Left, 1992, Right 2019. Photos: Gerasimos Domenikos

“Macedonia Is Greek”, The #27YearsChallenge

It’s been one of the most discussed national issues in Greece, and finally comes to an end.

AthensLive News
Jan 21 · 4 min read

The specific naming dispute, although an existing issue in Yugoslav-Greek relations since World War II, arose in 1991 after the breakup of Yugoslavia and the newly gained independence of the “Republic of Macedonia,” a name Greece would never accept for historical and geographical reasons. Since then, it has been an ongoing issue in bilateral and international relations.

In 1992 about 500,000 Greeks, including pupils, participated in the “Rally for Macedonia,” a very large demonstration that took place in the streets of Athens and across the country to warn the European Community against recognizing the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

Using the slogan “Macedonia is Greek,” the protesters were intended to emphasize that Macedonia is a historic region that stretches beyond Yugoslavia’s borders, and to advance the claim that it is a Greek entity, historically and culturally.

In 2018 Macedonia and Greece struck the deal in June to end a decades-long dispute over Macedonia’s name, which Greece says harbors territorial claims on its northern province of the same name.

Protesters are against the deal because they believe that any use of the name Macedonia in the neighboring country’s name is a usurpation of ancient Greek heritage and implies territorial claims on Greece. Greece has long opposed the name “Macedonia” for its northern neighbor, saying that it implied territorial aspirations over a northern Greek region of the same name. Under the deal signed by Athens and Skopje in June, Macedonia would change its name to North Macedonia, and Greece would lift its objections to its neighbor joining NATO and the European Union.

Protest organizers said they hoped to attract more than 600,000 people but the police estimated the turnout at close to 60,000.

Some protesters also attacked photographers, injuring four, one of whom was hospitalized and also had his camera stolen.

In the photos below by Gerasimos Domenikos/FOS PHOTOS you will be able to realize how the protests have transformed over time. Domenikos who was a junior photographer in 1992 at the start of his career and on assignment, during the 2019 decided to capture the protests again after 27 years so he could understand what changed. Domenikos approached the subjects both times in a purely editorial approach both times trying to leave aside the cultural elements of the demonstration and focus on a part of our society that existed, exists and will exist. A part of our society that due to its obsolete ethics has been victimized by the media and the far-right. What he finds common in both situations is not the aesthetics but the notion of defeat and sell-out by most of the participants. According to our editorial decision not to publish any analysis or editorial opinions we consider that the photos provide the necessary conclusions about the development of nationalism in Greece.

Photo: Angelos Christofilopoulos
Photo: Angelos Christofilopoulos

See more photos from 1992, and more photos from 2019 by our colleague and photographer Gerasimos Domenikos.


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AthensLive

AthensLive is a non-profit, on-the-ground source for stories from Athens and throughout Greece.

AthensLive News

Written by

Your independent on-the-ground source for stories, news, and images from Athens and throughout Greece. In English. / athenslive.gr / info@athenslive.gr

AthensLive

AthensLive is a non-profit, on-the-ground source for stories from Athens and throughout Greece.

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