Letter to Mr. Matthew Nimitz, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN
March 3, 2008
Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, 29.02.2008
To Mr Matthew Nimitz,
Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN
United Nations, New York
Dear Mr Nimitz,
OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN is a party one of which main goals is to protect the rights and identity of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. Therefore we always follow with great interest the so called "dispute for the name" of Republic of Macedonia started years ago by Republic of Greece.
Let us briefly to share our position on that matter which was again actualized after your latest proposal.
1. The dispute was initiated by The Republic of Greece in its intentions to establish exclusive right upon the name 'Macedonia' and all its derivatives. These intentions are obvious even by the simple fact that while Greece itself named three of its regions Macedonia as well one of its ministries, is disputing the same right to the R Macedonia. The latter insists on disputing the change of the name of Republic of Macedonia but not on the names of its own regions.
2. Considering that only part of historical Macedonia is located in Greece and the "rights" of Republic of Greece on the Macedonian heritage are at least disputable from scientific point of view and non-existent according to the international law and politics, we think that the engagement of UN with this dispute is alarming. With allowing this dispute to engage its institutions UN actually institutionalizes the ambitions of the nationalistic mythology and enhances the arguments of the ethnic nationalism on international level.
3. We believe that the dispute was not initialised by any practical and real need of Republic of Greece but to use the ethnic nationalism for certain, daily inner political goals. This has been proven by the fact that the Macedonian state existed for 47 years in the Yugoslavian federation under the name 'Macedonia' and that never caused any complaints or has been disputed by Republic of Greece (talking about that it must be said that the Republic of Macedonia uses the name 'Macedonia' way too longer than the Republic of Greece in its administration!)
4. We think that the dispute which the Republic of Greece leads does not consider just the right on the name, besides the official declarations of the Greek Government. The fact that Republic of Greece does not object any use of the names 'Macedonia' and 'Macedonian' (including that of Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedon) by third parties or other countries speaks for itself. Such example is Republic of Bulgaria where the names 'Macedonia' and 'Macedonian' are very common and widespread because of hundred of thousands refugees and their relatives who live in Bulgaria and were driven away from their homes in nowadays Northern Greece by the Greek Governments during 1912-1913, 1922-1930, 1940-1946 in 20th century. Thousands of streets, squares and other public places are named 'Macedonia' or bear the adjective 'Macedonian' or are named after kings, heroes or places from ancient kingdom of Macedonia. There are hundreds of cultural and political organizations which name consists the word 'Macedonian', there is even a party represented in the Bulgarian parliament - Inner Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-BND. We have to conclude that the real reason for the undertaken activities of the Greek Government against the name of Republic of Macedonia is to dispute and undermine the Macedonian national and ethnic identity. There are the following proves for this:
- The denial of Greece of the existence of the numerous Macedonian minority on its territory;
- The dispute of the right of using the name Macedonia and its derivatives, as well persons from the past who are part of the cultural and historical heritage of Macedonia, only to Republic of Macedonia - the state founded by the Macedonian nation and not to any other country.
Therefore we think that for Republic of Macedonia is much more important to preserve its name rather than it is for Republic of Greece to change it, because the change intimidates the core of the Macedonian identity but not the Greek one.
5. We believe that the dispute conducted by the Republic of Greece directly affects the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and its national and ethnic identity and the fundamental right of self determination.
6. We believe that the tolerating from UN of the absolutely groundless claims of Republic of Greece causes more intolerance, encourages the ethnic nationalism on the Balkans and also those who deny the Macedonian identity in this number - the government's politics of denial of the Macedonian minority led by the Republic of Bulgaria.
7. We believe that the dispute from the beginning is placed incorrectly - it has always been focused on the claims of Republic of Greece towards the Republic of Macedonia and all the proposals including your last one discuss what Republic of Macedonia must change but not even slightly consider what Greece should do to stop the suspicions from itself for the claims towards Republic of Macedonia and the Macedonian nation. We assume that it is absolutely necessary in these negotiations Republic of Greece to be asked the followings:
- The Greek government to declare officially that it recognizes and does not dispute the existence of Macedonian nation, language and identity;
- The Macedonian minority in Greece to be recognized;
- To allow the Macedonian refugees from the civil war to go back or visit their home places in Greece;
- To resolve the question about the confiscated property of the Macedonian refugees;
- Greece to regulate the names of its regions so not to cause a suspicion for claims towards neighbouring countries in which there are also parts of Macedonia.
8. The claim that Republic of Greece is threaten by territorial aspirations from its Macedonian neighbour is absolutely groundless nonetheless because the military and economically power of the latter is far less beyond the capacity of the Greek Army and economy. But the entire nonsense of that claim is becoming obvious through the obstacles which the Greek Government puts on the way of the integration of Republic of Macedonia in NATO and EU, beside the fact that only full integration could erase any fear or danger of future irredentism.
9. The lack of respect from Republic of Greece to the international law was already seen by the single fact that this country uses all its influence to establish double standards in UN in the accession of new members and mostly in the two year economical blockade which it imposed on its northern neighbour in order to make it give up its name. Now we are alarmed by the threads coming from Republic Greece that it will impose a veto on the accession of Republic of Macedonian in NATO. This will not only prevent the whole integration of the Balkan Peninsula in NATO but also creates a risk for the peace in the region in such a sensitive moment of declaring the independence of Kosovo.
10. The lack of respect for the standards of the international law and also towards the interests of the neighbouring countries in the region, using power for imposing nationalistic points of views from Republic of Greece should not be encouraged by UN and any other international institution.
11. We believe that it is undesirable, not useful, neither rightful to be imposed any change in the name of Republic of Macedonia what so ever, which was democratically chosen by its own citizens, neither to be implemented limitations or to be given exclusive rights for the use of the name 'Macedonia' to any one.
Giving briefly light to our point of view on this dispute we kindly ask you to keep in mind in its resolution as well the interests of the Macedonian minority in Republic of Bulgaria.
Copresidents of OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN
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