"We have been fighting for our existence as Macedonians our whole lives, as did all of our ancestors. Nobody has the right to change our name, ethnicity, identity and history at the stroke of a pen", said Father Nikodim Tsarknias, well-known Macedonian human rights activist from Sobotsko, in the Voden region of Aegean Macedonia (annexed by Greece after Macedonia's partition in 1913). Father Tsarknias continued, "Macedonians in Aegean Macedonia are 100% against the Prespa Agreement."
Greece has framed the artificial "name dispute" as a diplomatic issue between neighbours, yet they have admitted that their goal in creating the name dispute is to eradicate the existence of Macedonians in Greece. With the imposition of the Prespa Agreement, they have achieved this goal.
There can never be an agreement that is designed to redefine and eradicate an ethnic group. The Prespa Agreement cannot be viewed as simply "resolving" the issue of a state-name, as it specifically dictates how an age-old nationality can define itself. See:
Article 7 (2): “These terms (Macedonia and Macedonian) denote not only the area and people of the northern region of the First Party (Greece), but also their attributes, as well as the Hellenic civilization, history, culture, and heritage of that region from antiquity to present day”.
The Macedonians of Greece officially do not exist as per the implementation of the Prespa Agreement. The newly-found claims by non-Macedonians in Greece to a "regional Macedonian identity" cannot supersede the ethnicity, identity and history of an entire ethnic group - Macedonians. The cultural misappropriation of the Macedonian name by Greece (and Bulgaria for that matter) cannot be rewarded by the Western-imposed Prespa Agreement. It is ironic that the Macedonian name - denied by Greece for so long - is now being claimed by them(beginning in 1988), and used in their attempts to deny the existence of the Macedonian ethnicity.
Further, this illegal agreement cannot be viewed as solving a diplomatic row, as basic human rights such as self-determination and self-identification are enshrined in international law, the UN charter, and all international human rights conventions. UN Independent Expert Gay McDougall declared in 2009:
"Greece should withdraw from the dispute over whether there is a Macedonian minority on its territory and focus on protecting the rights to self-identification, freedom of expression and freedom of association of this community"
Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights convicted Greece, repeatedly, for failing to register the Home of Macedonian Culture and for specifically violating Article 11 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.
Finally, in addition to the blatantly racist anti-Macedonian statements frequently made by Greek politicians, they have now been emboldened by the Prespa Agreement and now point to its existence as justification for the denial of Macedonians' right to exist. Greek PM Tsipras said:
"We will not call them Macedonians, but Slavo-Macedonians. The agreement does not recognize a Macedonian nation."
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International, SNS Makedonium, Father Nikodim Tsarknias, the Macedonians in Greece, throughout the Balkans and the world demand support for our basic human rights and our right to be who we are and who we have always been - Macedonians. No other ethnic group should, or would be subject to the blatant eradication of its ethnic identity. Prevent the application of the illegal Prespa Agreement now.
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information: 1-416-850-7125, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook.com/mhrmi, mhrmi.org/OurNameIsMacedonia.