Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 April2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 APRIL 2015 27 OPINION LETTERS Offensive and ludicrous suggestion I refer to the article ‘MP claims government bias on FYROM’ as featured in your paper on 23 March past. I sent the following letter to Mr Simpkins expressing my disappointment at his recent attack on Greek Australians in the House of Representatives: "Dear Sir, I am a longstanding member of the Liberal Party and write to express my disappointment at your recent attack on Greek Australians in the House of Representatives. Your suggestion that a small handful of Greek Australian nationalists have hijacked Australian foreign policy is offensive and ludicrous. Further, your position that Australia should recognise FYROM as the 'Republic of Macedonia' demonstrates a poor grasp of the facts relating to the Macedonia naming dispute as well as a complete indifference to historical integrity. Those who have put you up to this mischief have chosen a convenient time to take a 'cheap shot'. We all know that Greece is presently at its lowest point in recent memory. Let's face it, economically the Greek state and its citizens are on their knees. The fact that you have picked this time to 'kick a man when he's down' says a lot about your character. Mr Simpkins, it is ridiculous that Greeks must continue to defend the Hellenic heritage of Macedonia. Dorothy King, the renowned American archaeologist and historian, put it succinctly in a recent interview: "The Macedonians invaded and conquered Skopje, but Alexander conquered Iran and Afghanistan as well. None of these two other countries ever claimed to be Macedonia". Ms King continues, saying "Amphipolis is in Macedonia, Vergina is in Macedonia and Macedonia is in Greece. To claim the opposite is so ridiculous. It is like saying that Jesus went to America". I note that for her views Ms King received threats and was bullied horrendously in social media by those whose position you publicly support. Dorothy King is not on her own in voicing concern over the subversion of history that is taking place. During 2009, 200 classical scholars from around the world sent President Obama a letter ex- plaining that "this silliness has gone too far". Since then the list of co-signatories (which includes Australian academics) has grown to 374. So what's in a name? Why can't Greeks hold on to the Hellenic heritage of Macedonia and FYROM use the name for their country at the same time? Unfortunately this is not possible, and the reason why is simple. It is because the policy of FYROM is to use the brand 'Macedonia' as the main tool in developing a new national identity by fabricating history. When Tito invented the concept of a 'Macedonian nation' by extending the geographical term 'Macedonia' to cover southern Yugoslavia in the mid-1940s, his objective of severing the ties of the Slav population of Yugoslav Macedonia with Bulgaria was clear. This was deemed necessary given that organisations such as IMRO had been serving Bulgarian interests in Balkan politics since the late-1800s. The point is that the creation of the 'Republic of Macedonia' within Yugoslavia had nothing to do with ancient Macedon or Greek heroes such as Alexander the Great. Even Kiro Gligorov, the first president of FYROM, seemed to get it, stating in 1992 that "we are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century … we are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians…". However, the current (quite aggressive) policy of the Gruevski leadership in FYROM is to do everything it can to reinvent the past and establish a connection to the ancient Macedonians in order to obtain legitimacy. This 'project' involves new history books, a giant multi-million euro statue of Alexander the Great in the heart of Skopje, and a proposed 28-metre statute of Philip of Macedon, Alexander's father, which will cost more than €200m according to reports. In 2006 the government in FYROM also decided to rename the airport in Skopje after Alexander the Great. Then in 2009 the Skopje City Stadium, FYROM's national arena, was renamed Philip II Arena. Get the picture? If there is one thing you are right about, it is that a compromise on the naming dispute should have already been reached. Despite some opposition, composite names such as ‘New Macedonia’ or ‘Upper Macedonia’ have been proposed but the nationalist Gruevski government won't budge. Instead, what we see is the deputy speaker of FYROM unfurling a flag bearing the Vergina Sun on a red background during a visit to Mount Olympus in Greece last September. The Vergina Sun is a symbol widely used in ancient Greece and removed from the FYROM flag in 1995. Greeks continue to be brazenly mocked and provoked by Skopje and yet according to you it is Greek nationalists who are the problem! I have always found it frightening that people like you can so easily ignore history. To jog your memory I suggest you visit the church at Prevelly Park near Margaret River in your own state. The small chapel there stands as a personal tribute by a Western Australian survivor of the battles on Crete during WWII to the strong bond that the Greek people have with Australian soldiers. Mr Geoff Edwards built the church in 1978 to honour the Greek civilians who cared for and protected him and other Allied troops in 1941. Given you spent 15 years in the army, you might give this special bond a little more consideration next time you decide to offend over half a million members of the Australian community. By supporting FYROM in its attempt to monopolise use of the name 'Macedonia' you are explicitly supporting baseless historical revisionism. Your tone is sarcastic ("Australians of Greek heritage have bigger issues in their lives…") and hostile ("… tragic that literally a handful of nationalists can exert such power as to control the foreign policy of this nation"). Thankfully most of your colleagues in parliament have more sense. I encourage you to retract your statement and apologise to the hundreds of thousands of Greek Australians whom you have managed to offend by standing in our great nation's parliament and speaking complete nonsense. Yours faithfully, Nicholas Tsoumanis New South Wales The ‘Greek problem’ The answer to the ‘Greek problem’ has always been about reducing interest rates and doing away with corrupt practices. The Greek ego, as always, gets in the way. When Greeks do not have faith in their governments and transfer their savings to every corner of the earth, how can we expect others to lend money to Greece at low interest rates? If I had money in Greece I would send it away as well, you do not want to see years of toil result in nothing. The new government has no interest in creating jobs or reforming corrupt practices. The only way to create jobs is to allow small business and the free enterprise system to function without silly and petty interference by the many government illiterate officials. I have not seen anyone who supports this present government offer to lend them their savings at 2 per cent interest. The world is awash with money but everybody who could read and write has been waiting for a Greek collapse for more than ten years, and lending to Greece is the last thing on their minds. The new government is mainly about showing Greek peasants what heroes they are by being rude to north Europeans. They should stop their clown acts, and get the ball rolling in getting 70 per cent of Greeks to work. Greece needs to have high employment rates as many have low value jobs cleaning toilets and making tomato salads for poor Balkan tourists. Above all, the education system needs reform. The money spend returns a poor result. Government funded universities should be privatised, and funding by the government should only be loans to hard working students. Greece needs a more Have Your Say LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: Αnother airplane crash claimed 150 lives this week. Do you still feel safe travelling by plane? 61 % YES 39 % NO THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: Should Greek Easter be celebrated in the same week as Catholic Easter? Yes/No Vote online now. Go to neoskosmos.com Published by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (ABN: 13005 255 087) of 169 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122. Printed by Rural Press Printing, Ballarat. NEOS KOSMOS Published since 1957 Contacts Reception Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Email: email@example.com Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.neoskosmos.com Advertising letters Email: email@example.com NEOS KOSMOS - English Publisher: No. 5559 Address: Level 1, 169 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Mail: PO Box 6068 Hawthorn West, Victoria 3122 Subscriptions Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Letters should not be more than 200 words and they must indicate your full name, address and a day time telephone number for verification. By submitting your letter to us for publication you agree that we may edit the letter for legal, space or other reasons and may, after the publication in the paper, republish it on the internet or in other media. Editor-in-Chief: Sotiris Hatzimanolis Graphic Design: Peter Kelidis Fotis Petsinis Contributors: Dora Kitinas-Gogos Christopher Gogos Journalists: Proof Reader: Angela Costanzo Maja Jovic, Helen Velissaris, Michael Sweet, John Pyrros, Nelly Skoufatoglou, Anastasia Tsirtsakis Email your letter to: email@example.com educated workforce if it's to attract investment both from Greeks and Europe. Greece has to stop looking like a third world country by everybody volunteering to clean their neighborhoods and breaking the arms of the graffiti vandals. A. Romios Victoria Heartiest of congratulations As a minor member of the Lemnos Gallipoli Committee, I must express heartiest of congratulations to Jim Claven and Lee Tarlamis for their amazing leadership and solid dedication to this overall project - recognising the long-ignored relationship between the Hellenic people of Lemnos and the amazing nurses of WW1, the Gallipoli campaign. I grew up learning much about the Anzacs, learning even more as I studied Australian history at university and Australian military history with the Royal Australian navy. But never before had I read or heard a word about Gallipoli having been a Hellenic community until the Ottomans moved in nor of how this one little Hellenic island played a key role in the Gallipoli campaign. John Pandazopoulos, Lee, Jim and others on the committee have certainly opened my eyes to a part of history that must be acknowledged and respected, just as they have worked diligently to spread this story as far and as wide as possible. Once upon a time you may have visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and heard a museum guide errantly (in ignorance) claim that the Anzacs went straight from Cairo to Gallipoli. Now they add the Lemnos story. Once you would have thought that Simpson's donkey was his own or from Gallipoli, but we know for a fact that his donkey was bought from the island of Lemnos. In a similar vein we now know that the wonderful people of Lemnos invited the Anzacs to share in Orthodox Easter celebrations before they embarked on their perilous journey. Sharing what little they had as a people predominantly village poor but rich of heart and, of course, philotimo. Just as I was stunned when I learned of the elderly gentleman from Lemnos who, after seeing how much the Aussies loved his lamb on the spit, followed them and set up his cooking on the beach. Bullets flying, guns a blazing and he kept feeding the Aussies for two days until a stuffed shirt British officer ordered him to return from whence he came. Then there are those amazing nurses, and in August this year we will raise the memorial statue to which people have been generously supporting, in Albert Park. The nurses whom the British did not want and whom they refused to supply with bandages so the ladies tore up their petticoats and then their dresses, eventually being forced to wear trousers from soldiers. Nurses who gave far more than could have been expected and who never received the respect and honours that they truly deserved. Until now. So if you get a chance to see the exhibition, please do so and learn some of the stories that are still being rediscovered and acknowledged in this the centenary year of Anzac. A. Kenos Victoria Please note that the submission of a letter does not guarantee that it will be published. We reserve the right to edit your letter for clarity, grammar, spelling and style. Letters that use inappropriate language will not be published. All letters published will include the author’s name and location. Comments posted on Neos Kosmos’website, Facebook and Twitter pages can also be included for submission at the editors’ discretion and will be edited accordingly.
28 March 2015
11 April 2015