Greece's Dangerous Games in the Balkans
September 2, 2001
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Florina / Lerin 02.09
In response to the discussion in the Greek Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on 29.08.01 and to what was said on that occasion regarding the crisis in the Republic of Macedonia, RAINBOW wishes to make the following statement:
We feel obliged as Greek citizens and as bilingual (but not double-tongued) members of the Macedonian minority in Greece to thank MM Tsochatzopoulos, Pangalos, Avgerinos and all those who took part in that discussion for the wealth of linguistic information they afforded us. Specifically, we now fully understand the particular sense that can be attributed to the phrase "creation of a cordon sanitaire for the protection of refugees to a depth of 10-20 km within the territory of the Republic of Macedonia under the aegis of the United Nations and the control of Greece". We might suggest to Mr. Babiniotis that the next edition of his dictionary should include the phrase "cordon sanitaire" as an ingenious synonym for "invasion".
We do wonder, however, why the proposal for "cordons sanitaires" remained incomplete, since the dissolution of the Republic of Macedonia sought by (among others) Foreign Affairs circles is almost certain to bring in its wake armed conflict in every Balkan state. The luminaries behind this proposal should reflect upon the fact that other people might well propose the creation of similar "cordons sanitaires" in the prefectures of Serres, Drama and Kavala, under the aegis of the United Nations and the control of Bulgaria, or in the prefectures of Western Thrace and some of the Aegean islands that particularly lend themselves to the institution of "cordons sanitaires for the protection of refugees" -- Chios, Lesbos and Samos, for example --, under the aegis of the United Nations and the control of Turkey.
We have finally realised, too, that the landing of Turkish troops in Cyprus in 1974 was not an invasion but "the creation of a cordon sanitaire as a humanitarian solution" in the northern part of the island "for law and order" in Turkey, according to the thinking of Mr Pangalos, who spoke to the "Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee" of a "cordon sanitaire on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia as a humanitarian solution for law and order in Greece".
And as for the problem of the "politicised groups" in the "settlements (sic) of Monastir, Gevgeli and Ochrid" that would find themselves within the territory of the new Greek state after the invasion and territorial expansion to the north, for that in essence is what we are talking about: were the geniuses behind this scenario bothered by the fact that these "settlements", together with the existing minority groups in Northern Greece, would pose a more serious challenge to Greece's "ethnic homogeneity"?
In the course of the discussion in the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee the masks were dropped and Greece's negative role in the crisis in the neighbouring state was substantially revealed. Nor was there anything fortuitous about [foreign policy advisor] Rondou's proposals, in the midst of the crisis, for the "cantonisation" of our neighbour to the north.
One might well wonder how it is possible that the descendants of those who supported the "Great Idea" could have learned nothing from the paddy-whacking of the Asia Minor disaster, with its thousands of victims, and continue to flirt with irredentist ideas. The concept of the "strong state that has nothing to fear from border changes in the Balkans" expressed by Theodoros Pangalos, the dangerous (remember Imia and the Ochalan affair) buffoon of this country's foreign policy stage, was adopted in 1912-13 by the leaders of Bulgaria, who suffered utter destruction, and a few years later by Greece, with the same results.
And when Defence Minister Tsochatzopoulos (joined the following day by Foreign Minister Papandreou) declares that "Greece will not remain impassive in the event of border changes in the Balkans", do they know of any Balkan country that would remain impassive?
The effrontery of those who on the one hand hypocritically proclaim the necessity of the existence of the Republic of Macedonia as an independent and sovereign state while on the other elaborating plans for its dissolution and dynamiting the peaceful co-existence of the peoples of the Balkans is truly abysmal. What Mitsotakis and Milosevic said about "sharing out the cake" has proved to be the official policy of the Greek government over the past ten years, since the name issue has served as a pretext for attempts to destabilise the country as a prelude to dissolution and in the expectation of territorial gain.
In Europe they have recognised this monkey business for what it is; and it is no accident that in a recent session of the German Parliament Social Democrat deputy Gert Weisskirchen denounced Greece for its attitude towards the Republic of Macedonia over the past decade, alleging among other things that Greece was using the name issue as a pretext to try to destabilise the country by encouraging a sense of insecurity and constantly impugning the people and the country.
RAINBOW as a political body representing the ethnic Macedonian minority in Greece believes that, in the absence of policies designed to avert war, the general declaration found on the lips of politicians, that "the peoples have no bones to pick that would lead them to war", is in fact politically fraudulent. Greece's policy in the Balkans is a classic example of this.
The designing and implementing of irredentist policies and the fabrication of enemies, when expressed by official mouths (witness the scenarios developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the discussion in the House Committee), provides fodder for the blackest and most reactionary forces of chauvinism within the country, essentially legitimising them and authorising them to play a central role on the country's political stage.
RAINBOW denounces the nationalistic, irredentist, chauvinistic and peace-imperilling policy of the Greek government, and calls upon all Greek democrats not simply to condemn but to stand up against Greece's aggressive foreign policy and against any policy implying border changes in the Balkans, for this means war and destruction for all the peoples of the Balkans, as the past should have taught us.
THE POLITICAL SECRETARIAT OF THE RAINBOW