It is fashionable in today’s world for people to treat logic as the enemy and truth as an inconvenience. Everyone has strong opinions in areas that are out of their academic or professional background. Comprehension is compromised because they base their faulty knowledge on preconceived notions that support their ideology, their beliefs, or what they wish to prove. Nobody seems to remember that in 2008, when Mr. K Karamanlis was the Prime Minister, and Mrs. D. Bakoyanni was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Athens was discussing the name “Upper Macedonia” or even “New Macedonia” for the FYROM.
For a year now, people bicker about the wrongs of the Agreement and how it can be reversed. I have yet to see anyone’s thoughts on how it is going to be implemented and the future of the region. Under such a mentality, the Agreement becomes the proxy action for one’s decision. As a result, the first question asked is usually “how much did they pay you”? The same individuals see others as they see themselves. Having a very educated opinion that differs from one’s preferred solution and expressing such a view does not mean that one is a “traitor,” “sold” or “paid,”; furthermore, it does not mean what one is talking about.
Should the Prespa Agreement have been ratified by three-fifths of the number of Representatives? Of course, it should. It is an issue of Greece’s core National Interest. In Greece, Constitutions and laws do not mean much, if anything. Nonetheless, there exists a precedent set already by the political elite of Greece and over the years accepted by the people of Greece as they keep voting to office people of similar or identical mindsets. In this manner, the Greek public has legitimized the roots of the political instability. Disinformation runs rampant for the benefit of a political party or the populist “guidance” of political hacks regardless of their partisan orientation. The Greek public even allows actors of third countries to purposely agitate extremist elements on both political sides, aiming at creating havoc. Through this confusion they generate a negative perception against anything that would benefit the country. In reverse they generate a positive perception of the political hacks of one ideology or another.
In your opinion, which parts of the Prespa Agreement give you cause for concern and could such a concern lead to the invalidation of the agreement?
There are some parts in the Prespa Agreement that make sense and others that I see as a compromise. However, one part, the nationality of the people of that republic, I find ill-advised. However nothing makes the Agreement invalid. It is a legally valid diplomatic instrument and in addition it has set the precedent of expression of nationality in international law by using the expression “Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia,” The nationality of the country should have been “North Macedonia” period.
There is NO rule in international law that nationality has to be in an adjectival form. If that is the case, it should have been “North Macedonian”. U.S. passports denote as nationality “The United States of America.”
There is NO rule that passports need to have the “Nationality” clause on them. For instance, the passports of the “Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia” had NO reference to nationality whatsoever. However, logically speaking with the bearer of a U.S. passport which nationality would one expect him to be? There is a very logical explanation for it. The possession of a passport of a particular country makes one a national of that country.
The issue of stateless persons is different since they are not issued a passport, but travel documents according to the “Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons” of September 28, 1954, under the aegis of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It looks like a passport and Identification Card. A stateless person is someone “who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law.” Usually, stateless persons are those refugees who cannot reach the home country in order to receive a passport.
Whether or not one holds passports of three different countries is irrelevant. One may enter a country using only one passport. Also, it makes no difference to the Immigration Officer of any country, whether one obtained the passport by natural birth or through a naturalization process. The Officer’s job is to check whether the passport is genuine.
In essence, then, all this chatter we hear in Greek media and by certain groups about nullifying the agreement because of a concern like nationality or parliamentary procedure or, even, the ratification process itself has no substance...
Let’s look at the facts. The Interim Accord of 1995 never saw the light of day in the Greek Parliament, but we don’t remember ANY of the elected officials complaining or the same radical elements of the Greek public protest. The same is true for the media. Others demand the nullification of the Agreement knowing full well that the Agreement is final and may not be revoked, but it is safe to make noise for personal promotion.
Both the Interim Accord and the Prespa Agreement are equally binding, and of equal significance. The issue of ratification of both diplomatic instruments by the Parliament of Greece is irrelevant since the first one is already implemented and the second is in force as of February 12, 2019. Under the norms of international law, both are considered ratified, and the gears have started working, the moment they were implemented. Such norms apply to the Prespa Agreement, as well.
The Prespa Agreement was ratified by votes 153 for and 146 against.
“In addition to the 145 SYRIZA MPs, the deal was supported by independent MP and Minister of Tourism, Elena Koundoura (formerly of ANEL), ANEL MP Thanasis Papachristopoulos (who is expected to be expelled from the party following the vote), Deputy Minister of Civil Protection (and former ND minister) Katerina Papakosta, leader of the Democratic Left Party (DIMAR), Thanasis Theocharopoulos (whose decision to back the agreement led to the dismantling of the coalition between DIMAR and PASOK), and three MPs of the centrist party To Potami – leader Stavros Theodorakis, Spyros Likoudis and Yorgos Mavrotas” (Neos Kosmos, Prespa agreement ratified by the Greek Parliament 26 January 2019).
From the beginning of the SYRIZA/ANEL government, everyone blasted only SYRIZA. I wonder, why while SYRIZA was negotiating, the ANEL were silent waiting for the outcome of the negotiations? Nobody can tell me that Kammenos and the rest had no idea that negotiations on Skopje’s name were in full swing. The same goes for all the hypocritical political parties which now are against the Agreement.
Staying on this subject, since ratification, we have seen a remarkable uptick in "experts" discussing the revoking of the Prespa Agreement. Often, it seems that these "experts" are playing on emotions over facts. Can you explain to us, what will happen if Greece or Skopje takes such unilateral action to nullify the Agreement?
The Prespa Agreement went into force on February 12, 2019, according to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. That date is the end of some activities and the beginning of others referred in the Agreement.
The so-called “experts” understand the issue of diplomatic instruments much less than I understand the existence of a universe before the Big Bang. I have yet to see experts on International Law and Diplomacy with personal first-hand knowledge of the issue, suggest this Agreement could be nullified for any legal reason. If miraculously the agreement is revoked, the country whose government cancels it will face severe consequences – I hope that the country is Skopje.
Regardless of the country, a withdrawal from this Agreement will bring it in direct contempt of the International Court of Justice. The jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is compulsory because Greece at the time of the adjudication disallowed the jurisdiction of the ICJ only in cases of military action; it should have been in cases of Greece’s national security with prejudice under terms and conditions that Greece would determine herself. National Security is the safeguard of Greece’s national interests and transcends sources and methods that are not restricted to military operations. To put it bluntly, the legal department and/or the politicians of Greece’s MFA had blundered back in the 1990’s. At that time, they saw only the obvious physical aspect of national security disregarding the psychological characteristics of the matter. It is the modern case of the drunk Archias’ statement, "serious business for the morrow" aka «ἐς αὒριον τὰ σπουδαῖα» (Plutarch's Lives/Pelopidas, 10:9).
I had mentioned the issue to a couple of politicians of Greece explaining and proposing a change, but the first one was too busy getting reelected and the other one had no power to propose it. Finally, the modification of the particulars of compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice came about when the Samaras-Venizelos government was in power. Nobody had re-visited the issue of jurisdiction until after Skopje had filed its grievance against Greece. Issues of national interests and national security must be revisited often depending on geopolitical circumstances and definitely when issues of geostrategy arise.
Withdrawing from the Prespa Agreement will constitute contempt of the UNSC decisions of 1993 and of the ICJ which along with the UNSC declared that Greece and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had to follow such decisions. One must bear in mind that the whole name issue started because of Greece. Whether such an objection was justified or not was and is immaterial to both the UNSC and ICJ. After all, in 1993, Prime Minster, Con. Mitsotakis representing Greece declared that Greece was ready to compromise accepting names as North Macedonia, Upper Macedonia even New Macedonia. In the eyes of the political world Greece was the instigator of the problem by not accepting the name Macedonia. Also, at that time the Balkans were at war and in 2001 the Albanians took up arms against Skopje. Any rejection of the Agreement by Greece will most likely precipitate another armed insurgency in Skopje with the Albanian sector seceding creating a political and economic instability in the region. Such an insurgency would open the gates of hell for Greece unable to stop refugees who once in Macedonia will make it ethnically worse than 1903.
Unless one lives on another planet, one knows that Russia has been trying very hard to dismember the EU and NATO; it is why it feeds the ultra-nationalists (whether fascists or national socialists, i.e., Nazis) by any means, including but not limited the Russian Orthodox Church. Any such upheaval will invite NATO and Russia to a political and information warfare, i.e., cyberwar that could end up in some hot incident with unexpected consequences. But then do not forget Turkey, which is seeking trouble.
It is nice if one is openminded instead of using only tunnel vision.
The inclusion of specific provisions in the Prespa Agreement makes no sense to me, the enclosure of others follow the norms of international law and precedent, and while the insertion of others favor Greece. Looking back at the history of the Slavic population of the Republic of Skopje, I find some provisions of the Agreement need stronger guarantees than they provide (e.g., Articles 3.4, 8.1). In both cases, the parties leave the matter of enforcement to the benevolence and perhaps compassion of their governments. Of course, such stipulations are standard in normalization cases, but regarding Skopje, they are not sufficient. There is an issue of trust.
Most people, including ALL the “experts,” have read the Agreement as if it were a symbiotic arrangement between two ethnic groups, the Slavic and the Greek; instead it is an agreement between two countries. One must bear in mind that, unlike the Greeks in Greece, the Slavs are not a majority in the country that according to the Agreement takes the name “North Macedonia”[sic]. The Republic of Skopje is a multicultural society in which the Slavs are a “majority-minority”. By “majority-minority” I mean that although they constitute the majority of the population against the Albanians when all other ethnic groups are put together, they are a minority.
The Prespa Agreement is the result of Greece’s disagreement over the name of the Republic of Skopje, not Skopje’s independence or existence. The Convention of Montevideo of 1934 is evident in this. Article 3 of the Convention states, “The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states.” That means that Skopje as a State existed whether anyone had recognized it or not. That was a de facto recognition. A de facto recognition of Skopje said that Greece was represented in Skopje by the Liaison Office, not by an Embassy. Under the current de jure recognition, Greece is represented by an Embassy.
Allow me to regress a little bit. Greece’s objection to the name on the grounds of its national security and the stability of the region was an automatic obstacle to Skopje’s petition to join the United Nations. Skopje could not ascend to UN membership for security reasons. Then the representatives of the EU and permanent members of the Security Council (Britain, France, and non-permanent member - Spain) submitted a plan of confidence-building measures proposing the temporary name “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” without flag raising privileges. The UNSC only then recommended Skopje’s membership to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) which voted unanimously to admit it on April 8, 1993. In the meantime, the current Prime Minister of Greece Constantine Mitsotakis advised the newly elected President of the United States on January 26, 1993, that Greece was ready to compromise on the name issue. Later he revealed that the name of Skopje would be composite and suggested that could be “North Macedonia” “Upper Macedonia” or even “New Macedonia” because in ten years nobody will remember the name Macedonia.
The problem is that in International Law, once the bird gets out of the cage, it does not return to it.
On February 12, 1993, UN forces had already deployed in the territory of Skopje to prevent another regional war. The fact is that the Agreement resulted from the Security Council resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993), and were witnessed by Matthew Nimetz. That alone is enough for one who understands the contemporary political reality. One must bear in mind that the permanent members of the UNSC with veto power are: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. These countries are those who count, and they had sanctioned it.
The Interim Accord of 1995 was designed to afford both countries and the region Confidence-Building Measures which, essentially means it was intended in giving the countries space and time aiming at a slow but gradual in-house cleanup on both sides. The Greek team never took Skopje seriously, treating that state with pity while simultaneously leaving national interests and the national security of Greece unprotected. The Greek side let Skopje run the show leaving the door open to Skopje’s radicalism.
The Communists of Skopje bred the plan of deceit since 1939 basing it on faulty logic and cunning political views. Skopjans weaponized the ancient history of Macedonia (that had nothing to do with any of the Slavic tribes) as a tool for the distraction of the Greek population, and their populist politicians, and still do. Meanwhile, the Skopjans worked (and continue to work) in a similar style that Boris Sarafov had pioneered in 1902. At that time, while Bulgaria supplied the VMRO in its insurrection against the Ottoman Empire, it sent Boris Sarafov to western capitals to win the hearts and minds of high societies and indirectly governments, through propaganda.
However, in 1902, not one Greek thought that the history of ancient Macedonia was the root of the Bulgarian aggression in Macedonia. Not one Bulgarian from within or outside the Principality referred to ancient Macedonian history. Misirkov, the so-called father of Macedonianism, never uttered a statement that connected the Slavs to the ancient Macedonians. After all, he knew better. He was born in Pella and attended a Greek school.
The development of a “Macedonian” society out of the Bulgarian culture started as gradual Bulgarian expansionism, both in the Principality and Macedonia that grew out of a conflation of religion, language, and ethnicity, incorporated into a Bulgarian nationalism while simultaneously Pan-Slavism had been nurtured. However, then, something very thought-provoking happened. The previous convergent state transpired into a dichotomic condition. On the one hand, it enhanced the emergence of a “Macedonian” regionalism out of a Bulgarian background. In turn, the “Macedonian” regionalism espoused Communism as an advocate and vector of equality among the conglomeration of ethnicities of the Ottoman-held region of Macedonia in hopes of gaining their desired objective.
Meanwhile, the Bulgarians of the Principality faithful to their nationalistic sentiment employed every opportunity and privilege that the autonomous political status within the Ottoman Empire afforded to them, and consequently they deployed propagandists to Western European societies seeking assistance in overthrowing the oppressing Ottoman government and replacing it with a “legitimate” Christian lord. Of course, both sides used means of deception aiming solely at achieving their coveted goal, the land of Greek Macedonia. Thus, although the methods of both groups were different, the goal was the same.
Effectively, through the Interim Accord, Greece negotiated anything that proprietarily belonged to her, such as the name Macedonia and Article 7.3, while it allowed Skopje to keep anything it inherited from Yugoslavia, (Interim Accord, Article 12), and also, anything else Skopje’s communist past had provided to it as a matter of precedent. The language of specific provisions in the Interim Accord allowed non-governmental institutions as well as Skopje ultra-nationalistic organizations internally and externally to propagandize against Greece, its culture and inheritance.
The Prespa Agreement, although bilateral, has regional range and one could argue global consequences. It falls under the auspices and mandate of the UNSC for the political side, and after the decision of the ICJ for the legal side, neither State may withdraw from it. Article 3 of the Prespa Agreement solidifies the matter.
I have heard arguments from the “experts” like, “how come the United States had withdrawn from the Convention on Climate Change? Greece could do the same”. The answer here is simple. The people who said such a thing have NOT read the Convention and what it is about. It is a narrow–minded way of seeing things. The Framework Convention on Climate Change (Paris, 30 November to 11 December 2015), provides a stipulation for withdrawal in Article 28. However, Article 20. 9, states, “The provisions of this Agreement shall remain in force for an indefinite period and are irrevocable. No modification to this Agreement contained in Article 1(3) and Article 1(4) is permitted.”
Also, the Prespa Agreement is not voluntary. It derived from the obligation that both parties undertook under the Security Council resolutions 817 (1993) and 845 (1993). Unlike the Municipal Law, which commonly is known as Domestic Law that is based mostly on statutes designed to the particularities of each country, International Law is based on enacted “treaties, international customs, general principles of law as recognized by civilized nations, the decisions of national and lower courts, and scholarly writings, which create many precedents and norms.”
Addressing the specific question, some people believe that if Greece withdraws from this Agreement (I have no idea how), the countries automatically will regress to their Interim Accord. The Interim Accord, which as the word “Interim” alludes to is a Preliminary Agreement between two countries in dispute. They are interconnected.
According to Article 1 of the Prespa Agreement, “[t]his Agreement is final and upon its entry into force terminates the Interim Accord between the Parties signed in New York on 13 September 1995”. That means that Interim Accord is dead – the safety net is gone.
The Interim Accord was never designed nor intended to be the staging point from which the two countries could retreat each time the public opinion on either side nitpicks and waivers its national political choices du jour. Only in the game of Monopoly, one can go backwards – the UNSC is not Monopoly.
Greece’s withdrawal from the Agreement will precipitate celebrations in Skopje and its diaspora. Skopje would return to its “Republic of Macedonia” name while simultaneously getting rid of anything that the Prespa Agreement restrained it from doing; the blame game starts, and every single country in the world will recognize it as Macedonia and eventually Greece will do the same. Domestic instability in Greece could produce mobs who will find and lynch all those who led the country to its potential demise. Skopje will retain all, and everything it inherited from Tito’s Yugoslavia, mainly any bilateral agreements Greece and Yugoslavia signed on June 18, 1959, which includes the Free Zone in Thessaloniki (see Article 12 of the Interim Accord and Article 13 of the Prespa Agreement). Moreover, finally, Turkey will be free to exploit the situation to the fullest. The above is not pure rhetoric – it is genuine.
Returning to the matter of the language, the Agreement on Border Facilitation of June 18, 1959, allowed nationals on both sides of the borders to cross for one day, shop or see relatives without a passport or visa. Political refugees and those communists who committed war crimes in Greece were exempted. Nevertheless, identity cards issued by the Yugoslav side had information printed in Greek, Serbo-Croatian, and “Macedonian” languages. Those given to Greek nationals, the identifications cards included only the Greek and Serb-Croatian languages. The above constituted an indirect, but undisputable recognition of the “Macedonian” language under international law. When you see something wrong, and you do not correct it, you have just accepted a new reality.
As it is now, it is up to Greece to allow or restrain Skopje’s usage of the Free Zone in Thessaloniki. After Greece’s withdrawal from the Prespa Agreement, Skopje could easily demand applicability of the Law of the Sea Article 62.2 “Utilization of the living resources,” Article 69 “Right of land-locked States” and Article 70 “Right of geographically disadvantaged States.” Also, Skopje could easily invoke the Declaration Recognizing the Right to a Flag of States Having no Sea Coast, co-signed in Barcelona April 20, 1921, by Greece and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Skopje, as an heir of that kingdom, has the right to build its commercial fleet. Also, Convention on the High Seas of 1958, Article 3 refers to states with no coast, e.g., Skopje, have the right to their merchant fleet if they so choose. Such merchant fleet will have the same rights and privileges as the merchant fleet of the littoral states. Whether Skopje is capable of doing it or not is irrelevant at this point.
Greece will not be able to do anything to stop Skopje or Turkey and why not Albania and Bulgaria because it will be the pariah of the world and has NO independent professional lobby in Washington DC to somehow help. I would not expect anything from a “lobby” where members are self-deceived patting themselves on the back. For as long as governments of Greece finance such a "lobby" they choose to include docile people who depend on money but also favors from politicians. The fact is that not one Greek politician wants to see us politically dynamic and united. Not one.
One MUST always bear in mind:
International Law supersedes Municipal Law (aka Domestic Law);
If it’s a treaty or an agreement, especially those that include recognition of international frontiers, it is irrevocable;
If the diplomatic instrument is in force, it is considered ratified. There is NO way back. The Prespa Agreement is in effect as of February 12, 2019.
In your opinion, what will the next 5 to 10 years look like because of the Prespa Agreement?
It is impossible for anyone to predict the future in general and the outlook of countries, especially the prospect of the region. Nonetheless, I could easily say that I foresee a border adjustment in the area; the question is whether it is going to occur in ten or 20 years from now, what form it is going to have.
I do expect changes in the Republic of Skopje. Whether such changes would be gradual through a series of legislative processes or impetuous as a result of political mishandling of given situations. Only time will tell. It will be an issue of geopolitical and geostrategic necessities of the time. The world political climate is drastically changing, and it will become worse; a mixed bag of populism, sensationalism, and egocentricity diminishes leadership skills among governing behaviors. Education, foresight, and vision will become more and more a thing of the past, giving way to “what is in it for me” attitude of emulously ambitious individuals.
I do feel that as soon as the Albanian population of Skopje becomes the majority of the country, it will hold a referendum for self-determination sanctioned by its own Albanian led government. The foundation for that will be Article 1.3.b of the Prespa Agreement. The next step will be Ilirida as Albanians of Skopje call their region and will unite with Kosovo. Whether these two Albanian led governments will unite with Albania will depend on their citizens and not on the citizens of Albania. The latter culturally has fallen behind as a result of very long-term isolation. Catching up with the Albanians of the former Yugoslavia will take some time. Although international law allows self-determination of a region under certain conditions, it does not permit the region’s secession from the parent country.
Greece, on the other hand, had better be careful, leaving the mentality of «Ωχ, αδελφέ, δε βαριέσαι. Όλοι περαστικοί είμαστε από αυτόν τον κόσμο• μήπως οι άλλοι είναι καλλίτεροι; όλοι αδέλφια, Χριστιανοί είμαστε» leaving it to someone else, or they might not have a country to call home. I fail to see why only Greeks are the bleeding and compassionate hearts.
As it concerns the region, it is time for the Balkan Peninsula to start emphasizing its geostrategic prominence by initiating an international system of waterway/canal (Axios - Morava Rivers) from Belgrade to Thessaloniki for commercial use, diminishing thus the already corroded importance of the Straits and consequently of Turkey. Such a system would allow all countries of Central Europe and the Black Sea to use the Seaport of Thessaloniki as the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, to Gibraltar, and Suez (Templar 2014). Economic growth is always the window to prosperity. That is what makes people happy.
And, a question specifically for us in the diaspora...will the Greek and Skopje Slav diasporas ever reconcile their differences? What will need to happen for this reconciliation to take place?
To begin with, Diasporas are easier to galvanize than those who live in the home countries. Diasporas tend to keep traditions to resist assimilation by other cultures. Perhaps not much at present because of communications, but in the past, they lived in a time warp. Those of the diaspora that often travel home are milder than those who were born abroad or rarely visited their ancestral land.
Slowly a reconciliation will happen, when all con artists from both sides wise up and find another way to make a living than bilking financially the naïve and emotionally disturbed individuals, save a deplorable incident, they will reconcile their differences. Greeks have to be vigilant. Greeks by culture forget easily; Slavs do not. It will take about 100 to 150 years with the right education to achieve it. It is not love for the country as the extremists proclaim; it is sick egocentricity because whatever has happened, it had not in the fashion they wanted it to happen. Instead of oil, they rub salt on the wounds of the past. When both extremists understand that their home countries must live in peace, then reconciliation will transpire. I am NOT saying it will be easy, but it is a must.
However, for now, we have to deal with political Pharisees, whom St. Matthew suggested to “Stay away from them. They are blind leaders. Moreover, if a blind man leads another blind man, then both men will fall into a ditch” (Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 15, verse 14).
Although you are very well known in political circles in Greece, why do you think successive Greek governments have never asked for your advice or help?
Politicians of Greece of ALL parties seek and receive advice only from those they know to agree with their shenanigans. One could call such people wishy-washy. Such people are those who somehow depend on various governments of Greece either for monthly income to “promote” the interests of Greece and the Greek culture abroad, but also those who have properties in Greece which somehow happened to have some fiduciary facilitation. Anytime something big is going on in Greece, one sees the same people are sought for advice. Even a downright stupid one would have assessed the perpetual failings of such policy. When one sees the advice one gets from the same people, it is wise to change advisors. However, such a thought would impede the mutual “understanding” of both parties.
About 12 years ago, it was suggested that I help Greece on the issue of Skopje’s name dispute. The message that came from the Greek Embassy in Washington, DC, was, “Μα, αυτός μας βρίζει.” Sidetracking the fact that at that time, social media was nonexistent except e-mails, it seems there were a good number of “well-wishers” that passed my e-mails to the Greek Embassy. Nonetheless, to my knowledge, nobody from the MFA questioned themselves “why” was I cussing them? Had they done something for the benefit of Greece, I would not say anything wrong; I would have applauded them. Mrs. Bakoyanni, Dei gratia Prime Minister Con Karamanlis, was selling Greece to Mr. Milososki, one centimeter per day.
However, political parties in Greece have no national legislative agenda that boosts the standard of living of the Greek populace nor have they a foreign policy that supports and galvanizes Greece’s national interests and national security. The last two institutions are based on the goals the declaration of independence of Greece had set in 1822. Goals or reasons that Greeks declared their independence in Epidavros in January of 1822 were Justice, Personal Freedom, Ownership, and Honor. These goals cannot and have not changed. The [s]elected politicians of the Greek spectrum are those who have not changed their mindset. They still operate under the mentality that the Sultanate allowed them to govern the rayas. The people of Greece have only changed masters from the Sultan to the local kodjabashis and hospodars who from first-tier slaves to the Sultan now they are first tier slaves to their ego and personal prosperity. Moreover, to succeed in their endeavor, they bribe their constituents, awarding them with government positions (θεσούλες) as if the loyalty of the people is to the party and its representatives instead of the country.
I have talked to a couple of politicians who in my personal belief have earnestly tried to do something for the country. Their predicament was that people based on political contacts and connections expected a special treatment to the detriment of others who did not have the privilege to know someone.
These people and their “yes men” entourage have only one goal. When they are in opposition, the only aim they have is to remove the governing party from power. Conversely, when they are in government, their task is to stay in government. So, it comes down to this: it makes NO difference who governs. They govern the same way no matter what the political party. They do anything to achieve such goals. Such is the ONLY policy they have and goes across the political spectrum. Also, the hiring system has nothing to do with merit. It has everything to do with who knows whom.
When I see someone thinking about the national interests and national security of Greece in earnest, I will help, provided I am asked to help, not by a specific political party in power, but to help Greece.
One must keep in mind that politicians have shaped the mentality of the Greek people through the education they’ve enacted. To understand the mindset of the Greek politician, the same politician who “educates” the people of Greece, one must read the book, The Education of a Russian Statesman, the Biography of Nicholas Karlovich Giers, by Charles and Barbara Jelavich, Berkeley: University of California, 1962. The Introduction of Part 2 of the book is especially relevant to the behavior of the Greek politician of today.
Here are a couple of segments found on page 125 of the book above:
“However, for the political future of the principalities [Walachia and Moldova], the social system inaugurated under this rule was far more significant than the immediate economic effect of Phanariote corruption. The Greeks in their dealings with the local inhabitants duplicated in tone and performance the attitude which their Moslem overlords adopted toward the subject Christians. Contemporary travelers in the principalities were appalled by the atmosphere of the courts and the "pure despotism exercised by a Greek prince who is himself, at the same time, an abject slave." (William MacMichael, Journey from Moscow to Constantinople in the Years 1817, 1818 (London: John Murray, 1819), p. 107)”.
“The Phanariote princes were overbearing and arrogant toward their subordinates. To make their own fortunes and to meet the payments to Constantinople, they sold the offices under their control and exacted extraordinary taxes and contributions to the fullest extent of their power. Corruption, initiated at the top, extended down to the lowest levels of administration. Since all offices were sold, the holder of any position tried to recoup his losses from those below him. Moreover, even among the few most powerful families, no common accepted standards of conduct existed.
“In the words of a member of a great Phanariote family, Nicolas Soutzos: "[How] to prevail over its competitors and [how] to achieve this, [and] to employ insidious means whose use was only encouraged by the Turks, was the constant occupation of the Greeks of the Phanar: a ceaseless struggle whose stake was always their fortune and often their life." (the original text: "L’emporter sur ses compétiteurs et pour y parvenir, employer les moyens insidieux dont l'usage n'était que trap encourage par les Turcs, telle était la constante occupation des Grecs du Phanar: lutte incessante dont l' enjeu était toujours leur fortune et bien souvent leur vie." Nicolas Soutzo, Memoires du Prince Nicolas Souizo, Grand Logothete de Moldavie, 1798-1871 (Vienna: Gerold, 1899), p. 4.”
Last year the Macedonian League publicly sought the stability of the Greek government. Some agreed. Many fought against the position and attempted to skew our call for stability. Explain the need for stability of the Greek government.
At first, I must explain that the Macedonian League's call for political stability took place about six months before it was announced that a final agreement between Skopje and Athens had taken place. One of the very relevant politicians of Greece thought that I was in favor of Skopje’s name that would include the word “Macedonia.” I gave him a couple of names that I would go for, as Central Balkan Republic, South Slavonia. However, I knew in my heart that it would be impossible because of the position of the Greek MFA since the party of New Democracy (2004–2009), which not only had accepted a name that would include “Macedonia” with a geographic designation, but also Mrs. Bakoyanni (Feb 15, 2006 – Oct. 7, 2009) was entertaining the idea that any name would be for “international use only”.
Greece has seen a lot of instability. Since 1821, Greece had three civil wars, five bankruptcies, a few political upheavals, which had resulted in The National Schism. The latter brought the defeat of the Greek Army in Sangarios River and Afion Karahisar the reasons behind the loss of Smyrna. Another one of the political upheavals in the 1960s brought the seven-year dictatorship (1967-1974) to the stage which was followed by the tilting of Greece, dangerously I might add, to the left. The organization ΑΣΠΙΔΑ (Αξιωματικοί Σώσατε Πατρίδα, Ιδέα, Δημοκρατία, Αξιοκρατία), which until late 1980 was treated as a total lie which was used as an excuse for the 1967 dictatorship. Of course, nobody was talking about the involvement of Andreas Papandreou. In reality, the whole affair was very accurate.
In the middle of March of 1967, at the call of Ενιαία Δημοκρατική Αριστερά (ΕΔΑ) in silent cooperation with Ένωση Κέντρου (ΕΚ), farmers brought tractors, threshing machines and other farming equipment and other vehicles coming from all over had effectively sieged Thessaloniki. Brigadier General Andreas Erselman of the III Army Corps was ordered to send armored units to open all roads leading to Thessaloniki. About one month later, the Colonels took over. I had just turned 19.
Consequently, I do not want to see Greece suffering the consequences of characters with limited understanding of the present world. Tunnel vision is not a way of seeing the world. They should take a few steps back and then they can see. All the clueless individuals lead movements!
My birthplace has suffered enough in the hands of irresponsible politicians since the assassination of Count Ioannis Kapodistrias in September of 1831. The last thing Greece needs at this point is a bunch of egomaniacs who in the name of their pseudo-patriotism are ready to throw the country into chaos and even bloodshed destroying the crumbs of prosperity and dignity the people of Greece have left with, in order to get the desired results for their kicks.
The fact is that the political leadership of the country regardless of political leanings and social capital with their silence have sanctioned the auction of the national interests and endangerment of the national security of Greece since 1950 and especially since 1991. They cared more about their political party and ideology than the welfare of their country.
Greece’s adventures start in the mindset of its citizens who when they enjoy the fruits of corruption, forget that they will pay for their choice in the future. However, when it is time for them to pay, they forget their past choice claiming that it is not their fault. There is a Greek word which encapsulates the behavior of individuals that use no common sense, who instead, repeat the same mistakes many times over while maintaining an attitude of self-righteousness. It is up to the reader to figure it out.
The issue of the Macedonian State goes back to 1924 and specifically regarding Skopje it retrogresses to November 1950 and the normalization process of Greece with Yugoslavia. For those who now scream foul it is too late. Where had they been ten, twenty, or even twenty five years ago? I was yelling “national security,” and their answer was “Alexander the Great was Greek.” I still have the e-mails.
Finally, we also need stability in the diaspora. I received the following message from Melbourne. It refers to the issue of the Melbourne University Macedonian [sic] Student Society - MUMSS and their alliance with the Turk and Albanian students against anything Greek.
“Unfortunately, all the good and intelligent members of the community have been disheartened, blocked and have moved away from the Greek Community. Most who get involved have no experience in lobbying. The ones involved with the community are mainly professionals who have a Greek background and want to promote themselves and then the Greek culture. In comparison with the Skopjan lobby groups in America, Australia and Canada, they have been able to sway politicians' minds and made them support the Skopjan narrative. Look at the fine inactivity by our NUGAS, AMAC and Pan Mac organisations in Australia. They still have not taken any action or even made a statement, regarding the Skopjan Student university association!
I suppose they [Greek organizations] are in winter hibernation!
Anyway, dear sir, it will be up to the individuals to take on the might of the Turkish, Albanian and Skopjan Lobby groups head on."
I concluded with the following statement [to him]: “If I were to write a book on IMRO and Skopje, leading to the Prespa agreement, I would call it:
A centennial journey through endless governing ineptitude,
political arrogance, institutionalized ignorance and widespread gullibility.