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ΕFA-Rainbow supports the right of the Catalan people to decide on their future and joins the EFA campaign "Catalonia decides"

Catalonia decides




Radio Macedonian Culture

A selection of Macedonian blogs in Greece

Aegean Macedonian Culture

Anti-macedonian policy during the elections for the European Parliament against Rainbow by the Greek state and the Greek mass media

A scandal by the Parliamentary committee

Greek TV stations sabotage EFA-Raibow

Ultra-nationalists want "borders with Serbia"!

"Hellenic Post" sabbotages EFA-Rainbow Campaign

Typical example of censorship of Rainbow

Attack of the Greek Neo-nazi party

A Greek - Macedonian dictionary by Vasko Karatza printed with the support of EFA - Rainbow
 Greek   Macedonian

D. Lithoxoou

"Extracts of Letters"

Τι έλεγε κάποτε το ΚΚΕ για τους Μακεδόνες

Denying Ethnic Identity:
The Macedonians of Greece, by Human Rights Watch

Linguistics and politics II:
Macedonian Language

Greece's stance towards
its Macedonian minority
and the neighbouring
Republic of Macedonia.

Lawed Arguments
and Omitted Truths

R. Nikovski: Memorandum to the European Parliament
Facts behind the Greek politics towards Macedonia

English  Macedonian

"Proposed disciplinary measures to stamp out the Macedonian minority in Greece by the National Security Service"

Center Maurits Coppieters
European Free Alliance
Federal Union of European Nationalities
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Greek Anti–Nationalistic Movement
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Macedonian Human Rights of Australia
OMO Ilinden - PIRIN
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Macedonian Forum for politics and history

Member of the European Free Alliance - European Political Party (EFA-EPP)
Member of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN)

Stefanou Dragoumi 11 �.�. 53100 �.�. 51 Greece; Tel/fax 0030 23850 46548
www.florina.org; E-mail: rainbow@florina.org

Positions of the Rainbow Party on the Yugoslavian Crisis

April, 1999

Yugoslavian Crisis The problem of Yugoslavia and the consequences of its dissolution have affected not only our country and the Balkans, but also Europe in general. The problem touched Greece in the form of the Macedonian issue. When the independent and sovereign state of Macedonia was declared in 1991, a swell of anti-Macedonian hysteria in Greece provided anti-European and anti-democratic forces with the opportunity to play a dominant role on our country's political stage.

Today, the issue has been nearly forgotten. However, the "positive" shift in attitude towards the Republic of Macedonia is not due to an objective change in Greek policy, but rather to the Kosovo crisis, the danger of expansion of which has made Greek politicians - and others as well - look upon their northern neighbor more "sympathetically." The Republic of Macedonia is regarded more as a good shock absorber of the rumblings from Kosovo and less so an equal neighbor. As far as the Macedonian issue is concerned, the key to relations of mutual friendship, cooperation and lasting peace in the Balkans lies in the revision of the national myths of Greece and Bulgaria. It also requires that both countries accept on a social and political level the existence of a Macedonian nation that is different from the Greek and the Bulgarian, and in parallel provide recognition and respect for the rights of ethnic Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria, respectively. And the sooner this is done the better.

Perhaps the epilogue of the Yugoslavian crisis will be played out in Kosovo, a crisis that began in the early 1990s as the former Yugoslavian republics were gaining their independence. Unfortunately, throughout those years, the information that Greek society received was manipulated and directed to a large extent by the Orthodox-Christian-chauvinist fronts (such as with the Macedonian issue). As a result, the average Greek citizen has a blank memory of both the causes and the events of the Yugoslavian drama.

When Greek television and mass media reported on the war in Yugoslavia, the news was usually presented thusly: "...Sarajevo was bombed again..."; "...Vukovar was leveled by the bombing..."; "...mass graves were found in Srebrenica...." While citizens elsewhere in Europe heard their correspondents reporting that "...Sarajevo was bombed again by the Serbs..."; "...Serb artillery leveled Vukovar..."; "...mass graves of Bosnians were found in Srebrenica...."

One can easily understand what the average Greek's collective memory and perception is, as opposed to the average European's, after nearly ten years of continuous misinformation. Certainly, the European citizen received more objective information on the events because, as it was proven, Vukovar was indeed leveled by Serbian artillery, Sarajevo was indeed besieged by the Serbs, and in Srebrenica Bosnians were indeed slaughtered by the Serbs.

This is also the primary cause of the anti-European and anti-American hysteria that we are observing lately in Greece, occasioned by the Kosovo crisis, which resembles that of the Macedonian issue in the early 90s. After all, when in demonstrations against Europe, the red flags of the "left" wave alongside the black flags of fascism under the wing of the double-headed Byzantine eagle of the Orthodox Church, then surely "something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

In Kosovo, Serbian hegemonic chauvinism is clashing with primitive Albanian nationalism. The former is the main factor responsible for the war in the former Yugoslavia and the latter because the vision of a Great Albania is being promoted in the name of human rights.

Albanian nationalism raised the issue of Kosovo as an internal problem of the Albanian national state for the first time at the end of the Hoxha period (late 1970s), in essence projecting the vision of a Great Albania. In the early 1980s there were demonstrations in Pristina demanding that the autonomous region be given the status of Republic.

Concealed behind this demand was secession, given that with the constitutional revision of 1974 the Yugoslav Republics achieved, with some conditions, the right of self-determination.

Within the structure of the Yugoslav Federation, the Albanian minority certainly had problems, particularly when the Serb, Rankovic, held the position of the Internal Affairs Minister. However, after the 1974 Constitution Kosovar Albanians enjoyed more ethnic rights than perhaps any other minority in Europe, with a status of regional autonomy, university education in the Albanian language, etc.

On the other hand, after 1974 Serb nationalists felt their hegemonic role challenged not only in Kosovo but also more generally within the structure of the Yugoslav Federation. Serbian nationalism awakened. Characteristic were the positions of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, which, in 1986, long before the crisis erupted, contained references to "unalienable" national rights and the "historical rights" of the Serbian people who have been "underprivileged" by their role in the structure of the Yugoslav Federation.

In other words, both the Albanians as much as the Serbs established the grounds for expansionist ideologies by ignoring the historical experiences of the Balkan region.

Thus through the dissolution of Yugoslavia and with the slogan "all Serbs in one state" the Serbs were attempting to construct the "Great Serbia." They exploited their military might since the greater portion of the Yugoslav war machine was under Serb control.

Upon seeing the Yugoslav Republics gain their independence, Albanian nationalists on their part felt that the historical opportunity had come to create an independent Kosovo en route to the great Albania. So they then implemented the military tactics of the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) with Rugova's policy of non-violent resistance.

The international actor in the form of NATO intervened under the doctrine that "human rights are mightier than the right of sovereignty" at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and in the wrong fashion. If it had to intervene, it should have done so earlier, at the outset of the Serb campaign and especially in Bosnia, to protect its civilians. If NATO had wanted to defend the human rights of the Kosovar Albanians it should have followed the suggestions of expert military analysts and carried out a ground intervention in coordination with air strikes in order to protect the Albanian population from the Serb ethnic cleansing raids. This was the only way that the Albanian population of Kosovo could have been effectively protected. Fearful of the political costs (human losses in a ground operation and negative public opinion in alliance-member countries) the NATO commanders intervened with bombing missions (inevitably causing civilian casualties) in a unsuccessful attempt to have their pie and eat it too.

Another error was banning the KLA (Albanian extremists) from an equal place at the table, which only served to nourish their expansionist dreams. If the international community was asking Milosevic to withdraw Yugoslav troops from Kosovo and to stop the ethnic cleansing, then it had to simultaneously ask for the total disarmament of the KLA, given that an international force was undertaking to protect the population. The pressure at Rambouillet was one-sided, exerted only on the Serbs. This also left open the eventuality of a border change since the provisions gave Kosovo a three-year transitional period followed by a "non-status" regime without clear and explicit reference to respecting the borders of the new Yugoslavia.

The bombings provided Milosevic's (para)military and (para)governmental forces with the opportunity to wage large-scale ethnic cleansings. The Albanian refugees did not leave Pristina out of fear of the bombing raids, as some would have us believe. Rather, the overwhelming majority of Kosovar Albanians fled to the Republic of Macedonia and Albania because of Serb persecution, resulting in a serious threat to the stability of both these countries. Here the international community made yet another mistake. It did not support these countries' request for accession into the NATO alliance, nor did it reinforce their relationship with the EU through a special affiliation status.

A significant factor leading to the intervention of the international community in Kosovo, and which the average Greek does not know, is that the ethnic cleansing and persecution of Albanians had begun long before the NATO intervention.

After Milosevic's abolition of the autonomy of Kosovo and Vojvodina in 1989, many Albanians left Kosovo because of political discrimination by the Serb authority. This intensified over recent years, as corroborated by independent international organizations and even by the UN. Just, of course, as the average Greek is unaware of the thousands of charges (brought to international organizations) of rape of Bosnian women by Serbian soldiers and paramilitary troops during the operations in Bosnia.

Certainly, the Croatians (in Kraina) and the Bosnians (to a small extent) carried out ethnic cleansings against Serb populations. But this came as a result of the Serb policy that from the outset of the crisis was designed to expand the land of the Serbian state. The Croatians expelled the Serbs from Kraina, while flirting with the idea of incorporating the Bosnian lands of Herzegovina into Croatia. But this was after the Serbs expelled the Croats from Slavonia to create an ethnically clean state for the "Great Serbia." In the regions of Bosnia where the Serbs were the majority, they drove out the Bosnians in order to create the conditions for ethnically cleansed regions in Bosnia that could later be joined to Serbia. They drove the Albanians out of Kosovo to "ethnically" cleanse Serbia of an "annoying" foreign minority. In other words, there was no general and indefinite "civil" war in Yugoslavia in which everyone was equally to blame, as some would have us believe.

In the past, Balkan expansionist "great" ideas drove Greece into the Asia Minor disaster of 1921 and Bulgaria into the annihilation of 1913. Unfortunately history was repeated with the policies of the Serb nationalists in Bosnia and the Albanians in Kosovo. The root of evil lies precisely in the idea of creating a "Great Greece", a "Great Bulgaria", a "Great Serbia", a "Great Albania" or a "Great Macedonia".

It is unthinkable today, at a time when we are building a United Europe, for an ethnic minority to wage a national-liberation war to promote the vision of a Great Albania. But it is also unthinkable, not to mention criminal for a state to carry out a policy of ethnic cleansing on virtually an entire minority population because one segment of it manifests extreme separatist tendencies. And it is likewise criminal for a state to encourage and support the secession of its fellow nationals in another, independent sovereign state such as Bosnia or Croatia on behalf of a Great Serbia. This is precisely what the Serbs did in prior years starting in Croatia (eastern and western Slavonia) and then again in Bosnia. Aware of the fact that the ethnic minorities in the Balkans have been used in the past and will probably be used in the future as destabilizing factors, the Rainbow party has repeatedly proclaimed the inviolability of existing borders.

At the same time, in the matter of a minority's civic conduct, Rainbow has embraced the principle that this must be such as to reassure the entire population of the country that it does not aspire through the implementation of its rights to either immediately or gradually dissolve any borders. In addition Rainbow has pledged the following principles:

Ethnic minorities or ethnic groups must refuse to become the objects in intergovernmental rivalries and interventions in the internal affairs of the countries in which they live. They must at the same time cultivate affiliations of friendship, cooperation and solidarity with all citizens of the states in which they reside.

Naturally, the requisite condition for the above is that the governmental authorities condemn all political oppression of ethnic minorities, safeguard their minority rights, and respect their ethnic and cultural identity.

On the basis of the above, the civic conduct of democratic Kosovar Albanians should have been directed towards creating alliances with democratic Serbs in order to solve the problems they encountered in Kosovo, rather than secession. The behavior of the democratic Serbs should have been likewise. They should have upheld the rights of the Albanian minority in Kosovo while condemning Serbian nationalism, and thus contributing to the democratization of their country. These are the principles on which every democratic Balkan country must base its conduct so that we may have true friendship, solidarity, cooperation and peace in the region.

Rainbow upholds the principle that an ethnic minority or ethnic group in the Balkans or in Europe can no longer wage a national-liberation war.

All peoples of Europe have been nationally "emancipated" through the founding of states - some earlier, some later. Wherever this has not occurred (e.g. Basques, Catalans, etc) these people enjoy a broad autonomy that allows them to develop their particular ethnic characteristics.

We are now building a "post-national" model of social organization in which the possibilities of communication (e.g. Internet) give us the opportunity to become acquainted with other cultures and languages, quickly and easily bringing us closer as individuals and as peoples. It is therefore anachronistic as well as dangerous to promote the issues of respect and protection of the rights of a national minority or ethnic group through the independence of the region it inhabits (such as in Kosovo) and the creation of new borders in the Balkans.

The Balkan states and the minorities living in them must utilize the teachings of the European Union experience in their attempt to gradually unite their states, with respect for national-minority rights and the overcoming of national prejudices and rivalries.

We are moving towards a United Europe of open borders, peoples and cultures, of democracy and respect for cultural diversity. In this Europe notions of alliances or divisions based on religion or national identity, or "anti-western" or "pro-eastern" views (which unfortunately have been fervently promoted in Greece over the past decade) do not befit a democratic society. On the one hand they lead back to a political Middle Ages that distances our country from its European course, while on the other they are particularly dangerous to the peace of the Balkans since they can dynamite our common European structure.


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to read the Abecedar!

Promotion of the
Macedonian Language
Primer at the OSCE HDIM

English Greek Macedonian

Greek irredentism and expansionism officially sanctioned by the Greek Parliament
English Greek Macedonian

Letter to Carla del Ponte,
Chief Prosecutor for the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

English Greek Macedonian

The Yugoslavian Crisis
English Greek Macedonian

Document of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs

Related to the article - The obvious linguistic particularity - Eletherotypia, 18/11/2006

English   Greek

The ten Greek myths
on the “Macedonian issue”

By IOS team – Eletherotypia, 23/10/2005

Who says there are no
minority languages in Greece?

The "secret" census
in north Greece, in 1920

Map showing the Cultures and Languages in the E.U.

Council of Europe
Framework convention for the Protection of national minorities




Συνέντευξη: Ευάγγελος Κωφός, Έλληνας ιστορικός
Δημοκρατία της Μακεδονίας - Σκόπια είναι όνομα που εκφράζει την ταυτότητά σας

Greek   Macedonian

Ο Παύλος Φιλίποβ Βοσκόπουλος απαντά στον Ευάγγελο Κωφό.
«Το Μακεδονικό ζήτημα είναι η αχίλλειος πτέρνα του ελληνικού μύθου».

Greek   Macedonian
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