Political Refugees Trickle Into Lerin After 55 Years of Greek
Florina/Lerin - August 20, 2003
the Press Release
On August 20, 2003, the Rainbow Party (Vinozhito) hosted a
symbolic reception for the Macedonian political refugees who were permitted
to enter Greece. The reception included relatives of the refugees
who are living in Greece and are members of Rainbow Party.
for larger image
The Macedonian child refugees
(Detsa Begaltsi) -- ethnic Macedonians born in Greece -- fled their
ancestral homes as children during the Greek Civil War (1946-1949).
For many this was
the first time they were able to be with their families in 55 years.
Greek officials callously misrepresent this group as "enemy collaborators
and criminals," even though the refugees were
small children when they fled.
As a matter of fact their return home had been
blocked by Greek authorities because of their refusal to deny their
Macedonian ethnic heritage. Those political refugees who agreed to misrepresent
themselves and declare as "Greeks by genus" were
allowed to repatriate in 1982. In this way the facade of "Greek purity"
could be preserved.
The change of policy to allow entry
to "non-Greek" political refugees was
the result of a new decision by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After more than five decades of separation the political refugees
were allowed to enter Greece for a maximum of 20 days from August
20, 2003 to October 30, 2003. Many refugees were turned away by
Greek border authorities because their passports listed their birth
village using the old Macedonian