Macedonians, Americans and Turks

(Excerpt from doctor Daphne Poulianou book: "Aris N. Poulianos - Reversals - From his life and work" - 2006)

In this book there have been special reports for the USA residents, since the citizens of this country have not an explicit name. For example, it is often erroneously reported the "American" president (instead of the USA president), as there is not such institution in the American continent. In scientific matters there is also a problem, when eg the average of life expectancy is reported in America or the frequency of an illness appearance, if that is to say is about USA or about the entire continent.

Since 1820 already the Greek doctor and writer Korais had perceived the question and reports the USA citizens as "Angloamericans". In this case however another matter arises: determining the Americans of English origin, in contradiction to the Greek-Americans, Jew-Americans, German-Americans, Chinese-Americans etc. Thus up to today the issue has remained open, creating however a lot of controversy. A word that may more likely be attributed the term sought is perhaps Epians (on the basis of the acronym in Greek language of USA - ...) that with its use, perhaps could lead them to a more benign (: - epios - in Greek) behavior.

This discussion has taken place in the past few years with other members of the Anthropological Association of Greece. Nikos Papas influenced proposed the term USians on the Internet. However as this term can be considered caustic, the abovementioned word Epians seems more suitable, and, respectively, Ellinoepians, Hebrewepians, Germanoepians Chinoepians etc. The words Greek-American etc are maintained in order to mean the Greeks that are born or permanently living in the American continent.

In any case accuracy is important, otherwise confusion is certain, so that almost no foreigner understands why the name Macedonia is not suitable for the newly formed "Republic of Skopje" (FYROM). Commonly the Greeks, with the most ancient language, use the words with the highest possible accuracy. Moreover humankind now uses thousands of fine-elaborated Greek words, that if removed, not only from the English, but also from all languages, no substantial communication is now days possible. Unfortunately, when foreigners use the Greek words that their languages include, usually do not comprehend them, because they are not taught Etymology, with unfavourable consequences at their use in diplomacy, human relations etc.

There is no civilized Greek who does not want smooth relations with any population, especially with his neighbours. However our friends in Skopje, as well as the other foreigners that get involved, should understand that it is necessary to respect, first of all for their sake, the Greek words they use. As long as Skopje was a province of Yugoslavia, no particular question existed, but as an independent state serious matter arises.

The name Turkey also poses a big problem, especially as concern its citizens. Besides the fact that a lot of nationalities coexist there, the Turks of Mongol origin that reached there from current Turkmenistan constituted a minimal anthropological minority, which today has been lost almost completely. Asia Minor or Anatolia is anyway a more well fitting name for the geographic space in quastion and respectivly of its inhabitants.

I am a Macedonian woman and perhaps I spoke at great length, but when I say I went to Macedonia, I mean in my village in Greece, not in Skopje. I hear in discussions that our "protectors" support Turkey because it is a big country. Why then do they use Skopje, a small country, against Greece? For the integration of Turkey in the European Union several politicians, for internal consumption, exercise braggadocios. When the hour of signature comes, then we 'll see! Will they stand in favour of national matters as for example Cyprus and our borders integrity or will they obey to our "protectors"? Will they require Turkey to become first a peaceable state?

Note 1: A fact that many people ignore (some intentionally, most not) is that from the anthropological point of view the Slav-speaking residents of FYROM, in their overwhelming majority, do not have a Slavic origin. Thus, although being Slav-speaking, are not Slavs (as neither Serbs etc), but autochthonous population descendants. Slavomacedonians were named at times in distinction to the Greek-speaking Macedonians (a word that in ancient Greek means high people, obviously in comparison to the other Hellenes). For example, the overwhelming majority of Indians, South Africans and others, cannot be considered of English origin just because adopted an Anglo-Saxon language. The reasons of spreading the Slav language, besides Russia (which inhabitants are mainly of Scandinavian origin), also in the southern Balkans, as a historical process is still an open scientific question. It is likely that the ottoman yoke had facilitated this, when the Asian invaders oppressed less the Slav-speaking populations than the Greek-speaking ones in SE Europe. That is to say in ethnogenesis questions and of the implying national identity, when the indisputable anthropologic data are not taken into account (beyond linguistic or religious - hierographic matters), mistaken impressions and attitude often take place. In conclusion, instead of examining, as Rigas Fereos did, what unites us as humans (with all ploys that history reserved to us), often the way of an ostrich fanatism is followed, eventually serving the games of passim warmongers, obviously not in favour of our peoples prosperity and progress. We all have a lot to learn from the unhindered and blinker-free further study of the SE Europe history, in an interstate, and especially inter-Balkan, cooperation. Nevertheless, it would be at least a paradox for our neighbours to insist on self-determination with words from the Greek language (Macedonia, Macedon, Skopje), but not seaking togetherness with the Hellenes - generators of these names.

Note 2: Recently a "National Geographic" DVD circulated be the "Vima" newspaper with regard to the Asia Minor catastrophe. A part of the DVD is dedicated to the exchange of populations during 1922-3, where foreign correspondents (Ernest Hemingway among them) report that opposite to the island of Lesvos, in Aivali, thousands tents were set up to receive the Greek-speaking Muslims, which did not know the Turkish language. There, before their expedition to the destinations of final installation, it was obligatory first to learn their "new" language. It is obvious that the Greek authorities sent across the Aegean Sea Greeks, who had meanwhile been violently Islamized, while an abundance of analogous occurrences has been registered from the Adriatic up to the Black Sea (including changes of language and/or religion).

Note 3: Years ago a young English philologist visited Greece. During a discussion, in order to support her position that modern societies are male-dominated, she etymologized the word history as "his story". It is obvious that with the use of groundless argumentation, even if for a "good" cause, equally inevitable is obtaining conclusions leading to a general confusion, giving ground to those who hold out to profiteer from such a confusions.