ACTION ALERT: Support Macedonia’s Struggle Against Greece’s Intransigence

November 8, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – Today, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) announced a special media campaign to support Macedonia’s struggle against Greece’s intransigence.  Through this campaign, UMD hopes to draw the attention of newspaper/magazine editors throughout the United States about Greece’s high-dollar propaganda war against Macedonia during the last twenty years. 

This year, Macedonia celebrated its 20th Anniversary since Independence.  The Macedonian people’s path to independence was a long one.  In 1991, their dream came true.  However, since then the path has not been easy.  In 1992, Greece put an economic embargo on Macedonia lasting 3 years draining its entire economy.  Macedonia was forced to agree to be referred to as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” at the United Nations and had to change its national flag to appease Greece, an EU and NATO member.  Twenty years since independence, Greece is still causing problems for Macedonia’s future.  Greece is blocking Macedonia’s EU and NATO membership. 

UMD believes the international community cannot keep silent anymore.  Macedonia and Macedonians deserve a voice around the world. 

UMD invites all Macedonian-Americans and American friends of Macedonia to join UMD’s action campaign to bring awareness about the battle Macedonia is facing, and urge public support for Macedonia’s struggle against Greece’s intransigence.  Macedonians around the world can also get involved by copying the letter below and sending it to their local newspaper and/or magazine. 

Click HERE to send your letter to the editor of your local newspapers and magazines.  Please enter your zip code, select five publications, fill in your contact details and click “send message.”

The campaign is managed through Capwiz and was provided to UMD by the Turkish Coalition of America, which has been a strong supporter of UMD’s work on Macedonia since 2008.

A copy of the letter, which will be sent to the editors, can be found below:

Dear Editor,

It has been 20 years since the Republic of Macedonia peacefully declared independence on September 8, 1991. During all of that time, the country has endured an unprecedented propaganda war from Greece, including an objection to Macedonia’s name. Thankfully, more than 130 countries, including the United States, Canada, Britain, India, China, and Russia, have ignored Greece, and recognized Macedonia under its rightful and constitutional name. But Athens continues to undermine Macedonia’s stability and economic development, in part by blocking Macedonia’s membership in international organizations.

The Greek government’s pretext is an accusation of “irredentist” claims. Imagine tiny Macedonia, population 2 million, invading Greece, its largest trading partner, population 11 million, a NATO and EU member-state, with a military more than forty times in size. Time and again, the Macedonian government has acquiesced to a long list of hostile Greek demands related to this, everything from altering the Macedonian constitution to replacing the national flag. Yet, these gestures were in vain, and they only led the Greek negotiators to seek new demands. In 2008, Greece leveraged its “name dispute” strategy to veto Macedonia’s entry into NATO, and then in 2009, the EU.

Now, Athens seeks to dictate not only Macedonia’s name, but also the contents of its schoolbooks, and the kinds of symbols it uses. The root cause of the entire controversy, however, is domestic Greek politics. The Greek state regularly denies basic human rights to its numerous ethnic minorities, including the large, unrecognized Macedonian minority in northern Greece. The government in Athens uses the names dispute with Macedonia to distract the world community, so it can justify its domestic behavior of not recognizing national minorities, even if that means sabotaging Euro-Atlantic integration of the Balkans.

Macedonia’s only recourse is to appeal to some sense of justice in the international community, while peacefully pursuing its destiny as a sovereign state, including its right to self-determination, and the freedom to develop its culture, economy, and security. However, it is in the best interests of everyone involved for Greece to finally recognize and respect its domestic minorities, while dropping the propaganda war against Macedonia. The Macedonian people deserve basic respect and dignity, no matter on which side of the border they live. The Greek people deserve an honest government that fosters peace, cooperation and responsibility, at home and abroad.

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UMD Needs Your Financial Support to Continue Fighting for Macedonia and Macedonian Causes

Become a member today, or if already a member renew by clicking here: http://umdiaspora.org/content/view/521/1/ (Canadians should click here to donate after reading the UMDiaspora.org link: http://www.canadahelps.organd type in “United Macedonian Diaspora” in the search box.)

Make a pledge to donate $20 a month for a year ($20 for 20 years of Macedonia’s independence) by clicking here: https://web.memberclicks.com/mc/quickForm/viewForm.do?orgId=umd&formId=69654 (Canadians for tax-deduction, please click here; http://www.canadahelps.organd type in “United Macedonian Diaspora in the search box.)