The name of my country is Republic of Macedonia and will be Republic of Macedonia
  The Macedonian-Greek Conflict
 

The Macedonian-Greek Conflict
The age long conflict between the Greeks and the Macedonians

 

The Macedonian-Greek conflict is a very complex issue. Lots of books have been written about Macedonia, but many of them simply serve to justify the aspirations, propaganda, and the partition of Macedonia of 1913, by the neighboring countries such as Greece. These sources are, therefore, biased. The Greek pages about Macedonia rely strictly on their very own Greek propaganda sources, which naturally makes them biased. In order to find the real truth about Macedonia, one has to rely on the independent and neutral sources when looking into history. This page is such case, which browses historical independent and neutral facts, to show the truth about Macedonia against the century-old Greek propaganda.

Macedonia seceded from Yugoslavia and became a sovereign state by a popular referendum held in September 1991 when the majority of voters chose independence. Greece immediately demanded from the international community not to recognize the country under its name Macedonia.

Greece alleges that:

1.     The Macedonians should not be recognized as Macedonians because the Macedonians have been of Greek nationality since 2000 BC.

2.     Those Macedonians whose language belongs to the Slavic family of languages, must not call themselves Macedonians because 4000 years ago, the Macedonians spoke Greek and still speak nothing but Greek.

3.      Macedonia has no right to call itself by this name because Macedonia has always been and still is a region of Greece.

The people of Macedonia affirm that:

1.      The ancient Macedonians were a distinct European people, conscious and proud of their nationality, their customs, their language, and their name. The same applies to the modern Macedonians today.

2.      The ancient Macedonians regarded the ancient Greeks as neighbors, not as kinsmen. The Greeks treated the Macedonians as foreigners ("barbarians") whose native language was Macedonian, not Greek.

3.      Macedonia was never a region of Greece. On the contrary, ancient Greece was subjected to Macedonia. In 1913, modern Greece and her Balkan allies partitioned Macedonia. If today a portion of Macedonia belongs to Greece, it is by virtue of an illegal partition of the whole and occupation of a part of Macedonia.

These assertions will be shown to be true in the eyes of history proving the absurdity of Greek allegations against the people of Macedonia.

ANCIENT MACEDONIA AND GREECE

In the course of the second pre-Christian millennium, the ancient Greeks descended in several migratory waves from the interior of the Balkans to Greece. Some passed across the plain of Thessaly on their way south, while others went south through Epirus. More recent scholars point to Asia Minor as the original Greek homeland. There is no evidence that the ancient Greeks ever settled prehistoric Macedonia. Archeological evidence shows that ancient Macedonia lay beyond the cultural and ethnic borders of the Bronze Age Mycenaean Greek Civilization, which ends at the border of northern Thessaly (1400 - 1100 BC). The prehistoric Macedonians show a remarkable continuation of existing material culture.

Ancient Macedonia was home to many tribes. The ancient Macedonian tribes emerged from the Brygians or Phrygians. Some of the Brygians left Macedonia and migrated to Asia Minor where they changed their name to Phrygians and established a powerful Phrygian kingdom (Herodotus). When the Macedonian army under Alexander the Great will enter Phrygia centuries later, Philotas spoke of the connections between the Phrygians and the Macedonians, by calling the Macedonians "Phrygians" (Curtius).

Greek migrants settled few coastal areas of Macedonia, Thrace, and Illyria after they exhausted the possibilities of settlement in Asia Minor, Italy, France, Spain and Scythia (Ukraine and Russia). However, they did not consider Macedonia especially attractive for permanent settlement. Neither did the Macedonians welcome them as open-heartedly as did the Italians and Scythians. By the middle of the fourth century BC, the Greek settlers were expelled from Macedonia and their cities, including Aristotle's native Stragira, razed to the ground by the Macedonian king Philip II (360-336). Aristotle died in exile in Greece.

The ancient Macedonians regarded the Greeks as potentially dangerous neighbors, never as kinsmen. The Greeks stereotyped the Macedonians as "barbarians" and treated them in the same bigoted manner in which they treated all non-Greeks. Herodotus, the Father of History, relates how the Macedonian king Alexander I(498-454 BC), a Philhellene (that is "a friend of the Greeks" and logically a non-Greek), wanted to take a part in the Olympic games. The Greek athletes protested, saying they would not run with a barbarian. Historian Thucydidis also calls the Macedonians barbarians, and so did Thracymachus who called Archelaus a barbarian who enslaved Greeks. Demosthenes, the great Athenian statesman and orator, spoke of Philip II as:

"... not only no Greek, nor related to the Greeks, but not even a barbarian from any place that can be named with honors, but a pestilent knave from Macedonia, whence it was never yet possible to buy a decent slave." [Third Philippic, 31]

The Macedonian "barbarian" defeated Greece at the battle of Chaeronea in August 338 BC and appointed himself "Commander of the Greeks". This battle had established Macedonian hegemony over Greece and this date is commonly taken as the end of Greek history and the beginning of the Macedonian era. Greece did not regain its independence until 1827 AD.

In 335 BC, Philip's son Alexander campaigned toward the Danube, to secure Macedonia's northern frontier. On rumors of his death, a revolt broke out in Greece with the support of leading Athenians. Alexander marched south covering 240 miles in two weeks. When the revolt continued he sacked Thebes, killing 6,000 people and enslaving the survivors. Only the temples and the house of the poet Pindar were spared.

The Ancient Macedonian Language

The Macedonians spoke their own native language which was unrecognizable by the Greeks. The very label barbarian literally means a person who does not speak Greek. Though Alexander spoke also Greek, loved Homer, and respected his tutor Aristotle, there is much evidence that he hated the Greeks of his day, just like his father Philip II. Philip had razed to the ground the Greek cities on Macedonian territory (including all 32 Greek cities in Chalcidice) and enslaved their inhabitants. Alexander the Great thoroughly destroyed Thebes. His Asian empire has not once been described as "Greek", but is correctly called Macedonian for he won it with an army of 35,000 Macedonians and only 7,600 Greeks, and similar numbers of Thracians and Illyrians who were all forced to fight with their Macedonian overlords. The overwhelming number of Greeks however, 50,000 in total (Curtius), had however, distinguished themselves on the side of the Persians and fought fiercely till the end against the Macedonians. For instance, at the battle of Granicus there were 20,000 Greeks, out of which the Macedonians killed 18,000 and the 2,000 survivors were sent in chains to Macedonia (Arrian, Curtius). Arrian specifically speaks of the "old racial rivalry" between Macedonians and Greeks that characterized this battle. At the battle of Issus, there were 30,000 Greeks on the side of the Persians to fight Alexander, and their survivors also fought at Gaugamela along with the Albanians and the Persians, against the Macedonians.

The question of the use of the ancient Macedonian language was raised by Alexander himself during the trial of Philotas, one of his generals accused of treason. This is what Alexander has said to Philotas:

"The Macedonians are about to pass judgement upon you; I wish to know weather you will use their native tongue in addressing them." Philotas replied: "Besides the Macedonians there are many present who, I think, will more easily understand what I shell say if I use the same language which you have employed." Than said the king: "Do you not see how Philotas loathes even the language of his fatherland? For he alone disdains to learn it. But let him by all means speak in whatever way he desires, provided that you remember that he holds out customs in as much abhorrence as our language" (Curtius).

The trial of Philotas took place in Asia before a multiethnic public, which has understood Greek as it was then a common language, like English today. But Alexander spoke Macedonian with his Macedonians (the language he accuses Philotas of loathing) and used Greek in addressing the west Asians. Like Carthagenian, Illyrian, and Thracian, ancient Macedonian was not recorded in writing. However, on the bases of about a hundred glosses, Macedonian words noted and explained by Greek writers, some place names from Macedonia, and a few names of individuals, most scholars believe that ancient Macedonian was a separate Indo-European language. Evidence from phonology indicates that the ancient Macedonian language was distinct from ancient Greek.

THE ROMAN OCCUPATION

Both Macedonia and Greece were annexed by the Romans after the battle of Pydna in 168 BC. It is significant that the Greeks again fought against the Macedonians during the Macedonian Wars, on the side of the Romans. The Macedonians were asked to evacuate from the whole of Greece and withdrew to Macedonia by the Romans, and the Greek fought against the Macedonian army and its king Philip V until their final defeat (Polybius, Livy). After the end of the Macedonian kingdom, Latin was the official language in Roman Macedonia from 168 BC until the demise of Roman rule at the end of the sixth century AD.

SLAV SETTLEMENTS IN MACEDONIA, GREECE, THRACE, AND ILLYRIA

In the sixth century, the Slavs penetrated Illyria, Thrace, Macedonia, and Greece. The Slavs settled lands as far as Peloponnesus and the Aegean islands, and some of the Slavic tribes in Greece remained unconquered for centuries. During the following centuries, the Slavs mixed with the original Macedonians, Greeks, Thracians, and Illyrians, and thus laid the foundations to the modern nations of the Balkans, and their modern languages.

Today's modern Macedonian language has both ancient Macedonian and Slavic background. How much modern Macedonian is based upon ancient Macedonian is impossible to say since we do not have many ancient Macedonian words that have survived, except about 150 glosses. Yet, ancient Macedonian words are still present in modern Macedonian. Alexander's infantry peshatairoi literally means "armed walking men" in modern Macedonian (peshatari). Hammond says that the ancient Macedonians called their commander tchelniku, which again means in modern Macedonian "somebody who leads" (chelniku). The Macedonian prodromoi, were the openers in the battles of Alexander the Great. Today in modern Macedonian this means "somebody who penetrates" (prodir), etc. Many ancient Macedonian names are still present among today's Macedonians, and many ancient Macedonian customs have the ancients have described have survived as well among today's Macedonians. The memory of Philip II and Alexander the Great echoes in the Macedonian folklore.

The modern Macedonian language was systemized in the middle of the ninth century by SS Cyril and Methodius, the two Macedonian brothers from the largest Macedonian city of Salonica. This language has functioned as the principal literary, liturgical, and colloquial language of Macedonia ever since. This period of the Macedonian history set the foundations for the development of the modern Macedonian nation and in the centuries after the coming of the Slavs, the Macedonians continue to exist in Byzantine sources as nation. Macedonia resisted the settlement attacks by the Armenian and Syrian dynasties, who held power in New Rome (Byzantium), and by the nomadic Bulgarians. From 1014 to 1204, Macedonia was part of the multi-cultural Byzantine Empire. In the next two centuries, the Macedonians fought foreign invaders, adventurers, and bandits who failed to dominate their land, apart from the Serbs and the Bulgarians who briefly held it. In the fifteenth century, the Ottoman Turks succeeded in conquering all of Macedonia, Greece, and the rest of the Balkans, and enforced their 500-year old rule.

MACEDONIA IN THE XIX CENTURY

Greek, Serbian, and Bulgarian Independence

In 1827, the European powers intervened on behalf of the Greek rebels and forced the Turks to grant them independence. The same powers, established the first modern Greek state, chose Prince Otto of Bavaria to be the "King of the Hellenes", and sent him to Athens. Serbia freed herself also from the Turkish rule, while Russia declared war on Turkey to help Bulgaria gain its independence.

San Stefano and Berlin Conferences

The war between Russia and Turkey ended on March 3, 1878, with the peace settlement of San Stefano. The Turks had to agree to the formation of the new Bulgarian state, to also include all of Macedonia but the city of Salonika. Russia was hoping that greater Bulgaria with Macedonia would give her the strategic exit on the Aegean Sea, but she encountered fierce resistance from Austria-Hungary and England that saw their interests on the Balkans endangered. On July 13, 1878 with the Berlin Conference, they forced Russia to give up her dream and the San Stefano agreement was revised. Macedonia was returned to the Ottoman Empire. From this moment, Macedonia became a battleground where the interests not only of the Balkan states, but also of the Great Powers, collide.

The Macedonian and Greek Orthodox Churches

The Ohrid Archiepiscopy was founded as a separate church in 995 to care for the religious needs of the Orthodox Macedonians. However, under the influence of the Greek Orthodox church, the Turkish sultan abolished the Macedonian church in 1767. The Greek Orthodox church was now able to enforce its religious teachings in Greek as the only Orthodox church to exist in the Balkans. Greece hoped to spread her influence and propaganda through the newly opened Greek schools, with a goal to Hellenize the population of Macedonia. But as their influence grew bigger, so did the resistance of the Macedonians. On March 7, 1851, the residents of Enidje-Vardar (today in Greece) signed a petition, for replacement of the teachings in Greek with Macedonian. In 1859, in Kukush was formed the resistance movement against the Hellenization that quickly spread to Voden (Edessa), Kostur (Kastoria), Lerin (Florina), and the rest of southern Macedonia.

Balkan and Neutral Statistics on the Population of Macedonia

Adding to the Greek influence, the Bulgarians opened their schools in Macedonia in 1871, and the Serbs followed shortly after. This is the beginning of the so-called "Macedonian Question". The new independent Balkan states used those schools to propagate how the Macedonians do not exist, and how Macedonia was populated only by Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs. Ethnographers, historians, and writers begun writing books in favor of this or that propaganda. Many of them did not even visit Macedonia, while those who did already had a written scenario. Their presence there was only a simple formality. The Turkish statistics made the picture more confusing as the Turks registered the people based on religion, not on ethnic background.  Table 1 gives an excellent proof of those Balkan speculations surrounding Macedonia:

balkan views

Greek

Nikolaides

1899

Bulgarian

Kenchov

1900

Serbian

Gopchevich

1886

Macedonian Slavs
454,000
-
-
Serbs
-
400
1,540,000
Bulgarians
-
1,037,000
-
Greeks
656,300
214,000
201,000
Turks and others
576,600
610,365
397,020

Table 1. Greek, Bulgarian, and Serbian Statistics of Macedonia's population

It is more than obvious that all the views coming from the Macedonia's neighbors which sharply contradict eachother, are biased. They all claim their people in Macedonia to justify their well-planned aspirations. It is important to note that both the Bulgarian and Serbian views agree that the Greeks in Macedonia represent only a small minority of 10%. The Greek ethnographer Nikolaides, on the other hand, claims three times bigger number than his colleagues in Belgrade and Sofia. However, the most important about Nikolaides is that he recognizes the Macedonian Slavs as a separate nation, separate from the Bulgarians and the Serbs, to be part of population of Macedonia. And although he tries hard to lower the numbers of those Macedonian Slavs, he still comes up with a convincing proof of their existence.

This is the time when many European slavists, ethnographers, and historians, are also attracted to visit Macedonia and conduct their own investigations. Therefore, to find the unbiased population numbers in Macedonia, we have to rely on neutral and independent statistics:

neutral views

German

Dr. K. Ostreich

1905

Austrian

K. Gersin

1903

English

Andrew Rousos

Macedonian Slavs
1,500,000
1,182,036
1,150,000
Serbs
-
-
-
Bulgarians
-
-
-
Greeks
200,000
228,702
300,000
Turks and others
550,000
627,915
400,000

Table 2. Independent and Neutral European Statistics of Macedonia's Population

Although the Macedonians are referred as "Macedonian Slavs", the main point of the statistics is the fact that they are recognized as distinct nation with cultural and historical right over their country Macedonia in which they are overwhelming majority. The reluctance to refer to them for what they are (simply as Macedonians), is explained by the overemphasizing of the contemporary Greek vs. Slavic (Serb and Bulgarian) rivalry over Macedonia in which the westerners desired to make the note that the Macedonians were more "Slavs" then "Greeks" - thus resulting in the use of the term "Macedonian Slavs" to distinguish them from all but still indicate their closer relation to their northern then southern neighbors, as interestingly was the case with the ancient Macedonians and their closer relations with the Thracians and Illyrians then with the ancient Greeks.

Yet the term "Macedonian Slavs" is erroneous since the Macedonians, although conscious of their ancient Macedonian roots and Slav admixture, did not specifically call themselves "Macedonians Slavs", but Macedonians as the documents over the last 2,500 years show. The same "Macedonian Slavs" mistake was again repeated by some western media, as the Albanian terrorists attacked Macedonia in March of 2001, and again it was done deliberately.  This deliberate bias is again there, unfortunately because of the political situation and the western media's inclination towards the goals of the Albanian terrorism for "Greater Albania".  As at the beginning of the 20th century, the Macedonians showed their outrage at the beginning of the 21st century of this racial insult and publicly instead that their nationality be respected. Not only the Macedonians all over the world vigorously accused the western media for racial bias, but also did various western independent and non-government organizations. That referring to the Macedonians as "Macedonian Slavs" was a mistake was publicly acknowledged by BBC which apologized and withdrew its reporter Paul Wood precisely for his bias reporting, and since continued to rightfully refer to the Macedonians for what they have always been - Macedonians.

From the two above tables one can easily notice that the number of Greeks in Macedonia according to the neutral authors also aligns with the numbers given by the Serb and Bulgarian authors. This is a proof that the Greeks before the partition of Macedonia, were indeed a small minority, only 10% from the total population. This fact certainly does not give them the copyright of the name Macedonia. Dr. Ostreich, Gersin, and Roussos, are only a few of the many neutral authors to prove the groundless speculations of the Balkan counties. They proved that Macedonia belongs to a separate nation, which proves that the Bulgarians and the Serbs have than simply substituted the numbers of the Macedonians for theirs. Another Austrian, Karl Hron explained why that is unjustified:

"According to my own studies on the Serb-Bulgarian conflict I came to the conclusion that the Macedonians looking at their history and language are a separate nation, which means they are not Serbs nor Bulgarians, but the descendants of those Slavs who populated the Balkan peninsula long before the Serb and Bulgarian invasions, and who later did not mix with any of those other two nations..." and:

"... the Macedonian language according to its own laws in the development of the voices, and its own grammatical rules, forms one separate language".

There were even Greek and Bulgarian writers to support what Karl Hron has written. One such example is the Bulgarian slavist and ethnographer P. Draganov, who in his studies of 1887-1894 and 1903, proved the existence of the Macedonians and the Macedonian language as a distinct language. Here is what Henry Brailsford had said about the Macedonians in "Macedonia: its Races and their Future".

"Are the Macedonians Serbs or Bulgars? The question is constantly asked and dogmatically answered in Belgrade and Sofia. But the lesson of history is obviously that there is no answer at all. They are not Serbs, for their blood can hardly be purely Slavonic... On the other hand, they can hardly be Bulgarians... They are very probably very much what they were before either a Bulgarian or a Serbian Empire existed - a Slav people derived from various stocks, who invaded the peninsula at different periods."

At the time of the emergence of the so-called Macedonian question, and the aspirations of the Macedonian neighbors for occupation of the country, the famous Macedonian Gjorgi Pulevski wrote in 1875:

"People who originate from one and the same race, speak the same language, live together in harmony, and have the same customs, songs and mentality, constitute a nation, and the place where they live is their homeland. In this way, the Macedonians are a nation and their homeland is Macedonia" and,

"I am not Bulgarian, nor Greek, nor Tzintzar, I am pure Macedonian as were Philip and Alexander the Macedonian and Aristotle Philosopher"

Pulevski was right back in 1875.  He was conscious and aware that the Macedonians were a distinct nation, a fact that the documents of the last 25 centuries clearly show.

Macedonian Uprisings

The Macedonians will first start an organized resistance in the XIX century, to free their land from the 500 year old Turkish yoke. The uprisings in Kresna and Razlog (1878 - 1879), although unsuccessful, gained sympathies of many intellectuals in Europe. Among them was W.E. Gladstone who wrote:

"... Next to the Ottoman government nothing can be more deplorable and blameworthy than jealousies between Greek and Slav and plans by the states already existing for appropriating other territory. Why not Macedonia for the Macedonians as well as Bulgaria for the Bulgarians and Serbia for the Serbians."

Gladstone was three times elected Prime Minister of England (1868 -1874; 1880 - 1885 and 1893 - 1894). He supported the Macedonian nation in its quest for freedom. Perhaps Macedonia would have gained its independence had this man been once again elected Prime Minister during the big Ilinden Uprising on August 2, 1903. Left without any support, the uprising was crushed by the Turks, followed by the massacre on the innocent Macedonian population.

THE PARTITION OF MACEDONIA AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

On October 8, 1912, the First Balkan War begun. Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece attacked the European positions of the Ottoman Empire. More than 100,000 Macedonians also took active part and contributed in driving the Turks out of Macedonia. Turkey capitulated soon, but Macedonia did not free itself. The victorious Balkan kingdoms convened in Bucharest in August 1913 to divide the spoils. The partition of Macedonia is best illustrated with the following maps:

Macedonia within Turkey before 1912 and its partition in 1913 among Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania

Greece was awardedAegean Macedonia and renamed it to "Northern Greece"; Bulgaria annexed Pirin Macedonia and abolished the Macedonian name, and Serbia took over Vardar Macedonia and renamed it to "Southern Serbia".The same year, N. Pasich of Serbia and E. Venizelos of Greece agreed on the newly formed Greek-Serbian (later Yugoslavian) border, so that there would be "only Serbs to the North and only Greeks to the South", and no "Macedonians" on either side. Thus, the politics to assimilate the Macedonians of Aegean Macedonia had already begun.

The Greek Atrocities in Aegean Macedonia

1.      On June 21, 22, and 23, 1913, the Greek army completely burned to the ground the city of Kukush (today Kilkis), known for its resistance against Hellenism in the XIX century and the birthplace of Gotse Delchev.

2.      Between June 29 and 25, 39 villages in the Kukush area were also burned down.

3.      On June 23 and 24, the city of Serres (today Serrai) was set on fire where 4000 houses perished. In the Serres gymnasium the Greeks murdered about 200 people.

4.      During these days the larger portion of Strumica was also destroyed by the Greek army.

5.      Between June 23 and 30, many villages in the Drama and Serres districts were burned down.

6.      From June 27 to July 6 all Macedonian quarts of Salonika were set on fire.

The Carnegie Commission composed of members from USA, Germany, Russia, France, Austria, and England, witnessed the Greek atrocities when visited Aegean Macedonia. Their final conclusion was that the Greek army has burned to the ground 170 villages with over 17,000 houses.

Since 1913, official Greece has been trying to banish native Macedonian names of villages, towns, cities, rivers, and lakes in Aegean Macedonia. For example, the little stream which issues from Mount Olympus and flows into the Aegean Sea is labeled Mavroneri ("black water") on the maps made by Greek cartographers after 1913. However, the same river appears as Crna Reka, a native Macedonian name meaning "black river" on the maps made before 1913. Kukush has been dropped for Kilkis and Serres for Serai, together with at least 300 other places all over Macedonia.

Forced Change of the Ethnic Structure of Aegean Macedonia

The presence of the Macedonians in Aegean Macedonia could not allow Greece to claim that land to be Greek and only Greek. Since it was proven that they resisted the Hellenization, Greece decided to drive them out of Macedonia. Greece made agreements with Bulgaria (signed 10/27/19), and Turkey (1/30/23 in Lausanne), for exchange of population. This provided for the Macedonians of Aegean to leave for Bulgaria, while the Greeks in Bulgaria and Turkey settled in the Aegean part of Macedonia. These measures changed the ethnic character of the Aegean Macedonia. According to the "Great Greek Encyclopedia", there were 1,221,849 newcomers against 80,000 "slavophones". The "Ethnic Map of Greek Macedonia Showing the Ratio Between Various Ethnic Elements in 1912 and 1926," claims there were 119,000 "bulgarisants" in 1912, and 77,000 in 1926. The Greek ethnic map of Aegean Macedonia was submitted to the League of the nations by the Greek government. The League of the Nations had not visited Aegean Macedonia and did not participate at all in conducting this statistics. Greece here refers to the Macedonians as "bulgarisants", which means "those who pretend to be Bulgarians" and obviously non-Bulgarians. However, Greece uses many other names in falsifying the identity of the Macedonians. Slavophones, Slav Macedonians, Makedoslavs, Slav Greeks, and Bulgarisants, are only some of the names that prove Greece's unpreparess in this mean falsification of the Macedonian people and language. There are also other Greek sources that contradict the previous numbers of the Macedonians in Greece. The Athenian newspaper, "Message d' Aten" wrote on February 15, 1913, that the number of "Bulgar-echarhists" was 199,590 contradicting with those 119,000 of the "Ethnic Map of Greek Macedonia".

How many Macedonians remained in Greece?

When the Bulgarian and Serbian views are added, the confusion gets only bigger. According to the Bulgarian Rumenov, in 1928 there were total of 206,435 "Bulgarians", while the Serb Bora Milojevich claimed 250,000 "Slavs" in Aegean Macedonia. Belgrade's "Politika" in its 6164 issue of June 24, 1925 gave three times greater numbers for the Macedonians in Greece than official Athens:

"The Greek government must not complain that we are pointing to the fact that the Macedonian population of West Macedonia - 250,000 - 300,000 - is the most unfortunate national and linguistic minority in the world, not only because their personal safety in endangered, but also because they have no church nor school in their own language, and they had them during the Turkish rule."

The speculations with the real number of Macedonians is obvious again. Their true number remains disputable in the Balkan documents, same as it was the case before the partition of 1912. Unfortunately, the Greek government would not allow anybody, including neutral observers to conduct statistical studies. Forced to leave, the Macedonians emigrated in large numbers to Australia, Canada, and the USA. As a result, there are about 300,000 Macedonians that presently live in Australia. In the city of Toronto, Canada, there are about 100,000. The present Macedonian colonies in these counties are represented mostly by the descendants of those Aegean Macedonians who settled there in the 1920's.

According to the "Ethnic Map of Greek Macedonia Showing the Ratio Between Various Ethnic Elements in 1912 and 1926", only 42,000 left their homes. If we take the statistical tables of the Balkan and neutral sources above, by 1913 in the whole of Macedonia lived around 1,250,000 Macedonians. In the Aegean part (51%) which Greece took after 1913, half of the Macedonian nation remained under Greek rule - that would be 625,000 people. If up to 1926 42,000 out of these 625,000 left, in the Greek part of Macedonian thereafter remained 583,000 Macedonians.

Recognition of the Macedonian Language by Greece

After World War I and under the international law, Greece signed the agreement to provide education in the languages of the minorities that remained in its borders. As a result, Sakerlarou Press in Athens printed a primer in the Macedonian language called "Abecedar" in 1924. It was intended for the Macedonian children in the soon to be opened new schools and it was a clear recognition of the existence of the Macedonians in Greece. The Greek government, however, later changed its position and the primer never reached the schools.

The Macedonian Language Forbidden in Greece

The Englishmen B. Hild who traveled through Aegean Macedonia in 1928 has recorded that the Greeks are chasing not only the alive Macedonians, to whom they sometimes refer to as "bulgarophones" and sometimes as "slavophones", but also the graves of dead Macedonians, by destroying all non-Greek signs on the crosses. The use of the Macedonian language was forbidden and punishable when dictator Metaxis gained power in Greece. Between 1936 and 1940, some 5,250 Macedonians were persecuted for speaking their native language. The official order of the National Garde in Nered (Polipotamos):

"All residents from two to fifty years of age are forbidden to use any other language but Greek. I direct special attention to the youth. Anyone to break this law will be punished."

But as the facts point out, the Macedonians were not wiped out from Aegean Macedonia in spite of the many assimilation attempts by the Greek government. One such fact is the ethnic map of Europe in The Times Atlas of World History, where the Macedonians presented as separate nationality cover the territory of complete Macedonia, including Aegean Macedonia in Greece.

Here is another map, part of a larger Balkan map and made by German ethnographers, first published after World War I, which proves that the ethnic Macedonians are the majority in Aegean Macedonia while the Greeks consist only a small minority.

The Macedonians on this map (Mazedonier in German, and presented in green with stripes), populate the largest area of Aegean Macedonia, including the cities of Kostur (Kastoria), Lerin (Florina), Voden (Edessa), Ber (Veroia), and Salonika (Thessaloniki), the largest Macedonian city. This map is yet another clear proof that the Macedonians do exist as large minority in Greece. It is also very important to note, that southernmost river in Macedonia which many ethnographers consider to be Macedonia's border with Greece, is labeled on this map with the native Macedonian name Wistritza (Bistrica). However, Greek maps that date after the partition of Macedonia, have changed this name with the Greek Aliakmon. Another examples on wiping off the native Macedonian names from this map, would also be the second largest city in Aegean Macedonia, Serres which Greece changed to Serrai later, the river Mesta which was changed to Nestos, or the lake Beschik which today appears as Volvi.

The CIA Ethnic Map of Balkans and Macedonia is yet another proof that the ethnic Macedonians today represent a big national minority in northern Greece or Aegean Macedonia. According to this CIA source, the Macedonians live in all parts of Macedonia: today's Republic of Macedonia, Pirin Macedonia in Bulgaria, and Aegean Macedonia in Greece.

Macedonians Oppressed in Greece

Following are several documents regarding the oppression of the Macedonians in Aegean Macedonia before the World War II. They appeared in "Rizospastis", a newspaper published by the Greek Communist Party (KKE).

April 15, 1934

Serres (Serrai). The town square was covered with leaflets with revolutionary proclamations calling upon the soldiers to straggle for a solution to their problems and against the beastly reign of terror. Officers imprisoned the soldiers who read the leaflets... The most barbarous methods were used against us Macedonians, soldiers of the 6th Heavy Artillery Regiment. The majority of us are illiterate, we do not know Greek and therefore we frequently do not understand their orders. The officers tried to teach us to read and write, but their efforts were abandoned too soon and were performed so improperly than none of us learned anything.

June 6, 1934

Voden (Edessa). Here, in Voden, and in our whole district, in the heart of Macedonia, here where we Macedonians do not know any other language but our own Macedonian, various agents of the Greek capitalism fore us to speak Greek. Consequently, they threaten us constantly with expulsion to Bulgaria, they call us Komitajis, expropriate our fields which we have drenched with our sweet just to produce a piece of bread. In addition, they deprive us of the freedom which our fathers won after many years of struggle in which they gave their lives for the liberation of Macedonia. We live under the yoke of Greek capitalism, literally as slaves. In the elementary schools, the young children who speak their own language are beaten every day. Particularly here in Voden, the henchman and fascist Georgiadis beats the children if they speak th



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