Just another national disaster

In the Public Issue poll published by Kathimerini last Sunday, only 24 percent of respondents said that recognition of Greece’s neighbor as «Macedonia» would be a «national catastrophe,» 10 percent said the issue was of no concern to them and 40 percent responded that recognizing the country as «Macedonia» is a «necessary evil.» In a country often beset by name disputes (especially within the family), and where there is no lack of fear-mongering over the name issue from the entire political spectrum, much of the media and the Church, the fact that only one in four fears a «national catastrophe» is significant. There are several theories to explain this. One is that Greeks may be tired of hearing about impending «national catastrophes» that never actually occur. Death and destruction threaten the Greek language according to some, yet it continues to flourish and grow with some 1 million unexpected speakers added to its ranks – Greece’s migrants. The rejection of the UN reunification plan in 2004 was seen by some as the end for Greece and Cyprus, yet Cyprus is still there. There are those who think that Dimitris Christofias’s election to the Cypriot presidency is also catastrophic, but stubborn old History is poised to prove them wrong. We can also not overlook the fact that the stance of the main parties on the Macedonia name dispute was driven by political expediency. Lastly, one cannot disregard the role played by certain modern-day «Macedonian fighters,» the arrogance with which the outspoken nationalist professor Costas Zouraris addressed a Skopje journalist on television, or Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis’s fiery comments. For such behavior and rhetoric often have the opposite of the desired effect, leading people to brush aside scenarios of a «national catastrophe.»

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