CANA RALLIES COMMUNITY IN SUPPORT OF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR HELLENES IN FYROM
For Immediate Release: October 28, 2008
Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, Tel. (917) 699-9935
HELLENIC-AMERICAN COMMUNITY SHOUTS “SHAME ON FYROM” OPPOSITE THE US MISSION TO THE UN IN NEW YORK
Numerous videos of the Rally are being uploaded and are available at the
NEW YORK—The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) played its part this week for the HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS campaign, by organizing the first successful rally for the campaign opposite the US Mission to the UN in New York on October 27, 2008 during the mid-Manhattan lunch hours of 12Noon-2PM.
The aim of the campaign, supported by a broad range of human rights, ethnic, advocacy, and Hellenic community based partners, is to ensure that the US State Department promptly and properly investigate human rights violations against Hellenes living in FYROM.
Throughout the meeting, attendees were asked by rally leaders to hold up their cellular phones, to immediately call the US Mission to the UN, and urge them to investigate human rights violations perpetrated against Hellenes in FYROM.
Speakers included Pan-Macedonian President ,Professor Nina Gatzoulis, who presented on the human rights situation for Hellenes in Pelagonia citing important historical documents and reports.
With the aid of a stage and sound system, demonstrators chanted loud and proud the Rally slogan “SHAME ON FYROM.” There were at least 8 presentations by women in our community, grass roots activist Georgina Strilakos Edwards a first generation Greek spoke and led many of the Rally chants, Georgia remarked “the FYROM cause is very important to me because of the love and pride I have for my heritage. I am tired of reading FYROM-ian insults online towards the Greeks and the Greek community” The FYROMite hate brought her to action, and she now activates others to our cause.
CANA activist and Hellenic poet and writer Sevasti Boutos shared the stage with the head of the Macedonian Studies Center, Nancy Biska to read the 12 point Resolution To The United Nation Member States out loud. (Read full text below)
The 12 point Resolution was also read aloud by CANA activist and famous phil Hellene of Chinese heritage Fotios Makritoxonis.
Ioannis Fidanakis the current President of the Pan Thracian Union of America “ORPHEUS” , who holds the honor of being the youngest person ever elected President of a Hellenic organization in the tri-state area, and quite possibly the whole country presented on racial discrimination and the human right to an ethnic identity.
The Hellenic-American community is uniting behind the cause of human rights for the oppressed Hellenes living in historic Pelagonia (currently southern FYROM).Supporter organizations for this Monday’s rally included the Pan Macedonian Association USA, the Macedonian Studies Center, the Pan Thracian Union of America “ORPHEUS”, the Brotherhood of MANI, and the Federation of Hellenic Societies.
Mr. Shahid Comrade the General Secretary of the “Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum” presented on human rights situations for Pakistanis, the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum, is described by the Pakistan Daily Times as “a progressive Pakistani-American organization which is active in the tri-state area on social and political fronts.” Mr. Shahid said that FYROM should respect human rights, profusely expressed his love for the Greek people and their long history, and concluded with the loud and proud chant “HUMANS FIRST! HUMANS FIRST! HUMANS FIRST!”
In 2002, FYROM security forces arbitrarily killed Pakistani economic refugees, and in a widely reported scandal. The FYROM government attempted to cover-up for its crimes, in an incident that involved high level FYROM officials and sent shockwaves throughout the international human rights community.
Numerous attendees gave the 12 point resolution to officials of the US Mission to the UN, and were told “we are very aware of your presence, we are sending your concerns to Washington DC” and many US Mission officials remarked that they could hear us and see us from inside the offices of the US Mission to the UN.
The Rally concluded peacefully with the reading of the poem “MACEDONIA MOTHER” by Sevasti Boutos, and the singing by all of the Hellenic National anthem.
RESOLUTION TO THE UNITED NATION MEMBER STATES
- We demand that the citizens of FYROM may be free to declare their Greek origins in the census.
2. We demand that citizens of FYROM who were forced by extreme regimes to change their last names into Slavic-sounding names, be unbound and unrestricted to go back to their original Greek names if they so desire.
3. We demand the recognition of all Greek monuments which were unearthed in the ancient area of Pelagonia (now south FYROM).
4. We demand the recognition of all Greek Orthodox churches in the area of ancient Pelagonia (now south FYROM).
5. We demand all attempts to modify Byzantine Orthodox monuments that bear Greek Byzantine writings, such as icons, to cease immediately.
6. We demand that all Greek Orthodox Churches in the area of ancient Pelagonia (now south FYROM) be allowed to operate freely.
7. We demand that the citizens of FYROM who claim Greek origins are free to worship in the Orthodox churches, which are under the Serbian Patriarchate, and to not be compelled to attend the schismatic, illegal, and not recognized by any Patriarchate church of the so-called “Macedonian” Orthodox Church.
8. We demand the return or monetary compensation by the FYROM government to the descendants of the Greeks who unwillingly abandoned their ancestral homes, churches, schools and lands during the course of perilous times in the area, and to those whose properties were confiscated by extreme regimes in places such as Bitola, Gevgheljia, Krushevo etc.
9. We demand that the Greek cemeteries that stand as silent witnesses of the Greek presence in the area, in places such as today’s Bitola, be recognized as such and preserved by the FYROM government as historic monuments.
10. We demand that the Greek language be taught in public schools and financed through the FYROM government in areas where there is a demand.
11. We demand that a name, other than “Macedonian,” is assigned for the official Slavonic language of Skopje. FYROM cannot monopolize the term “Macedonian” in an ethno-linguistic or national context. Historically and linguistically, the official Slavonic language of Skopje (which is akin to Serbian and Bulgarian) is distinctly different from the regional/local Slavonic-like oral dialects used by bilingual Greeks in Greece’s border front Macedonian provinces.
12. We demand that the Greek government issues passports to Greeks whose origins are traceable to the historic northern Macedonian regions of Pelagonia and Gevgheljia (now south FYROM) regardless of mother-tongue (i.e., Greek, Vlach, Slavonic-like local/ regional dialects, or the official Slavonic language of Skopje).