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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-26

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Scholars dismiss Skopje claims as 'silliness' in letter to Obama
  • [02] Trade deficit down 39% in Jan-Mar

  • [01] Scholars dismiss Skopje claims as 'silliness' in letter to Obama

    A group of some 200-plus prestigious academics, for the main part historians and Classicists teaching at the most renowned universities in the world - including the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Stanford, Vassar, College de France and hundreds of others in the United States and Europe - have sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to intervene to "clean up the historical debris" left by the previous U.S. administration's policy on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    According to those signing the letter - including widely read authors on ancient Greece and Alexander like Paul Cartledge, Steven H. Rutledge and Robin Lane Fox - Skopje's claims to a Macedonian descent of its Slavic population and its "misappropriation" of Alexander the Great as the country's national hero are a "subversion of history".

    "On November 4, 2004, two days after the re-election of President George W. Bush, his administration unilaterally recognized the "Republic of Macedonia." This action not only abrogated geographic and historic fact, but it also has unleashed a dangerous epidemic of historical revisionism, of which the most obvious symptom is the misappropriation by the government in Skopje of the most famous of Macedonians, Alexander the Great.

    " We believe that this silliness has gone too far, and that the U.S.A. has no business in supporting the subversion of history," the letter posted on the website Macedonia Evidence ( reads. It goes on to list the substantial historical and archaeological facts that debunk Skopje's assertions.

    The letter, dated May 18th, also notes that such "misuse implied unhealthy territorial aspirations" even in the early 19th century and that it was clearly "not a force for historical accuracy or stability in the Balkans".

    "We call upon you, Mr. President, to help - in whatever ways you deem appropriate - the government in Skopje to understand that it cannot build a national identity at the expense of historic truth. Our common international society cannot survive when history is ignored, much less when history is fabricated," it concludes.

    An initiative begun by Stephen G. Miller, Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology at the University of California, Berkeley, the website was continuing to collect the signatures of scholars in support of the letter, with the original 200 having grown to a list of 237 by May 25.

    [02] Trade deficit down 39% in Jan-Mar

    Greece's trade deficit shrank by 39 pct in the January-March 2009 period, compared with the corresponding period in 2008, the National Statistics Service announced on Tuesday.

    Excluding oil, the trade deficit fell 14.6 pct over the same period. The trade deficit fell to 6.317 billion euros in the first quarter of the year, from 10.355 billion euros in 2008. The value of export-deliveries fell 17.1 pct in the January-March period, while the value of import-arrivals dropped 32.9 pct.

    The March shortfall totaled 2.272 billion euros, down 39.9 pct from last year, with imports down 33.2 pct and exports falling by 15.2 pct in the month.

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