Lerin/Florina, Greece - "Simply raising the issue of the Macedonian minority in Greece causes Greek citizens and politicians alike to react in outrage.". This statement made by MHRMI was on full display on March 10 on Greek TV station "Alter" in an episode entitled "Invisible World".
EFA-Rainbow member and President of Greece’s EBLUL (European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages) Committee Nase Parisis, EFA-Rainbow member, Pavle Filipov Voskopoulos, and Greek Helsinki Monitor member Grigoris Valianatos represented the "non-existent minority" view, while New Democracy MP Iordanis Tzamtzis, PASOK MP Panagiotis Sgouridis, LAOS MP Athanasios Plevris, and professor of history Mixalis Chrisanthakopoulos exemplified the official Greek position of attacking minority rights activists rather than admitting their actual existence.
The show began with a conspiracy theory that anyone acknowledging Greece's human rights abuses against Macedonians and other minorities are "working against Greece." This was followed by claims that UN Minority Rights Expert Ms. Gay McDougall, who recently called on Greece to recognize its Macedonian and Turkish minorities, was "paid by Americans" and that UN Mediator Matthew Nimetz, "works for George Soros", who "creates minority problems".
The accusations of being "paid by Americans" then turned toward EFA-Rainbow members, followed by personal attacks against Macedonian minority activist Father Nikodim Tsarknias.
Emerging from the uproar caused by the mention of Macedonians were statements like "there is no Macedonian language" and "they are dangerous", referring to Macedonian political refugees, now in their 70's, who left Greece as children during the Greek Civil War and who were subsequently stripped of their citizenship.
The EFA-Rainbow and GHM members called for public education in the Macedonian language, for Greece to adhere to the European Court of Human Rights judgements against it, and for the recognition of the Macedonian and Turkish minority in Greece.
Pavle Filipov Voskopoulos stated on air, "We believe that the state should respect the rights of minorities ... we together with all the democrats of Greece must work together to fight for democracy and want to speak now to our people ... and to say dosta da se plasete ..." (Translated from Macedonian – “Stop being afraid…”)
The Macedonian language was broadcast on Greek national television. It exists.
Founded in 1995, EFA-Rainbow is the political party of the Macedonian minority in Greece and is a member of the European Free Alliance and the Federal Union of European Nationalities. For more information, please visit www.florina.org, or contact EFA-Rainbow at 0030 23850 46548, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other
oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit www.mhrmi.org, or
contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or email@example.com.
Founded in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) has been working towards achieving human rights for Macedonians and other oppressed minorities. For more information, please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at +61 3 9460 2910, or firstname.lastname@example.org.