UMDiaspora sent a letter to the President of the Hellenic Republic, His Excellency, President Karolos Papoulias regarding his recent “invitation to all those disputing the Hellenic character of Macedonia to visit the findings unearthed by archaeological excavations in Vergina.” News article regarding President Papoulias’ invitation may be found at http://www.mpa.gr/article.html?doc_id=551808
His Excellency, President Karolos Papoulias
c/o His Excellency, Ambassador Alexandros P. Mallias
Embassy of Greece
2221 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
VIA FACSIMILE: (202) 939-1324
We are writing in reference to your recent “invitation to all those disputing the Hellenic character of Macedonia to visit the findings unearthed by archaeological excavations in Vergina.” The United Macedonian Diaspora is not disputing the authenticity of the archeological excavations in Vergina. But can you explain to us what they have to do with modern state sponsored racial, national origin, and religious discrimination in modern Greece? Are you implying that because the ancient Macedonians shared a similar architecture with the ancient city-states that the Macedonians were Greek? Are you implying that because the ancient Macedonian royal court utilized the international ancient Koine language with the city-states that the Macedonians were Greek?
What exactly did you mean when you said you are issuing an “invitation to all those disputing the Hellenic character of Macedonia to visit the findings unearthed by archaeological excavations in Vergina?” This does not justify racism or ethnic discrimination by your government.
Your Excellency, you can find buildings with Athenian architecture in the United States today. However, this does not mean all Americans are Greek. You will also find Latin inscriptions on those same buildings. This does not mean all Americans are Romans.
If the ancient Macedonians shared some common elements with the neighboring ancient city-states, then this does not automatically make them kin. In fact, there is evidence reinforcing the notion that the ancient Greeks and the ancient Macedonians were two separate cultures and nations. Therefore, we respectfully ask, how are these ancient excavations, at all, germane to the modern inequities of the current Greek government?
It is well known, Your Excellency, that modern Greece was created for the first time in 1829. It is also public knowledge that modern Greece invaded, occupied and, with its partners Serbia and Bulgaria, partitioned Macedonia circa 1912-1913. The fact is, Your Excellency, that Macedonia was never Greek before the 1912-1913 invasion and occupation.
The United Macedonian Diaspora invites you to explain the Hellenic character of Macedonia and what it has to do with contemporary Greek state sponsored racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination today?
Specifically, how do you justify the current Greek Government’s state sponsored racial, national origin, and religious discrimination against Greek citizens of Macedonian national origin; especially, as a member state to the European Union and the Council of Europe? The express bold faced discrimination by your government was recently acknowledged by the European Court of Human Rights in their decisions holding that: 1) there is a Macedonian minority in Greece, and 2) that the Macedonian people are the continuous victims of Greek and Bulgarian state sponsored discrimination. The findings of the Court are consistent with findings of the United Nations, of the United States Department of State, and of various independent human rights agencies worldwide.
Your Excellency, do you not believe that it is time for the Greek Government to face reality and recognize that the ancient Macedonian heritage belongs to the Macedonians? This Macedonian heritage also belongs to the same tortured and discriminated Macedonians who today live in Greece without even the most basic human rights, especially the right to speak their own Macedonian language.
As you are well aware, Your Excellency, after the Balkan Wars in 1913 Greece annexed a large portion of Macedonia. Nonetheless, the Republic of Macedonia has never demanded border changes, nor does it object to the use of the name “Makedonia” to designate the Northern Province in Greece. With that said, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for Greece to maintain it has the exclusive rights to the Macedonian name. Greece is Greece and Macedonia is Macedonia.
Your Excellency, we anticipate you will exhibit wisdom, courage and good will in recognizing, without delay, the Macedonian minority in your country. We urge you to stop interfering in the affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, and recognize our country by its constitutional name. We urge you to grant full and equal rights for all citizens born in Greece, despite their race, ethnicity, or religion.
Your Excellency, this is the 21st century and we need to think progressively toward the future. Let us bury the past and continue to build long standing relations between these two neighboring countries that share common interests in economic prosperity, religion, and peace in the region.
United Macedonian Diaspora