Sunday, October 02, 2005

Albanian Leaders in Macedonia to Seek Expansion of Bilingualism

SKOPJE, Macedonia -- In a media statement Friday (30 September), Democratic Union of Integration (DUI) leader Ali Ahmeti said he plans to introduce discussions within the ruling coalition about expanding the use of Albanian as a second official language.

Ahmeti said he would again raise a DUI proposal to allow the use of Albanian in the parliament, government and army command. President Branko Crvenkovski has rejected the idea, noting that it was intentionally left out of the Ohrid Accords during negotiations in 2001. (Dnevnik,A1 TV)


Anonymous said...

As an American I do not see the logic behind this. Here we speak English and in order to be in any kind of governmental position you must speak it fluently. In order to do anything in the US you must know English. Now Hispanics are a large group in the US, and Spanish is all over the place, however, it is not an official language. It is not used in Congress.

I do not understand how in Macedonia, the Albanian minority leaders can speak in Albanian in Parliament and have translators for the others. This is something new to me, obviously a new globalization trend. Is this what the EU wants of its experiment in Macedonia?

I hope that Macedonian people do not allow this to happen. The country is called Macedonia and the official language is Macedonian and should be the only language used in the Parliament, Army, Government, street signs, etc... That is the only way it should be. No need for second languages.

Also this whole flag issue in Macedonia, allowing minorities to put up their own flags on municipal buildings. The official flag of Albania, is the flag the Albanians are flying up on Tetovo and Gostivar. I would really be upset if a Cuban or Puerto Rican flag was flown on the Miami City Hall or New York City City Hall alongside the American one.

eubalkans said...

There other many other cases in Europe when minority languages are second or third official languages, at all levels.
Take for example Belgium, or Switzerland.
In Belgium, German minority represents some 0.56% of 11milion population of the country.
In Macedonia Albanian minority represents (officially) close to 25 % of population.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a comparison to America is kinda offbase. It was the choice of Cubans to migrate to the US and thus they should accept all the rules of the country they adopt.
In Europe however the situation is different because state borders were often imposed by the strongest to the weakest.
I think a better comparison is to that of Kosovo where Albanians are actually majority yet 8% Serb population get all those rights Ali Ahmeit required. In municipalities where there are Turkish and Goran minorities, those minorities also get their rights although restricted to that municipality only. Greek minority in the south of Albania has also gotten similar rights by close cooperation of the governments in Athens and Tirana.
I don't think this issue should be blown out of proportions and be politicized. These rights have to be given to minorities sooner or later in the Balkans if anyone wants to get into the EU, like they claim every day.

Anonymous said...

One thing to keep in mind is that unlike in the hispanics in USA, the Albanians are not immigrants in Macedonia. In fact most historians argue that the original Macedonians were just another tribe of the Illyrians, current day Albanians. The people of Macedonia today are Slavic-Macedonians. The Slavs were barabaric tribes that came to the balkans in great numbers and took over the population. Macedonians of current Macedonia are a mix of the original Illyrians and the Slavs. The Albanians became a minority only because their land was unjustly given over to Yugoslavia by the Great Powers.

To make this matter worse, the Greeks also claim Macedonia as theirs, when in fact it is clearly written in many books that in ancient Greece, the people of Macedonia and Epirus (Southern Albania) were looked upon as a being of another ethnicity (Illyrian -> Albanian).

For those of you that have seen the movie Alexander, you can see that he is fighting the Greeks, which means that he is not Greek. He also invades countries all the way to India, but he does not invade the Illyrian lands in current day Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, etc. Why? The only reasonable explanation is that Macedonians were of the same blood as Illyrians. In fact, Alexander's mother was from Epirus, southern Albania. Albania's national hero, Gjergj Kastrioti, who fought the Ottoman Empire, was named Skanderbeg, after Alexander The Great.

Went a little off track there, but you now know that Albanians have a right to speak Albanian in the land of their ancestors.

To argues this from another perspective, if the Macedonians agreed to accept Albanians as their equals in the Ohrid Agreement, than why not make Albanian an official language?

Anonymous said...

Please remember Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Colorado and California used to be under Mexico. Thus Hispanics are not just immigrants of the US but they lived there way before the US came in. went too far with history...Alexander the Great, etc...let's go back to when nomads roammed the land...this is the 21st century. Face it.

Ferick said...

Above blogger:
Again, you are not comparing apples to apples. Do you understand the situation in Macedonia at all? It doesn't look like you do. Comparing it to what happen to Texas and Arizona is nonsense. Texas and Arizona were taken by force from Mexico- and Mexico admitted defeat. Whereas Macedonia is SHARED by various ethnic groups, including Slavic, Slavic Muslims ,Roma and Albanians. None of these groups took land from anybody else. Do you get that at all?
It seems a little odd that you are an American and yet you advocate the idea of not letting people speak their own language. So un-American indeed.
Albanians and Macedonians have been speaking their own languages-this law is an attempt to recognize that. Its not an attempt to change anything.

P.S How come you don't know that Spanish is an official language in a number of states, including New York? Do you reside in the U.S? Just a question!
Ferick, Kansas City

Anonymous said...

To The American:

Ferick above pointed out some of the differences. When you talk about the Balkans, you have to go back to history because thats what all ethnicities base their claims on.

Serbs claim Kosovo to themselves becaue they have orthodox churches there from 10 centuries ago. In reality the Kosovo population is 90% Albanian.

Greeks claim southern Albania as Greek territory and they again base it on history from centuries ago which is of course interpreted in their favor. Greeks do not even recognize Macedonia as a state because they claim that Ancient Macedonia was Greek and they are threatend by a neighbor with the same name. In the 1990's they even forced Macedonia to change its flag because they claim that Alexander was Greek and Macedonia should not use Alexander's flag.

In the last soccer match in Greece, the Greek fans were chanting racist slurs against Albanians and even took down the Albanian flag, all this while the Albanian anthem was being played. There are about 500,000 Albanian immigrants in Greece. Imagine how they are treated.

The Greeks claim that their population is 99% pure Hellenic. Let me remind you that Greece is part of the Balkans and is just as ethnically mixed as the other countries.

Again I went off track to show you how much hatred there is between people of different ethnicity in the Balkans. Unfortunately Albanians have been on the wrong end of it and to this day the Albanians remain divided in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia. There were Albanian lands given to Greece also, but the Greeks labeled them Turks, burned their houses and kicked them off by force. The few that remained were not allowed to live as Albanians so eventually were assimilated by force.

Do you see now how history makes all the difference?

Anonymous said...

OK let's be honest here for once. Ancient Macedonians were never greek.Illyrian symbols are nothing Macedonian.
Modern day albanians are not illyrian,you are a mixture of turk,greek,and slav.Your language is turkish like in so many ways.
Skanderbeg was serbian,not albanian.This is proven by old texts that say he was serbian.Albanians have no rights to anything Macedonia since they are not Macedonians.Albanians should be happy to be treated so good by the Macedonians,considering that the Macedonian minority in albania are constantly harrassed by propagandists and that they don't even have their own schools. You shiptare have your own schools and flags waving in some parts of Macedonia.I think it's enough and way too much actually considering your motherland albania treats Macedonians like crap.Albania doesn't even want to recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name,yet they ask Macedonia to tend to their people in OUR LAND.What load of crap that is.
Since you only care about albanians in Macedonia and Macedonia as a whole,then you should leave OUR LAND and go back to that hell hole called kosovo or albania or epirus.

Anonymous said...

You have to choose sides here! You cannot be Slav and Macedonian at the same time because it is very well known that the Slav people came to the Balkans during the 6th Century AD. So, just accept it and call yourself Slav-Macedonian.

All Balkan countries have a mixture of Albanians, Greek, Slavs and Turkish. The Ottoman Empire dominated the region for centuries, and people were constantly moving because of the wars, so of course there are mixtures, even in Greece which claims 99% pure hellenic population. If Albania was a mixture of ethnicities, how do you explain ethnic Albanians in 4 different countries speaking the same language? The Albanian language is recognized by all experts to be a separate branch of the Indo-European family of languages.

This is interesting! Skanderbeg was Serbian?! Then how come he is the national hero of Albania? How many statues of Skanderbeg do you have in Serbia? See if you can find me a single non-serbian source that says Skanderbeg is not Albanian.

First of all, the Slav-Macedonian minority in Albania is very small, in the hundreds, and secondly they are treated very well, just like all other minorities in Albania. The ones that say that minorities in Albania do not enjoy rights, are just saying it for their political agendas and the rest of the world know this very well and it doesn't even listen to them. Did you know that the Macedonian minority has a party in Albania?

Macedonia has always been called by its constitutional name among Albanians. Get the rest of the world to call it Macedonia, not "FYROM".

Those Albanian schools and flags had to be earned with blood. Did you forget the Slav-Macedonian riots that destroyed Albanian schools? Did you forget that the Macedonian Government killed 6 innocent Pakistanis and Indians just to blame it on Albanians and make them look like "terrorists"? If your government officials do this stuff, what should Albanians expect from the general public?

Macedonia has to accept Albanians and treat them just like the Slavs, so that it leaves in peace and democracy. Learn to live with your neighbors or you will risk all of Macedonia, with half of it going to Albania and the other half to Bulgaria.

Thracian said...

The Albanians in Macedonia have always had rights to promote their language and culture. In Macedonia the Albanians are recognized as a minority,today they are around 25% of the population in Republic of Macedonia. Some years ago they were only half of that percentage. With the arrival of immigrants and settlers from Kosovo and Albania with in the last 2-300 years there has been an islamization and albanization of parts of North Western Macedonia(Tetovo,Gostivar,Debar,). The Albanians in Macedonia like to inflate their population figures, and include Muslim Macedonians and Turks who live in the region. Albanians have no real claim to lands in Macedonia, because the area is historically non albanian.

Thracian said...

The Albanians in Macedonia have always had rights to promote their language and culture. In Macedonia the Albanians are recognized as a minority,today they are around 25% of the population in Republic of Macedonia. Some years ago they were only half of that percentage. With the arrival of immigrants and settlers from Kosovo and Albania with in the last 2-300 years there has been an islamization and albanization of parts of North Western Macedonia(Tetovo,Gostivar,Debar,). The Albanians in Macedonia like to inflate their population figures, and include Muslim Macedonians and Turks who live in the region. Albanians have no real claim to lands in Macedonia, because the area is historically non albanian.

Anonymous said...

Having read all of the comments and arguments I think that both Macedonian's and Albanian's are far from acting or being European. There is a need for a great understanding between the two ethnicities. It’s no secret that in the past 50 years while both Albanian's and Macedonians lived under communist dictatorship. There was a large shift of population movement of Albanian's in Macedonia. It wasn’t the fault of the Albanian's that they came to Macedonia. This was part of greater Serb policy by spreading the Albanian people all over Serboslavia they were hoping to assimilate them. Albanian's were systematically forced to move to Tetovo, Gostivar, Kumanovo, and Skopje to reduce the Albanian population in Kosovo. Macedonian Communist played a part in this Serb Agenda since they were forced to serve them. Recently Albanian nationalist have decided to carve up Macedonia and create a mini state. I believe that both Albanian's and Macedonian's face the same enemies they are Greeks and Serbs. There is a need for an agreement between Albanian and Macedonian's on corporation against our common enemies. Unfortunately our leaders Macedonian and Albanian are not true patriots. Macedonian leaders are former communists and in many cases pro -Serb. Albanian leaders are also pro-Serb since they started the war in 2001 and destroyed the Albanian image in the international community, without thinking about the consequences. I don't mind greater Albania. Providing it is build on the borders of Illyria, which has no parts of Macedonia. As I understand the ancient borders of Illyrian, were present-day Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, in the south all the way to the town of Janina. Should Albanian's achieve this no Macedonian will be against them. However should Albanian's decide to work on the project of division of Macedonia, they will be forced to deal with Macedonian, Serb, Greek and Bulgarian interest. Look at the disaster that was experienced by Bulgaria, it lost four wars over Macedonia. The future of Macedonia should be an independent state and a buffer zone to deter fighting among Greeks and Albanian's Greeks and Bulgarian's and Bulgarian’s and Serbs. Albanian's in Macedonia should simply move to Northern Kosovo and Montenegro so that they can return to their historical homeland. The government of Macedonia should compensate the Albanian population for their property and apologise for taking a pro-Serb stand towards the Albanian’s. Albanian’s should also apologise to the Macedonian people for causing the war in 2001. Albanian’s and Macedonians are the only people of the Balkan who have lost so much since 1913. Hopefully this explains the position of the true Macedonian’s who have yet to rule Macedonia, but they are out there.

Thracian said...

On June 27, 2001, President Bush signed an Executive Order freezing all US-based assets of several individuals found to be supporting "extremist violence in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Near the top of the list is Ali Ahmeti, leader of Macedonia's National Liberation Army (NLA), the ethnic Albanian guerilla group. The presidential order does not actually use the word "terrorist," but treats Ahmeti as such. In May 2001, NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson called the NLA "a bunch of murderous thugs whose objective is to destroy a democratic Macedonia." However, there are obvious reasons for Bush's reluctance to use the "T" word. In Aug. 2001, under heavy pressure from the US and NATO, Macedonia's President Boris Trajkovski signed a peace deal with the NLA, granting amnesty to the insurgents. In return, the NLA is to turn over weapons to NATO troops. But there is no deadline for disarmament, and the NLA is allowed to keep some weapons. As President Trajkovski griped to journalist Timothy Garton Ash: "I signed an agreement with the Secretary-General [of NATO] and the Secretary-General's representative signed an agreement with the terrorists." (Timothy Garton Ash in the New York Review of Books, Nov. 29)

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous Above:

You agree that Kosovo is Albanian, but you say that Macedonia is not Albanian. If you take a look at the map, Albania and Kosovo surround the western half of Macedonia. How could ancient Illyrians live in Kosovo and Albania and not in current day Macedonia? They couldn't, and that is why there have always been Albanians in Macedonia. They were there when Slavs came during the 6th century and started occupying the lands by force. Illyria was made up of different tribes but we know that 1. Ancient Macedonians were not Slavs because came to the region later 2. Macedonians were not Greeks because they fought the Greeks and Greeks considered them as foreigners. This is why I said that Ancient Macedonians were either an Illyrian tribe, or some other ethnicity that was in contact with Illyrians (not fighting). Don't forget that King Philip of Macedonia married an Albanian from Epirus. She woudn't marry the enemy, would she? Alex-ander comes from the word "anderr" which in Albanian means dream, the dream that Alexander's mother saw before he was born.

Ferick said...

Both of you (last two) guys have some good points. Few things though:
How do you fancy the forceful movement of Albanians from Macedonia will go? Logically that's not possible. We are talking about evicting 1/4 to 1/3 of a population forcefully. That's never done anywhere in the world. In fact that's called genocide. Besides, if that were to happen, Macedonia would be partition by Bulgaria and Greece.

Macedonians need to be honest to them and admit that Albanians have the same right to lay claim to Macedonia just as Macedonians do. Don't fool yourself with BS that Albanians moved to Macedonia recently. Albanians have been living in what is now called Macedonia for centuries. I don't want to offend anybody, but Macedonian language and ethnicities didn't exist until recently. Most reasonable Macedonians would admit that they are not descended of the old Macedonians. The Slavic characteristics of current Macedonians attest to that.

In any case, Macedonia will have to be shared between Albanians and Macedonians for the foreseeable future. Kosovo and Albania do not have ill wills for Macedonia. It is in the interest of Albanians in the region that Macedonia remains an Independent state the way it is. One think Macedonians need to keep doing is distance themselves from Serbs as much as possible-nothing good can come from being associated with Serbs (sorry).

Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo need to work together to integrate their economies and move forward. Let the racist Serbs and Greek say whatever they want. Also, it doesn’t really matter who lived where one thousand years ago. Anybody claiming something based on what happened hundreds of years ago should not be considered a legitimate claim. I think claims should be limited to the last century. We cannot undo now thousands of years of revolutions and wars.

Thracian said...

It is impossible that the statistical numbers of the Albanians in Macedonia are higher then 23% with the censuses of the 1990's. These censuses were sponsored by the European Union and the Council of Europe precisely to determine the ethnic population of Macedonia, were monitored by European officials, and were concluded to be accurate, democratic, and fair.

Macedonia had always provided its Albanian minority since after World War II with a freedom of having TV, radio, newspapers, elementary and high schools in their own language, even with ministers in the government. This is clearly a sharp contrasts and complete opposite to the plight of ethnic Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania, whose minimal human rights are not respected at all, not to mention of having TV and Radio and ministers in the governments of these countries.

The demand to give the Albanians autonomy in Macedonia is pushing the limit. The Albanians are minority whose rights are fully recognized and they should appreciate the goodwill that the Macedonians had shown to them. USA for example does not give its Mexican minority a cultural autonomy although there are millions of Mexicans that live in California,Arizona,New Mexico and Texas. The Albanians are not original inhabitants of Macedonia and they as recent settlers and migrants from Albania and Kosovo. Albanians should respect the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia.

Anonymous said...

There is a need for the Albanians to understand that being Macedonian doesn’t mean being Slav or pro Serb. Ever since 1945 Macedonian's were forced to become Yugoslavs, just like Albanians were. There were many Macedonian's and Albanian's who were brained washed and started to identify themselves as Yugoslavs and as communist. However it was clearly shown in the 1991 referendum that Macedonian’s wanted an independent state and Macedonians rejected the Yugoslav idea as it was forced among them. My statement regarding the Albanian's in Macedonia and their return to the borders of Kosovo,is not about genocide. It is about an agreement and compensation. No Macedonian wants to expel the Albanians from Macedonia by force. I believe it is in the interest of the Albanian people as well as the Macedonian people to assist them to move there. My reasons are:

-Kosovo will benefit economically if the Albanians from Macedonia moved there, bigger cities will be created with wealthier population
-The Albanians from Macedonia will send their money to Kosovo instead of Macedonia
-Albanian's in Kosovo will become numerically stronger and therefore will deter Serb Expansion.
-A lot of jobs will be created in the construction industry since there would be a need to build houses and Infrastructure for 400,000 people.
-Just look at the countries that have benefited from migrants
-Albanians will refocus their resources into building more prosperous Kosovo
There will be no more Albo-Macedonian issues.
-It will show Serbs that Macedonia is no longer a dumping ground for Albanians as in the past 50 years.
-Serbia will need to abandon the idea that it can rule other nations.
- Also it will stop the division of Kosovo between Serbs and Albanians.
-Serbs benefit when Albanians call for autonomy in Macedonia, they will use it as an excuse to divide Kosovo, between the North and the South.
-It will solve the national problem of the Albanians since 90% of them will live with their ethnic group.

There are many Albanian's who will read my idea and think I'm a Macedonian nationalist. This is not the case I'm campaigning for Albanians from Macedonia to move to Kosovo to stop the division of Kosovo and create prosperity there; I believe that this is the only way.

-National ideas are good for the nation however as Albanian's will discover in the Balkans no nation has fully realised its idea’s and achieved greater states, it was impossible 100 years ago it will be impossible today. Economics and trade should be the national interest of the people in the Balkans. There are small states around the world who have no resources and yet have a higher standard of living then countries who have oil, gas and other natural resources.

Looking at the past and at history will not give anyone higher standard of living. At this moment the Balkan nations are preoccupied with history as it was the source of their problems and their answer to everything. We need people who are ready to deal with reality and to come up with beneficial solutions. The history of the Balkan people is based on myth and no actual facts, since each nation: Albanian’s, Bulgarians; Greeks, Serbs and Macedonians claim that their own nation is special and everyone else is an outsider. There are six billion people around the world we are not unique we are all people and we are no batter or worse then anyone.

Anonymous said...

What is this nonsense about albanians calling macedonians slavs? Since when do our slaves speak? Why do you think Macedonia wants to join NATO and the EU? Because when we have no outside political pressure to worry about we'll promptly proceed to put the Albanian dogs in place. We will not share anything with that lower race of tribal savages. BTW Alexander was of both Ilyrian and Macedonian origin, but that has nothing to do with Albanians since most sources today agree that Albanians belong to a Thracian group of people and migrated from a region north of the Danube.
A real Macedonian

Anonymous said...

I think a better phrase for the above blogger is : a real idiot! Anybody disagree?

Anonymous said...

I would rather route for dufus.

Anonymous said...

The origin of Albanians are disputed among historians because there is no close relative of the albanian language in europe, making it difficult to determine its origins. Some historians say they are of Illyrian origin, some say Thracian, Dacian and Moesian origin. While even some say the Albanians' origin is in asia near present day Dagestan.

Alexander was of Epirot and Macedonian origin. His mother was from Epirus, today's southern albania. South-eastern and central albania were parts of Macedonia, and Northern Albania was part of Illyria. So some Albanians are of Macedonian origin

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous that suggests compensations for Albanians that move into Kosovo:

I like your ideas about peace in the Balkans, but for the Albanians of Macedonia to move to Kosovo is unrealistic and very naive. Do you realize that you are talking about over 600,000 people that live all over Macedonia?

First of all, these people don't want to move, and secondly, Macedonia is in no position to compensate 25% of the population.

How would any country do economically if 25% of it's workers and producers stopped working?

And you say they would move to Kosovo, which is struggling with its own problems and has very high unemployment?!

It is very nice of you to say that you are not a Macedonian Nationalist, but it is very hard to believe you when you say that Albanians were dumped into Macedonia. People are not "dumped" (like garbage) and again, you cannot dump 500,000 people.

Take another look at the map of the Balkans and see how Albania and Kosovo border a big part of Macedonia. Let me guess, Albanians of Albania and Kosovo were also dumped, so they should move to ... hmmm....they should move.

Peace does not begin by kicking people out but by accepting them as your equals. Macedonians got a taste of war in 2001 and they relized that they can't survive another conflict even if they "win". Unless you want to live under Bulgaria and Albania, you better embrace your Albanian neighbors and treat them as equals.

It is funny how noone mentioned the offer of the Macedonian leaders that were trying to negotiate a partition of Macedonia to Albania. This is confirmed by Ali Ahmeti and Ilir Meta, the Albanian prime minister at that time. What did they say? They refused the offer.

This shows you how much Macedonians care about Macedonia. It also shows how Macedonian the Macedonians really are. As long as you love your Albanian neighbors, you can be whatever you want - no need to deny that you are Serbs and Bulgarians.

Albanians are not asking for anything that is not theirs. What is happening now is a reversal of the unjust decisions of 1912-1913 that separated Albania among its hungry neighbors. You bit more than you could chew and then expected to live in peace.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the movement of Macedonian Albanians in Kosovo. I have made my point that it is in the interest of the Albanians of Macedonia to move there. However no one is talking for them to be kicked out.

The current situation in the Balkans is that if they don't move they risk loosing Northen Kosovo to the Serbs. They can choose either Northen Kosovo or Parts of Western Macedonia. You will not have both. The majority of nations in the Balkans have had one form or another of population exchange. Greeks and Turks, Croats and Serbs, they both had to give up something to hold on to something else. This is the political reality.
The Serbs of Croatia were kicked out, howe ever the Serbs of Bosnia were given they own Republic. They couldn't have both. The international community did not allow it.This is what is facing the Albanian's today.The choice is to have parts of Western Macedonia or to loose Northern Kosovo. You choose

Anonymous said...

Continued-Regarding Albanians from Macedonia.
Further more, looking at the current situation effecting Albanians there is a huge risk of Albania loosing Southern Albania, since Independent Kosovo will encourage annexation of Northern Kosovo by Serbia and Southern Albania by Greece. Greece has shown that has the capacity to force the international Community to support her in gaining autonomy in Southern Albania for the so called "Greeks of Epirus" - both Albanians and Macedonians know that the population of Southern Albanian is really Christian Albanian and Vlach or Vlasi. However for economic benefits the majority of them have proclaimed themselves as Greeks.

So in conclusion Albanians are being set up for a disaster, they are in a risk of loosing Southern Albania.

Only time will tell weather this prediction comes to reality. However the current situation will not go forever. Certain questions will need to be solved and as to who is going to come out as a winner and who is going to be a looser will see. The last 100 years have shown that the map of the Balkans has been drawn behind closed doors with complete disregard for the population which will be most effected.

My proposal as a strategic partnership between Albanians and Macedonians is something, which could stop our common enemies in the Balkans. This is why I suggested the movement of Albanians of Macedonia to Kosovo as well as moving away from the current Albanian strategy which is to first gain independence in Kosovo and then wait for a while and turn all resources in annexing parts of Western Macedonia, this will not work.

Anonymous said...

If you had even been to the Balkans for a vacation, you would probably know a little bit of the history, but it is obvious that you have never been there (not even a single day) and don't know what you are talking about.

The greek territory is well established, and southern Albania is Albanian, no matter what the Greek propaganda machine says. If there are claims to be maid, they are from the Albanian side for all the Albanians that Greece kicked out in Chameria (southern epirus). Greece does not care about the "greek minority" in Albania because it knows that they are Albanian, but Greece only cares for land, and that is why it is using its economic power to build an artificial minority of mostly poor Albanian immigrants. Greece offers Greek citizenship to the Albanians, so that it can inflate the statistics about Albanians with Greek citizenship, thus "minorities". This is what Greece cares about, so that when the day comes, it can unjustly claims that Southern Albania is full of Greeks and take it over.
This is what Greece did when the borders were drawn in 1910s and this is what it is hoping that it will work again. They are clever allright, but the western world is more civilized now, and it knows what really goes on. This is why you never hear any western leader say anything about the minute Greek minority in Albania. Greece has over 500,000 Albanian emigrants, and even more if you count the Albanians that were assimilated by force. The Greek minority in Albania is less than 30,000.

Anyway, don't confuse the issues between Greece and Albania with those of Kosovo or Macedonia. Kosovo's issue is about independence. Macedonian issue is about rights, autonomy, democracy. Albania is of course interested in both issues, but nevertheless it does not aim to create a Greater Albania. "Greater Albania" is a term invented by the Greeks and the Slavs who want to keep the status quo and convince the west not to change the borders. Serbia and Macedonia are of course afraid that they will lose territory, and Greece is afraid that it will face more economic competition.

The issues of Kosovo and Macedonia were raised by the Albanians of Kosovo and Macedonia, not by the Albanian government, so the "Greater Albania" argument does not exist as far as Albania is concerned. If Kosovo does join Albania, it will be because they are people of the same blood, the same as East and West Germany, or North and South Korea. So, if there will be a Greater Albania one day, it will only come from the will of the people, not because of some politician with a nationalistic agenda (see Milosevic).

It is amazing how Albanians are always blamed for mistreating minorities, and yet one wonders how come there are almost 3 million Albanians living outside of the borders of Albania! The neighboirs will of course argue that these are Albanian immigrants but the western powers know very well that these are just people that were left outside the borders in 1912. The great powers know that they caused a great injustice at the turn of the 20th century, and are now paying the price for it. The Balkans would be a peaceful and democratic region if the borders were drawn based on the actual population ethnicity and not just on claims and interests.

Anonymous said...

Once you start to change borders, there will be winners and losers. My point is that if borders are changed it should be win - win situation for everyone. Otherwise in 50 years time you will have the same problem as today. It is good to talk regarding change of borders as well as exchange of population. If all of the countries leaders sat down and agreed that they need to compromise in drawing the borders that will be fare for everyone, then a solution can be found. A plebiscite needs to be carried out by the international community to ask the local population if they want to be part of the existing state or do they want to join their ethnic state. No country benefits if its citizens don’t identify with the state. Countries can't make progress if they constantly have to deal with citizens who are set on destroying it. For the first time in history there is a chance to make a difference in the Balkans it is up to the leaders to talk with each other to solve all of the problems. There are also regions in the Balkans with mix population; this is when there has to be an exchange of population. If an ethnic group finds itself to be a minority in a town or village then they should be given the option to move to a region where they will feel more at home. Or they can be given the option to stay if they choose to. Guns don’t have to play a role in changing borders it is up to the people to talk and make the changes of property. One example is if an Albanian lives in a town or region where they are minority then they should find someone who is willing to swap property with them so that they can move to a region where they are majority. This is a win -win scenario. Since two people of different ethnic backgrounds agree that they swap their property so that they can move to a region where they’re ethnic group is in the majority. No one should be forced to move if they want to stay. This suggestion is not ethnic cleansing but exchange of population. In an age where there a millions of people who migrate every year a movement of few hundred thousand people should not be a huge problem if it will benefit the Balkan region. One needs to also be realistic that the Balkans is not a unique place since there are other regions of Europe and other continents where there are millions of people that live out side their ethnic homeland, and they don’t have a problem with that. Just look at the millions of Germans that live out side Germany in the neighbouring countries, there are also millions of French that live out –side France. No German or French person is asking for greater Germany or Greater France. They have learned to live in a multicultural society and to respect each other. It is not land that makes a country rich but it is the human resources together with visionary leadership that can create a better society. Singapore is a good example a small city-state that you can drive the whole of the island in 15 minutes from one end to the other a population of only 3 million. It has no resources however it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and has one of the highest standards of living. The reason for their economic success is very simple the whole nation has focused on creating wealth and not nationalism.

Anonymous said...

Very good!

Now you have to convince the Greeks, Macedonians, and Serbs to treat their Albanian neighbors as equals in all walks of life. This might be hard in Greece because they are still a 99.99% hellenic population, and I mean pure blood from the ancient Greeks.

You may want to start with a fair soccer match with Albanian fans in a Greek stadium and hopefully the Albanian flag will not be torn down by the end of the match. That would be a very good start.