No Medal for Bad Sportsmanship

By- Vasil Mishev

The recent Greek reaction to the innocent and understandable comments made by two Australian channel seven commentators during the Rio Olympic games opening ceremony should ring alarm bells for all Australians especially other ethnic communities and politicians. Despite it being in the grand scheme of things nothing more than a storm in a tea cup, on closer analysis it was a blatant attack on freedom of speech by a community that considers itself as having the right to interfere in all aspects of Australian civic life when they believe their interests as a nation are under attack.

I admire their tenacity and passion for their cause and don’t blame them for doing what they must to hide the reality of the situation. However, In the words of the English bard, me thinks they protest too much, and they do so because their case is very weak and not based on historical fact, but on the need to protect their heinous record of human rights abuses in Macedonia since their invasion and colonisation of southern Macedonia in 1913.

Division of Macedonia 1913

Division of Macedonia 1913

Let us examine dispassionately the modern Greek position that is behind their ridiculously over the top outburst to a couple of sports commentators referring to Macedonia by its constitutional name, and associating King Phillip of Macedonia with the Republic of Macedonia.

Modern Greeks claim the ancient Macedonians were Greek and the border of ancient Macedonia corresponds to the modern Greek border with the Republic of Macedonia. Consequently, they say anyone north of that sacred border in the Republic of Macedonia and a few (in their opinion deluded) trouble makers living in Greek occupied Macedonia who they don’t identify as Greeks have no right to call themselves Macedonians and their nation cannot be called Macedonia.

Furthermore, until a name that Greece approves of is found, despite the fact that many nations including the USA, China, Russia have already recognised the Republic of Macedonia, it must be referred to as FYROM and its people as Skopjean, Bulgarian or, and this one is my favourite… dirty rotten Slav Gypsies who don’t speak a language but use an idiom to communicate.

Unfortunately, my nation Australia is one of the few nations who haven’t recognised Macedonia by its constitutional name and instead use the insulting nonsensical acronym FYROM, why is that I wonder?

According to the modern Greek position, a nation and a people can only use an ancient name as their identity, regardless of how long they have lived there, only if they are the direct biological descendants of those ancient people.

I wonder how many nations and people in the world can make such a connection and satisfy the Modern Greek demand. Is every modern Englishman a direct descendent of the Angles, every Frenchmen of the Franks? Who in their right mind would make such a ridiculous demand of the English and French?

Even modern Greece would not pass their own identity test. A short cursory stroll through 19th century Greek history via google will expose the multi cultured and multi lingual tapestry that was Greece when it was founded for the first time in history as a political state in 1820s. How else does one explain the fact that many founders of modern Greece could not speak Greek, and had absolutely no connection whatsoever with the ancient Greeks.

The second point is about the position of the border between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece being the ancient historic border between Greece and the rest of the Balkans.  Only someone who hasn’t visited the border could believe such a position. Ancient borders were based around a defensible geographic feature- a mountain range, a river etc, not open fields within a valley.

But again there are maps galore that one can view and compare. When they sent the famous 300 Spartans to defend Greece against the Persians they sent them to Thermopylae not to Macedonia.

Roman Empire

Roman Empire showing Macedonia on Map

The most cherished plank in the Greek position is the notion the ancient Macedonians were Greek and they being the self-proclaimed Greeks are the direct and rightful heirs to the name and legacy of the ancient Macedonians. Nothing else matters other than this obsession that Alexander was Greek and belongs somehow to them and only them. If he was he would’ve been so called, no body calls Plato the Athenian philosopher or Herodotus the Carian historian, if the Macedonians were like any other Greek group they would have been called Greeks too like all the others.

There is a very good Machiavellian reason why the modern Greek position relies so heavily on the ethnicity of the ancient Macedonians. It is because at this point in time that’s the only position they can have that is disputable, everything else is indisputable and does not serve their position at all, so they never talk about any other era than the ancient one.

The reality is despite the pro Greek bias in western academia there and has always been an opposing view and it’s been held consistently throughout the ages, unlike the modern one which is in fact a recent phenomenon that sprung into existence as a result of the creation of modern Greece as a western kingdom with Germanic kings.

13735005_10208803014367412_370395627806328887_oThis view explains why Alexander and Phillip were so hated by the ancient Greeks and why the ancient Greeks eventually begged the Romans to incorporate them into the Roman Empire and free them from Macedonian oppression. It’s sneered at as historical revision when it’s simply the re-telling of the ancient and most accurate version of who were the ancient Macedonians.

Finally, who are they, those Macedonians who Greece reviles and ridicules mercilessly?

They are the people of Macedonia, they don’t say they own it, they say they belong to it, they are its children, they are its people. They are the result of 3000 plus years of existence within the Balkans, an area of the world that has seen the coming and going of various people, kingdoms and empires since the ancient Macedonian one that spread from Macedonia to Pakistan. Unlike the fanciful Greek position that implies somehow Greece was magically and hermitically sealed off from the great tides of history and remained purely Greek. An absurd position considering ancient Greece was a slave owning society with slaves drawn from all points of the Mediterranean world and not ethnically pure even in its heyday during the Periclean era in Athens.

Macedonians know they have been impacted upon by the events of world history and do not claim ethnic purity, only fools, liars and modern Greeks make such claims. Luckily for the Macedonians the recent developments in DNA testing show conclusively that the largest group of Macedonians today almost 40% have lived in Macedonia since the Paleolithic age, that’s 7000 years before the Alexandrian Kingdom. Interestingly while the Greeks call the Macedonians Slavs there is only one percent less Germanic DNA than there is Slavic. However, as I have written above, Greek hysteria is not based on history it’s based on guilt and the political expediency to keep the truth of their brutal invasion and subsequent blood soaked destruction of the Macedonian identity within their newly acquired piece of Macedonia.

Macedonia was divided in my grandfather’s time not in Alexander’s, not during the roman or ottoman empires, it was divided in 1913 not long after the independence of Australia. Before its division the Macedonians were the absolute majority within the ancient historic borders of Macedonia and the people lived from the northern tip that borders with Serbia to the southern border with Thessaly i.e. the northern most region of ancient Greece. They were related by blood, language, culture and history. Unfortunately, the division of Macedonia not only destroyed an emerging nation, it destroyed communities and families often dividing siblings from each other through the establishment of an artificial political border that destroyed the ethno-cultural homogeneity and unity of the nation.

Why Australia continues to pander to the Greek lobby on this issue is puzzling given that we proclaim equal rights for all our different ethnic communities and we support the right to self-determination and human rights for all minorities throughout the world. It also is not within the spirit of the great Australian tradition of support for the oppressed… the underdog. Why we support a nation with such a brutal history of suppression of minority rights like Greece is inexplicable and downright wrong we have sent troops aboard to promote our values of democracy and human rights while we ignore and tacitly support the very same abuses in Greece.

It’s time for the Australian political parties to show some leadership and courage on this issue and stop feeding the bully whose nation still refuses to recognise its many minorities or pay its many billions in debt.  It’s now 25 years since Macedonian independence and most of our English speaking friends like America, Canada and England have already recognised it as the Republic of Macedonia, we haven’t.

In Australia we persist with the insulting acronym FYROM and we continue to give credence to an untenable position based on lies and loud whining and whinging. This is not good enough.

No nation should deny another nation the right to self-determination.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily the views of

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