Friday, December 31, 2010

This is how you wreck any efford to make Europe united.

As published in the Irish Times, 25 Jun 2009.
Latest Nixon tapes reveal broker role offer to Lynch. 

By Denis Staunton. 

Days after Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973, Richard Nixon urged former Taoiseach Jack Lynch to act as a “broker” between European and American interests by discouraging protectionism.

The request came during a 30-minute meeting at the Oval Office on January 5th, 1973, a recording of which is part of 150 hours of newly released White House tapes.

Ireland had joined the Common Market, along with Britain and Denmark, just four days earlier and Nixon told Lynch he was worried about the bloc’s future trade policy.

“There’s a lot of concern in this country about what’s going to happen in relation to Europe. And I would think myself and would hope that Ireland would play, the Irish government would play frankly a broker’s role and say, look, we’d better look out for this. You may have more fish to fry with us than with some of these other people,” Nixon said.

“That’s right,” Lynch replied.

“We would hope so.”

Peter Flanigan, who was Nixon’s assistant for international economic affairs and attended the meeting with Lynch, confirmed to The Irish Times yesterday that the White House had indeed feared that the Common Market would move towards protectionism.

Lynch was in Washington to attend a memorial service for former president Harry Truman but he took the opportunity of the White House meeting to brief Nixon on developments in the North in the run-up to the Sunningdale Agreement and to discuss bilateral economic issues.

Much of the discussion focused on a dispute over the Shannon stopover, with the White House threatening to lift Aer Lingus’s right to land at Chicago unless the required stopover at Shannon for US carriers was shortened.

Nixon offered no concessions to Lynch on the landing rights issue but he advised the Taoiseach on how he could spin the meeting back in Ireland.

“You could say that the president directed that Mr Flanigan review the problem again, bearing in mind the points you made,” Nixon suggested.

Lynch told Nixon that the Irish economy was doing well and was a good venue for US investment, although he had harsh words for the unions.

“Our big problem, of course, is that our trade unionists have inherited all the bad habits of the British trade union movement. They’re looking for too much for too little work,” Lynch said.

The US president said it was difficult to handle unions, particularly if they were unable to impose discipline on their own members.

“You know, it’s really hard to be a responsible leader in Ireland, just as it’s hard to be a responsible leader in America,” said Nixon, who would resign from office the following year in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Other newly released recordings cast further light on Nixon’s handling of the Watergate investigation and the former president’s attitude to abortion. After the supreme court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in June 1973, Nixon expressed concern that the ruling could encourage permissiveness but suggested that abortion could be necessary in some cases, including interracial pregnancies.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape,” he told an aide.

The reason and purpose of this Blog!

It is time I think to explain to my readers the reason for this blog.

If you take in account that the majority of the media in this world, are owned by mainly 5-6 multinational companies, then you realize that the "news" that we are being presented, are a product.

Not much different than anything else that is produced by a multinational company: mass produced, to reflect the interest of the masses, the popular conception of the events that are taking place and the national interest. Or are they?

Could the people who own the media, try to shape our interests and our conceptions? The way we see the world, our perception of it or what we should like, believe or support in our life. Just imagine this: would we in Europe accept multiculturalism as easily, if we haven't been for decades exposed to movies or TV programs from the USA?

If it bleeds it sells in our media, sad but true. But do we really want to know how many people died and in what way, more than we would want to know what really is being cooked in our Parliaments, the European Parliament, the UN meetings or the G20, G8 and so on.

What is more important, a family that accidentally perished in a blaze, or what has been discussed and agreed in all these summits by our leaders and how will they affect us in the future? Do we form what become news in our media, or do the media dictate what is news for us?

Personally I love questioning everything, thinking, having an active not a passive mind. If you are into politics, Europe, European history, culture and heritage, European social issues and economics but from a citizen's point of view you may like this blog. What I am trying to do is not impress you with my knowledge of economics. I am not an economist. Rather present you with thoughts, ideas and analyze European politics as any ordinary citizen would do.

I am trying to inspire you to become more active or even understand a bit more about some European, (or Irish and Greek) political realities. Writing about politics and social issues, as well as historic facts is my passion. I want to change the way people think and become more active politically and socially. I do not feel very comfortable with idle people, people with no interests or opinion.

So what I am trying to achieve in this blog, is to stimulate your brains and offer you an alternative point of view. Many  times an inconvenient or uncomfortable alternative opinion that you will in no way find in any mainstream media.

I believe that blogs like this have a lot to offer in breaking the monopoly of the established media and start a debate among ordinary citizens. With ideas and information that are not widely accepted or promoted in our national media, perhaps we can reach different conclusions and solutions. Hopefully you will find some interesting ideas by reading this blog. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The crisis in Ireland and Greece. What is really going on?

Being a Greek living in Ireland, I am only able to feel double disappointment and anger lately. Last year I had to watch the country I originally come from being humiliated with the IMF loan, this year is the turn of the country I chose to live in.

In both cases the citizens were the ones who had to pay for the mistakes and mismanagement of their politicians. If we study what happened in Greece and how things have evolved there, can we expect similar events in Ireland?

In Greece from a “sluggish” economy and with a public that favored its socialist structures, things have transformed in a way which can only be compared to what happened in Britain during the Thatcher government in the ‘80s. Mass privatizations, high unemployment and social unrest.

 For the first time we have things that existed in Britain decades ago, like private parking companies, the destruction of the public sector, the sell off of all national resources and companies and the dissolution of the local governments.

Speaking with family and friends from Greece, I am sad that I have to keep listening to frightening news. The public sector employees are particularly hard hit. The sector is quite large in Greece, but that does not justify pay cuts that in some cases are reaching amounts up to 40% of the original salaries, while the VAT on basic supplies like food is up to 23%.

 Pensions and social welfare benefits are also cut and the general climate and feeling among the public is fear, uncertainty and anger. Households do not know how to make ends meet, and they are bracing themselves for 2011 and the new cuts and measures announced by the Government.

In Ireland the Government only announced its new budget this week, and even though the new measures are not as drastic as in Greece, the feelings among the general public are the same. Will more cuts follow a year later like in Greece? And why none of the bankers or politicians that are responsible for the current situation is being brought to justice?

In Iceland they are taking their former Prime Minister Mr. Geir Haarde to court over negligence that led to the country’s financial collapse. Can we see anything like that in Greece or Ireland? While the European Parliament warned that austerity might harm growth, such measures are still being forced upon us.

Many say those measures are necessary to save the economy of those countries, the euro and Europe's economy. But the ordinary citizens will carry the weight of all these reforms and not those responsible. Will Greece become like Britain after the Thatcherite years and has Athens the potential in becoming the London of the Balkans in the future?

This new reality is just a transformation period, to change dramatically the economies of countries that for so many years had outdated or dysfunctional financial policies, hindering their growth. Are they a part of the plan to promote new social policies in Greece, Ireland and in Europe in general?

There are rumors in Greece that big multinational companies are behind all this that are after the oil and natural gas of the Aegean, and the uranium and gold of the Greek region of Macedonia. They want to bring the country to its knees, make it bankrupt so Greece will be forced to sell off all its natural resources for nothing to those companies, exactly as they did to many African countries before. And the same rumors exist here in Ireland about the natural gas reserves.A populist myth, or is there some truth behind it?

Other folk in Greece talk about financial slavery. Both countries have lost their sovereignty to the global marketeers, who can now control their policies and tell them what to do. They force cutting of the salaries, but then we must raise the taxes. How will people spend their money if they have none, and how can this help the economy recover?

So what is the plan? Perhaps change the attitude and the habits of the Greeks, to make them become other European nations. The affair of the Greek public with its public sector will end abruptly since the salaries will not be as attractive anymore. The sector will shrink dramatically and we do not even know if there is going to be permanency in the future.

Having one work is not enough to make ends meet in Greece anymore. Studying does not guarantee you a secure career since there are no jobs. You have no free social security and you will have to pay for every visit to a doctor, even for the simplest health issue.

 The situation indeed in Greece sounds like a genocide. Young couples can not start a family when they can not even sustain themselves. No children means no future workers, to pay taxes and sustain the economy. The reforms expect them to work until late in their 60s, while it is not even guaranteed that they are gong to get a pension.

If those new measures are necessary, then the Greek politicians should take cuts like their counterparts in Ireland did, even if the amount of their salaries they agreed to be axed is purely symbolic. If the country is really sinking, how come it is the people on lower income that must pull the country out of the difficult situation?Who is benefiting from all this mess and will we see other countries suffer the fate of Greece and Ireland?

In Greece we had very successful retail companies and light industries and also a huge retail market dominated still by small businesses. All that has been destroyed, small companies are being closed down by the financial turmoil, so large multinationals can eventually penetrate and take over.

In Ireland on the other hand, the bail out is not to save the allegedly bankrupt Irish state, but its banks and the foreign investors shares in them. So in a way, the Irish public will have to pay to save the shares of American, British, French and German investors in their banking system.

Why Ireland did not invest in a real economy and utilize its natural resources, rather it created a bubble economy, with no real substance and future? So now the Irish must suffer constant changes from boom to bust and vice versa, while they could have a stable economy and avoid emigration, recession and inequality.

Some people profit from this financial circle that countries like Greece and Ireland must go through, roughly every one or two decades. Who are these people at last, who control the financial fortunes of some countries and the world and how can we protect ourselves from them?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Euro and it's future.

With the ongoing economic crisis, we hear a lot about the collapse of the EURO, the EU's most ambitious project so far. Many skeptics are feeling justified, while most Euro-zone and EU ministers bow that the euro will not and cannot fail, as it would lead to the collapse of EU itself!

First of all, I really believe that the euro is here to stay, even if some countries are forced out for a while or a new form of it may be created. Imagine a single market without a common currency. Free movement of capita, goods and people while having constantly to change currency and being charged interest rates for every transaction, is simply absurd! Those who benefit from all these charges, certainly would love to see the Euro go.

We can not blame the Euro for the crisis. The single currency as an idea, political and financial experiment is a very ambitious one, but it was not designed properly by its creators. In other words it is our governments and Europe's leaders that must be blamed, for creating a currency without the appropriate bodies, policies and safeguards to deal with situations like the ones we are dealing now.

The crisis was not created by the Euro, however it has worsen because of the cracks in its structures. If Europe's elites had agreed to do what was necessary to create a successful currency from the beginning, we would not be in such difficulties now.

A single currency needs a single governance in its policies. It needs a more federal Europe, further integration on economic and political level, something that our leaders are not yet ready to proceed with. They certainly fear their voters' reaction or their countries' business and financial elites, that do not want to change the current status quo.

How can we have a common currency without a common economy? Why aren't all Euro-zone member states encouraged to harmonize and collectively diversify their economies, develop new industries instead of relying on subsidies or bubble economies? If we harmonized our economies, then we would not need to have national currencies in the first place.

National currencies are a better solution when you have a distinct economic model. Without so many different models, we could achieve a more stable Euro. But doing something that is difficult. Europe lacks of strong leadership and I do not think that we are ready for something like that. We have yet to start thinking "European."

We could set up a European fund to start investing in all states, trying to exploit their natural resources and help them develop new technologies, new fields or science while creating more jobs as well! Why have a fragmented European economy with different policies while we try to fit all those under one currency? Instead of that, our leaders chose the "solution" austerity. Well it hasn't done much good for countries like Greece and Portugal so far.

Isn't it crucial when you have one currency, to have one economy as well? Does the USA have two or multiple different kind of policies in its economy, while they are having one currency, the dollar? It is time to start dealing with problems in a European level and set up tools now, for any further crisis that will most certainly come. Then the European integration becomes more successful.

Imagine if there was a common European industry and all states contributed resources, knowledge and funds to research new fields of science. And potentially explore new ways of finding solutions to our problems. Instead of that our leaders believe that competition at any cost is good for our continent, when it only benefits the banks and multinational corporations, who gain from playing one state against another.

Personally I like the euro. To me money and currencies are something I just use to buy stuff, I do not consider them as "national heritage". We used to trade with sea sells and animals bones, having a national currency does not add to my national heritage. I travel a lot as well and not having to change currency while moving from country to country, suits me just fine.

And that is only one of the benefits of the euro. The EU market will get a  boost by the elimination of currency fluctuations, while the single currency creates stable inflation and product prices, price transparency, fewer bureaucratic barriers in transferring large amounts of money between borders. Thus giving Europe a greater influence in global economic policy, rather having to react to developments in USA and Japan.

The future of the Euro can be a great one, if we accept what needs to be done and proceed with the reforms. Like salary harmonization for example across the block. If we keep trying to promote our national interests over others', while keeping the Euro we will find ourselves going in circles again.

We will keep patching temporarily things up, until the next crisis appears. By then, the European voters will definitely have enough of having to pay for the mistakes of our governments, that public support for the Euro will crash. And if that happens we will have no choice but to revert to our national currencies.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Corruption of the Western Powers to involve Greece in WW1.

Sir Basil Zaharoff - The unknown effect of shrewd Greek Vasilis Zacharias (1849-1936)

By Sotirios C. Georgiadis
zaharof1As the recently made public archives reveal, ultra-top secret files of the British Foreign Ministry using the combined activity of British Intelligence and British Foreign Ministry period 1873-1939.
On April 1, 2005 reputable British newspapers, such as TIMES and DAILY TELEGRAPH, announced the opening in March 2005 of the ultra-top secret files of the British Foreign Ministry, the period 1873-1939. These records reveal for the first time the British Secret Service agents' bribery used by Britain during this period of 63 years.

For the purpose of gathering vital information from foreign countries and influence for British foreign policy eminent personalities of the respective States with the acquisition of important political leaders and other personalities.

In the bribery of foreign political leaders, the penetration of British intelligence services, creating unfavorable impression against the then ruler of Greece, included in the archives and Greece in the period 1914-1918. The goal was to remove the country from neutral to observe and to join the Alliance Entente (England-France-Russia) in the WWI.

The ultra-top secret files were available in many papers, which certainly deserve careful study by historians. A first impression of the general account of archival material, together with characteristic information, gives us a summary by Keith Hamilton, historian of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Below are many important and unknown statements mentioned by Keith Hamilton, for the action in Greece, of the basic agent of the British Services. An arms merchant and industrious personality of the era, Zacharias Vasileiadis in the period of WW1 1914-1918. The busy and ingenious Greek, succeeded in being awarded for services rendered to Britain the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire and became widely known as Sir Basil Zaharoff.

 In 1915 he had already a great wealth and luxury residences in Monte Carlo, Paris and elsewhere, moving with complete comfort to the high social, business and political circles of his time. Based on these records, the British historian Keith Hamilton, notes that England in WW1 having previously offered Greek territories in return to Bulgaria to attract it to its side, then noting the failure of the operation after the accession of Bulgaria allied with Germany, turned all its efforts towards the inclusion of Greece on their side.

In this context The British Secret Service were propagating lies, says Keith Hamilton, that neutral King Constantine of Greece was supposedly-German, on the basis that his wife Sophia, was the sister of the German Kaiser. According to Keith Hamilton, the Allies of the Entente have been looking to Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos with collusion, as he writes, that British and French Armed Forces had captured Thessaloniki in order to compel the Greek military to assist in Serbia, in which Germany had attacked with the Central Powers.

The versatile Greek Basil Zacharias, was born in 1849 in a town of southwestern Asia Minor. Later his family was exiled to Odessa. There he turned the name into Zaharoff. Basil grew up in slums of Istanbul. Begging in the streets, did various "odd" jobs not so decent or lawful to earn money. Later, after being trained as tradesman, he traveled to London.

There he went to court for a case of money "mismanagement". From London at the age of 24 years, he fled to Athens where he met and became friends with the then political editor and later Prime Minister (1915-1916) Stephen Skouloudis. Thanks to mediation of which 1877 Basil took the representation of the Swedish arms company Thorsten Nordenfeldt. In this position Basil has developed an outstanding performance, achieving to sell sub-marines to Greek, Ottoman and Russian Navy.

Basil quickly created other profitable businesses, and became not only highly successful arms dealer, but also a banker and an industrialist, while sought to gain control of newspapers. His star has now become known throughout Europe and Asia as Basil Zaharoff, and was continuously and rapidly called 'Mystery Man' and "Merchant of Death". He had stated to a journalist shortly before his death at age 87 in 1936, that in his career he had the potential to cause wars and sell weapons to all warring sides.

He was considered also to able to create the extension of the warfare, to increase the profits from arms sales. After the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, he was dominating the Balkans and the Middle East and with very extensive personal connections with key figures in these regions and Europe, he became necessary and valuable agent of England. In this capacity, he managed to further promote his business and to acquire not only large additional profits, but be named Sir Basil Zaharoff.

In Greece Basil Zaharoff was used by Britain from the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 for penetration and development of propaganda in favor of the accession of Greece to the Entente, led by England. To win Greece towards the Entente, he claimed in a letter found in the referenced file and addressed to senior link with the British Prime Minister, that he needed to spent on bribery in Greece a total of £  1.500.000.

From this money Zaharoff wrote that he had already spent in Greece the last 9 years £ 1,200,000 and with an additional amount of £ 300,000, he stated that would manage within 20 days, the accession of Greece to the Entente and the start of operations of the Greek Army against the adjacent  to Germany,  Bulgaria. Zaharoff also noted, that the leader of the Liberal Party, Eleftherios Venizelos was a dear friend, and also an old friend was prime minister Stephen Skouloudis who will follow his prompt.

Zaharoff continued in his letter that it was first and foremost  important, the acquisition of 45 Greek Members of the Parliament, the pro-German Greek newspaper editors and a Military Governor of the Greek border to accelerate the end of WW1.  The British Prime Minister, despite the misgivings of those responsible, he finally accepted in writing on December 11, 1915, the proposals of Zaharoff's letter, considering in particular that Germany had 3,000 of its own agents in Greece and the Greek newspaper review.

Then the British Government made available to him the amount of £ 1,407,000 depositing money in credit of Zaharoff, in an account of Barclay's Bank. Upon receipt of the money Zacharoff, says Keith Hamilton, briefed Eleftherios Venizelos. As part of the propaganda he was careful to set up in Athens in 1916 the Anglo-French News Agency, which took the form of a Broadcasting Agency.

For the further economic strengthening of Eleftherios Venizelos, records say that Britons spent one million French Francs, which were paid through the National Bank of Egypt to George Averoff, a friend and an agent, as characterizes him Keith Hamilton, of Eleftherios Venizelos. Georgios Averoff was nephew and principal heir of the National benefactor George Averoff (1818-1899) and in the Great Greek Encyclopaedia he was politician of Evia and sponsor of the movement of Eleftherios Venizelos of Thessaloniki 1917, during the WW1 that  intended to gain the support of Greece in the Entente in the war.

From his own money Zaharoff sponsored £ 37,000 according to records, for the establishment of the Liberal Publishing House. However until July 1916, he did not achieve a declaration of war by Greece against Bulgaria, so Zaharoff asked and succeeded the Franco-British financing of the Liberal Party with an additional 5,000,000 GRD for anticipated pr-electoral expenses. Despite pressure from the Entente, there were no elections in Greece, and Greece was forced on a naval blockade imposed by Britain and France and the intervention of French and English forces, to take part in the First World War alongside the Allies.

During the Government of Eleftherios Venizelos in the period 1917-1920, which formed after the naval blockade of Greece, the Athens naval bombardment, the landing of British and French troops in Salonika, the Greek islands occupied by the English and French and in their claim the dethronement of King Constantine in June 1917, Greece took the side of the Entente in WW1 and honored Basil Zaharoff with the distinction of Cross of Christ.
Following is the summary of ultra-top secret files the history of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Keith Hamilton, we will await the analysis of all these very interesting files from historians.

 * Sotirios C. Georgiades is a retired Navy Rear Admiral, Engineer-Naval Architect. Born in Kalamazoo in 1932. He entered the Naval Academy in 1950 and retired in 1985 as a Navy Inspector General. Member of the Society for the Study of Greek History. It deals mainly with the period of WWII.

Translated from Greek by Christos Mouzeviris.

Where is the Camp Bondsteel?


Camp Bondsteel is known as the “grand dame” in a network of US bases running both sides of the border between Kosovo and the FYROM. In less than three years it has been transformed from an encampment of tents to a self sufficient, high tech base-camp housing nearly 7,000 troops—three quarters of all the US troops stationed in Kosovo.

There are 25 kilometers of roads and over 300 buildings at Camp Bondsteel, surrounded by 14 kilometers of earth and concrete barriers, 84 kilometers of concertina wire and 11 watch towers. It is so big that it has downtown, midtown and uptown districts, retail outlets, 24-hour sports halls, a chapel, library and the best-equipped hospital anywhere in Europe.

At present there are 55 Black Hawk and Apache helicopters based at Bondsteel and although it has no aircraft landing strip the location was chosen for its capacity to expand. There are suggestions that it could replace the US Air-force base at Aviano in Italy.

How can a foreign state's base stretch on both sides of the borders between other two states? Seems U.S. military hadn't the greatest regard of borders when they built it! Also, shows a lot about how U.S. officials actually see the Balkans.

So, here is Camp Bondsteel, the “grand dame” of U.S. bases in the Balkans, and here's the reason the world bothers over a handful of FYROM ultra-nationalists, as told by a NATO commander: G.W.Bush has this country outspending the next 46 countries in the world in terms of spending on Death. What needs to be pointed out is that America finds it necessary to have 176 such bases all over the world. Germany has several .. As does England.

So much for ending the cold war!

In April 1999, British General Michael Jackson, the commander in the FYROM during the NATO bombing of Serbia, explained to the Italian paper Sole 24 Ore “Today, the circumstances which we have created here have changed. Today, it is absolutely necessary to guarantee the stability of Macedonia and its entry into NATO. But we will certainly remain here a long time so that we can also guarantee the security of the energy corridors which traverse this country.”

Energy corridors that are infrastructure built by -guess which- companies: Exxon-Mobil and Chevron!
And yet some people still fail to see the bigger picture. The FYROM government first! They don't mind being at ill with their neighbors, they don't mind being the protectorate of some war-mongers, as long as they feed their ego thinking they descent from a king who in his great marches didn't even meet a tribe by the name... 'Slavs'

From the following statistics it's clear that Greece sees Skopje as trading opportunities. Greek businesses get benefited from the neighbor-ship and benefit the under-developed Skopjan economy as well, while a handful of Skopjan ultra-nationalist officials hang propagandist maps on Skopjan streets showing Greek Macedonia as part of their expanded state. That's the difference of mentality between the two parts. Greeks wouldn't mind at all if a name other than 'Macedonia' is used by Skopje, in fact, it's to the Greeks' best interest that a solution is reached soon. But you cannot trade historical heritage.

Between the years 2000-2006, Greeks invested almost 263 million USD in their nascent neighbor. That would make Greece the second largest foreign investor in FYROM. Of the 20 most sizable investments in FYROM's economy, 17 are financed with Greek capital. More than 20,000 people are employed in Greek-owned enterprises (c. 6% of the active workforce in this unemployment-plagued polity).
Greeks are everywhere: banking (28% of their total investment in the country); energy (25%); telecommunications (17%); industry (15%); and food (10%).

also source:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The issue with F.Y.R.O.M.

One of the most important current E.U. agendas is the further expansion of the Union and the inclusion of all Western Balkans. There are many issues that must be resolved, for some of the countries to be eligible to join.

Many of them have issues with corruption, financial, social and judicial problems. One of them has an additional name dispute with an existing E.U. member state, Greece.

Not that the only obstacle for full EU membership that FYROM is facing is the naming dispute. Corruption, a fragmented multi-ethnic society, equality issues between the Albanian and the Slavic communities, freedom of speech are also serious issues.

But focusing on the country's spat with Greece, is the name dispute just "silly," as many of our fellow European nationals think? They are obviously influenced by their national media, that do not give an accurate description of the problem, or they simply do not understand it and are oversimplifying it. Perhaps it masks a deeper problem that is far more complicated for an average European citizen, with limited understanding of the region's history to understand.

Ancient Macedonia has undoubtedly Greek heritage and lineage.All archaeological findings and historical facts point out to this fact. And if in any doubt you may like to listen to a testimony from a non Greek here.

If ancient Macedonians were of different stock then how come we have after the expansion of the empire of Alexander the Great, the creation of the "Hellenistic" period in art, history and culture of Europe and not the "Macedonian"? The Greek language was spread from the Balkans to India, while there is absolutely no evidence that the ancient inhabitants of this land spoke the same language with the citizens of FYROM.

The Romans had also conquered Greece and spread its culture to the rest of Europe, but they also promoted their own language which was Latin. And so we have the different languages that originated from it, in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Romania. Why didn't ancient Macedonians promote their own language, rather prefered to make the Attic dialect of ancient Greek the lingua franca of the times? 

We have to understand that when we are talking about ancient Greece, we are not talking about one state or nation, not even one homogenous ethnic group. Ancient Greece was fragmented in kingdoms, city states, monarchies and tyrannies of the different Greek tribes, just like the different Celtic tribes and organized in different political systems.

Perhaps ancient Greeks were as different to each other as today are the Norwegians to the Swedish. They spoke different dialects of the same language and as they were a nationalist and chauvinist society, their favorite debate was who was a barbarian and who could be called a true Greek. To be called a barbarian was the worse insult you could give to another person or nation.

So welcome to the world of ancient Greek politics. When the Athenians, who were enemies of the kingdom of Macedon called them barbarians, they were actually insulting them. I guess their debates of who could be called a Greek, were not much different from our debates today on who is European, where Europe ends and if Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine can be called European and join the EU.

The Greek identity was not solidified back then, just like the very European identity is under a lot of debate now. And as it expanded and came in contact with other ethnic groups, it certainly kept absorbing them together with their culture, creating an ever shifting Greek ethnic identity.

Due to its long history Macedonia's population changed dramatically over the centuries. In fact Macedonians seized to exist as an autonomous ethnic group after the expansion of the Roman empire. Never again Macedonia will be independent until the liberation of the region from the Turks. Since its incorporation in the Roman empire Macedonia's borders will change constantly, depending its rulers' administration efforts to manage their empire's regions.

Macedonia was since the Byzantine and Ottoman empires constantly a multinational society. Its population was consisted of Greeks, Romans, Turks, Armenians, Slavs, Bulgarians, Albanians, Jews, other Europeans and middle Eastern people.They lived side by side for centuries and by geographical terms, they can all be called "Macedonians." Why should one nation today be allowed to monopolize its name?

With the Balkan wars and the collapse of the Ottoman empire, one question remained: how to partition the region of Macedonia, a region so rich in natural resources and with such geopolitical and strategic location. Many wanted it and tried to promote their interests in it. For the Greeks apart of any economical or political motives, there was also the historical aspect of it.

Thessaloniki's Jews did not want the region to fall under either Bulgarian or Greek rule. They held under the Ottoman rule most economic control of the region and in fact many ultra orthodox Jews did not even want the creation of Israel, as they considered Macedonia as their promised land.(1)

The big powers of Europe were also divided, but most of them did not want Macedonia to come under either Greek or Bulgarian control, as they have established good trade relations with the Ottomans and the Jews, plus they wanted to manage the region's resources. (1)

Austria even thought to campaign towards the south to conquer Macedonia for itself, but they were too late. The Greek army liberated the region before them. The Ottomans of course did not want to lose Macedonia either, as it was a very important stronghold of their empire in Europe. (1)

After the liberation by the Greeks, the newly created state came face to face with the multi-ethnic population of Macedonia. Population exchanges happened between Turkey and Greece, but also Greece and Bulgaria, in order to create a more homogenous state, something that all countries wanted. Bulgaria and Greece especially got involved in a nasty and bitter struggle to gain influence over Macedonia.(1)

Throughout the Ottoman years, the Greeks and the Bulgarians were competitive against each other to gain influence and lands in Macedonia. Its population in many regions was bilingual from all these struggles. (1)

Before the collapse of the Ottoman empire, we have the beginnings of the creation of an effort to keep Macedonia either Turkish or have it as an independent state, because it suited the interests of many. Therefore various Jewish, Turkish and communist organizations were dedicated in the creation of a pan-Macedonian consciousness, in order to keep the region independent. (1)

Many preferred to see it as an independent nation rather to fall into the hands of a newly emerged state like Bulgaria and Greece, that they argued that they could not handle the potential of the region on their own. And here is where the problem starts. (1)

There was a Slavic or Bulgarian speaking population in the region of Greece, plus also a significant Jewish population. The second community was decimated by the Nazis in WW2, while the first community after the end of the war and when Greece fell into a bloody civil war, chose to side with the communists and co-operated with Tito. Tito wanted the region to join the rest of the communist Balkan states on the side of USSR, and he had views on Macedonia.

So he assisted the Greek communists and the Slavic speakers of the region, in order to break Greece and create a new Korea in Europe. A northern Greek communist state in Macedonia and Thrace, and a nationalistic pro-Western southern Greek state.

After the war the Greek Communists and the Slavic speakers of Greece who sided with them, were expelled from the country with the blessings of the West and settled in what is today FYROM, most eastern Europe and ex-USSR states. Their descendants in FYROM demand to be allowed back into Greece and regain the properties of their ancestors that have been confiscated after the war. So they use the issue of the naming dispute to put pressure on Greece, to accept their demands.

But most of the people of FYROM are of Slavic descent and migrated to the region of Macedonia 1000 years after the years of Alexander, so they can not have any claim on the history and heritage of ancient Macedonia. Their language is a Bulgarian dialect.

They have settled in the region for centuries, so for geographical reasons they can call themselves Macedonians, but there are not a separate and distinctive ethnicity under that name. Ancient Macedonians are vanished and gone. Their heritage and legacy remain with Greece, as they were a Greek kingdom.

Just like the legacy of the ancient Greeks of south Italy or "Magna Grecia" belongs to Greece too, even though by modern geopolitical terms they are Italians. Sicily in fact is also a Greek originated name as it was called "Sikelia" by the Greeks. The name of a region can never be an obstacle. The narrow minds of its inhabitants though, surely can.

The name Sikelia (Sicily) is still used by Italians but they do not have any claim of the Greek heritage of the region, or denounce it just like the FYROM people do, in order to present it as or create their own. They embrace it and proudly acknowledge it! Something that not only the people of FYROM but of the Balkans in general, still drenched with blind nationalism, are not mature enough to do.

Today Macedonia has two or more ethnic groups living in its land, the Greek Macedonians, the Slav Macedonians with Albanian and Roma minorities also present. The Greeks actually call the inhabitants of FYROM, "Slavomacedonians". That translates to Macedonians of Slavic descent. Another proof that the issue is not about the name, rather  about land, heritage, history and the "truth."

We could share the name, provided they drop their claims over Greek national history and heritage plus the mud throwing against Greece about non existent oppressed minorities in its territory. A name that could include the term "Macedonia," could be accepted by the Greeks if they are reassured. Slavonic Republic of Macedonia, or Macedonia of Vardarska could be successful candidate names. But can they be trusted?

Macedonia is and should remain a region of Europe. With two separate ethnic groups separated in two different states. The Greek Macedonians and the "Vardarska" Macedonians. Vardarska was the name of the region of FYROM before the propaganda of Tito, who changed its name and who's legacy in fact is the "Macedonian naming dispute." 

Name disputes are not anything new. France blocked the UK's entry in EEC back in the '70s, under the name of Great Britain, because they thought it implied territorial claims over the French territory of Bretagne (or Brittany)! So that is why the UK entered EEC as United Kingdom!

FYROM belongs in the EU and all European institutions. It is in Greece's interests to have stable and prosperous nations as neighbors, but we should not have to sacrifice our national heritage to see this plan through. Pity, because the people of FYROM are victims of the megalomania of it's current leadership.

I am a Greek Macedonian from Thessaloniki, and a European. There is no reason for Greeks and SlavoMacedonians to be hostile to each other. It is in both our interests a common understanding and solution to the problem. It is also in our interests to have closer cooperation and integration in the region, within the EU framework.

(1) Extracts from Mark Mazower's book: "Salonica, City of Ghosts."