Thursday, February 28, 2008

An answer from a greek arvanitis to albanian nationalists

I am greek, 50% arvanite in blood (from my fathers side, my grandparents left volunteerly their village, that today is in Bulgaria, in 1919, believing they were Greeks and not Bulgarians. Before 1919, while their village was in Ottoman empire, they had in the village a greek school, financed by their community, and the best students received scholarships from the community to continue studies at the greek highschool of Edirne. (Fan Noli -a national hero of Albania, coming from an arvanite village of eastern Thrace, studied in the same highschool)).
I cannot understand why the issue of arvanites existing in Greece for more than 200 years in the south and 100 years in the north is used from some Albanian nationalists as a tool to increase or create tension between the 2 countries.
There are more than 4-5 million greek people in USA, most of them 2nd or 3rd generation english-speaking americans that have forgotten their parents language ( or learn it as foreign language for sentimental reasons), and this population is concidered as a bridge of friendship and economic relationship both from USA and Greece.
What is the problem with arvanites ? Their anchestors moved to the south in middle age seeking for a better life. At a time when religion was more important than nation or language (1400-1900), being christian orthodox they joined the christian orthodox greeks and the christian orthodox vlachs in a common revolt against the muslim ottoman empire that aupressed all of them.Since the indepentent state that came out from this revolt was concidered from Europe as the succesor of the ancient Greek glory and history, and since at that time the language the most respectful and with a huge heritage in written works and grammar was greek, what most logical for them to accept the domination of greek culture, language and heritage for the state where thy belonged? While at the same time there was no discrimination at all, they were participating at all levels of administration (even some of the first prime-ministers of the new state were arvanites, and the first regulation code of the greek navy was written in arvanite language so that the majority of the marins who were arvanites could understand it).
Some very recent examples of the arvanites position in Greece :The new Archbishop of Greece , Ieronymos, comes from a purely arvanite village (Inofyta), and his family name is Liapis.The minister of cultural affaires of Greece, cousin of prime-minister Karamanlis, is also called Michalis Liapis ( Liapis, a very typical Arvanite name).
To conclude, in my opinion the arvanite case should be used to point out that there is a good percentage of albanian blood in what is today the greek nation. Therefore, Greeks and Albanians have good reasons to disregard things that separate them, and point out things that join them.

Θελουμε την Αλβανια στην ΕΕ ?

In what has to do with my personal experience, I strongly support entrance of Albania in EU.
I happen to have friendly relations with an albanian and a bulgarian family that are immigrants in Greece. With both of them we discussed all the problems they had with the greek state burocracy concerning their residence, green cards, insurance, border problems when they were visiting their countries during vacation.
You can imagine that, while recognising that Greece offered them a certain standard of living and the possibility of prosperity they did not have in their countries, all these problems created a "bitter" feeling consitering the greek state and the quality of its organisation.
But you cannot imagine the change of attitude of my bulgarian friends after Bulgaria joined EU, when they started to feel totally safe with their bulgarian passport, they started to accept friends and relatives who just desided to visit them and see Athens without the need of making long-queues out of a greek-consulat expecting for visas, when they went to Bulgaria for vacation without a 5-hour delay for customs control, and especially when they entered Greece again after the vacation with their bulgarian-plated car with none stopping them and asking why they were coming.
Now they feel just like me (I'm also an economic immigrant (more than half of greeks are), since I came to Athens looking for a better job, and my hometown where my parents live is 800 km away), even their trip to Sofia is 100 km less than my vacation trip to hometown.
Now they also critisize and discuss about their two countries (home and host) in an almost neutral way, finding the pros and contras of each one, without the falsifing lence of the immigrant who is facing personal discrimination problems from the mechanism of the state he is living in.
I strongly believe that the entrance of Albania in EU will have the same effect to my Albanian friends, and to the rest of their compatriots living and working in Greece, which will smoothen reasons of tension, and the feelings these people transfer to their friends and relatives when they visit Albania on vacation.

FYRoM in EU: Is it necessary?

Dear FYRoM friends,
Joining EU means :
1. Solving political issues with other members (I think you have an issue with Greece, and you are going to have another one with Albania, if they join first, which is very possible)
2. Accept existing borders (forget Pirin and Aegean)
3. Accept geographic terminology of other member countries, when it concerns their territory (which means that your citizens that fled Greece after 1949, will have on their ID cards and passports bithplaces like Kastoria, Florina,Kilkis, Thessaloniki and not non officially existing places like Kostur, Lerin, Kukuts, Solun etc). This act will give them as well the right to ask for a greek passport, if they want.

But if only these 3 terms are fullfilled, and Albania joins the EU, I think that there is no need for your country to enter EU, because all of you will get a second nationality ( Bulgarian, Albanian or Greek) that will give you the benefits of an EU passport. Then I guess FYROM remanining enclaved but outside EU as a tax-paradise, will be of high benefit for its residents, but also for citizens of surrounding countries! And it will become Swiss in a way!

Η αποψη μου για το Κοσοσβο και τις συνεπειες που μπορει να εχει στην περιοχη

First I would like to express my wishes for a good and happy future to Kosovo and the people living there. They have suffered a lot, they deserve a peaceful future.Although we have to admit that this is a new situation, at least in Europe, where for the first time a part of a country with recognised borders declares independance and is recognised by the international community (before we had either demolition of empires, independance of colonies of separations of federations), we have also to see the reality of a large population of 2.000.000, 90% nationally homogenous, and a de facto separation unter UN control for more than 10 years.I don'd agree with fears expressed here in Greece, that the Kosovo case can be repeated in Northern Cyprus. There is a basic difference - neither albanian nor any other foreign army entered ever Kosovo, while in Cyprus the separation line was set by a foreign army (no matter if you call them invadors or protectors ) and was followed of 200.000 refugies quiting their homes. If turkish army withdraws, and after that, the two communities settle border line, property and installation issues, and decide to separate, its their free will, let them do it!I don't also agree that the independance of Kosovo creates a risk for FYRoM. In Kosovo albanians gained the international support because of the oppresion of the Milosevic regime - so their revolution was justified (many people today forget the personality of Rugova, and the sympathy effect he created in the international public opinion). FYRoM has recognised the constitutional rights of their citizens of albanian nationality, and as long as they respect them, separationist ideas from the albanians of FYRoM will not get the international support.I also don't take seriously all this discussion about Great Albania (as well as United Macedonia, Bulgaria of the 2 seas, and Greece taking back Constantinoupolis or Vorios Ipiros). There will always be people printing old maps and dreaming of the past or of liberating ensclaved brothers, but unfortunatelly for them, these brothers either exist in their fantasy or are small minorities in their countries, living mixed with the local majorities. On the other hand, I cannot see why the Serbs don't have the right to use the Kosovo case in order for Republica Srbska to declare independance from Bosnia - after all they are already a federal state. Of course this is a two-side knife, because in order to use the example of Kosovo, they have to recognise it as a de facto reality. And if it is real that in the northern part of Kosovo lives a massive almost homogenous population of 100.000 serbs, I believe that Kosovo could exchange some square kilometers habitated by a non-friendly population with regognition and quick normalisation of relations with Serbia, because when the war is over, we have to continue living next door to our neighbours.

Η σχεση Κοσοβου και Τσαμουριας

Το παρακατω κειμενο αναρτηθηκε στο Forum "Balkanikum", απο εναν απο τους αλβανους συνομιλητες που γραφουν εκει. Το αναδημοσιευω, γιατι βοηθα να κατανοησουμε εδω στην Ελλαδα οτι οι ανησυχιες περι Τσαμουριας και συσχετησης της με το Κοσοβο, εχουν τοση βαση, οσο πιθανο ειναι να καταλαβουμε εμεις με πολεμικη επιχειρηση την Βορειο Ηπειρο.

An interesting debate is taking place in the cafes of Kosovo. The question concerns the six stars of the country's new flag. Officially they are supposed to represent six ethnic groups here. But some suspect that they actually represent six areas where ethnic Albanians live and out of which extreme nationalists would like to fashion a Greater Albania. Those six regions are: Kosovo, Albania, western parts of (FYR) Macedonia, parts of Montenegro, the Presevo Valley in southern Serbia and parts of northern Greece. The truth is probably that when officials of the European Union saw the original version of the flag - with 12 stars, like the European flag - they demanded a change and so the Kosovans just randomly chopped the number in half.Having said that, the question does arise: is Kosovo's independence the end of the disintegration of the old Yugoslavia or might it continue? Ethnic mix Several regions spring to mind. First and foremost are Serb areas of Kosovo, especially the north, which is already de facto part of Serbia and home to more than 40,000 people.Some Kosovo Albanians would not actually mind if northern Kosovo was ceded to Serbia, but only so long as Serbia exchanged it for areas of south Serbia, including the Presevo Valley where some 60,000 ethnic Albanians live. Serbia has always rejected this idea though, partly because its main north-south road and railway link run through there. A far more significant and adjacent ethnic Albanian-inhabited territory is that of western (FYR) Macedonia, an arc of land which borders Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. A quarter of (FYR) Macedonia's population of two million are ethnic Albanians and they have close links with Kosovo. The former Yugoslav republic, which calls itself simply "Macedonia", is engaged in a long-running name dispute with Greece, which has a northern region called "Macedonia". To Kosovo's north-east is the Sandzak, an area divided between Serbia and Montenegro and which has a significant Slav Muslim population with traditional close ties to neighbouring Bosnia. In the Serbian part of Sandzak, Muslims are in a slight majority but they are in a minority in the Montenegrin part. Disintegration halted? Anger mounts in Serb corner of KosovoBosnia itself is made up of two entities: a Serb one called the Republika Srpska (RS) and a Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim)-Croat federation. Bosnian Serb leaders have often said that they would call for the right to secede if Kosovo became independent. In Serbia itself the only other significant minority - apart from Roma, who are widely dispersed - are ethnic Hungarians, who live in Vojvodina in the north and sometimes raise the issue of autonomy for their areas.There are estimated to be some 290,000 of them but as a whole Vojvodina, which has some limited autonomy of its own, is a majority Serb area and so is extremely unlikely, as some have predicted, to ever demand its own independence. In fact, despite the worst fears of many, it may well be that, at least for the foreseeable future, the disintegration process has stopped. Serbia itself could well now be heading for a period of isolation as its European integration bid has, for now, stalled. Thus, the leadership of the RS - who are always keen to use the Kosovo issue in their battles against attempts to make Bosnia more of a centralised state - may well, rhetoric aside, do nothing.They may calculate that the prosperity of their voters - and thus their support - is better served being inside Bosnia than attached to an isolated Serbia, in which they, as leaders, would no longer count for anything. Likewise in (FYR) Macedonia, ethnic Albanian leaders have committed themselves to the state, believing the interests of their people are better served in moving as quickly as possible towards the EU, and also not to risk new Balkan conflicts simply to be attached to Kosovo. Besides this, large numbers of ethnic Albanians live in and around the capital Skopje and the very idea of dividing the city inevitably conjures up the appalling memory of the siege of Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, between 1992 and 1995. Never say never Meanwhile in the Presevo Valley, which ethnic Albanians call "Eastern Kosovo", it appears that for now people are resigned to living in Serbia whether they like it or not. However, many there also believe that if the de facto partition of Kosovo between Serb and Albanian areas, particularly in the north, were ever somehow legalised then it would be inconceivable for them to remain in Serbia. As for other regions - Sandzak and Hungarian parts of Vojvodina - there is no chance of their status changing unless, of course, all Balkan borders were somehow up to be redrawn, something (almost) no-one wants to do. Many Serbs believe that Kosovo's independence means Balkan borders have already been redrawn, because Kosovo was technically part of Serbia. However, Kosovo is being recognised within the borders it had not just as a Serbian province, but also as an entity in its own right within the old Yugoslavia. Kosovo Albanians argue that they were not a republic with the right to secede, like Croatia or Slovenia, only because when the last Yugoslav constitution was drawn up in 1974 they were the only part of that state which anyone could ever imagine seceding. And that is a reason why one should never say never in politics. Just because something is now unimaginable and undesirable, does not mean it might not happen.

Sugestion on the name of FYROM

Since none can forbid the citizens of FYRoM to use the name Macedonia, Macedonians inside their country (to the same degree that noone can forbid the citizens of Greece leaving in the greek region of Macedonia to call themselves also Macedonians ), The real issue is the second name for international use.I think both Republic of New Macedonia and Republic of North Macedonia are terms that describe a reality. This country is a New Macedonia, different both for the old known Macedonia of 1900 (which gave the name to "macedonian salad"), but also the ancient Macedonia of Alexander, and this country is located and includes only the northern part of the geographic entity that is known as Macedonia.Personally I prefer the second term, because it gives the possibility to us with a small syntax change to call them Republic north of Macedonia !

Population of Greek Macedonia

Census of 2001 : Population of greek Macedonia 2.800.000I have no idea of the population of greek Macedonia of 1901, (does anyone has any ottoman statistics?) but enen if the average population growth was only 0,5% (which is a very small number, concidering the birth rate at the european societies during the previous century), but it seems it could not be more than 2.000.000 At least 100.000 of them were Jewish, since there were more than 70.000 Jews in Thesaloniki when it was occupied (or liberated) from the greek army.During previous century, massive population movements happened in the region that is today the Greek MacedoniaAfter 1912-13, there is a great possibility that people who had declared themselves bulgarians and had actively participated in the greek-bulgarian partisan struggle at the territories of today's greek Macedonia during 1904-1909In 1919 (end of WW1), there was agreement between Greece and Bulgaria after the settlement of their borders to leave them open for 6 months for populations that wanted to migrate betwen the 2 countries . (this is personal knowlwdge - I am greek today because my anchestors had choosen to migrate to Greece because of this agreement.In 1923, after the defeat of Grece in Minor Asia, there was an agreement of population exchange between Greee and Turkey (maybe the greatest national cleancing operation in european/world history). Almost 1.500.000 (some say 1.800.000) christians of Minor Asia and Eastern Thrace were exchanged with more than 1.000.000 muslims from Epirus, greek Macedonia and Crete.More than 90% of these christians were also greek speaking people (The rest were Armenians and some turkish speaking christians), and most of the muslims were turkish speaking (except some Albanians- not the chams, they were excluded from the exchange- and the muslims of Crete that were mainly greek speaking). From these 1,5-1,8 million people, around 1.000.000 were settled in villages and cities of Macedonia that were abandoned by the muslim refugiees, and the rest at the south of Greece, mainly around the capital Athens, which at that time grew from a town of 50.000 to a city of 500.000.These dry figures show that in the area that is today greek Macedonia, around 1900 there were maximium 2.000.000 people, from which 100.000 Jews and 900.000 muslims (self identifying as Turks). The rest 1.000.000 is the population that greeks claim as mainly greek and slav-macedonias as mainly macedonians.I don't know who is right. I accept that the years between 1923-1940 were tough, especially after 1936 when in Greece a nationalist almost fachist dictatorship was established. But already because of the greek-turkish ageement, during this time there were installed 1.000.000 greeks (on muslim properties and territories) in greek Macedonia. No matter how many the local greeks were, they were already a majority in the area.During the german occupation 1941-1944, a percentage of the slav-macedonian population that had a bulgarian national feeling cooperated with the germans (Bulgaria was an ally of the Germans and occupied Eastern Macedonia and Greek Thrace), and during the greek civil war that followed liberation 1945-1949, also some part of the slav-macedonian population cooperated with the communist side that lost the civil war (Yougoslavia and Bulgaria, the motherlands of slav-macedonians were already communist), so after 1949 around 50.000-100.000 slav-macedonians fled Greece to these countries.The fact that after 17 years of "fachist greek aupression", and 10 years of german occupation and civil war (a period during which everybody could be concidered an enemy and risk his and his family's life), no more than 100.000 peple maximum decided to fleed the area of today's greek Macedonia, makes me believe that before 1923, the majority of these 1.000.000 christian people there, were either greek or self-idendifying-as-greek but slavophone people.So the pure facts are that in the greek Macedonia of today, there are 2.800.000 people living, from which maybe 1.500.000 have origins in Minor Asia or Thrace. Their grandparents were installed there according to an official state agreement between Greece and Turkey, replacing turkish population which moved to Minor Asia and Eastern Thrace. From the rest 1.300.000, historical facts show that more than 1.150.000 are locals with greek mother language, conciousness and national feeling. Since the total population of Western Macedonia is 300.000 people, and almost all dopika (slav-macedonian) speaking people are found there, we can assume from the electoral results of "Rainbow" party that received 2.000 votes (fighting for the recognition of the macedonians as minority), that 146.000 of this population are people that have dopika as mother-language but greek national feeling and self-identification, and there is a self-defining-as-macedonian minority in Greece around 4.000 people.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Κραυγες, κραυγες, και ανιστορητες ηλιθιοτητες.
Αισθημα μειονεξιας και κατωτεροτητας.
Τι σχεση εχουν οι οικονομικοι μεταναστες με τις γηγενεις μειονοτητες ?
Τι σχεση εχουν οι πολυεθνικες μητροπολεις (Λονδινο, Παρισι, Βερολινο, Ρωμη, Αθηνα, Νεα Υορκη) με τους γηγενεις αγροτικους πληθυσμους ?
Τι σχεση εχουν τα σημερινα 2.000.000 αλβανων κοσσοβαρων, με τους εκτοπισμενους για πολυ συγκεκριμενους λογους πριν απο 60 χρονια Τσαμηδες, Σλαβομακεδονες, Ελληνες της Κωνσταντινουπολης και της Ιμβρου, η πριν απο 100-130 χρονια Ελληνες του Μοναστηριου η της Ανατολικης Ρωμυλιας?
Υπαρχουν σημερα μεσα στα ελληνικα συνορα περιοχες οπου ενας συμπαγης πλυθυσμος μπορει να διεκδικησει αυτονομια? Σιγουρα οχι!
Υπαρχουν Ελληνες που το φοβουνται ? Δυστυχως, οντας Θρακιωτης που ζει στην Αθηνα, εχω συναντησει τοσους ανιστορητους Νοτιοελληνες, που μπορω να πω με σιγουρια ναι!
Αγαπητοι συμπατριωτες, απεγκλωβιστητε απο το συνδρομο ορθοδοξος=αδερφος, μουσουλμανος=τουρκος.
Αποφασιστε να αναγνωρισετε το δικαιωμα σε καθε γειτονα λαο να επιζητει την ανεξαρτησια του, ειδικωτερα οταν εχει υποστει την καταπιεση ενος αλλου κυριαρχου λαου.
Αντιληφθειτε οτι για τους λαους της Γιουγκοσλαβιας οι αδελφοι μας Σερβοι επαιξαν τον ρολο του καταπιεστη κυριαρχου, και πληρωνουν για αυτο!
Για οσους θα θελατε να μου μιλησετε για ναζι και συνεργασιες, αληθεια πιστευετε οτι ο Τιτο ηταν ο μονος Κροατης αναμεσα σε σερβους ανταρτες που τον ειχαν σαν θεο?
Για οσους θα θελατε να μου μιλησετε για την αιωνια ελληνοσερβικη φιλια, ψαξτε τα βιβλια γιατι οι ελληνες εγκατελειψαν το Μοναστηρι. Μηπως ηταν η σερβικη τρομοκρατια?
Αν μιλαμε για το Ελληνικο συμφερον,αυτο εχει σιγουρα να κανει με τις καλες σχεσεις με τους γειτονες με τους οποιους συνορευουμε. Υποθετω οτι ξερετε γεωγραφια, αλλα ας τους αναφερω γιατι πολλοι νοτιοελληνες δεν ταξιδεψαν ποτε βοριεως της γραμμης Αρτα-Λαμια.
(Αλβανια, χωρα καταγωγης των περισσοτερων οικονομικων μεταναστων, με σημαντικο ορθοδοξο πληθυσμο, και σταθερος τροφοδοτης σε αιμα τα τελευταια 800 χρονια,
FYROM, μια μικρη χωρα που πνιγεται μεταξυ αλβανικης καταγωγης πολιτων που γλυκοκοιταζουν την αυτονομια η την ενωση με την Αλβανια, βουλγαροφρονων πολιτων που συρρεουν στην Σοφια για να αποκτησουν ενα διαβατηριο ΕΕ, και μιας ελιτ που προσπαθει να κατοχυρωσει μια "μακεδονικη" ταυτοτητα,
Βουλγαρια, με την οποια μετα την ενταξη της στην ΕΕ τελειωσαμε ιστορικα - δεν υπαρχει πλεον ουτε ενας στρατιωτης στην ελληνοβουλγαρικη μεθοριο, και
Τουρκια, που βιαζεται να τελειωσει την πληγη της στην Κυπρο (που της προκαλει οικονομικη αιμορραγια,και προβληματα στην διαδικασια ενταξης στην ΕΕ), για να ασχοληθει απερισπαστα με τα προβληματα της στην ανατολικη μεθοριο).
Αρα συνελληνες, ειμαστε ισχυροι, και σταματηστε να κλαψουριζετε !
Εχω βαρεθει πια την νεοελληνικη μιζερια!
Και τελος, γιατι το τοσο αντιαμερικανικο μενος ? Χωρις τους αμερικανους στην τελευταια φαση του εμφυλιου, μπορει σημερα να ειμασταν απλως μια Ελλαδα κατω απο τα Τεμπη, που μολις το 1989 θα ειχε απαλλαχθει απο την κομμουνιστικη της κυβερνηση, με μια ενιαια Μακεδονια απο πανω μας, να δουλευουμε μεταναστες οικοδομοι στην Ιταλια, με τις γυναικες μας γκουβερναντες και οικιακες βοηθους (για να μην πω τιποτε χειροτερο) στην Δυτικη Ευρωπη.