Thursday, January 17, 2008

Deny the Venizelote Revanchistes!

A Cymru Rouge press release:

The BBC recently started calling Macedonia Macedonia. It had hitherto dubbed it the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which sounds like the sort of thing Prince changes his name to. So the United Nations liked it: big deal, they like all sorts of junk. The BBC done right.

The Cymru Rouge keeps a close eye on BBC activities - the eye in question being that of Iago Anffawd (fab Sieffre Siomedig fab Gwil Goll), which has had a protrudent, stalk-like adaptability ever since he test-dived with the Welsh Socialist Navy's first experimental submarine coracle.

He regularly reports back to the Sedd Fawr of the Rouge on metropolitan outrages against Cambritude, such as Glenys Bloody Kinnock appearances and weathergirls standing in front of Aberystwyth on the map and mispronouncing it.

He has recently noted soul-searching among BBC staff over this Macedonian policy. Not the sort of soul-searching carried out by Mrs Boyo's father in his Vinnytsya oubliette, which involved attaching electric cables to deacons at prayer, but a bout of self-criticism about the wisdom of this choice.

This uncertainty was prompted by the quantity of complaints they've received from Greek opponents of the name change - patriots with a burning commitment to their ancestral land, even though circumstances seem to prevent them from actually living in it at the moment.

We web bloggers do not fear complaints about our work - we call them "comments", and post them on our sites. The Cymru Rouge urges the BBC to stand firm, like the Oak of Nannau, in the face of Attic barracking.

For our narrow nationalist readers and admirers of the work of Lily Allen, who may both be unaware of the Macedonian Question, the Cymru Rouge Grudge Assessment Unit has prepared the following background briefing:

The warrior and statesman Sir Winston Churchill always drew a distinction between "Greeks" - the Ancients who brought us philosophy, wine and recreational sport, and saved us from Persian savagery - and "Grecians" - the current inhabitants of that area who have brought us, their neighbours and indeed themselves little but grief, resinous wine and overcooked food in the last 200 years.

One cannot help but think that Aristotle and Demosthenes would have seen fit, as have we and Sir Winston, to draw a similar distinction between whoever might have lived in Macedonia several thousands of years ago, and the people who live there now. Demosthenes, certainly, would have left it up to our contemporaries to decide what they want to call themselves and their country.

Let us take it step by step.

There is a province of Greece called Macedonia, inhabited by Grecians who like to call themselves Greeks, Slavs who like to call themselves Macedonians, and Vlachs who like to call themselves Romanians.

There is also an independent state called Macedonia, inhabited by Slavs who like to call themselves Macedonians and Albanians who, alone in the region, are happy to be called just that. This makes the Albanians the only clear-headed people around. Food for thought.

On the subject of which, there is a fruit salad called Macedonia, made up of a similarly colourful if rather more welcome diversity of elements. Not a coincidence, we imagine.

Now, if the Grecians want to call their province Macedonia, or their country Greece for that matter, it's no one else's business. Our African cousins get by with two separate Congoes, and the same goes for the qat-fuelled decision to enjoy the benefits of two Yemens for a while, and no one really minds.

The same goes for Grecian Macedonia and the Republic of Macedonia. Take our word for it, no one really minds.

A phrase we recall from our hemp-clad, slogan-chanting childhood is "The Greeks have a word for it". In the case of the Epirote revanchistes, we suspect that word might be "hubris".

To employ a good Greek word, Adio.

Fear not, BBC, the Cymru Rouge is behind you!

Brawd Rhif Un - Huw Samphan
Brawd Rhif Dau - Paul Pot
Braws Rhif Tri - Moc Tudor


Gorilla Bananas said...

I recall the Greek government making a fuss about this almost ten years ago. I never realised they were still at it. Aren't they very protective of the name because of its association with the late Alexander, who was king and queen of the place? Whatever the reason, they've got no business telling other people what to call their country. The Pottists are surely right, but who asked for their opinion? Aren't there enough problems in Wales?

No Good Boyo said...

Very persistent, the Greeks, otherwise they'd have become Turks years ago, GB. They're very proud of that particular Alexander. Their more recent king of the same name died as a result of toying with one of your junior monkey kin. they recall him less.

We Welsh feel a great affinity with the Macedonians. Like them, we have neighbours with a preening superiority complex on one side (The Greeks, The English) and raw elements on the other (The Atlantic, The Albanians).

Also, we're both fed up of being mistaken for other things: fruit salad in their case, big fish in ours.

And being Marxist means:

a). never having to explain why you've offered your opinion; and

b). always taking a great interest in faraway places of which you know one thing.

Anonymous said...

I feel a pseudo-intellectual blog entry coming on:

The "Macedonia" naming question could be seen as exonym vs endonym: the former is what a population calls itself, while the latter is what outsiders call them. E.g. here in Romania, you’ll be angered yet unsurprised to hear, the endonym Cymry is generally supplanted with the exonym England. Though (and this may placate the Cymru Rouge somewhat), this word is actually derived - via sermo vulgaris Latin, obviously - from Engels*. Anyway, as you point out, you should be able to call yourself whatever you bloody well want to, like Prince does, or Mr P Diddy.

*Friedrich Engels was the only famous foreign person here until very recently, and is thus equated with all places foreign, especially Wales.

No Good Boyo said...

(Strokes beard thoughtfully in Balkan cafe)

On a similar tack, Gadjo, "Welsh" is an early German word for "foreigner" largely applied by those hairy-arsed (no offence, GB) tribes to the Roman Empire - it being the first redoubt of foreigness they blundered into.

Thus they called Italy "Welschland", and some Latin groups in the Balkans like the Vlachs, Wallachians etc retain this. We Welshes, being Roman citizens at the time, fell into the same group.

To this day the Poles call Italy "Włochy" for the same reason, although someone ought to point out to them that they are Slavs.

Engels - the Andrew Ridgeley of 19th century Marxism. Not many ideas, but much less whiny than Marx.

Anonymous said...

Exactly! And the Slavs (so we're told) referred to Germanic people using their word for mute - resulting in e.g. the Russian exonym nemtsy (немцы) - as they couldn't understand what they were saying, and so assumed that it wasn't even a language, the knobs.

Yes, Marx was the only other foreign person that people here were allowed to know about until recently; but the name simply sounds too BUTCH to be used as a synonym for foreignness.

Interestingly, Andrew Ridgeley kept demurely quiet about George the Greek’s sexuality for the 5 years they were together in Wham!, whereas Friedrich Engels blabbed constantly and incontinently about Karl Marx’s dialectical materialism. I don’t know if this tells us anything.

No Good Boyo said...

Gadjo, it goes to show that the Victorians - well, the libidinous factory-owners among them - were far more relaxed about trouser malarkey than our oh-so "pop" stars.

To be fair to Ridgeley, he was living in the age of gender-benderie and probably thought it was a Greek thing anyway.

I wonder where George Michael stands on the Macedonian Question.

(punchline, please)

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia states that Andrew Ridgley's contribution as Wham!'s "image specialist and spokesman" was crucial to the their initial success, and that he accordingly convinced "a reluctant George" that they needed to change their image and sound frequently. Friedrich Engels, on the other hand, maintained a strict doctrinaire line in The Communist Manifesto and other publications, which was later easily misappropriated by any murderous megalomaniacal chancer (Stalin, Pol Pol, Glenys Kinnock, etc). Maybe, in the final analysis, Ridgley was the greater man.

No Good Boyo said...

A good point well made, Comrade Gadjo.

We in the Cymru Rouge salute Engels's humourless lack of imagination, sound financial management and way with Irish scullery maids, but appreciate that Ridgeley faced the greater challenge of reining in George's mood swings, flucuating weight and Grecian inclinations.

I like to think that in 20 years time Ridgeley will be pottering about the South Coast in a vintage sports car, acquainting young gals with the antiques business, and keeping his own tankard behind the bar of a pub where they call him "The Major".

George Michael, I imagine, will be working behind the bar.

"Evening, George."

"Er, evening, Major."

"'Drinks are free', eh what?"

Anonymous said...

Hehe :-) I also always had a soft spot for these two.

George: "No they're f*****g not free, Marie. Now I'm out of the closet there's no more blank cheques for you just to keep your mouth shut. Go back to the beach with your little "friends", your surf board and your knee-length Hawaiian shorts. μαλάκας. Innit."

Ridgeley: "Steady on old chap"

George: "Oh, all right then."

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