As regular readers will have noticed, I’ve avoided writing about the Balkans lately.  There are a lot more interesting things going on elsewhere in the world.  But Greece’s decision to put stickers reading “recognized by Greece as FYROM” over the MK on newly issued Macedonian license plates is too fine an opportunity to pass up.

Greece is doing this allegedly under the 1995 interim agreement with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), whose application for NATO membership Athens has blocked, first in Bucharest in 2008.  Greece repeated its move more recently in  Chicago this year, despite an International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision unequivocal in finding Greece in violation of the agreement in Bucharest.

Where I come from, if you want to apply an agreement you have to fulfill its terms yourself first.  Greece understands this perfectly well and accused Macedonia of being in violation of the interim agreement during the ICJ proceedings.  Its accusations were found to lack serious merit.  Now Athens, having been found in violation, is seeking to apply the agreement it refused to apply in Chicago.

Words fail me.  Mendacious maybe.  They have apparently failed Skopje as well, which in the initial press report is said to be weighing its response.  That’s wise.  There is really no point in aggravating the situation further, tempting though it may be to do so.

But I’m not a government. I’m a blogging/tweeting professor and can suggest anything I like. I only risk hate tweets and emails.  Maybe a sticker to cover the GR on Greek plates that reads “Southern Macedonia”? Or one that says “I am Greek traveling in a country whose name I don’t accept”? Ethnic Macedonians and Albanians with Greek license plates would have to be exempt from that one.  Or one that declares “interim agreement be damned”?

Here in DC, most license plates read “taxation without representation,” because residents of the District of Columbia pay Federal taxes but have a representative in Congress who can’t vote in plenary (and no senators–even states smaller in population than DC are entitled to two).

Slogans of all sorts grace the license plates of most cars in the United States.  I’ve always thought it unimaginative of Europeans not to use that bit of valuable real estate on the back of a car for something edifying.  My favorite proposal (it isn’t reality) was for Wisconsin, a big dairy producing state:  “eat cheese or die”  (New Hampshire’s plates really do read “live free or die”).

Greece of course has bigger problems these days than the “MK” on its northern neighbor’s license plates.  It would do well to save a few euros by cutting the funding for those “recognized as FYROM” stickers.  It would do even better to stop violating an agreement it wants to apply and allow FYROM to enter NATO.


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4 thoughts on “Mendacious”

  1. At the risk of sounding too cynical, I have to say just this: when last night I saw on CNN all those clerics around Mr Samaras during his oath, it immediately became clear to me why Greece has ended up where it has ended up.

  2. Serwer has severe prejudices against Greeks) This is witnessed by the fact this patronizing manipulative bigot now dishonestly pretends he doesn’t notice FYROM’s sudden change into descendents of anicent Macedonians (aka self-identiying Greeks) and constant United Macedonia irredentist rhetoric. (presumably to dishonerably hide his shame for years of collaborating with ultra nationalist extremists in FYROM)

    “This (US) Government considers talk of Macedonian “nation”, Macedonian “Fatherland”, or Macedonia “national consciousness” to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece” – US State Department Dec, 1944 – Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram

    ‘We do not claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great.’ – FYROM’S Ambassador Ljubica Acevshka to US representatives, Washington DC, January 22 1999

    “We are Slavs who came to this area in the sixth century … We are not descendants of the ancient Macedonians” – Kiro Gligorov, FYROM’s first President


    “It should be noted that there is NO CONNECTION between the
    Macedonians of the time of Alexander the Great who were a GREEK tribe and today’s so-called ‘Macedonians’ of the ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ or FYROM, who are of SLAVIC origin and related to BULGARIANS.” – David H Levinson, ‘The Encyclopaedia of Ancient Cultures’

  3. FYROM’s apologists lost every last shred of morally credibility when they dishonestly started to dishonestly pretend they didn’t notice FYROM’s ethnic narrrative change into descendents of ancient Macedonians and irredentism against Greece. Rather than admit they were played by ultra nationalist extremists and apologist to Greece, they now collude with them. The pompous trolls care more about protecting their careers than actual human rights.

  4. Has Mr. Serwer even bothered to read the agreement? Perhaps he should because much like FYROM’s other smug apologists you keep forgetting the agreement wasn’t just about preventing FYROM from joining organization. It also included clauses about not stealing our history or promoting irredentism.

    Only a complete moron… or a patronizing bigot with prejudices against Greeks … would fail to notice FYROM’s attempts to usurp Greek history and use it to insinuate Macedonia Greece is occupied territory. Evasively hiding behind bizarre ICJ judgment (that dishonestly also pretended not to notice) only shows you don’t want to take moral responsibility for supporting FYROM all these years.

    What kind of Nato “ally” collaborates with a non-Nato member nation run by extreme nationalists seemingly out to ethnically erase the people of Greece? Why do you dishonestly obfuscate that America used to strongly support Greece on this issue? Shame on you, all of FYROM’s apologists, for putting protecting your egos ahead of human rights of Greeks.

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