History or Propaganda?

Letter to the Editor

Comment on Alexander the Great Reply to a FYROM Monkey

As founder and past president of the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society and a retired teaching specialist, Pete Kondoff is most pleased that Macedonians appear to have evolved into accepting who they are, where they come from and becoming much more aware of their own contributions to modern society.

Mr. Kondoff believes that the prime objections Macedonians have to mainstream history should not be exclusively directed at Greece. Most of the fundamental problems today between Macedonia and Greece are in fact historical inaccuracies introduced by 19th century monarchs. The same monarchs who created Greece, a country which since its inception has employed distorting processes to justify its own existence, processes that to this day dominate how history is viewed, have introduced these inaccuracies.

When Greece, a country that never existed before as an entity, was being created in the early 18 hundreds, 19th century monarchs directed academics under their employ to write a historiography for it, a historiography which was mostly based on myth.

To give Greece its existence and continuity academics were directed by their benefactors to initiate a process of revisionism modifying history to suit their objectives and justify the creation of this new Greek state. Once initiated, the process continued and eventually modified much of the region’s ancient history. Initially the goal of the then historians was to satisfy their benefactors, but ultimately with time, persistence and no objection to the newly created myth, this so called myth became a standard subject taught in schools.

To keep the myth alive and to continue to justify its own existence, Greece in the forefront together with Bulgaria and Serbia continued to deny the existence of Macedonians and to seize the Macedonian heritage for themselves.

The pattern for Greece has been to simply claim all history which preceded its creation as a nation and deny the existence of all previous cultures which may have contributed to it. Greece, if examined more closely, is a multiethnic state but to this day refuses to accept the fact that many diverse minorities exist within its borders. Adolph Hitler may also have taken a page from the same book when he tried to eliminate the entire Jewish race in Germany which is very similar to what the Greek government is doing to the Macedonians, who by the way were the dominant population of Northern Greece before the Christian Turkish population was deposited there in the 1920’s.

It must be also understood that the processes initiated to justify the creation of Greece were not restricted to only convincing the people inside Greece. The European monarchs who initiated these processes also had to try hard to convince their own people into accepting them. To do this they enlisted the talents of their own personal (paid for) academic advisors and instructed them to revise history by making fictitious claims and presenting them as historical facts thus creating a new entity which never existed before and connected it with an apparent fictitious past. It is most unfortunate for the Macedonians of today who by searching for their own roots have not only uncovered this 19th century inaccurate historiography but by pointing it out have created animosity between nations not only inside but also outside of Macedonia’s geopolitical borders.

Given that these inaccuracies were initiated some two hundred years ago they have become standard knowledge accepted as fact and propagated through educational systems and the media. As a world society we have learned to accept far too many such views taking them for granted assuming they are factual and rejecting all else without examining it. The strongest defense on the part of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia and to a lesser degree on the part of others is that the entire world knows this mainstream historiography to be fact therefore how can it be inaccurate? Unfortunately most of us learn inadvertently to accept what others want us to hear but far too often this also deviates from the actual facts. For example in the United States, Nathan Hale, a general in the revolutionary war, became a traitor because he spied for the British. But in Canada and Great Britain he is still a hero. It is all a question of perspective.

Greece never existed as a nation and as an ethnic cultural identity; it was created for the first time in 1829 AD by the Western Powers for political necessity. Macedonia on the other hand did exist before under the name Macedonia. Its borders were consolidated by Philip II and it maintained its unity and independence under a single central government for over two centuries until it was conquered by Rome. Since then over the years the Macedonian people have fought in over thirty national insurrections to free themselves and reclaim their state.

The most recent national insurrection being the Ilinden Uprising of August 2nd, 1903 when the entire Macedonian nation rose against its occupier but unfortunately because of many factors failed to achieve its aims. The people of Greece on the other hand had no notion of who they were because such a nation never existed before. What we today call Ancient Greece was nothing more than a dozen or so independent City States with their own unique governments and systems which were at constant war and only came together to fight against a common foe something like what modern European States would do when threatened. England, France, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and the Austro-Hungarian Empire created a new nation and named it Greece. Even the name “Greece” is not Greek; it comes from the Latin word “Graecus”.

First initiated by the monarchs then finalized by the Treaty of Berlin in 1829 AD, the prime motivator for creating such a state (Greece) was to limit even block the expansion of the Russian Empire into Mediterranean waters where Britain and other Western states dominated and which gave them access to India and the silk trade, the Middle East, and the African slave trade. Was it not a British monarch that addressed the British parliament directing it to do “whatever is necessary” to stop Russia from contaminating its backyard the Mediterranean Sea? Was it not a British statesman who said that by “creating Greece” the British Empire not only saved itself billions of pounds from having to send troops to protect its interests but it “created” a life long ally?

To justify the nation they just created, all previous history had to be buried and forgotten! It did not matter to the Europeans that for the last 2000 years Greeks did not exist and that Macedonians dominated the evolution of what would eventually become Europe. Unfortunately what the monarchs did resulted in the wholesale acceptance by world societies what Macedonians today are discovering to be “a greatly distorted history”. Today’s mainstream history is no more than just a regurgitation of what former monarchs created then and had justified through their own personal and most questionable historians. What is most unfortunate is not only that their own masses accepted this falsification but with the use of the printing press, it was mass produced and spread on a global scale to the entire world which has also accepted it and now it has become standard history taught in every school.

Far too much of what we, as a world society accept as facts, is initiated in our schools where under the guise of history we are taught fables implied to be scientific facts. Initiated at university level then passed on to subordinated levels such subjects virtually become accepted by all without question. These fables are further validated by mediums such as the American Geographical Society and the Encyclopedia Britannica, which profess to be experts in the field. Ultimately society learns to accept such misdirection and fiction becomes fact as it is repeatedly present through our press, TV and radio, Hollywood and eventually even our legal systems.

Initiated by titled professors, far too many of our institutions of higher learning inadvertently promote such misconceptions. Due to a system which appears to insulate its professors from scrutiny, these misconceptions continue to hide under an umbrella of immunity under the guise of “Academic Freedom”.

History should not present isolated facts augmented with myths and folklore but should always be very scientific and never chauvinistic nor nationalistic in nature.

Pete Kondoff has personally been in direct contacted with; the University of Toronto, York University and Columbia University and finds that while they do wish to be factual they are not.

By accepting that which professors present as generalized statements of fact without justification then justifying what has been done by simply saying that it is not the university’s responsibility, i.e. “We cannot tell our professors what nor how to teach”, they must also accept the fact that they may be breaking the law. This is also contrary to the very basic principles every teacher accepts related to each topic they teach.

Most teachers accept the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights as a basic fundamental principle and abhor any inferences which would deny the rights of any peoples to their native culture heritage and exemplified in Canada by their acceptance of their Native Peoples identity prior to becoming a nation. Yet we appear to accept references to an Ancient Greek identity thousands of years before it was created and defined as a nation by all of the European monarchs (with the exception of Russia) in 1829 AD!

As an evolving society Macedonia’s prime opposition is not to the individual Greek but rather to the few in power who initially opposed Russian expansion and justified the creation of a false history but now no longer have a cause to do that. Continuing in this path to this day and propagating its false history Greece is on a collision course with the Macedonian people and because this false history is accepted as fact, the world it seems is on the Greek side and is faulting the Macedonians for seeking to understand their past.

One way to correct this problem is to demand from the educational institutions, especially from the Universities, to take responsibility for what they teach. They must separate fact from fiction and provide a balanced view of history. By teaching a falsified version of history, educational institutions are in fact denying certain societies, especially the Macedonians their human rights, which in Canada is against the law.

By this accidental or intentional falsification of history, Greece has laid exclusive claims on the Macedonian heritage and has robbed the Macedonian people of theirs. The only justification Greece has for “Macedonia being Greek” is based not on facts but on the historic myths initiated by the 19th century monarchs and since propagated by the educational institutions and the press.

Trajce Kosta