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Old 04-19-2018, 05:50 PM   #1
Niko777
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Default Greeces Macedonian Slavic heritage was wiped out by linguistic oppression, heres how

Article: https://theconversation.com/greeces-...eres-how-94675

About the author: https://theconversation.com/profiles...tsareas-250732

I think this is a great article. People might criticize the author for using the term "Macedonian Slavic", but I think he did it for one reason - to avoid Greeks diverting from the main issue.

Quote:
If you’ve ever been to a traditional Greek celebration, you will have seen people joining hands and dancing in a circle following the same steps to the accompaniment of live music. You will also have heard songs sung in Greek as most traditional tunes go hand in hand with lyrics talking about love, emigration and rural life.

In the northernmost parts of the Greek regions of Western and Central Macedonia, however, all the folk dances are instrumental tunes. Lyrics have been replaced by loud, brass and woodwind instruments like the cornet, the trombone and the clarinet. This is not some peculiar aspect of the local musical heritage. Traditional tunes in these regions had their own words – but they were in a language that the Greek state has tried to wipe out for nearly a century: Macedonian Slavic.

After emerging victorious from two Balkan Wars in 1912 and 1913, Greece’s territory and population expanded dramatically by the addition of the lion’s share of the historic geographical region of Macedonia, the part found on the southern side of the Voras/Nidže and Belles/Belasica mountain ranges.

As is often the case in history, state borders did not coincide with linguistic ones. The so-called “New Lands” were a diverse mosaic of different linguistic groups, including 260,000 people who spoke varieties of a south Slavic language they called tukasni “local”, nashta “ours” or makedonski “Macedonian”.

These varieties, including the standardised version that is today the official language of FYR Macedonia, have similarities with Bulgarian – and many people in Bulgaria view them as Bulgarian dialects. But sociolinguistics has shown that what counts as a language in its own right and what is seen as a dialect of a language are essentially decided by political rather than linguistic criteria.

From an invisible language…
For the Greek government, having people speaking Macedonian Slavic in its territory did not sit well with its national ideology. Signs of discomfort towards Greece’s new multilingual reality showed very early on. In 1920, the Greek statistical authority ran the first census after the country’s territorial expansion. A language question was asked but the data for the Macedonia division were never published. The language data for the Thessaly division, however, record speakers of Macedonian Slavic, probably reported by seasonal workers from Macedonia who were in Thessaly at the time of the census. Greek authorities acknowledged the presence of Macedonian Slavic as a legitimate language but made a conscious effort to conceal the number of people who spoke it.

In the north of the country, authorities launched a massive Hellenising mission. Overnight, Madeconian Slavic names of people, places and dances were rendered into Greek by public servants.

My own paternal grandfather’s family name became Karatsareas from Karachorov. My maternal grandfather’s one became Kantzouris from Kanzurov. The area of Karadzova was renamed Almopia with its main town of Subotsko becoming Aridaia. The dance Puscheno was called Leventikos or Lytos. The aim was to leave no visible trace of Macedonian Slavic in public records.

…to a forbidden one
In the 1930s and in a climate of competing nationalisms in the southern Balkans, the similarities between Macedonian Slavic and the languages of the then Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Kingdom of Bulgaria began to raise suspicions among Greek authorities about the national allegiance and “consciousness” of Macedonian Slavic speakers.

In August 1931, Greek journalist and subsequent politician Periklis Iliadis called in his newspaper column for a ban on greeting in “Bulgarian” and publicly singing songs in languages other than Greek – two proposals that Ioannis Metaxas’s fascist regime promptly adopted.

In 1936, the governor-general of Macedonia issued order of prohibition 122770: “On the restoration of the uniform language”, banning the use of Macedonian Slavic in both public and private. People caught speaking Macedonian Slavic – sometimes by police officers eavesdropping through people’s windows – were dragged to military police stations where they were beaten and sometimes tortured. Those who had the money were fined. Teachers beat pupils who spoke Macedonian Slavic in class or in the playground – even when that was the only language they were able to speak. This happened to my maternal grandmother.

A muted heritage
In 1994, Human Rights Watch called for Greece to end harassment of Macedonian Slavic speakers. In 1998, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Greece violated the right of its citizens to form associations by refusing them permission to establish a Macedonian Slavic cultural association. But these calls came much too late.

In the face of the aggressive and violent oppression they suffered in the 1930s, Macedonian Slavic speakers developed a deeply ingrained fear of speaking their language in front of people they did not know and trust. They stopped singing their songs, playing only the traditional tunes of their musical heritage. With time, they started using Greek more to refer to themselves and the places where they were born and live.

Today, only older people speak the language. For younger people, it is more of a passive knowledge – a kind of heritage that will die out with the older generation and the only thing that will remain to remind them of it will be a handful of words and tunes to which young musicians do not know the words.

Banning minority languages
This sort of linguistic oppression is far from unique. Similar stories have been reported by speakers of Irish in Ireland, Scottish Gaelic in Scotland, Welsh in Wales (read Susan Elan Jones’s comments in Column 377), Catalan in Spain, Native American languages in the US and Aboriginal languages in Australia.

It is sad that the efforts of state authorities to make speakers of minority languages assimilate to the majority language were for the most part successful. And alongside the languages, other expressions of culture are being lost, including place names, family names, songs, dances, games and traditions. Linguistic oppression and the consequences it has on speakers of minority languages and their cultural heritage have no place in a modern world where the value of cultural diversity is recognised.
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Old 04-19-2018, 10:36 PM   #2
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Yeah not a bad read this one.
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Old 04-19-2018, 10:53 PM   #3
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I read that.
I think the author should change his name back. I did and I strongly encourage others to do the same. It will be all we have in the diaspora a few generations down the track. I shudder to think about how some misinformed progeny might believe they have Greek ancestry.

In fact, I just emailed him.
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:37 PM   #4
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This article kind of ties in nicely with the Human Right Watch report of 1994 – Denying Ethnic Identity – The Macedonians of Greece. Some unforgettable quotes from this report follow (shown in Blue):

Quote:
My own paternal grandfather’s family name became Karatsareas from Karachorov. My maternal grandfather’s one became Kantzouris from Kanzurov.
Asked by a member of the mission (Human Rights Watch/Helsinki ) whether a local ethnic Macedonian couple could give their child a Slavic name like Boris, a small group of men sitting in a coffee house in the village of Lofi laughed heartily. One replied:

You couldn't possibly do that. When a baby is born you take the birth certificate without a name to the church and tell the priest what you want the baby's name to be. The church accepts only Greek names. So in order for the baby to be properly registered with the government, you have to give it a Greek name.

Asked by Human Rights Watch/Helsinki whether parents would be allowed to give their children Slavic names, the Greek Foreign Ministry replied:

Name-giving in Greece is, in essence, a private affair and the state has no jurisdiction over it. The names of children are chosen by the parents or the godparents and are sanctioned by religious ceremonies (Christian, Jewish, Moslem). Those not belonging to a religious denomination may have their children named by a civic procedure. Only abusive names are excluded by law to protect the child's personality. Consequently, names such as [Boris] may be found, although rarely, among Greek citizens.

However, when asked by the mission in Florina whether a child could be named "Boris," Greek priest Father Irineos Hatziefraimidis said:

No one has ever asked that. We have a list of saints, and we give the children names from that list, or sometimes historical names like Pericles.


On the issue of language:
Quote:
In August 1931, Greek journalist and subsequent politician Periklis Iliadis called in his newspaper column for a ban on greeting in “Bulgarian” and publicly singing songs in languages other than Greek – two proposals that Ioannis Metaxas’s fascist regime promptly adopted.

In 1936, the governor-general of Macedonia issued order of prohibition 122770: “On the restoration of the uniform language”, banning the use of Macedonian Slavic in both public and private. People caught speaking Macedonian Slavic – sometimes by police officers eavesdropping through people’s windows – were dragged to military police stations where they were beaten and sometimes tortured. Those who had the money were fined. Teachers beat pupils who spoke Macedonian Slavic in class or in the playground – even when that was the only language they were able to speak. This happened to my maternal grandmother.
Letter transmitted to Human Rights Watch/Helsinki by New York Consul General Charalambos Rocanas, December 1, 1993. The government's refusal to acknowledge the Macedonian language has reached rather extreme limits. A Macedonian who did not want his name used told the fact-finding mission:

To show you how ridiculous things are: in 1988, a Macedonian businessman from across the border was in a car accident with a man from Salonika. The case went to court and documents from the Macedonian's insurance company were produced. They said "official translation from Macedonian into Greek." The judge would not accept them, as he said Macedonian was a "nonexistent language." At the appeals hearing, the documents were admitted into evidence, because the lawyer had had them translated from Macedonian into SerboCroatian and then from Serbo-Croatian into Greek. The documents therefore said "official translation from Serbo-Croatian into Greek."

Over the years the use of the Macedonian language has been sharply restricted in northern Greece. According to the president of one township council who did not want his name used:

[b]Until 1923, no one spoke Greek here. In the villages, almost no one spoke Greek. Macedonian was the dominant language. Then there was the population exchange. Before the exchange, priests taught children the Macedonian language. After the exchange, that stopped, and all the services were in Greek as well. Everybody - Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks - have tried to impose their language on the locals. In 1936 the language was banned by the Metaxas dictatorship and locals were persecuted for using it. If you said so much as stop or go in the local language, you were fined and made to drink Castor oil.[/
B]

And let's also add to this the tragicomic stories of people telling their livestock (such as their horses or donkeys) to 'stop' or 'go' in Macedonian and paying the price for such a seemingly innocent and frivolous thing. It seems the Greeks are not happy to just make the Macedonians stop speaking their language and learn Greek but they also insist that they teach their animals the Greek language too.

Two elderly villagers told the mission of the 1959 sessions in three villages in which all villagers were taken to a central square and forced to swear en-mass that they would not speak "the Slavic idiom." The Macedonian language is spoken by many people (more often in the older generation) in northern Greece today. The mission heard of no prohibitions on the use of the language in ordinary discourse, with the exception of cases in which children have reportedly been punished for speaking Macedonian: In one example, a teacher in Xyno Nero village ordered children in her class to spit at a child who had spoken Macedonian. The child's father is Chioumtakos Vasilis. It happened two or three years ago. The Human Rights Watch document was published in 1994, so this would make it roughly the year 1991, around the same time RoM became independent from Yugoslavia. So, it looks like these things didn't just happen in the 1930's under Metaxas only but in the modern era as well. The foot note at the bottom of this page says:

In 1959 in the villages around Lerin, Kostur and Kajlari the inhabitants were asked to confirm publicly in front of officials that they did not speak Macedonian. Such measures led to many emigrating to Australia or Canada." Minority Rights Group, Minorities in the Balkans, Page 31.

A high school teacher currently teaching in northern Greece, told the mission:

During breaks in high school, kids speak Macedonian to each other. They speak Macedonian with me, too, because they know I'm Macedonian. Whether a kid gets in trouble for speaking Macedonian depends on the teacher - if the teacher decides to report it, the kid's parents may be called in. Other teachers are open-minded, and don't report such things. In the old days, when I was a child (I'm thirty-eight now), teachers would hit kids with sticks if they spoke Macedonian, and would say things like, "You dirty Bulgarians, you'll never learn Greek."


There's nothing much more to say really. No need for an extended commentary by myself or anyone else. Only these poor people know the hell they went through at the hands of the Greeks in their quest to make Aegean Macedonia “Greek since forever”.

http://www.florina.org/news/helsinki_watch.pdf

I'll leave the final words to Petros Karatsareas as I think he has summed it up pretty well:

Quote:
In the face of the aggressive and violent oppression they suffered in the 1930s, Macedonian Slavic speakers developed a deeply ingrained fear of speaking their language in front of people they did not know and trust. They stopped singing their songs, playing only the traditional tunes of their musical heritage. With time, they started using Greek more to refer to themselves and the places where they were born and live.
Today, only older people speak the language. For younger people, it is more of a passive knowledge – a kind of heritage that will die out with the older generation and the only thing that will remain to remind them of it will be a handful of words and tunes to which young musicians do not know the words.
Za grev.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:11 AM   #5
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Boris is an accepted name in the Greek Church, as Boris I of Bulgaria is considered a Saint and an Apostle. In Greek it is spelled as Βόρις (gen. Βόριδος) and sounds as Voris.
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Old 04-22-2018, 02:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amphipolis View Post
Boris is an accepted name in the Greek Church, as Boris I of Bulgaria is considered a Saint and an Apostle. In Greek it is spelled as Βόρις (gen. Βόριδος) and sounds as Voris.
It's accepted by the Greek church... unless you're in a town like Florina, Kastoria, or Edessa.
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Old 04-22-2018, 06:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Niko777 View Post
It's accepted by the Greek church... unless you're in a town like Florina, Kastoria, or Edessa.
(After some research). Actually you're right and it's even worse. There's a 1937 decision of Holy Synod for Slavic names to be avoided (No 152/1219/1150/20-5-1937). The decision was renewed in the 50s (?) and is probably still valid, though I can't find again where I read this.

More details in this document by Rainbow Party (in Greek).
http://www.florina.org/info_zora/012_g.pdf
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amphipolis View Post
(After some research). Actually you're right and it's even worse. There's a 1937 decision of Holy Synod for Slavic names to be avoided (No 152/1219/1150/20-5-1937). The decision was renewed in the 50s (?) and is probably still valid, though I can't find again where I read this.

More details in this document by Rainbow Party (in Greek).
http://www.florina.org/info_zora/012_g.pdf
Fits quite well with the official government policy that seeks "the elimination of all the names which pollute and disfigure the beautiful appearance of our fatherland".
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amphipolis View Post
(After some research). Actually you're right and it's even worse. There's a 1937 decision of Holy Synod for Slavic names to be avoided (No 152/1219/1150/20-5-1937). The decision was renewed in the 50s (?) and is probably still valid, though I can't find again where I read this.
Even if there is no specific law for it, do you think the ideology has changed in the slightest? It is ingrained in Greek culture and the modern Greek identity is based entirely on an ethnic purification of its peoples. It's good for whoever wants to be modern Greeks, not for anyone else.
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Old 04-26-2018, 07:26 AM   #10
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You won't find this in the English Wikipedia page on Metaxas but from the Macedonian Wikipedia page about this piece of shit we have the following info:

With the introduction of the Joanis Metaxas dictatorship in 1936, began one of the most difficult historical periods for the Macedonian people of Aegean Macedonia. General Metaxas strictly prohibited the use of the Macedonian language not only in everyday life but also within the family. For every Macedonian word spoken publicly, outside or within the the privacy of the family home, severe punishments followed. (Not mentioned here but being forcibly made to drink castor oil was the punishment of choice).
All Macedonians, regardless of age, were forced to attend so-called evening schools and learn Greek. In order to force the Macedonian population to speak Greek within their families, the Greek gendarme (police) would go to Macedonian villages under the cover of night and eavesdrop on the Macedonians. Because of the violation of the ban on the use of the Macedonian language in villages or in the narrow circle of the family, more than 5,000 Macedonians were forcibly tried and imprisoned.
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