What's in a name?

Nobody is probably interested in this, but the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) is trying to change its name to the Republic of Macedonia. Well, who cares? Greece, that's who. And they have good reasons to object.

"Let me explain the problem as Greeks see it. When Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia changed the name of his country’s southern province in 1944 from Vardar Banovina to the Social Republic of Macedonia, he did it to stir up disorder in northern Greece in order to communize the area and to gain an outlet to the Aegean Sea for his country.

"This policy was also linked with the Greek civil war that at the time claimed more than 100,000 Greek lives, brought untold destruction to our country, and delayed our postwar reconstruction for a decade.

"The name ‘Republic of Macedonia,’ therefore, is not a phantom fear for us Greeks. It is linked with the deliberate plan to take over a part of Greek territory that has had a Greek "identity for more than three millennia and is associated with immense pain and suffering by the Greek people.

"Since the achievement of national independence (1829-30), the Greek state has engaged in a process of construction in which its ethnic origins have been in remote antiquity. The historical trajectory of the nation has been traced in a linear form and without ruptures or discontinuities from antiquity to modernity. Thus, any changes which have marked the past and the history of the national community have been reconstructed in such a way that the nation is represented as a homogeneous and compact unit."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,557092,00.html

It is a complex and close-to-the-heart issue with both Macedonians and Greeks. But it also has larger implications in the entire Balkan region and could explode into something a lot more meaningful than what that country is called. Kosovo and Serbia come to mind.

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Come from the Balkan area, Croatia.

After reading about the history of the area and the manipulations of varied leaders, I cannot help but feel that actions like these, a country to annex or forcibly hold together an area, that wants to be independant, solves nothing and makes for more conflicts.

The actions towards the Macedonians is highlighted by a Macedonian,

"
Bittersweet return for Greek civil war's lost victims

Greece is allowing ethnic Macedonians exiled in the 1940s to revisit their homes for the first time"

Georgi Donevski has fought the memory of being forcibly marched out of Greece for longer than he cares to remember.

He was wrenched from his parents, taken from his village in the dark and forced to trek across the mountains. It was March 30 1948, the height of Greece's brutal civil war, and he was a boy of 12.

But this summer something extraordinary happened: after 55 years of enforced exile, of being stripped of his Greek citizenship and property, Mr Donevski, now a Macedonian, was finally allowed to return to the place of his birth.

Like other child refugees taking advantage of a decree that temporarily allows them into Greece until the end of this month, he was reunited with relatives and friends. He even got to see his beloved home village, but the trip was not easy.

No one has paid more for the sins of their fathers than the children of Greece's Slavonic-speaking Macedonians, who fought with the communists during the 1946-49 war. More than half a century later, the struggle that pitted leftists against the western-backed government forces has not been forgotten. The Macedonian minority's "treacherous" desire to carve out an autonomous state during the war raises suspicion even now.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/17/greece

Here is why Greece is ticked off at the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM, aka Republic of Macedonia).

The above picture of Alexander the Great appears on the page today of an article from Bulgarian FocusNews which talks about a protest in Skopje. http://www.focus-fen.net/index.php?id=h1900

You have to understand that to show a picture of Alexander in connection with Slavic FYROM is like waving a red flag before a bull. The Greeks have always claimed Alexander as a Greek and to have the Slavic Macedonians use a Greek Alexander as an icon of the Slavic country is an implicit attack on Greece's territoriality. The Greek province of Macedonia lies adjacent to the FYROM and during the 1940s and '50s was been a bone of contention between old Yugoslavia and Greece. During the Greek civil war, Tito supported the insurgents on the Greek side of the border and renamed his Yugoslavian province Macedonia as a means of supporting the insurgent Greek/Macedonian population on the Greek side.

Another irritation to the Greeks is the FYROM flag:

Below is what the emblem of the ancient Greek dynasty that included Alexander the Great looked like:

They look very much alike, don't they? The Greeks are afraid that the use of the name Macedonia and of other historically sensitive symbols could set off internal discord in Greece and may presage future troubles with its northern neighbor.

What it boils down to is an understandable fear that the appropriation of these symbols and names will fragment the Greek nation. It is kind of like Mexico renaming itself Calarizona and having its sights set on reclaiming the southwestern portion of the United States.

Funny how history shows us, that what is put together, it also comes undone.

Sorta like Turkey not wanting the Kurds to have a place they call home, or the Roma people being chased from country to country.

Then there are the Armenians and so on.

Countries are fragmenting and people are wanting to return to some homeland so where, and my relatives and relations, still hold grudges for some injustice or travesty that happened many many years ago, all in what appears to me, to be pointless and fruitless, unless the lives that are to be lost are counted as something other than needless.

Greece has called on Skopje to adopt a compound name such as “New” or “Upper” Macedonia but no mutually acceptable formula has been found.

The dispute dates to 1991, when Yugoslavia disintegrated. Greece objects to the name Macedonia because it is also the name of Greece's northernmost province.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20080612-1050-greece-macedonia-...

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