Τότε που οι Σκοπιανοί της Αυστραλίας έστελναν τον πρωθυπουργό της Βικτώριας στα δικαστήρια, γιατί, λέει, τους αποκάλεσε ''Slav Macedonians'' και την γλώσσα τους ''Macedonian'' (Slavonic). (Μια αναφορά της αυστραλιανής εφημερίδας 'Green Left Weekly' που βρίσκεται πάλι στην επικαιρότητα.
Ακολουθεί το αγγλικό δημοσίευμα:
In February 1994 Australia recognised the newly independent state of Macedonia. However, when the Greek government opposed the new republic's right to call itself Macedonia, the federal Labor government succumbed to pressure from its Greek constituency and followed suit referring to it as the "former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM). It also decided to call Macedonians from FYROM "Slav-Macedonians". Apart from Greece, Australia is the only other government to have adopted this terminology. Later in 1994, the Kennett government of Victoria sent a circular to schools and government departments instructing them to refer to the Macedonian language as "Macedonian (Slavonic)". The Macedonian Community Council has taken a racial discrimination case against the Kennett government to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. JAKLIN TRAJKOVSKI from the Macedonian Community Council and EFY KARAGIANNIS from Independent Macedonian Publications spoke to Green Left Weekly's SUE BOLTON about the issues.
Question: Have Macedonians ever regarded themselves as "Slav Macedonians"?
|Η εφημερίδα των ''Σλαβομακεδόνων'' της Αυστραλίας σε διαμαρτυρία για ειρήνη στον ελληνικό εμφύλιο πόλεμο σε πλακάτ παρουσιάζονταν ως Slav Macedonians- Σλάβοι της Μακεδονίας|
JT: I've never called myself Slav Macedonian. We are a mixture of Slavs and other nationalities going back thousands of years. To appease Greek protests, the federal government has created a demarcation between Greek Macedonians and Slav Macedonians. However, we all speak the same language and come from the same place.
Question: Can you elaborate on the legal challenge?
JT: The federal government's decision was meant to be an interim measure until the dispute with Greece over the name and flag of the Macedonian Republic was resolved. But the Victorian government saw an opportunity to introduce the suffix "Slavonic" to the Macedonian language. That's what our legal challenge is about. The case was submitted in September. We're challenging Kennett under Section 9 of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act, arguing that we're victims of racial discrimination because we are forced to describe ourselves as Macedonian-Slavonic. We want the suffix removed. The Kennett government states that its actions are in line with the federal government's decision. While we oppose that decision, it didn't mean that we couldn't call ourselves Macedonian; it didn't refer to Macedonians who don't come from FYROM, such as Aegean Macedonia; and it didn't refer to a change of name for our language. Kennett is on a blatant vote catching exercise. He has no idea about the historical arguments in the Greek-Macedonia issue. In 1981, Kennett opened the Macedonian Centre in Epping, and was all for strengthening the Macedonian community and identity. Now he's made a complete turn-around.
Question: What effect has the Kennett government's directive had on Macedonians?
JT: It has put Macedonians in a vulnerable position when dealing with people who consider themselves Greek. We come up against constant opposition if we call ourselves Macedonian. Even in schools there's harassment because a student is not allowed to say that s/he is Macedonian, or from a Macedonian background. My cousins found signs, plastered on every single desk at school, which said that "Macedonia is and always will be Greek". It might be expedient for the Kennett government to seek the Greek vote but it doesn't realise the potential for violence, disunity and hatred among people because of its decision. If the Kennett government can get away with this, it can do the same to other communities. For example, it could decide that people from East Timor can't call themselves Timorese, or speak about Indonesia's infringements of their human rights. A lot of Macedonians here have already been forced out of their homeland, and to change their names. Many have lost family members because of the Greek government's violence. They come to Australia as free people, only to find that they and their children are subjected to the same sort of violence by a democratically elected government.
EK: All organisations with Macedonian in their title have received racist anti-Macedonian letters.
JT: A lot of Macedonians call themselves Greek in order to survive the discrimination.
|Η εφημερίδα των Σκοπιανών στην Αυστραλία. Όταν αυτοπροσδιορίζονταν Slav Macedonians - Σλάβοι της Μακεδονίας|
Question: Does the government strictly enforce the use of "Slav Macedonian" or "Macedonian (Slavonic)" in schools?
JT: A lot of teachers correct kids who call themselves Macedonian. If students from a Macedonian background organise a function which they call Macedonian, a lot of principals will refuse to endorse it without the Slavic suffix. EK: The nationalist policies of successive Greek governments have tried to make out that the Macedonian language is second-rate. They say that there are only Slavophone Greeks in Greece, and that Macedonian is a dialect of Serbian or another Slav language. Macedonian is a Slavonic language, but by calling it Macedonian (Slavonic), the Victorian government is diluting its purity. The Liberal Party still has Macedonian as one of the seven languages on the back of its how-to-votes. The hypocritical thing is that it's still after the Macedonian vote and yet it says we don't exist.
Question: What is the role of the Macedonian Community Council?
EK: The Community Council has been around for three or four years. We're trying to promote our culture by participating in ethnic programs and making our presence known within the Australian community more generally. We're not segregationist, but where we see injustice we write the letters and make the calls. JT: We get harassed constantly. For instance, bricks have been thrown through the windows of the Aegean Macedonian House when the Macedonian flag has been used. EK: The Greek lobby even found offence when a journalist described herself as being from Greek-occupied Macedonia in one of SBS's publications, Aerial. That issue of Aerial was not released, an apology was printed in the next edition and the journalist has been prosecuted. That's the power of the Greek lobby here.
Tuesday, October 31, 1995