|What's Up With FYROM?
||By Chris M. Purdef
I donít know what it is with this "term," more or less, plastered on the Republic of Macedoniaís head like a cheap toupee, but it seems to attract "international visitors" to Macedonia like flies swarming around freshly laid horse feces on Bitolaís city walkway.
At first glance, this abbreviation reminds me of one of those Japanese designed robots that can do aerobics and laundry, while humming Ozzy Osbourneís "Bark At the Moon." After further scrutiny, I must concede that pronunciation by some of Macedoniaís recent "visitors" embellishes a whole new universe of meanings and associations, for instance:
"Fai-ROM": CD ROMís sister, or "FA-RUM" an exotic liquor named after the gentleman who couldnít reach the fourth note in the musical scale after drinking his concoction, and finally "Fa-RAM," the end result of drinking a whole bottle of "FA-RUM."
What still remains a mini-mystery-series to me, however, is that Macedoniaís "international visitors" have no problem pronouncing words like "transparency", "beleaguered and besieged," "democracy in transition," my favorite, "proportional response," and of course, "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", yet they have trouble uttering, "Macedonia" from their finely tuned and polished lips. Yes, whatís up with FYROM?
For those of use not aware of the name issue, we must go back about ten years ago and review what happened in the United Nations on April 1993. This was just about the time Macedonia was beginning to receive itís first "visitors."
I should warn you my friends; the following contents are down right stale. Furthermore, by attempting to fathom why there wasnít any outcry by the " international visitors" who supposedly devote their time and government funds (taxes) flying across the globe, stamping out injustice, and crusading for harmony, we may stumble across some shaky ground, I mean, dissent is a faux pas these days. However, being the splintered personality that I am, why the hell not? So hereís my skinny on it:
On April 1993, under immense political and economic pressure from Greece, the tiny nation, then known as the Republic of Macedonian, was coerced into joining the United Nations under the improvised name of Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia.
The obvious question to ask here is why would the Greeks open up this can of fishing goop? To be quite honest, I donít truly understand the reasoning behind it myself. It has something to do with Greeks believing that the name Macedonia and everything that is understood to be Macedonian is exclusively of Greek Origin.
Interesting enough, but then, what do we do with those 2 million "misinformed souls" who have been living in Macedonia proper forever, and the hundreds of thousands of Ethnic Macedonians who live in Northern Greece and Bulgaria, and what about the other million or so who are living outside of region all together? Should we be timid and follow the official line and answer as the world has: Who Gives a Rats Ass?
GREEK KNOW IT ALLS
Alas, this historical debate we shall not get into. I mean who cares, right?
What non-academics profess to know and completely understand ancient history anyways? Oh, I know: The "Pan Macedonian" Association does.
The Pan Macedonian Organization claims to be made up of descendants of the "original Macedonians," when in all reality they are a bunch of people from Asia Minor who have been transplanted into Northern Greece by the Greek Government to play the role of Ancient Macedonian leftovers. The charming fellows and gals have such historical prowess that in some of their commentary and writings have managed to reduced Harvard and Princeton professors, such as Dr. Eugene Borza, into nothing more than beer slugging, girl-chasing blokes who dwell at local bowling allies turning about the place, with their toothpicks as radars, looking to pick up the "pre-froshes" and drive them around in their cherry red, all terrain vehicles.
This same group just recently attempted to challenge US National Policy by secretly pushing Anti- Macedonian resolutions through state governments that claimed that Ancient Macedonians were Greek and that Macedonia was Greek. They were successful in getting resolutions passed in a handful of local legislatures before efforts by the Macedonian Ambassador and Macedonian American Friendship Association, an organization representing the voice of Ethnic Macedonians in the US, quelled attempts in the Texas State Legislature.
Interesting reading these days is that this same group of "Pan Macedonian geniuses" have decided to take up an international petition, collecting signatures in order to "present and prove" to US and EU government officials that they are the "true Macedonians." Even more worrisome is that Greece has even enlisted the ranks of the Serbian Orthodox Church, a traditional foe of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, by issuing an ultimatum to the Macedonian Archbishop to give up the name of the Macedonian Church and resume function under the chauvinistic wing of the Serbian Church. This obvious Greek tactic has received malicious remarks by Ethnic Macedonians throughout the world, and ironically, has resulted in only uniting Macedoniaís largest two opposing political parties. But has there been any reaction by Macedoniaís "international visitors," possibly to show some sort of solidarity with Ethnic Macedonians in light of everything that they have given up in the past two years to prove their loyalty to Europe and America? Are you kidding me?
Forget facts, forget history, forget that Ethnic Macedonians have been living on that disputed Macedonian territory for thousands of years, were subject to fierce Serbian, Bulgarian, and Greek international policy (including ethnic cleansing), and forget that harsh remnants of these policies still exist and are continuously being pursued by the said countries! For the Ethnic Macedonians, there is no getting around this huge piece of Baklava (Which by the way is a Turkish dessert, not Greek). Unfortunately for them, they no longer possess the strategic geographical position of Bulgaria, the resources and landmass of Serbia and Montenegro, or the economic might of the Greeks. Yes, Ethnic Macedonians are once again forced to prove their very existence without much political influence, their land still divided, all by themselves. But worry not it has done this before!
But if truth be told, no one actually denies that Macedonia was divided up almost one hundred years ago by Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece each claiming their ethnocentric right. Are you kidding me? Iím the fool still waiting for all those Civil Rights Activist, the movie stars to come and speak for the Ethnic Macedonians. Come on Richard Gere, are you telling me you fell for that Albanian nonsense in Kosovo and Macedonia, yet you canít recognize a people who have been literally, and historically "high-jacked" by Greek claims of Hellenic homogeneity all most as vehement as that of the Nazi campaign fifty years back?
And where the hell is Michael Moore now, ranting and raving about Dubya Bushís "unholy" war against Iraq, yet claiming that what happened in Kosovo and Macedonia was justifiable? Why, because liberals introduced us to "humanitarian wars" and this type of war is ok?
Where are the mentions of the Ethnic Macedonian genocide in Greece and Bulgaria? Where is Steven Spielbergís beautiful epic, and Oliver Stoneís film on this conspiracy? Can even the justice seeking movie makers deny that there may actually be Ethnic Macedonians living within those divided territories wondering when someone will recognize them and give them the same opportunities of Federalized land like the Ethnic Albanians received in Kosovo and Macedonia proper? Isnít this the purpose of "international visitors?"
Screech! You know, historically speaking, "gun-slinging diplomacy" was never a Macedonian forte. This means of communication has always been reserved for the US and their Albanian Compatriots. Itís funny though, I know for a fact that Macedonians used to watch Cary Grant, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood movies in the former Yugoslavia, but I guess they also understood it was only fantasy.
But my sarcastic digression serves only to aggravate my karma, and it really doesnít do the readers any good. Like I said before, who the hell cares, right? As long as we can see the "sexy" in war, injustice, and genocide, right? As long as news reporting is nothing more than a sound bite, a two-minute organism, then we can get on with our soda pop day, and American universities can continue pumping out fresh grads with their Masterís Degree in "compromise and imposition." Newly manufactured "international visitors."
LAWS (Remember them?)
Letís focus on the legality of this issue for a spell, and ponder the reasons why "international visitors" seem to awkwardly understand that something is wrong with the UN decision to impose this name on the Republic of Macedonia, yet still insist on using FYROM-- Even when theyíre trying to con everyone.
What are all these "international visitors" really doing in Macedonia? They are well received, make lots of money working for their respective organizations, live in some of Skopjeís (Macedoniaís Capital City) most luxurious apartments, feast with locals, and enjoy weekend trips to neighboring Greece (Aegean Macedonia) when they get sick of Lake Ohrid. Heck, they get two Macedoniaís for the price of one! How appropriate. For the most part I understand that they are in Macedonia as representatives of their governmentís humanitarian sector, therefore, they should be considered promoters of peace, but a peace that should and will benefit their nationís interest first, and everyone else only if convenient.
Donít get me wrong; there is no such thing as altruistic foreign policy, but US representatives are promising a lot of "mullah" for Macedonia, most of which may in fact do the country some good. Yet what the hell is with all of these attached conditions that even the average everyday American wouldnít stand for? Itís ok to expect a nation receiving tax fed foreign donations to be frugal, but come on boys; you donít have to extort this tiny nation into changing it constitution or to accept that US soldiers will be exempt from international law. And IMF standards are preposterous, we all understand that Macedonia already doesnít stand a chance with the economic giants who are just waiting to consume the Macedonian market for an appetizer, shouldnít the IMF be a somewhat of a shield against these economic sharks? Yes, even the banking "international visitors" are in question.
ĎMERIKANS DONíT LIKE "FA RUM" ANY LONGER
However, when it comes to name issue, I must give credit where credit is due, US officials are more consistently referring to Macedonia by its constitutional name these days, I guess there is some benefit in joining the "Coalition of The willing." If Macedonians are lucky, this will last through Bushís second term assuming he gets re-elected. If not, I donít foresee a Democratic President going against Greek interests, a lobby that strongly supports and finances the National Democratic Party. Oh boy, I can see the bumper stickers now, "Kiss Me, Iím a FYROMian!"
The European Unionís "international visitors" on the other hand, OH MY GOD, what a bunch of purse carrying ignoramuses. Not to belittle, but if this hoard of weirdoes had a conceptual idea of how to run a union of modernized nations, let alone understand the stabilizing factor behind referring to Macedonia by its constitutional name, then maybe US redneck Congressmen wouldnít be renaming French fries! The only thing the European Union has done right is Universal Health Care and some instances of liberalized marijuana usage laws. Hey, at least theyíre mellow.
KICK IT UP A KNOTCH, BAM!
The important question to ask here is, what would happen if these "international visitors," regardless from what "progressive and democratic" nation they come from, dared to call Macedonia, Macedonia? Probably nothing, except bring new vigor and a positive attitude to the Macedonian State, Help boost Economic Confidence, Draw a definite line in the sand against those who would seek to destabilize Macedonia. In essence, officially recognizing the Republic of Macedonia by itsí constitutional name will help ensure everything that the EU and the US have already promised they would help Macedonia achieve. Sovereignty.
What is even more ironic, all that money that the EU and US are promising Macedonia wouldnít do as much good as official name recognition by President Bush. So then what are they all waiting for? What is keeping them from probably the easiest act since breast-feeding? Why arenít all these "international visitors," who have been living in Macedonia for the past five years, who are aware of how much this issue means to Macedonians, not pressuring their bosses into recognition of Ethnic Macedonians?
AFTER ALL THE QUESTIONS, THE ANSWER: COWARDICE- THE OFFICIAL LINE IN INTERNATIONAL POLICY
Is it that the EU and the US truly do not want to see Macedonia as a stable nation, prosperous, harmonious, and economically strong? Or, is it possible that these "international visitors" do not truly understand what it means to stand up and do the right thing? I donít buy it.
I believe that even though Macedoniaís "international visitors" truly and wholehearted understand that by addressing Macedonia as FYROM they are causing this nation internal and external damage, and that they really donít like the arrogant Greeks that much anyhow, they are just too scared to break the official line.
International policy is based on cowardice. After witnessing these same "international visitors" "shuttle" their way into Macedonia two years ago, imposing their "solution," insisting that this tiny nation be "Brave," to show "Resilience" and to break away from the "Cowardice of War," I have no trouble labeling their double standard as nothing more than the very thing they, at one time, spoke out against, and that is cowardice.
A CIVICS REFRESHER: SELF DETERMINATION
According to Dr. Igor Janev, a Scientific Researcher at the University of Belgrade, The Republic of Macedonia was discriminated against by the United Nations (under Greek pressure) in two ways, the first of which was:
"The inherent right for any state to have a name can be derived from the necessity that a juridical personality must have a legal identity. In absence of such an identity, the juridical person, such as a state, could to a large extent (or even completely) loose its capacity to interact with other such juridical personsÖthis right is not alienable, divisible or transferable, and is part of the right to "self-determination" (determination of oneís own legal identity) External interference with this basic right is inadmissible."
The Second instance of Macedonia being discriminated against goes as following:
"According to the interpretation of Article 4(1) of the Charter given in 1948 18 and accepted by the General Assembly, 19 the conditions laid down in that article are exhaustive (and not merely stated by way of guidance or example), they must be fulfilled before admission is effected, and, once they are recognized as having been fulfilled by the Security Council, the applicant state acquires an unconditional right to UN membership. This right is enshrined in Article 4 itself and comports with the universal character of the UN Organization. At the same time, and for the same reasons, the Organization has a duty to unconditionally admit such a state to UN membership." By now you are probably saying to yourself, whatís the problem? Well, this is my problem, "The Security Council in the preamble of its resolution 21 recognizes that the applicant state (Macedonia) fulfills the required criteria for admission and yet, contrary to the accepted interpretation of Article 4(1) of the Charter, recommends that the applicant be admitted to membership with a temporary reference label (to be used for all purposed within the UN), and imposes an obligation on the future UN member to negotiate with a neighboring state about its own name." What is even more, "The fact that the Security Council has ignored the strong objection 22 of Macedonian Government to such formulation of its resolution indicates that it considered that added conditions as necessary for giving the recommendation."
ACTION, REACTION, AND THE "IMPOSITION"
International law has been broken, and the reactionaries of the world have not reacted.
Are not these globe prancing souls, seeking justice, freedom, and "Self-Determination" for all supposed to be calling up Amnesty International and the UN complaining and pursuing rights for the discriminated Macedonian? Or have the Ethnic Macedonians not played their cards correctly having, yet again, fallen victim to new super power crusade created by US liberals, and perfected by the current US administration: Imposing new governments and leaders, or "The Imposition."
Thus far, actions that have been taken by "international visitors" in Macedonia have resulted in dire change in the structure of that tiny nation, ranging from an imposed peace agreement to stop a Kosovar Albanian attack on Macedonia for control of the sex and drug trade routes in Northwest Macedonia, to imposed change of the Macedonia constitution, to change of the Macedonian government, to finally, inaction when it comes to recognition of Macedoniaís name, culture, and language from blatant attacks by Greece in the United Nations or indirectly through the Serbian Church and extreme Bulgarian elements. And even though I must mention that there has been some positive change in Macedonia as a result of the Macedonian relationship with these very same "international visitors," it is still a far cry from what they lobbied for Kosovar Albanians, or what their silence is providing Greek interest.
Plain and simple, the international community is cowardly. They know right from wrong, therefore should be the first in line to persuade their leaders to officially recognize Macedonia.
Instead of following the timid "official line" and pursuit of compromise at all costs, as they were taught in Grad School and Diplomatic Training, "international visitors" should realize that sometimes "disputes" should result in Principled Diplomatic Consequences, and that some "conflicts" deserve Decisive Response.
Seeing for myself how "international visitors" have "lived and died" with Ethnic Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia, if you ask me, recognition of Ethnic Macedonians should be their sole purpose in life. Period!
I should know, I used to be one of those "visitors," and recognition of "my people" is one of my top priorities.
Chris M. Purdef