2013-11-28 00:39:00 UTC
COMMENTARY: FYROM Cannot Change the Facts of History
This week, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) erected a
24-meter-high bronze equestrian statue of Alexander the Great in the central
square of Skopje -- the capital of FYROM -- leading Greece to accuse FYROM
of trying to steal Greece's ancient heritage by claiming the ancient world
conqueror as its own.
The statue was made in Italy and cost FYROM -- one of the poorest nations in
Europe -- about $13 million.
Alexander the Great was born in the town of Pella in the section of northern
Greece that at that time was called -- and is still called today --
Macedonia. FYROM -- which also calls itself Macedonia for short -- became an
independent nation in 1991 with the breakup of Yugoslavia. It borders the
northern Greek territory of Macedonia, so Greece has been emphatic that
FYROM must change its name.
Greece and FYROM have been trying for 20 years to reach a compromise in
agreeing to a new name for FYROM, but this dilemma has still not been
Greece is adamant about changing FYROM's name, because it believes that
FYROM has territorial ambitions over Greece's neighboring northern province
Greece has retaliated against FYROM for failing to change its name by
successfully blocking FYROM's attempts to join both NATO and the European
In fact, the EU recently warned Macedonia that -- as a candidate country for
EU membership -- it should not disrespect its neighbor. "Macedonia can lose
its candidate status if it continues to make moves that Greece perceives as
provocation," EU commissioner for enlargement Stefan Fule said.
Indeed, FYROM has been arrogant, provocative, and in a state of historical
denial by displaying a huge statue of Alexander the Great in Skopje.
Nonetheless, this statue -- or even a plethora of additional statues
throughout FYROM -- will never be able to change the well-documented
historical fact that Alexander the Great was born in the northern Greece
territory of Macedonia.