May I first ask if you can see and hear me?
Thank you because
according to an earlier speaker I am someone who does not
* The Greek ambassador in his reply to yesterday's and this morning's
sessions once again refused to acknowledge the existence of the Macedonian
minority in Greece.
I would like to draw your attention in this afternoon session to
an important issue, as it is the phenomenon of a new anti-Semitism
in my country, Greece.
Believe it or not today in Greece, almost 60 years after the terrible
experience known as the Holocaust, an open neo-Nazi and anti Semitic
party is politically active thanks to the passive approach of our
government. Particularly the political party "Hrisi Avgi" (Golden
Dawn), often organizes Anti Semitic events. They attempted to organize
one a few days ago with the so-called "neo-Nazi" camp in
Peloponnesus, together with similar movements from Europe.
Thanks to a strong reaction by the Greek Jewish community, Greek
NGOs and thanks to the letter of protest by the Simon Wiesenthal
Center, the neo-Nazi event has been postponed.
Very often hate speech against Jews is distributed through newspapers,
magazines and mass media with no reaction by the official state
institutions such as the Public Prosecutor, even if there is
that prohibits such speech.
This situation has been described in detail in the recent report
of the Greek Helsinki Monitor.
Let me stress that more than 75% of the Jewish population was wiped
out in the Greek territory from 1940 to 1945. This was even higher
than the percentage in Nazi Germany, which was almost 67%. These
numbers show that anti-Semitism has deep roots in Greek society as
Professor Margaritis stresses in his recently published book.
Such a high percentage wouldn't be realized without the support
or at least the acceptance of the majority of Greek society.
So it is not coincidence that we have a similar approach inside
Greek society today, a "new wave" of Anti- Semitism.
A few years ago in a meeting with a high-level administrator of
the OSCE in Budapest we apprised him of our peaceful and legal behavior
for resolving our problems as a discriminated minority in Greece.
We asked him directly, why the international factor and institutions,
such as the OSCE, are ignoring the open oppression by states
against their minorities, as is the case with the Macedonian
minority in Greece, yet on the other hand we have a "selective
the protection of human rights, as was the case of the former
His answer was: "There is no conflict in Greece."
May I ask if this answer means that we have a policy of double standards
on the international level regarding policies of prevention and implementation
of human rights?
Should we the Macedonians in Greece implement a more aggressive
approach so as to draw the attention of the international factor
to our plight?
This is merely a rhetorical question as we have no intention of
using such methods.
Ladies and gentlemen,
During our attendance here we have felt very uncomfortable as we
have had to accuse our own country of failures in the area
of minority and human rights issues. But let me point out that
an obligation for we
Macedonians of Greece because of our strong belief in a pro-European
and democratic approach.
As victims of the discriminatory policies of the Greek state, we
Macedonians believe as citizens of Greece, as well as European citizens,
that a constructive criticism will be helpful in eliminating the "deficit
of democracy" in our country as well for its further democratization.
Thank you all for your attention.