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-   -   Ok, I give up: What is with the tension between "FYR" Macedonia and Greece Proper? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=599431)

No Wikipedia Cites 03-04-2011 01:05 PM

Ok, I give up: What is with the tension between "FYR" Macedonia and Greece Proper?
 
Ok, I give up: There have been very emotional mass protests in the recent past by Greeks who protest against the new country of Macedonia (or FYROM, it's capital at Skopjye).

The issue seems to be because of the name Macedonia is also connected to a Greek province.

But why is it a big issue? Is Paris France upset that we have a Paris, Texas? Is Hamas angry that we have a Palestine, Texas as well? Mexico angry because we have a 'New Mexico'? (Ok maybe about the Mexican-American war, but not the name itself)

And why are the Macedonian (FYROM) people Slavic? At least they speak a Slavic language. What relation do Slavs have with Macedon? Why would they want a Greek name? And why do Greeks care that much? (A little care I understand, but not as much as I've seen).

The Wikipedia articles explain some of the conflict, but I still don't get it.

John Mace 03-04-2011 01:20 PM

The wikipedia article explains all of the conflict. But if you want the cliff's notes version... two words: Greater Macedonia. Emphasis on the word "Greater", meaning "larger". If you still don't get it, see: Greater Serbia.

Giles 03-04-2011 01:23 PM

It's nothing like Paris, Texas, where a place has just been named after another place. The country and the Greek province are both part of the ancient country of Macedonia -- the country that Alexander the Great started off as king of.

BrainGlutton 03-04-2011 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sassyfras (Post 13533384)
Ok, I give up: There have been very emotional mass protests in the recent past by Greeks who protest against the new country of Macedonia (or FYROM, it's capital at Skopjye).

The issue seems to be because of the name Macedonia is also connected to a Greek province.

But why is it a big issue? Is Paris France upset that we have a Paris, Texas? Is Hamas angry that we have a Palestine, Texas as well? Mexico angry because we have a 'New Mexico'? (Ok maybe about the Mexican-American war, but not the name itself)

My guess is, from the way things always go in the Balkans and especially in the last 20 years, the Greeks are afraid an independent state of Macedon bordering on their own province of Macedon implies an irredentist territorial claim down the road. That's what nationalism is all about . . . even though it doesn't apply here because the Greek Macedonians are Greek-speakers, not Slavs. But the name -- and the ancient territorial associations -- might be enough to cause trouble. As Walter Lippmann wrote in Public Opinion (1922):

Quote:

Now it happened in one nation that the war party which was in control of the foreign office, the high command, and most of the press, had claims on the territory of several of its neighbors. These claims were called the Greater Ruritania by the cultivated classes who regarded Kipling, Treitschke, and Maurice Barres as one hundred percent Ruritanian. But the grandiose idea aroused no enthusiasm abroad. So holding this finest flower of the Ruritanian genius, as their poet laureate said, to their hearts, Ruritania's statesmen went forth to divide and conquer. They divided the claim into sectors. For each piece they invoked that stereotype which some one or more of their allies found it difficult to resist, because that ally had claims for which it hoped to find approval by the use of this same stereotype.

The first sector happened to be a mountainous region inhabited by alien peasants. Ruritania demanded it to complete her natural geographical frontier. If you fixed your attention long enough on the ineffable value of what is natural, those alien peasants just dissolved into fog, and only the slope of the mountains was visible. The next sector was inhabited by Ruritanians, and on the principle that no people ought to live under alien rule, they were re-annexed. Then came a city of considerable commercial importance, not inhabited by Ruritanians. But until the Eighteenth Century it had been part of Ruritania, and on the principle of Historic Right it was annexed. Farther on there was a splendid mineral deposit owned by aliens and worked by aliens. On the principle of reparation for damage it was annexed. Beyond this there was a territory inhabited 97% by aliens, constituting the natural geographical frontier of another nation, never historically a part of Ruritania. But one of the provinces which had been federated into Ruritania had formerly traded in those markets, and the upper class culture was Ruritanian. On the principle of cultural superiority and the necessity of defending civilization, the lands were claimed. Finally, there was a port wholly disconnected from Ruritania geographically, ethnically, economically, historically, traditionally. It was demanded on the ground that it was needed for national defense.
There's also a matter of national pride, "Macedonia" being universally associated with Greek history and Alexander the Great. The modern Greeks regard themselves as the rightful heirs of the whole classical Hellenic heritage.

Kyla 03-04-2011 11:54 PM

Let me preface by saying I just drank a glass of wine so I hope this makes sense.

Ethnicity and nationality in the Balkans is very complicated and doesn't really have a neat parallel to how we view it in the United States. You just have to keep that in mind. You hear one thing from one person and a totally conflicting thing from another person; it's really confusing, and even though I have actually made a concerted effort to learn Balkan history, I still don't really know what's going on. (Not the least because what I've heard from Bulgarians often totally conflicts with what I read in mainstream English-language books.) You have to keep in mind that borders have shifted a lot over time, and that this entire region was part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years.

There is a large region of Northern Greece, the FYROM, and Western Bulgaria that is considered by the people who live there to be "Macedonia". The Bulgarian part is called Pirin Macedonia (the Pirin Mountains run through it) and many people who live in the region consider themselves to be ethnically Macedonian instead of Bulgarian, and people in that region speak Bulgarian with a "Macedonian accent." However, the Northern Greeks consider themselves to be the descendants of the original, ancient Macedonians. When Macedonians and Bulgarians say that they are Macedonians, the Greeks get annoyed because they believe that their culture is being misappropriated by Slavs. That is the essence of the issue.

And yes, he majority of citizens of the FYROM are Slavs - there is also a large Albanian minority.

It's not as well-known as the Greek issue, but Bulgarians also have a major problem with the existence of an independent Macedonia. Bulgarians will tell you that Macedonians ARE Bulgarians and that Macedonia should be part of Bulgaria and that it was artificially separated from Bulgaria after...I want to say WWI, but it might have been one of the Balkan Wars. It is certainly true that the linguistic and cultural distinction between Bulgarians and Macedonians is very minor. (Like I already mentioned, there is distinct accent, but Bulgarian and Macedonian are in essence the same language.)

If you want to see people who are part of this conflict talk about it, I recommend reading the comments at literally any video of Macedonian music at youtube. The very first thing I came up with when I searched at youtube was this.

By the way, just to the east of Macedonia is Thrace, which is claimed by Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. If there were a modern country named Thrace, I guarantee you that one (or all three) of those countries would have a shit fit.

Tamerlane 03-05-2011 01:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyla (Post 13535486)
When Macedonians and Bulgarians say that they are Macedonians, the Greeks get annoyed because they believe that their culture is being misappropriated by Slavs. That is the essence of the issue.

And yes, he majority of citizens of the FYROM are Slavs - there is also a large Albanian minority.

All made more interesting in that many northern Greeks are no doubt descended from Hellenized Slavs and likely more than a few Slavic Macedonians are descended from Slavicized Greeks. Pretty much the entire area of Macedonia and Thessaly ( minus well-fortified Thessalonica and few other coastal sites ) was overrun and settled by Slavic tribes starting as early as the late 500s, certainly by the early 600s. Macedonia in general ( both the modern Slavic and Greek parts ) would not have reverted to Byzantine Greek control until after 1018 when Bulgaria was conquered. Bulgaria itself only expanded to exercise a loose suzerainty over that region in mid-800s, though it is commonly thought that the Slavic tribes in Bulgaria proper and those that quite independently penetrated modern Greece had a common linguistic origin, associated with the Antes.

clairobscur 03-05-2011 02:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sassyfras (Post 13533384)
The Wikipedia articles explain some of the conflict, but I still don't get it.


You won't ever get it.

A lot of Greeks just don't like the idea that Slavs would call themselves Macedonians, they feel like they're robbed of their heritage (Alexander), and for some reason that nobody outside the Balkans can understand it's a huge deal and almost worth a declaration of war.

Just never pronounce the word "Macedonia" anywhere near a Greek*, avoid any spot (real or internet based) where a Macedonian and a Greek could be present at the same time and your sanity will be preserved.



(*) Preemptive comment : yes, I know, not every Greek is like that.

Naxos 03-05-2011 03:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sassyfras (Post 13533384)
Ok, I give up: There have been very emotional mass protests in the recent past by Greeks who protest against the new country of Macedonia (or FYROM, it's capital at Skopjye).

The issue seems to be because of the name Macedonia is also connected to a Greek province...

Not only a province but a 3,000 year old history. Macedonia is Greek. The embezzling of the name Macedonia is a travesty of Slavic and/or Muslim people trying to claim part of the Ancient Greek tradition and history for themselves.

This is not like Paris, Texas, or Athens, Georgia. City names are considered a kind gesture to historical ancestors.

This is like the NW Mexican peninsula declaring independence and calling themselves the Nation of California.

The US would never stand for it, nor should it. The only reason the Former Yugoslavian Republic of M? got their name is because of the incompetence of Greek politicians to stand up for their historical heritage.

Makedonia is Greek. Read some historical books if you disagree.

TheMightyAtlas 03-05-2011 07:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13535790)

This is like the NW Mexican peninsula declaring independence and calling themselves the Nation of California.

The US would never stand for it, nor should it. The only reason the Former Yugoslavian Republic of M? got their name is because of the incompetence of Greek politicians to stand up for their historical heritage.

Makedonia is Greek. Read some historical books if you disagree.

If the Mexican state of California became independent and named itself the Republic of California, I'd be willing to bet this would be the least of the US's concerns. The break-up of Mexico, and whatever caused it might be a concern. But absent any indication that the RoC was looking to expand into the US State of California, I doubt that we would have any objection.

No one in the continents of the Americas get upset over the name the United States of America, you know. Over 200 years, and have yet to hear any serious objection to the USA claiming the whole of two continents. The actual policy of hemispheric dominance, sure. The name, not so much.

In other words, get over yourselves. You would think the Greeks would know that obsessin over what happened 1200 years ago is a losing game. You were relatively unscathed by the latest blow-up over the ethnic rivalries in the Balkans.

It is not your politicians who were incompetent (at least no more than usual). It was your position that was deemed unworthy of sympathy and childish. The Greeks are losing this by attrition. But the more they fight, the faster they lose.

hajario 03-05-2011 09:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13535790)

This is like the NW Mexican peninsula declaring independence and calling themselves the Nation of California.

The US would never stand for it, nor should it.e.

You mean the area that is now called Baja (Lower) California? I am a California native and it wouldn't have occurred to me in a million years to have a problem with that new name. Especially given that it's already kind of called that. I bet that you couldn't find ten people here that would have a problem with that new name.

Kyla 03-05-2011 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hajario (Post 13536060)
You mean the area that is now called Baja (Lower) California? I am a California native and it wouldn't have occurred to me in a million years to have a problem with that new name. Especially given that it's already kind of called that. I bet that you couldn't find ten people here that would have a problem with that new name.

I'm another (Alta) Californian, and I have to agree. That part of Mexico is already called Baja California, and no one cares.

The sheer fury of the Greek objection over the name of Macedonia does baffle me. And I've spent a lot of time in the area (been to Macedonia three times; could never afford to go to Greece) and generally have a pretty decent idea of how things work in the region.

Hypnagogic Jerk 03-05-2011 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clairobscur (Post 13535722)
You won't ever get it.

A lot of Greeks just don't like the idea that Slavs would call themselves Macedonians, they feel like they're robbed of their heritage (Alexander), and for some reason that nobody outside the Balkans can understand it's a huge deal and almost worth a declaration of war.

I don't know if Naxos is actually Greek (his location field is empty), but if so it sure seems you're right. But I'd also like to understand it. I can see why Greece would be concerned if there was in the Republic of Macedonia an active irredentist movement aimed at annexing the Macedonian parts of Greece and Bulgaria. Not that it could ever be successful. But just using the name (which is justified, as the country of Macedonia is entirely part of the historical region of Macedonia) and the image of Alexander the Great? That's fairly harmless.

For that matter, is it the name of the country (Macedonia) or the use of Alexander's image that's bothering the Greeks more?

smiling bandit 03-05-2011 01:16 PM

Not only that, but Alexander and the Macedonians weren't Greek. Not ethnically, and not really culturally. Macedonia was a very different place. It was more like Hispania to Rome: influenced culturally, but with its own independant future. The Macedonians for their part preferred to be considered Greek, but it wasn't exactly true then. These days, perhaps, but then not all of historical Macedon is part of Greece: it included chunks of southern Buglaria, the Republic of Macedon, and the Greek province of macedonia.

So, all in all Naxos is very much wrong, and given the Greek nymic and the sudden angry passion, I'm betting he is a Greek with a very non-neutral point of view here.

John Mace 03-05-2011 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyla (Post 13536385)
I'm another (Alta) Californian, and I have to agree. That part of Mexico is already called Baja California, and no one cares.

Yep. No biggie.

But we don't have the history that the Balkans do.

Dissonance 03-05-2011 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clairobscur (Post 13535722)
You won't ever get it.

This. It's the Balkans, it's not supposed to make sense.

Hypnagogic Jerk 03-05-2011 04:10 PM

Actually, I think Naxos reversed the California example. The "traditional" region of California includes both Upper California (the US state) and Lower California (the two Mexican states). But Americans refer to Upper California as simply "California", which is similar to the (FY) Republic of Macedonia using this name despite its territory covering only part of the traditional region of Macedonia.

As far as I can tell, the Mexicans don't care about Americans appropriating the name "California". But on the other hand there isn't an ancient, semi-mythical race of "Californians" whom Mexicans consider themselves the cultural heirs of, unlike those uncultured gringos up north.

Markxxx 03-05-2011 04:31 PM

Also you have to remember Bugarian and Macedonian are basically the same language. Bulgarians considered the Macedonians to be Bulgarians. Before WWI the Serbians referred to them as South Serbs.

You also have claims that Montenigrins are actually Serbs. My mother is from what is now Croatia and my father from what is now Serbia, they spoke the same language which is now called Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenigrin.

The real problem with the area is it IS such a mixture of people. There's no clear cut divisions. For example in Romania right in the middle of the country is a huge area of Hungarians. It would make sense to put these people in Hungary. But there's no way to do it and keep a contiguous area, 'cause then you'd have a whole bunch of Romanians in Hungary.

Back the OP questions, the Macedonians will say they are Greeks who were "Slavisized" over the years. The Greeks maintain this was never the case.

In additon to concepts of Greater Serbia, there is a movement for Greater Bulgaria, Greater Croatia and Greater Albania, all seeking to put as many of the nationalities under one flag as possible.

Indeed the forced population movements of WWII, solved the problem where 1/3 of Poland was actually Germany and huge areas of Finland are now in Russia. Since the populations were moved there's no huge call to get those lands returned. Not to say forced populations is a good thing, it causes huge suffering.

Kyla 03-05-2011 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Markxxx (Post 13537039)
You also have claims that Montenigrins are actually Serbs.

I don't recommend telling this to any Montenegrins you happen to run across.

smiling bandit 03-05-2011 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Markxxx (Post 13537039)
The real problem with the area is it IS such a mixture of people. There's no clear cut divisions.

This. But also, the area has simply been a huge crossroads of peoples since before the Romans. We know there were some major ethnic migrations during the laer Roman period, but we don't entirely know how much. The cultural and ethnic shifts, immigrations and emigrations, have turned it into one giant noodle platter.

newcomer 03-05-2011 09:29 PM

Oh geez, where to begin...

Ok, this may be a little around the circle but bear with me. In Balkans, one of the biggest causes of an individual and group anxiety is the idea that a group of people living in a geographically well-defined region has a national -- and with it, religious and ethnic -- identity that is not very clear. An identity that due to some historical event can be questioned. This historical event can go very deep back into past, it may have as many versions of the story as there are days in between past and current, no matter, the seed of doubt, once sown, is there for eternity. Did I mention historical documents that contradict each other every year as they were published?

These regions are usually mixed as they are always on the edge of the national fatherland epicenter and as such are subject to all kinds of mixing with other groups but most of all, these regions are relatively low in significance in both intellectual and practical sense. Anyone with half a brain wants to leave that region and move closer to center thus making such regions perpetually backwater of the country they belong to.

What these regions are good for is for elites to manipulate its population into a loud, fighting, no-prisoners-taken war machine because that is the only time they get to shine. And the luminescence is usually directly related to the degree of doubt in their identity; in fact, it can be said that in war they shine as much as is the stain on their national identity.

It is no wonder that in a lot of cases the worst leaders of the Balkan national groups come from a region like that - case in point, both Milosevic and Karadzic come from Montenegro.

Something similar can be said of northern Greece and province of Macedonia. Long time ago some Slavs came down from Russian steppes in 6th and 7th century and decided to stay, of all places, in a place called Macedonia. Over time they took the name of the place to distinguish themselves from everyone else and the name stayed on. They were even defined as a Macedonian nationality within former Yugoslavia not even 20 years ago. We never heard of problems then. It is only when Macedonians decided to upgrade from a province to a country that voices became louder and in fact, became official political thread in Greece. It was only able to become “official” because the region itself and the long asleep issue was awakened by the smooth operators from the center (Athena). That’s really all it is - useful idiots of a doubtful identity doing their best to prove they are the purest form while other pressing issues (and trust me there are plenty of those all over Balkans and Greece) go on as always.

Personally, what was really stunning to me is that they were able to block process of UN recognition of country of Macedonia after the breakup of Yugoslavia and force them to take up the most stupid and humiliating name ever. It just tells me to stay the hell away from that region as far as possible and show finger to any UN official.

Captain Amazing 03-05-2011 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 13537748)
It is no wonder that in a lot of cases the worst leaders of the Balkan national groups come from a region like that - case in point, both Milosevic and Karadzic come from Montenegro.

Karadzic does, but Milosevic was Serbian. He was born in Pozarevac.

newcomer 03-05-2011 10:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Captain Amazing (Post 13537790)
Karadzic does, but Milosevic was Serbian. He was born in Pozarevac.

2nd generation Mexican born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI will make him an American only technically; his identity will be totally different matter. Similarly, while technically true that he was born and raised in Pozarevac that does not make him a Serb as I use the term in its narrow definition to elaborate my theory. His family origin is Montenegro and everyone down there will tell you Milosevic is Montenegrin. As for distinction of Serbs and Montenegrins, please let’s not start kicking that trash can.

Nametag 03-05-2011 10:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamerlane (Post 13535650)
All made more interesting in that many northern Greeks are no doubt descended from Hellenized Slavs and likely more than a few Slavic Macedonians are descended from Slavicized Greeks...

EnSlav-ed, surely? ;)

Kyla 03-05-2011 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 13537859)
2nd generation Mexican born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI will make him an American only technically; his identity will be totally different matter. Similarly, while technically true that he was born and raised in Pozarevac that does not make him a Serb as I use the term in its narrow definition to elaborate my theory. His family origin is Montenegro and everyone down there will tell you Milosevic is Montenegrin. As for distinction of Serbs and Montenegrins, please let’s not start kicking that trash can.

I agree with you that Milosevic was Montenegrin, but the comparison with Mexican-Americans is not really apt. In the Balkans, families maintain their nationality FOREVER, regardless of their place of birth. I had students in Bulgaria who were born in Bulgaria and their parents were born in Bulgaria and everyone they were related to was born in Bulgaria - and they were still Turkish. Not Turkish-Bulgarian, just Turks who happened to live in Bulgaria and have Bulgarian citizenship.

Nationality in the Balkans just doesn't work the way it does in the US.

Tamerlane 03-05-2011 11:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyla (Post 13538024)
In the Balkans, families maintain their nationality FOREVER, regardless of their place of birth.

Nationality in the Balkans just doesn't work the way it does in the US.


Quite true in general, especially as to the second, but sometimes it can get weirdly fluid. My father's side of the family ( through both his parent's lines ) are all of Croatian Serb descent ( i.e. Serbs from Croatia ). But in that case as little a thing as switching your confession ( say by marrying into a family and converting ) could result in switching ethnicities. There otherwise is not an awful lot to distinguish one from the other, despite fiercely held pride in that tenuously defined ethnic grouping. Serbs and Croats are notoriously hyper-nationalist these days, but in that region it could be surprisingly easy to change tribes.

And of course to pre-rise-of-ethnic-nationalism to everyone outside Croatia ( including the Hapsburg government ) everybody from Croatia was a "Croat" - they simply used the term as a geographic identifier.

The Balkans are an ever-confusing welter of weird ethnic issues.

Little Nemo 03-06-2011 01:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13535790)
Not only a province but a 3,000 year old history. Macedonia is Greek. The embezzling of the name Macedonia is a travesty of Slavic and/or Muslim people trying to claim part of the Ancient Greek tradition and history for themselves.

This is not like Paris, Texas, or Athens, Georgia. City names are considered a kind gesture to historical ancestors.

This is like the NW Mexican peninsula declaring independence and calling themselves the Nation of California.

The US would never stand for it, nor should it. The only reason the Former Yugoslavian Republic of M? got their name is because of the incompetence of Greek politicians to stand up for their historical heritage.

Makedonia is Greek. Read some historical books if you disagree.

Out of curiousity, if the name Macedonia is this central to Greek national identity, why didn't they adopt the name when they broke free from Turkish rule? Call themselves the Kingdom of Makedonia instead of the Kingdom of Ellados and establish a prior claim to the name?

ruadh 03-06-2011 02:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Markxxx (Post 13537039)
Bulgarians considered the Macedonians to be Bulgarians. Before WWI the Serbians referred to them as South Serbs.

Some of them considered themselves to be Serbs. My ex's father was from a family that had been in Macedonia for as long as any of them knew, but they had always considered themselves Serbs rather than Macedonians. There's a similar dynamic with Montenegro - you could have people within a single (nuclear) family where half of them called themselves Montenegrins and the other half Serbs. That's a good part of the reason why the vote for independence was so close (55-45%). I'd imagine a Montenegrin national identity is probably developing a lot more rapidly since independence, though.

Kyla 03-06-2011 03:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ruadh (Post 13538369)
Some of them considered themselves to be Serbs. My ex's father was from a family that had been in Macedonia for as long as any of them knew, but they had always considered themselves Serbs rather than Macedonians.

Out of curiosity, where were they from in Macedonia? In eastern Macedonia, the language blends almost into Serbian and I found communicating to be a lot more difficult than it was in Skopje.

I don't have any insight, I'm just curious because you know I like languages and I find the south Slavic language continuum to be really interesting.

BTW, anecdotally, I worked in an English language summer camp for high school aged kids for a couple weeks in the summer of 2007 in Bulgaria and for some reason a TON of my students were from Montenegro. Montenegro had only been independent for a little over a year at the time and the kids were INSANELY patriotic. When we went on outings they would chant "Cherna Gora Cherna Gora!" just walking around. (Cherna Gora = Serbian for Montenegro.) I have seriously never seen anyone just so fucking excited about their country. But at the same time, they all agreed that their language was Serbian, and they seemed to get on perfectly well with the Serbian kids at the camp.

newcomer 03-06-2011 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamerlane (Post 13538100)
Quite true in general, especially as to the second, but sometimes it can get weirdly fluid. My father's side of the family ( through both his parent's lines ) are all of Croatian Serb descent ( i.e. Serbs from Croatia ). But in that case as little a thing as switching your confession ( say by marrying into a family and converting ) could result in switching ethnicities. There otherwise is not an awful lot to distinguish one from the other, despite fiercely held pride in that tenuously defined ethnic grouping. Serbs and Croats are notoriously hyper-nationalist these days, but in that region it could be surprisingly easy to change tribes.

And of course to pre-rise-of-ethnic-nationalism to everyone outside Croatia ( including the Hapsburg government ) everybody from Croatia was a "Croat" - they simply used the term as a geographic identifier.

The Balkans are an ever-confusing welter of weird ethnic issues.

Serbs in Croatia as a regional group is the perfect example of what I was trying to convey with my little regional theory of people who try too much to be pure while mixed through generations. The way they were manipulated (if you know the story from 1991 until their expulsion) is almost borderline masochism and prime example of never ending story of Balkan - instead of mutual respect for differences and agreement on similarities they went the way of hating the differences and disagreement on similarities.

Little off-topic...

Funny thing, at my office we were discussing multi-cultural state of affairs in Canada and how it is incredible that these same people from Balkans can live in Canada along each other with no problem but transport those same people down there and things go downhill. On top of that, here you still have quite a number of people living their life in Canada while being fully engaged in every day conundrums of Balkan and thus making up very rare bird - respectful and peaceful on the street of Toronto but full of rage on the pages of local discussion forum; something of a modern Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde brought to you by very fast DSL. Further rumination on the subject led me to challenge everyone in the office to come up with a cultural or social custom from their country of origin that is superior or at least equal to what’s currently a custom in Canada (more than half of the people in the office are either recent or 2nd generation immigrants and they exclude Western Europe countries). Well, needless to say no response received yet.

ruadh 03-07-2011 03:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyla (Post 13538469)
Out of curiosity, where were they from in Macedonia?

To be honest I have no idea. But it would make sense to be in the part that's closer to Serbia.

Quote:

they all agreed that their language was Serbian
I wonder how long that will last. I suspect they'll be calling it Montenegrin within a generation, if they aren't already starting to.

JRDelirious 03-07-2011 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13535790)
This is like the NW Mexican peninsula declaring independence and calling themselves the Nation of California.

The US would never stand for it, nor should it.

Actually, as has been pointed out already, save for a fringe of addled Tea-Partiers the US would not give a hoot. We got more pressing matters to concern us than centuriesr-old points of pride about a name (that in any case was the Mexicans' name first, as mentioned). Matter of fact, the US State Department HAS recognized the Republic of Macedonia under its official name, not "Former..." for some years now. The issue seems childish to those who are uninformed about the political implications... and even to some who are informed.

Ah, nationalism... there's one idea that needs to go into the wastebin mondo pronto...

Acsenray 03-07-2011 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sassyfras (Post 13533384)
And why are the Macedonian (FYROM) people Slavic? At least they speak a Slavic language. What relation do Slavs have with Macedon?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tamerlane (Post 13535650)
All made more interesting in that many northern Greeks are no doubt descended from Hellenized Slavs

And even more interesting that most Greeks are more Slavic than not. They just happen to speak a non-Slavic language.

Really Not All That Bright 03-07-2011 12:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13535790)
The US would never stand for it, nor should it. The only reason the Former Yugoslavian Republic of M? got their name is because of the incompetence of Greek politicians to stand up for their historical heritage.

I'd be very interested to hear how they were supposed to prevent FYROM from "getting" the name. It's not a trademark.

Little Nemo 03-07-2011 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 13542451)
I'd be very interested to hear how they were supposed to prevent FYROM from "getting" the name. It's not a trademark.

A trademark infringement suit not being an option, presumedly he was suggesting the traditional method when one nation wants to impose its will on another nation - declare war.

Really Not All That Bright 03-07-2011 01:11 PM

I discounted a declaration of war in response to name-stealing as too silly.

ETA: Though it raises the amusing possibility of France and the UK declaring war on the US for stealing flag colors.

BrainGlutton 03-07-2011 01:26 PM

Look, if the Duchy of Grand Fenwick can declare war on the U.S. over name-stealing a wine . . .

lemac 03-07-2011 01:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acsenray (Post 13541571)
And even more interesting that most Greeks are more Slavic than not. They just happen to speak a non-Slavic language.

Slavic is a language group. How can the Greeks be Slavic if the large majority of them speak Greek?

newcomer 03-07-2011 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRDelirious (Post 13541461)
Ah, nationalism... there's one idea that needs to go into the wastebin mondo pronto...

It would do a world of good in ME... ;)

Hypnagogic Jerk 03-07-2011 01:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRDelirious (Post 13541461)
Ah, nationalism... there's one idea that needs to go into the wastebin mondo pronto...

I wouldn't say that. I consider myself a nationalist, in the sense that my identity is largely derived from the national group I belong to. I suppose that your Puerto Rican nationality also informs your identity as a person. But as any other ideology, it can lead people to do good things, and it can lead people to do bad things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by lemac (Post 13542705)
Slavic is a language group. How can the Greeks be Slavic if the large majority of them speak Greek?

What he means is that modern Greeks are closely ethnically related to modern Slavs (South Slavs at least). Slavic is an ethno-linguistic group, it can refer both to the languages and to the ethnicities.

Aren't Romanians also closely related to Slavs, despite them speaking a non-Slavic language?

newcomer 03-07-2011 02:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 13542451)
I'd be very interested to hear how they were supposed to prevent FYROM from "getting" the name. It's not a trademark.

They did not prevent the name, they also prevented the flag for the new country.

I found this link to be quite informative of how Balkan mind works http://web.mit.edu/hellenic/www/macedonia.html

If it was not so mean spirited and dangerous it would be funny.

lemac 03-07-2011 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk (Post 13542786)
What he means is that modern Greeks are closely ethnically related to modern Slavs (South Slavs at least). Slavic is an ethno-linguistic group, it can refer both to the languages and to the ethnicities.

Aren't Romanians also closely related to Slavs, despite them speaking a non-Slavic language?

I don't really understand how that would make the Greeks Slavic. I have no doubt that the Greeks are closely related to the peoples that surround them, but why would all these peoples be called Slavic? Why not call all of them Greek instead? Or Romanian, or Thracian, or Illyrian...?

Acsenray 03-07-2011 03:37 PM

The reason is that modern Greeks are (mostly) descendant from the same people that modern Slavs are descendant from, rather than from ancient Greeks.

smiling bandit 03-07-2011 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lemac (Post 13543272)
I don't really understand how that would make the Greeks Slavic. I have no doubt that the Greeks are closely related to the peoples that surround them, but why would all these peoples be called Slavic? Why not call all of them Greek instead? Or Romanian, or Thracian, or Illyrian...?

Why do we call France France, or Germany Germany?

Polycarp 03-07-2011 03:53 PM

It's simple: Greece remembers what happened to Greek independence the last time they had an independent Macedonia to the north of them. :D

Peremensoe 03-07-2011 04:03 PM

If there were somehow a referendum within Greek Macedonia (not Greece as a whole) offering the possibility of the territory joining a Greater Macedonia, how many people would vote for it?

newcomer 03-07-2011 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acsenray (Post 13543308)
The reason is that modern Greeks are (mostly) descendant from the same people that modern Slavs are descendant from, rather than from ancient Greeks.

Cite?

Really Not All That Bright 03-07-2011 06:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 13543426)
Cite?

Make of this what you will. To me it suggests that the opposite is true: that Macedonians are more Greek than Greeks are Slavic.

Capitaine Zombie 03-07-2011 06:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polycarp (Post 13543365)
It's simple: Greece remembers what happened to Greek independence the last time they had an independent Macedonia to the north of them. :D

Nice. So the vainquished get the rights to the name of their conqueror?

Pleonast 03-07-2011 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie (Post 13543895)
Nice. So the vainquished get the rights to the name of their conqueror?

Well, the Greeks were calling themselves the Roman Empire for quite a long time, too.

Naxos 03-07-2011 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 13538286)
Out of curiousity, if the name Macedonia is this central to Greek national identity, why didn't they adopt the name when they broke free from Turkish rule? Call themselves the Kingdom of Makedonia instead of the Kingdom of Ellados and establish a prior claim to the name?

For the same reason the United States of America did not call itself California.

As far as your reference to the world "kingdom", Greece (Ellada is the native name of the country) there were too many European kingdoms, mainly the German, the Russian and the British, that interfered with the politics of the area and each wanted to have a say to what will happen to this country after the native Greeks revolted against the 400 year occupation of the Turks.

Greece has many other areas with distinctive names but the main name that was used since ancient times was Ellada - Greece. Macedonia is one part of it.

Naxos 03-07-2011 10:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acsenray (Post 13541571)
And even more interesting that most Greeks are more Slavic than not. They just happen to speak a non-Slavic language.

Ignorant stupidity.

tomndebb 03-08-2011 01:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13544585)
Ignorant stupidity.

Do not post personal insults in Great Debates.

Naxos, you have been admonished multiple times in the last few days to correct your behavior.
This is a Warning that you are out of line.
Stop it.

[ /Moderating ]

Little Nemo 03-08-2011 05:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13544583)
For the same reason the United States of America did not call itself California.

As far as your reference to the world "kingdom", Greece (Ellada is the native name of the country) there were too many European kingdoms, mainly the German, the Russian and the British, that interfered with the politics of the area and each wanted to have a say to what will happen to this country after the native Greeks revolted against the 400 year occupation of the Turks.

Greece has many other areas with distinctive names but the main name that was used since ancient times was Ellada - Greece. Macedonia is one part of it.

Despite your hypothetical, nobody in America is trying to deny anyone else the use of the name California.

If you're saying the name Macedonia belongs to the Greeks, then the Greeks should have used it and named their country Macedonia. By choosing not to use it, they left it available for other people to use.

As for my reference to the word "Kingdom" - that's what the country called itself. Βασίλειον τῆς Ἑλλάδος - the Kingdom of Ellados. Greece was a Kingdom from 1832 to 1974 (with a republican break for nine years).

Nava 03-08-2011 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Naxos (Post 13544583)
For the same reason the United States of America did not call itself California.

Doubtful, given that California wasn't part of the newly-founded country which chose the name "United States of America". The possibility didn't exist.

Acsenray 03-08-2011 09:30 AM

Nominee would have cared anyway, and there is still an important difference. FYR Macedonians have been using the term "Macedonian"'for a long time. The Greek position -- that they are trying to "steal" someone else's identity. You might as well accuse the Bulgarians and Romanians of that since their names originate in the names of other groups. There was even a significant period in which the Greeks called themselves "Rhomioi." The Greek position is irrational and petulant.

Anisos 03-08-2011 03:46 PM

Ah… hello everyone, long time lurker here.
I was born in Greece and witnessed the insane way that Greece dealt with the “macedonian issue” in the early 90s. It was a time of huge demonstrations against Skopje (which is the way Greece liked to refer to FYROM/Macedonia at the time), “fear” that we would go to war with our northern neighbors (if you can imagine that…), and an amazingly homogeneous outlook towards the issue.
You have to understand that the modern Greek has been fed an amazing amount of propaganda through their schooling. I was fed all that as much as all average children growing up in Greece. Our books had anti-Turkish propaganda and produced an amazingly false picture of how Greece gained independence. For example… the role of the official church was entirely distorted to make it appear as a benefactor when it was not. Add on that the horrible Greek tendency of trying to walk forward while looking backwards. The Greek past for Greeks is EVERYTHING. We define ourselves by it, even though few have done any substantial reading about it.
The culture of argument with our perceived enemies is of grade school level. “Read a book”, “we taught you democracy” etc. Nationalists of all varieties that find everything emanating from Greece (one of my favorite modern Greek writers calls this the “Portokalos paradigm”, named after one of the main characters in that horrible movie “My big fat Greek wedding”) are quite popular. By the way, nationalism of this particular sort is found both in the left (and when I say left I mean members of the communist party, not some generic leftist) and right.
Antisemitism is everywhere. Even one of the brightest beacons of modern Greek history Mikis Theodorakis has become an antisemite of the worst kind.
Outsiders, and by that I mean the rest of the West (with which Greece never aligned entirely), are considered manipulators. For example consider a fake quote that was supposedly said by Kissinger in some kind of official meeting. This quote has been making the rounds for many years and is considered by many to be the final proof that the USA (and the Jews of course) are out to get us:
“The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame. For this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots: Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.”
This quote has been proven to be fake. The supposed primary source had no such quote. Finally, someone personally asked Kissinger if he had said such a thing. He denied it. Nevertheless this is still a popular quote and will probably be until the end of time.
This is the type of atmosphere that creates a person that will do anything possible to not allow Macedonians to name their country as they like to name it. It is amazing to me how much energy has been spent discussing this utterly ridiculous issue, how many otherwise respectable people has fallen in this trap, and how it simply wont go away.
My opinion is that they can call themselves whatever they like.

Pleonast 03-08-2011 04:52 PM

Thank you, (and welcome to the Dope), Anisos, for a rational Greek perspective.

clairobscur 03-08-2011 07:01 PM

Enlightening post, Anisos .



ETA : Too bad you didn't post in the threads about the Greek crisis.

JRDelirious 03-08-2011 08:14 PM

Thank you and welcome, Anisos

Quote:

Originally Posted by JRDelirious (Post 13541461)
Ah, nationalism... there's one idea that needs to go into the wastebin mondo pronto...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hypnagogic Jerk (Post 13542786)
I wouldn't say that. I consider myself a nationalist, in the sense that my identity is largely derived from the national group I belong to. I suppose that your Puerto Rican nationality also informs your identity as a person. But as any other ideology, it can lead people to do good things, and it can lead people to do bad things.

Ah, but you see, then we are using terms somewhat differently. To me, nationalism as the sociopolitical ideology, is distinct from awareness of historico-ethno-cultural identity (nationality), and I can have the latter while rejecting the former (Heck, I feel no particular urge for PR to be an independent sovereign nation-state, I'd support becoming a state of the US; and if we're ever independent I'd wish we would have jus soli citizenship and liberal naturalization, rather than insist on "blood" citizenship).

Little Nemo 03-08-2011 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13547369)
You have to understand that the modern Greek has been fed an amazing amount of propaganda through their schooling. I was fed all that as much as all average children growing up in Greece. Our books had anti-Turkish propaganda and produced an amazingly false picture of how Greece gained independence. For example… the role of the official church was entirely distorted to make it appear as a benefactor when it was not. Add on that the horrible Greek tendency of trying to walk forward while looking backwards. The Greek past for Greeks is EVERYTHING. We define ourselves by it, even though few have done any substantial reading about it.

It's not like Greece has any need to exaggerate. The Greeks have a proud history by any objective standard. So why begrudge anyone else?

newcomer 03-08-2011 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 13548372)
It's not like Greece has any need to exaggerate. The Greeks have a proud history by any objective standard. So why begrudge anyone else?

You're probably referring to the very old history but Greece's recent history, say last 100 to 150 years, is a total mess. It starts really bad (Turkey), gets even worse (Germany, Italy, Bulgaria) and then ends up with a civil war where they were the first country West intervened to set it up as a front line in a Cold War. It's actually pretty screwed up history so one can perhaps understand some of the thinking behind Macedonia issue even though, in this time and age, it is totally not justified.

BrainGlutton 03-08-2011 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13547369)
I was fed all that as much as all average children growing up in Greece. Our books had anti-Turkish propaganda . . .

Why? I mean, American schoolbooks are not full of anti-British propaganda.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13547369)
Antisemitism is everywhere.

Why? How many Jews are there in Greece today anyway?

Anisos 03-08-2011 10:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 13548372)
It's not like Greece has any need to exaggerate. The Greeks have a proud history by any objective standard. So why begrudge anyone else?

Modern Greeks feel like they own that history. Alexander the Great is OURS, Macedonia is OURS. For you to want to name yourself Macedonian is removing my "pride". History is not objective business in Greece. I remember about ten years ago telling a much older woman (a doctor) about Washington DC government buildings. The first thing that she said was "Greek designs... all of it stolen" :smack:

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrainGlutton (Post 13548552)
Why? I mean, American schoolbooks are not full of anti-British propaganda.

Why? How many Jews are there in Greece today anyway?

Well… I don’t think it is fair to compare America-England with Greece-Turkey.

To a degree, modern Greeks are a continuation of the East Roman empire which ceased to exist at 1453, taken over by the Turks, a very different situation from that of 18th century Americans. Also, the US is not close to England. Greece and Turkey have constant “confrontations” with jet-fighters and ships penetrating the borders, about a billion insignificant tiny little islands noone lives on that are being claimed by both sides, including one over which a war almost started in the mid-90s, the Cyprus separation issue (a deeply deeply traumatic story) among others. Having said that, relations with Turkey have significantly improved during the last 10 years.

There has been an effort to improve school books. In fact there was a recent school book that was utterly blasted (especially by the right) because it softened some corners. It was discontinued.

Thessalonica had a very substantial population of Jews before WWII. Mostly Sephardic Jews that arrived after their expulsion from Spain. The majority were sent to concentration camps.

What I do know is that Greeks intensely identify with Palestinians and that Israeli Jews are seen as a type of oppressive overlord. Beyond that, I cannot entirely explain why anti-Semitism is doing so well in Greece.

By the way. A big factor regarding the naming issue and other similar conflicts in North Greece is the fear that someone someday may find a legitimate way to change Greek borders, for example Macedonia encroaching into North Greece. Entirely irrational in my opinion.

Sakuma Drops 03-08-2011 10:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13548744)
Modern Greeks feel like they own that history. Alexander the Great is OURS, Macedonia is OURS. For you to want to name yourself Macedonian is removing my "pride". History is not objective business in Greece. I remember about ten years ago telling a much older woman (a doctor) about Washington DC government buildings. The first thing that she said was "Greek designs... all of it stolen" :smack:

Geez, you'd think people would be proud to see stuff built everywhere in the image of their culture. I mean, everywhere you look in this country there's a little Greek temple! CLEARLY we adore Greece and are demonstrating their obvious architectural superiority. Imitation really IS the sincerest form of flattery. :D

BrainGlutton 03-08-2011 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13548744)
I remember about ten years ago telling a much older woman (a doctor) about Washington DC government buildings. The first thing that she said was "Greek designs... all of it stolen" :smack:

What an idiot! American Federal architecture was stolen from the Romans! (Where they got it, who knows . . .)

Kyla 03-09-2011 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrainGlutton (Post 13548552)
Why? I mean, American schoolbooks are not full of anti-British propaganda.

EVERYONE in the Balkans hates the Turks (except the Turks, naturally, who are, as far as I can tell, totally oblivious about this). Bulgarians refer to the Ottoman occupation as the "Tursko Robstvo", which is usually translated as "Turkish Yoke". It took me awhile to parse this phrase, but it literally means "Turkish Slavery." It is extremely common to hear people talk about "when we were the slaves of the Turks," that sort of thing.

My Bulgarian teacher told me she'd gone to Turkey for the first time, and I asked her how it was. Now, she wasn't some sheltered xenophobic villager; she had lived abroad and is a pretty cosmopolitan person.

Her: Everywhere we went, when we told them where we were from, they called us "neighbor! neighbor!"*
Me: Oh, do Turks like Bulgarians, then?
Her: Of course they do, they like to come here and steal our land and rape our women and make us slaves.
Me: :eek:

*The Bulgarian word for "neighbor" is borrowed from Turkish (along with about a zillion other words), so they would have understood this easily. And when I went to Turkey, I generally told people I was from Bulgaria so they would know I was not wealthy, and I got the same "neighbor! neighbor!" treatment.

Really Not All That Bright 03-09-2011 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrainGlutton (Post 13548552)
Why? I mean, American schoolbooks are not full of anti-British propaganda.

That's more to do with the nature of propaganda in the US v. Europe than anything else.

Our schoolbooks are full of pro-American propaganda, like more or less everything taught about the War of 1812 (though less so today than 50 years past).

European propaganda tends to be more about rubbishing everyone else; ours is about talking up ourselves.

Polerius 03-09-2011 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrainGlutton (Post 13548552)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos
I was fed all that as much as all average children growing up in Greece. Our books had anti-Turkish propaganda . . .

Why? I mean, American schoolbooks are not full of anti-British propaganda.

This has got to be the weirdest question I've seen on the Dope in a while, and especially surprising coming from BrainGlutton.

Why do you think the US/British relationship is in any way comparable to the Greece/Turkey relationship?

Even if you look at the distant past, the relationship was different. But I think the main issue/differentiator is stuff that is going on in the present.

Does the UK routinely fly military jets into US air space against US's wishes? Do the UK and US have ongoing territorial disputes? Did the UK invade and occupy to this day a very close ally of the US?

Really Not All That Bright 03-09-2011 01:06 PM

Well, the UK is currently occupying much of Iraq, which is now technically a US ally. ;)

Polerius 03-09-2011 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 13550755)
European propaganda tends to be more about rubbishing everyone else; ours is about talking up ourselves.

Maybe what you say is true of US textbooks, but I think Americans are just as big on "rubbishing" everyone they are in conflict with. e.g. the Soviets when they were a threat, and the Arabs/Muslims they are in conflict with now.

Capitaine Zombie 03-09-2011 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13548744)
What I do know is that Greeks intensely identify with Palestinians and that Israeli Jews are seen as a type of oppressive overlord. Beyond that, I cannot entirely explain why anti-Semitism is doing so well in Greece.

That's weird, you'd think for people still hating Turkey, identifying themselves with Muslims over Westerners in a conflict would sound strange. Anything to do with the Turkey-Israel axis? Or is it because the Palestinian conflict can not help but remind them of their own struggles against Turkey?

P.S: BTW, Brainglutton , you said "Why? How many Jews are there in Greece today anyway?", that's weird. I dont think there's a direct relation between antisemitism and having a large Jewish pop.

Polerius 03-09-2011 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13547369)
For example consider a fake quote that was supposedly said by Kissinger in some kind of official meeting. This quote has been making the rounds for many years and is considered by many to be the final proof that the USA (and the Jews of course) are out to get us:
“The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame. For this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots: Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.”
This quote has been proven to be fake. The supposed primary source had no such quote. Finally, someone personally asked Kissinger if he had said such a thing. He denied it. Nevertheless this is still a popular quote and will probably be until the end of time.

[Bolding mine]
I agree that there are a lot of wacky conspiracy theories among Greeks, to an infuriating degree, but the above bolded statement is one of the funniest things I've read all week.

So, someone asked Kissinger if he said something inflammatory/controversial and he denied it? Case closed! It means he never said it!

(I'm not saying that he did make that statement, just the fact that he denies saying it doesn't prove anything)

Really Not All That Bright 03-09-2011 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polerius (Post 13550924)
Maybe what you say is true of US textbooks, but I think Americans are just as big on "rubbishing" everyone they are in conflict with. e.g. the Soviets when they were a threat, and the Arabs/Muslims they are in conflict with now.

Well, not really. Americans didn't rubbish the Soviets; they were terrified of them. It wasn't until after the Cold War that people figured that out.

Polerius 03-09-2011 01:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie (Post 13550950)
That's weird, you'd think for people still hating Turkey, identifying themselves with Muslims over Westerners in a conflict would sound strange. Anything to do with the Turkey-Israel axis? Or is it because the Palestinian conflict can not help but remind them of their own struggles against Turkey?

They see it as follows:
  • A US ally, Turkey, is occupying a weaker country, Cyprus, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment)
  • A US ally, Israel, is occupying a weaker country/people, Palestine/Palestinians, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment)
So, it's easy to see why Greeks would identify with Palestinians in the above conflict.

Polerius 03-09-2011 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright (Post 13551001)
Well, not really. Americans didn't rubbish the Soviets; they were terrified of them. It wasn't until after the Cold War that people figured that out.

Well, people usually rubbish people they are terrified of. Don't you think the current image Arabs/Muslims have in the US is a very bad one? And don't you think that that is due to the fact that Americans are terrified of them?

Capitaine Zombie 03-09-2011 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polerius (Post 13551018)
They see it as follows:
  • A US ally, Turkey, is occupying a weaker country, Cyprus, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment)
  • A US ally, Israel, is occupying a weaker country/people, Palestine/Palestinians, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment)
So, it's easy to see why Greeks would identify with Palestinians in the above conflict.

I totally doubt the identifying with Palestinians has anything to do with the Cyprus situation.

Pleonast 03-09-2011 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyla (Post 13550210)
EVERYONE in the Balkans hates the Turks (except the Turks, naturally, who are, as far as I can tell, totally oblivious about this). Bulgarians refer to the Ottoman occupation as the "Tursko Robstvo", which is usually translated as "Turkish Yoke". It took me awhile to parse this phrase, but it literally means "Turkish Slavery." It is extremely common to hear people talk about "when we were the slaves of the Turks," that sort of thing.

Fun fact of the day: that word is cognate to our word "robot".

Anisos 03-09-2011 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie (Post 13550950)
That's weird, you'd think for people still hating Turkey, identifying themselves with Muslims over Westerners in a conflict would sound strange. Anything to do with the Turkey-Israel axis? Or is it because the Palestinian conflict can not help but remind them of their own struggles against Turkey?

P.S: BTW, Brainglutton , you said "Why? How many Jews are there in Greece today anyway?", that's weird. I dont think there's a direct relation between antisemitism and having a large Jewish pop.

Greece has had an excellent relationship with the Arab world. Andreas Papandreou who was a prime minister in the 80s and 90s had very very close ties with Arafat, Qaddafi (ah… in retrospect…) and other Arab leaders. The critical distinction is not Greece VS muslims, it is Greece VS Turkey.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polerius (Post 13550973)
[Bolding mine]
I agree that there are a lot of wacky conspiracy theories among Greeks, to an infuriating degree, but the above bolded statement is one of the funniest things I've read all week.

So, someone asked Kissinger if he said something inflammatory/controversial and he denied it? Case closed! It means he never said it!

(I'm not saying that he did make that statement, just the fact that he denies saying it doesn't prove anything)

Ok… I suppose you can say that is the weaker of the available evidence. We all like to gang up on Kissinger about what an evil super villain he is, but when I see him talk about all the controversies he has been involved in he generally tries to explain them somehow in the context of the time, not merely deny he ever said anything. Of course you can correct me if I am wrong.

In any case, there is no evidence he has some indiscriminate anti-Greek grudge. If he was involved in “anti-Greek” actions it was under the umbrella of the indiscriminate anticommunism of the time.

Kyla 03-09-2011 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pleonast (Post 13551059)
Fun fact of the day: that word is cognate to our word "robot".

Mmmm...I think the cognate comes from the Czech word for "work", which is no doubt related. I don't speak Czech, but in Bulgarian it's "rabotya".

Really Not All That Bright 03-09-2011 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polerius (Post 13551029)
Don't you think the current image Arabs/Muslims have in the US is a very bad one? And don't you think that that is due to the fact that Americans are terrified of them?

Well, not exactly. I mean, it's not like the image is totally irrational. It's just unfortunate that Americans don't know anything about Arabs or Muslims in general, so they all get tarred with the same brush.

Mr. Excellent 03-09-2011 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pleonast (Post 13543949)
Well, the Greeks were calling themselves the Roman Empire for quite a long time, too.

Though in fairness, they really did earn that one. No one else was running old Roman political institutions, after all. (Though now and then some Italian bandit would try to be recognized as a nominal vassal of the Byzantine emperor.)

Acsenray 03-09-2011 01:51 PM

Not only were they calling their state the Roman Empire, they were calling themselves Romans (Rhomioi).

Tom Scud 03-09-2011 01:58 PM

On the Palestinian thing, there are a fair number[1] of Greek Orthodox[1] Christian Palestinians, which could have something to do with it.

Also, the Arabs (particularly Levantine Arabs) are totally down with the hating-on-the-Turks thing, which gives them something else in common.

[1] much fewer now in the Palestinian territories & Israel than there used to be, but still a fair number
[2] Technically, they just use "Orthodox"

Polerius 03-09-2011 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Capitaine Zombie (Post 13551058)
I totally doubt the identifying with Palestinians has anything to do with the Cyprus situation.

Do you have any evidence to support that? Have you lived in Greece/Cyprus, have Greek friends, are Greek, or something like that?

Polerius 03-09-2011 02:10 PM

Going back to the original question by the OP about Macedonia, I think the way some Greeks see it is, if a country with the name of Macedonia is created in that space, then somewhere down the line, in a century or more (or less), some nationalist movement of that country could make the claim that "We are Macedonia. Some of our land is under Greek control. We must liberate it and unite it with the rest of Macedonia"

Worrying about this too much today does look to be on the paranoid side, but it is not totally unlikely.

Of course, such a nationalist movement might occur no matter what the name of that country is, so it's not clear that worrying about the name is that important.

Polerius 03-09-2011 02:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Scud (Post 13551201)
On the Palestinian thing, there are a fair number[1] of Greek Orthodox[1] Christian Palestinians, which could have something to do with it.

I think the religion angle has nothing to do with it. I could even say that Greeks identify with the Palestinian cause despite the religion angle, not because of it.

Tom Scud 03-09-2011 02:14 PM

Come to think (and apologies for continuing a minihijack), in pretty much every country that borders Turkey and doesn't speak a Turkic language, they hate the Turks, with the possible exceptions of Iran and Georgia.

Little Nemo 03-09-2011 02:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 13548502)
You're probably referring to the very old history but Greece's recent history, say last 100 to 150 years, is a total mess. It starts really bad (Turkey), gets even worse (Germany, Italy, Bulgaria) and then ends up with a civil war where they were the first country West intervened to set it up as a front line in a Cold War. It's actually pretty screwed up history so one can perhaps understand some of the thinking behind Macedonia issue even though, in this time and age, it is totally not justified.

Greece did free itself from Turkish rule. They did as well as anyone in the Balkan Wars. They were on the right side of World War II and the Cold War so there's nothing they've got to revise there. And they successfully made the transition from autocratic monarchy to constitutional democracy.

Anisos 03-09-2011 02:44 PM

Regarding the reason why Greece is so pro-Palestinian. Palestinians are seen as weak underdogs which has struck a cord in Greece. As I said, Yasser Arafat was an ultra friend of Greece back in the day. Many of the Greek “anarchists” have been wearing palestinian scarfs for quite a while now, to such a degree that it has become part of their identity.

To a very large degree, the support for Palestinians was fed by the Greek left which sees itself as a champion of underdogs everywhere. Of course… that is not to say they did not support Serbia during the Kosovo conflict. Probably the bleakest page in recent Greek history.

Apropos…the recent fall out between Turkey and Israel has created a newly vacant niche for Greek-Israeli relationships. The Greek far-right has of course the “natural” anti-semitic tendencies, but it is rather comedic how the far-right is now doing whatever it can to convince the prime-minister to hasten signing deals with Israel.

Regarding the overall nature of recent Greek history. During its short existence Greece has managed to expand itself considerably, and was fortuitously on the right side during WWII. I say fortuitously because there was a dictatorship at the time. He could have chosen as he wished, and I can tell you that he had quite a bit of sympathy for Mussolini. It is always funny to me how out teachers would try to convince us that the Greeks said "NO" to Italy. It is not as if they voted... Nevertheless, Greeks did their share during WWII.

On the other hand, Greece experienced a humiliating defeat by Turkey at the very end of the 19th century (we never learn about that at school), and later after trying to play an ill-advised expansionist game deep in Turkey the plan seriously backfired resulting in the loss of Asia Minor, the post-WWII civil war robbed Greece of its brightest minds, and there was a 7 year junta in the end of the 60s until the mid 70s. The Cyprus issue is of course the most shameful part of all of this with no end in sight.

Thankfuly... Greece is now a democratic country without a royal family and a rather vibrant press that is extremely critical of the government without fear of prosecution.

Now... if there would be a separation of church and state...

Acsenray 03-09-2011 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13551428)
after trying to play an ill-advised expansionist game deep in Turkey the plan seriously backfired resulting in the loss of Asia Minor

What are you referring to here? I wonder if my understanding of the term "Asia Minor" is problematic. I understand to mean Anatolia, i.e., mainland Turkey. So it would seem to me that Greece "lost" Asia Minor a long, long time ago.

Quote:

The Cyprus issue is of course the most shameful part of all of this with no end in sight.
I understand that there is an ongoing dispute over whether North Cyprus should be an independent ethnically Turkish state. Where does the "shame" lie, in your view?

Quote:

Thankfuly... Greece is now a democratic country without a royal family
So you don't think that Greece would have been a successful constitutional monarchy, such as Britain, Spain, etc.?

newcomer 03-09-2011 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 13551293)
Greece did free itself from Turkish rule. They did as well as anyone in the Balkan Wars. They were on the right side of World War II and the Cold War so there's nothing they've got to revise there. And they successfully made the transition from autocratic monarchy to constitutional democracy.

Khm... "right side of the Cold War"... :rolleyes:

There are still people around who escaped Civil War in Greece 1946-49 instigated by US and UK - they would probably beg to differ.

But, I guess, that’s a whole different subject now.

Anisos 03-09-2011 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acsenray (Post 13551525)
What are you referring to here? I wonder if my understanding of the term "Asia Minor" is problematic. I understand to mean Anatolia, i.e., mainland Turkey. So it would seem to me that Greece "lost" Asia Minor a long, long time ago.



I understand that there is an ongoing dispute over whether North Cyprus should be an independent ethnically Turkish state. Where does the "shame" lie, in your view?



So you don't think that Greece would have been a successful constitutional monarchy, such as Britain, Spain, etc.?

I am referring to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-T...9%E2%80%931922)
I should have said that Greece lost its claim on Asia minor after that conflict. Greek borders did not change after that conflict.

The shame in the Cyprus question lies in how it was initially a Greek plan to get rid of Turks, while it is almost always presented as Turkish aggression by the Greek press.

Regarding the monarchy question, I am content that Greece has no monarchy of any kind.

Polerius 03-09-2011 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13551428)
On the other hand, Greece experienced a humiliating defeat by Turkey at the very end of the 19th century (we never learn about that at school)

Anisos, which defeat are you referring to here?

Anisos 03-09-2011 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polerius (Post 13551689)
Anisos, which defeat are you referring to here?

I am referring to this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Turkish_War_(1897)

Anisos 03-09-2011 04:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acsenray (Post 13551525)
So you don't think that Greece would have been a successful constitutional monarchy, such as Britain, Spain, etc.?

I didnt answer your question. I suppose we could have learned to stop worrying and love our foreign royals but I find it unlikely. Ok... not "foreign" because they had been around for a while.

Only in the far right do you find people who yearn for the king. The ex-king still tries to sell himself as the king of Greece (although he does not interfere almost at all with Greek issues), attends the royal weddings etc. There is enough trouble with the church intervening with secular issues, I cant imagine how it would be having the king and his cohorts around. Losing the royals was a deliverance as far as I am concerned.

Polerius 03-09-2011 04:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anisos (Post 13551600)
The shame in the Cyprus question lies in how it was initially a Greek plan to get rid of Turks, while it is almost always presented as Turkish aggression by the Greek press.

While I agree that the real story of what happened in Cyprus is much more complicated than what the Greeks had been taught, I think it is also much more complicated than what you are presenting here ("a Greek plan to get rid of Turks")

Some events that happened in the beginning-to-middle of the 20th century, e.g. Britain/Turkey effort to emphasize that Greeks & Turks cannot possibly get along, staging some forced riots in Istanbul to prove that, calling for taksim (division) as the only solution for Cyprus, starting from around 1930 I believe , all laid the groundwork for the events that happened later in the 20th century, which had both sides doing horrible stuff.

Here is an example
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The pogrom was triggered by Greece's appeal in 1954 to the United Nations to demand self-determination for Cyprus. Britain had the ruling mandate over the mostly ethnic Greek island, and wanted the Cyprus dispute to be resolved without being taken to the United Nations Security Council, where it could be problematically framed as an anti-colonialist struggle.[8][10] To this end, Britain diplomatically encouraged Turkey to agitate Greece.
...

The Istanbul Pogrom (also known as the Istanbul Riots or Constantinople Pogrom; Greek: Σεπτεμβριανά (Events of September); Turkish: 6–7 Eylül Olayları (Events of September 6–7)), was a pogrom directed primarily at Istanbul's Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955. The riots were orchestrated by the Turkish military's Tactical Mobilization Group, the seat of Operation Gladio's Turkish branch; the Counter-Guerrilla. The events were triggered by the news that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki, north Greece—the house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was born in 1881—had been bombed the day before.[3] A bomb planted by a Turkish usher of the consulate, who was later arrested and confessed, incited the events.

What's interesting about the self-planted bomb by the Turks, is that they used this exact same tactic in Cyprus, where a Turk bombed some Turkish office and that started a set of bloody riots by Turks blaming Greeks for the bomb. Rauf Denktash (the Turkish-Cypriot leader) admitted a few years ago that a Turk had set off the bomb, and that it was a strategic move.

Anyway, the situation is hardly "the Turks were the sole aggressors" or "the Greeks were the sole aggressors". It's quite complicated, as you are undoubtedly aware.

Anisos 03-09-2011 04:55 PM

Yes, that is fair Polerius, I did not mean to be unfair to the Greek side and I of course do not support the separation in any way. Nevertheless I am profoundly annoyed that the Greek side is not prepared to assume its responsibilities.

Dissonance 03-09-2011 05:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Polerius (Post 13551018)
They see it as follows:
  • A US ally, Turkey, is occupying a weaker country, Cyprus, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment)
  • A US ally, Israel, is occupying a weaker country/people, Palestine/Palestinians, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment)
So, it's easy to see why Greeks would identify with Palestinians in the above conflict.

That would be a rather bizarre position to take seeing that a US ally, Greece, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment) would be taking it.

Little Nemo 03-09-2011 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newcomer (Post 13551567)
Khm... "right side of the Cold War"... :rolleyes:

There are still people around who escaped Civil War in Greece 1946-49 instigated by US and UK - they would probably beg to differ.

But, I guess, that’s a whole different subject now.

Considering the conflict between the left and the right started while Greece was still under Axis occupation, it's hard to see how the British and the Americans could have instigated it. Especially the Americans as we didn't get involved in the war until well after it had begun.

As for which side of the Cold War was the right side - it wasn't the one being led by Joseph Stalin.

Polerius 03-09-2011 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dissonance (Post 13552114)
That would be a rather bizarre position to take seeing that a US ally, Greece, with backing from the US (political backing and military equipment) would be taking it.

I think Greeks don't feel that they have any political backing from the US. In most disputes with Turkey, it is taken as a fact that the US leans more to the Turkish position than the Greek position, mainly due to the strategic geopolitical location of Turkey, which is much more important to US national interests than Greece is.

During the Cold War, Turkey was bordering the Soviet Union, and so was very useful, and today, Turkey borders Iran/Iraq, which is very useful in today's world.

So, while technically allies, I don't think most Greeks feel that much support from or connection to the US.

(Also, I think Turkey and Israel receive *much* more money in aid each year than Greece does, so that also may make them feel that they are not as buddy-buddy with the US as Turkey and Israel are)

ruadh 03-27-2011 02:38 AM

Just as an interesting addendum to this thread: at the Ireland-Macedonia Euro 2012 qualifier last night, the Macedonian fans were holding a banner that said "One Name - One Nation".

PastTense 01-12-2019 02:46 AM

Updating this thread:
Quote:

Macedonia’s parliament passed an amendment to the constitution on Friday to rename the country Republic of North Macedonia in line with an agreement with Greece to put an end to a 27-year-old dispute.

The two countries struck the deal on the new name in June, but Macedonia will start using it only after the parliament in Athens also ratifies the agreement.

Eighty-one deputies in the 120-seat parliament voted in favour. Representatives of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE, who opposed the agreement with Greece, boycotted the vote.

“A new historical chapter in our statehood has been written this evening,” the Macedonian government said in a statement. “It makes absolutely plausible two of our biggest state interests - membership in Nato and EU.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ccept-new-name

clairobscur 01-16-2019 04:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrainGlutton (Post 13533472)
My guess is, from the way things always go in the Balkans and especially in the last 20 years, the Greeks are afraid an independent state of Macedon bordering on their own province of Macedon implies an irredentist territorial claim down the road. That's what nationalism is all about . . .

If only it was that! At least it would made a shred of sense. But no. Since the collapse of Yugoslavia, Greeks have been a massive pain about this issue, simply because they can't stand that a neighboring state claims the name of the country of origin of their great national hero and Macedonian historical heritage. That's nationalism, but at an even vastly lower level than you guessed.

clairobscur 01-16-2019 04:59 AM

OK, once again, posted first and realized later that everything has been covered years ago. Sorry.


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