Meanwhile, the Greeks…
While everyone seems to be focusing on Bulgaria these days (including me) and their childish demands, this statement by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias caught my eye. In a meeting in Athens with Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani (who took over from Nikola Dimitrov — who seems to be missing), Dendias made this rather shocking statement regarding the so-called Prespa agreement:
“However, more progress is needed. On one hand, on the implementation and consistent use of the name and terminologies by all public institutions and private entities, including websites,” (emphasis mine).
Hello! “Private entities?!” As in the private sector? As in private individuals whether they are running a business, an NGO, a sports club, a religions institution, a media outlet, a private school or other academic institution? Those “private entities?!”
Sorry, but that is wrong. And if the Macedonian government acquiesces to their demands, then there should be hell to pay, politically and legally of course.
What does the so-called Prespa agreement say on these subjects?
Part 1, Article 6(1) — (3) state:
1. Aiming at strengthening friendly bilateral relations each Party shall promptly take effective measures to prohibit any hostile activities, actions or propaganda by State agencies or agencies directly or indirectly controlled by the State and to prevent activities likely to incite chauvinism, hostility, irredentism, and revisionism against the other Party. Should such activities occur, the Parties shall take all necessary measures.
2. Each Party shall promptly take effective measures to discourage and prevent any acts by private entities likely to incite violence, hatred or hostility against the other Party. If a private entity in the territory of a Party engages in such activities without that Party’s knowledge, that Party shall, upon such acts coming to its attention, promptly take all necessary measures as provided by law.
3. Each Party shall prevent and discourage acts, including acts of propaganda, by private entities likely to incite chauvinism, hostility, irredentism and revisionism against the other Party.
Granted, I think the whole thing is rubbish because the Government of the Republic of Macedonia ignored the consent of the governed — a hallmark of democracy and necessary for the survival of any state that claims to be a democracy — and went ahead and ignored the will of the people on September 30, 2018.
Nevertheless, nothing in the above article states that private entities must change their name.
It’s bad enough that Macedonia (and Greece though it will never be asked to) must “promptly take effective measures to discourage and prevent any acts by private entities likely to incite violence, hatred or hostility against the other Party.”
Be honest: what does it mean “likely to incite violence, hatred or hostility against” Greece? Well, we all know — whatever Greece says. There is absolutely no objective standard here — it is all entirely subjective. Which is the problem with so-called “hate speech” these days — there is zero objective standard. “Hate speech” is what you perceive it to be and we all know that there are too many people in this world who will take the offense at the slightly perceived statement or action and who believe they have a right not to be offended. These people are called snowflakes, or, in my book, losers. Granted speech among children in school or other settings can be controlled — but that is because we are talking about children who have not yet fully grown up or whose minds and behaviors have not yet been fully formed and shaped by their parents and other adults. But adults claiming “hate speech?” Morons, total morons.
Now, here’s an interesting point. In his statement, Dendias also states: “On the other hand, on the eradication of the ‘antiquization programme’; the removal of the Sun of Vergina from all public places and uses, the renaming of public roads and facilities.”
Spot the difference? He does not call out “private entities” here but “public places,” as he knows he cannot force someone in their private home or private business to paint over that Star on the side of their wall, to give but one example. And yet by stating that all “private entities” must use the “new name” he is demanding that which first, is wrong and second, cannot possibly be enforced because it would actually require an authoritarian/totalitarian state and their police force.
But maybe that is what he is aiming at: essentially controlling speech either verbal, written, or in the form of art. A Zaev Government could, conceivably, revoke the business license, for instance, of a “private entity” that does not comply. And that should be a frightening and chilling prospect, for we all know what happens when governments try to control speech.
As always when writing about such things, I find it necessary to end with these quotes:
“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history…. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was.” — Milan Kundera
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” — George Orwell
“To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots.” — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn