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Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:40 am
by Arta

A group of researchers of the European Community visited Greece from the 4th to the 10th of October 1987 to study the existence of the Albanian element and the preservation of its ethnicity and language.

The trip was organized by the "European Bureau" to study the lesser-used languages, observed by the Commission of the European Community.

Composition of the Group:
Antonio Belushi Italy
Ricardo Alvares Spain
E. Angel France
Kolom Anget Spain
Havier Boski Spain
Onom Falkona Holland
Volfgang Jeniges Belgium
Robert Marti France
Stefan Moal France
Kol O'Cinseala Ireland
Joseph San Sokasao Spain

Object of the trip:

Research in 300 Albanian communities in Greece.


To help European representatives on their visit to get in touch with the Albanian people in Greece, who are currently speaking Albanian, which is not taught in Greek schools. To assess the reaction of various parties and other institutions to the issue of protection of linguistic minorities existing in Greece, which are not recognized at present even below a minimum criterion as is the case with the Albanians, etc.

Views of the main parties:

The "New Democracy" Party:

We talked with Michael Papakonstantinu, Efstakios Paguhos, Nikola Martis, Joanis Vulfefis and Kaeti Papannastasion. Here are some of their answers:

"There is no problem of Albanian language in Greece. If we put linguistic problems on the table, we would create very great problems for the Greek state. If the Albanian language is spoken, it is spoken only in families. No opinion can be fully expressed on this issue. There has never been room for the Albanians in our problems. Your mission is very delicate. Do not complicate things. Watch out! Minority issues will lead to war in Europe. We can in no way help at these moments. Likewise, we do not want to give the impression of Albanian presence in Greece. This problem does not exist for us."

The "PASOK" Party:

Questions were addressed to Dr. Jorgos Sklavunas and Manolis Azimakis. Their answers:

"We do not deem it necessary for the Albanian and other minorities to learn their mother tongues because the language they speak is not a language. There are no Albanian territories in Greece. There are only Greek territories where Albanian may also be spoken. He who does not speak our language does not belong to our race and our country."

The Ministry of Culture:

Having listened to the questions, Doc. Athina Sipirianti said:

"To solve a problem, you have always to set up a commission. We do not have the possibility of dealing with the problem you are raising. Your experience will be necessary for what we shall do in the future. Your visit is a great stimulus to us."

The Pedagogical Department:

Dr. Trinnidafilotis' answer was very cold:

"There is no teaching of Albanian. What you are saying is a political rather than a cultural problem. I have nothing else to add."

The Commission of the Independent Magazine Anti:


"Borders between states are not fair. This interest in minorities in Greece can hide interests of domination by other states. Linguistic minorities, namely, the Albanian minority, have no right whatsoever. In Greece, there are only Greeks."

The above statements and the appeal to the Speaker of the Greek Parliament and the party leaders are clear evidence of the presence of Albanians, Turks and Macedonian Slavs in Greece, who still speak their mother tongues. According to research done by scholars, there are about 700 Albanian villages in Greece, whose Albanian ethnicity the Greeks deny. It is a well-known fact that national minority members in Greece have all been subject to intense, organized assimilation, which the Greeks, while ignoring their distinct ethnicity, justify by pointing to their Orthodox religion, as though religion were the criterion to determine one's nationality. However, there are also Greeks who contradict the absurd claims of the Greek authorities. In a study on the subject, Professor of International Law and current Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights, Christos Rozakis, acknowledges the ethnic character of minorities in Greece.

In view of Greek domestic policies on national minorities, it is regrettable to observe that an EU member like Greece has so far failed to be a role model for the other Balkan countries, that its example in this area adds to the Balkans' already tarnished image as a result of Serbia's policies, that though a NATO member, despite the government's 'efforts' to keep a so-called balance, Greece opposed NATO's air war against Serbia under the threadbare pretext of its religious and traditional historical ties with the Serbs and tacitly supported Milosevic's policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Kosova. In this campaign of solidarity with Milosevic when the NATO bombing began, even Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens hastened to join Patriarch Alexii of Moscow, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, to call for support for Serbia.

It is also a pity that nothing has so far changed in Greece's nationalistic and theocratic policies since the 1944-1945 period when the Greeks were the first in southeastern Europe after World War II to perpetrate genocide. They massacred and ethnically cleansed Albanians from Chamouria, an Albanian-inhabited region in the northwest of today's Greek state.

It stands to reason that their religious brethren, the Serbs, would naturally draw on the Greek experience of the ethnic cleansing of Albanians and extensively use it against the Kosova Albanians in the year 1999.

The way the Greeks respond to the national minority issue signifies the existence of a strong, unhealthy nationalistic trend, raised to state policy level, which runs counter to the general tendency in the other countries of the European Union. The official 1951 census in Greece indicated that ethnic minorities in the country constituted 2.6 to 3.8 per cent of the total population. Just as in the case of other non-Greeks, the number of Albanians, too had radically been reduced in the census. According to other sources, there were at least as many as 350,000 Albanians at that time. Slavic speakers in Greece today number up to 300,000 though the majority of them had to flee during and after World War and the Civil War. Facts are stubborn. Nevertheless, these figures that have been drastically reduced, have always been suppressed whenever they have been brought up. Worth mentioning are also the following facts, symptomatic of Greek intolerance in the area of national minorities: A few years ago, death threats against Anastasia Karakasidou, a Guggenheim Fellowship scholar at Harvard University, first came from the Greek community in the United States and then in Greece because she had described the presence of a Slavic speaking Macedonian community in Greece in her book "Fields of Wheat, Hills of Shrubs." Almost at the same time, Christos Sideropulos, leader of "the Human Rights movement in Macedonia" faced trial on charges of "spreading false information that might cause disturbance in the international relations of Greece." His guilt had been a statement to the effect that the ethnic Macedonians faced curbs on their language and culture by a state, which denies their existence.

Though there is no denying the fact that Greece is a full-fledged member of the European Union, its behavior, past and present, which has little to do with Western values, is helping an increasing number of people realize that the country is a far cry from the rest of the EU members as far as mentality, culture, as well as religious and national tolerance are concerned. Greece is also distinct from the other EU member countries as far as its domestic legislation is concerned. For instance, citizenship, ethnicity and religion are deliberately confused in Greece. The Greek Constitution outlaws proselytism. There are also provisions, especially Article 20 of the Greek Citizenship Law in Greece, under which sanctions, prison terms and denial of Greek citizenship are imposed on religious minority members, accused of involvement in so-called activities against Hellenism. Irrespective of the fact that Greece has repealed Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Law under international pressure, which entitled the government to deprive those regarded as allogenes [Greece's natives of non-Greek origin] of Greek citizenship, it has not made the Article retroactive in order to restore citizenship to those who have unjustly lost it.

Financial Times quotes Takis Michas, social affairs specialist at the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, as saying: "Greece is an inward-looking society. Orthodox values reinforce that mentality. Orthodoxy sees the West as a threat, a place where conspiracies are hatched against it," a mind frame of both Greeks and Serbs, which draws its source from the ancient split between western and eastern Christendom. Whereas British historian Norman Davies writes in his book "Europe A History": "From the time of the Crusades, the Orthodox looked on the west as the source of subjugation worse than the infidel." This mindset is made manifest in the United States, too. According to recent news reports, Archbishop Spyridon, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States, who has spent most of his life in Europe, has been accused of trying to keep the church inaccessible to members who feel more American than Greek. Spyridon, who is the first American-born leader of the Greek Orthodox church in this country, says he works to protect the church's Byzantine traditions, proving to be one of those Greeks who are still living in the Byzantine empire. As Jeane Carthner of the newspaper Liberacion points out: "A few years ago, the Greeks were enemies of the Albanians, Macedonians and Bulgarians. They are constant enemies of the Turks, while now they have become enemies of the Americans, the British, the French, the Germans and the rest of the world." "The West is full of enemies," the president of Greece, Costis Stephanopolous, has been quoted as saying. Scholars consider such statements "a reminder of emotions that are deeply felt in the eastern Balkans. The common link is the Orthodox religious tradition. It is a tie that cements the alliance with Serbia ." Such a mentality that has been conducive to national and religious bigotry has prompted analysts to draw the logical conclusion that Greek presence in the EU and NATO, etc. is an anomaly and a paradox. Greece continues to be an awkward partner or indeed a black sheep in the European Union even today. Time and again, it creates false problems for Europe with its whimsical behavior towards its neighbors. This conclusion is not a thing of the past, of the early 1990s, as another Greek, Loukas Tsoukalis, of the European Institute of the London School of Economics, says.

Such being the case, it is wrong, at least in the foreseeable future, to regard Greece as the bridge that will link the neighboring countries to Europe. This EU member country, which regards every criticism of its handling of domestic affairs, the minority and religious issues in particular, as a West-inspired, hostile step to destabilize the country, cannot play such a role unless it improves its image, which is still low by European standards, and gives up sowing the seeds of religious and national intolerance.

Far from trying to find the culprit abroad, Greece should mend its ways at home.


Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:49 am
by Aulona
Great report made by these gentelmans.
I am guessing it supports that funny video "Greece's 0 Minority Report" :!:


Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:53 pm
by alfeko sukaraku
Mallakastrioti ka ndertuar nje jutub me kete ceshtje..eshte ne anglisht...i lutemi ta vendosin tek tema e ketueshme.


Posted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:06 am
by Arta

I gjeta alfeco!


Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:58 am
by Arta

Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation