The Greek Community of Melbourne Victoria has repeatedly betrayed Macedonia and other historical issues by inviting questionable guest speakers as part of their education lecture series. In this article I will explain the timeline of how I have come to the undeniable conclusion that the peak body meant to represent the Greeks of Melbourne and Victoria is spitting in the face of its members and the community it claims to represent by promoting material that contradicts Hellenic interests specifically with regards to the Macedonian issue.
My realisation began on the 25th of September 2019 when the Greek Community of Melbourne (GOCMV) invited left wing academic, Professor Dmitris Christopoulos to deliver a lecture at the Greek centre titled, “Who is the Greek citizen? Citizenship status from the creation of the Greek state till today”. I attended that lecture and mingled before the lecture began. To the rear of the room there was a table promoting and selling an array of Mr Christopoulos’s books, one of which was called “10+1 questions and answers on the Macedonian Question”. You can read this book for free online (https://www.rosalux.de/fileadmin/rls_uploads/pdfs/engl/MAKEDONIKO_2019_%CE%95%CE%9D.pdf)
I found this intriguing and began reading it as I had a strong feeling that its contents would contain ideas and beliefs that are contrary to Hellenic interests as well as historical truth with regards to the Macedonian issue given Mr Christopoulos’s political leanings and support for the Prespes agreement (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46971182). I was correct in my assumptions. The book itself makes a raft of ridiculous and ahistorical points, claiming that there exists a non-Greek Macedonian ethnicity, a Macedonian language and even supports the idea that our neighbours to the North have every right to self-determination even if that would undermine the historical realities surrounding Macedonia. The positions taken in this book are purely political and not at all based on history and sociology. How can any “Greek” accept the deracination of our birthright by claiming that there is such a thing as Macedonians who are not Greek? How can any Greek believe that the language spoken in the country to Greece’s north is “Macedonian” when in actual fact it is a Bulgarian dialect? This book offers a synoptic view of the Macedonian issue from the point of view of the Greek communists and the ultra-nationalist followers of the IMRO of the Republic of Skopje. The authors present the Macedonian case not as it truly happened, but as they and followers of the IMRO wanted it to have occurred.
Given the anti-Greek nature of this book, why did the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne invite such a controversial political figure in the first place? How come they openly promoted this treasonous book online and even sold it for 20 dollars at the Greek centre (see photo 1 and 2)? Why is the GOCMV providing a platform for radical left-wing academics to sell their anti-Greek propaganda to the Greek Community of Melbourne?
After I saw this (September 2019), I called the GOCMV and registered my complaint and tried to seek an explanation as to why they were promoting and selling this particular book. I was literally laughed at by the male receptionist who told me that the book is freely available at the library of the Greek Centre and that it was a “good book”. I then spoke to Greek Centre Director Mr Jorge Menidis who claimed that the book was never made available at the GOCMV library even though the receptionist told me that it was. Clearly something was suspect so I then spoke to another well-known Greek (who has requested to remain anonymous) who would have no reason to lie who frequents the centre. He told me that he had seen the book at the GOCMV library. So not only did the GOCMV promote the book online, sold it at the lecture but even after the lecture it was freely available for visitors to read. How is any of this in line with the aims of the GOCMV? On the GOCMV website it clearly states, “For almost 120 years, the GOCMV has been, and continues to be, an advocate of cultural diversity by promoting our rich history to the residents of Victoria.”. What history are they actually promoting however? This book is more in line with Bulgarian historiography that the people of Skopje would imbibe like cool aid. It is extrinsic of any real truth and ignores the countless documents by actual unbiased historians who have verified over and over again the Hellenic nature of Macedonia and its people.
After calling in 2019 to complain I was treated with disdain and ridiculed by the receptionist for speaking up for Hellenic interests. They were effectively defending the selling and promotion of the book. Fast forward a year later and I see that they had invited again the same academic, Dmitris Christopulos to give another lecture, this time about Golden Dawn, titled, “The day after the Golden Dawn Trial: Legal and political repercussions of a historical verdict” on the 21st of October 2020. The book 10+1 questions and answers on the Macedonian Question”. The GOCMV naturally marketed this event days in advance and included in the official Facebook event and website event, references and links to the book. They had also attached a link to Dmitri’s website where the book is available to read (watch the video for the relevant screenshots proving this). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqWnaWGWMK4
The question remains, why is the GOCMV constantly promoting this anti Greek book? Shouldn’t they be promoting the idea that Macedonia is Greek? Why are they promoting books that say the complete opposite on repeated occasions? Why did they even sell the book in 2019? These are questions the GOCMV should be answering as their stated goals according to their own website is about promoting our “rich history”. Macedonia has a very rich history however in all my years of observing the GOCMV they done very little to promote Macedonia.
After seeing this book advertised for a second time within two years, once in 2019 and again in 2020 I decided to register my concerns with Nick Dallas directly who is a member of the Educational Committee at the GOCMV. I called him and I was unimpressed by his dismissive and rude attitude. I asked him why the GOCMV was promoting a book such as this given it goes against Greek interests? He told me it is his decision. I then told him that I want this issue tabled at the next GOCMV meeting. He told me how do to so but quite smugly told me that even if I were to email GOCMV requesting the issue be discussed formally at the next meeting he would not table it as any education related requests are up to his discretion. Nick also insinuated that my views, believing that “Macedonia is Greek” made me a Golden Dawn member. I told him that such an insinuation was ridiculous given that by extension the millions of Greeks around they would who protested against the Prespes agreement on the streets of their towns and cities would also be Golden Dawn members. Feeling disgusted by the lack of democratic process and s the smug attitude by Nick, I decided to create a public petition and make videos exposing the GOCMV for their betrayal of Macedonia and unwillingness to rectify the situation. I had tried to solve this privately and behind closed doors but clearly the GOCMV’s self-righteous and dismissive attitude left me with no other option.
Left : Nick Dallas , Centre : Bill Papastergiadis President of GOCMV
You can sign the petition here : https://www.change.org/p/and-the-greek-orthodox-community-of-melbourne-victoria-anti-macedonian-book-sold-by-the-greek-community-of-melbourne-victoria It managed to get over 500 signatures within a few days. This petition combined with the online comments it generated created such a furore that a high-ranking member of the Greek Community of Melbourne contacted me threatening potential legal action because apparently, I had “defamed the Greek Community of Melbourne”. I responded by telling him that I was not afraid as everything in the petition was accurate. I have received no legal summons since that conversation on 18 October 2020.
I also contacted various stakeholders who I thought would act on the issue requesting they use their influence to put pressure on the GOCMV to remove any references to this book on their online platforms. Peter Jasonides and Paul Mavroudis, the then president of PANMAC Victoria both brushed off the significance at what had been done especially Mr Jasonides who refused to act in an effective manner even though I had sent him evidence proving that the GOCMV had offended the cultural sensitivities of Macedonians. I expected Mr Mavroudis and Mr Jasonides, given their connection with PANMAC and views on the Macedonian issue would take immediate and dynamic action. Mr Jasonidis didn’t even acknowledge that the GOCMV had even betrayed Macedonia. Why is this? What sort of interests, financial or otherwise does Mr Jasonides have invested with the GOCMV that would make him avoid coming into conflict with the GOCMV? What sort of interests and/or alliances does Mr Mavroudis have to avoid condemning GOCMV’s betrayal of Macedonia when his position as president of PANMAC is to stand up for Macedonian interests?
Furthermore, what role do certain individuals within GOCMV play in this whole debacle? Nick Dallas openly promoted this book online giving oxygen to anti Macedonian views. Nick Dallas as well as Spiros Papadopoulos who is also a member of the Education sub committee at the GOCMV have both attended events organised by the Democritus League, a communist organisation. Perhaps this explains why the GOCMV have promoted views that Skopjian’s and Communists would agree with (see photo 3). If not, why are they facilitating views that go contrary to Greek public opinion and Greek interests?
This book is not a one-off situation of promoting Bulgarian historiography. In an online lecture that was held on 12 November 2020 the GOCMV hosted a lecture on their official YouTube and Facebook channels called, “Greek Civil War Refugees in Czechoslovakia” by Katerina Kralova. Katerina referred to Skopjians as “Slavomacedonians” on numerous occasions (see the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBeHnzLRAeA). This is just yet another example of the ongoing anti-Hellenic views that the GOCMV is giving oxygen to. There is no such thing as a “Slavomacedonian”. Anyone who is Macedonian is Greek and Alexander the Great himself considered himself. He clearly states this in his letter to King Darius III (see photo 4).
In conclusion I would like to reiterate how disgusted I am with the fact the GOCMV has repeatedly violated the interests of the Greek people and let down its members and the broader community. Their self-righteousness and refusal to listen to other opinions and lack of democratic process as well as the legal threats have just shown what kind of people they are. I implore everyone to contact the Greek Community and demand that they remove all references to this book on their online platforms as well as any lectures which claim that Macedonians are not Greek. The GOCMV must issue a public apology for their actions and take active steps to regain the trust and respect from Greeks, especially the Macedonians who they have especially offended. We are obliged as Greeks to hold people to account when they insult our cultural sensitivities especially when they claim to be our leader’s and representatives. If we don’t, they will simply continue insulting our intelligence and the memory of our ancestors who spilt rivers of blood for our country.