Macedonia is Macedonian

Issue 

Macedonia is Macedonian

In a disgraceful display of opportunism, politicians from both Liberal and Labor parties are scrambling to support a chauvinist campaign whipped up by the Greek government against independence for the formerly Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

The reason for this opportunism is all too obvious: there are a lot of Greek voters and not so many Macedonian voters. Wealthy elements of the Greek community in Australia have taken out large newspaper advertisements claiming "Macedonia is Greek", and there have been large rallies in Melbourne and Sydney supporting this view.

The advertisements claim Slavic Macedonia was invented by Yugoslav Communist president Josip Broz Tito, and the existence of such a nation "has never been supported ... even by an obscure mention ... from antiquity until today".

Perhaps the editors of the Encyclopaedia Britannica are part of this communist plot, though we doubt it. Discussing the Bulgarian language, they say it was "based originally on a Macedonian dialect". They add that "the modern Macedonian language" is spoken by "more than 1,000,000 people in Yugoslavia and Greece" and it was "the last Slavic language to attain a standard literary form".

The fact is, a Slavic Macedonian nation does exist, though the Greek government has long attempted to deny this and has treated its Macedonian minority very badly, denying it the right to education in its own language and attempting to eliminate its culture. In doing so the Greek government undoubtedly violates human rights requirements of the European Community. This is one of the reasons so many Macedonians from Greece have chosen migration, including to Australia.

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