Here is the full text of Representative Maloney’s speech for the Greece-Fyrom issue. I publish it here because it rightly focuses on the importance of Memory, on respecting history away from temporary political interests. Voices like Maloney’s protect our governments from loosing any credibility whatever.
April 1, 2008
Madam Speaker, I rise today to discuss the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). As a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, this issue is of tremendous importance to me. [See how Maloney does not hesitate to start from the main issue at stake, that is protection of Memory:] All historical and archaeological evidence demonstrates that the ancient Macedonians were Greek. Macedonia is a Greek name that has designated the northern area of Greece for 2,500 years.
In 1944, the name of the Skopje region was changed to Macedonia as part of Tito’s imperialist campaign to gain control of the Greek province of Macedonia. The United States opposed Tito’s use of the name Macedonia at that time. However, in November 2004, unilaterally and without warning, the Administration decided to recognize the FYROM as Macedonia.
I was shocked and disappointed that the White House went against prior U.S. policy to recognize the FYROM as Macedonia just two days after the 2004 U.S. presidential election and before talks were completed among the nations most directly affected by the outcome. Along with former Representative Michael Bilirakis, we and sixty-eight of our colleagues sent a letter to former Secretary of State Colin Powell expressing our concerns with this decision and requesting that the State Department return to the longstanding policy of referring to the FYROM as such. I also organized a meeting with the American ambassador to discuss the situation.
I believe that the name Macedonia properly belongs to Greek culture and therefore should not be used by any other country. Greek Macedonia is one of the oldest civilizations known to man and the history of this name should be recognized and respected.
I, along with Representatives Bilirakis, Sarbanes, and Space, have introduced legislation, H. Res. 356, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the FYROM should stop the utilization of materials that violate provisions of the UN-brokered Interim Agreement between the FYROM and Greece regarding hostile activities or propaganda and should work with the United Nations and Greece to achieve longstanding United States and United Nations policy goals of finding a mutually-acceptable official name for the FYROM. This bipartisan resolution has 114 cosponsors.
Just this week a billboard was erected in Skopje that depicts the Greek flag with a swastika in place of the Cross. This is just another example of the propaganda that is being perpetrated against Greek culture in the FYROM. Textbooks used in schools contain maps showing the boundaries of a larger Macedonia that include parts of Greece. Additionally, the government has minted currency showing The White Tower of Thessaloniki. This unacceptable irredentist propaganda must come to an end.
This week the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold a Heads of State and Government summit in Bucharest, Romania. One of the major issues considered will be the expansion of NATO and the possible extension of membership invitations to Albania, Croatia, and the FYROM. In this context, I ask unanimous consent to submit for the record the March 27, 2008, article in the Huffington Post titled “NATO Enlargement – The View from Athens”, written by Greece’s Ambassador to the United States, Alexandros Mallias.