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Thread: FYROMania!

  1. #1
    Gadjodilo
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    Default FYROMania!

    Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

    Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?

  2. #2
    Politics.ie Member rockofcashel's Avatar
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    Jaysus I don't know.

    That'll keep me from my sleep now, so it will
    1,197 people agree with me.. how many agree with you ?

  3. #3
    Gadjodilo
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockofcashel
    Jaysus I don't know.

    That'll keep me from my sleep now, so it will
    Sorry.

    Think of it like a (mooted) Independent Republic of Ulster implying a claim on Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan.



    Hey, maybe those Greeks have point!

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    Default Re: FYROMania!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadjodilo
    Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

    Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
    The 'problem' is that of the Slavs seeking to co-opt the name of a Greek province for their nation.
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    Default Re: FYROMania!

    Quote Originally Posted by JCSkinner
    Quote Originally Posted by Gadjodilo
    Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

    Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
    The 'problem' is that of the Slavs seeking to co-opt the name of a Greek province for their nation.
    We all know that your [sub]standard of education is atrocious - no need to remind! But still you do, unfortunately.

    Just for your enlightenment. "Macedonia" is not a name of "Greek province", it is first of all a geographical term that referred to the territory occupied once by a proud nation of Macedonians. At some point Macedonians have conquered the whole of Greece and big chunks of Asia too (Alexander the Great, anyone?). Still, there are some undeniable facts:

    1. Ancient Macedonians were not Greeks (ancient authors refer to their language as "barbarous"), although they have succumed to Greek cultural pull pretty fast after conquering her. Obviously, Macedonians were not Slavs either

    2. Neither Greek province of Macedonia, nor the territory of FYROM equates with the territory of Ancient Macedonia as it was those two both together + huge swathes of other territories as far as modern Greek-Alban border

    3. Whatever Greeks say they are not direct heirs of Macedonians neither are Slavs.

    So what we have here in reality - a preposterious name calling by two sides both of which are actually wrong. It is ridiculous to try to prove the link between modern Macedonians and ancient Macedonians (as some now try in FYROM), although it is obvious that some genetic stock of FYROM citizens comes from ancient Macedonians
    On the other hand Greece's alleged anxieties are really childish - no one is basing territorial claims based on name. Macedonians (as understood in 20-21st centuries) is someone speaking Slavic language and there are none of those in the Greek Macedonia, so if there were any claims they would be dismissed rightaway.

    However, what is at stake - the national myth propelled by Greeks how they had an Empire. It is funny, but the Greeks sincerely believe in this, although any scholar of history would acknowledge that ancient Greek were no natural empire-builders, on the countrary - they were very individualistic and at constant wars among themselves (like perennial Athens vs Sparta thing).
    Gaelainn na Mumhan abú!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: FYROMania!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gadjodilo
    Does anyone know what is Greece's problem? So they have a province called Macedonia. There is also a country people generally refer to as Macedonia or F.Y.R.O.M. (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The Greeks claim that allowing the Macedonians to call their country 'Macedonia' (!) implies a claim on their province - even though the Macedonians deny this.

    Does Greece have a justifiable concern or are they just using this issue to deflect domestic attention from economic problems such as government plans to reform pensions and the strikes that have been paralysing the country in recent days?
    This has been going on since the disbandment of Yugoslavia. I lived and worked in Greece from 1994 to 1997 and spent my first year there as an English teacher in a small village high up in the Grammos mountains literally on the Albanian/Macedonian/Greek border and on the internal border between the Greek provinces of Epirus and Macedonia - and once I got my head around the language (it was total immersion - apart from one retired sailor -the nearest other English speaker was 5 hours and hundred miles away down on the Macedonian plains) I got a crash course in Greek and Balkan history - now I must admit now that I did the classics in Uni so I had a pretty good grounding the ancient Greek history and culture.

    Where to start? - well first off the French "Macedoine" salad is well named (bit of everything and all mixed up) . The balkans is irridentalism run riot and FYROM is the central fault line. this has been going for thousands of years but its really the crumbling of the Ottoman empire in the latter half of the 19th century is most relevant to our discussion here.

    As the Ottoman empire crumbled - Greece, Romania, then Serbia followed by Bulgaria had become independent by 1878 and the remaining Ottoman lands in Europe and considerable part of Asia Minor were being coveted by these newly independent and reconstituted nations. It also resurrected all the territorial claims of these nations going back to time immemorial.If you took the border lines of each claim and drew them on a transparency and placed them on top of each other you would see how insanely crazy it all was.

    The Greeks wanted to return to the borders of the Byzantine Empire circa 1200 AD - all of now current Greece, European Turkey including Instanbul(Constantinople) and the Black sea and Aegean Coasts of current day Turkey and of course Cyprus. This ambition underwrote all the foreign policy and military adventures of the Greek state until 1923 and the Smryna Castastrophe when the newly resurgent Turks under Attaturk drove the Greek army and populations of Asia Minor quite literally into the sea at Smryna (Izmir) and the resulting peace treaty, ethnic cleansing and massive population exchanges finished the Megalo idee (the Great Idea of a greater Greece) forever.

    The Serbs wanted to return to their great empire that they had before 1389 and the disaster on Kosovo fields - which included FYROM and the current Greek provinces of Macedonia ,Thrace and Epirus - even tho they only held them for about 20 years!

    The Bulgarians and the Greeks fought over 3 wars over the area of Greek Macedonia,FYROM and Thrace in the space of 20 years at the turn of the century as all the Balkan nations coveted Salonika (Thessaloniki) as the port on the Med and it became part of the Great Game with the Brits backing the Greeks and propping up the Ottomans and the Russians were behind the Buglarians.

    So - are you still with me here - So where the F do the Macedonians or FYROMers come into all of this and what is responsible for the current tete a tete with the Greeks>

    Well - its like this. Its all Titos fault! - kind of! -

    For the Greeks - the nub of the problem is over the name - not the territory - and they might have a point here. As far as the Greeks are concerned the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, like the Thebians, Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans... you get the drift - they were part of the Greek world and spoke greek- well their elites did - the rest of the pop is not known - the heart of Macedon was the southern Vardar valley and its capital was Aegae which is in the current Greek province of Macedonia. It is arguable that as the kingdom of Philip and Alexander waxed and waned through antiquity Im sure the borders advanced and contracted up and down the Vardar valley - the northern part of which is the heart of FYROM as it passes thru the capital Skopje- so it could be argued that this area could be called Macedon - buts its extremely debatable.

    Now fast forward to 1945/48 - Tito, in the process of organising his federated republic of Yugoslavia -had a problem with the rump end of his dominions - all the others were pretty clearcut - but that area down the south mostly populated by largely ethnic Albanians and Slavs who spoke what could arguably be called a dialect of Bulgarian, and a smattering of cast adrift Turks, Greek communists refugees from that countries bloody civil war , Bulgars and Vlacs. He decided to call it the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia - probably for want of a better word and to quell the irridentalist ambitions of the Albanians and the Bulgarians.

    Now during the deep freeze of the Cold War it was not a issue of discussion or interest outside late night drunken scheming over bottles of plum brandy and the ramblings of dreamers and the nostalgic. One thing that did happen in this time that would have major consequences was that Greek archeologists made a major find in Macedonia when they found, what is pretty much agreed universally, the burial site of the kings of Macedon and their finds can be seen the National Museum in Athens and also in Thessaloniki. One major piece they found became known is the star of Vergina *- named after the current Greek Village which stands over the site and the Vergina Sun -as it is called - became the symbol of Greek Macedonia.

    Now - When Yugoslavia broke up in 1991 - FYROM became independent and amid all the excitement , all those old nationalist feelings and territorial ambitions started to bubble up to the surface again - the new leaders of this, lets be honest about it, makey uppy state - decided they would have to undertake a bit of nation building and myth invention and a national story is vital to this- otherwise there was a fair chance the state would fall apart . So they decided to call the state Macedonia, take the Vergina Sun as their national symbol and put it on their new flag and come up with this story that they were descended from the line of Philip and Alexander of Macedon - which of course is complete bull - would be like George Bush claiming Pochahontas as his ancestor. In their excitement some of the more extremist politicians in the state started to wonder about reclaiming Greek Macedonia to make the state "unitary and whole" and make it economically viable with a port on the Med.

    Understandably the Greeks went completely mental over this - its was a insult to the Greek nation etc etc and they forced the UN to refuse recognition until the name Macedonia was changed to FYROM and they finally forced the FYROMers to drop the Vergina Sun from the Flag in 95 and thats basically the story.

    There has been an uneasy peace between the two since then - but the suspicion has remained - if any of you out there have spend any significant time in the Balkans or the middle east - you will understand the expression "the Plot" that outside forces are always messing around with the nations in the area and are always backing that nations bitterest rival in some irridentalists or ethnic squabble or historical grievance real or imagined.

    As regards the FYROM situation - it would be like(Im exaggerating here!) Northern Ireland declaring independence tomorrow , calling itself Ulster and taking the Ulster flag or the Flag of St Patrick as their national symbol - Its economic and political effect on everyday realities might be insignificant - but I'd hate to be the editor of the the letters page in the dailies or a mod on a site like this!

    Hell - it may seem as insignificant as a hill of beans - The Greeks have their economic foot on the Macedonians throat at anytime they wish - 90% of FYROMs trade goes out through Thessaloniki and Greeks are the biggest investors in FYROM - but when did a bit of emotional nationalism and symbolism ever get in the way of the facts and realityof now - Look at the number of threads and the length of threads on this site arguing over and over again dead history and symbolism like flowers etc etc.?

    *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergina

    Further reading - anything by the Great Misha Glenny on the Balkans and also Kaplans "Balkan Ghosts" is to be recommended too.

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    Default Re: FYROMania!

    Quote Originally Posted by Edo
    . As far as the Greeks are concerned the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, like the Thebians, Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans...
    It all started so well, and ended with a puff Macedonians WERE NOT Greeks, if they were - there weren't any acrimonious disputes now. And 100% they were not like "Thebaians, Athenians etc" Greekness of whom is well established and not disputed.
    So they decided to call the state Macedonia
    You are full of Greek propaganda. What do you mean "they decided"? What was their name before? Were there any OTHER options?
    Gaelainn na Mumhan abú!

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    Default Re: FYROMania!

    Quote Originally Posted by LTGuy
    Quote Originally Posted by Edo
    . As far as the Greeks are concerned the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, like the Thebians, Athenians, Corinthians, Spartans...
    It all started so well, and ended with a puff Macedonians WERE NOT Greeks, if they were - there weren't any acrimonious disputes now. And 100% they were not like "Thebaians, Athenians etc" Greekness of whom is well established and not disputed.
    So they decided to call the state Macedonia
    You are full of Greek propaganda. What do you mean "they decided"? What was their name before? Were there any OTHER options?
    Oh chill out there will ya - I said " as far as the Greeks are concerned....." - I think the whole fecking lots of yis are mental in that part of the world - digging and digging and using this "historical" "Fact" and that "Historical Fact" to justify this claim and that - And I include the Greeks most wholehearthedly in that too - revisonism gone mad

    Yes thats a good question - what was the area known as Macedonia called down through history-

    Well the area of FYROM would be divided between the Roman provinces of Macedonia (which included all of Greece down to Corinth), Moesia and Thracia from 146BC to up to 395AD - after that all bets are off as the area became part of the Byzantine, Serbian, Bulgarian states and were swopped around as often - under the ottomans the area was again divided up between the eaylets of Macedonia (which roughly corresponds to Greek Macedonia),bulgaria and Serbia

    All I was arguing is that to try and conjecture that to call FYROM Macedonia - when its really only half the Roman province of Macedonia and to try and come up with a connection with Ancient Macedon is really pushing it given all population movements and divisions and waxing and waning of all the kingdoms and empires - its kind of like saying the Greeks are pure descendents of the Ancient Greeks which is total bollox aswell - not to mention the Irish

    All the nations there are trying to come up with exclusive version of history and ethnicity that flies completely in the face of the reality of Europe as a big miss mash of different tribes and migrations intermingling.

    the only nation I know that have any right to do this are the Japanese -even tho repugnant - they do have a point. To this in congested Europe is utter nonsense.


    "propoganda" - the cheapest insult in the that part of the world when somebody might have a slightly different view that your own - normally when the actual facts are a heck of alot more complicated and complex than the standard histories taught in all the various nation states

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    Two posts on the thread. One ad hominem attack and one bald statement of 'you're wrong' to a lengthy, pensive, balanced and well-analysed post.
    Of all the barrel-scrapers on this site, you're consistently among the worst, LT.
    If you have an argument, present it. Of course, you don't have an argument. You just want one. Well, I'm not going to oblige. My lenten promise is to give up debating with those incapable of doing so.
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    An exclusive feature of some challenged (fka as handicapped) persons on this board is that they don't even realize when the argument is presented in front of their nose. Please, JCSkinner, GO AWAY if you don't have a hint about the topic discussed.
    Gaelainn na Mumhan abú!

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