Greek Helsinki Monitor & Minority Rights Group - Greece
Source URL: http://www.greekhelsinki.gr
13 March 2002
EBLUL and EUROLANG Drop References to "Slavo-Macedonian" Language in favor of "Macedonian Language" Following Criticism by Macedonian Diaspora and Minority Rights NGOs
Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and Minority Rights Group-Greece (MRG-G)
welcome the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (EBLUL)'s decision
to drop references in its text to "Slavo-Macedonian" language
in favor of the internationally accepted term of "Macedonian language,"
following criticism by the Macedonian Human
Rights Movement of Canada (MHRMC), Australia-based publisher of books
on, inter alia, Macedonian minorities Victor
Bivell, GHM & MRG-G.
Following the constitutive meeting of EBLUL's Member State Committee in Greece (MSC-G), on 26/1/2002 in Thessaloniki, EBLUL's release (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr/message/3428), as well as press coverage in Greece (http://www.iospress.gr/mikro2002/mikro20020202.htm) and by Eurolang (EBLUL-supported news agency http://groups.yahoo.com/group/balkanhr/message/3507), referred to one of the communities represented in the new MSC as "Slavomacedonians," "Slavomacedonian group," and to the corresponding language as "Slavomacedonian."
GHM received criticism from Macedonian diaspora NGO members about the use of the term in the documents of EBLUL and Eurolang it had distributed to various lists. It responded recalling its own opposition to the use of the terms "Slavomacedonians" and "Slavs" for both the minority in Greece and the Macedonian population in the Republic of Macedonia, including by many and important international media (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mkakademija/message/1117). GHM recommended that criticism be directed to the sources of these documents, a recommendation followed by the letter writers. Eurolang replied promptly by correcting its article see its related answer to Victor Bivell in http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mkakademija/message/1146
taking even the - rare for media and thus very commendable- extra step to "apologize for the mistake" explaining that they "used the term 'slavo-Macedonian', as it was used in the formal greeting of the Greek Member State Committee by the President of the EBLUL." Several weeks later, and more exactly yesterday, EBLUL informed the MHRMC that they "will use the term Macedonian while referring to the minority language." Today, EBLUL's website (http://www.eblul.org/wow/) was accordingly corrected, but references to present-day "Slavic people" and "Slavic minority" in Greece remained: hopefully they too will be changed in the near future. It is also hoped that this very significant change will be shared by EBLUL with the Greek media and authorities, in the hope that, at long last, they respect the use of the name of the language (and the corresponding people) chosen by its users and unanimously accepted by the international scholarly and NGO community, as well as by many intergovernmental fora.