Come take a ride in Tito´s time Machine 11

Come take a ride in Tito´s time Machine – Part 11 - Contested Landscapes

Risto Stefov

October 25, 2009

If we "must" believe that Josip Broz Tito (May 7, 1892 - May 4, 1980), the Yugoslav dictator, along with the Communists, "invented" the Macedonians then we must also believe that Tito possessed a "Time Machine" because in this series of articles we will show you that the Macedonians existed way before Tito´s time.

It was late at night the same day when I was suddenly awakened from my sleep inside the Delorean´s trunk from shots being fired. It was Tito and the team returning in haste while being pursued by Greek fascists. The time machine was powered-up in record time and vanished before the Greeks could discover it. When we came back to our own time I could hear Tito fuming and scolding the team, particularly Marty, for not wearing the proper attire of the time.

"How stupid could you be, wearing running shoes made in the 1980´s?" I overheard Tito say as the team left the Delorean and departed for the night. With shoes like that, the Greeks must have figured Marty to be some sort of spy. Oh well no matter, the important thing at the moment was the team was back, safe and sound.

Just as I was about to open the trunk I heard footsteps quickly approaching. "It is me, TrueMacedonian," I heard a muffled voice say as the Delorean´s trunk flung open.

"Ah, you are a sight for sore eyes," I said. "I was worried about you guys. What happened?"

"Well, we were doing fine until Marty was spotted by a cop and then all hell broke loose," said TrueMacedonian. "We were late returning because all this time we were being chased and shot at by the police. Lucky for us these idiots were such poor shots they couldn´t even shoot an elephant standing still. None the less it was dangerous and we took our time returning," explained TrueMacedonian.

"But I did not come back to talk about our trip, there are more important things to discuss," said TrueMacedonian as he searched in his coat pocket for something.

"What could be more important?" I asked myself, unaware that I had spoken the words out loud.

"I will tell you what is so important as soon as I find it," said TrueMacedonian as he continued to search through one pocket after another.

"We can´t even begin to comprehend what really happened in Greece in the nineteenth century, the kind of disease that was created by a bunch of overzealous Philhellenes," he said. "This is truly Frankenstein science at its best!" he continued as he pulled out a book and searched for a specific page. "Here, read this," he said as he handed me the open book.

Here is what I read;

"A number of scholars have described and analyzed the process of national identity formation following the creation of the Modern Greek nation state and the opposed visions of Hellas and Greece in Greek discourse (Kyriakidou-Nestoros 1978; Herzfeld 1982, 1989; Just 1989). As Herzfeld (1982, 1989) has pointed out, this opposition echoes the tensions between an outward-directed conformity to western powers´ expectations about what modern Greece was to be, and an inward-looking, self-critical collective appraisal. Both visions emerged in response to the regulating discourse formulated by Western political and intellectual powers, a body of representations accumulated from the Renaissance onwards, strongly oriented towards classical antiquity. As central agents in the construction of national cultural identity and the management of Greece´s archeological remains, national scholars took on the additional task of ´convincing´ skeptical Western onlookers that the new state could fulfill its role as guardian of the heritage of the glorious past, thus claiming indigenous control over the idea of Greece and its identity.

The management and landscaping of monumental sites provided striking instances of interventions by the apparatus of modernity that work on the multiple layers of meaning inscribed onto landscapes through time, striving to rearrange these living palimpsests in ways that are deemed appropriate to the national project. And the Hellenic-centered ´Purist´ vision (Greece as Hellas) held a key position in the discourses of the agents involved in such interventions.

When Athens was chosen as the site of the modern capital of the new nation, and its (re)construction was planned along lines of its purity, the unsettling evidence of Greece´s Ottoman heritage along with local vernacular forms had to be confronted, all the more so when situated in the immediate vicinity of remains of classical antiquity. Early nineteenth-century Athens was viewed as a ´disgraceful sight´ (Boyer 1996: 163) full of imperfections, ranging from the city´s physical aspects to the spoken language, (2) that called for ´filtering out´ interventions.

In the midst of this process, a group of rural immigrants employed – and this is one of the ironies of this story – in the neoclassical-inspired reconstruction of the capital proceeded from the 1860´s onward to build themselves a cluster of small houses just under the Acropolis of Athens. By the end of the nineteenth century their settlement, the Anafiotika, formed a permanent presence on the northeast slope of the sacred rock.

(2) Herzfeld (1989: 101, 22) explicitly links the language question to other forms such as architecture, music, dress, gesture, moral values, seeing them as domains where the issue of the double image of Greek culture origins is played out." ("Contested Landscapes Movement, Exile and Place", edited by Barbara Bender and Margot Winer, page 23.)

"Read it again then perhaps you will truly begin to understand what happened there. It boggles the mind; most people cannot comprehend it and dismiss it as crockery, but crockery it is not! Modern Greece is truly artificial, perhaps the most artificial nation in the world; a well kept secret!" said TrueMacedonian as I stood there stunned, in disbelief.

I read the page again, as TrueMacedonian had suggested, and found new meaning in what was said. It was unbelievable!

"I myself am a product of this ´new Greek creation´," I said "being born in Greece and being indoctrinated into the Hellenic ideal from youth. But I would never have guessed that Greece was fake and that the lies were so deeply entrenched, especially down south in what we from the north call Greece proper," I continued. "In northern Greece, where I was born, which should be referred to as ´Greek occupied Macedonia´, we slid along calling ourselves ´Greeks´ without questioning its meaning. To us, the so-called ´Greek identity´ was as solid as a sphere made of solid steel; impregnable and untouchable. In Greek occupied Macedonia however it was different. We called ourselves Greeks because it was the safest thing to do but in private we couldn´t understand how we could be Greeks when none of us were really Greeks. It was comical! A couple of our neighbours, when inebriated and unable to keep their pants up, were the only ones boasting in public about how ´Greek´ they were and how ´Greek´ blood flowed through their patriotic veins; the same blood that flowed in Pericles and Plato. To us these were the real Greeks of the north, a bunch of idiots! And when the Bulgars had occupied our village these same idiots were then the most patriotic Bulgars calling themselves the true sons of the Khans. But this was Macedonia where we knew we were not Greeks or Bulgarians, but we had no idea it was the same all the way down to the tip of the Peloponnesus. We thought those who lived in the Peloponnesus were really true Greeks. But as it turns out, we were very wrong!" I said as I again read the page in disbelief.

"So there you have it!" said TrueMacedonian, "but you ain´t seen nothin yet! There are hundreds of books like this one where the truth is separated from fiction and what happened and the madness that took place in the nineteen century is exposed! Now these neo-Greek ´lost souls´ have become our teachers and baptizers, telling us who we are and what to call ourselves! How insane!" said TrueMacedonian and after a long pause he declared he was very tired and wanted to go home and get some sleep.

"Tito will be on my case all day tomorrow if I don´t look and act sharp, so I need to go home and get some sleep. See you early tomorrow morning," were TrueMacedonian´s last words before he departed for the evening.

It was time for me to go home too. It was very late at night and would probably take me forever to fall asleep, pondering the shocking things I had just learned today.

To be continued.

Other articles by Risto Stefov:

Many thanks to TrueMacedonian from for his contribution to this article.

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