Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Άρθρο του Χρίστου Δ. Κατσέτου με θέμα το 'Ελληνο"μακεδονικό" λεξικό.

Αναδημοσίευση από το ιστολόγιο του Ακρίτα

I feel compelled to denounce in the strongest possible way the deplorable incident caused by Neo-Nazi thugs who harassed the speakers and audience during the presentation of a Greek-Makedonski dictionary in an Athens venue on June 3.
Bearing in mind that protesters disrupting events and conferences come in all sorts of political shades (and thus are not unique to Neo-Nazi extremists), I wish to express my disappointment for the less than adequate security measures undertaken by the Greek police to prevent this incident. Clearly, the panel of speakers and the audience -whose right to assemble and express
their views freely and without censoring was granted outright by the Greek authorities - should have been afforded better police protection in this regard.
And yet, however unfortunate and deplorable this disruptive incident might have been, it is not even in the slightest way representative of prevailing attitudes in Greek society
on matters of tolerance and freedom of speech.
Here are some dry facts pertaining to this case:
A dictionary entitled, in Greek, "Ελληνικό-Μακεδονικό Λεξικό" was published and publicly presented in Athens.
There was no censoring whatsoever on the part of the Greek authorities.
Even though the book presentation had clear political overtones there were no political or academic objections to the Dictionary's public presentation (save for a
small ultra-nationalist constituency). Along these lines, may I also add that there was no objection over the "existence" of one of the two featured languages.
Greek academics and the informed Greek public at-large are fully cognizant of the fact that most serious Slavonic languages specialists (with the probable exception of Bulgarian scholars) recognize the existence of a Makedonski language. Also, this recognition and respect is extended to the Makedonski people in deference to their identity and language.
[BTW, young scholars in Greece and the Diaspora would like to critically decipher and better elucidate the relationship between the official language of Skopje and the local Slavonic dialects spoken by bilingual populations (for the most part with Greek national identity) in Greek Macedonia.]
The only academic objection here rests with the title, which takes us, once again, back to the name issue and its derivatives. Simply put, a dictionary titled "Ελληνικό-Σλαβομακεδονικό (Μακεντόνσκι) Λεξικό" would have been acceptable to most Greeks. However, this academic objection was not grounds for censoring or disallowing the publication's presentation. No doubt, the conference organizers can attest to this fact or inform us otherwise.
At the same time, I should like to commend your attention to Professor Victor Friedman's remark midway into the longer version of the video clip the URL of which is appended below [4.33 min].
With the microphone still on, Mr. Friedman replied to a prior remark by Vinozhito's spokesperson:
"No, I am not shocked. This is what I expected in this country."
Notwithstanding the mitigating circumstances [Mr. Friedman was grossly harassed], I submit that his statement is especially telling inasmuch as it is in keeping with his previously expressed views about Greece, its culture and its people [1,2].

[1] Victor Friedman on Macedonia: the Balkanalysis.com Interview
[2] A Greek response to Victor Friedman's views on Macedonia and Balkan multilingualism
A group of Greek academics respond to a Balkanalysis.com interview (12/14/08) featuring University of Chicago Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures and
Linguistics Victor Friedman, and focusing on Balkan history and culture.
Ελληνική απάντηση στις απόψεις του Victor Friedman περί Μακεδονίας και Βαλκανικής πολυγλωσσίας
Ομάδα Ελλήνων πανεπιστημιακών απαντούν στην συνέντευξη (balkanalysis.com, 14-12-08) του καθηγητή Σλαβικών Γλωσσών & Λογοτεχνιών και Γλωσσολογίας στο Πανεπιστήμιο του Σικάγου Victor Friedman, με επίκεντρο την ιστορία και τον πολιτισμό των Βαλκανίων.

Christos D. Katsetos, MD, PhD, FRCPath

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