Just recently someone handed me a Bulgarian newspaper and pointed to the headline; "Bulgarian-Greek Cultural event" with the Bulgarian flag on the left and the Greek flag on the right. Wow! I never thought that in my lifetime I would see the words "Bulgarian", "Greek" and "together" in a friendly way in the same sentence. The world is indeed changing and from what I gather, for the better. I hope!
The article went on to say:
"The event was organized by Cosmos Translations Inc and the Marketing Department of the OTN Greek Television Network, from the Greek side, and by the newspaper ´Bulgarian Flame´ and ´Balkanto´ from the Bulgarian side.
The two groups of Canadian-Bulgarians and Greek-Canadians had the opportunity to discuss ways and means to enhance their cultural presence in the Greater Toronto area.
The event was attended also by the Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria in Toronto Mr. Kamen Dikov and his wife and by some other prominent business personalities. Between them we discerned Tom Michalopoulos, (president of Coffee Time and other franchises) and his wife, Loui Masouras, as well as a representative of the Canadian Bulgarian Business Alliance (CBBA).
We hope that this meeting will be followed by many more, for the purpose of enhancing and enriching the cultural presence of both communities in Toronto and beyond."
(The story appeared in the January 22, 2010 issue of the "Bulgarian Flame" Toronto based Bulgarian newspaper.
I know a lot of you are saying, "What´s the big deal?" So a bunch of Greeks got together with a bunch of Bulgarians and had a good time. So what!
Well I grew up in Greece and as far as I am concerned the Greek educational system and Greek society in general taught me not to trust Bulgarians. Bulgarians, according to some Greeks, are allegedly the worst kind of humans to exist on this planet. I even heard from older generations that the Bulgarians are terrible "one-eyed" monsters to be avoided at any cost. So, for me at least, to see this kind of acceptance and friendship between Greeks and Bulgarians is somewhat of a miracle. If this is possible then perhaps there is hope that there will be acceptance of Macedonians and they too will have friendly relations with the Greeks and Bulgarians because, after all, they are a common link between Greeks and Bulgarians. Greece and Bulgaria became "worst enemies" over Macedonia, so what´s wrong with them becoming "best friends" because of Macedonia?
Greece and Bulgaria were indifferent to each other for many years, that is, until they both began looking to annex Macedonian territories. Then in 1913 they fought one another in pitch battles over who was going to get more of Macedonia. That fight continued all through the Second Balkan War, World Wars I and II and by the 1950´s they became fanatic bitter enemies. In fact, if I remember my history correctly, when Bulgaria capitulated in 1913, after fighting Romania, Ottoman Turkey, Serbia and Greece, it handed Sofia over to Romania because it did not want the Greeks to set foot on it fearing the Greeks would slaughter the entire population to the last man, woman and child. And now you tell me they are best friends? Who would have thought?
There is no rhyme or reason for the Greeks and Bulgarians to be best friends now, just like that. Being the suspicious kind that I am, I thought there had to be more. Historically, the only time Greeks and Bulgarians came even close to being friends was when they needed each other and had mutual interests at stake.
In the early 1900´s they both wanted Macedonian territories but could not individually defeat the Ottoman Empire to get them. So at some point in time they must have realized that it was more beneficial to both to be allies instead of enemies. Greece and Bulgaria must have realized that they could successfully defeat the Ottoman Empire only if they put their combined effort together. So they became friends and the first thing they did in July 1910, was to reconcile their "Church" differences between the Bulgarian Exarchate and the Greek Patriarchate, two bitter enemies who had fought to the death.
Their friendship unfortunately only lasted as long as they had a common enemy, the Ottomans, but as soon as the Ottomans were driven out of Macedonia they again became bitter enemies and fought each other for a bigger piece of Macedonia. So excuse me for being the suspicious type but I bet you this "new" so-called "Greek" – "Bulgarian friendship" has something to do with "Macedonia".
You see Serbia too was a "partner" who benefited from Macedonia´s partition in 1913. But with the breakup of Yugoslavia in the late 1980´s, Serbia lost its share and that part of Macedonia became the independent Republic of Macedonia in 1991. So you can bet the Greeks and Bulgarians "need each other" because very soon they will be facing the Macedonian people, from whom they stole parts of Macedonian territories and who will be wanting them back. You can see at least one reason why Greeks and Bulgarians are consolidating their forces, right?
Both Greece and Bulgaria are new countries artificially spawned in the 19th century by the Great Powers, created from the remnants of the failing Ottoman Empire. Neither deserves the Macedonian territories they were given in 1912, 1913 when they illegally invaded, occupied and partitioned Macedonia by force and without the consent of the Macedonian people. I guess they know that too, that is why they need each other now more than ever not only to fight back against the Macedonians but also to cover up the atrocities they committed against them over the years. "Greece will be a witness for Bulgaria and cover up the misdeeds the Bulgarians have committed against the Macedonians if Bulgaria will be a witness for Greece and cover up its misdeeds and hopefully they both will come out unscathed", so they think!
Greeks, Bulgarians and generally most people of the Balkans are often described by outsiders as people who behave "irrationally". Unfortunately this often quoted "irrational" behaviour has never been explained other than being called a "typical Balkan behaviour". Well there are reasons for such behaviour which usually point to guilt. Macedonians, and by that I mean the "real Macedonians" not the "Greek-Macedonians" or "Bulgarian-Macedonians", do not behave "irrationally" nor do they need to because their conscience is clear.
Macedonians have not stolen other peoples´ lands; they have not committed atrocities and genocide and have not prohibited other people from speaking their language or from freely asserting their national and ethnic sentiments. The Greeks and Bulgarians, on the other hand, have stolen Macedonian lands, have committed atrocities and genocide and have prohibited other people, especially the Macedonians, from expressing their national and ethnic consciousness so they do have many reasons to be nervous about and this nervousness manifests itself in "irrational behaviour" which is obviously noticed by outsiders. When you speak of such "behaviour" please do not include the "real Macedonians" as they already have enough problems to worry about without being labeled neurotic, irrational, obsessed and all the terms used to describe the others.
So if you are like me and find it difficult to believe that "bitter old enemies" can suddenly, out of the blue, become "new best friends" then you are in good company.
So what exactly is the "real reason" for Greeks and Bulgarians coming together in this friendly manner? Is this another "historic friendship of convenience" or what?
Again, I hope I am wrong about this and that this "new Greek-Bulgarian friendship" is genuine because the world can use a lot less violence and more "love" between nations. But as I said before, being the suspicious kind, I don´t believe it to be so. In fact there is a trend nowadays, not only in the Balkans but also in all of Europe, where nations and people are becoming more "nationalistic" and violent so I find it difficult to view this new relationship as "genuine".
One might argue that this new found love between Greeks and Bulgarians is taking place in Canada and has nothing to do with Greece and Bulgaria but let me tell you "nothing" happens anywhere without the approval of "mother Greece" and "mother Bulgaria", especially this "friendship" between the two! And there is more.
I have also noticed that this "love affair" is not limited to Bulgarians and Greeks but extends to other "bitter rivals" the "Grkomani and Bulgaromani" (Macedonians who think they are Greeks or Bulgarians and work against the Macedonian cause).
Macedonians beware of "Grkomani" and "Bulgaromani" bearing gifts which they may have bought with your money. Speaking of money, there is nothing more disgusting than your "worst enemies" pretending to be your best friends, soliciting money from you and then using it against you"! Yes you heard me right!
So again Macedonians, of the "real kind", beware of to whom you donate your money because it potentially could be used against you!
Since the Republic of Macedonia became an independent country in 1991, the world has been watching and taking notice. I expect people will soon be asking "we thought Macedonians did not exist, where did all these Macedonians come from?" What will the Greeks and Bulgarians, who have been speaking for the Macedonians for the last one-hundred years, say then? Tito created them? They are disgruntled Greeks? They are Serbia-nized Bulgarians? And who is going to believe that?
So you can see the reasons why Greeks and Bulgarians need to get together and "get their stories straight" and what better way to do that than to start by being best friends. You don´t have to believe me about this, all you have to do is read your history and you will find much "precedence" for this kind of behaviour between Greeks and Bulgarians, especially when it comes to Macedonia and the non-existent Macedonians!
There is another angle to this, a more sinister angle, which involves Greece and Bulgaria again joining forces to occupy and partition the Republic of Macedonia. They did this in 1912 and 1913 and it worked well for them. Why not do it again?
Greece already claims Macedonia belongs to it and that the Macedonian territories up to ancient Paeonia have always been Greek. Bulgaria has also made similar claims since the San Stefano Treaty was signed, so why not act on those claims? Who is going to stop them?
Think of it this way. What is better for Greece and Bulgaria? (a) Risking being discovered and punished for "stealing" Macedonian lands, committing major atrocities against the Macedonian people and having to pay for all this including giving back all the Macedonian territories to the Macedonian people, or (b) Invading, occupying and annexing the Republic of Macedonia and thus solving the "Macedonian Question" once and for all, or at least until the Macedonian people muster enough strength to again rise up? So you can see (b) an "invasion" may be a better option for them. Isn´t that what the Bishop of Thessaloniki called for? Isn´t that what the Greek Special Forces were chanting during the latest Greek Independence Day parade?
Hey, I am just thinking out loud here! And if you think that this idea falls outside the "realm of possibilities", think again. This is not my idea. It comes directly out of Mitsotakis´s play book. You know ex-Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Dora Bakogianys´s father?
Well, I have a better idea, instead of attempting something stupid and risking starting a Third World War, why don´t Greece and Bulgaria admit to stealing Macedonian lands and simply give them back to the Macedonian people? While doing that why not take the punishment they deserve for all the atrocities they both committed against the Macedonian population?
Before I am done here, there is one more thing I want to say, which has some bearing on this Greek and Bulgarian irrational behaviour and it has to do with the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest. I am not talking about the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest everyone knows about, I am talking about "the secret part" of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest that very few people know about! Yes there is a secret part but that is all I am going to say about it for now.
Does the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest expire in 2013? Some people say yes; but it is yet to be determined! I say "yes" one third of the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest expired in 1991 when the Macedonian people took matters into their own hands and liberated the Serbian occupied part of Macedonia and called it the Republic of Macedonia! Unfortunately Greece and Bulgaria are still in denial about that but sooner or later they too will come to the realization that they too must give up the Macedonian occupied territories they stole from the Macedonian people, just as Serbia did! That´s when the 1913 Treaty of Bucharest will expire in its entirety!
One last thing. Greece is about to be given an economic bailout package by the Europeans and the IMF. Yet in spite of the horrendous amount of money given, there are no conditions attached to Greece to provide human rights for its minorities or to end its phony name dispute with the Republic of Macedonia. Yet the Republic of Macedonia in all earnest is expected to change its name to enter NATO and the EU. By changing its name Macedonia will have to admit that Macedonians don´t exist and Greece and Bulgaria were right all along in saying so. And this ladies and gentlemen is the European way of doing business; done by the same Europe Macedonia wants to join. It makes no sense to me!