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Old 10-11-2014, 11:46 AM   #1
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Default Macedonians gather for Independence celebration despite name debate at Rockdale Counc

Macedonians gather for Independence celebration despite name debate at Rockdale Council

By Kahlia Beichert

Sept. 9, 2014

Macedonia or FYROM? It's a touchy subject

Macedonians gather for Independence Day celebration despite name debate at Rockdale Council

MORE than 2000 people from Sydney and around the state took to King Street Mall at Rockdale on Sunday to celebrate Macedonian Independence Day.

Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia Vele Trpevski opened the festivities, which included traditional Macedonian folk dances and singing.

The event comes as a formal complaint was made against Rockdale councillor Andrew Tsounis after he referred to Macedonia as FYROM, or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Cr Nicholas Mickovski (Liberal) called on Cr Tsounis (Labor) to apologise after he made the comments at last week's council meeting.

There has been a name dispute following the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991.

Macedonia became an independent state and kept the name Republic of Macedonia; however, Greece protested because the name implied regional territorial claims.

Cr Mickovski said the issue was raised at the weekend's event but the community wanted a peaceful dialogue.

"The message that came from the event is that the Macedonian community is a firm believer in unity and diversity," he said.

"We have warmly embraced the wider Rockdale community, irrespective of culture or religion."

Cr Tsounis rejected calls for him to apologise and said FYROM was a name recognised by the Australian government.

"I wasn't picking on anyone or any group," he said.

"My point of view is that it's a term recognised by the Australian government, which is why I used it."

Mayor Shane O'Brien rejected the comments, calling them inappropriate.

"We're a proud multicultural community and we take pride in celebrating our differences," he said.

"The use of FYROM is a matter for the federal government and the UN and it's not relevant to council."

Mayor Shane O'Brien: I believe the Macedonian community are entitled to consider themselves Macedonian

September, 08, 2014

Cr Shane O'Brien

In the light of recent events at the Rockdale Council related to the proposal of Cr Tsounis that Macedonia be refered as FYROM we have asked an explanation of the Mayor of Rockdale and a member of the Australian Labor Party. Here are is his view on the matter:

Firstly, I would not agree that Cr Tsounis actions were in the name of Council. Council did not endorse his sentiments, and in fact rejected them. Cr Tsounis expressed his own opinion and council was not supportive of that opinion. Council recommitted to its celebration of Rockdale as an inclusive multi cultural community. During the debate, as Mayor, I instructed Cr Tsounis to refrain from discussing the validity or otherwise of the terms FYROM or "Macedonian" in relation to the community event that was being considered. I took this position for a number of reasons. Firstly I believe the Macedonian community is entitled to consider themselves Macedonian. Secondly the issue of the "Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia" title is one that cannot be influenced at a council level. These are matters for our federal government and governments of the world. Worldwide geopolitical debate should not be used to marginalise or delegitimise the heritage of migrant communities in Rockdale. My personal actions and conduct as Mayor were recognised by Cr Mickovski in his media statements.

You ask if I as Mayor support these actions. I most certainly do not. In my two years as mayor I have sought to continue and where possible enhance the celebration of our community's uniquely multi cultural composition that was encouraged by Macedonian and former Labor Mayor Cr Bill Saravinovski. That is why the past two years Rockdale has hosted our largest Macedonian celebrations ever. Councillor Saravinovski has provided great support to me in developing these celebrations. We celebrate, to different degrees, the many migrant groups that make up today's Rockdale. Whilst we have over 30 different nationalities in our community, there are four very signifiant migrant groups that call Rockdale home: Chinese, Greek, Macedonian and Lebanese Muslim. All of these now have significant events celebrating their heritage in Rockdale. The Chinese and Greek celebrations have been well established. Under my Mayoralty, the pre eminence of both Macedonian and Lebanese Muslim celebrations have been enhanced. I will continue to see these communities recognised for the contributions they make to a strong, vibrant and diverse Rockdale Community.

You ask if Councillor Tsounis views are the views of the Australian Labor Party. I am unsure whether you are referring to the policies of the Australian government regarding the official name of Macedonia, or simply the view that the official name somehow negates the validity of celebrations of and for our Macedonian community. The matter of the official name is one that can only be addressed through our federal parliament. My understanding is that both Labor and Liberal government's including the current Abbot Government support the existing official name. You should seek clarification on this from the current federal Liberal member for Barton, Mr Nick Varvaris.

However I can say with confidence that the Australian Labor Party in Rockdale, at a rank and file level support our Macedonian Community and acknowledge and are grateful for the contribution that Australians of Macedonian background make to our prosperity. In my 15 years as an active branch member in the area, I have never attended a meeting of any Australian Labor Party branch in the Rockdale area where the views expressed by Cr Tsounis have been aired by branch members

On a personal note I am of the view that multi culturalism is what makes Australia strong. It should be celebrated, promoted and defended from those who seek to undermine it. In my opinion, the fundamental requirement of multi culturalism is a mutual respect for all people and the contributions that they make to our common good, regardless of their background. I will continue to lead a city that actively encourages diversity and participation in our society, regardless of race, religion or colour.
Our name is macedonia.Fyrom is a cococted nonsensical name foisted on macedonia. by the greek govtThey call it the name dispute but really how can it be a dispute as you are entitled to call yourself who you are.SELF IDENTIFICATION.THink how greece aquired Macedonia by annexation and occupation by military means.Think about it macedonia is a name of a country whereas the greek province does not really conflict as its a name of a province.Macedonia has a right to call it self what it likes.
"Ido not want an uprising of people that would leave me at the first failure, I want revolution with citizens able to bear all the temptations to a prolonged struggle, what, because of the fierce political conditions, will be our guide or cattle to the slaughterhouse"

Last edited by George S.; 10-11-2014 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:04 AM   #2
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Just another coward Greek exhibiting racism behind his official position.
In the name of the blood and the sun, the dagger and the gun, Christ protect this soldier, a lion and a Macedonian.
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