The truth behind “The business of Greece and Macedonia”.

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 in News

Dr Anastasios Panagiotelis and Dr Vasilis Sarafidis, the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies. In her recent SBS opinion piece, “The Business of Greece and Macedonia” Perth MP Alannah MacTiernan grossly misrepresents the official stance of Greek governments, both past and present.  By propagating a number of falsehoods she unfairly depicts Greece as a recalcitrant aggressor. By responding to her article we provide a more accurate account of this complex issue. Ms MacTiernan characterises Greece’s diplomatic stance towards its northern neighbour as “trenchant opposition to the very existence of the Republic of Macedonia”.  This is patently false since Greece is the largest investor in FYROM, as Ms MacTiernan herself recognises. For instance in 2007, 17 of the 20 most sizeable investments in FYROM were financed with Greek capital, while roughly 20,000 (about 6% of the workforce) were employed in Greek-owned enterprises. Furthermore, according to statistics published by authorities in FYROM, in 2013 almost 28% of the total foreign direct investment in FYROM came from Greece.  Despite unprecedented economic hardship, Greece continues to invest in FYROM, hardly the act of a nation that opposes the very existence of its neighbour. Ms MacTiernan’s misrepresentation of Greece’s motives moves into truly absurd territory when she raises an old canard “that there were negotiations between the then-Greek Government and Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic to suppress the opportunities for Macedonians to fuel division in the country”.  Although former Greek PM Konstantinos Mitsotakis did claim that Slobodan Milosevic made such overtures towards Greece, the purpose of Mitsotakis’ statement was to declare that his government unequivocally rejected any actions that would destabilise FYROM. The recent history of the naming issue is and remains controversial, however, Ms MacTiernan once again is guilty of a number of falsehoods here.  Greece did not “impose the absurd name The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, nor do Greeks refer to citizens of the country as “FYROMians”. Rather, the name “FYROM” arose from Resolution 817/1993 of the UN Security Council as a mutually agreed but temporary solution to distinguish the former member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from three major administrative regions in northern Greece, namely “Western Macedonia”, “Central Macedonia”, and “Eastern Macedonia”. The latter three regions are part of the geocode standard developed by European Union and by far constitute the largest part of the geographical area of “Macedonia”. There are 2.5 million people living in the Greek region of Macedonia nowadays, and they proudly identify themselves as both Greeks and Macedonians (Macedonian Hellenes). The intent of the UN resolution was for both parties to negotiate and compromise on a name which respected both sides’ claims to a Macedonian identity.  The ascension of FYROM into NATO and the EU,...

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AMHRC seeks an apology.

Posted on Dec 28, 2015 in News

6 May 2015 The Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) has written to Neos Kosmos asking the newspaper to apologise for publishing an opinion piece by Professor Anastasios Tamis. In a letter to the paper’s editor this week, AMHRC spokesman Dr Chris Popov requested that Neos Kosmos publish a statement “apologising to the Macedonian community for Mr Tamis’ abusive comments and that his opinion piece be removed from your website”. Under the title of ‘Superficial and provocative’, published on 1 April, Professor Tamis was responding to the latest calls by federal MP Luke Simpkins for Australia to withdraw from its long-held position on the FYROM naming-issue. In the text, the president of the Australian Institute for Macedonian Studies described the motivations of Macedonian nationalism as lying in a need by its supporters “to maintain their fallacy and pseudo-identity as ‘Macedonians’ to avert the disintegration of their state”. Mr Popov said that Professor Tamis’ “attempt to paint Macedonians as a ‘pseudo-nation’ – and therefore undeserving of the name Macedonians – and Greeks as representing a ‘real’ or historical nation – is both ahistorical and extremely offensive”. The AMHRC spokesman added that the professor’s use of terms such as ‘Macedoslavs’, ‘Bulgarians’ and ‘Bulgarophile Slavs’ was “a crude and abusive attempt to vilify and denigrate people who are members of the Macedonian nation”. Mr Popov also asked Neos Kosmos to state that figures quoted by Professor Tamis – regarding the size of the ‘Macedonian’ and Greek communities in Australia – were incorrect. In his article Professor Tamis referred to the total number of people of Hellenic origin in Australia as being 550,000. The AMHRC say the only accurate estimation of that figure can be made in relation to the results of the 2011 Census, which identified 378,270 persons who claimed Greek ancestry. The AMHRC has demanded that Neos Kosmos publish a statement apologising to the ‘Macedonian’ community for publishing Professor Tamis’ comments, and that the article be removed from the NK website. Neos Kosmos’ editor-in-chief Mr Sotiris Hatzimanolis said that while the opinion piece may have raised controversial issues, the newspaper stood by its publishing of the article. “All requests for the online deletion of stories and published apologies are considered very carefully, but in this instance it is clear that this opinion piece was the professor’s judgment on the matters at hand; matters which are always contentious,” said Mr Hatzimanolis. “There are many views on the subject and we believe there is no basis for censoring his views.” Read Professor Tamis’ opinion piece here:...

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New site launched!

Posted on Jul 20, 2014 in News

The Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies (AIMS) is proud to announce the formal launch of our new, redesigned website! It features an improved homepage design, cleaner layout of page content and an intuitive and consistent site-wide navigation system. And we’re just getting started! Exciting new elements are still in development, with roll-out over the coming months. We’d love to talk about them but until they’re ready for prime time, we want to be sure our developers have the opportunity to get it right. Research and study is our business to which we are committed. This new site makes that objective obvious and we hope it will tell you everything you need to know about The Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies. We look forward to hearing from...

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Concerts, Festivals, Musicals & Exhibitions

Posted on Sep 23, 2013 in News

The Australian Institute for Macedonian Studies organized or played a key role in the arrangement and coordination of a significant number of concerts, festivals, musicals as well as theatrical plays. The cultural activities were important to communicate the socio-cultural role of the Institute to its members and to the broader Greek and Australian society. These included: As early as 1988, the AIMS under the guidance of Ms. Theofanis Karabatsas organized a Greek Macedonian festival at the gardens of the St. John’s Monastery in Northcote with the support of the Abbott Ierotheos Kourtessis; In 1991, in collaboration with the theatrical school “Gefyra” it staged the theatrical play “Alexander the Great” directed by Nicholas Skiadopoulos; In 1992, the AIMS organized a musical concert at the Melba Conservatorium of the University of Melbourne under the directorship of the maestro Valentinos Patrikidis;  on 29 September 2002, the AIMS played a key role in the promotion and organzations of the visiting Byzantine Choir of Athens University at Melbourne’s Concert Hall, under the directorship of maestro of the psaltic art, Professor Gregorios Stathis. In October 1994 the AIMS organized the first photographic exhibition on the Migration and Settlement of Macedonian Greeks in Australia and New Zealand, covering the period...

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