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Macedonia Agrees to Change Its Name to End Bitter Dispute with Greece (wsj.com)
62 points by acheron 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 111 comments



This is pay-walled, but here's a summary:

The country we now call "Macedonia" (i.e. The Republic of Macedonia) was formed in 1991 after Yugoslavia broke up. Greece didn't like the name, because "Macedonia" was already the name of a large region in Northern Greece. This would be similar to a region of Quebec bordering the US breaking away from Canada and calling itself Maine. Some Greeks apparently felt that the Republic of Macedonia's name implied that it had territorial ambitions for parts of Northern Greece. As a compromise, the country will now be called North Macedonia.


It doesn't only imply territorial claims over Greece's region, but also the history of the ancient Greek Macedonia, Alexander the great and so forth, which is clearly part of the Hellenic history. Besides publishing official maps that depicted the region of Thessaloniki as a region of their country that was occupied by Greece, they also bluntly used Greek symbols, texts and even antiquities to further their propaganda. This is a far more complicated problem than simply just a naming issue.


I have often wondered what Demosthenes would have thought of this. The Hellenes of the Philip's and Alexander's day were not fond of Macedonia, and (if I recall correctly) thought them more barbarian than not.


Instead of Maine, you can find a better analogy at the opposite end of the United States.

There’s a Mexican state named Baja California and a US state named simply California. Exact same thing as this Macedonia business.


I know this is always unpopular but, how about the name America?

I refer to the country south of me as "the US" or "the USA". To me as a Canadian I live in the Americas so I could be an American. Growing up nobody I knew called the US "America" you'd even hear "the Boston States", I have no clue how that originated.

But I've noticed over the past decade or two it's become more common for people in the US to refer to their country as America. I know it's a shortened form but still, to me, it's weird because:

Europe, Europeans Africa, Africans Asia, Asians Americas, ? (demonym for people of the entire region?)

I know some people counter with it's "North America dummy!" but wouldn't that mean the USA should be the USNA?


The terms America and Americans have been used for hundreds of years, not just the last decade or two. I've had this same conversation with Mexicans and people from South America. The U.S. was the first independent country in the Americas recognized by foreign countries and remained the only one for many years. The term American had been used by the British for years to refer to the colonies, and was adopted by the country itself.

In his farewell address, George Washington said this: "The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation."

More than that, this is just what citizens of the U.S. are called. New Zealanders are Kiwis and Brits are Brits and Canadians are Canadians. Every nationality has a name, this is ours. The continents shouldn't be called America anyways, as Amerigo Vespuci had little to do with its discovery or exploration, but that's the way it is.

In other words, this isn't some evil American power grab, and an insult to the rest of our Western Hemisphere neighbors, but a quirk of history that won't change any time soon.


It's irrelevant what Washington or anybody else said. The common name for the North and South American landmasses is America (note: not Americas). The land between Canada and Mexico has no more rights to that name than the rest of the continent (or continents, depending on what model you prefer).

Abroad, Hollywood has popularized the use of "American" to refer to citizens of the USA. Also, most languages don't have any other way to refer to US citizens because of its odd name. I'm only aware of Spanish "estadounidenses".

It's no different than if the most powerful European country were to call themselves Europeans alone.


The quote isn't irrelevant to the comment I was responding to, it was an example of its usage hundreds of years ago, loooong before Hollywood. Like I said above, it's a historical artifact, not some brazen attempt at linguistic hegemony.

(Sorry, but the Americas is what the continents are called normally - in English at least - did you just make up a new rule? There's even a Wikipedia entry: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americas)

Regardless, the name for Americans isn't changing any time soon, so I wouldn't get worked up about it. Besides, we are Americans in the most pedantic use of the term - if the Canadians, Mexicans and anyone else in this hemisphere wants to call themselves Americans too, they can go right ahead. They'll just seem petty and silly though.


Its usage hundreds of years ago inside the US, yes. That's a pretty irrelevant argument for the rest of the remaining countries that are part of America, isn't it?

No, the continent(s) have traditionally been called America. A look at Google Ngram Viewer shows that Americas has hardly been used. It's a recent phenomenon, probably a result of the US hijacking "America". Even I feel sometimes compelled to call it "Americas" in Europe because it has become a given that US=America.

Not sure about the literature of the US, but in Latin American literature, writers have generally referred to the continent(s) as America, e.g http://www.historyofcuba.com/history/marti/America.htm

The original map by Waldseemüller has "America" written on it: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Wa...


The western hemisphere is the Americas because it's composed of two continents, The North and South American Continents. IIRC from foreign language courses even in Latin American countries they are called 'The Americas'.

To me it's similar to the demonym 'New Yorker'. Is that someone from Buffalo, Schenectady, etc., New York or from the five boroughs or from the county of New York, ie, Manhattan?

What about Netherlander instead of Dutch since it's a corruption of Deutsch. We could go on about makes sense and what doesn't.


It may be irrelevant what anybody said, but it is not irrelevant what lots and lots of people said. For large chunks of the world, "Americans" meant "citizens or residents of the United States of America", long before Hollywood took its first reel of film.

> It's no different than if the most powerful European country were to call themselves Europeans alone.

Assuming always that it had established itself as the Federal Republic of Europe or some such before anybody else claimed the name.


The official name of the country is The United States Of America. But that's too long for day-to-day use, so we need a shorter name. What do you want us to use?

America? We get all these howls of protest, but what do you like better?

United States? To call us that has the same problem. It's kind of unfair to the United Mexican States, don't you think?

That leaves "The" and "Of". But we can't call ourselves those, because of The Dominion Of Canada.

The short name for The United States Of America is "America". It just is. And we don't particularly care whether you like it or not.

"The Boston states", if I understand correctly, does not refer to the entirety of the USA, but only to New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut - the states that center on Boston).


To be fair, the USA is the only country with America in it's name. And what would you call people who live in the United States other than Americans? Hop, skip and a jump to calling the place Americans live America.


In French, some people say étasunien (or États-Unien, Étatsunien) to avoid saying américain. États-Unis d’Amérique meaning USA.

https://fr.wiktionary.org/wiki/%C3%89tasunien


As an Australian, we'd call them Yanks :P


I see more and more write USAnians. All from people that dislikes everything US but I like it!


How do you say that out loud?


Estadounidenses


What about for people who speak English?


There’s also a state north of Mexico called New Mexico.


That state was named in the 1500s by Spanish explorers. If it was a political name at all, it was probably in reference to Aztlan and Mexican politics.


There's a province of Indonesia named Papua, on the island of New Guinea, bordering the country Papua New Guinea.

I have no idea what the inhabitants think about this or if anyone even cares, but it sounds quite confusing.


Except the "Baja" in this case (or its lack in the USA) is like the compromise, "North" Macedonia.

The situations would be more analogous if the Mexican state were called simply "California" or the US state were called "Baja California."


In both cases, the bigger and more powerful side got to keep the plain name and the other side had to settle for a geographic prefix.


As I understand it, both sides had prefixes: Baja and Alta. After the US took Alta California, they dropped that prefix. Mexico was never forced to add one.


They dropped the prefix because Mexico wasn't in a position to object. I wouldn't be surprised if many expected at the time that the newly founded US state would annex Baja eventually.


We had that opportunity -- the guy negotiating the treaty decided San Diego was far enough.


counterpoint: the Indian state of West Bengal and the country of Bangladesh (lit. Land of the Bengali).


The Baja peninsula includes two separate Mexican states: Baja California and Baja California Sur.


Not really correct. The peninsula consists of two Mexican states: Baja California Sur, and Baja California Norte. The United States dropped the "Alta" from Alta California after the process of defeating Mexico. I consider us all Californians, though, despite the political boundaries.


Maybe the previously-Alta California should follow the Mexican example and split into separate north and south states? That would fix issues with federal political representation, at least.


As soon as anyone explains how water would be apportioned in the new system, I might consider it.


Given its population, California (U.S.) could and arguably should split into several states. An even division into 5 states would still leave them around the size of Washington.


  Baja California Norte
No, just Baja California, or officially, the "Free and Sovereign State of Baja California" (Spanish: Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California), according to its Wikipedia entry.


I think this analogy shows that names don't really matter: military superiority does.


"Might makes right" is not a new concept.


Not the greatest analogy, considering both the greek region and the republic were both part of ancient kingdom of Macedonia, and neither modern instance has (much of) any continuity link to ancient Macedonia.

I was there last year. It's a great country to visit as a tourist. There are much political issues still at large there. With Greece, there's that dispute over who has 'the right' to Macedonia. IMO, neither. There was no Greece and there was no (republic) Macedonia back then. There's an argument about language I've heard, that is that Macedonians spoke Greek. Could be, but things change. It's not like local populace disappeared when Slavs rode in. History is complex, yo and it's in no ones interest to bicker over it.


Greece didn't exist as a united country, but for Alexander the Great, who spent his school years in Athens, and tried to unite all Greek states into one Hellenic country, yes, the history belongs to the Greeks and not a Slavic tribe that found itself in the region 900 years later. Not to mention that they were given a written language by the Greeks of the Byzantine empire.


What I'm saying is that I'm not convinced modern greeks are the same as those 2500 years ago. Lots of things happened, people moved, shuffled, ottoman empire was there for 500+ years, etc. In same way, I'm not convinced Macedonia vas vacated, completely void of people, and settled by slavs ezclusively.


I don’t know about Greece specifically, but the modern population of Italy are descendants of Italians from Roman times. There has been no population turnover to speak of. I would expect the situation in Greece to be similar; I’m not aware of any historical instances of wholesale genocide and migration there...


Then you should go look at a modern Turk standing next to a modern Greek. They were considered the same people before WWI, and have little diverged since.


> and have little diverged since

You clearly know nothing about the differences between the two people. Turks are very different from Greeks on even the level of "looks," let alone culture.


Sorry, I don't understand the point you're trying to make.


Just the name evoked fears of territorial ambitions or is there history of "North Macedonia" and "Greek Macedonia" being unified?

And did Greece suggest "North Macedonia"? If I was worried about territorial ambitions, I don't think "North" would allay my fears.


I don't think your example does the region justice. A short tussle over some border land isn't what happened here.

The region of "Macedonia" has been fought over for millennia and more recently carved up into Yugoslavia, Greece and Bulgaria by the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest and then re-initialised in 1991 when Yugoslavia dissolved with Greece and Bulgaria still holding land acquired in 1913.

The Republic of Macedonia really had no more claim to the name than Greece and they've both been being dicks about the whole thing for the last century. But that's Balkan politics. Pain, strife and abject suffering over stupid shit that shouldn't be a problem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonia_(region)


If a Canadian state decided to rename itself Maine, pretty sure Americans would have zero f*s to give about it. To quote Peter Griffin, "Who cares?!!".


Or as attributed to Al Capone: "I don't even know what street Canada is on."


(Peoples) Republic of Macedonia was formed on August 2, 1944, as federal unit in Yugoslavia, hence the provisional name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In 1991 independence was declared, but the only real change was loss of economic integration and military protection.

There was (is) a substantial ethnic (Slavic) minority in the Greek park of Macedonia that identified themselves as Macedonians, which was treated pretty terribly by the right wing Greek authorities after the Balkan Wars: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/greece-apos-macedonian-slavic-heri... (My father was not allowed to visit his birthplace in the Greek part of Macedonia because his Yugoslav passport had the slavic name of the town).

It is this issue that is the real reason for the dispute, not Ancient Macedonia. The serious Macedonian academic institutions (and almost all of the people that I know) don't claim that we have any cultural relation with them.


Clutter-free, paywall bypass. https://outline.com/8tASn6


I have been to Northern Greece. I have friends from Macedonia. This is the stupidest international dispute I think our reality can support.


It's the Balkans: disputes may seem inane to an external observer but they last generations and usually end up in (or perpetuated by) wars. It's the first time since I can remember where a dispute is resolved peacefully, without huge external pressure.

I don't know how long it's going to last but to be honest it was a prime example of ostrichism on our part (I'm Greek btw). Not that the other side didn't partake in kitsch demonstrations of nationalism, but at some point we should have taken cue from the rest of the world that called the country Macedonia and moved on, rather than pretend the matter is not de facto over and behave like a stubborn child


No, it's not as stupid as you might think. FYROM was part of Bulgaria for a very long time. Lots of history of the empires happend there, they claim that it's theirs. Same for Alexander Macedon(he's obviously greek). If you claim some identity in front of many people you must be able to support it otherwise you end up looking like a fool. Imagine a nation of such deluded by the system people.


> Same for Alexander Macedon (he's obviously greek)

Alexander III of Macedon died in 323 B.C. That's 2,300 years ago. Turning a millennium-and-a-half footnote into a geopolitical issue is stupid.

> If you claim some identity in front of many people you must be able to support it otherwise you end up looking like a fool

Greece's per-capita GDP is three-quarters that of Europe's average [1]. Macedonia's is less than one-third that of Greece's. This is a stupid thing for two poor countries to create economic, political and geopolitical hurdles out of.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_in_Eu...


A lot of these things are not about wealth, they are about identity. Wealth is much easier to create than identity.


Things get a bit more difficult when the identity is standing in the way of creating wealth. This seems to be the case here, assuming EU/NATO memberships would be largely positive economic forces for Macedonia.


Modern Greeks have as much in common with Alexander as anybody else here. There are many historic clues that the ancient Greeks didn't understand the ancient Macedonian language, and that the Macedonians coudn't figure out how to write their language with the Greek alphabet, so they gradually (but not fully) adopted the Greek.


Can't be that bad. No dead people.


Fairly certain this is, strictly speaking, inaccurate. As I recall Greece's unhappiness with (North) Macedonia led to some coordination challenges wrt things like the flood of migrants from the Middle East.

I'd wager there were fatal consequences from this dispute.


Oh, my sweet summer child. Your innocence is so beautiful.

Never underestimate the degree of stupidity our reality can support.


Please don't post unsubstantive comments to Hacker News. Also please don't make disagreements personal.


For anyone interested, wikipedia has a surprisingly in-depth account of the whole ordeal over the years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonia_naming_dispute



Here in the Bay Area there is a smaller scale issue of the same kind between Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. In this case the former does not like the latter to have anything similar in its name... oh well.


The latter name is just nonsensical -- EPA is northwest of PA and in a different county altogether.

When the Four Seasons opened in EPA, they initially gave the address as just "Palo Alto" but with the proper EPA Zip code, knowing that the USPS would still deliver the same. Media later called them on it.


Is this the real reason for Brexit: that it was intolerable to have "Bretaigne" and "Great Britain" next to each other in the EU?


This is a great (but now dated) video covering the history of the dispute between Greece and North Macedonia and it reviews some of the reasons why it was disputed for so many years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWgq48jPgP8


Naming themselves "North Macedonia" kind of implies that they are strongly connected to the other three Macedonia (administrative) regions of Greece (Western, Central, Eastern). The reason they're not going to join Greece is that there are no ethnic Greeks there, so why not call themselves Slav Macedonia instead?

[added after downvotes] what is wrong with asking why "North" is the chosen distinction? it seems that the more substantial distinction is the slavic vs greek culture and population when one considers the four regions that use the name "Macedonia"!


Should Massachusetts change its name because the Massachusett people are not an ethnic majority there?

Just like US states, most European borders are not drawn according to ethnic groups, and their names are similarly historical rather than descriptive. The nation state is a 19th century fantasy.


Are there three other "Massachusetts"-named states bordering the current Massachusetts? [edit] Maine is not called "North Massachusetts".

As for your belief that European borders are unrelated to ethnic/cultural distinctions, do you know much about Europe? [edit: blocked from replying] Were there truly no pre-19th century differences between the peoples and cultures in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia? and no-pre 19th century differences between the languages and cultures of France, Spain, and Italy? [edit2] yes, being unable to quickly "reply" makes it difficult to converse in HN :-). [edit3] France is named after the Franks. Sweden (Sverige) after the Svea people. Finland/Suomi after the Finns. Russia after the Rus. Etc. Each of these has an ethnic, linguistic, and cultural core predating the 19th-century nation states.


There’s a Luxembourg province in Belgium, right next to the country Luxembourg. Nobody gives a damn.


The European powers certainly did at the time of the division between the province and the city-state, since its disputed status almost led to a huge continental war in the aftermath of the Belgian revolution and the creation of the city-state was the resulting compromise.


"Nobody gives a damn, he said" haha


Ok, I'll try to reply to your 'edit3' examples.

In my mind Finland and France are examples of European countries that have pretended very hard at some point in their history to be single-ethnicity nation states counter to how the actual population sees themselves.

France is named after the Franks, but if you went back in time to 1700 and asked random people within the country's boundaries the question "What's your ethnic group?", the answers you'd get would include Breton, Basque, Catalan, Provencal, Alsatian, etc. — a minority of people within the Kingdom of France would identify primarily as "French" (and nobody would have heard of the Franks, a people that existed a millennium earlier).

If you asked that same question in Finland in 1700, you'd find a lot of people who identify as Swedes. And why shouldn't they? It was an eastern province of Sweden where every modestly educated person spoke Swedish. You'd also find people who identify as Sami, Karelian, etc.

Flash forward to newly independent Finland of 1918, and you'll find politicians who are adamant that it's a nation state. Yet descendants of those Swedish-speaking people are still there, and so are the Sami speakers, the Karelian speakers, and so on. Some of them will identify as Finns while others never do.


Thats because nationalism didn't really rise until the 1800s. It was the French Revolution that drove a unity of the French people, and it was Napoleon's French soldiers, and the writings of the revolution that seeded nationalism across most of Europe.


That was in response to your suggestion of “Slav Macedonia”.

But there’s certainly a “California” both in the USA and Mexico and it’s not confusing anyone.

I was born in Finland and have also lived in France.

(Edit: I see you replied to me by editing the parent post, but it makes the conversation impossible to follow if we both do that.)


>But there’s certainly a “California” both in the USA and Mexico and it’s not confusing anyone.

Because one is called California and the other is Baja California.


  Maine is not called "North Massachusetts"
What we call Maine was just a discontiguous part of Massachusetts going into the Revolution.


Maine used to be part of Massachusetts.


I can only guess because around a quarter of the population is Albanian, and they currently (and probably will also in the future) constitute the parliamentary majority. The Albanian population is currently in a surge, and Albanians don't really like to be mixed up with Slavs...


"Around a quarter of the population is Albanian" - is this also your educated guess, or something you "read" online?

The FACT is that the last Census was done in 2002. According to conservative estimates pulled from the Health Ministry, there are less than 20% of Albanians currently residing on the territory of Macedonia.

And a little free lesson in history for you: The Slavs you are referring to, in the 6th century did in fact invade and conquer present day Macedonia and whole of Greece, all the way down to Peloponnesus. Byzantine historians stated that the Macedonians did not disappear with the Slavic invasion but continued to exist. In the 10th century Salonica is described as the "largest city of the Macedonians".


According to the 2002 Census, 46.5% of the children aged 0–4 were Muslim. Macedonians will be minority very soon. It might come a time when this country will be called Eastern Albania.

Given the extreme nationalism of the Macedonians I do not think this country will resist history very long in this configuration. And if they do not accept the Albanians and do not live in peace with them they will be soon a tiny joke country.


By your bias and derogatory comment, it is evident that you lack a very basic understanding of the weight and proud nature Macedonians and Albanians feel as people, as neighbors, and as individuals.

Having grown up with Macedonian-Albanian friends, to this day, we both have respect for each others traditions. The common people living in Macedonia, regardless of their ethnic background, want one thing, and that is: peace and prosperity. Not war, nor divide, and not putting down, one another.

The conflict of 2001 is still a fresh reminder what can happen, where KFOR and NATO had to rescue the terrorist cowards surrounded by the Macedonian military. This is a fact.

Define "extreme nationalism", I challenge you.

Macedonians are all people born in Macedonia. Everyone else, is a tourist, on a tourist visa.

Therefore, calling one self Albanian, while born in Macedonia is the same as a person of African descent born in the US, calling him/her self African, instead of African-American.

See how what you "think" makes no sense.


Your analogy sucks. But I am not here to increase your intellectual capabilities. And I do not think that is possible.

The Albanians are native in that region whereas you are the newcomers. So, if you think a little bit more (which I highly doubt you can) you will understand why your analogy is just nonsense.

The Albanians are Albanians and they will remain Albanians. They are of course citizens of Macedonia, a joke sate which does not even have an acceptable name, but they are Albanians.

You want examples? Boban Ilic killed a 4-year old Albanian. I am not talking about other incidents, but killing with your car a 4-year old is just an act of a coward criminal/animal. And most of the Macedonians/Bulgarians supported him. Moreover, he is free to go.

https://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/video/people-protest-th...

Anyway, as I said, you are a joke state, and very soon you will be a minority in that joke state.

Let me see then if you can kill 4 years old child.


Not sure where did you pull out that number, I've downloaded the report from the Macedonian Statistics Office and double-checked what I googled out.

I'm pretty much aware of that history lesson, thanks. How does that change what I wrote initially?


Not taking sides here, I just find it funny that both of you claim to be using official online sources, but both of you conveniently forgot to provide a link.


I completely agree. Here is the link. It is a mix of Macedonian and English, page of interest is 34. Total population: 2022547. Albanians: 509083. Pretty clear, around 25.17%.

http://www.stat.gov.mk/Publikacii/knigaXIII.pdf


The Albanian minority does absolutely not have a majority in the North Macedonian parliament. Being a tiny minority party across changing ruling coalitions does not mean they "constitute a majority".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonian_parliamentary_elect...


Lost in translation, they are not A majority, but their parties are a part of the ruling majority. Sorry, that's just how we usually refer to it around here.


Because their main goal is to differentiate as much as possible from Bulgaria.


I could understand them wanting to mark their differences from Serbia, but Bulgaria was the reference point for the emergence of Macedonian nationalism when the Ottomans were pushed out. Do you have references for such anti-Bulgarian sentiment?


Quoting Wikipedia [1]: "The Balkan Wars (1912–1913) and World War I (1914–1918) left Ottoman Macedonia divided between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania and resulted in significant changes in its ethnic composition. The immediate effect of the partition of Ottoman Macedonia were the nationalistic campaigns in areas under Serbian and Greek administration, which expelled Bulgarian churchmen and teachers and closed Bulgarian schools and churches. As a consequence a sizable part of the Slavic population of Greek and Serbian Macedonia fled to Bulgaria or was resettled there by virtue of a population exchange agreements. The Bulgarian population in Vardar Banovina was regarded as "Southern Serbs" and a policy of Serbianization was implemented. Within Greece, the Southern Macedonians were designated "Slavophone Greeks".

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonian_Bulgarians


Serb here, not sure why would anyone "mix up" macedonians and serbs in any context, and why is a bigger differentiation necessary. Even in the bloodiest years on the Balkans, the relations were very reasonable. Today in Serbia, even the most nationalistic groups (of any kind of influence), don't take Northern Macedonia in discussion.

The relations between Bulgaria and Macedonia were a bit more bumpy, I don't know all of the details, but Bulgarians* consider(ed) Macedonians just as a part of their own and their language as a dialect. Serbian and Macedonian languages are far to different for that. Yes, we can understand each other with some trouble, but that is no where near like Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin and Serbian which at times sound identical.

The only issue is the conflict between the Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox churches, but that really does not have effect on anything else than themselves.


It's maybe important to note that these disputes (and possible disputes) with Bulgaria, Greece and maybe(?) Serbia have almost none impact whatsoever on the daily lives of anyone in the region there. No animosity, no nothing basically apart from politically organised rallies here and there. Situation with albanians on the other hand... is interesting.


Absolutely. I mean, there are all sorts of fruitcakes all around the Balkans, but in general, things do carry on peacefully. A lot of political points are gathered on everyday stupidities between Serbian and Croatian politicians, to be honest, but that is another story.

The situation with Albanians in Macedonia is disconcerting, at least from a Serb's perspective. It is just too easy to notice a pattern of behaviour, incidents and evenrs, and almost threatening stance, even in some comments here regarding the Albanian majority in Macedonia. Serbia has been through that and handled it poorly, and I'm afraid that Norhtern Macedonia is on the same slippery slope.


Maybe people don't remember, but there was an actual armed conflict within Macedonia only 17 years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_insurgency_in_the_Republi... which ended with the Ohrid Agreement which current prime minister of Macedonia, Zaev, said to annul and introduce albanian as the second official language in the (North) Macedonia. That's the real situation at hand in Macedonia now (and then). What situation with Greece did was to inhibit Macedonia's accession to NATO (and EU) which would reduce the threat of reopening possible future armed conflicts. Interesting times ahead for North Macedonia, that's for sure.


Well, I'm Bulgarian, there's much hatred as they like to call us tatars and all kinds of things. Not really very nice, considering they have the same genes as ours, same names, same language(except for a few serb add-ins). Also, they would rather be absorbed by Albania, than join their blood brothers :)


When you generalize like that, who do you refer to when you say 'they'? I've been there last year and I saw a lot of ethnic albanians and met A LOT of people with greek surnames.


Well, I can only say that we have 95% the same language with a few letters inserted by the serbs. If you look at both greek and albanian languages it's easy to see that they are VERY different than ours. Now, whoever tries to convince you otherwise, is wrong and it's not hard to conclude that given this language similarity and no nearby such similarity it's easy to figure out their origin :)


I don't know. It seems to be dangerous to paint broad strokes like that. My immediate heritage is german, italian and croatian and am from Croatia, speak croatian and live there/here. Yet, I understand 90% of macedonian and probably 70% of bulgarian without ever learning either language. Where is the line then? Since I was born here and learned this language as my first, yet not anyone from my family (grandparents and beyond) is from here... is my origin then same as yours or what? It's a dangerous path. For example, whole region was Rumelia for 502 years up to about 150 years ago, capital was in Sofia (if I remember correctly). Are you all Turkish then? Even people that settled there after Rumelia was gone, but understand the language (as their first)? Where does one define clear lines and be so confident in things like that? It's not that simple.


Bulgarian and Macedonian are way similar than say Croatian and Macedonian. Genetically we are the same. Your example is not on point(both about Sofia and your origin)


Any source for the "genetically same" claim? To me Bulgarians look fairly distinct from Macedonians, although I'm not certain if that's any strong genetic indicator.


No, Slav Macedonia was acceptable to us. But not to the Albanians, and we changed our constitution in 2001 to allow them to veto this kind of things (under strong US/NATO pressure).


North Macedonia is probably the only solution that can pass a referendum vote.


Well at least it’s clearer than Outer and Inner Mongolia.


They should change their name to Western Bulgaria. It will be more accurate and Bulgarians won't mind.


I'm quite sure macedonians would consider that statement offensive and disrespectful.


If they're offended, they can be speak for themselves. They don't need an outsider being proxy-offended for them.


I saw it as my duty to notify you of something offensive you've said. I don't have to be 'them' to know that. Take it as you will.


I saw it as my duty to notify you of something offensive you've said.

I said nothing offensive.

You're so interested in SJW-championing other people's causes to make yourself feel morally superior that you didn't even bother to notice that I'm not the OC.

Take it as you will.

I don't need your permission.


I'm glad you know me so well, we should hang out. Then we can talk about my involvement with macedonian (and bulgarian and greek) people, historians, politicians, film workers and 'common people' over the past few years while I was working on a TV series regarding the topic we are currently discussing. Can't wait to tell you about albanian position within republic today and how that story trumps over what we're talking about here, regarding Greece and even Bulgaria. Also, how important Macedonia (as an entity) is to the whole region and how key people and things developed there which influenced world politics. How special relations Bulgaria has with Macedonia (VRMO for example, which is key to Bulgaria and where M stands for Macedonia) and lots of other interesting things.


We do.




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