Over the past month, the book I co-authored with my colleague and friend Umut Özkırımlı, Tormented by History: Nationalism in Greece and Turkey was discovered by journalists in the
. The reason for this interest is our discussion of the territorial expansion of the Greek state and the way nationalism informed the relevant process as well as our discussion of the minorities issue. To date, our work has been featured in countless media that support the government and the opposition, and in the past two weeks I have given four interviews and received a lot of ‘fan’ mail from Macedonia. Republic of Macedonia
Many Macedonian readers are just satisfied that a Greek academic has explicitly acknowledged the process of Hellenization of the Ottoman province of Macedonia during the first part of the 20ieth century but are unaware of the fact that Hellenization was one of the many opposing projects imposed on the inhabitants of Macedonia by the Bulgarian, Serbian and later the Yugoslav Federation and the elites of the Republic of Macedonia. I should point out we are not pioneers in this respect as a series of Greek academics have been forthcoming on these issues.
More readers, however, write to express their frustration that the future of the two countries (Greece and Macedonia) is determined by calculating nationalist elites and this is the most encouraging outcome of the interest in our book.
The reason for reproducing in my next entry the English (unedited) version of my interview with Nova Makedonija has to do with the misunderstandings that some Macedonian and Greek readers have proved to be prone to – proof that a lot of work lies ahead in the effort to challenge the domination of nationalist imaginaries over our daily phenomenologies. Macedonian readers readily see the terms ‘the population of
’, or ‘local inhabitants’ as interchangeable with ‘Macedonians’ or ‘Macedonian minority’ and treat these ahistorically. Greek readers have difficulty perceiving the fact that Macedonian identity has been around for over a century and that no matter how ‘artificial’ or engineered it may be, it is still real enough for those who call themselves Macedonians. As the Macedonian text has been edited primarily due to space restrictions and as the translation from English to Macedonian has unavoidably entailed some misunderstanding, I thought it would be helpful to provide the entire interview text. Macedonia