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Old 08-01-2012, 01:48 AM   #441
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MoFA sends protest note to Greek ambassador over stickers

Skopje, 26 June 2012 (MIA) - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) handed over Tuesday a note of protest to Greece's ambassador to Macedonia, Alexandra Papadopoulou in relation to the case involving stickers put on new vehicle registration plates owned by Macedonian citizens when entering Greece, urging this "illegitimate practice" to stop.

The protest note says that the new vehicle registration plates are in compliance with EU and international standards and that Greece's move is not in line with the obligations stipulated by the Interim Accord, MoFA sources say.

This conduct by Greek border organs, they add, is against the 1995 Practical Measures Memorandum referring to the implementation of the Interim Agreement, which serve to facilitate the movement of people and goods. In accordance with the Memorandum "upon entry of a private vehicle into the Republic of Greece, Greek organs can place a self - adhesive sticker, not bigger than the distinguishing signs used in international transport (oval stickers in line with international standards) on the back or front windshield." The Memorandum, MoFA says, does not envisage measures considering registration plates. The ministry also reacts over the use of the acronym FYROM on stickers handed out by Greek customs officials, which is also against the Interim Agreement.

At the same time, MoFA denies today's statement by the Greek ambassador that Macedonian authorities have failed to react over this practice, stressing that active measures are being taken to solve the problem.

The ministry says that after reactions from citizens and media reports, country's consulate in Thessaloniki in a letter dated June 22 asked for an explanation from Greek customs authorities over the disputable use of stickers. Greece, in a response received yesterday, states that the attaching of stickers on vehicles by Macedonian citizens having registration plates with MK sign has been and is still being used based on a directive by the Ministry of Finances and in accordance with the countries' agreement in 1995 i.e. on a free space on the back windshield.

MoFA informs that further developments will be monitored and that adequate measures will be taken.

Greek border authorities have been placing a sticker reading "Recognised by Greece as FYROM" written in Greek and English over the new Macedonian registration plates to cover the MK sign on them.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:50 AM   #442
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In Greece, anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party rides wave of xenophobia

By Daniel Dale
Staff Reporter

Published on Friday June 29, 2012

ATHENS—He doesn’t walk alone. Not to his convenience store in the morning. Not to his apartment at night. Not anymore. When Tipu Sultan Mirza Mohamed moves, three or four fellow immigrants from Bangladesh move with him.

The Bangladeshis of Athens now travel in packs because the thugs travel in packs. In the last month, supporters of Golden Dawn, the virulently anti-immigrant far-right party whose logo is a modified swastika, have beaten, among many others, an Egyptian fisherman sleeping on his roof, two Algerians sleeping near a beach, a Pakistani man and Bangladeshi man walking in a subway station, and an Albanian standing on the street.

None of this — nor an assault this month by a Golden Dawn MP on a Communist female MP on live television — has appeared to do anything to dampen the party’s popularity. After Golden Dawn earned 6.97 per cent of the vote in the May federal election, up from 0.23 per cent in 2009, some leftists dismissively argued that this was a one-time protest statement. But Golden Dawn got 6.92 per cent in the election on June 17.

The party, which uses slogans like “rid this land of filth,” was a fringe movement from its founding in 1980 until three years ago. Then came the economic crisis that sent unemployment skyrocketing to 23 per cent and forced Greece to submit to other European countries’ humbling austerity demands. Next, under ideal breeding conditions for ultranationalism and fascism, came the wave of xenophobia and violence that has Mohamed and his compatriots living in fear.

“Nobody here safe now,” Mohamed, 42, said in halting English, the day after the election in his store in the poor immigrant neighbourhood of Omonia. “Nobody. When I come here in 2004, I go alone to the square in the night, nobody stop me. Now in the day I’m afraid to go alone. They come to me, they ask, ‘Why you come here? When you go back to your home? Why don’t you leave?’ I don’t know why they ask this. We are in Europe. Europe is human rights. Where go human rights? Where? If I can’t walk on the road, where go human rights?”

He doesn’t look like a brown shirt. In fact, he wears a blue-collared shirt that says PepsiCo above the breast pocket. The 40-year-old man, who says he can’t give his name because of his job, is a well-coiffed Pepsi salesman in stylish jeans. He is also an enthusiastic supporter of Golden Dawn.

The attacks on immigrants? “I’m not sure if what the media says is 100 per cent true, but even if it is, this has an impact on the immigrants. They’re more afraid. So things are more calm, and there is less violence against Greeks. If the police isn’t doing its job, someone else has to.”

Slapping another politician repeatedly on TV? “What people took from that was that Golden Dawn will do the same thing to the entire political system.”

Golden Dawn’s vehement stand against the country’s bailout agreements — its 55-year-old leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, calls them “slavery” — appeals to the same anger against austerity and old-guard politicians that has propelled the sudden rise of a new leftist party, Syriza. Like many extremist parties, Golden Dawn is especially popular with young men. Half of the country’s under-25 population is unemployed; Golden Dawn offers poor youths with few prospects an easy scapegoat for their financial troubles, a social institution in which they can feel important, and a salve for their wounded national pride.

“Local guys can’t go to the square because of the immigrants. They’re scared,” said Stavros Tsouis, 18, a house painter and Golden Dawn supporter in the Athens suburb of Markopoulo, which has also seen an immigrant influx. “If other parties cannot get rid of them, there is no other way. It (violence) is not a proper way, of course, but . . . ” He trailed off. “I’m thinking of my 7-year-old brother and his future.”

The Pepsi salesman sat under a cafe tent last Wednesday in the Athens neighbourhood of Agios Panteleimonas. The neighbourhood, known as such for the grand Orthodox church of the same name, has become a hotbed of anti-immigrant sentiment and Golden Dawn support.

The church’s priest provides food and guidance to hundreds of the poor illegal immigrants who live in the dingy apartment buildings nearby. In apparent retaliation, Golden Dawn loyalists wrote a party slogan — “Foreigners out of Greece. Greece belongs to the Greeks” — in chalk in front of the church steps. They have also locked the gate to the playground on the church grounds to prevent immigrant children from using it.

A local senior, who also wouldn’t give her name, said Golden Dawn members have endeared themselves to neighbourhood Greeks by volunteering to accompany the elderly on their errands. Before then, she said, they were regularly robbed by South Asians.

A major spike in immigrant crime has aided Golden Dawn’s rise. The problem of immigrant crime, in turn, has been fuelled by both the economic crisis and Greece’s dysfunctional immigration system.

An EU agreement allows countries to send illegal immigrants back to the first European country they set foot in — which is Greece more than 50 per cent of the time, because it offers a land crossing through Turkey. Greek political leaders, joined by human rights groups, have complained bitterly about their disproportionate burden. They have also failed to unilaterally solve the problems they have the power to address.

Greece, a country of 11 million, grants refugee status to almost nobody: 11 of 15,928 claimants in 2009. It also provides almost no support to new arrivals, many of whom live in squalid conditions, and takes years to process refugee claims; there is a backlog of more than 30,000. Without documents, Human Rights Watch has reported, immigrants “spend a great deal of time unemployed or in exploitative work situations,” have little contact with Greeks, and “often live in dire poverty with inadequate food, health care and shelter.”

The vast majority of Greece’s million-plus immigrants were Albanians until four years ago, when the Turkish crossing overtook the boat routes to Italy and Spain as the most popular gateway to Europe. Tens of thousands of unskilled, non-Greek-speaking Africans, South Asians and Arabs have since made their way to Athens. Just as the economy collapsed, swaths of the city that had seen few non-white residents for centuries became ghettos for dark-skinned Muslims. Few of the new arrivals have experienced anything but misery.

Hali Sip, a lanky 26-year-old former youth soccer player from Senegal, is one of dozens of Africans who try to sell knock-off clothing, luggage, sunglasses, watches and trinkets on the sidewalk outside the Athens University of Economics and Business. His visible inventory consists of four bags. As of last Tuesday, he had not had a customer in a week. To pay the rent, he said, he also collects discarded bottles to return for a wretched €1 per kilogram.

He came to Greece in pursuit of “the European dream”: “To become somebody, to become a man, somebody who is respected. “ He would now return to Senegal if he could afford it.

“Dying in Africa is better than dying here,” he said. “Because we fled death there, and we came here, and there’s death here, too. It’s better to die back there with dignity.”

Hundreds of Africans used to hawk their wares outside another university down the block from the business school. In May, a month before the election, the chaotic improvised market, which had undercut and infuriated established shopkeepers, was shut down by riot police. Bored-looking officers with shields and helmets now patrol the empty street three hours a day. Asked last Tuesday if the crackdown was political, one of them said, “Obviously political.”

The former socialist government launched a United Nations-aided immigration reform effort in 2010. But the socialists, too, have since attempted to capitalize on anti-immigrant resentment — issuing warnings about foreign prostitutes, approving a 12.5-kilometre fence on the Turkish border and campaigning on a pledge to build 30 new detention centres. New Democracy, the centre-right party that won, talked even tougher, pledging to repeal a 2010 law that allows the children of illegal immigrants to obtain citizenship. And Golden Dawn now has 18 seats in parliament.

Greek election: Conservatives win election, vow to keep Greece in the eurozone

The party promised to plant landmines along the border with Turkey, deport all illegal immigrants, and conduct raids on hospitals and kindergartens to forcibly evict immigrant children. Though it denies that it is a neo-Nazi party — the Nazis occupied Greece during World War II — its members make Nazi salutes at rallies, Mein Kampf has been displayed at its headquarters, and its leader, Michaloliakos, denies the Holocaust.

“Golden Dawn is not another political party. This is an openly neo-Nazi party, a fascist party, and in the long term it will have grave consequences on Greece, on its society, and on its image abroad. Democracy is based on tolerance for the other,” said Sotiris Methenitis, the centre-right mayor of Markopoulo, who issued an unusual pre-election plea “begging” constituents to vote for anyone else.

“In Greek mythology, the most important god, Zeus, was the protector of the foreign. Greece has a long history of paying particular attention to the significance of the foreign person coming here. He has to be treated with respect. This has been a feature of modern Greece. Up to very recently.”

Sip’s group of African peddlers keeps wooden sticks and jagged chunks of tile at the ready, tucked in beside the university gate, in case racists show up looking for trouble. Shopkeeper Mohamed watches his back and thinks about returning to Bangladesh. Neither thinks Golden Dawn is going away. Neither does Golden Dawn.

“The time for fear has come for those who betrayed this homeland,” Michaloliakos said to conclude his post-election speech in May. “We are coming! That’s all I have to say.”
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:51 AM   #443
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Janissary Traianos Dellas/Nedelkov may enter Greek Parliament

Thursday, 01 March 2012

According to information coming out of Athens, there will be another ethnic Macedonian that is likely to enter Greek Parliament. It's famous football player Traianos Dellas, whose original last name is Nedelkov and is well known for his hatred towards Macedonia despite both of his parents being ethnic Macedonians. 'Dellas' grew up speaking Macedonian, but today similarly to former PM Karamanlis is the biggest "Greek" of all.

However, Dellas would not be the only ethnic Macedonian MP in Athens. Another Macedonian MP in Greek Parliament is Aggelos Tolkas, who just few days ago was attacked at a Restaurant in Negush (Naoussa) for voting 'yes' for Greece's austerity measures. The mob attacked mostly his food, according to local reports Tolkas had his meal stolen.

Tolkas' family hails from Veshtica (Agelohori) where the main language spoken is Macedonian. He too, just like his family speaks Macedonian. During the election campaign, when needing votes, Tolkas was known to visit Macedonian villages in the Negush region and mingle with locals who in turn saw him as "their own".

Tolkas was very clever and spoke Macedonian only when needed, i.e. when he needed votes for Parliament. He never was involved or helped ethnic Macedonians who waged battles in and outside of Greek Parliament for more rights. His re-election is now very much in doubt. Greeks saw him as a sell out, while the Macedonians were very disappointed with his attitude towards them once he was elected.

Although Tolkas was of no help to the Macedonians, he was no match for another ethnic Macedonian Stelious Papathemelis who was one of the most famous jannisary against the Macedonians in Greece.

Papathemelis was born in the village of Visoka, near Solun. In 1928 Athens ironically changed the name of the village by giving it another Macedonian name (Osa).

Papathemelis was a Minister in multiple PASOK Governments. His most famous statement is "If Skopjans feel they are Macedonians, then they are Greeks, only Greeks are Macedonians". <-- This came from an ethnic Macedonian in Greece.

Papathemelos was replaced by another ethnic Macedonian, Yorgos Tanos who was born in the village of Javoreni (Platani). More Macedonians from the Voden and Lerin (Florina) region were involved in Greek politics - Traianos Petkanis born in Ovcarani and Pavlos Altinis from Gorno Vrbeni, however none managed to climb higher on the ladder.

The Mayor of Lerin (Florina) today, Yiannis Voskopoulos is by far the most interesting case of all. He is first cousin of none other but Pavle Filipov Voskopoulos who is the leading Macedonian activist in Greece and member of Vinozhito.

Pavle, of course has stated publicly on many occasions that he is an ethnic Macedonian, has even gotten few minutes of air time on Greek national TV. Yiannis on the other hand speaks fluent Macedonian (just like his cousin) and has stated publicly that he is a Greek and there is no such thing as Macedonians.

Talk about a man without a soul!?

Lastly, footballer Traianos Dellas/Nedelkov, another ethnic Macedonian who is well known to the Macedonian public after controversial remarks at a press conference during UEFA Cup match between AS Roma and FC Vardar.

When asked about his origins by a Macedonian journalist (in Macedonian), Dellas/Nedelkov didn't wait for a translation, but answered that he was Greek and is aware of only 'Greek Macedonia'.

Traianos has been offered an MP seat with the LAOS party, so we may have another Macedonian Janissary in Greek Parliament. It seems that everyone, Dellas included will end up where they need to end up. //Mile Velkovski, contributor - Jorgos Papadakis
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:53 AM   #444
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Address by the President of the Greek Republic Karolos Papoulias to President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Rosen Plevneliev during a formal dinner at the Presidential Palace


President of the Republic of Bulgaria,

I am delighted to welcome you to Athens, and members of the Bulgarian delegation accompanying you on your first visit to my country.

Your visit gives us the opportunity to reaffirm, once again, the excellent level of our bilateral relations and discuss a series of critical European, regional and international issues.

It is my firm belief that a close and sincere cooperation between our two countries contributes significantly to stability, security and development in Southeast Europe.

Greece and Bulgaria have developed excellent and multifaceted cooperation in all fields. The holding of the first Supreme Council of Cooperation between Greece and Bulgaria in July 2010, in Sofia marked the beginning of the strategic cooperation between the two countries. We look forward now to the second edition of the Supreme Council hope that the preparations for the conduct will begin soon.

Bulgaria is an important trading partner for Greece. Despite the current difficult economic situation, which the Greek people trying to make great sacrifices to overcome, progress has been made in bilateral economic and trade relations are reasonable. I note with satisfaction that in 2011, the volume of our bilateral trade increased by 18% and reached 2.4 billion, compared to 2.028 billion euros in 2010. The upward trend recorded in the volume of bilateral trade can and should be continued and strengthened.

Particularly pleased to note the steady growth of tourism between our countries which, beyond the purely economic dimension, contributes decisively to the further consolidation of contacts between our citizens.

Equally satisfying is the way of our cooperation in the field of culture. I consider it important to make every effort to ensure that the current adverse financial situation does not hamper the further development of cultural relations.

Our two countries have embarked on a mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector. Greece considers particularly important to promote our cooperation in major energy projects, such as gas transmission and interconnection of energy networks.

H implementation of gas pipeline Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB) and the construction of gas pipeline South Stream can bring multiple benefits to both countries. In addition, we wish to promote cooperation between institutions of both countries in the field of Renewable Energy.

Regarding the construction of the Burgas - Alexandroupolis, I would like to stress that Greece maintains a close interest in its implementation. It is a strategic choice, a task that with political will could be completed quickly and to strengthen its strategic energy position of our two countries.

Mr. President,

I would like to highlight the active participation and constructive cooperation initiatives and to regional cooperation: the Southeast European Cooperation Process, the Regional Cooperation Council and the Trilateral Cooperation Initiative, we have developed with neighboring Romania.

The Cooperation between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, to be strengthened, a useful platform for exchanging views on regional and European issues of common interest. At this point I would like to stress that Greece has demonstrated over time the practice of solidarity towards Bulgaria in seeking you to join Schengen.

Since 2003 the summit in Thessaloniki, Greece has supported and continues to actively and consistently supported the European course and the final integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union.

With the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, our position remains constructive and stable. The monopolization of the term Macedonia and its derivatives in the name of the state, ethnicity and language does not reflect the reality of the region. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has accepted the obligation to negotiate to find a mutually acceptable definitive name. Consistent with the Security Council resolution, the name will not only international or for partial use. It is a name with a geographical qualifier for all uses. The Skopje insist ideology of Makedonism, so will keep the door closed and NATO accession process to the EU frozen.

Mr. President,

A few days ago, at a critical period of European developments, Cyprus assumed the Presidency of the European Union. I would like to wish you success in Cyprus Presidency. I am sure that Cyprus, with its experience, will achieve significant and tangible results on the critical issues facing the European Union.

Greece, for its part, will continue to support the negotiating process for a viable and functional solution that is fully compatible with acquis. A solution that will respect the basic democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law. Without permanent derogations. Without the army of occupation. Without jobs and guarantors.

The assumption of the presidency provides an opportunity for Turkey to reach a new base in Cyprus. To recognize the Cyprus Republic and apply the same signed by the Ankara protocol on customs union. It is a practical step towards the normalization of EU-Turkish relations.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I want to say that Greece and Bulgaria have common concerns and common vision for the countries and peoples of our region. Our constant aim must be to ensure peace, stability, development and social cohesion for the benefit of us all. To this end we will work with all our might.

With these thoughts and the belief that your visit to Greece is very useful and productive, I raise my glass and wish you health and happiness to you personally, like all progress and prosperity in the neighboring and friendly people of Bulgaria.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:05 AM   #445
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On the Road of Time – Chapter 6

By Petre Nakovski

Translated and edited by Risto Stefov

[email protected]

August 5, 2012

On our way to the village Ieropigi (Macedonian Kosinets, Ieropigi in Greek means “Sacred Spring”. This name was given to the village because water flows from under the church foundation) just outside of Mesopotamia (Macedonian Chetirok. Mesopotamia in Greek means “between rivers.”) we met an old man sitting at the side of the road. Should I stop, I wondered. Earlier we were warned that there might be thugs out there who might force you, at gunpoint, to drive them south to one of the major Greek cities. But looking at the sad expression in the old stranger’s eyes made me stop. The old man greeted us in Greek and wondered if we were going to Ieropigi and if we could give him a ride.

“Get in,” I said and, driving slowly, we struck up a conversation. To begin I asked him, “Where are you from, who are you and what are you doing?…” He said he lived in Ieropigi. I then asked him if the village was always called “Ieropigi”.

“No,” he said. “Earlier the village was called Kosinets and “endopii” (indigenous people) used to live there, but they are gone. There is only one family of endopii left and they are old people…”

“Where did the endopii go?” I asked.

“I don’t know. They are dispersed all over the world,” he said.

“And do you like the place, the village?” I asked.

The old man shook his hand and with a confirming voice said: “No. I don’t like it. Who wants something that does not belong to them? We have no roots here. The young leave for the cities or for Europe and every day there are less and less of us. We die on foreign soil. We like the places where they uprooted us from, from where we emigrated. Every day we slowly wilt without the meadows, the mountains, the peaks and the waters of Pindus… we die without them. Without them, without the peaks of Pindus we feel short. We were eagles there and here we are not even jackdaws (small kind of crow). They took Pindus from us and stripped us naked. Eagles need heights and peaks and we, the Sarakachani (Vlachs), need the endless pastures and the cold waters of Pindus. We are unhappy, very unhappy because we can’t do without our mountains on Pindus. There are mountains here as well, but they are not like our mountains… Now we only go there to visit the graves of our ancestors…”

“And where are the graves of the endopii?” I asked.

“They were moved to another place. Now there is a garden there in their place…” answered the old man.

“There once used to be houses there, right? What happened to the stones from the houses?” I asked.

“They were used to build the new houses… The village is more or less new, built below the old one…” he answered.

There was a café at the entrance of the village. It was time for coffee. There were many white-haired old men sitting at the tables, leaning their arms on a shepherd’s staff, waiting for their cup of coffee to arrive. We greeted them and they greeted us back.

“Down there, the building with the sheet metal roof, what is that?” I asked.

“We keep several hundred sheep and goats there during the winter,” answered the old man.

“You have so many,” I praised the old man.

With a difficult sigh and a disappointing tone of voice, the old man said:

“When they relocated us here I brought with me fifteen thousand sheep, ten thousand goats and three thousand horses. These mountains are too small and narrow for that many animals. At the end of the nineteen-fifties we were almost left without sheep and goats. There was not enough land for them to graze on and we had no money to purchase more. That’s when the government forced us to farm the land and plant wheat, barley, rye and potatoes. We had no idea how to work the land but were forced to learn quickly. We used tractors and other farming equipment which helped a lot…”

The old man stopped talking and after a moment of silence, asked:

“Where in Greece have you seen a Vlach, a Sarakachan reduced to plowing? The Vlachs, meaning us who came here, more correctly, us who they brought here from Epirus, only know how to look after sheep and goats and make all kinds of cheese. In Epirus we despised the farmers and villagers. In Epirus we were the aristocracy, the first people in Larissa and Athens. The Vlachs were the cream of Greece. In old times the Vlachs fed all of Europe with their various cheeses. Our caravans went to Belgrade, Budapest, Bucharest and even as far as Vienna. We brought back riches and built Greece with them. The Vlachs built schools, churches, the first public buildings, the first palaces and theaters in Greece. You want a Greek doctor, judge, lawyer, professor, historian, rebel, advocate, diplomat, look to the Vlachs. Don’t look for them among the Greeks. The Vlachs were and still are the cream of Greece. There at Pindus, in the Vlach villages, our houses were palaces. Everyone had a house built in the village with chiselled stone and everyone in Ioannina, Metsovo, Samarina and other places had palaces. And I mean palaces. Do we like this place? No! They made villagers and plowmen out of us, the proud Sarakachani from Epirus. We have become a mockery of people… they disgraced us… Come… Please, come to our house for coffee…”

The old Vlach, Sarakachan woman greeted us with open arms and with a wide smile behind which flashed several gold teeth. She sat us down on a wide sofa covered with a wide red, woolen blanket. And while placing a sweet made of figs on the table in front of us, I saw a cross carved on her forehead covering her wide wrinkles. The old man noticed me looking with surprise and hastened to explain.

“It is an old tradition that our women have a cross between their eyebrows, which originated back in the time of the Ioannina Pasha (Ottoman general). A cross was carved between the eyebrows on the forehead of our women to remind the Turks (Moslems) and Turk converts to keep their hands off them. We marked them with a Christian cross and as such no Turk or Turk convert dared take them…”

While we drank our coffee the old Vlach told us that here, in the desolate Kostur Region villages of Dmbeni, Kosinets, Lobanitsa and Smrdesh, as in Prespa, a Greek politician and statesman, the richest Vlach among the Vlachs in Greece, promised them a paradise. He did not mention his name. But a paradise he did not find. He became poor in doing this. So I gathered his real motive was to change the character of the desolate region.

We thanked our hosts for their hospitality and got up to go.

“Where are you going?” asked the old Vlach.

“To Lobanitsa,” I answered.

“Ah, it’s called that by its old name,” confirmed the old man.

“What is its new name?” I asked.

“It’s called Agios Dimitrios now, but the village no longer exists… There is nothing there, except for a small church built by the people of Lobanitsa who now live in Australia,” answered the old man.

* * *

We headed to the western part of the village along the old upper road, now widened and paved with asphalt (there is also a lower and wider road, built after the Vlachs were brought here). At the exit, at the end of the asphalt there was an old road, a pre-war road. This road was built by the villagers from the surrounding villages in the thirties by unpaid labour. This is the place where an older road used to exist and was travelled by the Romans. This is the link between Kostur – Bilishta and Korcha and from there to Durres. The hill and the flat area on top of the road and below the road are fenced with rusty barbed wire, on which a rusty sign hangs with the writing “Mine Field!”

No one to this day has made the effort to remove the mines. The mines have been hibernating here since they were put in by the Democratic Army of Greece demolition crews in August 1949. There was an intersection twenty or so metres from here. There was also a church in the middle and to the right there was a wide winding road leading to Kristalopigi (Smrdesh in Macedonian). It said so on the traffic sign. (Kristalopigi, meaning “crystal spring” the new Greek name given to the village because of the natural spring of water running near the village church, Sveti Giorgi.) To the left, in front of us, a little down the hill was a cobblestone road.

“This is the road,” I said to my wife, “the road that leads to Lobanitsa.”

The cobblestone road was covered in moss and overgrown with thorn bushes on both sides. Growing on the sides were scruffy, short elms. It looked like the road was not used at all. We came out of the car and turned our attention to the south. In front of us lay the Kosinsko valley, further over were the Boulders (Faltsa) and beyond that was Mount Odre. Left of Odre was Mount Orle and to the right, on the west side, lined up were the mountains Krusha, Gorusha, Bel Kamen, Petre, Peleni, Sveti Ilia, Amuda, Nikoler and Aliabitsa and behind them was Gramos. Behind us, on a gentle rise, were the hills of Kosinets and Lobanitsa, overgrown with thinned out dwarf oak trees languishing in silence and quiet. Continuing beyond them, up high, all covered in broken stones and becoming steeper as they went further, were more hills that tied to the hills of Mali-Madi.

The warm air moved in gentle waves as the ghostly silence caused a restlessness in us. From what I have been told, I know that it was from here that the government army wanted to enter behind the DAG (Democratic Army of Greece) Partisan lines and thus open the door for the tanks to enter Smrdesh and close the escape route to Albania. It was here on these hills, from August 10th to 11th, 1949, that the DAG Brigade 105 strongly opposed the government army. It was here at the bases of these hills that Division IX of the government army became disabled, saving the lives of many Partisans. About those days, General Zafiropoulos wrote the following on page 619 of his book “Anti-Bandit War 1945-1949”.

“Ουτω ο ελιγμος της IX Μεραρχιας απετυχεν ολοσχερος μετα μεγαλων απωλειων, 354 εκτος μαχης μονον της 41-της Ταξιαρχιας....” (And as such the manoeuvre of Division IX completely failed, leaving 354 dead on the battlefield from the 41st Brigade alone…”

I drove very slowly over the aging cobblestone road and when I came out of the shade of the tall and wide-branched oak tree, a wide space lay in front of me all covered in broken rock. I recognized the place from the surrounding bare hills and from the large rock. The village Lobanitsa was located here. I remember the place from the three tall poplar trees that grew near the river on whose bank the church, Sveti Dimitria, was built. And near it was the boulder from whose veins flowed a spring of water. The poplar trees and the church are now gone and water no longer flows from the spring under the big rock. I remember the two-story houses built from chiselled stone, covered with Turkish ceramic tiles and window frames painted with blue paint. These houses were built after the Ilinden Uprising (1903) but now are gone and so are the stones and Turkish tiles. All gone!

I remember the tall white house, built high up, at the edge of the village from whose balcony one could see the entire surroundings. That was my aunt Zoia’s house and she and her daughter-in-law and two year old grandson were imprisoned for two and a half years in the village Drenovo in Prespa Region. She was accused of being an “enemy of the people” because her son crossed over to the other side of the border. We moved to that house in the fall of 1947 because they burned our house. The tall white house is now gone.

I remember the school very well. In the late fall of 1947, after sundown, the school would open its doors and during the night under the dim light of kerosene lamps, for the first time, we would open our Macedonian primers and the teacher, Konstandina Todorova all nicely dressed in her military uniform, would teach us the Cyrillic alphabet. The school is gone now and so is the teacher with the nice Partisan hat and long braided hair, she too is gone; she died in Skopje after moving there from Poland.

I remember many of the faces of the people of Lobanitsa. They too are gone. I remember Partisans arriving in the village very early in the morning, exhausted from a long night’s march. They would rest here during the day and would be gone after sunset. I remember the nights when long columns of loaded horses and mules, guided by women wearing white robes, passed through Lobanitsa. The women were from Prespa and would whisper that they were carrying ammunition.

I remember seeing a yellow airplane fly in circles over Lobanitsa and the surrounding countryside and because of that the days were dead and the nights came to life. I remember late in the night women from AFZH (Women’s Anti-Fascist Front) came to the houses and had long talks with the mothers. The fathers then were mobilized and digging trenches and cutting oak, beech and pine trees to build bunkers. And what did the women from the AFZH, in their long conversations, have to say to my mother to persuade her?

I remember that day well. It was March 24th in the afternoon when the gathering began and lasted until sunset. Crowds of children were gathering in long queues, exhausted from their long journey. There were small, big and bigger children. The mothers carried the little children in their arms and on their shoulders and the bigger children hung on to them by their dress. They were all exhausted making the trip on foot to Lobanitsa from Breshteni, Galishta, Ezerets and Novoseleni. They spent the night sleeping in the school, church and houses in Lobanitsa. The next day they spent their daylight hours hiding in the forest just outside of the village. The day after, more children were arriving the entire day from the villages Dolno Papratsko, Krchishta and Kosinets.

This was the first time I had ever seen so many children and mothers. I remember that afternoon our yard smelling of roasted chicken and freshly baked bread. I also remember my mother taking out our clothes from the chest and dressing us the same way as she dressed us when we went to church… I remember it was a warm spring day, the almond trees were flowering and the nightingales were singing.

As I continued to drive towards the broken stones I felt chills run down my spine. The closer I came to the piles of rocks and soil where the houses used to be, the more chills I felt coming over me. At the end of the rubble, to the right where the road bends slightly, I stopped the car. This is where we stopped on March 25th, 1948 to say goodbye…

…In front of us, far away, the sun was setting on top of Mount Morava. The early evening light was dimming before our teary eyes. In the early evening the children cried loudly with tears welling up in their eyes. The sun set behind Mount Morova and the darkness was filled with weeping. And behind us, up there on the steepness of the hill, stood our mothers watering the soil beneath them with tears, shaking the rocks around them with their sickly loud cries and sobs and waving their black handkerchiefs at us, saying goodbye…

We walked in the dark not knowing where it would lead us. We walked, stumbled, fell, got up again and dragged our steps in a long column... Somewhere in the middle of the column several people started to sing, but no one joined in, no one sang the song that would give us courage and joyfulness. The voices of those singing slowly died out. They dried up. They got lost in the sea of crying and sobbing... Before stepping over onto foreign soil, the column stopped for a short time. Someone, one of the people escorting us, took my bag with the roasted chicken and still warm bread...

Years afterwards, when I was an adult, long after we were separated and under a different climate, I heard from my mother. She told me the following:

“They told us that after the bad had passed our children would be returned to us, which should not have taken more than twenty days. This is what they told us and that’s how they convinced us to voluntarily take you by the hand and escort you to the border. There, at the corner when they told us that we could only go this far with you, we waited on the hillside. This is where they held us. This is where we begged them and prayed for your return to us as soon as possible… Was there a single woman that did not cry? We cried my dear, we pulled our hairs out crying, we screamed and wailed mournfully like we would when someone died. After you were gone when we returned home, that’s when we realized our mistake and the wrong we had done.

Things went from bad to worse. The house was empty and desolate, the yard was empty, the village was empty and every lane was desolate. We waited and listened, hoping the door would open, someone would call out, someone would cry, would laugh. Nothing! Emptiness! Not a single child’s voice, no matter how much we wished to hear one. Not a voice, not a cry, not a laugh was heard…

There were no children, no voices, no laughing, no happiness and no joy. Life becomes difficult when someone takes away your happiness. They took our happiness and gave us a wound, a sore, a cut, an open gash… a wound in the heart, a wound in our soul, a wound that does not heal, a wound that hurts with every mention of birth, a wound that opens, that bleeds, that burns. No one’s heart could help reduce the hurt because the pain was buried deep in the heart and soul…

Right here,” she tapped her chest, “like a mistletoe, it is stuck, pressing and scratching and whispering, I listen but there is no voice, no noise, only silence, there is nothing, it is desolate… and that desolation hurts, it never stops. After a while we began to blame ourselves, to curse ourselves, how could we do this? Why did we do this, send our children away and turn our lives upside down? Why did we put our children in strange hands? Why did we put the fate of our children in someone else’s hands?

Our separation became a permanent wound. An open wound that constantly bled and burnt. The wounds from a bullet, a knife, a dagger, would heal, but the wounds from this kind of pain, anguish and sorrow would not heal. Every day, with each passing day, the wounds became wider. There were as many wounds as there were missing children. Open wounds. They were constantly open. Our chests were torn apart from the heavy sighs. You go out to the yard, it’s desolate; you go out on the balcony, the street is desolate; you look out of the window, the neighbourhood is desolate; it is desolate at the spring, in the streets, everywhere it is desolate, empty, devoid of children. Emptiness and desolation existed everywhere.

Every mother missing her child was wounded. It seemed like even the birds flew away and abandoned us. Their voice and song too we could not hear. And what were my thoughts? What else could a mother think, if not first of her children? About what else can a mother think, whose children they took away, an act with which they muddied and poisoned her happiness?

Silence and great sadness befell the village; silence in the home, in the yard. Restlessness circled, scratched and dug, but only in the mind, it did not allow the heart to calm, to settle and find peace. There was no day with hope or night with sleep without pain… The days were hard and the nights were even harder. Was it fate? A great weight, a great weight was placed upon us. Do you remember? First they collected the older children. They collected them during the night and took them somewhere in the forest, in the mountains… They told them and us that they would be fighting for freedom, for Macedonia. Then after, they collected you the younger children. They told us that you would remain over there, in the countries (Eastern European countries) for only several days, until they kicked out the enemy… We believed them and we gave you to them… Then we were left all alone…

After that, one by one, they took our sheep, goats, chickens, horses, oxen and told us that they were for the struggle and gave us a piece of paper with writing on it that said the “People’s Government” would return them to you. Then they collected our bed covers, woolen blankets, pillows, winter coats, gloves, socks, sweaters, hats, wool, pots, plates, spoons, forks. They told us they were for the hospitals, for the wounded. No one asked if we had anything left for ourselves…

Something was left for us, my dear child, something was left. Our naked life, pain, suffering, torment, wounded soul, and the beleaguered hope of waiting was left for us… Left for us were these arms and shoulders ... with which we became part of the flood, the rising storm which became more frightening with each passing day...

About those who were engaged in the war we were always burdened with the worst thoughts, with the greatest of fear and for those young ones, who were collected, our thoughts were that at least there were no wars, no shooting, no killing where they took them and that they would be alive and well. We had the same wish and prayer for both the young and old; to be alive and well, even if they were far away, our prayers for them were always to be alive and well. Nothing we did we could hold with our own hands. Everything we held fell out of our hands. No sooner were our crops and gardens ready to be harvested than they were there to collect them just as they had collected our older and younger children. They said there would be great battles and for them to win, to achieve victory, we too needed to give, to go, if not to battle then to harvest, to deliver and to transport.

We dug at night and delivered and transported at night. The day was reserved for the airplanes and cannons. They beat on us during the day. So we turned things upside down and made the day into night and the night into day. The pain in our backs, shoulders, arms and legs, from carrying logs and ammunition persisted, ever increasing with each passing day. But there was no time to think of our personal pain, when the war effort was at stake, so they kept telling us...

The entire crop from the fields, meadows and gardens, the sheep, goats and oxen were left for the old people to look after. It was all left to those who could hardly stand or walk, to those who could hardly lift or carry a bushel, swing a scythe or a sickle, to those who could hardly carry a deceased in a coffin or a wounded on a stretcher… And you tell yourself, please God protect us and cross yourself with your thoughts, with your thoughts because your hands were full carrying a stretcher, a log, a coffin, a shovel, an axe, a pickaxe, a stone. You made a cross with your thoughts, because you couldn’t make it with your hands. And when you were carrying a wounded person, you said to yourself, “Is there another mother like me carrying my children like this?” That’s when you began to be afraid, to experience numbing fear, to feel your legs collapsing under you. Fear had you in its grip and you couldn’t think of anything else. You dedicated your entire thoughts to the drowning fear which had you burdened and locked in its grip. And that’s how we faced each cruel day being beaten again and again with horror that had no end…

There were only two or three children left in the village. Very young children that did not leave, that were not separated, that were not torn from their mother’s embrace. When these children cried we all wept with them, we all rejoiced. When they laughed, we all laughed and cried. Their laughter, their ga-ga-ing and crying was a light in darkness. It was like the sun shining after the passing of a dark storm… Unfortunately the happiness was short lived and after a bit of sunshine, the dark clouds would return. There was light and then darkness, a short burst of sunlight followed by a long episode of darkness and the tears never dried up. We had tears for both the dead and the living…

It was a bad time, a very bad time. There were many children at home and then, suddenly there were no children, the home was empty. The silence was deafening, sickening. What did we do? We mostly cursed. We cursed those who brought us no good, those who came to our homes and took our happiness, our light and left us in darkness. We prayed at home, we lit pine sticks in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary and prayed some more. We felt a bit better but not for long. We went to church and prayed there too. During the night and when we were carrying wounded, if we passed by a church we stopped and prayed, we prayed for our children, we prayed for all those who were in stretchers. We prayed for them to be safe and remain alive… Our days and nights became moments of prayer. I don’t think God ever heard so many prayers. And the miracle is that in God we believed the most…

In the night we knelt in front of a lit pine stick, we had no candles, and while looking at the icon of the Virgin Mary, we prayed for everyone. For those who were at war and for those who were in the countries. And after that we waited… we did not leave the pine stick to completely burn. We needed it for its light the next day and if any were still left we needed it for the next night; that is if we were not at work carrying logs and stones for the bunkers, or carrying wounded from the battlefield to the hospitals. We would all gather together in one room, that is all of us who were still left in the village, take our black handkerchiefs off, light the pine stick and, in its light, look at the pictures of our children. We whispered to them but all they did was look back at us and we, with our whispers, spoke to them and lightly touched and caressed their faces and kissed their eyes with our slightly moist lips. And they, they just looked at us in silence. And quietly, pleadingly, we asked them to please say something, smile… We talked to them but they kept quiet, silent and only looked at us and looked at us. So then, for the longest part, we looked at each other in silence…”

x x x

My wife and I remained on the hillside for a long time. We were quiet for most of the time. Then we closed our eyes and for a moment, behind our eyelids, we witnessed the large crowds of women and old people, all around us, standing on this very hillside and weeping in silence and waving goodbye... and in our ears they whispered their wishes and prayers and in the silence we heard their muffled cries and whimpers… And all over again we were reminded of the day when they gathered here and when they brought us with them. We remembered it was a time when the almonds were flowering and the Nightingales sang. It was March. A warm and fragrant spring day…

They collected us and took us away and behind us remained the unfinished story in a grandfather and grandmother’s voice… And we thought and asked ourselves: “Will there be anyone, where they were sending us, who would caress us with a warm hand like the hand of our mothers, who would kiss us goodnight before sleep, like our mothers kiss us, who would gently look at us like our mothers looked at us, who would smile at us with our mother’s smile, who would tell us a story, sing us a song, wipe our tears? Would there be anything there from our home? Where are they taking us? When will we return to our homes?”

They took us away and left my mother and all the mothers of all the other children with an empty lap and with an empty embrace. They left our mothers with their eyes fixed, looking, always looking, down the road on which they took us. And forever and without stopping they allowed the mothers to think that we would be returning on the same road...

Despite the many things we desired, our greatest desire was not to forget the road that took us away from home… We needed to remember it like we remembered our mother’s eyes, our mother’s voice, words, smile… This is what we wanted the most!

In the desolate burning hot ruins, washed by the rain, naked and hidden stood that same hillside sinking in deep silence… We too stood there frozen - petrified and with our entire being we felt the pain of separation that never stopped and for which no one has found a cure. There are wounds which will never heal and cannot be cured. They hurt and they will always hurt…

We descended the hillside in silence and got back on the highway and passed by the road that once was the road of separation. But our journey on the road of time and in search of our memories does not end here.

We left.

We took the road away from here but before leaving we took one last look to better remember the place of our separation. We came to the intersection and took the wide asphalt road.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:03 PM   #446
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The old Vlach, Sarakachan woman greeted us with open arms and with a wide smile behind which flashed several gold teeth. She sat us down on a wide sofa covered with a wide red, woolen blanket. And while placing a sweet made of figs on the table in front of us, I saw a cross carved on her forehead covering her wide wrinkles. The old man noticed me looking with surprise and hastened to explain.

“It is an old tradition that our women have a cross between their eyebrows, which originated back in the time of the Ioannina Pasha (Ottoman general). A cross was carved between the eyebrows on the forehead of our women to remind the Turks (Moslems) and Turk converts to keep their hands off them. We marked them with a Christian cross and as such no Turk or Turk convert dared take them…”

Here is a Photo of such Tattoo's of the Cross on women foreheads to keep the Turks away..
From my sources this photo was taken in April 26, 1903. Display of women and young girls with tattooed cross on their forehead as a sign of defense to prevent their forcible grabbing and marriage with the local beys .....
Taken in the Bitola Vilayet ....
The Macedonians originates it, the Bulgarians imitate it and the Greeks exploit it!
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:53 PM   #447
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On the Road of Time – Chapter 7

By Petre Nakovski

Translated and edited by Risto Stefov

[email protected]

August 12, 2012

The winding forest road took us to the top of Lisets Hill whose summit soars at an elevation of 1827 metres above sea level. The top of the hill, where the antennas are located, is bare and treeless with a wide view of the surrounding mountains. One can see Bigla, Lundzer, Vicho, Siniachka and Mali-Madi from here. And beyond there, one can see Orle, Odre, Gorusha, Bel Kamen, Nikoler, Aliabitsa and further, further away in the gray fog one can see the summit of Gramos. At the foot of the mountain is an area called Koreshta which includs the Kostur Region valley, the city Kostur and Lake Kostur. To the west lie Vrba, Ivan Mountain, Galichitsa and the two Prespa lakes. The picturesque view was captivating and charming. But we did not come here to admire the picturesque landscape and the rare and beautiful Macedonian mountains. We came here to look for traces of the struggle, of the last effort symbolized by the slogan “The enemy will not pass Vicho”.

Thousands of villagers from nearby and distant Macedonian villages, along with seven or eight thousand Partisans from DAG (Democratic Army of Greece) spent seven months here digging trenches and building bunkers. All the hills and mountains in the Vicho vicinity were a chain of defence. On the eve of the major offensive, on the eighth and ninth of August, the opponent brought a large force to the Koreshtanska basin and all through the night the Partisans, through the bunker gun holes, watched the lights of the pitched tents.

The Partisan brigade commanders, deployed in the surrounding hills and mountains, kept a watchful eye on the build up of this large government force and did nothing to stop it. They received no orders to start bombarding it with their 45 cannon and mortar tubes. Not a single shell or grenade exploded in the Koreshtanska Basin that night. What would have been the result if all the Partisan forces in the surrounding hills had concentrated their fire on the government forces in the Koreshtanska Basin? What would have been the result if the entire Partisan artillery, positioned all around the hills, were to thunder before the great and decisive battle? Unfortunately the Partisan guns never thundered... Insiders say that never happened because there was treason...

...During the night of August 10th and 11th the government brigade attacked Lisets. The hill exchanged hands several times before it was eventually taken by the government troops. The enemy passed Vicho and the road was wide open for Prespa and for escape to Albania.

While standing on top of Lisets Hill, I took my notebook out of my backpack and began to read the notes I had made at the Institute of National History of Macedonia, before leaving on this trip. Safeguarded at the Institute were dozens of monographs, written in the last forty years or so, about the villages of this part of Macedonia. Some monographs were simple point-form notes, made in a hurry to preserve the information. Others were properly written with elaborate data attached to them. Irrespective of how they were written, the monographs are historic documents that detail many facts about the villages such as names, places, description of events, customs, folk songs, dances, etc. They prove that each village was once a living and thriving entity. The information about these villages that left me with the most painful impression was the numbers. Population numbers, the number of people mobilized, the number of people that died during the wars, the number of people that died in the prisons camps and dried islands, the number of people displaced and evicted from their homes and so on. But the numbers which I wrote in my notebook were the numbers pertaining to the Greek Civil War as follows:

Village name, number of people mobilized, number of people killed

Aitos, mobilized132, killed 39
Besfina, mobilized 96, killed 25
Bapchor, mobilized 180, killed 62
Tiolishta, mobilized 55, killed 20
Mokren mobilized 188, killed 75
Konomladi, mobilized 367, killed 69
Dobrolishta, mobilized 53, killed 20
Ezerets, mobilized 34, killed 12
Krchishta, mobilized 43, killed 29
Vmbel, mobilized 105, killed 19
Grache, mobilized 66, killed 38
Grazhdeno, mobilized 46, killed 21
Zagorichani, mobilized 87, killed 62
German, mobilized 288, killed 92
Nestram, mobilized 127, killed 60
Statitsa, mobilized 185, killed 53
Setina, mobilized 160, killed 65
Oshchima, mobilized 87, killed 26
Zelenich, mobilized 95, killed 23
Dobrolishcha, mobilized 51, killed 20
Breshcheni mobilized 41, killed 13
Kosinets, mobilized 66, killed 22
Sheshtevo, mobilized 87, killed 20
Staricheni, mobilized 30, killed 12
Zhuzheltse, mobilized 33, killed 11
Chereshnitsa, mobilized 54, killed 13
Novoseleni, mobilized 32, killed 15
Krushoradi, mobilized 62, killed 36
Drenoveni, mobilized 42, killed 9
Rulia, mobilized 125, killed 36

Under what law were these people mobilized when a government did not exist? During the course of the war one of the orders was to “go in with ten and come out with twenty”. In other words, ten fighters would go into a village and they would return to the mountains with ten more. This is how they mobilized the young men and women from the villages and forced them out to the mountains… Many of these young men and women, forced out of their homes, lost their lives in battle. A great number of them were killed in 1948 and 1949 at Gramos, Vicho, Negush, Voden and Lerin. This is how many I recorded in my notebook… But how many more died that are not recorded, that I don’t know about?
.................................................. ..................

.................................................. ..................

.................................................. ..................




(The dotted lines above are left for the readers to fill.)

I owe my gratitude to each reader or researcher if they can fill the empty rows above with information about their village and all the villages they know about the number of people mobilized and the number of people lost during the Greek Civil War. Those empty rows were left there deliberately so that our readers can make a personal effort to supplement the list with more information before that valuable information is forgotten and lost forever. This list represents the tragedy that befell the Macedonian people in their struggle for their rights and freedom. And that’s not all. How many more have died and remain forever in the cemeteries of the Eastern European countries, former USSR and former Yugoslavia?

Numbers… Numbers… Numbers…

Behind each number there is pain. Behind each number there are tears, suffering and the hopelessness of having to wait. Behind each number there is a widow and orphans. Behind each number there is an unknown, unmarked grave. Behind each number there were many long marches in rain, snow and cold. Behind each number there were unsuccessful battles, hunger, wounds…

Numbers… Behind each number there is an abandoned house and roots that have been cut. Behind each number there is a dearest, a loved one, a close one, a most thought of, a most waited for,…

Numbers… and as you close your eyes it seems like they come to life, they smile and promise that today, tomorrow, the day after, next year, they will return…

Numbers… they are for those who were left at Kopanche, Aliavitsa, Charno, Krastavets, Sveti Ilia, Krusha, Gorisha, Kiafa, Kleftis, Gorna Arena, Dolna Arena, Vicho, Mali-Madi, Baro, Iamata, Roto, Plati, Krsto, Bigla, Lundzer, Bela Voda, Vrba, Grevena, Negush, Voden, Lerin, Prespansko Ezero, the hospitals in Korcha, Durres, Elbasan, Tirana, Sukt, Iasenovo, Katlanovo…

Numbers… Numbers… Numbers…

We put a foot on Vicho and Bigla, on Lundzer, Lisets and Mali-Madi and the rest of the hills looked like they were tied by a chain in a circle looking like a giant wreath…

I felt like yelling so I called out:

People, people, oh people!... Where are you oh people!!!

There was no answer. Only heavy silence as deep as the dark abyss; fatal silence from a heavy curse… and pain, pain from an open wound…

This was the wish of others… “for there to be no people… for there to be no human answer…”
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:18 PM   #448
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ARM delegation bows before UCK monument
ARM delegation bows before UCK monument

Monday, August 13, 2012

A military delegation from the Macedonian Army Headquarters today laid flowers and bowed before a monument commemorating the UCK members lost during the 2001 conflict.

The delegation was comprised of the Minister of Defense Fatmir Besimi, Minister of Justice Blerim Bexheti, Vice Premier Musa Xhaferi and Deputy of the Interior Ministry Xhelal Bajrami, in Slupchane.

This was the first such tribute in eleven years after the military conflict and the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.

Делегација на АРМ се поклони на споменикот на УЧК

Понеделник, 13 Август 2012

Делегација на Штабот на АРМ денеска положи цвеќе и се поклони на споменикот на жртвите припадници на УЧК, од конфликтот во 2001-та.

Делегацијата ја сочинуваа министерот за одбрана Фатмир Бесими, министерот за правда Блерим Беџети, вицепремиерот Муса Џафери и заменик министерот за внатрешни работи Џелал Бајрами, во Слупчане.

Единаесет години по воениот конфликт и потпишувањето на Охридскиот рамковен договор, ова е прво институционално оддавање почит на припадниците на УЧК.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:19 PM   #449
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World Macedonian Congress

Amnesty does NOT mean amnesia for 2001!

August 15, 2012, Skopje, Macedonia - Right to rule does not mean abuse, but responsibility. That is why the presence of DUI government ministers placing flowers at a UCK monument in Slupchane as part of a government and ARM delegation is not acceptable to the Macedonian World Congress (WMC).

WMC believes that the war in 2001 was not a war between Macedonians and Albanians, or a war between Orthodox and Muslims, but a simulated war to facilitate implementation of certain global interests for some major power sphere of influence in the region.

WMC believes that the state should adopt a law to compensate for the civilian casualties and for the property damages incurred during the 2001war! WMC also demands that the government expedite the return of those Macedonians and other citizens who were violently persecuted and expelled from their homes 11 years ago and who are now living in substandard conditions, outside of their own homes.

WMC, irrespective of census results, respects the rights of the institutionalized cultural autonomy of all minority ethnic communities and their right to acquire rights and freedoms in accordance with the 2001 constitutional amendments.

At the same time WMC expects the majority party in government to set proper and strict standards regarding the behaviour of its minority coalition partners! It is unacceptable for officials of the Ministry of the Interior and of the Army of Macedonia to be visiting UCK monuments!

WMC would like to remind the government that the Macedonian Armed Forces fought in 2001 to defend Macedonia’s territorial integrity and the Macedonian population! In contrast, members of UCK fought to create “free territories” for themselves and conducted ethnic cleansing against the Macedonian population. The amnesty and exclusion from punishment offered by the majority, for offenses committed by these people during the war, was a sign of “good will” which does not mean that everything has been forgotten. What these extremist paramilitary groups have done against members of the Macedonian Armed Forces cannot be forgotten. And as such it is unacceptable for official government delegations to lay flowers on their monuments and pay respect to their fallen!

WMC would also like to call for a review of the composition of the state administration. The way it is structured currently works to the detriment of the Macedonian people because the number of members admitted from the Albanian ethnic community is much higher than its proportion in the total population.



15 август 2012 година, Скопје, Македонија - Правото на власт не значи нејзина злоупотреба, туку одговорност. Затоа, за Светскиот Македонски Конгрес (СМК) е неприфатливо присуството на владини министри од ДУИ на полагањето цвеќе на обележјето на УЧК во Слупчане како владина делегација и на припадници на АРМ, и го прифаќа владиното соопштение и на Генералштабот на АРМ, дека присуството на тројцата министри од ДУИ не претставува службена владина делегација.

СМК и натаму смета дека војната во 2001 година не беше војна меѓу Македонците и Албанците, ниту меѓу православните и муслиманите, туку симулирана војна за имплементација на определени глобални интереси на некои големи сили за свои сфери на влијание на овие простори.

СМК смета, дека државата треба да донесе Закон за обесштетување на цивилните жртви и на оштетените имоти за време на војната во 2001 година! Меѓутоа, СМК бара Владата да го спроведе враќањето на насилно прогонетите Македонци и други граѓани, кои и после 11 години од војната живеат во субстандардни услови и надвор од своите родни домови.

СМК, исто така, независно од пописните резултати, го почитува правото на институционализирана културна автономија на малцинските етнички заедници и правото на стекнатите права и слободи со амандманите на Уставот од 2001 година.

Но, СМК очекува мнозинската партија во Владата да ги детерминира ваквите однесувања на која и да е владина партија на Албанците во Македонија и соодветно да ги санкционира поради ризик од повторување! На спомен обележја на припадници на УЧК во Македонија, не смеат поздрав да оддаваат службени лица на Министерството за внатрешни работи и на Армијата на Македонија!

СМК укажува, дека припадниците на Вооружените сили на Македонија во 2001 година се бореа за одбрана на територијалниот интегритет и на суверенитетот на државата Македонија! Наспроти нив, припадниците на УЧК создаваа “слободни територии“ и вршеа етничко чистење врз Македонците во кризните региони. Амнестијата беше добра волја на мнозинството за ослободување на определена група од казната за сторените дела за време на војната, како знак на помирување, но тоа не значи амнезија на делата коишто овие екстремистички паравоени групи врз припадниците на Вооружените сили на Македонија ги сторија. И затоа е неприфатливо, на нивни спомен обележја, службени државни делегации цвеќе да полагаат и почит да оддаваат!

СМК апелира на преиспитување на рекомпонирањето на државната администрација на штета на Македонците, имајќи предвид дека бројот на припадниците на албанската етничка заедница е многу повеќе од нивното реално учество во вкупното население.
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:33 PM   #450
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On the Road of Time – Chapter 8

By Petre Nakovski

Translated and edited by Risto Stefov

[email protected]

August 19, 2012

At the border crossing Kristalopigi (Macedonian Smrdesh), one of the most beautiful villages in Kostur Region, the border guard was leafing through our passports. (Kristalopigi, as stated in chapter 6, means “crystal spring” the new Greek name given to the village Smrdesh because of the natural spring of water that runs near the village church, Sveti Giorgi.) He stamped my wife’s visa without hesitation but was not happy with my passport so he went through it, leafing through the pages again. He stared at me for a while, then he stared at my passport photo, giving me the impression that he was suspicious of something. Perhaps he was suspicious of me or perhaps there was something suspicious with my passport?

“FYROM?” he asked while tapping his finger on the cover of the passport.

“That’s what it says on the top. In two languages,” I replied.

“Ah, that’s in your language…” he said.

“Yes sir!.” In my language, understandably, in my language,” I replied.

“And your visa? Where is your visa?” he asked and looked at me with stern eyes as if I had been caught stealing something.

“There is no need. It is written in two languages further down…” I replied.

“Diplomat? You are a diplomat?” he asked in amazement with a surprising tone of voice and with doubt in his eyes.

“That’s what it says,” I replied.

He leafed through the passport again and went and checked in his computer. He looked at me suspiciously again and asked:

“From which border point did you enter Greece?”

“From Niki…” I answered. (For those who don’t know, the Macedonian name for Niki is Negochani)

“There is no evidence here that you crossed the border…” he said while suspiciously looking into my eyes and nervously tapping his pen on my passport.

“There is,” I said. “You dropped it when you were leafing through my passport.”

“Yes, here it is,” he said in an unhappy tone of voice. “So you entered five days ago and today you are leaving?...” he asked and then stamped the piece of paper with a hard bang, as if taking his anger out on the paper and then asked: “What will you be doing in Albania?”

“We are going to look for a bride…” I said mockingly.

He handed me the passports with a frowning look on his face, without saying a word.

The hard bang of the stamp reminded me of my last year’s visit to Greece when I crossed the border at the Niki border crossing. The border police officer was a young man. After leafing through my passport and checking its validity on his computer, he pulled a printout out of an envelope and began to ask me all sorts of questions like my first name, my surname, the name of my father and mother, place… and immediately after that he gave me an advanced warning:

“I want to know, not how you call yourself now, but how you were called…”

I didn’t let him finish before I interrupted and asked: “Are you thinking of the name that I was registered in the church register?”

“Exactly that…” he said.

“Exactly, but for that I don’t have confirmation. At the municipality they told me that I do exist by the first and last name you asked me to tell you but they also told me that they are prohibited from issuing me a certificate to prove it…” I replied.

The officer did not know what to say. He thought about it for a while as we looked at each other. Then I smiled and said: “Sir, open the drawer and there you will find all the information you are looking for. I’ve crossed this border check point several times before and always with the same papers. So you are wasting your time and paper for nothing...”

The young officer looked at me for a moment, dropped his pen and said: “This is what we were ordered to do and I am carrying out my orders.”

“Okay then, do your job…” I replied.

“But those here who ordered us to do this don’t see that the whole world is moving forward and we Greeks are moving backwards. People have gone to the moon but we Greeks are still standing in the same spot. You understand?!” he said.

“No, I don’t understand…” I said and as I tried to ask for clarification as to what was I to understand, I heard the “boom” of the stamp on my piece of paper, with which, if necessary, I needed to prove that I had crossed the border legally.

“Welcome!” he said and handed me the passports through the half open window on the counter and asked: “Where are you going?”

There was a civilian standing a little ways from us, probably listening to our conversation. He spoke up and said in Greek: “Stin parida tus pigenun… Sto patriko tus homa. Etsi den ine?” (They are going to their homeland… To the land of their ancestors! Isn’t that right?)

I turned towards the man and, as confirmation of his statement and question, I winked and said to myself, “It appears that sick Greece is now beginning to slowly recover...” Unfortunately my diagnosis was premature.

After moving my car into position to pass through customs, a small man, I am referring to him as a small man because he was very thin, short, narrow in the shoulders, bold and had a pale face, seeming like he was sick with tuberculosis, but he had a strong voice and with a sharp tone demanded:

“Open!!!” he said in Macedonian in a loud voice.

I came out of the car and in Macedonian, asked: “All the doors and the trunk?”

“What!? Are you speaking to me in that…” he cleared his throat and spit, “in that gypsy language? Why don’t you speak Greek? You know Greek! You were speaking Greek to the policeman, eh? Or have you forgotten that this is Greece and everyone who sets foot on Greek soil must speak Greek? Move away from the car!” he ordered.

I did as he asked and moved away. The little customs man was now in control. I then whispered to my wife: “Switch over to the other side and keep an eye on his hands, make sure he doesn’t toss anything into the car that will land us in jail…”

The little customs man angrily ran out of the inspection station to the parking lot and, from the van, brought back a dog; a German shepherd. Now the two of them, the little customs man and his dog were in charge. The German shepherd sniffed under the seats, jumped into the trunk, got out, sniffed the tires and then the exhaust pipe. The dog then sat down and raised its muzzle, looking at the little man, seemingly saying all this work was done for nothing. The man then ordered the dog to go back to the van and motioned for me to leave.

Without saying a word I pointed to the two suitcases that were taken out of my trunk and motioned that they should be put back. We angrily looked at each other for a few seconds until he realized that it was his duty to put them back and one by one he obediently put the bags back in the trunk and checked to make sure that they were correctly placed.

“Bravo!” I said, keeping my anger and frustration to myself.

The drive over the curvy and dangerous road in Bigla seemed to calm down our nerves but still we were very unhappy about what had happened to us at the border crossing. While heading to Kostur we decided to stop in Rulia. They call the village “Kota” now, named after Kote a no good scoundrel and enemy of the Macedonian people who killed and cut off the head of the Macedonian revolutionary leader Lazo Poptraikov. There was a paved road leading to the village and at the entrance was a “welcoming” marble bust of Kote. We parked our car at the village square beside a Lada with licence plates from Skopje. Several people came out of their yards and approached us. Among them was also a man in a policeman’s uniform.

“Hi, how are you?” one of the men asked in Macedonian. “Welcome. Are you from Rulia?”

“We are fine, thank you,” I answered “We are not from Rulia, we are just visiting…”

We conversed for about fifteen minutes before a wrinkled old lady, holding a cane, interrupted us.

“How are you? Where are you from my children? Welcome. Are you from Rulia? I don’t recognize you,” she said in a shaky voice.

“We are from over that mountain,” I said, pointing to the north.

“Oh, good, good…” she said, coughed and walked away. And as if she had forgotten something she returned and, while hitting the asphalt with her cane, in broken Greek she said: “Edo ine Elada… Avto to glosa na mi to milate. Na milate ta Elinika…” (This is Greece. Don’t speak that language here. Speak Greek…)

The people broke into laughter. The policeman took the old lady to the side and in Greek, told her: “Grandma go home and leave the people to speak as they wish.”

When the policeman returned I said: “Don’t discourage the old lady maybe she is one of Kote’s cousins…”

After three days of visiting our homeland, as the man at the border crossing correctly pointed out, we returned to the Republic of Macedonia, again over the Niki (Negochani) border crossing. After we had passed through customs I asked to see the Police Chief and briefed him regarding the customs officer’s behaviour at Kristalopigi. He advised me that this was not a matter for the police and that I should speak to the Chief of Customs. But at that time the Chief of Customs was on vacation so I made contact with his deputy. After showing him my diplomatic passport, I told him what had happened and at the end I said: “At the border crossing there is a huge sign with the writing ‘ΕΛΛΑΣ’ and ‘GREECE’. There is something missing on the sign.” He looked at me with a stunned look on his face. “You need to also write that everyone who enters Greece must speak only Greek. Sir,” I continued, “in my job I have passed through many borders all throughout Europe and around the world and everyone asked me how I was doing, how was my trip and they wished me a nice visit in their country and no one has ever said to me that I needed to speak only in their language because it was their country I was visiting. This kind of behaviour reminded me of the Metaxas days when my mother and father and my grandmother and grandfather were punished for speaking their native language, the only language they spoke…”

“But sir, please, sir, leave history alone. It is the past... I apologize to you. You are right. Sorry. It is truly a shame if that’s what the customs officer said to you... You know he is ‘Ντοπιος’...” (Ντοπιος – endopios is what the Greeks call the Macedonians in Northern Greece.)

I walked away and said to myself: “if he is Ντοπιος then he must be one of Kote’s cousins…”
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