Observations on the Parliamentary Question
Put by the New Democracy M.E.P. Mr. Stavros Xarhakos
to the European
by Dr. George Nakratzas
April 12, 2003
this page in Greek
Click Here to Read
the Original Question
On 19 March 2003 the M.E.P. Mr. Xarhakos submitted
to the European Commission a question titled 'EBLUL and the systematic
of a member of the E.U.'.
The question is whether Mr. Xarhakos is informing or misinforming
the European Union on this matter. I should mention that these observations
will be communicated by e-mail in English to the 600 M.E.P.s and
interested parties around the world.
To allow readers to determine the truth or otherwise of the information
offered by Mr. Xarhakos, these observations will take the form of
a clarification of the various parts of the question.
Mr. Xarhakos claims that:
'it is well known that in Greece democratic freedoms and cultural difference
are fully protected in law. This is the context in which the Muslim
minority lives in Greek Thrace ... its mosques built and restored with
money from the Greek state'.
Mr. Xarhakos forgets:
1. How well cultural difference is safeguarded in our country was
demonstrated on 2 February 2001 when the president of the Society
for Vlach Culture,
Mr. Sotiris Bletsas, was sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment.
Mr. Bletsas' crime was that in 1995 he showed to a meeting of Vlachs
in the city of Naousa an EBLUL leaflet asserting that 5 minority
languages are spoken in Greece, in addition to the Greek language.
Mr. Bletsas was later acquitted, thanks to a massive mobilisation
of democratic forces abroad. It cannot be disputed that the misinformation
peddled by Mr. Xarhakos on this point causes any fair person to feel
a shiver of indignation.
2. The Greek state is funded by the tax-paying citizens of Greece,
among whom we must include the members of the Turkish minority of
3. A portion of the payment of the Orthodox Metropolitans, funded
from the taxes paid by the whole body of citizens, is given as a
large-families allowance exclusively to Orthodox Christian families,
while large families in the Turkish community are ineligible for
Mr. Xarhakos goes on to ask:
'What are the activities of EBLUL in countries where the cultural
identity of minorities is suppressed, as is the case, for example,
Greeks ... in Turkey?'
Mr. Xarhakos is unaware, or pretends to be unaware, that:
1. As a semi-official body of the European Union, EBLUL is committed
to occupy itself exclusively with linguistic or cultural minorities
of the Union member states; Turkey is not yet a member of the EU.
2. In the same question Mr. Xarhakos refers to the oppressed Greek
minority in Turkey, while in the case of Greece he speaks of a Muslim
minority. He aligns himself with the nationalistic policy in particular
of the New Democracy party, which denies a section of the Greek citizen
body the right to define themselves ethnically as a Turkish minority,
while at the same time describing the Greeks of Turkey not as members
of the Orthodox Christian minority but as Greeks. This position of
Mr. Xarhakos is a classic example of nationalistic egocentricity.
The question is how Mr. Xarhakos should refer to the unfortunate
or extreme left-wing members of Greek society who, having lost their
faith in Allah, continue to speak their mother Muslim tongue?
Mr. Xarhakos also says:
'Similar freedom is enjoyed by the other minority groups, however
few they may be, such as the small Slav-speaking community in the
of Florina, which has set up a political party that enjoys complete
freedom of action (it has offices, newspapers, is free to disseminate
its ideas and does not fail to abuse Greece and the Greeks)'.
Mr. Xarhakos is unaware, or again pretends to be unaware, of the
facts concerning the development and present situation of the Macedonian
minority in Greece and its political party, the Rainbow Party.
1. In the relatively recent past the participation of Rainbow in
elections in Greece was forbidden by the courts. Thanks to the intervention
the European Rainbow, Brussels, it was allowed at the last minute
to put up candidates in the elections, after an urgent decision of
2. In 1995 a group belonging to the nationalist underworld in Florina
and the surrounding area destroyed the offices of Rainbow in Florina,
at the instigation of the Mayor of the city, the Council and the
local church, who all issued decrees to this effect.
3. 4 leading members of Rainbow, despite the fact that they were
victims of this barbaric act, were prosecuted on the grounds of sowing
among the people of Florina. Officials of the so-called left-wing
parties in Florina appeared as witnesses for the prosecution.
4. On 15 September 1998 members of Rainbow were taken to court over
the attack on their offices in 1995. They were eventually acquitted
thanks to the vigorous protests of foreign M.E.P.s and the appearance
of Greek democrats in their defence.
5. The suit brought by Rainbow against the nationalistic underworld,
seeking material damages for the destruction of the furniture and
computers in their office in 1995, was refused by the courts on the
grounds that: there is no reason to accept the suit, since the preliminary hearings
ascertained the existence of no offence and no culpability...
It is possible that these preliminary hearings attributed the damage
earthquake, curiously not felt by anyone else at the time.
The sequel of these sad events will be written in the near future
in the court of human rights in Strasbourg.
6. The Greek courts have forbidden the creation of a House of Macedonian
Culture in Florina. This resulted in a condemnation of Greece by
the court in Strasbourg. To date it has not proved possible to secure
recognition for the house of Macedonian Culture, thanks to obstacles
put in the way by lawyers in Florina.
Mr. Xarhakos also refers to what he describes as the protective policy
of Greece in respect of cultural difference in our country:
'Does the Commission (which appears to provide financial support
for the activities of the EBLUL office) share the historically groundless
views of M. Brezigar concerning the alleged existence of a 'Macedonian'
Mr. Xarhakos is of the opinion that in addition to being a composer
- an area in which he has undoubted skills - he is also a linguist,
venturing so far as to question the existence of an entire language.
1. Is Mr. Xarhakos aware that Cyril and Methodius used the Slav dialect
of the Thessaloniki region, which is essentially the forerunner of
the current Macedonian language, into which they translated the Gospels?
2. Is Mr. Xarhakos aware that this Slavic language, i.e. Macedonian,
was introduced by the Bulgarians, whose language up until that point
was some Turco-Mongolian dialect or language? (*See
3. Is Mr. Xarhakos aware that the Macedonian language is still spoken
today outside the Florina region and in the areas of Kastoria, Kozani,
Edessa, Naousa, Veroia, the country around Thessaloniki, Axioupolis,
the northern environs of Serres and Drama?
4. In the phrase 'concerning the alleged existence of a Macedonian
language' Mr. Xarhakos describes the views of M. Brezigar, president
of the EBLUL, as historically groundless. The classic example of
a distinguished musician making the mistake of regarding himself
Mr. Xarhakos asks:
'What are the names of the members of the Greek Committee of EBLUL
and what are their precise capacities and positions?
The names of the members of the Greek Committee of EBLUL have been
communicated publicly to all Greek M.E.P.s and to the Greek government.
With regard to their professional capacities and other positions,
what exactly does Mr. Xarhakos mean?
Perhaps he means the ethnic, religious or sexual orientation of the
members of the Committee or their advisor?
The Greek church, supported by reactionary political elements, recently
waged a positively mediaeval campaign to have the religious denomination
of each person recorded on his identity card - the very same measure
having been enforced in 1936 by the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas.
This battle against reason and enlightenment was lost, and among
the losers were Mr. Xarhakos and his New Democracy party.
Dr. Georgios Nakratzas, Physician - Writer
*Note: That is to say this
Slavic language, i.e. the precursor of modern day Macedonian, was adopted
by the Bulgarians, whose language up
until that point
was a Turco-Mongolian language.