Macedonia and Greek Nationhood

The opinion-page article ``Macedonia: Europe's Finger in the Dike,'' May 9, includes glaring distortions of truth, factual errors, and historical inaccuracies.

The piece unquestioningly rehashes the propaganda of the extremist elements of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), totally ignoring historical and political realities in the region.

Instead of helping the reader understand the roots and the complexities of the situation, the article vilifies the Greek people and the Greek-American community for their struggle to protect their national identity and the future territorial integrity of their homeland.

Greece is continuing its efforts for a dialogue with the FYROM leadership to resolve differences and promote peace, stability, and cooperation in the southern Balkans.

Since the beginning of the Balkan crisis, we have actively participated in all peace initiatives and have put our knowledge of the area and our contacts with regional leaders to the service of peace efforts. Marina Kasdaglis, Boston Press attache, Consulate General of Greece

Macedonia and Greek Nationhood

Greece fully agrees with the need for FYROM's independence. But this must not come at the expense of the security of a long-term US ally; nor should such independence legitimize claims against Greek territory that would become a flash point of crisis in the future.

Article 108 of the Greek constitution refers to protecting Greek citizens living abroad, a legitimate obligation of concern.

By contrast, the FYROM constitution addresses persons without any obvious link to this republic.

Moreover, the existence of such ``Macedonians'' outside FYROM in the terms Skopje presents is a fabrication as far as Greek territory is concerned. The inference of irredentism is undeniable.

There are indeed not 1 million but more than 2 1/2 million Macedonians in northern Greece: They are, however, Greek - part and parcel of the Greek nation for centuries. Elias Clis, San Francisco

Macedonia and Greek Nationhood

The article complains that the blockade imposed by the Hellenic government is leading to the economic destruction of the small country.

Hellas indeed imposed a blockade, but it is of lesser magnitude than the one imposed by the United States on Cuba. FYROM can import goods from the other countries it neighbors and has not offended.

Also, the author is inaccurate in stating when Hellas started using the name Macedonia for the province that is between the Hellenic provinces of Thrake and Epiros. I can assure you that during my school years in Hellas, which began long before 1988, we always used the name Macedonia to indicate the province referred to here.

The most pathetic statement, however, is that Philip of Macedonia and his son Alexander the Great were not Hellenes. I would have agreed with the author if Philip and Alexander the Great and all the Macedonians did not speak the same language, did not worship the same 12 Olympian gods, and did not have the same customs with the Athenians, Laekedemons, Thebans, and the other Hellenes. Andreas D. Thanos, Brighton, Mass.

Macedonia and Greek Nationhood

The article leads us to believe that a poor, democratic, and multiethnic state is threatened by exterior forces, but this is untrue. President Kiro Gligorov knows very well that the greatest danger to his state is from within. That is why he insists on inventing history and plagiarizing Greek culture. But no amount of plagiarism (or American military and economic aid) will ever save FYROM if there is no national conscience.

The embargo is not intended to topple the government but to get the world's attention. That is why President Clinton named a special envoy to mediate the dispute.

A little caution won't hurt. After all, a quick recognition of Bosnia did not prevent war there.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has repeatedly declared ``When it comes down to the security of Israel, there is no compromise.''

Should we expect less from Greece? Vasili Soultoukis, Philadelphia

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