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Old 01-28-2013, 09:06 PM   #1
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Default One Hundred Years of Occupation

A nice summary of Macedonia 100 year Occupation..
I don't have a link to it. was sent to me as an attachment..
if anyone does have it please post here..


One Hundred Years of Occupation By Risto Stefov


Lecture - presented for the Historical Society in Toronto on January 27, 2013
In spite of the Macedonian people having risen in 1903 to fight for their freedom and to create an
Independent Macedonian state, only ten years later, Macedonia was brutally invaded, occupied and
partitioned by its neighbors Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria; a partition validated by the European Great
Powers on August 10, 1913 by the Treaty of Bucharest.
Why did this happen? What were the factors leading up to it? And who wanted this to happen?
In the past I have done lectures where we looked at events and how they unfolded. Today, in this lecture, in
addition to looking at “how” events unfolded, we will also look at “why” events unfolded, “who” was
behind them and “what” were their aims. We will look at a number of events in chronological order
keeping in mind how all this fits in the bigger picture. What I will say today, for some, will be new, unusual
and probably never heard of before.
Now let us look at the “theme” of this lecture – the word “occupation”. What does it mean and how does it
apply to Macedonia.
According to the Oxford dictionary of current English, occupation in this sense means: “Being occupied by
armed forces of another country…” Well, armed forces belonging to Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria did
invade and occupy Macedonia in October 1912 and have been there ever since. That is, until 1991 when the
Serbian army left the Serbian occupied part of Macedonia and that part became the independent Republic
of Macedonia. Sadly the parts of Macedonia awarded to Greece, Bulgaria and Albania are still occupied to
this day.
But what “really” happened in Macedonia and to the Macedonian people in the last 100 years was more
than just an “occupation”. It was more than just armies entering a region and laying claims to it. It was a
deliberately perpetrated act to forcibly grab Macedonian lands and to destroy the Macedonian identity and
culture. It was a deliberate act which, according to the Oxford dictionary, can be interpreted as:
“Genocide!” Yes Genocide, intentionally perpetrated against the Macedonian culture and against the
Macedonian nation.
If this is hard to believe or hard to accept that Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria intentionally committed
genocidal acts against the Macedonian culture and against the Macedonian people, then ask yourselves this;
Did Macedonians exist in Macedonia when it was brutally invaded, occupied and partitioned in 1912 and
1913 by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria?
YES they did! How do we know? Among other things, from historical evidence left behind!
Yes! We all know that Macedonians existed in 1912, 1913. In fact the whole world knew that Macedonians
existed even before that because they read about them in their newspapers. The entire world read about the
1903 Ilinden Uprising and how the Macedonian people were struggling to free themselves from Ottoman
oppression! Today we have hundreds of newspaper clippings from that time, from practically every major
newspaper in the world, which, without a doubt, proves that Macedonians existed in 1903, only a decade
before Macedonia was brutally invaded, occupied and partitioned by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria.
Unfortunately today both Greece and Bulgaria claim that Macedonians don’t exist? If that is true then what
happened to them? Where did they all go? Did they all vanish? Were they all assimilated?”


Knowing that Macedonians did exist in 1903, on account of all those newspaper reports, then why did the
Great Powers allow Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria to invade, occupy and partition Macedonia and suppress
the existence of the Macedonian culture? Is that in itself not genocide?
So, what did Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria do with the Macedonians they inherited in 1913? Well, from
what history has shown, they assimilated some, they exiled some and they killed some, by the tens of
thousands and by the hundreds of thousands at every opportunity! History is full of such examples.
And what do we call acts like changing people’s names by force, prohibiting people from speaking their
mother tongue, for some the only language they spoke? How do we define acts such as these? Are they not
cultural genocide?
And let us not forget the harsh punishments associated with enforcing these acts, especially the law of
prohibiting the use of the Macedonian language!
Did you know that while the sons of Macedonians in Greece fought the Italians in the Albanian frontier
during World War II and sacrificed themselves to preserve the integrity of Greece and to keep the Greeks
safe, their fathers were sent to jail by the Greeks, to the Greek islands, for speaking Macedonian at home?!
What do we dare call that?!
Now let us ask ourselves this: “What possible reasons could Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria have to commit
cultural genocide against the Macedonian people? Why couldn’t they just leave the Macedonian people
alone?”
Well, to understand why they did this, we need to go back in time and take a look at events that led to it.
At some point in time during the 19th century, after Nationalism came to exist and after ordinary people
started being loyal to nations, the idea of modern homogeneous countries with permanent and solid borders
was born.
Even though nationalism was popular and adopted by many countries, it was very rare that a country would
be homogeneous meaning that all the people within its borders would belong to a single nation. In practical
terms there would always be people belonging to other nations; or what we today call “minorities”.
In those days it was NOT desirable to have minorities in one’s country and there were strong attempts by
authorities to homogenize the population by assimilating the minorities into the majority. It was believed
that if all the people living within the borders of a country belonged to the same nation there would be no
differences between the people to divide them and this would make the country stronger.
This however, also had an opposite effect. In other words, if we were to take all the people inside a country,
inside a set of borders and break them down to their “ethnic components” and allow them to exist as such,
that country would become weak and eventually break up. Yugoslavia was a good example of this. When
Yugoslavia was first created the people were told that they were all “Slavs” and therefore brothers and
sisters “bradstvo edinstvo”. But as the country matured and people discovered who they really were,
Yugoslavia evolved first to the Kingdom of the Serbians, Croatians and Slovenes, then to Federal
Yugoslavia with five republics and eventually to six independent states; Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia,
Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.
So, 19th century philosophy dictated that it was preferable to have one country, one nation and one people
because that way the country would be strong. So governments and authorities strived to assimilate the
minorities into the majority and create one homogeneous nation inside each country. Unfortunately, this
was done under brutal circumstances without giving regard to the destruction of cultures.
With some countries, like Greece and Bulgaria, this practice has continued to this day because they still
believe that their countries will weaken and break apart, like Yugoslavia, if they recognize all the
ethnicities living inside their borders.
So, how does all this fit with Macedonia and with its 100 year occupation? Well, let us look at the region’s
history and see what took place that led to this.
As we know, the Balkan Region for more that 2,000 years, since Philip II’s time, was a single, large
borderless unit occupied by several consecutive Empires, the Ottoman Empire being the last to occupy it.
Then, during the 19th century, it was broken up and made into several smaller modern countries.
The Great Powers of the 19th century were well aware that the Ottoman Empire, compared to themselves,
was weakening and would eventually collapse. But even though that part of the region, as a large
landscape, protected the West from Eastern invasions, they still did not want it to exist as a single political
unit because they felt it would always be a threat to them. So they preferred to see it broken up. But, if the
Ottoman Empire were to break up what would become of its pieces? This essentially gave birth to what
later came to be known as the “Eastern Question”. In other words, “What kind of countries would replace
the Ottoman Empire?”
The Ottoman Empire was very weak and any one of the Great Powers could have dealt it a death blow. But
because all the Great Powers, except for Russia, had investments in it, no one alone dared touch it because
they knew the others would retaliate. So to avoid conflict between themselves, the Great Powers refrained
from directly interfering in Ottoman affairs. In the long term however they used their proxies, Greece,
Serbia and Bulgaria to do their dirty work.
At one point in the mid 1870’s, Russia lost patience with the slow pace of Ottoman decay and decided to
attack it. But as expected, the other Great Powers intervened and, in a humiliating way, kicked Russia out
of the Balkans. So even though Russia came out victorious, all its sacrifices were in vain.
Some analysts believe that this humiliation created animosities between Russia and the other Powers which
lasted through the First and Second World Wars and subsequently sparked the Cold War.
But what many people don’t know is that this Russian-Turkish War was not exclusively fought by Russians
alone. There were also Macedonians and other Balkan people that participated in it.
Many of the Macedonian refugees who fled the Ottoman Empire, for various reasons including to avoid
persecution for their participation in uprisings, eventually, through Austro-Hungary, found their way to
Russia. Russia at the time created a zone of colonies on its southern European frontiers where it settled all
refugees and immigrants fleeing Ottoman oppression. It was these colonies that provided Russia with its
best fighters. The colonies formed their own Macedonian battalions led by Macedonian commanders and
these men were Russia’s fiercest fighters because they believed they were fighting for their own homeland.
One thing the then Great Powers would agree on was that they did not want the Ottoman Empire to be
replaced with a single large state. A single large State would be potentially dangerous to them in the future.
So they all agreed that the Ottoman Empire had to break up into smaller components. They also agreed that
these components would need to be polarized so that they hated each other and there would be no chance of
them ever uniting. They also needed to be of equal size so that no one component would have the ability to
dominate or swallow any of the others if war was to break out between them.
The one thing that the Great Powers could not agree on was who was going to have influence over which of
these components. This is because the Great Powers themselves were in competition with each other for
dominance of the region.
As the Ottoman Empire began to crumble at its edges, the Great Powers assisted in every way they could,
including helping the smaller nations establish and define themselves.
Here is an example of how the Great Powers influenced these new countries and turned them into their
proxies.
The British under Canning’s leadership created a policy to head off Russia’s advance, not by direct
opposition, but by liberating and creating national States out of the component parts of the Ottoman
Empire. Such States could then be relied upon to withstand Russian encroachment on their independence.
The creation of the Kingdom of Greece was the immediate outcome of Canning’s policy.
By the turn of the 20th century, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria were already sovereign countries with
supposedly “homogeneous” populations and looking to expand their territories.
By the turn of the 20th century all that remained of the Ottoman Empire in Europe was the internal core
which consisted mostly of Thrace, Macedonia and Albania.
With Macedonia being the largest and main component of the European part of the Ottoman Empire, the
question on everyone’s mind was “What will happen to Macedonia and to the Macedonian people” after
the Ottoman Empire completely crumbled? This gave birth to what we today call “The Macedonian
Question”.
But as we are now discovering, “The Macedonian Question”, at a diplomatic level and in the halls of
secrecy had already been answered. The Great Powers and Royals of the time had by now already decided
that there would be no Macedonia and the Macedonian territories would be awarded to the Greek, Serbian
and Bulgarian kingdoms looking to expand their territories.
So, at some point in time after the Russian-Turkish War, which ended in 1878, the European Great Powers,
primarily Britain and France, made a decision not to help Macedonia become an independent state and that
the Macedonian territory would be divided and awarded to Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. But the division
would have to be done along “national lines”. Remember, the Great Powers believed in the strength of
homogeneous nations, especially in their proxies!
So those three harmless words “along national lines” brought great misery to the Macedonian people that
has lasted to this day and is still ongoing in Greece and Bulgaria.
The Great Powers wanted small, equal sized and homogeneous states out of the ashes of the multi-lingual,
multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-cultural Ottoman Empire and these new upstart Balkan States were
going to do just that, create the homogeneity if they had to, at any cost, even if they had to destroy the
entire ancient Macedonian culture.
As we know today, the Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians of that time knew that no “ethnic” Greeks,
Serbians, or Bulgarians lived in Macedonia. How could they, when the Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian
identity did not form through its natural course. How could there be when these identities were thrust upon
these Balkan people practically overnight by the Great Powers. One day these people were Christians and
citizens of a 500 year old Ottoman Empire. The next day they were told that they were Greeks, Serbians
and Bulgarians. These people, however, through education and intense propaganda, quickly adapted to their
new identities.
In Macedonia however, Macedonians already knew that they were Macedonian and the children of
Alexander the Great, as they called themselves on many occasions. So fooling the Macedonians into
believing that they were Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians, all at the same time, was not going to be an easy
task. But that did not stop our neighbours from trying!
Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria first tried using propaganda to convince the Macedonians that they were
Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians. When that didn’t work they tried opening churches and classifying people
by church affiliation. When that did not work they tried opening schools and educating the young to be
good Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians. When that did not work they sent armed hoodlums to frighten the
Macedonians into becoming Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians.
At some point in time the three, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, had decided that the best criteria for
classifying Macedonians as Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians would be by their Church affiliation.
Towards the end of the 19th century Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria were allowed to establish their own
“National” churches inside Macedonia. The Macedonians also tried to establish a Macedonian church but
they were not allowed by the Ottoman authorities mainly because of protests from the other churches who
did not want a Macedonian church to be established.
In those days, under Ottoman rule, the church was the ultimate authority over the nation similar to what
governments are today.
And because there was no Macedonian Church the Macedonian Christians could only belong to the Greek,
Serbian, or Bulgarian Church. So, if a person belonged to one of these churches they were assumed to
belong to the “national” identity associated with that Church.
So in our neighbors’ estimation “not having a recognized Macedonian church meant no Macedonian
identity existed”. This idea was neatly packaged by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria and sold to the entire
world. Today we have uncovered numerous census reports released by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria that say
“NO” Macedonians lived in Macedonia before, during and after 1903! Now we know why. Because these
census reports were based on church affiliation and not on ethnicity!
Naturally, these “assigned identities” to the Macedonians were fluid and people did switch from one
Church to another. This too was reflected in the countless census statistic reports released in those days by
Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. People switched “church affiliation” for various reasons depending on which
Church offered them better perks, which Church offered them more benefits, which Church offered their
children better education and later, which Church exerted more pressure or made stronger threats on their
lives.
By the turn of the 20th century the Macedonian people felt they had had enough. They had had enough of
the Ottomans who were taxing them to starvation so that they could pay their debts to Western European
banks. And they had had enough of their neighbours meddling in their affairs. So, they decided it was time
to do something. They decided to plan a rebellion!
Macedonia’s neighbors however would not relent until they possessed Macedonia for themselves as they
were promised by the Great Powers and did everything in their powers to achieve that. They even went as
far as sabotaging the Macedonian rebellion being planned.
Because of time constraints during this lecture, I will present you with only one example of how one of
Macedonia’s neighbors interfered in the Macedonian plans for the Ilinden Uprising.
It was no secret that after the San Stefano Treaty in 1878, Bulgaria wanted all of Macedonia for itself and
sought ways to get it. To achieve this, Bulgaria created the External or supremacist or as we call it,
Vrhovist Macedonian Revolutionary Organization with aims to free Macedonia from the Ottomans and
Annex it to Bulgaria. It was called external because it was headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Those aims however had to be hidden from the public for a couple of reasons. One, Bulgaria was not
allowed to politically or militarily interfere in Ottoman affairs and two, the vast majority of the Macedonian
people wanted a free and independent Macedonia and would not favour the idea of a Macedonia to be
annexed by Bulgaria.
But a closer look at this Vrhovist organization’s activities reveals that it was created not to help but to
weaken the real or Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization by interfering in its affairs and by
confusing and dividing the Macedonian people.
Bulgaria knew that the fall of the Ottoman Empire was imminent and it believed that if it occupied
Macedonia first, before Greece or Serbia, it would have Russia’s support and better leverage for negotiating
a bigger slice of Macedonian territory. Unfortunately at that time Bulgaria was not militarily strong enough
to attack and defeat the Ottoman Empire on its own. But it figured that if there was a clash between the
Macedonian people and the Ottoman authorities it would weaken the Ottoman Empire. And at the same
time if the Macedonian people failed to liberate themselves then this would open opportunities for Bulgaria
to charge in, attack and defeat the weakened Ottoman Empire, occupy Macedonia and pretend it was done
in order to save the Macedonian people from Ottoman backlash and retaliation.
But in order for this to work, the Macedonian people would have to fail in their attempt to liberate
themselves.
To ensure that that would happen, Bulgaria had to, one, instigate the Macedonian people to start a rebellion
and, two, make sure the liberation was a failure.
A failed liberation attempt would prompt retaliation from the Ottoman Empire and that would give
Bulgaria a reason to militarily invade Macedonia without too many consequences or severe retaliation from
the Great Powers.
But, how could Bulgaria ensure that the rebellion would fail?” By forcing the Macedonian people into a
rebellion before they were ready!
And why would the Macedonian leadership agree to take part in a rebellion before the people were ready?
Well, no one said it was going to be easy. That is why Bulgaria made many promises;
1. It promised the Macedonian leadership help. Bulgaria assured the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization that it would supply it with guns and the moment the rebellion started, it promised that it
would order the Bulgarian army to attack the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria did deliver on the guns but failed
to deliver on ammunition. So the guns were as good as useless.
2. It promised not to interfere in internal affairs. But, unbeknownst to the Macedonians, the Bulgarians
made sure that the Macedonians would remain weak. Every time the Bulgarians felt that the Macedonians
were getting strong, they would, in some small way, betray them to the Ottomans.
3. It forced an early Uprising. When the Bulgarians could not convince the Macedonian leaders to start the
uprising willingly, they took matters into their own hands. The Bulgarians had the Ottomans arrest the top
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary leaders and then sent their own Vrhovist leaders to replace them.
The Bulgarians, some say the Bulgarian king himself, provided the Ottoman authorities with a list of all the
names of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization central leaders and in February of 1903,
almost all of them were rounded up, arrested and jailed. Only a few managed to dodge the authorities.
Gotse Delchev was among the few who were not caught.
No sooner had the arrests been made than members of the Vrhovist organization were sent from Bulgaria to
replace the jailed Macedonian leaders. The Vrhovists met in Solun and on their own decided to start the
uprising. The news of the uprising created great confusion among the unprepared regional leadership. A
second meeting was called to review the details of the Solun meeting. The second meeting was to take
place in Smilevo on May 3, 1903.
Gotse Delchev was against starting an early uprising because, as the supreme commander of the
Macedonian forces, he was well aware of the fact that the Macedonians were not ready to start an Uprising
and win. When Delchev became aware of the Solun meeting he was furious and wanted to rush to Smilevo
in person and convince the delegates that it would be suicidal to start an uprising at this point in time when
most of the regions were not ready.
On his way to Smilevo, Delchev was ambushed in Banitsa and killed!
Was this a coincidence? The entire Ottoman army had been looking for Delchev for months and could not
find him. Let me say this: He managed to dodge the Ottoman authorities since he joined the Internal
Macedonian Revolutionary Organization and also managed to dodge them while everyone else was caught.
So, how was it that he was suddenly not found, but killed? I can tell you this: History has shown that it was
by no coincidence that Delchev was killed on his way to Smilevo. He was killed because he was preparing
to stop the 1903 uprising from taking place.
So let us ask ourselves: “Was Delchev not a patriotic Macedonian? Did Delchev not want Macedonia to be
liberated?” If he was and if he did then why would he want to stop the uprising from taking place? Unless,
of course he believed that an early uprising would not succeed and would destroy the Macedonian people’s
chance of liberating themselves?! Delchev was a smart man and knew exactly what was going on and that
is exactly why he was murdered!
The Smilevo meeting took place without Delchev and even though 80% of the district Chiefs reported that
their districts were NOT ready for an early uprising, the uprising took place anyway. And as we know it
was not only a disaster, it changed the course of the Macedonian peoples’ history forever!
And in the end, all Bulgarian promises turned out to be false. As for Bulgaria invading Macedonia after the
uprising collapsed; Bulgaria was told by Russia to “stay out” because if it invaded Macedonia at this point,
it would not only lose Macedonia but it might also lose its own territory.
In fact, the Great Powers ordered all of Macedonia’s neighbours to stay out of Macedonia during the
Uprising and just observe while the Ottoman army pummeled the Macedonian people to death. The Great
Powers also stayed out and watched from the distance, from their ships in the Aegean Sea, while
Macedonian villages burned like candles in the dark of night.
The Great Powers were well aware that the Macedonian people had risen to fight for their freedom and to
create a Macedonian state, but decided not to help them, not to become involved. Had the Macedonians
succeeded in their fight, perhaps there would be a united Macedonian state today and Macedonia would not
have been divided. But failing to gain their independence convinced the Great Powers that the Macedonian
people were not worth saving. So thanks to Bulgarian interference the Macedonian people not only lost
their chance at independence and creating their own country, but at the same time became prey for Greece,
Serbia and Bulgaria.
Now it was no longer “if” but “when” Macedonia was going to be invaded, occupied and partitioned by its
neighbours. Immediately after the failed Macedonian uprising, all three countries intensified their
preparations for war and in 1912 the three jointly invaded Macedonia, in what is now termed the First
Balkan War, and drove the Ottomans out. When the three couldn’t decide how to divide Macedonia, they
fought each other for more territory. When Romania got involved the Great Powers stepped in and put an
end to the fighting by the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest.
It would appear from what we know so far, that there were no safeguards or arrangements put in the 1913
Treaty of Bucharest regarding the rights of the Macedonian people that came with the lands. In other
words, the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest says nothing about the people living on the Macedonian lands granted
to Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. It was left up to the three occupiers to decide their fate.
Before I finish with this example, let me say this:
We are all proud of the idea that the Macedonians, our forefathers, created the first Republic in Europe but
do we, for a moment, think what it means? Our forefathers tried to create a Republic during a time when
every country in Europe, including the Great Powers, were kingdoms. If you understand what that means
you will understand that creating a Republic in the middle of the most powerful kingdoms in the world was
like entering a bear’s den blindfolded; like attempting to bring communism into a powerful capitalist state!
It was NOT the thing to do in those days!
What kind of impression do you think our forefathers left in the minds of the Great Powers when they
decided to create a Republic in the middle of all those kingdoms? Think about it! And did they really think
the Great Powers were going to help them? What a blunder!
Soon after Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria consolidated their power over Macedonian territory, through their
military occupying forces, they told the people that only Greeks lived in the Greek occupied part; Serbians
lived in the Serbian occupied part and Bulgarians lived in the Bulgarian occupied part of Macedonia.
Anyone who did not agree with that was told to “pick up what they could carry and leave”.
Subsequent to that the Greeks were claiming that people left voluntarily, but many people interviewed later
testified that they were driven out by force for various reasons including for being affiliated with the
Bulgarian Church or for fighting in the Ilinden Uprising.
The Greeks also expelled many Macedonians because they were Muslims. Even though these people
insisted that they were Macedonians and not Turks, they were expelled anyway.
After World War I in 1919 at the Treaty of Versailles, the European Great Powers ratified the principles of
the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest and the three occupiers Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria were basically given the
right to do whatever they wanted with their part of Macedonia and with the people they inherited with it.
And so they did.
By the Neuilly Convention, signed on November 27, 1919 between Greece and Bulgaria, Greek authorities
rounded up 80,000 Macedonians, mainly because they were affiliated with the Bulgarian Church, and
expelled them to Bulgaria. While Bulgaria forced out about 25,000 Macedonians because they were
affiliated with the Greek Church.
Then came the Treaty of Lausanne signed in July, 1923 after the Greek-Turkish war ended. This Treaty
called for the compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. Through this Treaty
Greece forcibly exiled 354,000 ethnic Macedonians because they were Muslim by religion and imported
1.1 million Christian Turkish colonists from Asia Minor of whom they settled 660,000 in Macedonia. This
in fact changed Macedonia’s demography for the first time in Macedonia’s history.
Now it seems, official Greek policy is to call these colonists “autochthonous Macedonians” while they
deny the real Macedonians their rights and identity. Greek propaganda now claims that a population of 2.5
million “pure Macedonians” live in “Greek Macedonia”; this includes their former Prime Minister
Karamanlis who is in fact an Asia Minor colonist.
Then came the erasure of everything that pointed to a Macedonian existence. Both Greece and Serbia
developed policies to change people’s names and make them sound more Greek and Serbian. The Greeks
enacted laws that renamed all the Macedonian people’s names, toponyms and place names and made them
Greek sounding. The Greeks also burned all the Macedonian Bibles written in Kiril and Metodi’s Old
Macedonian alphabet and painted Greek letters over the Macedonian Cyrillic script on church icons and
other relics. The Greeks also desecrated Macedonian cemeteries by removing and destroying headstones
and by plowing over them. They literally destroyed all evidence of a Macedonian existence.
They also attacked the Macedonian language, the only living thing remaining that was proof of a
Macedonian existence. The harshest measures taken against the Macedonian language were during the
Metaxas dictatorship years after Metaxas came to power on August 4, 1936. During that time the Greek
regime strongly opposed the use of the Macedonian language and harshly punished and jailed those
speaking it in public or in private.
The Greek regime showed its true cruelty towards the Macedonian people when it sent many Macedonians
to prison in the Greek island prison camps for simply speaking their native mother tongue; the only
language they knew.
All three; Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria interfered in Macedonian affairs all through World War II and
throughout the Greek Civil War; too many incidents to mention here. Perhaps I can talk about those in
another lecture.
But the final insult against the Macedonian people came when Greece, in the 1980’s, introduced the law on
repatriation which allowed only “Greeks by birth” to return back to their place of origin!
And who exactly are these Greeks by birth? Here again Greece has used an “ambiguous expression” and
some legal maneuvers to basically exclude whoever it wants. But we all know this ambiguity was created
to weed out the Macedonians.
Allow me to explain.
After all the population exchanges took place, about which I mentioned earlier, Greece announced to the
world that “only Greeks now live in Greece”. In the late 1920’s Greece released demographic statistics
claiming that 98% pure Greeks and 2% Muslim Greeks lived in Greece. This was not a joke!
So, according to these statistics, basically everyone who lived in Greece, say after 1930, was pure Greek.
That means that everyone who left Greece during the Greek Civil War in 1949 was also Greek. So why
would Greece need a law to repatriate “only Greeks by birth” if everyone in Greece was Greek in the first
place? And who were these “other” people who were not Greeks by birth that Greece did not want back?
By claiming to have “98% pure Greeks and 2% Muslim Greeks” living in Greece, Greek authorities
whitewashed the idea of any “other” ethnicities living in Greece. On the surface this looked like 100%
Greeks live in Greece. A normal person would interpret this to mean that Greece was 100% homogeneous
because the entire Greek population was “ethnically” Greek. And that is exactly how Greece wanted people
to think!
But looking into their statement a bit deeper one would notice the word “Muslim” which in fact implies
“religious affiliation”. The word “pure” is a bit strange but not if we replace it with “Orthodox”. Orthodoxy
can be viewed as a pure religion.
The word “Greek” is a bit confusing because there was no such thing as an “ethnic” Greek at that time. In
fact there was no ethnic or national Greek identity prior to the creation of the Greek state in 1829. So at that
point in time the idea of someone being “Greek” could have meant a number of things. A Greek citizen
could be Greek. A person speaking the so-called Greek language could be considered to be Greek. A
person living inside Greece’s borders could be called a Greek. A person with a Greek sounding name could
be a Greek. And so on.
By claiming to have “98% pure Greeks and 2% Muslim Greeks” living in Greece the Greek authorities in
effect meant that “98% of the population living inside the current borders of Greece are Orthodox Christian
and 2 % are Muslim”, which says absolutely nothing about the “ethnic composition” of the population
inside Greece. In other words Greece doesn’t say it, but it wants you to think that 100% “ethnic Greeks”
live in Greece. So the stats Greece released in the late 1920’s reflected the country’s “religious affiliation”
and NOT its ethnic composition!
You can see here how Greece is using ambiguity to basically include and exclude whoever it wants.
Legally, here Greece can argue that a person cannot possibly be Greek if they don’t have a Greek name or
if they claim to be born in a village that does not have a Greek name! So, all those who changed their Greek
names back to their Macedonian names while outside of Greece were not allowed to return. In other words,
you can’t possibly have a Macedonian name if you were born in Greece.
How did I arrive at this conclusion you ask?
Well, when I knew nothing about all this, being very curious about how Greece came to have 100% pure
Greeks, I decided to look into it. My first task was to verify that indeed 98% pure Greeks and 2% Muslim
Greeks live in Greece.
Now, I have to admit that I don’t know everyone in Greece but I do know everyone from my village which
since 1913 has been part of Greece. So if my village is part of Greece then the people living in it should
belong to one of the “official” Greek categories “pure Greeks” or “Muslim Greeks”.
But to my surprise I could not find a single “ethnic Greek” in my village. Of all the people I asked if they
were “Greek” not one said they were! Those who did say they were Greeks turned out to have Macedonian
parents or grandparents so in fact they were not “ethnic” Greeks.
No, this can’t be right! I was explicitly taught this in school and I know institutions, governments,
Churches, Priests, etc. don’t openly lie when they can be challenged! So I thought it had to be some kind of
trick!
I then expanded my inquiry and began asking other people, from other villages to identify the Greeks in
their village. I did this with many villages and with many people I know. But in the end I failed to find any
ethnic Greeks living anywhere in Greek occupied Macedonia! I found Turkish Asia Minor colonists,
Vlachs, Albanians, a lot of Macedonians… But not a single ethnic Greek! No one could prove that they
were “ethnic” Greek!
So, who are these “elusive” ethnic Greeks and where could they be found?
Now I became really curious and started to look for “ethnic” Greeks south of Mount Olympus and there too
I could not find a single ethnic Greek with a history that stretched beyond the existence of the Modern
Greek state.
I was not the only one either. In my research I found over 200 authors, all of them westerners, who felt that
Greece and the Greeks were a new creation that never existed before.
I will read you a quote from one of those authors who loves Greece but loves the truth even more:
“Further back still beyond the War of Independence, when the modern nation-state of Greece came into
being for the first time, the whole concept of Greece as a geographical entity that begins to blur before our
eyes, so many and various were its shapes and meanings. But if geography can offer us no stable idea of
Greece, what can? Not race, certainly; for whatever the Greeks may once have been, ...., they can hardly
have had much blood-relationship with the Greeks of the peninsula of today, Serbs and Bulgars, Romans,
Franks and Venetians, Turks, Albanians,..., in one invasion after another have made the modern Greeks a
decidedly mongrel race. Not politics either; for in spite of that tenacious western legend about Greece as
the birthplace and natural home of democracy, the political record of the Greeks is one of a singular
instability and confusion in which, throughout history, the poles of anarchy modulated freedom has very
rarely appeared. Not religion; for while Byzantium was Christian, ancient Hellas was pagan.” David
Holden, “Greece without Columns”.
When I found out that there are “literally” no “ethnic Greeks” to be found anywhere, I became curious as to
how Greece could be populated with 100% Greeks and not a single one of them was an ethnic Greek.
But, I think I will stop here and leave this topic for another lecture.
From what I discovered in my research, the term “Greek” is so ambiguous that everyone who lives in
Greece can be a “Greek” by geography, by political affiliation, by church affiliation or one can be a Greek
by having a Greek sounding name or simply by being a Greek citizen.
I have approached people with this information in hand who strongly believe they are Greeks and when
everything was said and done, I asked them, “If you were not Greeks by ethnicity then what makes you
Greek?” Almost without exception, they all said: “They were Greek because they felt like Greeks, spoke
the Greek language and were very proud of being Greek.” In other words, even pride can make Greeks out
of Vlachs, Albanians, Turks and even Macedonians!
But this has not stopped these fake Greeks from interfering in Macedonian affairs and from claiming that
Macedonians do not exist and we the “autochthonous Macedonians” can’t be Macedonians because the
Macedonians are Greek. Greek interference in Macedonian affairs is not limited to only inside Greece.
Greeks also interfere in Macedonian affairs everywhere in the world.
The invention of the so-called “Name Dispute” is another example of how Greece has used its influence to
not only fool the entire world about what is going on, but to also distract the Macedonian people from their
real challenges; the fact that Macedonia is occupied by Greece and that the Macedonian people have no
rights and are abused to no end!
The so-called “Name dispute” is a perfect example where outside interference has not only preoccupied the
entire Macedonian nation with a nonsensical and whimsical problem but it has also placed Macedonia in a
losing situation. Because the Greeks, with the invention of the so-called “name dispute” have placed
themselves in a position where “the solution to this problem” is entirely dependent on them, there is no
“winning” exit scenario out of this mess for Macedonia. Macedonia unwittingly put its foot in this trap and
is now faced with three possible scenarios.
1. Voluntarily change its own name in order to exit this problem and be accepted in International
organizations. This scenario, if taken, will literally forever end the Macedonian identity and permanently
close the Macedonian question. In other words, if Macedonians change their own name they will seal their
own fate.
2. Remain in limbo and remain a Greek hostage forever. Greece is inside, in the warm atmosphere of our
home while we linger and protest outside in the cold so why would Greece care if this “problem” goes on
forever? Greece has the upper hand. Greece possesses our lands and controls our destiny, so why would
Greece seek a solution that might change all that. Greece would love to see this problem go on unresolved
forever because it is in Greece’s interest. There is no incentive for Greece to solve this problem.
Even if the name dispute is resolved, Greece will fabricate and introduce a new problem to keep us busy
running around in circles.
But we can’t blame Greece entirely for protecting its interests. It seems that Greece sets the traps for us and
we, without thinking, put our feet in them.
If you disagree with me then tell me, “What are we doing negotiating our own country’s name with our
worst enemy?” Think about it!
Or
3. A repeat of the 1912, 1913 scenario. Macedonia could be forced by the Great Powers to change its name
in order to comply with Greece’s wishes. If it refuses it can be invaded. It almost happened about a decade
ago. Now, not only do we have the Greeks and Bulgarians, we also have the Albanians vying for a slice of
Macedonia. All the Great Powers have to say is either change your name or face the consequences. We are
getting tired of you dragging this problem! This scenario will solve “everyone’s” problems except for our
own!
By accepting to negotiate our own name, with our worst enemy, we put ourselves in a trap from which it
will be very difficult to escape without dire consequences.
The only way out of this problem is if the entire world disagrees with Greece and makes an effort to help
us. But what are the chances of that happening when we know countries like France not only created
Greece but also sanctioned its activities against us including the population exchanges and the signing of
the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest. As long as Greece has the support of one Great Power it will never relent!
All three; Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria have interfered in Macedonian affairs; but most of all Greece and
Bulgaria. In the past they each created fake Macedonian organizations in the Diaspora to market their antiRisto
Stefov One Hundred Years of Occupation Macedonian propaganda; not only to lie to the world about Macedonia but to keep the Macedonian people
divided.
They each have infiltrated Macedonian organizations and institutions and turned them against the
Macedonian cause. They have offered Macedonians free education, passports, citizenship and financial and
other help with their businesses in order to stop them from aiding the Macedonian cause.
All this was done and is still being done in order to divide the Macedonian people and keep them weak.
Thankfully one part of Macedonia is free. But unfortunately, three more parts are not. The largest part of
Macedonia is still occupied.
So, what can be done to change the situation?
The first thing we need to do is understand our own weaknesses and how we are being manipulated!
As we stand today we are a divided people: not only because of the Grkomani, the Bulgaromani, the
Serbomani, the Albanomani and what have you, but also because of ourselves; the real Macedonians.
As a nation, we have yet to learn who we really are. We don’t know who we are because others, our
enemies have been defining us. They have been telling us who we are and writing our fake history for us.
The same people who until yesterday called us Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians today are saying that we
are “Slavs” that we came from somewhere else and that we can’t be Macedonians. And there are some of
us out there who believe them, who believe that we came from somewhere. I have a three volume
Macedonian history book at home written in the Macedonian language and published some years ago by a
reputable publisher that claims our history began in the 6th century AD when we arrived in Macedonia. In
other words, there is no Macedonian history before that!
Has anyone in our entire folklore ever mentioned that we came to Macedonia from somewhere else? Where
is the proof that we came from somewhere else? Our true history, however, tells a different story. Our true
history is full of signs that point to us being indigenous to Macedonia. More correctly, we are the product
of all the people, the indigenous Macedonians and all those people who set foot and left their mark in
Macedonia since the melt of the last ice age.
We are Macedonians because we, our fathers and mothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers and many
generations of men and women before them, who were born in Macedonia, were Macedonians because the
land on which we were born, grew up and died was called Macedonia! We don’t need our enemies to
define us and tell us who we are and who we are not! We ARE Macedonians because that is exactly what
we are!
Unfortunately, many of us tend to believe the lies of our enemies. And at the same time we seldom question
the lies our enemies tell us about themselves.
As a nation we have been manipulated by the Great Powers and by their proxies Greece, Serbia and
Bulgaria for over a century and yet to this day we seem to be unaware of it.
We are truth seekers, innocent, peaceful and kind people; traits that define us as a people. Unfortunately
these same traits are interpreted as “weaknesses” by our enemies and by the world. We have been
peacefully crying foul about our lack of rights in Greece, Bulgaria and Albania and our cries seem to have
gone unnoticed. But we have failed to change our strategy! Why?
However, the moment the Albanians in Macedonia brandished their weapons, everyone ran to see what
they wanted. On one occasion they were even rescued from being demolished by the Macedonian army.
They were rescued not by their allies but by their own enemies; a Macedonian President no less.
Imagine, the Commander in Chief of the Macedonian Army rescuing his enemy. Where in the world have
we even heard of a President of a country saving his enemy from being attacked by his own army? Only in
Macedonia!
This is equivalent to George W. Bush ordering his army to stand down while he provides buses to save the
terrorists who attacked the New York Towers and without disarming them. I think this is the biggest
historic blunder we have ever made as Macedonians to date!
Imagine what this act did to the morale of the Macedonian Army! Worse than that, imagine these same
hoodlums, who yesterday raised weapons against the Macedonian army and against the Macedonian
people, today are the politicians who run the country and the army commanders who lead our forces, even
the soldiers who fought against them only yesterday. Imagine! This happens only in Macedonia!
These are unforgivable blunders!
We believe the “words” of others because they sound patriotic and we, on many occasions have allowed
outsiders to “manipulate” us and use our kindness and patriotism against us, and if I may add, many times
without our knowledge.
Our history is full of such examples! But our history, the true history of what really happened to us has yet
to be understood by our people.
We are “truth seekers” yet we are afraid of the truth. We are afraid of standing up and speaking the truth
even about the worst things that have been done to us.
Tell me is there no Macedonian out there today who does not know what Greece has done to us?
Tell me is there no Macedonian out there today who does not know that Greece has no authority over the
Republic of Macedonia?
So, why are we negotiating our own name with Greece? Is there anyone out there who truly understands
what this looks like from other people’s perspectives?
Is there no Macedonian in the Macedonian government who does not know that the Ilinden Uprising took
place and that it was a struggle for freedom and for the creation of a Macedonian state? So, why do we
allow Greece and Bulgaria to publicly say we don’t exist?
Is there no Macedonian in authority today who does not know how Macedonia was invaded, occupied and
partitioned in 1912, 1913 and how Macedonia became Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian?
If there are such people out there then tell me why not one of them has stood up to Greece and to the world
and said “something” to that effect?
Alternatively, let us look at Greece’s “real” history. There are hundreds and hundreds of authors and
historians that have written about Greece’s real history; about the modern Greeks who are not Greeks at all:
who in reality are recent Slav, Albanian and Vlach immigrants who came to the region during the 6th, 11th
and 13th century AD. This is Greece’s “real” history! Athens only 200 years ago was an Albanian village of
5,000 people. Look at it today, it is a multi-million metropolis populated by pure Greeks, descendents from
the ancient Greeks. What a farce!
Why have we not stood up to these “charlatans” and put them in their place? What are we waiting for?
What are we afraid of?
For the last 3 or 4 decades I have watched us playing defense and fumble over and over again. Has it not
occurred to us that we can’t win, not even a single game, if we continue to play defense?
If we are such great truth seekers why has not a single Macedonian in authority spoken the truth where it
counts? What are we waiting for? Why haven’t we attacked the Greek identity the way they have attacked
ours? We are REAL Macedonians and they are not even Greeks!
About five years ago I wrote an e-mail to a prominent historian who had written about Balkan history and
asked him why he had not written about us Macedonians!
I got what I thought was a surprising answer! He said, “Why don’t you first write ‘something’ about
yourselves and then I will write about you! Where am I supposed to find the information to write about
you?”
My point: If we don’t stand up to Greece and Bulgaria who do we expect will?
Well my friends I can tell you this with certainty, “NO ONE” is going to do anything for us if we are not
willing to do it for ourselves. In fact, no one is going to do anything for us until we start doing things for
ourselves!
So, as Macedonians what exactly do we want from Greece, Bulgaria and Albania? Do we really know and
can we agree on what it is that we want? When was the last time we sat down together as Macedonians to
decide what it is that we want and what will be acceptable to us?
Within a few years of Israel becoming a country, the Israeli government invited all Israeli Organizations,
Associations, intellectuals, etc. and individually interviewed them to find out what they wanted out of
Israel. Based on their answers Israel then set out its objectives and successfully sued Germany and other
countries who then paid the Israeli people compensation for damages. What have we done to this day to
prepare for our future?
If tomorrow Greece calls us to a meeting and asks us what it is that we want from Greece will we be
prepared to voice our needs?
__________________
The Macedonians originates it, the Bulgarians imitate it and the Greeks exploit it!
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