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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 16 February 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2019 3 NEWS THEODORA MAIOS Following the endorsement and approval of the articles of the Prespes Agreement by the majority of the Parliaments of Greece and Skopje, members of the FYROM communities in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and South Australia, are expressing their displeasure by lowering the official flag of North Macedonia and replacing it with that of the Star of Vergina, in an attempt to make their discontent against the agreement known. "Today the Macedonian [sic] community of Adelaide and South Australia replaced the flag of the Republic of Macedonia and replaced with the Macedonian [sic] flag representing all people of the occupied Macedonian region," wrote Facebook administrator of a page under the name Macedonian Coalition. Their actions have left the Greek communities around Australia confused and disappointed. "This is in direct contravention of the Prespes Agreement which was designed to improve relations between the two countries and their communities and it is a slap in the face for all of us Greeks living in Australia," said Ioannis Mitrousidis, who has been a longstanding member of the Pan Macedonian Federation of SA since the 1950's and has been instrumental in bringing attention to this sensitive matter. The Prespes Agreement involves Greece withdrawing its objections for North Macedonia to join NATO and the EU, and in turn "North Macedonia" has agreed to remove all historic Greek Macedonian symbols (eg, the Star of Vergina) from its territory. The Star of Vergina is considered a protected national Flagging problems FYROM communities raise Vergina flags in Australia in protest of Prespes Agreement Macedonian [sic] nation, rejects the Zaev administration of renaming Macedonia [sic] to North, against the will of the Macedonian [sic] people, and rejects the West endorsement of the We invite everyone to study history and respect Macedonia,” says Ioannis Mitrousidis, long-standing member of the Pan Macedonian Federation of SA. symbol of Greece (under the Paris Convention) and despite the fact that the Republic of North Macedonia itself has agreed to remove all irredentist symbols, Mr Mitrousidis claims that this is not the first time that the Slavo-Macedonian Community organisations insist on flying the Vergina flag and displaying irredentist maps to provoke the Greek communities, thus disrespecting the Prespes Agreement that their own government has signed, causing distress and upset within the Greek diaspora in South Australia. AUSTRALIA RECOGNISES MACEDONIA AS GREEK It is worth noting that in March 2018, the Australian authorities denied a FYROM-Australian organisation that goes by the name World Macedonian Congress – Australia (WMC-A) the right to register the trademark of the 'Macedonian Sun' within its logo, sighting it as a national symbol of Greece and that permission needed to be obtained from the Greek Embassy. "Your trademark contains a national symbol of Greece. Under the Paris Convention Australia must prohibit registration of trademarks containing such symbols. This means your trademark is not registrable without authorisation from the relevant authority," they wrote. "We have fought long and hard for what historically is ours and we invite everyone to investigate further and conduct their own research so that they can form a more educated view free from external influences and political agendas," said Mr Mitrousidis who reveals that, there have been numerous meetings with Government officials in Australia over the decade in an attempt to shed light on the sensitive matter that "shouldn't still be in dispute". In the meantime, the Republic of North Macedo- nia was welcomed into the North Atlantic Alliance/ Treaty Organisation (NATO) during a ceremony held for the signing of the NATO treaty/accession protocol on 6 February while the Greek Government has confirmed that the next step in the implementation of the Prespes Agreement is to commence using the name of the Republic of North Macedonia. The administrator of the so called Macedonian Coalition Facebook page added: "#Macedonian Community Adelaide and SA inc today held an auspicious extraordinary meeting. Michael Radin, President, together with Vice President Trajce Milosevski and elder 93-year-old Risto Yankoff, one of the original few who formed the first Macedonian Community of Adelaide and SA in 1947, presided over the permanent downing of the flag of capitulation, the ventila- This is in direct contravention of the Prespes Agreement which was designed to improve relations between the two countries and their communities and it is a slap in the face for all of us Greeks living in Australia tor, and raised the rightful Macedonian Sun. The Macedonian [sic] Community of Adelaide rejects all forms of capitulation and the cultural and ethnic genocide of the treasonous Prespa Agreement. The speech went onto to state, they reject the Prespa Agreement negating the existence of minorities in Occupied Lands, and itsMacedonian [sic] diaspora. The speech concluded with rejecting all past, present and any further capitulation of Macedonian identity, and that the Macedonian Community in Adelaide will stand firm under the Macedonian Sun. The ventilator was removed, and the Macedonian Sun was raised in an emotive ceremony by elder Risto Yankoff as the Macedonian national anthem played in the presence of 50 Macedonians [sic]." Neos Kosmos contacted the so called 'Macedonian Community of South Australia' but once briefed on the purpose of the call, their representative refused to have any further discussion on the matter. Star of Vergina, a Macedonian symbol through time The Vergina Sun, also known as the Star of Vergina, is a rayed solar symbol appearing in ancient Greek art between the 6th and 2nd centuries BC. The name "Vergina Sun" first became used following archaeological excavations in and around the small town of Vergina, northern Greece, during the late 1970s. It is a historical royal symbol of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. ANTIQUITY Early presentations go back to the 6th centuries with hoplites bearing the symbol on their shields and armour. The Iliad describes the hero Achilles as having a panoply with a star-shaped symbol. It was found on coins and was a symbol used by the Macedonian royal dynasty and found on a larnax (coffin) believed to belong to Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. The symbol might represent the Sun god (Helios). EIGHTIES Macedonian Greeks used the symbol on logos in the 1980s when the symbol first became used as an official emblem of the three regional units and the municipalities in the Greek region of Macedonia. NINETIES The Vergina Sun symbol was the subject in a controversy in the first half of the 1990s between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) which adopted it as a symbol of Skopjian nationalism and depicted it on the newly-formed republic's flag. Todor Petrov proposed using the Vergina Sun as the national symbol of FYROM in 1991. A Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman said in January 1995 that the "symbol is Greek and has been stolen". The controversy lasted until 1995, when the young republic's flag was revised into a different rayed solar symbol. 2019 The two countries have ratified the Prespes Agreement which stipulates the removal of the Vergina Sun from public use in the Republic of North Macedonia's territory.
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