August 17, 2010

Why negotiating with Greece is bad for Macedonia!

By Risto Stefov
August 8, 2010

First and foremost, Macedonia should not be negotiating with Greece over its own name even if Greece was its brother and best friend! But setting that aside, what message does Macedonia give the world when it willingly enters a process to negotiate a change to its own name to please Greece, one country which amounts to less than 1% of the world’s countries and a fraction of the world population, so small that I don’t even know how to describe it!

Let us pause for a moment and think about this. Who would willingly negotiate to change their own name?

1. A desperate person for whom life does not matter and has no future.
2. A completely ignorant person who knows not what they are doing.
3. A person who has something to gain that is worth more than his or her own identity.

Whether Macedonian authorities are prepared to change our country’s name or not is unknown, but as long as these “negotiations” are going on there is a possibility that a name change will take place. The fact that we are allowing the negotiations to go on is demeaning, reckless and dangerous to Macedonia and to the Macedonian people.

The negotiations are demeaning to every decent Macedonian because of what they mean; to be put in a situation where Macedonians are expected to voluntarily negotiate their own sacred identity with their worst enemy, the same enemy who has been planning and executing their demise for more than a century.

The negotiations are reckless because there is no definition or limit to what is being negotiated. No one knows exactly what is negotiated and so far I have not seen any analysis or reports of what a name change will do to/for Macedonia if it is allowed to happen. Worse than that, by negotiating our own God given name, Macedonian authorities have given the world the wrong message about what Greece really wants from Macedonia and what Macedonia is willing to give up for it. Macedonian authorities have failed to officially disclose where they stand with Greece and simply jumped into a trap from which they now find difficulty exiting.

The negotiations are dangerous because as long as they go on there is danger that Macedonia will be pressured to change its name and that will lead to greater consequences for the Macedonian people in the future.

To minimize this danger, Macedonian authorities must pull out of these negotiations now and face the fallout today before an even greater mistake is made. To eliminate this danger, Macedonian authorities must amend the Macedonian constitution to never allow anyone again to play with Macedonia ’s name. It is not a referendum that is needed to save Macedonia , it is a constitutional amendment so that no one ever again will have the right to negotiate Macedonia ’s name with anyone!

Personally for me and for thousands of Macedonians like me that originate from Greek occupied Macedonia, the name negotiations are more than an embarrassment, they are a total letdown, a disaster. To see our sacred Macedonian name, for which we fought and spilled blood, negotiated away with our oppressors and worst enemies is a crime of the worst kind. We are the people whose Macedonian identity has been forcefully ripped out of us. We are the people who lost everything to the Greeks; our freedom, our names, our language, our lands and our dignity. It is appalling for us to see our fellow Macedonians sit side by side with our worst enemies and willingly negotiate away something that belongs to all Macedonians and is not negotiable.

We the Macedonians from Greek occupied Macedonia place great trust in you to safeguard our God given name and preserve it for all time. We plead with you to immediately pull away from these negotiations because, from our experience, we can tell you with certainty that nothing good will come out of this for any of us! Do the right thing, call off the negotiations and begin a new campaign to force Greece , Bulgaria and Albania to recognize the Macedonians in their respective countries!

The only way to put Greece and Bulgaria in their place today is to demand of them that they give back what rightfully belongs to the Macedonian people; their human rights, their property rights and their rights to declare themselves Macedonian. Do that for us instead of negotiating away our name!

Another thing, besides the danger of losing our name, which worries me about these negotiations, is the message we are sending to the world. People don’t know and for the most part don’t care about what is going on between Macedonia and Greece and see the “name negotiations” as something the Macedonian people want. But is this what the Macedonian people really want? To capitulate to their enemies? To commit ethnic suicide? If this is not what the Macedonian people want then why negotiate with the Greeks? Better yet why hasn’t anyone officially explained to the world what Greece is really asking us to do through these negotiations?

Are we a desperate people who have no life and no future and are willing to commit ethnic suicide to satisfy the Greeks who want nothing less of us than our total demise?

Are we a completely ignorant people who know nothing of what we are doing and is that why we are negotiating our country’s God given name with our worst enemies?

Or do we believe that Greece , our worst enemy which wants nothing less than our demise, or someone else out there, will by some magical means give us something so great that it is worth more than our own identity?

If we are none of the above then someone please explain to me why we are still negotiating away our own country’s God given name with our worst enemies who want nothing less of us than our total demise?

Here is something to think about:

Former UN Mediator tells Macedonia not to change name

Macedonia must not and will not change its name in order to appease Greece - this was a message from the first UN mediator Mr. Robin O'Neil for Ohrid based NTV station as part of a conference entitled "Macedonia, our name, identity and dignity. 

Speaking about exclusivity of the name Macedonia , British expert of international law and ambassador, explained that no one exclusively owns the name Macedonia . 

According to Mr. O'Neil, if Macedonia succumbs to pressures and changes its name, such events will only give more firepower to Greece until it reaches its final goal - Macedonia to vanish from the map. 

O'Neil advised the Macedonian Government to work hard on admission to EU and NATO adding: ' Macedonia already has two names, it doesn't need a third. As time passes, the temporary name will lose its importance and relevance, because it is a temporary name."

Mr. O'Neil believes Greece has broken the rules of the 1995 Agreement because it is blocking the country from accessions to EU and NATO, even though it is clearly stated in the Agreement (UN Resolution 817) it can not do so.

The former UN mediator stressed repeatedly at the conference: "If Macedonia accepts any sort of change, whether it is the silly North, Above, Top, Vardar , Upper... it shall commit a national suicide. 

Greek professor Aristotelis Camparis disagrees. The intellectual from the Athens University of Pirea believes there is a rare opportunity for the two countries to solve the name dispute until November in which both parties will win. He believes there are friendly Governments in both countries that could work things out.

Famous professor and intellectual at Ss Cyril and Methodius Mr. Ljubomir Cuculovski disagrees with his colleague from Athens . Cuculovski believes Greece is just a poodle in the whole name dispute game and is being used by a third powerful nation whose agenda is to remove Macedonia from the map, a sentiment shared by many Macedonian professors.

Other articles by Risto Stefov: