Washington, D.C.- Major Greek American organizations sent a letter to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to reverse the ill-conceived decision by the Bush administration to recognize FYROM as the “Republic of Macedonia”.
The letter, consigned by the Pan-Macedonian Association of the United States, the Hellenic American National Council, HANC, the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA) and the Cyprus Federation of America, was sent to Secretary Clinton on the eve of her meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, in Washington.
The Greek American organizations express the “strong concern” of the organized Greek – American community for FYROMʼs continuous and escalating intransigence and aggressiveness while calling for the condemnation of its irredentist behavior and requesting the reversal of the decision to be recognized as “Republic of Macedonia”.
“The ill-conceived decision by the previous administration to recognize FYROM as the Republic of “Macedonia,” clearly became the catalyst of a more aggressive stance by FYROM that can presently be perceived as hostile towards Greece, a NATO ally of the US for many years,” according to the letter.
“We feel that the new administration should reverse its decision, recognize them again as FYROM, and actually block their NATO integration until a new name is found. In addition the US should condemn in the strongest terms their irredentist and aggressive behavior. It is imperative that a negotiated mutually acceptable solution also includes change of the FYROM constitutional name to the new agreed name, i.e. change in their passports and use of that name erga omnes. Also all countries, including those that already have recognized the FYROM as “Republic of Macedonia,” convert to the new name for all uses.”
Also, the Pan – Macedonian Association and the cosigning Greek – American organizations underline that these positions express the overwhelming majority of the organized Greek – American community, pointing out that both the SAE USA Regional Convention in its latest meeting and its Youth Network have unanimously adopted these positions.
Dear Madame Secretary:
On behalf of the nation-wide membership of the undersigned Greek/American organizations which represent the majority of the American citizens of Hellenic descend in USA, we write to you to express our strong concerns regarding the name issue of Greeceʼs neighboring country, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (the FYROM).
As you prepare to meet with Greeceʼs Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyianni, we know that a main topic on the agenda will be the FYROM name issue and the consequences it would have in the stability of the Balkans. Since this issue first arose back in the year 1991-1992 the Greek American community, through several resolutions of the undersigned Greek/American organizations, has been against a permanent name for the neighboring state which would include the name Macedonia/Macedonian.
According to the most recent census, not all of the FYROM population consider themselves “Macedonians.” Who gives them the right to impede the Euro-Atlantic integration of the remaining minorities of the countryʼs population for a name dispute which does not even concern them, as there might be quite a few among the so-called “Macedonians” who would look forward to a resolution, regardless of how they identify themselves?
As far as the Greek/American community is concerned, as well as Greeks all over the world, the term Macedonian encompasses a Hellenic historical and cultural identity for thousands of years. We strongly oppose any use of our cultural Macedonian identity by the FYROM inhabitants in any ethnological concept. A similar example in Europe would be for the Austrians and Swiss to ethnologically identify themselves as Bavarians, a term which historically and culturally belongs to Germany.
It is imperative that a negotiated mutually acceptable solution also includes change of the FYROM constitutional name to the new agreed name, i.e. change in their passports and use of that name erga omnes. Also all countries, including those that already have recognized the FYROM as Republic of “Macedonia,” convert to the new name for all uses.
FYROM continues to provoke Greece, usurping its history which has been Hellenic for thousands of years, while FYROM refuses to negotiate in good faith over the name issue. Unfortunately, actions over the years such as distortion of geographic maps, naming its airport “Alexander the Great,” revisionist textbooks in schools, advertisements on international television media (CNN), usurping the Hellenic history, and inflammatory comments by top government officials, encourage new generations in FYROM to cultivate hostile sentiments against Greece.
As American citizens of Macedonian/Hellenic descent we condemn the decision published by the Official Gazette of the Government of the FYROM, to name part of the Pan-European Corridor X that runs through its territory, after Alexander the Great, who is universally acknowledged as a prominent Greek historical figure; therefore he is part of our cultural heritage.
It was recently self-exposed when FYROM promoted through National TV channels an approximately nine minute video, entitled “Macedonian Prayer.” In the video God Himself[!] appeared, telling the people of the FYROM that He “had populated the earth with three races of people, the white race or Macedonoids, the yellow race or Mongoloids and the black race or Negroids, while all other people in the world are mulattos” (please see attached literature of the “Prayer”). These extreme racial beliefs, which underlie a virulent ethnocentric narrative, are especially troubling to Greek/Americans. Not one official of the FYROM government condemned the contents of the video, not even the Church.
The ill-conceived decision by the previous administration to recognize FYROM as the Republic of “Macedonia,” clearly became the catalyst of a more aggressive stance by FYROM that can presently be perceived as hostile towards Greece, a NATO ally of the US for many years. We feel that the new administration should reverse its decision, recognize them again as FYROM, and actually block their NATO integration until a new name is found. In addition the US should condemn in the strongest terms their irredentist and aggressive behavior.
We wish the FYROM well and we hope they find a name for their country that does not include the word “Macedonia,” in order to be consistent with their Slavo/Albanian identity, acting as a unifying force for its entire population.
The letter is co-signed by the Pan-Macedonian President Mrs. Nina Gatzoulis, Mr.Emmanuel Velivasakis co-signed on behalf of the American Hellenic Council (HANC), Mr. Philip Christopher co-signed on behalf of International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and Mr. Peter Papanicolaou co-signed on behalf of the Cyprus Federation of US.