“We are Greek, we love the Greek flag:” German media does not expect this response when asking about “Macedonian minority”

German state-owned media Deutsche Welle (DW) were recently in northern Greece and some days ago released a video called DW in Nivici: “We are Macedonians in the whole village.”

The German media outlet says “Three reporters of DW from North Macedonia, Albania and Greece traveled to the border regions of the three countries and inquired about minorities.”

However, what minority were they talking about in Greece? DW says the minority they were speaking to in the Greek village of Psarades were “Macedonians,” a curious claim to make considering no such minority exists.

Psarades is a small village of under 100 people on Prespa lake. The entire population is Slavophone.

Despite trying to provoke locals by calling to question their identity, the local people of Psarades reaffirmed their Greek identity, and that they are indeed Slavophone Greeks rather than a separate “Macedonian” identity.

The journalist harasses a local person saying that there is a “big issue” in Greece with the “Macedonian minority.” The journalist then asks the local person if they think there is a “Macedonian minority?”

Although the journalist was clearly trying to discredit Greece on apparent restrictions or abuses against minorities and their identity, he would not have expected the local person to say “there is no such thing” as a Macedonian minority and that this is Greek land.

Not satisfied with her answer, the journalists then against asks her if there is a “Macedonian minority,” in which she again answers “no, no.”

The journalist then meets a shopkeeper and asks him if he is Greek, “Macedonian” or both, in which he promptly responds back saying he is “Greek Macedonian.” He then affirms that “We were born here, we are Greeks, we love the Greek flag, we also love our Greek homeland.”

In another video titled “Macedonian language in Greece,” DW interviews two elderly people and in the subtitles write that they are “Macedonians” from Greece. The people themselves never say that in the video though.

Did DW have to resort to fake claims because they could not get on camera people referring to themselves as a “Macedonian minority” rather than Greek?

The elderly woman then recounts how in school she was hit on the hands by the teacher for speaking Slavic instead of Greek. However, we do question why the journalist spoke to an extremely elderly woman about her school stories from over half a century ago when this unfortunate event took place, and why they did not speak to current school children or a younger generation? Instead the journalist plucks out stories from an era when Yugoslavia was making plans to annex large areas of northern Greece, including Thessaloniki.

The video then concludes with an interview with a Greek professor who admits that a “Macedonian” language exists. This is barely controversial as Greece had to acknowledge as part of the 2018 Prespa Agreement that such a language exists – but within the country of North Macedonia and not in Greece.

The Prespa Agreement that finalised the name dispute between Greece and what is now known as North Macedonia recognises that a South Slavic language called “Macedonian” exists. Despite the acceptance of the existence of a “Macedonian” language in the Prespa Agreement, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Bulgarian Language, the Cyril and Methodius Scientific Center and the Institute for Historical Research, have rejected the existence of such a language and explain that the language used in North Macedonia is a regional form of the Bulgarian language.

Although Article 7 of the Prespa Agreement confirms a “Macedonian language,” it also affirms that the people of North Macedonia “are not related to the ancient Hellenic civilisation, history, culture and heritage” of ancient Macedonia, including the legacy of Alexander the Great.

Today there about 50,000-70,000 Slavophones in Greece. Slavophone Greeks have played an important role in modern Greek history to liberate our country. Some examples include Angelis Gatsos during the War of Independence in the 1820’s and Kote Hristov and Gonos Yotas during the Macedonian Struggle in the early 1900’s.