Some thoughts on Macedonia

True, I am not well versed in the Macedonian name conflict.

But this Economist article is troubling for several reasons.

For one, there is no “northern Greek province that bears that name [Macedonia]”.  Three Greek peripheries do, however, incorporate the word “Macedonia” as part of their names, as of 1987.

I am also disturbed by the lack of recognition of the separate agencies of a state and the human occupants of the geographical bounds of that state.  What do the terms “Greece’s argument” or “The Republic of Macedonia’s argument” mean?  If the Greek government feels that the name “ROM” implies territorial claims to its peripheries, does that imply that Greek nationals, with all their multifarious ethnic backgrounds, share the same concerns about the label of “ROM”?  If the Republic of Macedonia really is making a political move against Greece with its insistence on being recognized by that name, does that delegitimize the self-identification of the last few generations of Slavic Macedonians born in the ROM as just plain “Macedonian”?

A note about the plasticity of identities, or names — present day Republic of China nationals self-identify as “Taiwanese”, right?  Then again, I guess the politics are a bit different when the two nations aren’t negotiating a coexistence in a supranational union e.g. the EU.

This is heartening — “Since 1999, Matthew Nimetz, the UN’s Personal Envoy on the issue, has been holding talks with the two sides and proposed compromise names.”


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