My understanding of the issue was and is very different from most Greeks, politicians and diplomats. The answer is complicated, so I will explain it in parts.
Know yourself and equally know your opponent
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. He is the author of The Art of War, an influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking.
Effective negotiation requires an excellent knowledge of yourself and your opponent. It also requires intelligent maneuvering to deliver desired results. This understanding should be precious to Greeks as it can help them use a better approach. People do not know how to think, and it has nothing to do with IQ. It has to do with their attitude based on their understanding of the issue.
At first, people must understand a few things about Yugoslavia and its peculiar system of Government. They must also learn a few other facts that not one politician of Greece had fathomed.
Tito's Yugoslavia changed titles three times, starting on November 29, 1943, through the Second Session of the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ). The new title of Yugoslavia was Democratic Federative Yugoslavia (Demokratska Federativna Jugóslavija). It was a state which epitomized the last period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the first period of Marxist Yugoslavia.
On November 29, 1945, AVNOJ deposed King Peter II and proclaimed the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia (Federativna Narodna Republika Jugóslavija). As of April 7, 1963, it became known as the Socialist Federative Republic [of] Yugoslavia (Socijalistička Federativna Republika Jugóslavija).
The word Federative was always the principal. It was so vital that Kardelj had argued that it should always hold the lead in the title of Yugoslavia. Incidentally, the word federal in English is translated in Serbo-Croatian as federalni/federalna or even savezni/savezna (united). It is erroneous for one to translate “Fedrativna Republika” as “Federal Republic.”
The federative power appears in John Locke's Second Treatise, Chapter XII as a branch of a government, not as a system of Government. The chapter includes a discussion of the institutional arrangements of the commonwealth, which itself may take different primary forms.
In a true federation, the power emanates from the central Government to the federal units or autonomous territories of a republic. The latter had equal rights with the republics, especially after the 1974 Constitution. In the Yugoslav federative system, the power emanated from the republics to the central government, with the executive branch encroaching the rudder of the country. It was the implementation of Locke's federative power with a slight twist.
Yugoslavia, from the day of its inception, was a Federative state, not a Federal one. Federal defines the political setup of a state while Federative defines the manner the state operates and, of course, governs. In a federative state, the people advise and direct the executive power which direction would take in domestic and mainly foreign policies.
Edvard Kardelj, the chief theoretician of Marxism, interpreted the Marxist theory on a slightly different basis from that of Lenin. The politics of decentralization started at the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1952. Among scholars, observers and participants, a consensus exists that the 1974 Constitution confirmed the confederal structure of the Yugoslav state. Yugoslav politicians called it a 'cooperative federal system,' and its chief ideologist, Edvard Kardelj, qualified it already in 1971 as neither 'a classic federation … nor … a classic confederation, but... a socialist, self-managing community of nations' (in Ramet 1992).
This fédéralisme dénaturé, as a French observer put it (Drouet 1997), based at the federal level on the rule of consent and unanimity, was characterized by the ever-growing dependence of federal institutions on constitutive republics. The center had to operate through the republics to 'implement virtually all policies, to gather revenues and to establish connections with the citizenry' that, as Valerie Bunce reminds us, amounts to quite a precise definition of confederalism (Bunce 1999).
In 1945, Kardelj viewed the federal units of Yugoslavia, i.e., republics as sovereign, except in matters which constitutionally were under the authority of the highest organs of the state (Jelić, Zagreb: Globus, 43 in Haug 2016, 89). Yugoslavia was a kind of Commonwealth, like the relationship that the Province of Quebec in Canada had sought to have with the Confederation of Canada.
Kardlej, Djilas, Dimitrov, Dedijer (Serbian version), and Haug agreed that the Bled August 1, 1947 Agreement establishing a federation between Bulgaria and Yugoslavia was not a final document, but only a draft. Stalin thought that it was final, although Molotov knew the truth. The point of disagreement was the nature of the federation between the two countries. Yugoslavia and Bulgaria could not agree on the form of such a federation. Yugoslavia wanted each of its republics to negotiate separately with Bulgaria, i.e., 6+1. Bulgaria, on the other hand, was pushing for a federation with Yugoslavia, i.e., 1+1. To that effect, both Dimitrov - 10 January 1945 (Banač 2003, 352) and Kardelj (Kardelj 1982, 106) fully collaborated.
To understand the function of the Government of AVNOJ Yugoslavia in domestic and foreign matters, it is important to sense how Kardelj interpreted Marxism. After all, as the theoretician of Marxism, he was responsible for the development of the country.
In the second half of 1889, Lenin wrote an article to Rabochaya Gazeta (Рабочая Газета) or "Workers' Newspaper" in which he revealed the way that one should follow Marxism. He wrote, "We do not regard Marx's theory as something completed and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in all directions if they wish to keep pace with life" (Vladimir Lenin, Collected Works, 1977, vol. 4, 211).
Along similar lines, the Program of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia declared that "Marxism is not a dogmatic system or established doctrine, but a theory of social process which develops through successive historical phases" (Program L.C.Y. 1959, 175 in Lapenna 1964, 1-2).
Ivo Lapenna was a law professor of International Law and International Relations at Zagreb University. He had held a position jointly with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Here is what Ivo Lapenna stated,
From Yugoslavia also came reproaches that the federal principle and the right of self-administration of the various nationalities is, in the Soviet Union, 'an empty slogan', while in Yugoslavia this principle is 'truly and consequentially being realised; that local Government does not exist in the Soviet Union, but does exist in Yugoslavia; that in that country the economic enterprises, unlike those of Yugoslavia, enjoy no independence; and that in the USSR the administrative organs are subjugated one to another in a vertical line from base to top, but not to their own representative organs, as in Yugoslavia, etc.
The Stalinist 'proletarian internationalism' is assessed as a simple instrument of the imperialist aspirations of the new Soviet caste, while the 'Stalinist' Constitution is considered to 'crown the Soviet bureaucratic system' (Kardelj), notwithstanding the fact that a short while before that same Constitution had been praised in Yugoslavia as the culmination of democracy, and had been imitated in the Yugoslav Constitution of 1946 (Lapenna 1964, 45 - Emphasis is mine).
Based on the above interpretation of Marxism, while Lenin deemed the peasantry to be the revolutionary frontline in pre-industrial societies rather than the proletariat, Kardelj felt that the economy should be in worker-controlled enterprises which would participate in a market system. It was Kardelj's response to Marx's "Association of Free and Equal Producers" and opposite to Soviet statism and "state capitalism" within a controlled economy.
The Macedonia name dispute
Now, as to the main point of the question regarding the Macedonia dispute, Greek politicians of all political parties since 1950, tacitly aided and abetted the Yugoslav AVNOJ governments as well as the governments of Skopje and its influence over the central Government. The central Government in Belgrade was very weak and became weaker every day. In the case of Macedonia, Skopje held true power, not Belgrade.
I’ve read many books on the Macedonian Struggle. Not one of these books refers to ancient Macedonian history as the reason for the strife over the region of Macedonia.
Remember, the VMRO was called "The Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization'' with Adrianople stipulating Thrace. At that time, the Bulgarians of VMRO also wanted the whole of Thrace. Bulgaria's vision was to be a great empire, as it was under Tsar Samuil, while the rivers of Macedonia would guarantee trade, food, and communication. The seaports of Alexandroupolis (then Dedeagatch), Kavala, and Thessaloniki would ensure military dominance over the southern Balkans and, of course, more food, more communication, and a window to the world. The ultimate aim was Russian foreign policy dominance in the Balkans with control of the Orthodox faithful, through the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey.
The Prespes Agreement
With regard to today’s Prespes Agreement, several issues within the Agreement still need to be discussed and resolved between Greece and the Skopjan republic. Other parts of the Agreement expose Skopje’s bilateral issues toward Serbia, Albania, and Bulgaria, as well as Skopje's own population. One thing the Agreement has achieved is to stop all kinds of ludicrous and baseless claims that the Greek part of Macedonia should be within the Skopjan state. Other issues within the agreement will affect the relations between Greece on the one hand, and Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania on the other.
The National Anthem of Skopje refers to Macedonia[sic], which covers all geographic Macedonia, including the Greek region. Since the name of the country has changed, the national anthem should also change.
In European law, nationality gives a nation the right to protect a person from other nations. Diplomatic and consular protection are dependent upon this relationship between the person and the state. The nationality law of Greece is based on the principle of jus sanguinis. Greek citizenship may be acquired by descent or through naturalization. It means that a Greek national is a citizen of the European Union, and therefore entitled to the same rights as other EU citizens.
Skopje’s declaration of a "Macedonian" nationality on its passports is offensive to all ethnic groups in the country, except of course, the Macedonian Greeks.
The nationality statement on the passport could have remained out of travel documents altogether, like the passports of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ) or they could have used the name of the country instead, like U.S. passports.
According to the nationality law of Skopje, citizenship is based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis, that is, a child's citizenship is determined by that of his or her parents, irrespective of place of birth.
Consequently, the expressed ethnicity of the komitadjis constitutes a problem that implicates all Skopjian descendants. It needs clarification - while Skopje says that the komitadjis were ethnic "Macedonians," in school we learned that the komitadjis were Bulgarians. Penelope Delta was very conclusive about it.
Additionally, here is what A. A. Pallis states in his paper "The Greek Census of 1928"
The diminution in the number of Bulgars is due to the emigration to Bulgaria, under the Neuilly Emigration Convention of 1919. Thus in Western Thrace there are practically no Bulgars left. A small number still remain in Macedonia, in the westernmost part of that province, principally round Kastoria, Florina, and Edessa (Pallis 1929, 546 - Emphasis is mine).
As per Article 56, paragraph 2, of the Neuilly Treaty of Peace with Bulgaria concluded the 27th of November 1919, Greece and Bulgaria had agreed to a reciprocal voluntary emigration of the racial, religious, and linguistic minorities in Greece and Bulgaria. The exchange of populations was voluntary as per Article 5 of the Convention, which stated, "Emigrants shall lose the nationality of the country which they leave the moment they quit it and shall acquire that of the country of destination from the time of their arrival there." By contrast, the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey was mandatory.
In 1924, Greece and Bulgaria signed the Politis-Kalfov Protocol, a bilateral agreement concerning the "protection of the Bulgarian Minority in Greece." The agreement only lasted 9 months. Serbia threatened to renounce the 1913 Greco-Serbian alliance treaty, which forced the Greek Parliament to renege from ratifying the Politis-Kalfov agreement. As a result, the League of Nations annulled it.
According to Alexander Pallis, a member of the Refugee Settlement Commission, the number of immigrants from Bulgaria to Greece was 49,027. If we add the Greeks who had left Bulgaria before the Convention, their number rises to 52,891. However, the number of voluntary immigrants from Greece to Bulgaria was 92,000, including 39,000 who had left Greece before the Convention. According to other accounts, the number of Bulgarians emigrated from Greece to Bulgaria was 101,800, including 40,000 of them who had left Greece before the Convention. These numbers include ethnic Greek and Bulgarian emigrants between 1913 and 1925.
Consistent with Serbia's nationalistic view, the Slavophones of Greece were not Bulgarians, but Serbs. In other words, the Serbians considered the Slavophone Greeks to be Serbs! In keeping with such a notion, people who believe that Serbia was and is Greece's friend, need to think twice. After all, according to Serbia's claim, Serbs were killing the Greeks of Macedonia, aiming at the annexation of Greek Macedonia, not Bulgarians. Are we serious?
Thus the issue of the Slav ethnicity, as it has developed, is far from bilateral now. With Greece’s recognition of a "Macedonian"* ethnicity under the Prespes Agreement, regardless of the origin of such a designation, it now affects four countries, not just two: Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Albania.
*of slavic heritage with no connection to the Greek heritage of Ancient Macedonia
The borders of Greece
The borderline between Greece and Skopje is about 153 miles (246 km), consisting of 140 miles of land and 13 miles of water (lakes). There are 177 boundary numbered columns, but also many other benchmarks that are not numbered. The boundaries are identical to those set by the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Serbia, later Yugoslavia. They were delimited in June 1913, shortly before the outbreak of the Second Balkan War (June 29 – August 10, 1913).
About a year later, the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Serbia signed the Greek-Serbian Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Mutual Cooperation in Thessaloniki on May 19 (O.C.) / June 1 (N.C.), 1913. The 11 articles of the treaty "provided following the terms of the preliminary protocol, the mutual guarantee of the territorial possessions of both countries and the reciprocal provision of military assistance in case of an unprovoked attack against one, the determination of the distribution of the territories to be assigned from Turkey after the end of the war and the Greek obligation to provide every necessary convenience to the Serbian import and export trade through Thessaloniki." (Svolopoulos, September 1, 2008, 91).
Article 3 of the treaty describes the borders between Greece and Serbia, (presently, the borders of Greece and the Republic of Skopje), based on the line of separation between the respective armies. Article 7 established the Free Serbian Zone in the port of Thessaloniki. Article 13 of the Prespa Agreement does the same for Skopje while it alludes in Article 18.1 and 18.3 guaranteeing Serbia's free passage through Skopje.
Although the zone remains within Greek sovereignty, the authority within the zone is Serbian. This means that commercial trains depart from the zone for Serbia as rail maneuvers to the Commerce Railroad Station of the Thessaloniki (Old Station) a few meters away. The same happens for trains from Serbia directed to the Serbian Free Zone.
Although the Kingdom of Yugoslavia had recognized its boundaries de jure, the AVNOJ Yugoslavia recognized it only de facto, not de jure. The Prespa Agreement most likely changes the status of the borders from de facto to de jure, a significant change in international law.
The Macedonian Issue since 1950
Yugoslavia and Greece normalized their bilateral relations on November 28, 1950, when the Prime Minister of Greece Sofoklis Venizelos announced in the Parliament that Greece was going to exchange ambassadors with Yugoslavia. Consequently, Greece opened the Consulate General in the city of Skopje, knowing in advance that the city was the capital of the People's Republic of Macedonia, that the population there was speaking "Macedonian" because they called themselves "Macedonians." Recognition of a country may be constitutive or declaratory, de facto or de jure, tacit or express, explicit, or implicit. That was a tacit recognition of the republic's name, the ethnonym and the glossonym of its Slav inhabitants.
While people's eyes fell on Article 7.3 of the Interim Accord of September 13, 1995, my eyes fell on Articles 12 and 13 which brought my memory to a dozen of treaties that took place on June 18, 1959, as referred to in Articles 12 and 13 of the Interim Accord.
One of the Agreements regarded border crossing facilitation. Under the agreement, a zone about 10 kilometers deep was defined on both sides of the border, including in the cities of Florina and Monastiri, which allowed residents to move freely. The zone allowed people to freely import and sell certain products, to practice medicine freely, to cultivate lands on the other side of the border, as long as the beneficiaries could prove their ownership in 1939.
However, here is a critical detail. The border papers were published in the official languages of both countries, without naming the languages. Yet, although the documents published by the Greek Government were in Greek and Serbo-Croatian, those papers published in Yugoslavia were printed in Greek, Serbo-Croatian, and Skopjan. It was a tacit recognition of the Skopjan language by Greece. The Government was of Εθνική Ριζοσπαστική Ένωσις (E.R.E).
The Yugoslav side violated the agreement on border communication as the citizens of the People's Republic of "Macedonia" and "Macedonian Slav" refugees traveled to Greek Macedonia, practiced propaganda and collected material about the history of the villages of Western Macedonia during the occupation and civil war for further exploitation (Sfetas 2012, 30-31). Greece did not react at all!
PM Con. Karamanlis accepted the agreement at face value, saying that Greece recognized the Yugoslav Constitution. Really? Article I, section 2, paragraph 1 of the constitution of the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia, which stated:
The Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia is composed of the People's Republic of Serbia, the People's Republic of Croatia, the People's Republic of Slovenia, the People's Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the People's Republic of Macedonia, and the People's Republic of Montenegro (Emphasis is mine).
Also, he had missed the following articles of the Constitution of Yugoslavia on the languages of Yugoslavia, to wit, Article III, section 13; Article VII, section 65; Article XIII, section 120.
Just before the new 1963 Constitution of Yugoslavia changed the title of the country along with other things, Con. Karamanlis asked Tito to change the name of the republic of Skopje. Tito stated he would see what he could do; it never happened. The Greek side’s reason was the result of the Greek elections in which ERE lost to E.K. The fact is Tito did not have the authority nor the power to do anything of the kind. If he did, he would have changed the name regardless of election results.
Tito could have done it a little later. Significant changes in the structure of the federation started with the Constitutional Amendments in 1967 and 1968. The Amendments marked the beginning of the concrete implementation of policies of the 8th Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (S.K.J.) held on December 7-13, 1964. They also gained their integral form in 1971 (Amendments XX-XLII, adopted on June 30, 1971), the basis for the Constitution of 1974.
The problem is that various publications that subsequent Greek governments had supported and promoted described the borders of "geographic" Macedonia in several conflicting ways. One of the books stated that, "Macedonia, a geographical area of the Balkan Peninsula (between Montenegro Lake Ohrid, Mount Grammos, Mount Olympus, Chalkidiki, River Nestos, Mount Pirin, and Mount Osogovo) in the Ottoman Empire until the Balkan wars of 1912-1913". (Theofylaktos Papakonstantinou, Civic Education, Athens, Cambana, 1970, pp. 487-8. Translation is mine).
I followed the description, and based on it, I drew the borders (solid red line) of Macedonia as depicted. The map of Macedonia's geographical area below reflects the imagination of the author of the above book rather than reality. The description of the borders of geographic Macedonia includes the southwestern part of Serbia, a part of Albania and Kosovo, and of course, the whole republic of Skopje, Bulgarian and Greek Macedonia. Even if one plays with the borders of Montenegro and Albania (see dashed line), one cannot sidetrack everything else.
"As far as Greece is concerned, there is no Macedonian question. Conversely, even though after 1950 the relations between Greece and Yugoslavia have been restored, the latter keeps bringing up the matter some time the demonstrative myth as she tries to preserve its life, either through statements made by its official representatives or through its Skopje Press, or through various blatant "diplomatic" methods. Its [Yugoslavia's] attitude imposes on the Greek nation to be on a continuous vigilance" (Theofylaktos Papakonstantinou, Civic Education, Athens, 1970), p. 494. Translation is mine - Emphasis in mine).
The book above was published under the auspices of the Greek Government under the Colonels in 1970. It was distributed to schools (a shorter version) and military units. I obtained my copy from the 2nd (Intelligence) / 7th (Public Relations) Staff Office of the 33rd Infantry Regiment in Polykastro of Macedonia.
According to Wikipedia, "The Greek military junta appointed him [Theofylaktos Papakonstantinou] Deputy Minister of State (1967) and then Minister of Education (1967–1969). He resigned on April 5, 1969, when it was clear that there would be no elections as the military Government had promised. He compiled a handbook on Civic Education (Πολιτική Αγωγή) in 1970, which was used in a shortened form as a textbook in schools. The 2 million drachmas he received as royalties he donated to the state".
Nevertheless, the Government of Greece claimed that it had not recognized anything "Macedonian" because the territory that Skopje was located was not independent. But if that was true, why had Greece recognized the "Macedonian" language using as its basis the signature of approval of the final Technical Papers (Vol. II) of the Third United Nations Conference on Standardization of Geographical Names held in Athens between August 17 and September 11, 1977? I did not know that Skopje had earned its independence at that time. Here is a copy of page 145 of the said Technical Paper.
Nevertheless, since the Greek governments knew what Yugoslavia was doing, what exactly did all of them do about it? Where was the vigilance? As many times as I had been asking Greek diplomats abroad, their answer was standard, "we do not have the problem, they [Skopje] have it." Why did the Government of Greece accept the U.N. resolution as expressed in technical papers regarding the "Macedonian" language without reservations?
The independence of Skopje and the failure of the Greek American diaspora
Upon Skopje's independence on September 8, 1991, politicians of Greece did not change their erratic behavior. The disagreement between PM Mitsotakis and Samaras regarding Greece’s reaction where the new state is internationally recognized as 'Macedonia', gave Prime Minister Mitsotakis the opportunity to dismiss Foreign Minister Antonios Samaras and take over the Foreign Ministry himself.
On January 26, 1993, at the directive of PM/FM Con. Mitsotakis, the lawyer Mike Manatos sent a letter to Pres. Clinton telling him that Greece was ready to compromise. The first shot was not fired and Greece was ready to surrender.
That happened without giving President Clinton a chance to check into the matter. Under the leadership of the Public Relations firm, not a lobby, Manatos and Manatos, an ad hoc Leadership Committee of the Greek American diaspora was formed ready to fulfil the wishes of Con. Mitsotakis regarding Greece's readiness to surrender the name Macedonia to the Slavs. The firm Manatos and Manatos prepared an elusive letter and passed it to the following members of the said Committee for their signature:
- Andrew Athens, Chairman, United Hellenic American Congress,
- Andrew Manatos, Special Counsel, United Hellenic American Congress,
- Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, Former National Chairman, Greek Americans for Clinton,
- Art Anagnos, former Mayor of San Francisco,
- Clay Constantinou, Esquire,
- Dr. Christos P. Ioannides, Professor, Greek and Middle Eastern Affairs,
- Dr. Gus A. Constantine, Supreme President, AHEPA,
- Dr. John Nathenas, President, Hellenic American National Council,
- Dr. Takey Crist, Chairman, American Hellenic Institute-Public Affairs Committee,
- Eugene Rossides, Esq., Chairman, American Hellenic Institute,
- Fotis Gerasopoulos, Vice-President, Hellenic American National Council,
- Jim Regas, Esq., Senior Counsel, Regas, Frezados & Harp,
- John Catsimatidis, Chairman, Red Apple Group,
- Michael Dukakis, Former Governor of Massachusetts,
- Michael Jaharis, Chairman, K.O.S. Pharmaceutical, Inc.,
- Nicholas C. Petris, State Senator, California,
- Nicholas Gage, Author,
- Peter J. Pappas, President, P.J. Mechanical Corporation,
- Phil Angelidis, California Democratic Party,
- Philip Christopher, President, PSEKA,
- Professor Speros Vryonis, Jr., New York University,
- Sotiris K. Kolokotronis, President, S.K.K. Entreprises.
When Greece signed the pre-agreement with Skopje in 1995 (the Interim Accord), it had automatically accepted the name "Macedonia," due to the Accord including the name following the principle of precedence. Greece was thus bound to accept the same in the final name of the country. Greece had not specifically stated that including the name "Macedonia" in the pre-agreement did not in any way mean it had accepted the appellation "Macedonia", in the eventual final name of the state in the second part of the Accord.
Indeed, the argument of the Slavs in the last negotiations was exactly that. Since Greece had accepted the name Macedonia in the Interim Accord, they argued there was no reason not to accept the same name in the final agreement.
When we called the country "Skopje," a columnist of Nova Makedonija, a Skopje newspaper wrote, "Since when a country takes its name from its Capital?" They have never heard of Panama and Mexico. What about Algeria? These countries have taken the name of their capital. With the same model, The FYROM could have been called Republic of Skopje.
The Greek political establishment
Referring to the issue of the referendum, between 2008 to this day consecutive Greek governments of New Democracy, PASOK and all in between, could have easily declared a referendum, but no government has done so.
More specifically, Mr. Karamanlis could have easily declared a referendum on the name issue, but Mrs. Bakoyanni had her say, and as she put it, "we are going to live with them [the Slavs], not you [the diaspora]."
On December 7, 2009, "The Unknown Dialogue," the Athenian newspaper ETHNOS reported that Mrs. Bakoyanni had already agreed to modify Greece's red line of "erga omnes" and make it for "International Use." Also, she had no problem recognizing the ethnicity and language of Skopje as "Macedonian." According to the report, on September 20, 2008, Mrs. Bakoyanni accepted the above points as a negotiating basis.
Thus, Mrs. Bakoyanni’s abuses before and after Bucharest are as follows:
- International usage: Six months after Bucharest, Mrs. Bakoyanni did not even mention "erga omnes" for the name of Skopje, even in the debates. Indeed, a diplomatic employee of the Greek Embassy in Washington claimed that the terms erga omnes and International Usage are identical.
- Use of name: Mrs. Bakoyanni assured Skopje that "the Greek side does not deal with the Skopje Constitution," which means she did not care if Skopje did a substantive constitutional review. Without such a constitutional review, Skopje was free to use whatever name they wanted.
- Identity and language: Mrs. Bakoyanni proposed the term "Macedonian" to a Cyrillic alphabet as a determinant of the language and ethnicity of the Slavic people of Skopje. Miloshoski did not accept the existence of "Macedonian identity, citizenship, and language," but instead, he proposed the recognition of this entity by Greece itself.
- History: Mrs. Bakoyanni's report in response to Mr. Milososki is problematic that "Macedonia's history is a matter of the past." Of course, history is a matter of the past. Even children know this.
When Yannis Mangriotis (PASOK) said that the Pan-Macedonian Association could not direct Greece's foreign affairs, he actually meant they were ready to compromise Greece’s interests due to arrogantly thinking they knew best.
They then went ahead, allowing Skopje to affiliate with NATO under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. When the Skopjans went to Afghanistan, the Greek Contingent provided shelter in two Greek facilities. At the same time, the Skopjans branded the name "Macedonia" on the blouse pocket of their uniforms and sold caps with the red map of geographic Macedonia in the Base Exchange of Bagram Air Base while Meimarakis (Defense Minister between February 15, 2006 – October 7, 2009) and Bakoyanni were out to lunch with Karamanlis looking elsewhere along with the whole Parliament. We now find them yelling like children: "Greek diaspora - HELP: they are beating us!"
The Greek political establishment did the same thing with Cyprus. They allowed Turkey to become an EU candidate member, and now Turkey does not want to recognize the Cypriot Republic. A few representatives in Parliament and their "leaders" were also in favor of the Annan Plan, as it was. It should also be noted the Greek government gave in at Imia, as well. Then they say they don't understand why the Turks play to their naiveté? The more one gives in, the more the bully demands. A good example of this is Hitler’s quote at the Conference of Munich: "Our enemies are little worms. I saw them at Munich."
Additionally, Mrs. Bakoyanni was open to discussing the issue of the "Macedonian" ethnicity as per Mr. Branko Crvenkovski's suggestion, which was simple. If a probe by the Greek Government revealed a problem on the topic before it went to the Parliament for ratification, then the final agreement could "implicitly" include the recognition in a manner that could withstand a superficial legal analysis written in legalese. By the time a more in-depth analysis would transpire, it would be too late to modify the text. Mrs. Bakoyanni went along with it.
However, Mrs. Bakoyanni did something that directly harmed Greece. Mrs. Bakoyanni had lied to the Greek public and, of course, to the world when she declared that she had vetoed Skopje's membership to NATO. The fact is that NATO does not contain the institution of veto; therefore, how could she use an institution that does not exist?
NATO has established the institution of consensus, and if someone believes that veto and consensus are identical and interchangeable, one needs a lesson in logic and political science.
The fact is that France and Romania had agreed with Greece not to invite Skopje to the Alliance. One must bear in mind that NATO makes decisions in secret, and neither the Secretary-General nor any of its member States announce how each country had voted. NATO ministers communicate almost daily, and they all know where each country stands and why. Mrs. Bakoyanni revealed the secret for votes but simultaneously harmed Greece in the process. Her lie was the basis for Skopje to file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Greece for violating article 11 of the Interim Accord (Templar August 28, 2014). Skopje’s legal team brought Mrs Bakoyanni's statements before the ICJ as evidence that Greece had violated article 11 of the Interim Accord. If Mrs. Bakoyanni had not boasted about her "achievement" Skopje would have no proof that Greece was involved. Also, after the lawsuit was filed, Mr. Mallias suggested to her that Greece should countersue Skopje for violating certain articles of the Interim Accord. Mrs Bakoyanni told him plainly that she had decided on the strategy Greece had already followed. She left Greece defenseless.
There are other issues that do not look related to the national interests and national security of Greece as serving other purposes, but they are.
The opening of the borders to supposedly Northern Epirotes, for instance, could give votes to PASOK, but it emptied Northern Epirus from most of its Greek population and flooded Greece with Albanians who had nothing to do with anything Greek.
Another one was the reason that Archbishop Iakovos was pushed to retire in 1996 might had been arguably the correct action on behalf of the Patriarchate, but it stripped the Diaspora of a formidable beacon of an actual lobbyist who did the job silently and behind the scenes as TRUE lobbyists do. As a result, Greek power disappeared. The splitting of the Archbishopric of America was a national disaster. The report under the title "Archbishop Iakovos; led Greek Orthodox in Americas" by John Christoffersen of the Associated Press published in The Boston Globe (internet version) on April 12, 2005, is rather interesting. 
The intervention of the Macedonian Press Agency in favor of lifting its objection for the inclusion of the "Media Information Agency" of Skopje in the association of Press agencies of the Balkans at the end of 1990s gave a forum for Skopje to convey its message on an official basis. Furthermore, the merger of the Macedonian Press Agency with the Athens News Agency in May 2005, even under the title Athens News Agency-Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA) gave the impression to Skopje that the Greeks were taken more steps back in to order to facilitate Skopje's outrageous demands. The whole negotiating technique of the Greek politicians gave me the impression that they were politically amateurs and violators of their oath.
But the problem lies deeper. Even the Greek MFA has a few understandings about the issue of Skopje. There are also misinterpretations and historical inaccuracies from the Greek official side. Here is an example.
The Greek Foreign Ministry gives incorrect information. For example, the website of the Greek Foreign Minister states,
The roots of the name issue go back to World War II, when General Tito separated from Serbia the area formerly known as Vardar Banovina (now the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), then granting the status quo of the Federative Republic of Yugoslavia and renaming it first the "People's Republic of Macedonia" and then the "Socialist Republic of Macedonia" (Emphasis is mine).
The above statement, as formulated, is incorrect. It does indicate a lack of understanding of the issue by the MFA. The area that makes up "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," now North Macedonia[sic] WAS ONLY PART of Vardarska Banovina. The northern part of Vardarska Banovina included the town of Leskovac, which is in the heart of Serbia just south of the town of Nis, about five kilometers north of the settlement of Pečenjevce, 11 km north of the town of Leskovac in Serbia. Pristina, Kosovo was also within the Governorate of Vardar.
Greek media complicity
I do wish to point out one more oxymoron occurrence that goes on in the Athenian Press. Since 1950, they were mostly silent about Macedonia and kept referring to it as “Northern Greece” a term that includes Thrace. The newspapers of Thessaloniki and all Macedonia kept referring to the region by its name. After the new law that permitted Athenian Press to be sold in Macedonia and Thrace - a law that killed the newspapers of Thessaloniki - before 10:00 am had passed on that day, the Athenian Press kept calling Macedonia, "Northern Greece."
On Thursday, July 16, 2020, the Athens-based newspaper Kathimerini English Edition, published an article under the title “Man in northern Greece found with thousands of ancient coins, jewellery”. What happened to Macedonia? The last time I checked the map, the city of Drama, from where the man hailed, was within Macedonian territory. And then Greeks claim that Skopjans are at fault. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot but we are never at fault.
2) Early on, as the Prespes Agreement came into force, so-called "experts" from both sides - Greek and Slav - were heavily promoting the nullification of the Prespes Agreement as "a given." Aside from a few international law experts in both Greece and Skopje, the Macedonian League was the only diaspora organization that made it very clear that after the agreement came into force, it was a valid document. Over a year later, not only do we see that the predictions of these so-called "experts" led to nowhere, but most of them have gone back into obscurity. Should these people be held accountable for stoking the flames of discord?
The timing of withdrawals or new participations are regulated by these instruments and by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969). Generally, if a state party's withdrawal is successful, its obligations under that treaty are considered terminated, and withdrawal by one party from a bilateral treaty terminates the treaty.
The Preamble and Article 1 of the Prespa Agreement very firmly state that not only is it permanent but also terminates the Interim Accord. That means that if somehow the Prespa Agreement were terminated by Greece, Skopje would be the winner, as the Interim Accord is dead; Skopje would return to "Republic of Macedonia" and Greece would be blamed. On the other hand, if the Prespa Agreement failed, Skopje would never see NATO or E.U. and would become the pariah of the world as North Korea is. Worse still, Skopje's existence would be in question, considering the country is in the hands of a majority-minority ethnic group.
Now, returning to your question, "Should these people be held accountable for stoking the flames of discord?" Here’s my view:
It makes no difference either way, especially to those who are supposedly holding these people accountable, because they are the same type of people. Those "experts" are narcissists and sociopaths seeking self-recognition. They are agitators of a gullible society making noise around their name for self-gratification and self-pleasure.
I remember one of the ignoramuses had stated that France had vetoed the entrance of Skopje to the E.U. under the name "Republic of North Macedonia." I started laughing because I was not sure whether the person who said it was more naïve or those who believed the falsehood. I remember reading some organizations had inundated President Macron of France with letters expressing their gratitude.
The Agreement exists because of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/225 of April 8, 1993, in which Greece recognized Skopje's existence as a state after the latter withdrew its objection. Also, the Agreement exists because of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 817 (1993) And 845 (1993) and all pertinent correspondence of clarifications that resulted in the Interim Accord. There was no way that the Agreement would be nullified. The five-year period of ascendancy to the EU was a technicality inserted to draw as many votes in the Sobranie as possible. One must consider France's status as a permanent member of the UNSC with veto power. If France were to stop the implementation of the Agreement, it would have brought it before the UNSC and then face the music of the consequences. All resolutions and the Interim Agreement exist for one reason and one reason only, to avoid a war that could develop into a regional one.
As for the people who follow the know-it-alls, they are thirsty for knowledge and solace even in fiction. We offer the knowledge of facts and we call them as we see them.
3) In late 2019 and in early 2020, the Greek communities in both Australia and Canada witnessed breaches of the Prespes Agreement by their local politicians. What do these breaches say about Greek community organizations and advocacy in the two countries? Is there a lesson to be learned here?
Depending on the specific instruments, several of them expressly allow states to withdraw from them and others to recognize the eventual inclusion of more participants.
However, in a few cases, instruments of diplomacy are indefinitely binding or for a long period. Several of them sanctioned by the UNSC apply to all governments, their agencies, and all organizations regardless of location or authority if the latter are sanctioned by the contracting governments.
The Prespa Agreement, as drafted, applies only to governments, their agencies, and their dependent entities or organizations. Whether the Churches of both countries and their activities abroad are considered dependent or subsidized organizations depends on the legal status and degree of their dependence.
If the governments of either country do not subsidize individuals or organizations of the Diaspora, they are not affected at all. Nevertheless, the same organizations fall under the laws of their controlling authorities, which fall under international law. Since the Prespa Agreement has passed into international law, the latter prevails over municipal law as domestic law is legally known, and that includes the Constitutions or Constitutional Laws of the countries.
The Sterjova incident in Australia
Coming to the specific matter of the young mayor Ms. Emilia Sterjova of Whittlesea, who displayed the Sun of Vergina flag at an official event. The violation here is that as a mayor, she knowingly instigated an incident that caused subsequent violence. It is a violation of Australian law. She indirectly encouraged violent acts through her behaviour. The beating of an unfortunate young man of Greek descent by four Skopjan thugs is a matter for the local, state, and federal governments to investigate and apply all pertinent laws.
Having said the above, the response by the leadership of the Greek community was at best lukewarm, at worst pathetic. The reason that the leadership of the Greek Community was silent was not that they kept their cool, but that they chose to do nothing. They were inept at writing a simple letter not just to the Australian community at large, but to the pertinent authorities.
But here is the issue. If the organizations they lead are solely cultural, their leadership should stick to what they qualify. Otherwise, they are "irrelevant, immaterial, and incompetent" to do anything more than organize balls, make pompous speeches and wave the flag, probably the white flag of surrender, regardless of how many PhDs they have. Such false confidence is precisely how the fairytale of the "Greek lobby" started in the USA in 1974, and most Greeks believe in its existence.
The Oliphant incident in Canada
The second incident is one of Mr. Oliphant in Ontario, Canada. The issue of Robert Oliphant, Secretary to the Minister of Global Affairs of Canada, is a different story and signals the ineptness of the Canadian Greek Diaspora to educate Canada's politicians. Mr. Oliphant, whether he realized it or not, represented the Canadian Government in a cultural event organized by the Skopjan diaspora in Toronto in commemoration of the Bulgarian revolutionary Goce Delchev on February 1, 2020.
That Gotse Delchev was a Bulgarian is not a secret. We have a letter of his, stating just that. Delchev was born on February 4, 1872, in Kilkis, Greece and died on May 4, 1903, in a skirmish between the Ottoman Police and his band in Vevi of present-day Meliti Municipality, Greece, due to betrayal by the villagers who were fed up with being looted, killed, and extorted by gangsters.
In Mr. Oliphant's defence, he was unaware what the symbols on display all over the room walls meant. Whether it was a set up by the "United Macedonians [sic] Organization of Canada" or not, is immaterial. The Greek Diaspora of Canada should educate Mr. Oliphant and especially his staff on the issue. Greek Canadians need education themselves. They lack the full understanding that the problem is not ancient history per se, but actually concerns the national interests and national security of Greece. The narrative "Alexander the Great and his Macedonians were Greek" is only a speck of the problem that goes much further than the naïve leadership (if it exists) believes. It is overly overconfident of their sources, methods, and especially knowledge. Such guidance due to scholastic inadequacy on the matter, lacks the coherence of thought. They are probably engineers, physicians, and other irrelevant professions. They think in terms of if it is not white, it must be black. As the old saying goes, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
The Skopjan Slavs being opportunists use their social engineers: they took the full fantasy sermon of the Dalmatian vicar Vinko Pribojević and converted it into historical fact, dreaming of expanding the land of Skopje southward, and exiting in the Aegean Sea. They are now enjoying the fruits of their labour. They built a castle, despite having foundations in the sand. They achieved this because they found naïve people to believe them, ideological patsies to enable them, and gullible people to underestimate them.
The last thing people should do is continue falling into Skopjan ultra-nationalistic traps. Being vigilant is one thing, but perpetually falling into their traps is another. It equates to the Skopjans eating steak, while throwing odd bones at us to lick. While we write impetuous letters to people who are indifferent to anything we say, the Skopjans work behind the scenes doing their job, making the national interests of Skopje identical to the national interests of the host country. Greeks have not succeeded in doing so. Turks, who have trained the Skopjans, take them for a ride on the matter.
Mr. Oliphant seems to be a philhellene, and it was evident by the fact that he did not say anything negative about Greece or the Greek people. The fact that Greek politicians continue falling into traps, does not excuse us from doing the same. Foreign politicians and their staff need proper education on the issue of Skopje and Turkey. Education means using strong persuasive arguments, not fantasy ones.
Violations of the Prespa Agreement abroad
Returning to possible violations of the Prespa Agreement, we see a member of the clergy of the "Macedonian" Church Sitting at the table. Whether the presence of the clergyman violates Article 6 of the Prespa Agreement is a matter that the Greek M.F.A. should pursue with the M.F.A. of North Macedonia[sic]. It depends on who supports the Skopjan churches abroad or the church in question.
Other violations could involve the presence of a Skopjan diplomatic representative at an event, even if the person or persons are attending in an unofficial capacity. Such a presence would constitute a violation of the Agreement (save the traditional apathy and expression of the resignation of Greeks, «Ωχ, αδελφέ, δε βαριέσαι. Όλοι περαστικοί είμαστε από αυτόν τον κόσμο. Oλοι αδέλφια, Χριστιανοί είμαστε, μήπως οι άλλοι είναι καλλίτεροι;»)
4) Both you and the Macedonian League were specifically attacked as being a "Skopjan organization" by radio host Michael Nevradakis of Dialogos Media. His argument focussed on your fact-based research relating to the nullification of the Prespes Agreement. Other Greek organizations were also attacked as traitors by him in the same interviews. What did you make of this?
It seems that this "gentleman" is one of those know-it-alls with no common sense, that repeats the same mistakes over and over again, while maintaining an attitude of self-righteousness. People like him have two choices. Either use their degrees to acquire experience and benefit their community or wrap fish in them.
The whole matter is based on maturity. I do wish Greece had not allowed Skopje to use the name Macedonia. Yet, as I wrote above, Skopje received anything they wanted from Greece using the salami-slice strategy and nothing in exchange.
The whole topic is a matter of experience, common sense, and education, which is based on enlightenment, not a piece of paper. Let me overdramatize what I mean. A plumber and a colorectal surgeon deal with plumbing. Only an idiot would visit a plumber for colonoscopy. I leave aside the fact that the plumber would call the paramedics to have his "client" taken away in a straitjacket. These people sit on their brains. They need to start learning how to think.
There are many things I do not like from the Prespa Agreement. Some of them are tacit and others implicit. They will be solved with the assistance of Albania, Bulgaria, and a couple of them with Serbia, but of course not in Greece’s favour. Some of the issues are matters for the select committees. I have not seen any correspondence between the two M.F.A.s and the U.N. Secretary-General. The Macedonian League is guided by actual knowledge of how countries negotiate and the importance of stare decisis as well as the municipal law and possible application of both in international law.
We should bear in mind that international law is always above municipal or domestic law.
- In the Free Zones case the Permanent Court observed "... it is certain that France cannot rely on her own legislation to limit the scope of her international obligations, (1932), PCI], Ser. AlB, no. 46, p. 167.
- And the opinion of the Court in the Greco-Bulgarian Communities case contains the statement: "it is a generally accepted principle of international law that in the relations between Powers who are contracting Parties to a treaty, the provisions of municipal law [domestic law] cannot prevail over those of the treaty".
- The same principle applies where the provisions of a constitution are relied upon; in the words of the Permanent Court "It should ... be observed that ... a State cannot adduce as against another State its own Constitution with a view to evading obligations incumbent upon it under international law or treaties in force. Applying these principles to the present case, it results that the question of the treatment of Polish nationals or other Persons of Polish origin or speech must be settled exclusively on the basis of the rules of international law and the treaty provisions in force between Poland and Danzig (Polish Nationals in Danzig (1931), PCI], Ser. AlB, no. 44, p. 24. The same goes for the Pinson claim (1928), RIAA v. 327; Ann. Digest, 4 (1927-8), no. 4.)
A few months after I had announced that the Prespa Agreement cannot change nor can be nullified because of the manner it was drafted I received a number of emails and messages from some people who kept sending me videos and clippings by some well-known to them professors, indirectly telling me that I was wrong. All these professors of political science were irrelevant to issues of national security and were also ignorant of the full scale of the subject as were some former generals of the Greek Army. They all lacked the proper educational and professional background. Since the matter of the Macedonia dispute goes back to 1950, they never consider that once the door of the cage opens and the birdie leaves, no one and nothing can bring it back to the cage.
However, later I was vindicated by Angelos Syrigos, a lawyer and assistant Professor of International Law and Foreign Policy at the Department of International and European Studies at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences of Athens. I believe he is now one of the Members of Parliament for the New Democracy Party which is in power in Greece today. I was also vindicated by the facts.
People like this Michael probably consider traitors, not only Angelos Syrigos, but also the whole Party of New Democracy and N.D.'s followers as well. The ONLY reason the N.D. voted against the Prespa Agreement in the Parliament was because they were the opposition. What happened after N.D. was elected? Nothing. Because the PASOK (Center Union - Ένωσις Κέντρου and N.D. (National Radical Union - Εθνική Ριζοσπαστική Ένωσις) were in it from the beginning due to ignorance and indifference.
But what I have found very interesting is the fact these nickel and dime super-patriots call us "traitors" only because we told the Greek community what the fact is, that the Prespa Agreement could not be nullified or modified.
I am not by education, and neither by profession, or even by training an engineer, a physician, a mathematician, an architect, a chemist, a physicist, a journalist, an attorney, or what have you. I do not get involved in matters of the above professions. It is their profession which they obtained by appropriate education.
During my U.S. Army Pre-Commission Course, I learned the basics of bridge building, but it does not make me an engineer.
Also, I knew that the Gauss–Krüger Geographic coordinate system based on 1940 Krasovski's ellipsoid was used for Warsaw Pact military maps with the vertical datum at the foot of the bridge to Kronstadt, the island located off St. Petersburg, Russia. Because of that knowledge, using trigonometry I had worked on the conversion of Gauss-Krassovski coordinates to UTM U.S. Military NAD83 in 1985. I submitted my work to the U.S. Intelligence Community through my chain of command. The pertinent authority classified it very highly. Although it makes me a very good mathematician, it does not make me a cartographer.
In my college undergraduate years, as part of my Human Biology course, I dissected a fetal sow, but I cannot claim to be a pathologist.
In 1990 as part of the course of Geology, I wrote an academic paper, which I have shared with some of my close friends and on The Macedonian League website predicting the upcoming climate change, but it would be ridiculous to call myself an expert in weather change or clairvoyant.
Accordingly, I do not understand why every irrelevant know-it-all Tom, Dick, and Harry gets involved in MY business. It is imprudent and dangerous that amateurs get involved in areas that they are unfamiliar with and they do not understand it, no matter how easy the areas might seem.
In my 30-year career in the Intelligence Community of the United States, I never cared about giving to the pertinent officials what they wanted to hear or read. As I had mentioned to someone, "my job is not to watch CNN with all the pundits and come to work the next day to give the U.S. officials my assessment based on what I had heard the night before. My job is to make an assessment based on the facts that I have before me and using my background knowledge and education, along with my experience, I offer my assessment. What the elected officials are going to do with my assessment is not of my business; it is theirs. They are accountable to their electorate; however, they will never blame me if they screw up because they preferred politicking over reality".
A little more than ten years have passed since my retirement, but I still think and operate in the same manner whether people like it or not. I cannot lie to people feeding them with nonsensical and sensationalist disinformation only because they desire to hear it. I am not a confectioner to sugarcoat anything. I call it as I see it; it is either take it or leave it.
The reason we stated that the Macedonian League stood with then Greek M.F.A. Nikos Kotzias months before the Prespes Agreement, was that I had in mind the current geopolitical activities in the region. One must have in mind the connection between Turkey and war, economic refugees along with ISIS fighters seeking to destabilize Greece and on top of it through constant bullying to steal the natural resources of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean affecting the economy of Greece and Cyprus. I am not even touching the issue of Turkey with Syria and Libya.
The last thing Greece needed at that time was political instability over and above the economic instability, which was caused by the behavior of both PASOK and N.D. and the amateur handling by SYRIZA while negotiating the Agreement. The reason that Greece negotiated the final agreement at that time was exactly the window of opportunity. Skopje did not have VMRO-DPMNE in power anymore. It would be impossible for Greece to negotiate in earnest an agreement with a Gruevski or similar Government.
There is one more reason we called for political stability in Greece. The above super-nickel-and-dime patriots are so incompetent that they do not have any memory of the main three civil wars that Greece underwent in the past.
During the War of Independence (1821–1830) against the Ottomans, Greeks were fighting each other.
- Autumn 1823 – June 1824
- October 1824 – February 1825
During the 20th century, communist forces inspired and sponsored by AVNOJ Yugoslavia versus Greek government forces, launched a civil war in three phases.
- First phase: 1943–1944 (1 year)
- Second Phase: December 3, 1944 – January 11, 1945 (one month, one week and one day)
- Third Phase: March 30, 1946 – October 16, 1949 (three years, six months, two weeks, and two days)
I am not even mentioning the outcome of the National Schism (ἐθνικός διχασμός) of the early 20th century. It arguably cost Greece, Ionia, which it lost to the Turks. I am not even touching the events that led to the military takeover on April 21, 1967.
The recognition of Skopje was also the result of business, not by the Skopjan Diaspora, but by Greeks themselves. Greek investors, along with the Alfa Banking Group headquartered in Moscow, Russia, found an opportunity that both political parties of Greece provided to take their money from Greece with no valid stipulations that supported and upheld the national interests of Greece. Instead, successive governments of Greece closed their eyes, seeing the money earned in Greece escaping to Skopje, while the Greek population was unemployed.
In 2018, when the Prespa Agreement was signed, about 2,500 companies of Greek capital were already doing business in that country employing local people. In addition, Skopjans, like the Bulgarians, enabled and assisted the gambling habits of the Greeks, who kept leaving thousands of euros at the Casino Flamingo Hotel in Bogorodica and Apollonia Casino & Hotel in Gevgelija. Greeks abroad live in a parallel universe.
The last thing Greece needed while trying to get out of the economic ruin was political mayhem. Before inept individuals start giving lessons on patriotism, they had better think about the consequences of their big mouth.
I saw them in 1974 when Greece had declared mobilization during the invasion of Cyprus. While I walked in the Consulate General of Greece in Montreal, volunteering to fight for Greece, most super-duper patriots were calling the Consulate to find out how they could avoid the mobilization. Diaspora Greeks found excuses such as “I have a business to run,” “I have a family to take care,” or “I am a Canadian citizen” and so on. As I found out later, most men who volunteered to fight in Cyprus were Armenians, not Greeks. So much for modern Greek patriotism.
Before one starts to wave the flag or make balderdash speeches, one must look back to see what Greece had already given away to Skopje. In international law, once a country gives something away, it cannot retrieve it unless it invokes a fundamental change of circumstances. In the case of Skopje and Greece, there is no such a case accepted by the UNSC, nor by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (May 23, 1969). The fact that one does not like parts of the Agreement is not a reason for invalidation. Responsible are the voters who kept on voting for politicians that only in name understand the relevant issues.
What most people dislike is that Skopje got the word "Macedonia" as part of its final name. People need to understand that all political parties they voted to form Greek governments, not only messed up the situation, but in addition, they gave away much more than the name.
As to whether they should be held accountable depends on the intelligence of their devotees and for how long the devotees are willing to eat grass.
Returning to Mr. Nevradakis, I would suggest he learns more about the application of the First Amendment. As a journalist, he should know the rules of journalism. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not give him a license to smear people he does not know, he does not like, or who do not do as he says by calling them names. His right to say, whatever comes to his head, covers only celebrities and politicians. If people of the last two categories sue him, during the discovery process, they must show that the journalist did it out of malice. I am neither a celebrity nor am I a politician. I live on my reputation and my reputation alone. When he destroys my reputation with malarkey, I have nothing left to live on. Only a Court will get my reputation back at his expense. In my first language, δε βαριέσαι is unknown.
People like me undergo vigorous investigations by the F.B.I., and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) every five years as the law requires so that we receive and maintain a Top-Secret Clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (S.C.I.) and NATO Cosmic Top-Secret Clearance. Such quinquennial investigations are designed to ascertain that the life of vital personnel is beyond criticism and cleared from any possibility for extortion. It is how we perform our designated jobs. We perform impossible jobs. Even our spouses do not know what we do to protect those like Mr. Nevradakis so that they enjoy the freedoms we provide, setting the foundations for their prosperity.
Immature people do not understand that degrees do not make them anything; they make the degrees. Peter Jennings, the suave, Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades, had never finished high school. The master's degree is designed to deepen career-oriented knowledge and skills. The doctorate is a heavily research-based progression designed to develop critical research, analytical, and writing skills to fill knowledge gaps of a specific industry. France does not differentiate between the two.
I was an Intelligence Officer for 28 years; my Master of Science of Strategic Intelligence (MSSI) did not make me an Intelligence Officer. At the end of my career, I decided to apply for a seat in the MSSI program at the National Defense Intelligence College, now the National Intelligence University. As one sees, the paper came after I was an intelligence officer for 30 years, not before. I made the degree; the degree did not make me. Then I taught a course of strategy as a matter of theory, but also experience.
It is up to Mr. Nevradakis, and those who think alike to decide whether they want to use their piece of paper for the benefit of their community or they would rather wrap fish in it.
May I remind them all of Aesop's Fable of the Fox and Grapes,
«Ὃσα δέν φτάνει ἡ ἀλεποῦ, τά κάνει κρεμαστάρια».
5) In a very unfortunate online Facebook post, the Pan-Macedonian Association released a picture of some of their executives and supporters holding a sign stating that "Whoever respects the agreement consents to the betrayal." Ironically, they posted that picture at around the same time they visited Skopje! Upon their return to Greece, and after getting flack from their followers, some of these executives went to great lengths to state that they showed Greek ID in order to avoid getting a stamp of "North Macedonia" on their foreign passports. What can be said by that petty post?
Recognition of a state merely signifies that the persons who recognize it accept the personality of the visited state with all the rights and duties determined by international and domestic laws. Recognition is unconditional and irrevocable. After all, these self-proclaimed observers had to spend money in Skopje to eat, gas the cars, etc. Even if they used credit cards instead of cash, they had accepted the authority of the Bank of North Macedonia as their transaction statements would declare. They also had to mingle with Skopjans who were around them and hear their "Macedonian" language within the territory of "North Macedonia."
Given these "super-patriots” found the Prespa Agreement treasonous and of course illegitimate (they tried to revoke it), why did they care whether Skopje was in the process of implementing it? Their act alone indicates that in their view, the Prespa Agreement was legitimate, and they wanted to ascertain that Skopje's Government followed the agreed provisions. In doing so, they committed their own act of treason!
6) Skopje has many regional players to satisfy in its bid for EU accession. However, since the Prespes Agreement was signed, Bulgaria has become extremely vocal in pursuing its National Interests concerning Skopje. What moves will Bulgaria make in relation to Skopje’s future EU accession?
There is a good reason for the daughter’s, i.e. Skopje’s feelings. There is NO doubt that the 99% of the “Macedonian” revolutionaries were Bulgarians. The one 1% accounts for some like Pitu Guli, a Greek-speaking Vlach, who was misled by the Bulgarians and consequently joined them.
There is also another valid reason that applies to the present state of Skopje. The ethnicity of the Slavs of Skopje is readily dismissed as Bulgarian; facts belie such a conclusion.
The Slavic side of the country is an ethnic mishmash of three main Slavophone ethnicities: Serbian, Bulgarian, and those of the first Slavic tribes, which over the years have been intermarried. This was the Skopje’s Slavic basis when the region officially seceded from Vardaska Banovina and became the Socialist Republic, formulating its own culture due to governmental intervention. Now, some of the Slavic speaking inhabitants have spouses from Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia, Russia, and even Greece.
During the early 1900s, Bulgarians had openly stated that they were fighting for the freedom of Macedonia. In reality, the “Internal Revolutionary” organization was fighting to create a socialist state in Macedonia and Thrace in order to govern the country themselves, while the “External Revolutionary” organization was fighting for autonomy and the eventual incorporation of Macedonia and Thrace to the Bulgarian Principality.
Thus, Bulgaria is a very different element in the equation. Bulgarian communists always had problems with the Marxist theory, as Lenin and Stalin had interpreted.
In “A Conversation with Stalin,” Dimitrov conceded that the Macedonians were a separate people only feebly pointing out in private that Marxist theory differentiated between “people” and “nation.” Such subtlety went unnoticed, as he publicly and continually confirmed that all Macedonians should be united in the eponymous Yugoslav Republic. This was the principle adopted by the Tenth Plenum of the CC, on the 9-10 August 1946, when the B.R.P. (K) leaders also resolved to support the policy, already in progress of “Macedonizing” the inhabitants of Macedonia. In addition to setting up Macedonian-language libraries and schools, a census was carried out in December 1946 in which the communist authorities forcibly registered the population as Macedonian rather than Bulgarian (Хаджиниколов 1982, p. 39 in Stankova 2010, p. 201- emphasis is mine).
Article 4 of the July 1924 Comintern Resolution states,
“The Congress at the same time emphasizes the fact that the revolutionary struggle of the Macedonian and Thracian people for their national and social freedom can only be successful when it is carried on in conjunction with the revolutionary workers and peasants in every one of the Balkan countries” (emphasis is mine).
Article 5 of the same supports the above with,
The Communist Parties of the Balkans and the Balkan Federation must vigorously support the national revolutionary movements of the oppressed peoples of Macedonia and Thrace for the formation of independent republics (emphasis is mine).
One could argue that by “Macedonian” people, the resolution meant the Slavs of Macedonia, but how could one say that about the Thracian people as being of one ethnic group? That alone means that by “Macedonian people”, the Comintern indicated all the people of Macedonia regardless of their ethnicity. It is often forgotten that the entire title of the VMRO was “The Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization” with Adrianople stipulating Thrace. Comintern used the word “narod,” which means people (λαός) without an ethnic qualification.
Bulgaria's recognition of the 'Republic of Macedonia'
Bulgaria recognized the ‘Republic of Macedonia’ on 15th January 1992. Here are some details of the recognition. The day began with a meeting of the Consultative National Security Council under President Zhelyu Mitev Zhelev, a Bulgarian politician and former dissident. Present in the Council was Prime Minister Philip Dimitrov, the leaders of Parliamentary Parties, and Chairs of Parliamentary Committees.
The meeting was stormy and went into proceedings and maneuvers. It was decided in principle to recognize Skopje as Macedonia but did not specify precisely when this would happen. Dimitar Ludzhev, Minister of Defense and Svetoslav Luchnikov, Minister of Justice, were cautious and thought that Bulgaria should slow down the announcement of the recognition of Skopje as Macedonia. Finance Minister Ivan Kostov had abstained because he considered that the absence of the Foreign Minister, Stoyan Ganev, from the meeting would be an obstacle to the announcement of the recognition. Vice President Atanas Semerdjiev was also against the recognition.
Then the former foreign affairs adviser to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria and recently re-assigned Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Stefan Tafrov, requested information from Bulgaria’s Ambassadors from other Balkan states and then expressed the opinion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; that Bulgaria must recognize Skopje as Macedonia, the soonest.
He allegedly had evidence that Turkey was also getting ready to recognize Macedonia[sic] something that Sofia should not allow to happen, given the historical roots of Slavic-Macedonians with Bulgaria. Tafrov, however, had lied. Ankara had no intention to be the first to recognize the former Yugoslav Republic. Nobody else except Tafrov had heard of such plans in the foreign policy objectives of Turkey, but Tafrov kept lying about it. Turkey was waiting for another country to do it first. And so, based on Tafrov’s lie, Bulgaria recognized Macedonia, but NOT its nation or language.
To avoid full recognition, Bulgaria clearly stated that it recognizes only the existence of the state under the name “Macedonia,” but NOT the ethnicity and the language of the Slavic majority.
From Skopje’s perspective, the Republic of Bulgaria recognized the former Yugoslav Republic long before the European states. This act can be assessed as a show of determination.
With the hasty recognition of the Republic of Macedonia by some external observers, the Republic of Bulgaria withdrew from the position declared by President Zhelyu Zhelev in October 1991 that “Bulgaria is ready to recognize the independence of the Yugoslav republics that have declared it democratically.” Such a recognition would be a blanket acceptance for everything and anything the Republic of Macedonia[sic] stood for.
So, Bulgaria bypassed the hurdle by recognizing the statehood of Macedonia[sic] but NOT the existence of a Macedonian nation in a sociological sense. The language is a slightly different story.
Regarding the dialect/language, one may refer to my article, Is it a Dialect or is it a Language?
The question is, given Bulgaria had problems with the Skopjan ethnicity and language, why didn’t it get involved in the Interim Accord?
Whether Bulgaria had any legal standing in the matter of the Interim Accord was a matter that Greece could bring up, but it would be inappropriate. At that time, the issue was the name of Skopje and only the name for which Bulgaria did not have any problem. Greece’s positions became increasingly fluid and accordingly weaker, while Skopje’s positions remained adamant. Simultaneously, Skopje was let free to do whatever its politicians wanted while the politicians of Greece, their aides, and advisors were becoming progressively distressed and bewildered in a constant quandary lacking expertise on the issue. They sought an easy way out, but always ready to declare victory.
Due to Mrs. Bakoyanni’s incompetence (Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time), Mr Meimarakis’ irrelevance (Minister of Defense), and Mr. Karamanlis' indifference (Prime Minister), the naming issue progressed to matters of ethnicity and language.
While Bulgaria has reservations around ethnicity and language, it still won't change anything because Bulgarians already call the Slavs, "Macedonians", as a matter of demonym, (not as a matter of genonym). It is a political issue like the issue of the glossonym. After all, Misirkov, a Bulgarian, had suggested that the speech of Ohrid-Bitola-Prilep should become the literary language of “Macedonia.”
Even when not engaged on official work, the Macedonian intellectuals should always speak to one another in the central Macedonian dialect (that of Veles, Prilep, Bitola, and Ohrid) and this language should be introduced as a compulsory subject in all religious and national teaching, even in the Turkish schools. The central Macedonian dialect should become the literary language of Macedonia (K. P. Misirkov 1974, 59 - the emphasis is mine).
The fact is that whatever name Skopje chooses to baptize its language, Greece would have to agree as a matter of law. However it should be noted that the Prespa Agreement will not fade away and the signatories would need to replace this text with a new legal act.
7) What is your opinion about the Albanian population within Skopje?
To begin with, the Albanians hold the balance of power in the government of Skopje. They will be the definite majority group within Skopje in a not too distant future. As it currently stands, the Slavs are a majority-minority. That means that when one compares the Slavs on a one to one basis against another ethnicity, then they are the majority. However, when one compares them against all other ethnicities together, the Slavs are a minority. This is the formal setting based on the flawed census of 2002. I say flawed because not one government of Skopje has completed an accurate tally since its independence.
The second issue of the Albanians is the National Anthem of Skopje.
The third is the full implementation of the 13th August, 2001, Ohrid Agreement regarding the Albanian language.
The issue of nationality on travel documents as it is right now is redundant. Article 1.3b of the Prespa Agreement states that nationality “shall be Macedonian/citizen of the Republic of North Macedonia.” In my view, nationality should be either the name of the country as it is in the U.S. passports or no nationality at all according to the model of the passports of the SFRJ. The title of the country was enough. If the country’s name is North Macedonia[sic], then the nationality of the bearer cannot be anything else. I am expecting it to change.
The fifth issue is, in my view, the most crucial issue for ALL inhabitants of the Skopjan republic. It is about having a FULL, and EXACT population census by ethnicity. Such a count of the population will put to rest a lot of “expert” conspiracies on all sides. It will offer an accurate picture of ethnicities and their full strength, which will determine the political prestige of the Albanians, and of course, it will tilt the balance of powers in the country.
As for President Pendarovski, he will change his tune when he realizes that he might NOT have a country to be President of. Under the Albanian Government, a referendum for the autonomy or secession of Ilirida could be legalized by the Parliament, and Skopje as a country will become part of history. If Ilirida secedes for one reason or another, the rest of the country will be split into two pieces, i.e., between Serbia and Bulgaria. It should be noted that the only way to have peaceful secession of a region within any country is a legally sanctioned referendum, which means with the consent of the controlling power.
For those in Greece and elsewhere who dream of re-acquiring Skopje’s southern areas of Ohrid, Bitola (Monastiri), and Gevgelija, I would remind them that in those areas most of the population by far is Slavic and Albanian. After all these years of Serbian and Yugoslavian education, any Greeks that existed there in the 1920s or even 1940s might not be Greeks anymore. Let us not do with Skopje what the Greek Government did in the early 1990s when they opened the borders of Albania, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry came to Greece as Northern Epirotes.
Here is the census in the whole area of the Republic of Skopje.
Bear in mind that when a country takes over a territory from another country, the country inherits all people regardless of ethnicity. The following are the results of the 2002 census in the municipalities of Ohrid, Bitola, and Gevgelija. Although its legitimacy has been understandably challenged, it gives people an idea about the ethnic groups Greece could inherit in its quest for lands that used to be inhabited by a vast Greek population. What was right in the past, might not be right today.
Of course, only an accurate census will show the actual number of Greeks living in those areas. Until that time, let’s avoid daydreaming. We do not want to convert delusional thinking into a real nightmare.
8) You have dedicated over fifty years of your life on the Macedonian Question. Most people do not even know it, but as a young soldier in the Hellenic Army, you served on the front lines right at the Greek-Yugoslav border during a tense period. On what you are allowed and are willing to disclose, give our readership a small glimpse of the daily life of a young Marcus - the soldier - whose eyes and ears were on Skopje.
The Greek Army
Serving the Greek Army was not just an honor and a privilege; it was a sheer pleasure and a translucent education.
I served 24 months, a simple private, from 22nd July to 30th September, 1969, in the Recruit Reception Center in Messolonghi (12 ΣΠ, today 2/39 Σ.Ε. of Evzones Regiment) for Basic Training and from 1st October, 1969, to 22nd July, 1971, at the Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC.) of 33rd Infantry Regiment (ΛΔ/33 ΣΠ, ΣΤΓ 912β). I mostly worked at the 1st / 8th Staff Office. I occasionally worked in the 2nd /7th Staff Office.
A1 > Personnel/Finances,
A2 > Security/Public Relations,
A3 > Training/ Operations,
A4 > Transportation/Supplies.
Of course, that was then. The military cannot and should not remain stagnant. After all, Τά πάντα’ ρεῖ (Heraclitus of Ephesus, EurLex-2).
As I said above, occasionally, I worked for the A2 and occasionally worked in the cryptologic shop, which was next to A2, first floor, in the Administration Building of the Regiment.
At that time, the CO of the 702nd Combat Engineers Battalion at Skydra was Lieutenant Colonel Lazaros Yannoukakos from Mani. The legendary Colonel Konstantinos Davakis was his uncle. The Commanding General of the 6th Infantry Division in Kilkis was General Victor Kharisis from the area of Korytsa.
The defense of Greece
Our Regiment’s Mission Essential Task List was the defense of Greece in that specific sector from a ground attack. The town of Polykastron is a communications link located about 14 km south of the borders and combines wheeled/track vehicle approach along with rail transport of vehicles or troops in case of a sizable ground attack. Over and above that, it controls any possible offensive of small amphibian units by water as it restrains the flow of Axios. Because of it, the avenue of approach from the north in that area is thoroughly checked.
The territory of military coverage included the National Guard Battalions of Aridaia (Τ. Ε. Αριδαίας) in the west and an area near Lake Doiran, from which the responsibility of the 19th Infantry Regiment, stationed at that time in Sidirokastron, started.
Our Regiment had the essential peacetime organization of any Infantry Regiment at the time. It was the parent unit of the 503rd Infantry Battalion (IB) stationed in Goumenissa. The 506th IB stationed in Axioupolis and the 525th IB stationed in Polykastron, near the Headquarters building of the Regiment. The Detachment of Telecommunications and Cryptology was attached to the above organic composition, to ensure the uninterrupted function of the Regiment and the Garrison.
The mission of the 503 IB was the physical guarding of the borders with Yugoslavia. It was responsible for the facilities and the rotation of soldiers who were equipped with the best communications apparatus of the time.
The other function of the 33rd Infantry Regiment was one of Garrison. Under that peacetime military organizational structure, the component units were: HHC., 2nd Company of Recoilless Antitank Weapons (Πυροβόλα Άνευ Οπισθοδρομήσεως - ΠΑΟ), Detachment of Telecommunications and Cryptology, 104th Field Artillery Battalion, the 2nd Transportation Company, 2nd Ordnance Company, 2nd Quartermaster Company, 2nd Medical Company, the 2nd and 6th Medium Tank Battalions (under the 6th Infantry Division, Kilkis), and of course the Regiment’s component units as stated above.
When I arrived in Polykastron, the Regimental Commander was already transferred; I never met him. He was temporarily replaced by the Executive Officer (Deputy Commander) Constantine Papadopoulos. The latter was promoted within a couple of months to Colonel and transferred as the Commander of 19th Infantry Regiment in Sidirokastron.
The new Commander of the Regiment was Infantry Colonel Osvaldos Fabrikezis from Corfu. He later got promoted to Brigadier General and transferred to the Army Headquarters in Athens (Papagou). He was replaced by the Infantry Colonel Achilles Tsoukalis. Colonel Tsoukalis was my last regimental Commander.
The HHC had two Warrant Officers, Polymeris from Epirus and after he was transferred, he was replaced by Karatsirakis from Komotini.
The Commanding officer of the HHC was one of the Staff Officers of the Headquarters. The Director of the 1st Staff Office and Commander of the HHC, Infantry Major Nikolaos Siakavelas from Lamia. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the National Guard Defense Battalion of Lamia (Τάγμα Εθνοφυλακής - T. E. Λαμίας).
He was replaced by the Director of the 4th Staff Office, Infantry Major Orestis Marinakis, from Chania in both jobs, the Director of the 1st Staff Office and the Commander of the HHC.
3rd Staff Office. Infantry Major Con. Tombras. When he was transferred to another position, he was replaced by Infantry Major Con. Papadopoulos.
4th Staff Office. Infantry Major Orestis Marinakis. He took over the 1st Staff Office after the transfer of Lieutenant Colonel Siakavelas. Major Menealos Afendris from Chalkis replaced him. Shortly before I left the service, Infantry Major Menelaos Afendris took command of the HHC, from Major Marinakis while he kept the functions of the 4th Staff Office.
In 2006 I wrote a letter to my old Commander Infantry Major Orestis Marinakis. His wife called me from Chania to let me know that my CO had already passed away in September 2001. His son was at that time in Tunis, working at the Greek Embassy. I believe Maria Marinaki of the Greek MFA is his daughter. Major Marinakis used to own a beige sedan Toyota Corona.
Because of my position, I was involved with commissioned officers, graduates of the Hellenic Army Academy (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Ευελπίδων), and of the Infantry School at Chalkis (Σχολὴ Πεζικοῦ Χαλκίδος), Supreme Joint War College (Ανωτάτη Διακλαδική Σχολή Πολέμου -ΑΔΙΣΠΟ near the American Farm School, Thermi, Thessaloniki).
My professional association with professionals of such high caliber helped me educate myself in more than discipline and responsibility. I learned about military organizational tables, aka order of battle (OB or ORBAT), and such. OB is the structure of an armed force participating in a military operation or campaign indicating the hierarchical organization, command structure, strength, disposition of personnel, and equipment of units and formations of the armed force. In addition, I learned all about the Army Ἐπετηρίδα, because I had to update it any time changes were coming from the Headquarters of the Army. Once a year, we would receive the whole book. Ἡ Ἐπετηρίς is a long list of officers’ hierarchies. It is essentially a Yearbook.
I had also participated in Field Training Exercises (FTX) as well as in one Tactical Exercise Without Troops (TEWT) and one Map Exercise (MAPEX). Working at the staff offices as a private, I also learned about inter-border communications of border units using a particular system that I will not explain since I am not aware of whether it is still used or not. The main reason was to let the other side know whether animals were passing from one side to another, e,g. horses. The Yugoslav side also notified us of possible corpses of people drowned within Yugoslavian territory assuming that the flow of the River Axios would bring them to Greece. A few of them did. Other common occurrences were patrols passing from one country to another, missing the benchmarks due to the height of the crops. Within half an hour, the incident was filed away. With the present Global Positioning System (GPS) used, the problem does not exist, I hope. Once, we went to Gevgelija for a day of talks on common border issues, nothing unusual.
Over the years, the regiment was upgraded and today exists as the 33rd Motorized Brigade with its HHC and 33rd Communications Company, 33rd Engineer Company, 33rd Anti-Tank Battalion, 33rd Medium Tank Battalion, 104th Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion (SPARTY), 506th Motorized Infantry Battalion, 525th Motorized Infantry Battalion, 33rd Support Battalion.
9) Before we end, and since we discussed your military service, give us one final response into your language training with the US Army.
I'll shed some light as to what it means to study a language at the Defense Language Institute-Foreign Language Center (DLI-FLC), located in the Presidio of Monterey, California.
Anyone who thinks that this is a vacation should think again. Bear in mind that each military service has its own schedule for Physical Training. Also worth noting is that the Presidion is on a hill with greatly uneven roads.
A typical day starts at 6:00 a.m. breakfast
7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. (4 hours of lessons)
11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. lunch
1:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. (2 hours lessons)
3:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Physical training (showers).
5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Dinner
As the language learning progresses, afternoon hours are dedicated to one on one conversation with teachers in the target language.
Study Hall/homework: 4-6 hours daily after dinner.
Details: The courses include target language, history, culture, geography of the country that speaks the target language. If languages such as Portuguese, French, Spanish, Arabic, and a few others spread to many countries, the student learns about the country or region to which he or she has been assigned.
Physical Training (PT) includes a military average of 35 push-ups, 40 sit-ups depending on the age group, and 2-mile jogging, i.e., about 3 km).
Once, sometimes, twice per month formation at 5:00 a.m. for jogging 5 miles, i.e., about 8 km.
Weekends USUALLY include excursions into anything related to culture which includes cooking native foods and eating them, depending on the language and country being studied. One of these things could be a restaurant to taste the food of the country or get together with Native Officers of the Naval Graduate School. Other than that, the weekend is free. However, we must never forget that one has classes on Monday and must perform. So, prepare your homework, syntax, grammar, and especially your vocabulary which keeps accumulating.
Target language: The student must pass oral and written exams and in written exams a student must answer a question in the form of a report in the language being studied. It is similar to a composition. The idea is that the student understands how an indigenous speaker thinks and his culture. The more he understands the native culture the better he can do his job.
Other tests include:
Rapid Fire Number Dictation, and the geography of the country. No limit on how many times one takes these tests, but you have to pass both before graduating. The duration of the course depends on the language.
Depending on the difficulty of the language as determined by the School, the duration of the courses is 64 weeks, 48 weeks, 36 weeks. The previously stated length of classes excludes a two-week academic break, national holidays, and the organization day of school, which is on 24th June. The DLI-FLC is a U.S. Army Post.
The Academic Library is at Fort Ord, CA.
Most students attend once; fewer students attend twice, and very few attend three times.
As far as I know, I am the only student who has attended the DLI-FLC four times (Czech, Serbo-Croatian, Castilian Spanish, and Turkish). I am also the only person who delivered a valedictorian speech in Slovak, although I had studied Czech. I spoke about my birth city of Thessaloniki and the Contribution of her sons, Saints Cyril and Methodius to the Enlightenment of the Slavs. After all, the famous Velehrad (Capital) is located in the Uherské Hradiště District of Zlín Region of the Czech Republic. I studied Czech in 1983-4 when the country was united under the name Czechoslovakia. We only took 50 hours of Slovak.
Courses are interdisciplinary, and the senior in military rank is the Class Leader. Being a class leader is a big responsibility.
Classroom size is a maximum of nine students, and ONLY in urgency goes up to 10.
Professor Marcus A. Templar is a former U.S. Army Cryptologic Linguist (Language Analyst), Signal Intelligence and All-Source Intelligence Analyst. During his career as a U.S. Intelligence Officer, besides organizational duties, he discharged the responsibilities of a U.S. Army Observer/Controller, Instructor of Intelligence Courses specializing in Deconstruction of Strategies, Foreign Disclosures Officer, and Translator Interpreter of Serbo-Croatian.
He is the Macedonian League's National Security Advisor.
About the Macedonian League
We are an international professional Hellenic advocacy group. Our primary purpose is to advance our interests to informed and responsive governments on issues concerning Greece's national security and territorial integrity.
As of 12 February 2019, the Macedonian League's main focus is on the “Prespes Agreement", as this Agreement is a serious national security issue that threatens the territorial integrity of Greece and the regional stability of the Balkans.
The Macedonian League also focuses on exposing and combating anti-Hellenism and analyzing political developments in Skopje.
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 http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/obituaries/articles/2005/04/12/archbishop_iakovos_led_greek_orthodox_in_americas/ (accessesd June 1, 2020)