method of continuing its oppression of any minority that chooses to stand up for its own human rights.

I quoted my original op-ed twice and had to reiterate the reasons why the existence of my nation's people should be accepted. Sad. Especially in 2016. An apologist for the inexcusable Greek position never should have been given equal time in order to spin its official and transparent position aimed at negating Macedonia and Macedonians' ethnic origin, language and identity.

Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
157 Adelaide Street West, Suite 434
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 4E7

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