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These Facts are Undeniable
read in Macedonian


We begin 2013 with a visit by the gentlemanly and indefatigable Ambassador Matthew Nimetz, on yet another journey to solve the impossible.  I give the man credit – he is tireless and he is generally positive and from all of the personal accounts I hear of him, he is truly a gentleman.

(A quick aside: One of the funniest blogs I’ve ever read on this subject is from about one year ago.  The headline reads:  “Matthew Nimetz R.I.P - .June 17, 2039.” The first paragraph explains the headline: “Matthew Nimetz passed away, yesterday, on his 100th birthday. He went peacefully while taking a cab to a meeting between the Greek and Macedonian governments to settle the long standing ‘name’ dispute. Nimetz died doing what he loved best, trying to bring peace and understanding to the people of the Balkans.”)

As we go to press, Ambassador Nimetz is in Macedonia and Greece yet again working to find a solution.  But he never will.  Because the problem is not with him, the problem is not with his mandate and the problem is not with Macedonia.  The problem is with the Greeks.

In our documentary film, A Name is a Name, actor Mitko Apostolski summed it up beautifully: “We don’t have a problem with the Greeks. They have a problem with themselves.”

And here is a part of their problem.  Journey back with me to the 1st century AD: the scene is the ancient city of Ephesus where the Apostle Paul has been preaching and driving out demons.  As a result of his work, many have become Christians and as a result of that, many of the silversmiths, who made silver images of Greek gods such as Artemis, were losing business.  One of the silversmiths, Demetrius, managed to get his fellow artisans worked up into a riot telling them they would continue to lose business because people were no longer buying the images of their gods.

The writer of Acts, Luke, takes the story from there: “When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’ Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: ‘Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!’  The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: ‘Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash.”

(Does all of that rioting and shouting sound like the Greeks?)  And did you catch the phrase there?  The city clerk boldly stated that “all the world” knows that “these facts are undeniable” that Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of their god, Artemis, who fell down from heaven.  Not only did the whole world not know this to be the case, but quite obviously, due to the Christian conversions, the whole world – and even many Ephesians – also did not agree that Artemis was a god in the first place. The Greeks were worshipping a false god and because of this, had a problem with themselves.

Now, journey back with me to 2012: On October 11, during the briefing of the Greek spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one of his many verbose quotes (about Macedonia of course) was “Everyone recognizes that Greece took a positive step aimed at breaking the impasse.”

You see, in 2,000 years, nothing has changed with the Greeks.  They state that what they believe is self-evident to the world, that the rest of the world believes the way they do and that the facts, according to the Greeks, are undeniable.  And if anyone does not believe what the Greeks believe, well then, the Greeks will simply try to discredit them.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, in the public relations business, we say that when you actually start believing your own press releases, you are in serious trouble.  Greece is in serious trouble and not only because of its finances.  It has bought its own press release believing that the whole world recognizes what Greece recognizes, that the whole world sides with Greece because “everyone recognizes” that Greece is right.

The Greeks continue to worship a false god, in this day and age, though today it is the god of false pride. And that is why, as Mitko says, the Greeks continue to have a problem with themselves.

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Jason Miko
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