Comment posted on grbloopers.blogspot.com with reference to the New York Times (opinion) post entitled "Shame on greece".
Would you believe that I read ALL the comments under that NYT post?
Well, here's an attempt at a review of what I read!
On the historical side and the polemics around Macedonian identity, it was useful to be reminded of Ottoman millets and then, orthodox churches and whether one can spot anywhere the registered existence of dear Mc-donians.
The comment on religion said that "they have always belonged to the Patriarchate of Constantinople and later on Serbian or Bulgarian Orthodox church. Could it be that your own church never considered itself Macedonian, separate from Serbia and Bulgaria? Why wait till the 20th century to claim to be autocephalous status? Why no Macedonian Monastery at Mount Athos not even a skete? The Serbs, Russians, Bulgarians, Romanians even the Georgians have their own.."
Wow! I'm impressed.
Of course there were references to the traumatic stories concerning the children of our civil war and those escaping to the communist north after defeat...
It's true, I thought that there is still work to be done in that respect, but it is quite shocking how some commentators used a schematic version of those stories as propaganda against the whole of modern greece which they presume to have perpetrated a genocide specifically against our neighbors.
Many McDonians sounded truly hurt, some almost hysterical and almost all of them amazingly taken in/fascinated by power (in the face of US and Bush). Shocking naivete and scary lack of critical faculties? I wonder. Or maybe a popular political culture that reflects their totalitarian past of church-like bureaucracy?
Most common arguments were: the Descartes satire of "I feel Macedonian and therefore I am"... and then the sequel of "it's not a matter of history but of human rights"; also, the disturbingly eloquent "we have sent more soldiers to Afghanistan than Greece that is much bigger, thus we deserve accession to nato".
There were erudite greek comments and some very witty. On the average you could assess a much higher average education level and knowledge of english on the pro-greek front... -well, hope I'm not biased!
I liked a comment by Mr Genimakis, part of which goes like this:
" If some people in RoM or Greece think that being in NATO will help them advance their respective country’s positions in their bilateral disputes, the may go on and show their good conduct by joining NATO’s legion of strangers… And, who knows, maybe they’ll meet in Afghanistan.
We should really use our own resources and good will to come to a resolution. I’m just a citizen who’s really disappointed by the short-sightedness of politicians that allows this prejudice and verbal violence to be spread. There’s not much I can do, but I’d rather go across the border (just a couple of hours from Thessaloniki) to meet people, just to show them I’m not the enemy they’d expect me to be…
To the editors: I think this article’s title and tone is not prejudiced, it’s even worse, it’s arsonous. The average reader can distinguish between genuine support for RoM’s position and its citizens’ heartfelt frustrations, and this, a cheap rhetoric in favour of NATO’s expansion at all costs.
— Posted by Niko Genimakis "
Finally, it is of note that some smart greek americans explained the whole dispute in terms of trademarks and copyright :-)
PS. I forgot the very original (extreme liberalish) comment by Mr. Anagnostopoulos:
"I am not proud of my country these days. Slavic Macedonian nationalists have their hearty share on this mess, but we’ve gone too far.
This is what I expect from Greece: recognize the Republic of Macedonia, conduct a nationality and linguistic census, permit the use of the macedonian language/dialect on local level, if desired by the local population, permit the returning of those expatriated back in 1948-49 as a result of our civil war, encourage macedonian immigration in Greece.
Do this and noone among our neighbours will care whether the airport at Skopje is named Alexander the Great or Mickey Mouse.
— Posted by Athanasios Anagnostopoulos
Attention: In a consequent comment, a cute neighbour offered to name the Skopje airport after Mr Anagnostopoulos above, if Greece followed his advice.
Maybe we should think about it?