by Sasha Uzunov
ISIS & ELLAS ! Decades before the Islamic State posed a threat to Australia, the Hellenic State (Greece) threatened to destroy Melbourne if its demands over a Macedonian issue were not met.
In 1988 this threat was delivered in person by a Greek government official to an Australian diplomat in Athens…according to a declassified Australian Foreign Affairs Department file on Macedonia
Greece threatened violence on the streets of Melbourne if its controversial “Ancient Macedonian Exhibition” in Australia was cancelled or delayed.
“…an [Australian] Embassy representative was summoned in September 1988 to the office of the Greek Ministry of Culture’s Director of Antiquities, Mr J. Tzedakis, who told him that if the decision was further delayed the Greek Government who would prompt the Greek community in Melbourne to “tear the city apart, brick by brick.”
Report contained in newly de-classified AUSTRALIAN Foreign Affairs department File on diplomatic relations between Australia and SR Macedonia 1971-89. National Archives of Australia. link is at
AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR HUMILIATED
1988 - Shameful treatment. Greece's Culture Minister and former Actress Melina Mercouri (PASOK party) abuses Australia's Ambassador to Greece, Kevin Gates, over MACEDONIA issue. She then nastily leaks the story to the Greek media...to humiliate him, according to the AUSTRALIAN Foreign Affairs Department file.
During an "Ancient Macedonia exhibition" sponsored by Greece in Australia, visiting Greek President Christos Sartzetakis deliberately provoked the Australian-Macedonian community for political point scoring, according to the same report.
In 1912-13, Macedonia which had been under Turkish Ottoman rule for over 450 years was partitioned between Serbia (later Yugoslavia), Greece, Bulgaria and with a very tiny piece given to Albania.
Macedonians were forcibly assimilated and denied a right to their language and culture. In 1944, after a successful Macedonian partizan resistence movement developed, a Macedonian Republic became a federal unit within Marshal Tito’s Communist Yugoslavia. However, soon there where rumblings of discontent with rising Serb nationalism in Tito’s Yugoslavia.
Macedonians in the others parts were treated far worse. Greece, Bulgaria refuse to recognise the existence of a Macedonian ethnic minority within their borders.
During the Greek Civil War (1946-49), Macedonians were promised autonomy and so threw in their lost with the Greek Communists and their fight against the Greek monarchy supported by Britain and the United States at the very beginning of the Cold War.
With the Greek Communists losing, thousands of ethnic Macedonians fled across the border to the Macedonian Republic within Yugoslavia to avoid being massacred. When Tito and the Soviet Union had a falling out in 1948-49, and closed the border, it in effect sealed the fate of the Greek Communist uprising. Some Macedonian fighters where then forced to flee to Enver Hodzha’s Albania and resettled in the Soviet Bloc. Many made their way to Australia, Canada, the United States.
In 1988 a conference of Macedonian Refugee Children who fled during the Greece Civil War (1946-49) was held in Skopje, the capital of the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia, Federal Yugoslavia. Many of the participants, now in their 50s and 60s holding Australian or Canadian passports were refused entry into Greece. The Australian Foreign Affairs department was informed of this but fearing Greek reaction tried to keep quiet a meeting between a Macedonian delegation and an Australian diplomatic representative.
A large number of these people were still not allowed to return to their Macedonian villages within the modern Greek state. Some despite holding Australian passports were returned at the Greek border or arrested at Athen airport and deported for the only “crime” of being Macedonian.
1988 - Mr and Mrs Miovski, Australian citizens inform Australian diplomats of their arrest in Athens.
The United States and over a hundred countries recognise Macedonia under its name, with the exception of the European Union. Greece, a member of the EU, has blocked Macedonia’s membership application, likewise its joing of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).