Rainbow Participates at MRGI Workshop - Skopje, Macedonia
October 14, 2005
ETHNIC DATA COLLECTION
"Vinozhito/Rainbow-Organization of the Macedonian
Minority in Greece"
Presented by : Georgios N. Papadakis
this page in Macedonian
this page in Greek
-Greece is officially recognizing only one "muslim" minority
in its territory, based on the Lausanne Treaty that was signed
back in 1923 with Turkey. This factor makes it almost impossible
for any other ethnic or linguistic group in the country simply
to express a different identity without facing hostility and prejudice
from state and society. Under these circumstances it is even more
difficult to have this kind of diversity reported officially from
the Greek State, through census.
Even the so-called "muslims" are not to be found in
any official statistic that Greece is providing EuroStat with.
And this happens although the official attitude changes towards
this minority changes over the years- for political reasons- and
it's developing to be "Muslim minority, consisting of 3 different
groups, Turks, Pomaks and Roma".
The forms people have to fill in during censuses do not include
any reference to ethnic or linguistic origin, making it impossible
for any independent entity (EU, other international organizations,
NGO's, individual scientists etc) to collect such data in a official
-Based on the above, it is quite obvious that the collection
of ethnic disaggregated data not only is not supported by the
Greek state but it is strongly discouraged.
The Macedonians in Greece are a typical example of this policy.
While many thousands, spread around the regions of Florina/Lerinsko,
Kastoria/Kostursko, KozhanyKajlarsko, Pella/Vodensko-Meglensko,
Imathia/Negushko-Bersko, Kilkis/Kukushsko and even Thessaloniki/Solunsko,
Serres/Sersko and Drama/Dramsko, nobody can really calculate-even
approximately- how many they are. Greece is claiming that there
is no minority, only some 2-3 thousands of elderly bilinguals
that use also a "Slavic idiom" (!). Macedonian organizations
from Greece and abroad raise the number of Macedonian-speaking
people to up to a quarter of a million (not to be connected with
the individuals claiming an ethnic Macedonian identity). Scientists
making field studies in the above regions also estimate the number
of Macedonians in Greece well above 100.000-120.000.
-This absurd situation makes it difficult for Macedonians wishing
to express their ethnic or linguistic identity (or both) to do
so publicly. The suppression they suffered ever since Greece incorporated
part of Macedonia in its territory (beginning of 20th century)
and the hostile attitude they still have to face, made them extremely
reversed, introverted and reluctant for public statements. Even
if suddenly Greece decided to change its attitude and adopt a
more civilized approach towards them (ability to declare their
ethnic origin in state census, introduction of the Macedonian
language into elementary/secondary education etc), this would
be make the Macedonians even more suspicious, judging from prior
experience. Today's situation only eternalizes a vicious circle
than can only be broken with Greek state's initiative because
it was created by the Greek state. And one example could be some
changes in the census forms, allowing disaggregated ethnic data
to be collected.
-One has to be reminded also that prior to 1951 there was some
reference at state censuses to ethnic groups in Greece. The Macedonians
were called "Macedonians, Slav-Macedonians, Slavophones or
People With Unstable Ethnic Conscience". (sic!). After the
1951 National Census, though, they were completely erased from
the Greek state's Facts & Figures
books and terminology.