Kush kerkon te largoje bustin e deshmorit te Gjuhes greke Aristotel Guma?

H προτομή του εθνομάρτυρα Αριστοτέλη Γκούμα

Procedeengs of The III Panhimarjot Conference -

http://www.himara.eu/adver/KHimariot/konferenca3_1.html

Llambro Ruci shvlefteson "argumentat" e Kristo Frasherit, Luan Malltezit, Shaban Sinanit etj

Le të thonë sa të duan Kristo Frasheri, Luan Malltezi, Shaban Sinani etj.se gjuha e parë në Himarë është shqipja dhe më pas greqishtja. E kjo është thënë qartësisht, por vendosmërisht, pa ekuivoke dhe duke e faktuar

Regjistrimi i popullsise-Presidenti Topi: presione nga qarqe ultranacionaliste

“Ndjeshmëria e madhe është sepse nga individë të qarqeve ultranacionaliste tentohet të bëhet një politikë presioni dhe deformacioni të një procesi që duhet të jetë nacional dhe ligjor” Presidenti la të kuptohej se ai ishte ishte edhe për deklarimin e lirë të etnisë dhe fesë

Ivanov: "ende në rajonin tonë qarqet ultranacionaliste veprojnë në dëm të vendeve të tjera".
(Shqip)

In contrast with 52-personality peticion, in the report of Europian Commission it is said that:

There is a lack of accurate data on minorities in Albania. This situation is expected to be addressed by the conduct of a population census in 2011, respecting international standards including the principle of free self-identification. This census will include optional questions on the ethnic origin, religious affiliation and mother tongue of respondents.

Pse nuk i jepet shtetesia shqiptare fortlumturise se tij Anastasios?

Lufta midis civilizimeve ne Shqiperi e gjen shprehjen ne luften frontale te qarqeve ateiste dhe antikrishtere qe perfaqesohen deri ne kupolen e shtetit per 20 vjet rresht dhe kontrollojne totalisht mediat.
S ipas raportimeve te ShIK-ut dhe shtypit, fondametaliste musilmane kane marre shtetesi shqiptare, kurse kryepeshkopi dekorohet nga Presidenti por ende nuk i ploteson kushtet per shtetesi megjthe qendrimin permanent prej 19 vjetesh ne Shqiperi !!!!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Victor Friedman on Macedonia: the Balkanalysis.com Interview

Balkanalysis.com

12/14/2008 (Balkanalysis.com)

Professor Victor Friedman is one of the world’s foremost experts on Balkan languages, and has been studying them for almost four decades, since 1993 as a linguist at the University of Chicago. Professor Friedman has a special place in his heart for Macedonia, which he first visited in 1971. This year finds him back in the country, as the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Grant from the US Department of Education and a research grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. (All opinions expressed herein are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the funding organizations.)

Balkanalysis.com Director Christopher Deliso caught up with Professor Friedman recently in Skopje for an interview. Their engrossing and wide-ranging conversation, covering everything from linguistic history, politics and lobbying to national identity and multiculturalism, is reproduced below for our readers.

………………

Christopher Deliso: Victor, thanks for taking the time to discuss your ideas and your research, it’s a great privilege.

Victor Friedman: Thank you, I’m always happy to speak about the Balkans and Macedonia.

Reminiscences

CD: Victor, the first time you visited Macedonia was in 1971. A lot must have changed since then.

VF: Indeed it has. When I first came here, during the height of Yugoslavia, many houses did not have telephones, and I recall you had to wait for 2 years to get one… even in 1994 when I was here for 3 months it was impossible for me to get one in the apartment where I was staying. Things have improved considerably since those days. And some of the damage from the 1963 earthquake damage was also still evident in Skopje.

CD: Even in the center?

VF: Even in the center. A lot of the new buildings were already completed, but there were still some piles of rubble near the Hotel Turist, today’s Best Western on the Ulica Makedonija pedestrian street. Sewer lines were being laid in the Stara Charshija (the bazaar quarter in the old part of town) so you had to cross some streets on boards. And there were an awful lot of buildings still housed in purpose-built ‘barracks.’

CD: Some of which still remain, for housing and offices.

VF: Probably so. And back then, the new main campus of University Ss Cyril & Methodius of Skopje hadn’t been built yet, and the new building for MANU (the Macedonian Academy of Sciences & Arts) hadn’t been rebuilt yet. It was housed in a mansion that I was told had once been owned by a Vlah merchant, and later served as the Italian embassy. There was one shopping center that just opened up in 1973.

CD: You mean the famous GTC (Gradski Trgovski Center)?

VF: Indeed, the GTC. And there were many ordinary consumer goods you couldn’t get here. People went to Thessaloniki or Belgrade to shop for many items.

CD: Interesting. Many Macedonians proudly claim to me that in Yugoslav times they were on a much higher social and economic level than the Greeks.

VF: Actually, the Greeks and Yugoslavs were about on the same level then. With hard currency, you could get a good rate on the drachma. But the difference was that Greece never had Communism, and in the 1970s Greece already had American style-supermarkets; one had to go to Thessaloniki or the US Embassy PX in Belgrade to get peanut butter.

Fewer consumer goods were available in Macedonia than in wealthier parts of Yugoslavia, of course. In 1973, for example, meat was hard to find. I was told that the price for meat was better in Serbia and all the meat went there. On the other hand, public sociability was more vibrant and relaxed. In mild weather all of Skopje went to what was then Marshal Tito Square for korzo (corso). In those days, Skopje wasn’t as big as it is now, and you could meet anyone you wanted to see there. It was also a great way to make new friends.

The Project of the Day

CD: So how about your project that brings you here this time. What is that about?

VF: My project investigates the continuing existence of multilingualism in Skopje.

CD: That’s an interesting topic. I suspect you are spending a lot of time in the Stara Charshija?

VF: Indeed. Among the craftsmen’s shops, tea houses, mosques, churches and open markets there, that is one of the best places in the city to find different social groups and languages rubbing elbows on a daily basis- Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Romani, even some Aromanian and Greek. My project studies the way that these languages are interacting today.

CD: And this idea was something you used to get funding for the project?

VF: Yes. As a linguist, I had to present my case, and the argument that won funding from the Fulbright-Hays (Department of Education) and Guggenheim is that Macedonia in general, and Skopje especially, represents the last place in the Balkans where the conditions that created the Balkan linguistic league are still present to some extent. So I wanted to study this and document its continuing existence today.

Grammatical Multilingualism

CD: ‘Balkan linguistics league’- what do you mean by this?

VF: Right. At the beginning of the 20th century, in the Balkans you had a range of diverse languages on the same territory- the Slavic languages, Greek, Albanian, local dialects of Turkish, three kinds of Romani, Romance languages like Romanian, Aromanian, and Megleno-Romanian and, before the Holocaust, Ladino (or Judezmo) - the language of the Sephardic Jews, a language derived from medieval Spanish with additions from Hebrew and local languages that too shape after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.

In particular, the Slavic, Romance, Albanian and Greek languages share a lot of grammatical features that are the result of mutual multilingualism.

CD: Grammatical multilingualism? I can understand vocabulary, loan-words, shared by co-existing languages, but what examples are there of grammar influence in the Balkan languages?

VF: The replacement of infinitives by analytic subjunctive clauses using native material is an example of a shared grammatical feature among Balkan languages.

CD: Meaning the particle, like ‘na’ in Greek and ‘da’ in Macedonian?

VF: Yes. And what is really interesting is that even the Balkan dialects of Turkish, but only the Balkan ones, replace the infinitive with an optative- a verb form like a subjunctive but without a particle.

Linguistic Developments

CD: Wow- that’s fascinating.

VF: Yes, the Balkans are very interesting. We know what Ancient Greek, Latin, and Old Church Slavonic, and Sanskrit look liked, and we have Turkic texts going back to the 8th century. We know what these languages looked like in the early medieval period. For Albanian, our oldest significant texts are from the early modern period. We know these changes, these grammatical influences, were taking place in the late medieval and early Ottoman periods (although some are older in some languages). It was really in the Ottoman period that the Balkan languages as we know them today came to resemble one another.

CD: Was this line of investigation something that had been applied elsewhere, or received attention from linguists for a long time?

VF: Well there was some talk in the 19th century of that sort of thing, but in the 19th century, when modern linguistics first took shape with the discovery of the regularity of sound change, most linguists were spending their time trying to find out how languages genealogically resembled one another.

CD: Genealogically, meaning finding a common ancestor, yes? Was this a result of the influence of Darwinism, some sort of intellectual zeitgeist of the time?

VF: Well, some people might tell you that, but most accurately we can say that it coincided with Darwinism and similar trends. But what got people really interested in the genealogical approach to linguistics was the British conquest of India.

CD: Really! Very unusual.

VF: Well think about it: you had these cultured British gentlemen, who had been raised on the full classical education of Latin and ancient Greek, coming to this land of supposed primitives and savages- and getting completely blown away by the resemblances between Sanskrit, which they came across for the first time, and Latin and Greek.

The Balkans: A Special Place

CD: So then, to return to the former topic, can I ask whether this grammatical influence of different languages within a specific terrain is a rare thing? Do you find it in other parts of Europe like, say, Switzerland, with its four official languages (French, German, Italian, and Romansch) as well as the linguistically distinct Swiss German?

VF: Not to the same extent as in the Balkans. French, German and those languages had specific influences of different kinds on each other, but the ordinary populations were not necessarily multilingual until relatively recently, and even today each language in Switzerland is influenced significantly by the usage in the neighboring nation-states where they are standardized.

CD: So what was it about the Balkans that made it so amenable to multilingualism?

VF: Well, going back to Ottoman times, we could consider it partially an issue of pragmatism for city dwellers, traders and so on, for whom knowing other languages was directly beneficial to their livelihoods and businesses, with such diverse populations living together.

It’s also interesting to note that most linguistic studies of multilingualism today are being carried out in post-colonial areas of the world, or among immigrant communities living in wealthy countries. My research here in the Balkans is unusual in this context because this is a region with an endemic, long-existing, relatively stable and uninterrupted history of multilingualism.

Multilingualism as a Culture Value: A Telling Absence

VF: At the same time, multilingualism here was also a matter of a common cultural value, one shared by speakers of all the Balkan languages, except Greek. But we should also note that this language-ideological resistance on the part of Greek did not keep the language from being influenced by those with which it was in contact.

CD: Really! That’s unusual. How do we know Greek lacks this value?

VF: One telling aspect, from a linguist’s point of view, is that Greek is the only language in the Balkans that does not have a proverb to the effect that ‘languages are wealth’ or ‘the more languages you know, the more people you’re worth.’ All other Balkan languages have some such saying that indicates a value placed on multilingualism.

CD: Are we sure this is true, that Greek lacks such a value? Or could someone just invent one for the sake of it?

VF: To the best of my knowledge, there is no such expression. And over the years I have asked every Greek friend of mine for such a proverb and not one of them has come up with one. And I am talking about linguists, experts on the Balkans who are not subjective.

An example I recall comes from the introduction to a recently published book on the minority languages of Greece (which is, alas, still a highly political topic in that nation-state). The author was talking about Arvanitika, the Albanian dialect/language of speakers who migrated to Greece a millennium or so ago. The introduction was written by a respected Greek linguist… he wrote that among the Arvanites, and probably, emphasis mine, among the other Balkan peoples, there is this expression of languages as wealth. But he didn’t know of any such expression in Greek.

Confusion and Denial

CD: By the term ‘Arvanitika,’ you mean medieval Albanian?

VF: Most precisely, it refers to the Albanian dialects of Greece that separated from the main body of Tosk Albanian 600-1000 years ago. The dialects were spoken on many Greek islands, the Peloponnese, and in Attica and Central Greece. Greeks don’t like to admit it, but they have had large Albanian-speaking populations for a very long time, not just post-Communist economic migrants. While these dialects are now moribund owing to hegemonistic Greek language policies, they can still be encountered in places like Livadhia.

CD: An interesting detail-

VF: And I recall one vignette: many years ago at a conference, I met a woman who was Greek, but she knew Arvanitika. So we communicated, I in standard modern Albanian, she in Arvanitika. It was close enough to communicate.

I asked her, ‘how do you know you this language’? As a linguist, it was an interesting detail. She replied, ‘well, I learned it from my grandmother.’

CD: Which would have meant she was of partial Arvanitika descent?

VF: Well, I asked innocently enough – I wasn’t really aware of the politics at the time – ‘why would a Greek learn Albanian if they weren’t Albanian’? She was somewhat confused.

The next morning, however, when I saw this woman she said to me: ‘I couldn’t sleep all night thinking about what you said.’ She was a bit upset. ‘I thought about it,’ she said, ‘and no! I am Greek! I am Greek!’ It was the last time I tried to suggest to a Greek that if they learned another language at home, it was because that was the native language of the speaker.

The Nationalist Trap and State Policies

CD: (Laughing) on that note, let’s talk about the Macedonia issue now. Greece denies the Macedonian identity, referring to ancient history. What do you think about this?

VF: Unfortunately, with independence, some Macedonians fell into the nationalist trap set by Greece. The Greeks came up with a line claiming the Macedonians could not claim the name Macedonia unless they were descended from the Ancient Macedonians.

Well, no one can reasonably claim to be descended from the Ancient Macedonians, but this became part of the argument, instead of other more pertinent things. And so the issue has remained. But the Greeks have been denying the existence of Macedonia and the Macedonians all along.

CD: From your perspective, how far back does this go as a state policy? To the breakdown of Yugoslavia, or further?

VF: Oh, it’s been that way ever since modern Macedonians began to call themselves Macedonians. The Greeks have been denying the existence of its Macedonian minority since acquiring Greek Macedonia at the Treaty of Bucharest following the Second Balkan War (1913), except for a brief period in the 1920s. In 1957, an otherwise respectable Greek linguist named N. Andriotis published a polemical and, from an academic point of view, deeply flawed booklet entitled ‘The Confederate state of Skopje and Its Language’ – referring, of course, to Macedonia and Macedonian within Socialist Yugoslavia.

CD: This is very interesting to me, because as you know, many Greeks today refer to the whole country of Macedonia by the name of the capital, and the people as ‘Skopjeans.’ So they were using this reference even then?

VF: Of course. But already in the 19th century, Macedonian speakers were calling themselves Macedonians (Makedontsi), their language, ‘Makedonski.’ This is documented.

CD: But they were also calling themselves ‘Bulgarians’ then.

VF: Yes, some were, and speakers identified as Serbs or Greeks or Turks, depending on religious loyalties, but most of the time, speakers called themselves Christians or Turks (Muslims).

CD: Because the Ottoman system used religion as the main factor in classifying its subjects?

VF: Yes, but not just because of the Ottomans- religion was more important then as well. It was the late 18th/early19th century ideas, developed from the French Revolution that led to nation-state ideologies.

Organized Obliteration?

VF: But even well before this, some have made a case – and this refers again to the social resistance against other languages – that the Greeks have been trying to destroy Slavic culture in this area since the Middle Ages.

CD: ‘Greeks,’ meaning the Byzantines?

VF: Yes. For example, John Fine in his book The Early Medieval Balkans (p. 220) cites Vladimir Moshin, who published an article in1963 in a Russian academic journal in which he made the argument that the reason there are no Slavic language manuscripts from this region prior to 1180 is owing to their deliberate destruction by the Greeks/Byzantines.

CD: Really!

VF: Up until his article, people had been saying it was the Turks who destroyed everything. But there are Greek-language manuscripts from this period that survived in this region, whereas Slavic ones did not. And it is not as if the latter were not being composed in an organized way; the Ohrid literary school which began in the late 9th century is just one place where manuscripts were being written in large numbers. Which means that Greeks have been trying to destroy Slavic culture and literacy for a very long time.

CD: Many Bulgarian politicians and academics claim that Macedonian is just a dialect of Bulgarian. What do you say on this topic?

VF: The answer is of course Macedonian is a distinct language. It is similar to Bulgarian, but just as Swedish and Norwegian are similar languages, but separate, so, too, are Macedonian and Bulgarian.

CD: Why?

VF: Both sets of languages have different dialectal bases. And for this reason it is not at all like the case of Moldovan and Romanian. The Moldovan standard language is not based on Moldovan dialects; it is based on the same Wallachian dialects as standard Romanian.

In the case of Macedonian, however, the standard language is based on the dialects spoken in the west-central geographical area defined by Veles, Bitola, Prilep and Kichevo. It is not identical with any specific dialect, and has elements from the eastern ones as well. Standard Bulgarian is not based on a single dialect, but is based on eastern Bulgarian dialects, from Veliko Tarnovo to the Danube and further east.

CD: Why were these specific dialectal areas chosen, in both cases?

VF: What happened was that in the 19th century there were two major centers of literacy and prosperity- one in southwestern Macedonia, the other in northeastern Bulgaria. The Bulgarians decided to impose those eastern dialects from the area north of the Stara Planina range, east of the dialectal division called the yat line, and south of the Danube, on the whole state.

CD: What was the thinking? Was this an organized campaign for specific reasons?

VF: We’re talking about the phenomenon of intellectuals fighting over what’s going to happen when they get their own state- just like with the Congress of Manastir (Bitola) in 1908, when the Albanians were worrying about agreeing on a common Albanian alphabet before there was an Albanian state (in 1912). The Bulgarians didn’t have a state until the Russo-Turkish War of 1878.

CD: What about the situation in Greece at the time, where different propagandists were at work from different sides? Were these dialects considered Bulgarian or Macedonian, or both? What can linguists reconstruct today?

VF: There are a number of dialectal studies. Some speakers considered themselves Macedonians, some Bulgarians, and some Greeks, and some Turks, depending, in part, on religious affiliation (Exarchist, Patriarchist, and Muslim for the last three at that time). Firsthand accounts are available in some books published in, e.g., Australia and Poland, and Canada, but the Aegean Macedonians who were victims of Greek abuse at that time are mostly dead.

The generation that suffered during the Greek Civil War (1946-49) however, is still alive. The ones who are still alive often do not want to tell their stories because they are afraid or the memories are too painful. Even for curious foreigners, if you go to Greece to do research on Macedonian, you run the risk that the police will take your tapes, destroy them, and kick you out for expressing an interest in what is still a taboo topic for them.

CD: Really! Are there some examples?

VF: Yes, and it happened to a colleague of mine who was doing dissertation research in a village whose name I will omit to protect the inhabitants.

CD: aha, the village of… near Kastoria?

VF: Yes, and precisely for this reason it is one of the most interesting Macedonian dialects, because it is the most southwestern Macedonian dialect. It is transitional between eastern and western types of Macedonian. And the Greek police confiscated the tapes of this linguist and interfered with his research. However, he did finish his dissertation on this dialect. In fact, in his introduction, he made a point of thanking the Greek police for teaching him to always keep backup tapes!

CD: Ha! So with all of this intimidation, not to mention the journalist arrests we saw recently, what are the Greeks so afraid of?

VF: They’re incredibly insecure. No, they’re not just insecure. They have a linguistic ideology that insists on wiping out all other languages. This is an old ideology. It is the origins of the term barbarian. Think about it.

Why don’t we have any traces of other languages preserved? As a matter of fact we do. There are some ancient inscriptions in Thracian.

CD: I thought the Thracians had no written language?

VF: They did. The inscriptions are in Greek script, but the words are Thracian. And the inscriptions are sitting in Greece, gathering dust. They know they’re there, but no one’s going to work on them because the language is not Greek. So they’re not going to let anyone see them. I have this from a colleague of mine who is a classicist and interested in the subject.

CD: Your Greece vignette reminds me of being the village of Amyndaeo south of Florina last year. I came across these two old men speaking to each other in Macedonian. I said dobar den (’good day’). And you know what? This man was so alarmed that he reacted before he could think, instinctively, by blurting out ne razbiram Makedonski (‘I don’t understand Macedonian’). This was one of the most ironic examples of fear of speaking one’s language I could imagine.

VF: Indeed.

CD: So I guess my question for you is, we asked the local people in Florina what percent of the people there speak Macedonian, since public life is mostly in Greek it was an interesting question. And several people said, ‘oh, everyone speaks it.’ What is your experience?

VF: Well, as far as I was told everybody in the area around Florina, or Lerin in Macedonian, over the age of 40 speaks Macedonian, whether they’re Macedonian or not. This is according to a colleague of mine who has done recent research. However, the younger generation is not learning it. But it is a topic that requires further (unhindered) research.

CD: From what I understand from different stories, this is because it is not helpful to advancement in Greek society, and can even be a strongly negative factor-

VF: Yes. The Greek government is effectively carrying out ‘linguicide’ on the Macedonians of Greece. And it has been a long-running policy. For another example, I have a photo of a sign in Greek, from the 1950s, printed up in blue-on-white, urging people to forbid anyone from speaking in ‘Vlahika, Makedonika etc.’ There used to be many such signs in Greek Macedonia.

CD: Really! That is quite compelling. Do people know about this?

VF: I don’t know-a friend sent the photo to me, I am finally getting around to publishing it in a review article in the journal Balkanistika next year.

But the Greek policy was always trying to kill the language. It was especially horrible in the 1930s. Macedonian kids would go to school, and if they spoke their language, the language they learned at home, numerous ‘corrective’ methods were used: teachers beat them, or stuck their tongues with needles, or rubbed a hot pepper on their tongues; anything to make them stop speaking Macedonian.

CD: Really! That sounds very extreme.

VF: Oh, they were terrible. In the 1930s, people were put in jail just for speaking Macedonian. The Greek government had people skulking around the windows of people’s houses, listening to hear if they spoken Macedonian so that they could report them to the police. Mothers were thrown in jail for speaking Macedonian to their babies. They terrorized the Macedonians, and then, with the Greek Civil War, they drove many of them out.

CD: Never to return-

VF: And then there’s the infamous ‘race clause’ in the amnesty law of 1982; it stipulated that to return the country and reclaim one’s property, all those who had been banished had to declare they were Greek by genos, by race or birth. Macedonians who were expelled, many just children at the time, in 1949, were never allowed to reclaim their property. It was racism, pure and simple.

CD: Do you recall what was the reaction here in Macedonia, from the locals? And what about the European countries? Surely this would have been considered a great breach of European values?

VF: I was actually here at the time this was announced. The people were very upset, because they have been so badly mistreated all along. The ‘Great Powers,’ of course, said nothing.

CD: Well this is interesting, because here we have in America a new president, a black man who surely knows something about the meaning of racism, and indeed the issues of race and injustices resonated throughout Obama’s campaign.

And at the same time, Obama signed that anti-Macedonian senate resolution, and has been a big supporter of the Greek lobby, who are probably counting on a return on their investment. Has anyone, to the best of your knowledge, pointed out this blatant hypocrisy regarding his support for a country that has a history of racist policies against its own citizens?

VF: No, I haven’t heard anyone put this to his people. It would be nice if the message could be gotten out, but so far I haven’t seen this happen. The Macedonians don’t seem to know enough about public relations and American politics- they should be using lobby companies, getting their message out every day in Washington.

CD: Yes, I concur with that-

VF: And, at the same time, the Greeks get away with this ‘cradle of democracy’ image! Give me a break! Ancient Greece was a slave-owning society. And you know, some scholars argue that Modern Greece is a creation of the Western European romantic imagination- for example, Lord Byron’s romanticized view of Ancient Greece projected, on the modern population. This is persuasively argued in a book of academic Michael Herdzfeld, called Ours Once More.

CD: That is an interesting school of thought, I had not really conceived it as such but there is something to it. What was the reaction to this book?

VF: I do not think there was a huge reaction, but Herzfeld was involved with another book, Anastasia Karakasidou’s Fields of Wheat, Hills of Blood, which did generate a great deal of controversy. Published by the University of Chicago Press in 1997, this book was actually a very mild challenge to Greek hegemonistic notions. What it dared to do, based on fieldwork in Greek Macedonia, was to state that there were citizens of Greece who did not feel themselves to be ethnic Greeks and that they still spoke their own language.

Cambridge University Press had committed to publishing the book with minor revisions, and then they suddenly decided not to publish the book. They had committed to it and suddenly changed their minds. Prof Herzfeld was on the editorial board of CUP’s anthropology series at the time, and he resigned in protest, as did other members of the board.

CD: Yes, they cited ‘the safety of their staff in Greece’ as their reason, right?

VF: Well they said that. However, the way I heard it, CUP had a monopoly on English-language testing in the schools of Greece as well…

CD: Do you believe that the Greek government threatened that they would lose this privilege?

VF: I have no idea, but assuming that they had a monopoly- two plus two, what are you going to make of that, four or twenty-two?

CD: But then you guys saved it-

VF: Yes, the University of Chicago went ahead and published the book, to their credit. But the whole situation is just disgusting; it makes Europe look like what she was called at the beginning of the 20th century, as depicted in the Bulgarian film Mera spored Mera, made in the 1980s. It was somewhat provocative, and received criticism from some quarters of the Communist government, because it used Aegean Macedonian dialects, as it was about the post-Ilinden period just after 1903.

The memorable line from the film, which was part of a real folk song dating back to 1878, was something like this: ‘be thou cursed and thrice cursed Europe, O you whore of Babylon and murderer of Macedonia.’

CD: So, what do you think then of the international negotiations over the name issue, and the constant pressure for Macedonia to ‘compromise’ with Greece here?

VF: There is no real compromise. There can’t be. Think about it: if a thief comes up to and holds a gun to your head and says ‘give me your money,’ do you say, ‘I’ll give you half,’ and call that a compromise? That’s Greece. They are trying to destroy Macedonia’s identity, plain and simple.

Note that no one on the Macedonian side is saying that Greeks cannot call themselves Macedonians, or their province Macedonia. But they never call themselves as such out of this context- they are, to themselves, Greeks first and foremost. So nobody actually needs the name Macedonia, and no one needs to call themselves Macedonians for their primary identity, except for these people in this small country that is not a threat to anyone.

CD: On that note, to conclude, let me ask this: based on your research, do you think that Macedonia gets enough credit for preserving its multiculturalism? And does it reflect at all on the temperament of the people here that it has been able to do so?

VF: First of all, Macedonia doesn’t get any credit. And in fact the isolation that Greece has succeeded in imposing on Macedonia in the last 17 years has been a major factor in adding to interethnic tension here, as we saw unfortunately in the 2001 conflict.

If the Greeks had just left the Macedonians alone to begin with, there would have been fewer such problems, or at least greater capacity to deal with the existing ones. But it was the Greek government (especially after 1991) and the Serbian government (especially after 1981) who exacerbated most of the problems, for their own purposes.

You know, the vast majority of normal people of all ethnicities in this country live together peacefully. There is a saying in Macedonian: nie sme krotok narod: ‘we are a mild people.’ A peaceful people. This is something that is constantly overlooked by the Great Powers- that, relative to the rest of the Balkans and much of the world, for all the very real problems that exist, Macedonians are still among the most peaceful and tolerant people you will find anywhere.

CD: Victor, thank you very much for your time and insightful comments. I appreciate it.

VF: And thank you.

2 comments:

Northern Epiroti said...

Apantisi apo to SAE Amerikis

OUR ANSWERS TO PROFESSOR VICTOR FRIEDMAN'S ALLEGATIONS ON MACEDONIA
By Theodore Spyropoulos – USA SAE Coordinator
Assisted by Marcus A. Templar-Balkans Expert

Dr. Victor Friedman the so-called “expert” linguist from the University of Chicago in his interview with Christopher Deliso of Balkanalysis.com on Macedonia, states: “…it’s been that way ever since modern Macedonians began to call themselves Macedonians. The Greeks have been denying the existence of its Macedonian minority since acquiring Greek Macedonia at the Treaty of Bucharest following the Second Balkan War (1913)…”
Even though Dr. Friedman projects an aura of expertise as a Professor of Slavic and Balkan Linguistics, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, his answers to Christopher Deliso makes one wonder about his basic Balkan historical knowledge. It is therefore compelling to remind the good Professor of some historical facts regarding the Balkans.
The history of the FYROM is very recent. It started approximately in the fifth century AD. Originally the southern Slavs were called Venedi, but the Byzantines changed their name to Sklavini when they migrated to the south part of the Balkans because the Slavs established alliances, or unions amongst themselves called “sklavinije.” These Sklavinije asserted as their high commanders a regular hierarchy of princes such as Hatson, Akamir and Prvud. In the middle of the 5th century AD the southern Slavs crossed the Carpathian Mountains and settled in the former Roman provinces of Panonia (modern day Hungary) and Dacia (modern day Romania). The first Slavic and Turkic tribes of the Bulgarians started attacking the Balkan areas jointly in the 5th century AD. In the beginning, they robbed the Byzantine population, devastating the countryside and then returning to their bases. Former FYROM President Gligorov verified the above with his statement: "according to the history of the Macedonian people the prevailing view is that we are Slavs. We came from the Balkan [Mountains] in the sixth, seventh century and settled on the land called Macedonia. Even so, this is not what gives the identity of our people" (Kiro Gligorov, Skopje, 2000, 354).
Lasting settlements of Slavs in parts of the Macedonian area began at the end of the sixth century. Up to the middle of the seventh century the seven Slavic tribes, namely Draguviti, Bereziti, Sagudati, Rinhini, Strumljani, Smoljani, Velegeziti, Milingi, Ezerites, Timočani, Abodrini, and Moravijani united in tribal unions, thus turning into an important political and ethnic factor in the history of the Balkans. They are the ancestors of the current Slavic population of the FYROM. According the Yugoslavian Military Encyclopedia (ed. 1974) the Timočani, Abodrini, and Moravijani, at present, are part of the Serbian Nation.
The terms Vardar Macedonia, Macedonia of Pirin and Aegean Macedonia used by the citizens of the FYROM were tricks by the former Yugoslavia to serve effectively its aggressive and political purposes.

There are no official or unofficial records or statistics, according to which the FYROM inhabitants are called “Macedonians.” As all ethnologist scientists agree no separate Macedonian ethnos ever existed in history, (Arnold van Gennep: Traité comparatif des nationalités. Paris, 1922. A, 212;). The expression “Macedonian nation” is the creation of Pan-Slavism, used first by the Russian N. S. Zarganko in 1890, having the meaning of a nonexistent separate ethnicity being the Trojan horse for the Slavic aggression against Greece. Suddenly and out of nowhere a “Macedonian” ethnos was created in Southern Yugoslavia, known by names such as South Serbia and People’s Republic of Macedonia. The Manifesto of Krushevo of 1903 is a testimony to the geographic nature of the term Macedonia and Macedonian people. The hero of the FYROM Goce Delchev states in an authenticated letter that they "are Bulgarians" while the so-called father of FYROM's "Macedonism" affirms the Slavonic culture of the "Macedonians" (Giorgio Nurigianni, 1972).
In the official Turkish census of 1904-1905 there is no mention of any “Macedonians.” The population of the European part of the Ottoman Empire, during the census was a total of 4,183,575 people and had the following structure: 1,823,500 Moslems, 1,619,300 Greeks, 455,000 Bulgarians, 151,235 Jews, 95,350 Armenians, 16,550 Serbs, 13,750 Vlachs and 8,890 Roma. The census was organized by the Inspector General Hilmi Pasha, who was appointed by the Sultan.
The same census shows that in the Vilayet of Manastir the population consisted of 670,250 people and had the following structure: 250,000 Greeks, 223,000 Moslems, 143,000 Bulgarians, 13,150 Serbs, 6,150 Vlachs and 4,950 Jews. The same census also shows that the population of the Vilayet of Thessaloniki, except the Sanjak of Divris and Elbasan consisted of 1,070,100 people and had the following structure: 423,500 Moslems, 362,000 Greeks, 128,000 Bulgarians, 69,200 Jews, 8,650 Roma, 7,350 Vlachs and 1,400 Serbs. (These figures are taken from the book THE COLLUSION AGAINST MACEDONIA by Theodore Sarandis, page 25). The same numbers were reflected in the ethnographic map appended to the work of the Italian ethnographer Amatore Virgili.
A census took place in Yugoslavia in 1940. The official results of this census showed no mention of a Macedonian nation. According to the census, the population of the Region of present day FYROM, amounted to 1,071,426 people and had the following structure: 710,676 Slavs (66%), 334,285 Albanians & Turks (31.2%) and 26,465 Vlachs & Greeks (2.8%).
However what happened to the Slavs residents of Southern Yugoslavia, which was also part of the Vardarska Banovina area for a time after the name change of the region into the Peoples’ Republic of Macedonia in August 1944? Did they all disappear? Did they migrate somewhere else? None of the aforementioned happened. Tito’s totalitarian regime in August 1944, accompanied by Stalin’s mandate, direction and blessing and the slavish cooperation and allegiance of all totalitarian consanguineous parties and governments, aimed to rename the region People’s Republic of Macedonia and its inhabitants to become “Macedonians” overnight. All Eastern bloc countries were aiming to usurp Greek Macedonia with its warm port of Thessaloniki as their trophy.

During the Balkan Wars 1912-13 there was no “Macedonian” army to fight the rights of the supposed “Macedonians.” During the negotiating talks of the Bucharest Treaty, there were no representatives of any “Macedonian Nation”. The 1914 Carnegie Report (Report of the International Commission to Report on the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars) not only did not record the existence of a “Macedonian” army, but neither did it record the existence of any “ethnic Macedonian” civilians.
In 1921 in Moscow, the Komintern (3rd Communist International) overviewed the seizure of Macedonia and Thrace in Greece, placing them into the communist bloc. Based on this decision, and when other efforts had no results, the then powerful Yugoslav Communist leader Tito had to find another approach. He suddenly discovered that the “Macedonians,” are not Greek and the “Macedonian” language is not the Greek language and“Scholars” from the People’s Republic of Macedonia were commissioned to re-write their history books to include the ancient Macedonian History according to the wishes of the League of Communists of communist Yugoslavia, accompanied by perverted maps showing their "Macedonia" going all the way down to the northern half of Mount Olympus. Also, “linguists” led by Blagoj Konev, a.k.a. Blaže Koneski, were appointed to create the alphabet for and refine the "newly discovered" Macedonian language, which, of course, was made to sound as if it were the “natural development” of the ancient Macedonian language. Through their control of mass media and education, the government of People’s Republic of Macedonia then introduced this language and claimed that it is the language that was spoken by the ancient Macedonians. However, this language is grammatically nearly identical to Bulgarian and, due to continuous government interventions its vocabulary tends to include more Serbo-Croatian words that have replaced the Bulgarian words. Former FYROM Prime Minister Georgievski affirming this fact wrote: "I will give an example with the newly formed stupidity expressed in the term 'classical Macedonian language' (language in Ancient Macedonia as a basis of modern Macedonian language?!). The whole story about Ancient Macedonia sounds undoubtedly very nice. However, there is a great problem, a huge hole of about 2,000 years during which we have neither oral nor written tradition, nor a single scientific argument!" (Ljubco Georgievski, FOCUS, 31 March 2008 ).
It is truly unnecessary to be forced to defend the well-known historical facts about ancient Macedonia’s Hellenism after so many books and reputable, respected world historians and archaeologists have written articles about it. The archaeological findings in Macedonia proper and all the way to Central Asia, Egypt and India where Alexander the Great went, including cities with Greek names, coins and statues with Greek inscriptions, letters written by simple Macedonian soldiers and by simple Macedonian women as the curse of the Pella Katadesmos, written in Northwestern Greek dialect, architectural styles of temples, writings by ancient historians, all demonstrate the Hellenism of Macedonia. The marble statues and gravestones in two continents speak Greek! There is not a shred of evidence that a language other than Greek was spoken in ancient Macedonia and in countries conquered by Alexander the Great.
A practical question could be posed to Professor Friedman. Mount Olympus is in Macedonia, Greece. Would the Athenians, Spartans, and the other Greeks have their Gods

(Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Aphrodite, etc) living on a mountain belonging to Macedonia if that province was not part of the Greek world?
Dr. Federico Krutwig Sagredo, President of Hellenic College of Bilbao in Spain in a lecture stated: Macedonians were only the people who were members of a Greek tribe “...Those who are now saying that the Slavs of Skopje are Macedonians are either lying or lack knowledge or they have hidden irredentist purposes ....'' (Hellenic Education, Ancient Greek Courses - 7th Lesson, p. 117).
There is not one scientific argument regarding the imaginary amalgamation of the Slavs with the ancient Macedonians, who according to Fanula Papazoglu’s dissertation were Greek speakers (Fanula Papazoglu, Skopje 1957, 333). The newly authenticated inscription of Katadesmos brings the Macedonian dialect in the realm of Northwestern Greek dialects along with Acarnanian and Aetolian, which verifies Titus Livius' statement that "Aetolians, Acarnanians, and Macedonians are people of the same speech." Katadesmos bears "the phenomena that distinguish the Northwest Greek dialects" as pointed out by Carl D. Buck (Carl D. Buck, 1907, 241-276).
Dr. Friedman argues that the Bulgarian language differs from the "Macedonian" language because their bases are different. The Bulgarian language has its basis in Sofia whereas the "Macedonian" comes from the Veles, Bitola, Prilep and Kichevo area. If the FYROM language has its basis on the dialect of Veles, Bitola, Prilep and Kichevo area, that statement proves that FYROM Slavic was born in 1945. The government of the People's Republic of "Macedonia" imposed that basis on its people during that time. Based on Friedman's argument, what was the basis of the pre-1945 "Macedonian" language? Sofia? It had to be because the "Macedonian" language did not exist on its own since there were two additional equal dialects, the one of Stip-Strumica and one of Skopje. In addition, as a matter of political agenda and policy successive governments of Skopje inserted through controlled education and press vocabulary from other Slavic languages, especially from Serbian, aiming to create a completely different language from the one the people of that Republic spoke in 1945. To safeguard anything "Macedonian" after its independence the government of the FYROM passed the Penal Code (articles 178 and 179) making the challenge to anything "Macedonian a crime." That includes the universities. What happened to democracy? What happened to the academic freedom and non-attribution?
Regarding the loss of the infinitive, it is a fact that it is a regional issue applying to all south Balkan languages. In the case of the FYROM language it never had one since its mother language, Bulgarian, has long lost its infinitive with a few traces of the old infinitive remaining in the negative Imperative, which has almost disappeared.
FYROM is a small landlocked country in the southern Balkans with serious domestic issues, which exports problems and instability to its neighboring countries. It is the only country in Europe that reciprocity and compromise are unknown, while irredentism and aggression are the norm. It is the result of an ultra-nationalistic government that follows Macedonism, a nationalistic concept created by the communists based on a history that they purposely falsified in order to hide imperialistic and revanchist views. The present ultra-nationalist government of the FYROM continues the communist policies based on the lie of Macedonism. Therefore, if the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia needs a lie in order to exist, its existence is redundant.

Posted by Demetrios Koutoulas

Anonymous said...

Ti blakies mas lei o k. Fridman?