An Invitation to National Suicide

By Jason Miko

As was expected, the EU once again sank to its lowest common denominator of having no backbone and chose not to offer Macedonia a date to start accession talks, something Macedonia is clearly ready for. According to a report on June 15 by Radio Free Europe/Radio Europe, Catherine Ashton, the EU high representative for foreign policy, demonstrated, yet once again, that she is clearly not up to the job and out of touch on such issues. RFE/RL wrote “Reflecting the EU's unwillingness to collectively get involved in the issue, Ashton remained noncommittal, saying only, ‘We wish [Macedonia] well and hope for a quick solution which will help us move forward.’” Naturally, she could not bring herself to say “Macedonia” let alone anything positive nor could she bring herself to say that Greece bears any responsibility for this mess. This is one reason why Europe – in its present state – will fail. I wish Europe well for a quick solution to their current mess.

We also saw a classic diplomatic play, and a total lie and fabrication at that – Greek media started reporting just before the EU meeting that a solution between the two countries was imminent. Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Droutsas and other Greek diplomats at the meeting urged the EU not to give a date for accession talks because the “name talks were in a serious stage and that reaching any kind of decision was not the most sensible step.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

American columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer, writing in The Washington Post on June 4 about the demonization of Israel over its response to the so-called Gaza flotilla episode, notes, “The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists -- Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution.”

Krauthammer’s sarcastic prose is telling for he could be writing about Macedonia “refusing every invitation to national suicide.” Because it seems that every time I see news about or from Macedonia on the name issue, some international diplomat is encouraging Macedonia to give up its name and identity and enter into the promised land of NATO and the EU happily singing hosannas and picking up the manna delivered from on high.

While I must stress – for my friends from the EU and State Department reading this column – that I do support Macedonia in NATO and the EU (and Macedonia has certainly done everything requested and required to earn its position in NATO), I will also repeat, once again, that there are some things in life worth keeping at all costs – and names and identity are in that category. At the same time, I must also stress that Macedonia is not in danger of being physically eliminated by its neighbors – something Israel faces all of the time. Israel’s problems are much greater than Macedonia’s in that its neighbors want the Jews eliminated from the face of the earth.

However, a quick review of recent statements by the policy makers and decision makers courting Macedonia and encouraging Macedonia to give up its name point to the fact that Macedonia is continually being given an invitation to a national suicide of its name and identity.

Balkan Insight and Voice of America both reported that US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, at the early June EU Sarajevo Summit on the Balkans said “Macedonian leaders should focus on the reward their country will get from reaching a name compromise with Greece.” He also said “that the United States would fully support courageous decision-making by the Macedonian leadership,” meaning a name change.

According to the Associated Press, NATO Supremo Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, in Skopje last week, “At some stage courageous political decisions will be needed from all sides so that your country’s strategic goal of NATO and EU membership can be achieved.” Two points: his statement “courageous political decisions” (which mirrors Steinberg’s – you’ll be seeing more of these statements) means “change your bloody name” and the fact that he cannot bring himself to say “Macedonia” shows, once again, that the so-called leaders of the West are more than willing to sacrifice what is morally right and just for a little unity, getting neither in return. A pox on their house.

In the documentary film A Name is a Name, musician Branislav Nikolov, says this about his Macedonian identity, in part: “…sometimes I am proud of that, other times I suffer because of that. Anyway, if one can manage to avoid committing identity suicide he has to love being what he is.” Of course my question is, if one can avoid identity suicide, is it possible that others can attempt to wipe out your identity? Is it possible to commit identicide to coin a new word? Identicide: The systematic attempt by one people or nation to destroy or eradicate the identity of another nation or people. The Greeks are surely attempting it, aided and abetted by others. A pox on their house as well.

Native Arizonan Jason Miko reads, writes, thinks and travels a bit

This article was originally published in Macedonian in Nova Makedonija on Thursday, June 24, 2010