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Old 03-31-2010, 06:44 AM   #1
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Default An interview with Panayote Dimitras!

Quote:
MACEDONIAN ISSUE BETWEEN SKOPJE AND ATHENS

PANAYOTE DIMITRAS, Greece

Interview with Panayote Dimitras


Panyote Elias Dimitras is the founder and president of the Greek Helsinki Watch since 1992, and since 1998 he has been the Director of the Documenting and Information Center for Minorities in Southeastern Europe. He is a PhD of political and legal sciences at Harvard University, one of the rare intellectuals who openly speak about the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece. Due to his fierce criticism towards the Greek xenophobic policy and the statements that there is a Macedonian minority in Greece, the state started an investigation against him, accusing him of treason. The Minister of Justice accepted the charges, so Dimitras is now persecuted by the Greek Public Prosecutor. If the case ends up in court, he says that he will face life imprisonment. He is one of the greatest fighters for human rights, who promote equality among people as the highest achievement of the contemporary world.

We strongly recomend to our public, to visit the web-page of Greek Helsinki Monitor(www.greekhelsinki.gr); several interviews of Panayote Dimitras on YuTube as well as the web-page of the organisation of Vinozito(www.florina.org)

1. Macedonia and Greece have a hard dispute over the use of the Macedonian constitutional name. Is the dispute just in the usage of the name Macedonia or does it have another background?

Panayote Dimitras: It is essentially not about the name but about the identity. Greece refuses to accept that there can be a Macedonian ethnic identity anywhere and most importantly within its territory, where no ethnic minorities are recognized, be they Macedonian or Turkish.

2. Beside the official Macedonian position there are a remarkable group of intellectuals who openly call for a compromise because of the European future of Macedonia. Is there such group in Greece, whose position is contrary to the official Greek politics?

Panayote Dimitras: There is a however small group of people in Greece ready to accept the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia and the existence of a Macedonian minority in Greece but they face the hostility and harassment of the dominant majority.

3. Both nations are exhausted by political questions and the long process dispute. Is it possible for both sides, Macedonia and Greece, to find power and reason and resolve the problem in the near future?

Panayote Dimitras: Greeks may accept a “North Macedonia” name for the country if agreed upon by both sides but would have a very hard time to accept recognition of a Macedonian ethnicity and language, which makes the likelihood of reason prevailing small.

4. What in your opinion is the fair compromise?

Panayote Dimitras: Personally I do not think that there is a reason for countries and ethnic groups to change their names because others want to. Yet in view of the situation, a “North Macedonia” name but with recognition of the Macedonian ethnicity and language in both the Republic and in adjacent countries is a fair compromise.

5. Greece threatens that it will block the Macedonian EU accession, after it did that within the NATO. Why the need for a bilateral issue to become a European problem?

Panayote Dimitras: Because the EU and NATO countries have allowed all too long that Greece, as an old member, imposes its views on the other member countries, and tolerate its defiance with impunity of the European Court of Human Rights judgments and recommendations of all expert institutions of the Council of Europe and the UN.

6. Do you believe in a prompt solution of the problem?

Panayote Dimitras: In view of all the above, I cannot be at all optimistic.

The online interview was done by Atanas Kirovski, a journalist and political analyst.
Source: http://newbalkanpolitics.org.mk/edit.../dimitras.html

YouTube - BBC-interview with Panayote Dimitras - spokesman of the Greek Helsinki Monitor about the discrimination of the minorities in Greece
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:05 AM   #2
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Dimitras: Ethnicities or countries can not change name

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

In the 90’s of the last century Panayotis Elias Dimitris was the leader of a leftist movement who stood up to the Greek nationalist euphoria and collaborated with Macedonian organizations across the border, keeping the communication, i.e. intellectual dialogue between the two countries.

The main purpose for the communication as Panayotis points out was to show the Macedonians that there are Greek intellectuals, though a minority, who disagree with the propaganda perpetrated by official Athens.

Mr. Dimitras has a doctorate in political sciences from Harvard University, is currently the head of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, and is one of the very few individuals who dares to publicly question Greek Government’s policies in regards to their ethnic minorities.

Mr. Dimitras’ courage, earned him a charge for “high treason” by the Greek Government, a charge that was swiftly accepted by the Public prosecutor who at the moment is developing his case.

The last interview Mr. Dimitras gave to a Macedonian newspaper, he stated that at the moment, it is virtually impossible to state the true number of Macedonians in Greece, because people are fearful for their safety.
“If I, as an ethnic Greek, am being prosecuted by the Government because I have publicly stated there are Macedonians in Greece, just imagine how do the people in Lerin (Florina), Kostur (Kastoria), Voden(Edessa)… feel”

Macedonia and Greece have a dispute that stretches back almost 20 years. Do you believe the name of the country is the problem or is there a hidden agenda?

Panayotis Elias Dimitras: The main dispute has nothing to do with the name of the country, rather it is your identity. Greece does not wish to accept a Macedonian identity, anywhere in this world, let alone on its territory. Because on our territory, Greece does not and will not accept any minority, it doesn’t matter whether it is the Macedonians, Turks, or others.

There are certain politicians, or groups in Macedonia who have no problem of settling the name dispute by changing the name. Is there such a group in Greece who have no problem with our name?

Dimitras: There is a small group of Greek intellectuals who have no issues accepting Republic of Macedonia. The same group is fully aware of the Macedonian minority in Greece, however this group is facing unfriendly activities by the dominant majority.

Both peoples are tired of the dispute and the negotiations. Is it possible you think that soon they’ll find the strength and will to solve the problem?

- Greeks will accept the name North Macedonia, if both sides agree to it. However, Greece will not recognize the Macedonian minority nor the language. This fact makes it very difficult that a solution will be found any time soon or that cool heads will prevail.

According to you, what is a fair compromise?

- I personally don’t believe there should be a reason for an ethnicity or a country to change its name because another country is pushing for it. Perhaps North Macedonia may be a compromise if Greece accepts the Macedonians in Greece, but also in the neighboring country.

Greece has threatened that will block Macedonia from entering integrating into the EU unless it changes its name. Could this problem become potentially problem of NATO and the EU?

This happened primarily because EU and NATO allowed Greece as an ‘older’ member to impose their views on the rest of the members. The EU is tolerating Greece’s stubbornness, does not punish it when it fails for disrespecting and not following orders from the European Court of Human Rights neither heeds advice from the recommendations of all experts and institutions from the European Council and the United Nations.

Mr. Dimitras, do you believe in a quick settlement or solution between Macedonia and Greece?
- I can not be an optimist on this…
Source: http://www.macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/6418/45/
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:46 AM   #3
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Point 4 questions what is a fair compromise.
Does anyone see a possibility of the occupied territories ever being given back even if the Macedonian identity and the minorities were recognised. This is an important question because depending on how it is answered leads to other questions. This begs the question can the identity be different from the name of the republic and if so is this a path we would consider a viable option.

I can think of North and South Korea where the name of the country is different to the ethic identity ie Korean. If the Macedonian identity were recognised as Macedonian and not the trick name Greece has sometimes been reported to have suggested Makedonski. don’t think that just because to us Makedonski means Macedonian that it does to the rest of the world. A rose by any other name is not a rose. Could we become Macedonians from North Macedonia. Could we also say that if this happens then the Macedonian part in Greece becomes South Macedonia.

The obvious problem to this apart from would Greece recognise a Macedonian minority is who the becomes a South Macedonian. What do the Greeks who live in the Greek part of Macedonia who now refer to themselves as Macedonians call themselves. Do they become simply Greeks or Greek Macedonians or South Macedonians.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OziMak View Post
Point 4 questions what is a fair compromise.
Does anyone see a possibility of the occupied territories ever being given back even if the Macedonian identity and the minorities were recognised. This is an important question because depending on how it is answered leads to other questions. This begs the question can the identity be different from the name of the republic and if so is this a path we would consider a viable option.

I can think of North and South Korea where the name of the country is different to the ethic identity ie Korean. If the Macedonian identity were recognised as Macedonian and not the trick name Greece has sometimes been reported to have suggested Makedonski. don’t think that just because to us Makedonski means Macedonian that it does to the rest of the world. A rose by any other name is not a rose. Could we become Macedonians from North Macedonia. Could we also say that if this happens then the Macedonian part in Greece becomes South Macedonia.

The obvious problem to this apart from would Greece recognise a Macedonian minority is who the becomes a South Macedonian. What do the Greeks who live in the Greek part of Macedonia who now refer to themselves as Macedonians call themselves. Do they become simply Greeks or Greek Macedonians or South Macedonians.
Ozimak
Good questions, what it does show is that if they can get us to bend/change accept North Macedonia, it then provides them with the tools and power to continue the division, to establish a South Macedonia or worse still a Greek Macedonia. I don't believe they will call it South Macedonia, my firm belief is "Greek Macedonia" - which fits in very nicely with all their bullshit they have been spreading for a long time. The most current phrase and Greek propoganda going around that I hear regularly is "are you Greek Macedonian? if not you must be Skopian". This is very clever propoganda - first they create a problem with our name (which didn't pose a problem until it changed from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia - to ROM), then they create confusion by claiming there is a macedonia in greece which has always been greek since ancient times - and rename their areas to accomodate this(Macedonia signs go up everywhere). Then they cause more confusion by claiming to be macedonians ( politicians who are Albanian or from Crete claiming to be born macedonian and macedonian blood runs through them and they will die macedonian) then they say there is no such thing as macedonian it's always been greek. They keep throwing this rubbish together and stirring it up and serving it up to any gullible fool stupid enough to swallow it!
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:10 PM   #5
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makedonce you are probably right that they would call it Greek Macedonia. To appear nice their only concession has been to allow the use of the word Macedonia so long as it is qualified by some other preceding word. Sounds nice but in reality its been their plan to make themselves out to be the real Macedonia and those other people are some add on bit that came from somewhere.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:18 PM   #6
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Get ready for the election. Did anyone notice the government giving the diaspora the opportunity to get their Macedonian citizenship. Could it have anything to do with a coming election or referendum and so no one can say they were denied their birth right. Can anyone guess what issue would be so important.

Ahmeti Gruevski announced the abandonment of government
02.04.2010

http://www.vest.com.mk/?ItemID=53A72...50E2AC320359BD

DUI leader Ali Ahmeti persuading Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said that he would not support a government that can not Macedonia to enter NATO and EU

By June if not resolve the name dispute with Greece, to unblock the Euro-Atlantic integration of Macedonia, DUI is likely to reconsider participation in the governing coalition. The day before yesterday the first time in four eyes DUI leader Ali Ahmeti has conveyed to Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
Party sources say the meeting Ahmeti tried to convince Gruevski eventual abandonment of the government will not be motivated by a desire to harm him personally or VMRO-DPMNE nor the state, but would be based on the principal positions that DUI ever ran.
Ahmeti before Gruevski claimed that the DUI assessment is that if Macedonia does not receive until June date for negotiations on EU membership and by October the regular summit of NATO is not a member of the Alliance for the unresolved name dispute will threaten its strategic interests as a state . "This opportunity must not miss," Ahmeti claimed.
DUI leader said if not then unblock the Euro-Atlantic perspective of Macedonia, the DUI will not have any argument to stay in government. He was willing to sacrifice ratings for failing to address a request of the Albanian community, such as proportional representation, resolution of the status of victims of conflict or official use of Albanian language, but could not afford to bring in Euro-Atlantic perspective on the question of Macedonia.
He believed that by June if not resolve the name dispute, Albanians will accuse DUI he prokockala European future of Macedonia. "If you do not achieve the dream of integration, not only will our ratings fall and will lose us the election but will disappear as a party," claimed Ahmeti.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makedonche View Post
Ozimak
Good questions, what it does show is that if they can get us to bend/change accept North Macedonia, it then provides them with the tools and power to continue the division, to establish a South Macedonia or worse still a Greek Macedonia. I don't believe they will call it South Macedonia, my firm belief is "Greek Macedonia" - which fits in very nicely with all their bullshit they have been spreading for a long time. The most current phrase and Greek propoganda going around that I hear regularly is "are you Greek Macedonian? if not you must be Skopian". This is very clever propoganda - first they create a problem with our name (which didn't pose a problem until it changed from the Socialist Republic of Macedonia - to ROM), then they create confusion by claiming there is a macedonia in greece which has always been greek since ancient times - and rename their areas to accomodate this(Macedonia signs go up everywhere). Then they cause more confusion by claiming to be macedonians ( politicians who are Albanian or from Crete claiming to be born macedonian and macedonian blood runs through them and they will die macedonian) then they say there is no such thing as macedonian it's always been greek. They keep throwing this rubbish together and stirring it up and serving it up to any gullible fool stupid enough to swallow it!
Nice post makedonche.
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