tv The Stream 2018 Ep 160 Al Jazeera October 5, 2018 7:33am-8:01am +03
i'm grace mahara a fashion model and founder of nonprofit projects in your industry. i am finding out ok today we discuss why macedonians over proposed name change for the country a move that could lead to a new membership so what's the name imo they could be allowed to ask your thoughts or leave them in our live you tube chat and you too could be in the stream. my cydonia is feature remains uncertain that's off the referendum to rename the
country failed voters overwhelmingly voted on sunday in favor of changing the name to north macedonia and back to more than ninety percent of voters supported that sings but only thirty seven percent of the electorate voted a number well below the fifty percent needed to make the outcome valid. now moves parliament where the prime minister has vowed to push ahead now with the name change goes through greece's agree to end its veto of macedonia's membership to the e.u. and nato. i know the opposition goes all the citizens no. grievance with greece there is no alternative to membership to an e.u. let's not play games with the unity and all macedonia. so how much does it matter what you call your country in our studio to discuss this we have. she's the founder and director of joint macedonian n.g.o.s representative office to the united
nations in scope a macedonia. chick he's the special advisor of the prime minister of atlantic integration and in athens greece we have this he's a political analysts and journalists good to have you here everybody i'm going to start with a little bit of geography and not too much history so i'm going to show you the area around race republic of macedonia we're going to go in a little bit closer i will show you the republic of macedonia in a little dotted line that will show you the region of macedonia now you're prepared let me show you the map have a look so here we go going into the region that white block you see there republic of macedonia country that exists right now and that little dotted line is the region of macedonia and you can see how many countries the region of macedonia cover is hence an issue so if you call yourself the republic of macedonia but you are in an area that is known as macedonia as a region and it is one country in particular this is
a macedonia belongs to ras that could be problematic it is problematic right. so i will share and a bridge history lesson in about forty words this is a low who tweets in the naming dispute began when macedonia declared independence renewal slavia in one nine hundred ninety one and chose republic of macedonia as its official name greece immediately oppose the usage of the term macedonia citing an exclusive historic claim to macedonia heritage and iridescent fears which brings us to today what does the name macedonia mean to you. thank you first of all for having me on this show only the name means a lot to everyone i've just told you your name you've told me my name. it is an issue of identity first of all and i would just like to point out that this name issue is far more than just a name issue it concerns the identity of an entire people who are worldwide fifteen
million. it concerns their history and their language and these are cultural rights and these rights have a status in the world in international law and in human rights as something most important the right to self-determination gives the people the right to choose who they are and to choose their own political. development as well as their cultural development the right to self-determination is a right above all rights international law and no one and no government has the right to waive rights for that people so when we're talking about the name it's a very. if we if we take only the name we are putting aside the friend i'm and what has happened so far. i've actually done my ph d.
on this issue and my ph d. thesis was called the importance of being macedonian the origins and consequences of the name issue between greece and macedonia and one thing that is very important to have in mind. is that the name issue as far than just smaller than a smaller than what you call yourself and that's what we were asking boy what did you want to say go ahead. i would say that. together we again must atone eons after this agreement has been signed this agreement does not intend to you it is anyone's they've been gone through and don't go one step back this agreement tell us about for you to remit. well the agreement comes after twenty seven years of this feud between greece and mustard only over the name as you already mention the name started the name issue started in one thousand ninety one when the clear
is when we declared independence and when we applied for membership to the united nations the united nations. condition to accept us in membership in this condition was to open negotiations over the name issue and those negotiations lot that without any result without anything gibble result for twenty seven years and their names directly affect the membership of our country the most powerful and most important alliance is nato and european union which our strategic goals goal of our governments all of the governments and which is a strategic goal of our people seventy five percent of the most of the indian citizens would like to see our country un they don't all right so the battle famous s. this is more than about a name but. if the public of macedonia was called something completely.
different if we didn't have macedonia in the title was that the only object of objections from the greeks or that country being allowed to be part of the. vote then would celebrate about the name that. i totally agree with here name is all about identity the problem here is that we have incompatible perceptions of light and we have incompatible. national narratives. must. have or many must have. that have been have been. since the beginning of time which is not the case we've even had some excesses particularly. nationalist government of mr groups. i understand.
in his office. we have an example of the great being used as a national symbol in macedonia which is frankly it's all nonsense because labs are right in the area about a thousand years after the group when i said i don't know exactly what it was and that we can only ask what is that got to do with today and a particular country trying to get into the e.u. i want to bring in a comment from. a guest that i was talking to a little while ago trying to explain what it means when a country takes a specific name the republic of macedonia have a listen to what set up with these macedonians travel abroad are they really going to introduce themselves saying i'm a macedonian of slavic background and my language is slavic and i really have nothing to do with alexander the great these things are difficult to guarantee why do they pick another name like america for example. all right which is why he
had us go ahead and why did they take another name and they right. now i was talking about conflicting national narrative. this is the op ed that. the greeks have not reconciled themselves to the idea that the geographic region of russia don't you just show them up only a few minutes ago and it was very very revealing so they have come to terms with the idea that this huge geographic region to only i don't know a hundred years ago was an ethnic was a even a part of the settling which is now part of greece was an ethnic which ethnic greeks was a majority. i think. yes so i think i think this is really important for us think. reman the. carrying on the
table rise to make a compromise between the two national narrative so practically the greek narrative needs to. face the reality that there is a country on the north and that there must call them. up to the point of public of most of the need to face the reality that there is a wider region and there are other people that must at the only a result of their regional identity and that they connect with alexander the great so this is simply if you ask me i do really see that this is a genuine. and honest compromise what was agreed between the life the donor prime minister's eyes and the greek prime minister it's the price i think it is a genuine compromise however an agreement in order to be useful. needs to be practical as well and if you have the majority of most of the only ones
and the majority of greeks rejecting the agreement it doesn't really matter what i think i thought you said that actually there gentlemen both of you that issue i want to bring in this and there are no you've been just trying to jump in into that conversation there but i want to bring in two of our community members first so this is james who is interested in this topic and yet seems to think that this dispute as he calls it is stupid he says greece's position that the name somehow cast aspersions or aspirations on greek territory is a strange position to take but greece hold their keys to the e.u. membership so this act of appeasement is relatively minor and can help macedonia to join the e.u. in the appeasement he means is this referendum on the other hand the danilo here three percent the recent referendum in macedonia that we just saw this weekend however demonstrated a refusal on the side of macedonia and voters to endorse a name change the low turnout. delivered a blow to the prime minister's government and to the process of ending the longstanding dispute with greece so there is no group. i know what i already kind
of know your position on this i want to hear what your thinks because there seems to be disagreement on what these numbers actually mean real numbers have turned out the numbers of those who then voted in favor who did turn out to vote what's your take on not just to backtrack well i will answer that right now so the overwhelming majority of the macedonian population eligible to vote boycotted this referendum because first of all let's make it clear this was not the boycott their their boycott was not about nato membership or membership this boycott was to say we do not accept that someone denies our name identity language and history and this is what the agreement does and i will get to the agreement in a second the agreement first of all is that i want to show you i mean just minutes i'm sorry i didn't interrupt you the agreement establishes a commission which will look into the his story books of the schools in macedonia
and will revise them this is what hitler did to the jews i'm really sorry but this whole business. and i want to drive a truck i want to just explain something and slow down a second suspect that arctic air i do not understand what you're saying so very simply ok well we let me put seem to the referendum tell me how they steal agreements in this article seven or eight i believe it's eight it establishes a commission which would look into the history of the two countries and which would have the competence to revise the history and the textbooks and other auxiliary materials such as maps within the country so say that this might possibly happen oh this will happen because this commission has already been established and it have the right i'm sorry. same thing so let me quote to you.
her lemkin who coined the word genocide and who drafted the first genocide convention in one thousand nine hundred eight had an entire part dedicated to cultural genocide within it. talked about what it was cordial genocide it's a plot line it was. to erase the cultural feelings and language of a country this is exactly what their women aims to do there is no place for our history a language and identity in a bilateral agreements between two countries this is cultural genocide and i invite i hear we are going with this this is a very severe suggestion that this is going to happen. is a special adviser to the current administration but. go ahead. i think first of all it's not true that majority of people rejected you know if we had we don't we don't vote in favor of the agreement we vote against the.
numbers of six hundred. ten people in favor of the agreement i read enough. so i don't think i just i just want to make sure that we get facts very clear here the turnout was thirty six percent you know you did it turn out not you know yes even get thirty six percent of the ten out said no neither and it's better not macedonians talk for the republican total cared enough to actually go out and vote because the because. for one particular reason because the opposition party work at this referendum because they knew they're going to lose if they go out and vote otherwise they would certainly go out and win the referendum but they didn't say boy i'm not sure we're going to get a lot inside because because we know we know how many people voted they were voting on their stance support you and nato membership by accepting the deal but in
macedonia and greece very clear very simple most people turned out said yes we do support it but not enough people turned out we had to get fifty percent and this number the problem number three now in this referendum really there was no way support sounds like a change in the here was a no go a long way toward where you want to go next so i hear what everyone is saying line of though there is still a push to. figure out whether or not this is worth the nato and you membership so this is the nato chief who says i welcome b.s. the boat in this referendum i urge all political leaders and parties to engage constructively and responsibly to seize this historic opportunity nato's doors open but all the national. teachers have to be completed he though got a response from someone online who's a bit skeptical or says are you serious to macedonia referendum is invalid as less than fifty percent voted you're talking about respecting all national procedures
how about you respect that the referendum is not a historic opportunity but a massive failure so boy i actually want to go back to you with this because he can mine your position that there was a majority of the people who did vote who want this there's still many people in your country who don't and of course the prime minister has to represent all of them how will your party and your government go about making sure that you have these people on board well first of all our next step is to talk and discuss with all the m.p.'s in the parliament individually and to try in the upcoming reach the two thirds majority vote because they all know that six hundred thousand people then hundred thousand people are quite enough to vote full absolute majority in the parliament so it's a very big number although we don't have the political for example i will say is that. many of those are obeying nicol damien's and they're not going to go.
well there is also believe. there is a possibility for a wide coalition of all the parties for you and nato coalition for. all the parties who support this agreement. so i should say so and i think the prime minister of the republic of macedonia they were just on that note when the opposition parties there's rumor that they were you know the stalling now so in order to convince with various means including using the carrot and the stick these political. party members of parliament which would vote for the agreement now i want to backtrack a little bit and respond to what panos was saying regarding the history like to clarify for the population here their national population that there are two schools of thought on the macedonian empire one school of thought is led by richard herman who is in there i'm just going to i'm just going to ask you why is this
relevant to where we are now with a referendum that didn't reach fifty percent for macedonia to change its name tell me in a sentence why it's relevant it is relevant because i want to bring up why the why is such a touchy issue this identity for the methadone is because it happens to be part of also a history that happened one hundred years ago or so when let me just clarify it that . we have so much time we do and we've had to write so you tell me why in a sentence why this is so dear to you why you're so passionate about it in a sentence because i can't come to history cos with you right. who was the other school of thought who says the message don't use were never greeks he he says one thing that is very important that is very important is the language you know i don't ever in you i don't let let know larry finish her sentence and then move on no one knew the language and we still do not know to this day the language that
alexander the great of the macedonian empire spoke to has generally been the first . spoken. that day and maybe our language i mean i guess the indian language i guess i don't know what is. going. oh no well you know one this is the one thing that has not been researched yet and i think this is why greece is so bent on changing history and making that message accept something that is beneath their dignity and that is the. fundamental very. very and i'm not calling you names just for fun i'm calling you names for a pause if you were watching the show beginning just thinking hey it's just about a name change now you can hear why there was so much debate about the history behind it when you didn't make your point but people can go research and find out for themselves a little bit more after this program because we only have so much time. we'll get to this week back from thomas who says macedonia nationalists seem to for themselves if they think that by saying no long enough they'll be able to get
a better deal rejecting this deal will only be beneficial to the greek nationalists who as part of the e.u. and nato clearly have the upper hand so i think i know would be i think about this i actually want to get this to you because this person brings up greek nationalists who will use this to their advantage. i think you've got it absolutely right there is a nationalist way in this country it's wide strong the current government has great difficulties trying to sell the agreement to the public as indeed the most going government equally difficult is trying to sell the agreement to its own public and that shows that it's more or less a genuine compromise so yes of course there are national myths on both sides and as is always the case in all international disputes that to the extremes on both sides just feed each other the extremists in my state going
out feed the extremists in greece and vice a versa and i can name a number of other international disputes and much more serious ones where this is the case now i'm pretty sure what the euro has been saying the last few minutes has gained greek nationalists why did you point if there were fools in it just playing at a couple of comments following the referendum that's just happened and that the idea of accepting the name change in order to join the e.u. this is what people in the street sang and a little slice of what they were saying have a look at the referendum is how the people express their opinion i think more than six hundred fifty thousand citizens he said they think about joining nato and the european union as enough of you know well known but as well as near there were not all of the campaign that was promoting a yes vote put an emphasis on european values and the european way of life but if you look at the time since prime minister zajac took power the people who promoted this are not true representatives of those values. panel she could say this
situation is come about because we. didn't like the way that the republic of macedonia decided to call its name so on the streets what is the temperature that you're feeling in terms of the results of this referendum how going stinking i think it's. more relief than anything else because i think a majority rightly or wrongly a majority of grapes were against the agreement. because they feel it infringes their own heritage i don't believe that the agreement doesn't fringe. the greek heritage but they do think that there have been periods in recent months ago in history particularly between two thousand and six and two thousand and sixteen that some white ridiculous at them swear making framed greek heritage like trying to claim the whole of macedonian heritage for the current state that is known as
much they don't know and are also hinting at something everybody all claims as well . and something to that i'm really sorry but if the greeks really wanted to be macedonians then why didn't they call themselves such. three thousand years ago and today and why was the region macedonian why was the word macedonia taboo and denied for one hundred years the reason most of the india as you saw it in the map previously has been recognised as such. people. conversation boy checks and panels. talking about the referendum to rename the republic of macedonia failed it didn't happen and this is the conversation that resulted from that city the one we're having on the stream. if you're here from daniel who says though unlikely to succeed it remains to be seen if the prime minister will secure the necessary majority in parliament and ratify this agreement
and if you bails macedonia will hold or live in tree elections yes thank you very much for joining us we will always be online you can find us at a stream on twitter take you. october on al jazeera. in a new season al-jazeera correspondent returns with more personal stories from our journalists from around the world. brazilians are getting ready for elections but the main presidential contender is barred from the polls as he serves time in jail for corruption. from the u.s. and beyond faultlines investigate the stories beyond the headlines after a three year delay afghanistan will finally hold its parliament three elections but what direction the country takes with a new two part series the big picture examines the legacy of muhammad duckies and
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