Sunday, September 19, 2010

Writer Marko Attila Hoare fails

Writer Marko Attila Hoare, a British integral nationalist (see Smith at national identity 1991, page 79) in a recent article at his blog(, try to explain the nationality of the ancient Macedonians.
How a modern writer try to define the nationality in a field of the Classicism raise a lot of questions.
Hoare's article fails in two things.

First fail is to take adequately into account the important distinction, first proposed by Max Weber (1921) and since used by social anthropologists, between objective and subjective ethnicity. Objective ethnicity is a biological category which defines groups of human beings in terms of their shared physical characteristics resulting from a common gene pool. Subjective ethnicity, however, describes the ideology of an ethnic group by defining as shared its ancestors, history, language, mode of production, religion, customs, culture, etc., and is therefore a social construct, not a fact of nature (Isajiw 1974).

Objective and subjective ethnicity may and often do overlap, and the subjective, ideological boundaries between ethnic groups may be commensurate with objective ethnic boundaries (Barth 1969), especially where an ethnic group has been isolated or has rigorously avoided intermarriage.

Second fail is the...
 subjective definitions of ethnicity. These definitions by their very nature as social constructs are open to challenge. Different people can define a particular ethnic group's genealogy in different ways according to their contingent purposes at the time. In order to define a “nationality” in ancient Greece , particularly the controverted question of the “nationality” of the ancient Macedonians, not only because language is, at best, only one of the several elements which contribute to the formation of group identity, but also –and mainly– because such a debate presupposed a previous response to the question of the nature of “nationality” in ancient Greece, provided of course that this question is well formulated and admits an effective answer.

Jonathan Hall (Ancient Perceptions of Greek Ethnicity, page 172) in his research regarding the Macedonian nationality and in his conclusions confirms the Classists doubts about the possibility of answering the question concerning the “nationality” of the ancient Macedonians:  “To ask whether the Macedonians ‘really were’ Greek or not in antiquity“, he writes, “is ultimately a redundant question given the shifting semantics of Greekness between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C. What cannot be denied, however, is that the cultural commodification of Hellenic identity that emerged in the fourth century might have remained a provincial artifact, confined to the Balkan peninsula, had it not been for the Macedonians”.

There is no consensus on the issue of Macedonian ethnicity: whether the Macedonians were of Greek or mixed descent. Of course Macedonians were not Slavs as usual claim the Slavonic officials of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Marko Attila Hoare never explains if believes what the main history stream of this tiny State claim.

In the archaic and classical period the Macedonians perceived themselves to be Greeks and were also perceived to be Greeks by the other Greeks. When they first became involved in affairs that concerned the Southern Greeks, and then major players in Southern Greek politics, their ethnicity became open to rhetorical manipulation, or rather, they became vulnerable to the cultural insult ‘barbarian,’ with the help of the deployment of the ‘cultural inferiority’ meaning of ‘barbarian’, so that the accusation was not unambiguously about ethnicity. It is not that perceptions of the Greekness of the Macedonians became unstable; it was the acknowledgement of their Greekness that became unstable at the level of rhetoric, it was manipulated as a weapon. But in Greek eyes the Greek identity of the Macedonians was indelibly sealed through their admittance as participants in the Panhellenic Games, which in the Greek collective representations defined Greekness, and defined not simply the individual, but also, I hope to have made clear, his polis or ethnos, as Greek. Pr Hammond in his works the above circumstances had in his mind when wrote "The Macedonians in general did not consider themselves Greeks, nor were they considered Greeks by their neighbours.” Marko Attila Hoare put a sentence and tried to change the known view of Pr Hammond. Also Slav Macedonians ultranationalists from the FYROM use this point of view. I hope Marko Attila Hoare do not adopt apart or whole of all theirs thesis.

In my blog I have post a lot of articles regarding the ancient Macedonian background. I suggest to Pr. Marko Attila Hoare to read these articles carefully and reject the influence of the Slavmacedonism propaganda that fluid his articles regarding the Greece and Greek people.

Finally I would like to suggest to Hoare for further reading two books:The "Hellenicity" by Jonathan Hall and the "Ancient perceptions in Greek ethnicity" by IraD Malkin. Maybe he will understand and realize that this confusion is a consequence of the nature of the ancient source material and the influence of modern politics, especially after 1991 when the 'new state' of the FYROM was formed.


  1. Akrita, Hoare developed a pathological hatred of Greeks dating back to his undergraduate days in Cambridge when he got into a fight with them over the Macedonian issue. He is beyond hope. Read the following from Stefov's digest #26:


    Hi Marko,

    I read with great interest your article on the Hellenic (the artificially "Ellinized" - "Southern Balkan (Mediterranean) Republic" (NOT GREEK) influence on the EU and its progression. I am appalled that Europe and the USA continue to allow this minnow society with a lot of influence from its Diaspora to continue their racially motivated direct attack on the Republic of Macedonia. Can the world not see that they were and still are operating on the lies which have built up this artificial state in the early 1800's?
    I noted how you discussed the treatment of the Kurds within Turkey but nothing even compares to the treatment of the Macedonians in their own land occupied by artificial Greece and to a lesser extent Albania and Serbia. How can the world not see this? I was in Lerin (known as Florina by the artificial state) and I was threatened by police for listening to Macedonian music. Here I am a foreigner treated this way but can you imagine how the locals are treated?
    What is ironic is that the people in this artificial state called Greece falsely pride themselves as being the descendants of the Hellenes. They were nothing like the sub Saharan Ethiopian who were the true Hellenes.
    Thank you once again for the article you wrote as it is about time someone started to report on the truth as this will encourage others to report more about the artificially created "Ellinized" - "Southern Balkan (Mediterranean) Republic" (NOT GREEK).

    Kind Regards
    Robert V.

    Dear Robert,

    Many thanks for your message; I'm glad you liked the article. I think Europe doesn't appreciate just what a terrible crime was carried out against the Macedonian people when their country was partitioned between Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, and what a lot of violence and oppression was inflicted on them after this, particularly in the Greek-annexed part. A lot like what is being done to the Kurds, indeed, except that Greece has been much more successful in eradicating the Macedonian language and identity. It's a story which needs to be told, and I hope someone will one day write a proper historical account.

    I've always felt sympathetic to Macedonia. Fifteen years ago, when I was an undergraduate in Cambridge, I wrote a letter for 'Varsity', the student newspaper, condemning Greece's bullying of Macedonia. In response, two Greek guys came round to my room to argue with me, and to give me a little Greek-nationalist lecture. I agree that it's extremely shocking that we allow this sort of thing to go on in the EU.

    I visited Macedonia and Skopje for the first time last summer - it's a great city!

    All the best,


    That a man with such prejudices would be posing as some sort of authority is a testament to the sad state of agenda-driven organizations such as the Henry Jackson society.

  2. Nice remarks KE,
    thanks for sharing.

  3. From the very beginning of FYROM'S independence, Greece declared it had no claims on FYROM'S territory. Greece's only serious grievance was, and still is, the use by FYROM of the name "Macedonia" and its derivatives. Attila(a nice turkish name) is never seriously considered the fact that the People's Republic of Macedonia was the only Stalin and Tito achievement that the West declared preservable, though there is no blame for declaring the small enclave viable.

    Cappelli, discussing the Bosnian question, appropriately pointed out that "international recognition by no means necessarily endows a state with legitimacy, especially when the recognition has been granted in such an impetuous manner in the midst of a crisis and if legitimacy is held to have any connection with a common history and a sense of common destiny as characteristics of the state's population, without which no state can survive."

    Every word of this statement on Bosnia applies to FYROM.

    Also if KE comments is true,in my opinion, is disgrace of Oxford publications to coorporate with this represented nationalist line that hidden in Attila thoughts.
    Same to Oxford.

  4. Macedonian you can read it in the known Slavmacedonian ultra-nationalist site maknews(