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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the dispute over the name Macedonia.

April 1, 2008



Thoughts on the dispute over the name Macedonia

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Regarding the March 27 article, "Macedonia by any other name?": I was not surprised that the article did not find archaeological evidence of Alexander the Great in Skopje, the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The Slavs who live there arrived in the 6th and 7th century AD, 1,000 years after the death of Alexander.

My intention, however, is not to prove the "Greekness" of ancient Greeks, but to emphasize that FYROM needs to cooperate with Greece in finding a name, and end a 17-year-old dispute.

Athens has shown its goodwill toward Skopje in many ways. Greece is the top foreign investor in that country, with $1 billion invested capital that has generated 30,000 new jobs, and has agreed to a composite name, with a geographic qualifier, which will differentiate the new Balkan state from the Greek province of Macedonia.

It is up to FYROM's leadership now to show maturity and political courage and meet Greece halfway. It will be a responsible move that will earn Skopje an invitation to join NATO and a European future of stability and prosperity for its people.

Magdalene Kantartzi
Boston

Press Counselor, Consulate General of Greece in Boston

Regarding the recent article on FYROM's name dispute: We could suggest the name "Macedonian Republic of Alexander."

Dennis Kerr
Omaha, Neb.

In response to the recent article on the name issue between Greece and FYROM: The present-day claims emanating from FYROM that they are the sole heirs of the name "Macedonia" are historically ludicrous.

These claims mask ambitions toward Greece's northernmost province – also known as Macedonia. This aim to slice off a third of Greece to create a greater Slavic state was uncovered in 1944 by then- United States Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius Jr. He stated that the creation of a new Macedonia by the Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito was "a possible cloak for aggressive actions against Greece."

This is still the case today, and Greece is right in arguing against the monopolization of the name Macedonia and the usurpation of its cultural patrimony by FYROM.

Frank Boss
Sydney, Australia

Regarding the recent article on the name dispute between FYROM and Greece: The name of the country should not and would not be an issue if its political leadership admitted this simple fact: the inhabitants of FYROM are neither biologically nor culturally descendents of ancient Macedonians.

Athanassios A. Tjavaras
London

In response to the recent article on Greece, FYROM, and the name "Macedonia": If the Slavs conquered the ancient Macedonians in the 6th or 7th century, they would have obviously intermarried with the indigenous population and are therefore, in part, descendants of Alexander the Great.

Furthermore, after living in Macedonia for close to 1,500 years, doesn't that make them the rightful owners of Macedonia in land and name?

If the Europeans who conquered North and South America only 500 years ago are today masters of those two continents, why can't the Slavs be masters of Macedonia after 1,500 years of living in that territory? Greece's argument just doesn't make sense.

Elena Opasini
Toronto

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