HELLENES WRITE TO AHI : “GEOGRAPHICAL QUALIFIER” FOR MACEDONIA?
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2009
NEW YORK—The Hellenic League of America (HLA) alerts the community about support for the false historical revisionist “geographical qualifier” for Macedonia. Several statements by the American Hellenic Institute AHI –one of the oldest establishment institutions purporting to support Hellenism in America - indicate AHI support for legislation supporting the “geographical qualifier” for Macedonia in Congress. This expresses a split between historical truth and community opinion and the false historical revisionism supported by the Greek political establishment or Greek ruling class in Greece, and its lobbies or allies in Washington DC.
The “geographical qualifier” was originally dreamed up by the US State Department and was supported by Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis, scion of the Mistotakis family, a leading Greek political caste in the establishment , and head of the Greek foreign ministry.
The “geographical qualifier” attempts to bestow the name “Upper Macedonia” or “Northern Macedonia” on the former Yugoslav state buttressing Greece with its capital as Skopje.
The American Hellenic Institute AHI webpage, showing links supporting “geographical qualifier” legislation in Congress , can be found on the AHI website here:
The American Hellenic Institute AHI also seems to support the “geographical qualifier” , in its 2009 Policy Statement, available here:
Several community activists have written to AHI’s new President , Alexandros (Aleco) Haralambides, about the “geographical qualifier” and other issues of community concern, thus far there has been no reply from AHI, not a statement from AHI that they are unequivocally AGAINST the “geographical qualifier”
Some examples of community letters to AHI President Alexandros (Aleco) Haralambides,in Hellenic and English, follow below:
Γράφει η Σεβαστή Μπούρα- Μπούτου
Η βαθειά κρίση τής Ομογένειας και οι επιλογές ανθρώπων που υπηρετούν αυτούς τούς θεσμούς.
Τελευταία έπεσε στα χέρια μου μια χαρτολαδόκολα που το A.H.I American Hellenic Institute περιέφερε σε κάποιες Πολιτείες, ζητώντας όσο πιο πολλούς πελάτες, πιο ευγενικά συνυπογρά φοντε,ς για να δοθεί η τελευταία χαριστική βολή στο Μακεδονικό, με τον λεγόμενο γεωγραφικό προσδιορισμό τού ονόματος τού ψευδοκράτους.
Για να κάνω το σχόλιο πιο κατανοητό, η νέα διοίκηση τού παραπάνω Οργανισμού, που μας είχε αφήσει κάποιες καλές αναμνήσεις με την στάση τού Ρωσίδη, έχει αλλάξει την πολιτική της τόσο παράξενα που αναρωτιόμαστε, κάποιοι από εμάς, τι ρόλο παίζει και θα παίξει το λεγόμενο A.H.I από εδώ και εμπρός στην υπεράσπιση τών Εθνικών μας θεμάτων και ιδιαίτερα τού όλο και πιο περιπλεκόμενου προβλήματος από το Σκοπιανό στο Μακεδονικό.
Η γράφουσα έχει υποψιαστεί από καιρό, ότι οι ισχυροί της Ομογένειας έχοντας τη δύναμη ενός οργανισμού, εκλεγμένοι άλλοτε με δημοκρατικούς και άλλοτε με διεφθαρμένους τρόπους, αλωνίζουν , στο αλώνι αυτής τής Ομογένειας, όλο και πιο πολύ τήν δική τους σοδειά, από το δικό τους κτηματάκι, κάνοντας και στο τέλος επίδειξη δύναμης για την άπιαστη ικανότητά τους, να κάνουν το δικό τους και μόνο το δικό τους πανίσχυρο Εγώ έρμαιο η τών προσωπικών φιλοδοξιών η φερέφωνο τών συμφερόντων κάποιων που παίζουν τη ζωή τών ανθρώπων στα χέρια τους με την πολιτική τους δύναμη. Μετά, με μια περατζάδα, ας πούμε στην Αστόρια η σε κάποια αίθουσα κάποιου μεγάλου πανεπιστημίου η πρώην χαρτοπαιγνίου, ακόμη και με την παρουσία τους στον Ελληνικό χώρο, προσκεκλημένοι από τούς ομοϊδεάτες τους σε χώρους καλά επιλεγμένους, παρουσιάζονται σαν οι μόνοι σωτήρες τού χώρου τών αθώων Ελλήνων τής διασποράς. Κάποιοι από αυτούς έχουν αποδειχθεί και τζίνια στην συγκέντρωση χρημάτων.
Σε θεσμικό επίπεδο η Ομογένεια έχει αποκτήσει οδηγούς και συνοδηγούς τα τελευταία χρόνια που δεν προσθέτουν τίποτε νέο και επικοδομητικό στο οδοιπορικό της. Απεναντίας, επιβεβαιώνεται όλο και πιο συχνά ότι οι περισσότεροι από αυτούς τούς υποτυπώδεις ηγέτες, ενώ μπορεί να ξεκίνησαν με όνειρα και ιδέες, δεν κατάφεραν να ξεπεράσουν πρώτα τα προσωπικά τους φιλόδοξα σχέδια, πριν αποφασίσουν να ασχοληθούν με τα αιτήματα τής Ομογένειας. Μέσα σε όλα αυτά έχει προστεθεί και η κομματική τους προτίμηση, γιατί η πολιτική πια δεν είναι πολιτική ιδεών, αφού ο ιδεατός κόσμος της πολιτικής περνάει κι αυτός κρίση με την ανάμειξη των απόψεων και την ανάμειξη τών πολιτικών από τον ένα κομματικό σχηματισμό στον άλλον.
Ύστερα από όλα αυτά που συμβαίνουν στην Ομογένεια τής Νέας Υόρκης, Ουάσινγτον και περιχώρων, αναρωτιέται κανείς πώς θα είναι διαμορφωμένη η μοίρα μας σε λίγα χρόνια- χρυσωμένη στη ράχη μας η ριγμένη στην θάλασσα με τέτοιους ηγέτες;.
Dear Aleco Haralambides, President of AHI (American Hellenic Institute)
I would first like to congratulate you on your recent appointment as President of our community’s leading public policy organization. As a grassroots Hellenic Activist whose mother is not Greek I was particularly proud to see a fellow Half-Greek rise to such a prestigious position. Your appointment brings hope to those of us in our community who are not fully Greek or may not speak the Greek language, that we will be accepted by the Greek establishment. I wish you nothing but the best in your future efforts to maintain AHI’s credibility and aggressive pursued of our issues. AHI is an organization of great potential and I salute such efforts as your Future of Hellenism in America conferences.
In your recent interview with Greek News you mentioned that you ‘intend to reach out on a one-on-one basis to the leaders of the different Greek American organizations’. As President of Panthracian Union of America “Orpheus” and a leading member of the Hellenic League of America (HLA) I agree with you that our community can not afford to continue being divided if we are to effectively lobby our issues in Washington. Therefore in the name of Hellenic brotherhood I would like to extend my hand to you and offer my services in working towards unity between our community’s organizations on our National Issues.
In the same interview you also stated that our issues are based on historical facts and the rule of law, something I could not agree with you more on. I wonder will AHI take an aggressive grassroots approach under your leadership in confronting the violations of the rule of law and informing the American public and Congress about our National Issues? Will we see an AHI coming out for the annual demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy organized by Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)? Will AHI start standing side by side grassroots activists who are pushing our issues in the very spirit of grassroots activism which you claim to support?
On the issue of Macedonia, you were quoted in your interview as stating that you were ‘optimistic that we can have some success with the Obama administration’, however I’m curious what kind of success AHI will gain for Hellenism by promoting a geographical qualifier as the answer to our on going conflict with Skopje. It is obvious that the use of a name like ‘Upper Macedonia’ or ‘Northern Macedonia’ will not stop Skopje’s revisionist policies towards Alexander the Great and Ancient Greek history, as these people will still continue to identify themselves as ‘Macedonians’. AHI’s current support of such a solution is not in line with your stance of historical truth; does this mean we will see a change in AHI’s position under your leadership? Will AHI begin supporting a solution that will take historical fact and our ethnic identity’s survival in mind?
If you are aware of whom I am, then I’m sure you are also aware of my personal commitment to the issue of our Genocide. As a descendant of survivors of our Genocide will you be taking a more aggressive and active stance on international recognition of the Hellenic Genocide? Will AHI work on uniting our community to abandon our current course of disunity when it comes to recognition? Will AHI push for a united effort between Thracian, Asia Minor and Pontian communities to adopt an official united name and figure for all those Ottoman Hellenes that perished under the state sponsored systematic policy of Genocide that was committed by Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey?
I am very curious to see what AHI will be doing under your leadership and hope that your Presidency will mark a rival of patriotic activism in the name of Hellenism. Please feel free to contact me if you are sincere in your call for unity and cooperation between Greek-American organizations and activists on our National Issues.
President of Panthracian Union of America “Orpheus”
Hellenic Activist for the Hellenic League of America (HLA)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear Aleco Haralambides, President of AHI (American Hellenic Institute)
I am writing to you after reading your recent interview in Greek News Greek-American Weekly Newspaper, (Aleco Haralambides: We Can Make a Difference in D.C. - By Vicki James Yiannias in the June 22, 2009 edition of Greek News Greek-American Weekly Newspaper”)
As the newly elected (by the board of AHI) President you now have the responsibility for leading one of the oldest, establishment institutions representing Hellenism in Washington DC and the broader Hellenic Diaspora in America, there are a number of questions and concerns I wish to raise with you, as a grassroots Hellenic activist, here in New York city, in the belly of the beast so to speak.
I am also writing to you this week, because you are at this very moment, privileged with representing the Hellenic National Issues to officials ruling over the Hellenic homelands of Hellas and the Hellenic island of Cyprus.
MACEDONIA NAME ISSUE AND THE GEOGRAPHICAL QUALIFIER
New Democracy and the Hellenic Foreign Ministry led by Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis, and PASOK led by George Papandreou (junior) have bowed to US State Department “pressure” and agree to a “geographical name” or “geographical qualifier” for the Macedonia name issue, meaning the Greek political establishment is now promoting the name “Upper Macedonia” or “Northern Macedonia” for Skopje. This position is NOT one that is held by many if not ALL Macedonians/ patriotic Hellenes or Makedenomachi (Macedonian Freedom Fighters) in Greece, Cyprus and in the Diaspora.
According to a link in the AHI website, your organization supports S..RES. 169 and H.RES. 486 in the current congress, legislations that call for a “geographical qualifier”,
(SEE Link here: http://capwiz.com/ahiworld/issues/bills/)
I am curious, Aleco as to what is your position to this issue, and do you support a “geographical qualifier” like “Northern Macedonia” or “Upper Macedonia” that is odds with historical truth?
HELLENIC GENOCIDE /PONTIAN GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE AND COMMEMORATION
The Hellenic Genocide was commemorated at the UN in New York on April 6 2009, recognized by the Thracian World Wide Congress as the international Remembrance Day for the Genocide in Thrace perpetrated by Turkey. This was the first time the Hellenic Genocide was commemorated in front of the UN, you can view some of the Press we received for this event here: (http://www.hellenicleagueofamericahla.org/hla_in_the_news) and on the Thracian Genocide website:
(http://www.thraciangenocide.org/). This entire event was organized on the meager budgets of the ALL volunteer and unpaid Grass-roots activists of the Hellenic League of America (HLA) and the small membership of the philanthropic Pan-Thracian Union of America “Orpheus”. Your bio on the AHI site, mentions that besides you being half-Latino or half-Hispanic or Cuban, you are also through your father’s side descended from Greeks from Brussa, one of the many cities and towns Holocausted by the Genocidal Regime in Angora. What commitment will you make with your well-endowed institution next April 6th to mark Hellenic Genocide day in front of the UN?
THE GENOCIDE IN CYPRUS AND THE MISSING CYPRIOTS
The Genocide in Cyprus was launched on July 20, 1974 by Turkey. Cypriots in Athens hold an all night vigil and Cypriots in London protest in front of the Turkish Embassy on July 20th every year. On July 20, 2007 and July 20, 2008 Grass-roots activists organized by Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) protested the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC to remember the Genocide in Cyprus and the Missing Cypriots, last July 20th 2008 this protest managed to get coverage by CBS, this is exactly the grassroots activism (by dedicated unpaid volunteers) that makes a difference in Washington DC
(See Link: http://www.cyprusactionnetwork.org/cypriots_protest_at_the_turkish_embassy_washington_dc_to_mark_34th_anniversary_of_turkish_invasion )
Will you stand with us at our Cyprus Vigil 2009?
See Link for Flyer with details:
THE PATRIARCHATE AND HELLENISM: AMERICAN ASSIMILATION THE WHITE GENOCIDE
White Genocide is the term Scholars and scholars use to describe assimilation of the Hellenes in America, some Hellenes also call this the “white massacre” The great waves of Hellenes who came to America from the 1890s to 1924, have, for better or worse, assimilated into white American culture, much like the larger German and Italian communities that used to exist in America. With no ties to the homeland, disconnected and oblivious to all Hellenic National Issues, the only apparent tie these Hellenes of the second, third and so on generations have is through the de-Hellenized, multicultural Greek Orthodox Church in America, under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate.
In the experience of many and contrary to misinformed statements of some Greek and Greek-Cypriot officials , those involved in traditional Hellenic culture and/or activism on Hellenic National Issues are either immigrants or first generation sons and daughters of immigrants. This last wave of involved Hellenes is only a result of the economic hardships of the 1950s-1970s that enticed a few hundred thousand Greeks to immigrate to America, together with the much smaller academic Diaspora of the 1970s and 1980s who came to America because of the then inferior status of the educational system in Greece and Cyprus. Immigration from Greece and Cyprus in the last twenty years has been almost non-existent. Thus, when the last generation of Hellenic traditionalists and Hellenic activists die off, so will Hellenism or at least Hellenic National Issues in America.
On your bio page Aleco, you make note that the “Greek Orthodox” church school that you organized in Florida has less than 9 percent enrollment by pupils of Greek descent. Many of the schools, billed as “Greek schools” by the church, have an overwhelmingly non-Greek enrollment and New York, and Los Angeles and other once thriving Greek-American centres, have a majority enrollment of blacks and Hispanics. Which, is of course, on par with the church ideology of worldwide Christian missions (i.e. the well-financed schools and missions in Kenya and Tanzania)
Besides, the Macedonian Name Issue, the only other legislation your AHI seems to support is in regards to the Patriarchate. More widely, viewed as an agent or asset of Turkish intelligence--the current Patriarchate has been silent on practically all Hellenic National Issues. In this day and age when most, if not all European countries, have introduced a separation of church and state.. The Greek American community still allows a church based in a foreign and hostile land to manage its schools and lead at their events. Regardless, of the facts that some 60 percent of seminary students are totally foreign to Hellenic background, the fact that the church is racked with lawsuits involving heterosexual and much larger and common homosexual sex scandals and outright child molestation. Much like other communities in their relationship with the Vatican, the Hellenic American community (or what’s left of it) has left the Patriarchate’s church in droves, and faces the closure of scores of parishes.
Do you support the re-assessment of the relationship with the Patriarchate? How will you address the assimilation issue? What is your opinion on intermarriage?
Finally, what can you do? And what will AHI do to make the grassroots movement move forward? How do you see it in five years from now? What will you invest in money, resources and manpower to move the grassroots movement forward?
Nikolaos Taneris, Press Officer, Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
Hellenic League of America (HLA)
P.S. I should offer you a small bio of who I am and where I am from, I was born in New York City, my mother was born in the village of Itilon in Mani and my father’s roots are from Eastern Thrace, from the city of Constantinople. I am getting married in August in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot girl whose heritage is from Ammochostos, Cyprus. I have been involved in Cyprus and Hellenic National Issues since the 1990s when I was in college; I was once a student member subscriber to AHI.
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