Blog Letter to US Vice President & Secretary of State by Pan-Macedonian Association USA.

Letter to US Vice President & Secretary of State by Pan-Macedonian Association USA.

Posted by Author on in Blog 49

February 14, 2011

To: Vice-President Joe Biden
The White House & Secretary of State Hillary Clinton State Department of USA

Dear Mr. Vice-President,
Dear Madam Secretary of State,

We are writing to you on behalf of all members of the Pan-Macedonian  Association USA, one of the largest Greek-American associations in the  United States in anticipation to the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav  Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Mr. Gruevski's visit to the United States. We  have also read the letter of the nineteen Representatives urging President  Obama to encourage our allies to offer the FYROM a formal invitation to  become a member of the NATO alliance at the November 2010 NATO Summit in  Lisbon. This letter, dated October 1, 2010 stressed that "Macedonia has met  all the criteria for membership in NATO." and "Although Macedonia is not a  member of NATO, its contributions to peace, democracy, stability and  security in Southeast Europe and elsewhere make it clear that Macedonia is a  close US ally and has been acting as a de facto NATO member for some time."  [1]

The attempt to encourage the President was not successful, but keeping this  attempt in mind and in advance of Nikola Gruevski's visit to Washington  D.C. , we would like to highlight why Skopje is not ready to be a serious  NATO member yet. The FYROM has not been capable to...
 meet and sustain NATO's  four criteria in contrast to what members of the U.S. Congress claim. It is not just our opinion, but also the opinion of scholars with experience in  such matters: Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice-President of the Cato Institute  states: "It is mystery why NATO supporters cling to the notion that adding  small, militarily insignificant allies makes the alliance stronger and more  capable. It is an even greater mystery why opinion leaders in the U.S.  foreign policy community believe that such allies benefit the security and  well being of America. The opposite is true. Such NATO members are  strategic liabilities, not assets, and many of them bring with them political, diplomatic, and military baggage that could prove very  troublesome for the United States ". [2]

As you well know, in order for the Security of the Alliance to avoid  jeopardy, NATO membership requires the achievement of political and military  preconditions, which all candidate members have to meet before they become  members without discounts. As a result, the aforementioned statement of the  U.S. Representatives is incorrect. The ability to make a militarycontribution to the alliance is one of the preconditions to NATO membership  however it is only one of the preconditions that the candidate country has  to meet before it gains NATO membership. The remaining preconditions are:  Treatment of minority populations in accordance with democratic governance,  a functioning democratic political system, and democratic civil-military  relations.

Firstly, treatment of minorities is a major human rights issue that  the FYROM has not met yet. It took a war with the Albanian minority to  establish minority rights via the Ohrid Agreement, which the government of  that country keeps obstructing instead of implementing thereby turning  members of minorities into second class citizens in their own country. It is  clear that there are increasingly more divisions between ethnic Albanians  and the FYROM's Slavic majority. As a result, the two communities do not  talk to each other, do not learn each other's language, do not allow their  children to play together, learn history differently, and end up intensely  resenting each other. The problem with minority rights is not exclusive to  the ethnic Albanians though. According to the most recent census, only  62.5% of the population of the FYROM consider themselves "Macedonians" while  the largest minority of the multiethnic state is the Albanian (25%).

European Union member Bulgaria has increasingly expressed concern over the  rights of Bulgarians and Bulgarian Associations that have been harassed in  the FYROM for promoting their identity. Additionally, we note with deep  interest that during the aforementioned census it was not allowed that  anyone identified himself/herself as Greek. How large then is the Greek  minority in the FYROM? It is uncertain but according to Dr. Michael  Chrysanthopoulos in his book, The Macedonia File - The Greek Minority in the  FYROM Under Bondage: "An undeniably large Greek community lived and  flourished in the past in the current neighboring country...it still exists  under indescribably difficult conditions...frightened by the brutal regime  under which they live..." [3]. In the same manner we do wish to cite the  first president of the FYROM, Kiro Gligorov, when he stated to the Czech  newspaper Cesky Denik in 1993 that there were officially 100,000 Greeks  living in his country [4].

Secondly, if with a "functioning democratic political system" one means only  elections, then the FYROM has met the requirements. However, in a democratic  system everyone has the right to have his/her own beliefs, including their  religious beliefs, and to be free to say and write what they think.  Unfortunately, freedom of speech and non-attribution are unknown in the  universities of the FYROM, including the Institute of National History . It  is because Macedonism is protected under the FYROM Criminal Law Articles  #178 and #179, while academic research is limited only to government  projects and is under government guidance according to Article 6 of the Law  on Scientific Research Activity [5]. Freethinking is not only against the  law in the FYROM - it is an unknown and unthinkable matter. The present  government has closed TV stations and newspapers, and has sent their owners  and editors to prison. Even the Church has not been left alone. Archbishop  Jovan VI, the legitimate leader of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric under  the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate, is not recognized by the FYROM State  Religious Commission because it only recognizes the internationally  unrecognized schismatic "Macedonian Orthodox Church". Therefore, Archbishop  Jovan is in and out of prison, is held under forged manufactured charges and  false witnesses, and frequently exiles himself fearing for his life. These  are but a few examples of what freedom of speech in the FYROM means. One  that follows the FYROM Press is very familiar with these cases.

Finally, we would like to focus on what the FYROM's irredentist official  policies mean for Greeks and Greece. How is it possible that the  Representatives who cosigned the letter do not see anything wrong with  irredentist maps of Greater " Macedonia " permanently hanging on walls in the  classrooms of the FYROM school system? We cannot believe that it has been acceptable to them to see the FYROM Diaspora carry the same maps while they  parade through the streets of various cities of the world, depicting a  unified Macedonia turned into a Slavic state under their Slavic culture and  language. Such maps and slogans boldly state: "Solun [ Thessaloniki , Greece ]  will be the Capital of Macedonia again!" But Thessaloniki is the Capital of  the region of Macedonia in Greece . The question is why they say "again?"  When exactly Thessaloniki was the Capital of a Slavic dominated Macedonia as  they like it to be? That alone states their ignorance of history. How could  anyone expect the Greeks to feel when they see statues of Greeks erected in  the FYROM, when structures and streets are renamed to reflect Greek heroes  and historical figures but adapted as Slavs, and maps depicting a "united  Macedonia " under Skopje 's rule? The FYROM's official hostile propaganda has  aggravated Greece and has especially angered us Macedonians worldwide, as we  see our identity and heritage being usurped. Current irredentist propaganda,  threats, and vicious revisionism of Greek history by the FYROM's leadership  have especially injured relations between Greeks everywhere and FYROM's  Slavic people.

We are dismayed by the fact that in August 2010, two months before the 19  Representatives signed the letter to the President, the "Turkish Coalition  of America", and the "United Macedonian Diaspora" (UMD) sponsored a trip to  the FYROM for 18 US Representatives promoting NATO membership [6, 7]. We  feel that this blatant example of foreign-interested lobby groups that  influence American politicians by providing trips is nothing short of  realpolitik and propaganda.

We would like to highlight the fact that the UMD is associated with  Maknews.com, an internet website serving the FYROM Diaspora and is based in  Toronto , Canada . Maknews.com frequently engages in virulent racist hate  speech against Greeks, Albanians, Bulgarians, and anyone who opposes  Macedonism. This is unacceptable and should raise eyebrows. We are sure that  if the 18 or 19 American politicians knew of this, they would not have been  so eager to be sponsored by the UMD and support its causes. It is almost  surreal that we have to encounter such incidents in the 21st Century.

As American citizens who love this country of ours and who appreciate our  ancestry that was a forerunner of our American experiment, we are very  concerned with such developments in the Balkans, especially the dangers that  a miniscule state is causing to the wider area. The FYROM needs to truly  become a contributor to peace, democracy, stability and security in  Southeast Europe first. It needs to solve all its problems with its own  minorities, its neighbors, especially with Greece on the name issue, and  then join NATO, the EU etc. Domestic instability, irredentist upbringing,  and scapegoating of neighbors and minorities do not contribute to the
Regional Stability, the Western Alliance, or the Security of the United  States . If the FYROM does not change its attitude, the harmony among NATO  members will surely be affected because the FYROM's problems with all of its
neighbors will become NATO's internal problems
.

Sincerely,

Dr. Antonios Papadopoulos
Demitris Chatzis

Supreme President
Supreme Secretary

Paul Kotrotsios
President of Hellenic American National Council (HANC)

Cc: Senator Olympia Snow
Senator Robert Menendez
Hellenic Caucus Representatives

1) http://umdiaspora.org/images/MacedoniaNATOCongressLtrtoObama.pdf. Last
accessed February 8, 2011.
2) Balkan Tensions and the Future of NATO -Presentation at the 64th
Pan-Macedonian Convention, May 29, 2010

3) Chrysanthopoulos MS, The Macedonia File, The Greek Minority in the FYROM
Under Bondage. (Original Greek by Kadmos Publishing 2006 ISBN:
978-960-6851-04-9). English edition 2010 by The PanMacedonian Studies
Center

4) Cesky Denik, June 10, 1993.

5) Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia , Nos.13/96 and 29/02.

6) http://umdiaspora.org/content/view/493/1/. Last accessed February 8,
2011.

7) http://www.turkishcoalition.org/TCASponsorsCongressionalDelegationtoMacedoniaandTurkey.html.