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"Macedonia will always be Greek" – Mikis Theodorakis' epic speech

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I am not ashamed, unlike the genocidal leaders who rule us, to remain loyal to the holy values of our forefathers who taught us love and sacrifice for our country. A country which respects and loves all the countries on earth. Yes I am a patriot and an internationalist, and at the same time I reject and fight fascism in all its forms and in particular in its most deceitful and dangerous form, fascism with a “leftist” orientation.

My dear Greeks… brothers… fascists, Nazis, terrorists, anarchists, thugs. You have learned of course that the patriots that govern us alongside their sidekicks, the leftists were collecting signatures and yesterday threw paint on my house, soo as to not allow me to speak here to the dominant peoples. So as to not speak to you with straight words, patriotic ones, fiery ones as I learnt all my life and as you taught me dominant Greek nation. To speak and act in all my life with every sacrifice and thankfulness for this. This morning I received a poetic collection from Thessaloniki and one section asserts that spirit, the brain develops with Thales, Thucydides, Protagoras, the tragic artists, the daring of Themistocles and Kolokotronis.
I dedicate my speech to Theodoros Kolokotronis
Friends and followers, I register my speech to the Greek who liberated us from the Ottoman dynasty and who died like today, the 4th of February 1843, Theodoros Kolokotronis.
I am not ashamed, unlike the genocidal leaders who rule us, to remain loyal to the holy values of our forefathers who taught us love and sacrifice for our country. A country which respects and loves all the countries on earth. Yes I am a patriot and an internationalist, and at the same time I reject and fight fascism in all its forms and in particular in its most deceitful and dangerous form, fascism with a “leftist” orientation. Such as the one with the small groups of extremists who are just pure, cowardly terrorists.
We are governed and were governed by minority governments
Such as those who govern us today and who are destroying the country, hidden behind the electoral alchemies of politicians, who are the byproducts of a system that is biting us and hurting us as it is dying. It knows is and that is why it is even more dangerous.
In a difficult time for our country, where dark clouds are gathering around us, we are being called to confront, united as never before, these new threats.
The forgers of Skopje
Skopje using the name Macedonia and transforming historical events to a point of being ridiculous, are attempting in reality to extend their borders against us for the creation of the so-called “Aegean Macedonia.”
This aim functions for decades now as a basic national goal of the neighboring country, and a generation of Skopje’s citizens have been brought up with the idea that they are the direct descendants and relatives of Phillip, King of the Macedons, and Alexander the Great.
With a colossal propaganda they achieved to lead astray in this historical ridiculousness a number of countries, aided by the stance of Greece and those responsible who didn’t make a simple attempt in the eyes of foreigners to criticize this monstrous falsification of history.

We have reached the unfortunate position where it affects us as a peoples and where we are forced to apologize for our patriotism.

We must recognize that it is also our responsibility the fact that we allowed, for so many decades, Skopje’s citizens to accept the ideas I just referred to, so that it appears futile or even unjust to ask from them to change their name which has become one with themselves. We have reached the unfortunate position where it affects us as a peoples and where we are forced to apologize for our patriotism.
Our conscience does not allow us to agree
We cannot agree with this falsification of history, as we then become co-accomplices with the powers that openly aim against our territorial integrity.
What can we do? We must recognize our mistakes and our responsibilities towards the neighboring peoples.
The only solution in my opinion is for us to allow Skopje’s citizens to believe in their national myth and for us concurrently to remain loyal and irreconcilable to the Greekness of Macedonia. We must never agree that there exists another fake Macedonia. For if we do that, it’s as if we want to gouge out our own eyes with our own hands.
1992
The council of political leaders in 1992 decided upon a national policy where a name in which in no way the word Macedonia would exist with geographic or other distinctions, i.e. no “Upper” or “Lower” and worse yet “New Macedonia,” as it erases the historic Greek Macedonia and announces a successor with another peoples in the area.
If we retreat from this position, this will have disastrous results for the future of our country.
Next aim: the dissolution of Greece
If we retreat this time from our position for the name, it’s as if we are fully opening our borders to those who threaten us in such an open and vulgar way from their own constitution. We are obliged to be vigilant for the defense of our national inviolability, taking into account there are strong foreign forces which have the aim to further balkanise the Balkans.
The case of Yugoslavia is still fresh. The next victim will be our country.
Dark clouds threaten us and every day that passes they become more evident. If we give in to the open provocation of Skopje without them having resigned from the main aim of their national and political line to become members of NATO and the EU with our own vote so as to threaten us from an even stronger position we will then be worthy of our fate.
If we retreat, we open the doors wide open to impose once and for all a tragic historical lie with unknown consequences for our country.
The so-called Zaev concessions, taking us for fools
The famous “concessions” of Mr. Zaev [prime minister of FYROM] and others regarding the name is just drinking the Kool Aid, sly efforts which could only be directed towards a nation of servile idiots. For us it is a shame to still even discussing this, as the name of their airports and their highways is their own exclusive prerogative to be changed back again immediately after they achieve their aims. Truly does the Skopjian prime minister believe we are such idiots? Or so ready to lower our pants?
I apologize for using this phrase. But it is the only one which can become understandable by all the foreigners and our own lot who believe that because they have led us with all the economic measures to the last step of evil, that we have forgotten our history, identity, and our fundamental characteristics.

We will stand on our feet and not recognize them
It’s not the first time that everyone around us believes that the Greek has been transformed into a slave, but he is rising up again. We are always a peaceful nation who desired peaceful and friendly co-existence with our neighboring peoples. In parallel, we must also understand that across from us there exists a deep state which conspires with other international forces against the independence of our country.
For this reason we must not harbor any illusions and we must take all the necessary measures which will guarantee the defense of our country.
Here I must add that the situation of maintaining the status quo and peaceful coexistence should be considered our final concession in the face of hard reality. In essence, we have nothing to lose.
Without Greece’s approval, Skopje will never become Macedonia.The fact that there are countries that recognize Skopje with the name Macedonia, ignoring the fact that they are embarrassing themselves in the face of historical reality is of no concern to us, as it is only our decision and our decision alone that can historically legalize and irrevocably judge this issue.
It is only us Greeks who can give or not give the right to Skopje to build a future via the name Macedonia, an undisputed from any viewpoint, historical and cultural ownership of Hellenism. To explain it more simply they require Greece’s agreement so as to be thought of as real Macedonians and not fake ones, paper ones which they are today.
As we are refusing to gouge our eyes out in order to be loved by America, NATO and the EU, we can continue living our lives as we did so many years. But that implies that we must refuse every other retreat. For however long the people of Skopje threaten us with their territorial propaganda claims, their unacceptable constitution, the alleged Macedonian symbols and their squares full of alleged depictions of Alexander the Great, we as a responsible nation who are the inheritors of a great history will continue the policy of peaceful coexistence, but we will do whatever is in our power to not give our consent for them to become members of the EU and NATO.
Only with a referendum can we legalize any signature
In this crucial moment, where we face the possibility to be led into a state of national tragedy, I believe that the responsibility for making a decision does not lie with any government. Not just a minority government such as today’s, but even a government that had popular backing. Not even Parliament itself.
What is the solution? A referendum?
For us the position of the Greek people on this specific issue is so clear, firm and self-explanatory, that no referendum is required. However, if a government ever considers placing a signature of our country to whatever name, either single or composite, which will include the word Macedonia, there is no doubt that it is obliged to consult with the Greek people. In this event, a referendum is necessary, as it is only Greek citizens have the right to make such a decision. We, as Greek citizens who do not seek to be passive observers at the time when our country is confronting such crucial problems which may impact us for many decades to come.
In this instance that the government dares to place a signature on such a decision, I urge all the MPs who have the right to call for a referendum for such a national issue, to table the relative discussion in Parliament and to fully support this demand.
Epilogue
Dear friends and patriots,
In all my life I fought for the unity of the Greek people. I believe fully that we should confront this great issue united, with one fist. And I do believe we are united. Irrespective of our disagreements, we are all patriots.

Today, Greeks united are issuing their response from Syntagma Square. Macedonia is one, and it is and will always remain Greek. Long live the Greek people!

When someone supports the rights of his country and people, this isn’t nationalism but patriotism. Greece today, more than ever before, is in need for patriots.
Today, Greeks united are issuing their response from Syntagma Square. Macedonia is one, and it is and will always remain Greek. Long live the Greek people!
Video of Mikis Theodorakis’ speech (in Greek):


Translation originally appeared in http://imfoccupationgreece.blogspot.gr/2018/02/macedonia-will-always-be-greek-m.html and http://imfoccupationgreece.blogspot.gr/2018/02/mikis-theodorakis-macedonia-will-always.html.

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While US seeks to up the ante on pressure on the DPRK, Russia proposes easing sanctions

These proposals show the dichotomy between the philosophy of US and Russian foreign policy

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The United States last week accused the DPRK of violating refined petroleum caps imposed as a part of UN nuclear sanctions dating back to 2006, and is therefore submitting a proposal to cut all petroleum product sales to North Korea.

The Trump administration is keen on not only preserving pressure on North Korea over its nuclear arms development, but in increasing that pressure even as DPRK Chairman, Kim Jong-Un, is serially meeting with world leaders in a bid to secure North Korea’s security and potential nuclear disarmament, a major move that could deescalate tensions in the region, end the war with the South, and ease global apprehensions about the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, Russia is proposing to the UNSC sanctions relief in some form due to the North’s expressed commitment to nuclear disarmament in the light of recent developments.

Reuters reports:

MOSCOW/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s envoy to North Korea said on Wednesday it would be logical to raise the question of easing sanctions on North Korea with the United Nations Security Council, as the United States pushes for a halt to refined petroleum exports to Pyongyang.

“The positive change on the Korean peninsula is now obvious,” said the ambassador, Alexander Matsegora, according to the RIA news agency, adding that Russia was ready to help modernize North Korea’s energy system if sanctions were lifted and if Pyongyang can find funding for the modernization.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

China tried late last month to get the Security Council to issue a statement praising the June 12 Singapore meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and expressing its “willingness to adjust the measures on the DPRK in light of the DPRK’s compliance with the resolutions.”

North Korea’s official name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

But the United States blocked the statement on June 28 given “ongoing and very sensitive talks between the United States and the DPRK at this time,” diplomats said. The same day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi about the importance of sanctions enforcement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to informally brief U.N. Security Council envoys along with South Korea and Japan on Friday.

Diplomats say they expect Pompeo to stress the need to maintain pressure on North Korea during his briefing on Friday.

In a tweet on Wednesday Trump said he elicited a promise from Russian President Vladimir Putin to help negotiate with North Korea but did not say how. He also said: “There is no rush, the sanctions remain!”

The United States accused North Korea last week of breaching a U.N. sanctions cap on refined petroleum by making illicit transfers between ships at sea and demanded an immediate end to all sales of the fuel.

The United States submitted the complaint to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which is due to decide by Thursday whether it will tell all U.N. member states to halt all transfers of refined petroleum to Pyongyang.

Such decisions are made by consensus and some diplomats said they expected China or Russia to delay or block the move.

When asked on June 13 about whether sanctions should be loosened, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “We should be thinking about steps in that direction because inevitably there is progress on the track that should be reciprocal, that should be a two-way street. The other side should see encouragement to go forward.”

The proposals of both the United States and Russia are likely to be vetoed by each other, resulting no real changes, but what it displays is the foreign policy positions of both nuclear powers towards the relative position of the DPRK and its rhetorical move towards denuclearization. The US demonstrates that its campaign of increased pressure on the North is necessary to accomplishing the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, while Russia’s philosophy on the matter is to show a mutual willingness to follow through on verbal commitment with a real show of action towards an improved relationship, mirroring on the ground what is happening in politics.

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EU and Japan ink free trade deal representing over 30% of global GDP

The free trade agreement represents a victory for free trade in the face of growing protectionism

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In a bid to preserve free trade and strengthen their trade partnership, the European Union and Japan have finished a free trade zone agreement that has been sitting in the pipeline for years.

The present global economic outlook provided the needed spur to action to get the ball rolling again and now it has finally reached the end zone and scored another point for free and open trade against the growing influence of protectionism, which has been creeping up with alarming rapidity and far reaching consequences in recent months.

Under the deal, Japan will scrap tariffs on some 94% of goods imported from Europe and the EU in turn is canning 99% of tariffs on Japanese goods.

Between the European Union and Japan, the trade deal impacts about 37% of the world’s GDP, making it one of the largest and impactful of such agreements.

The Japan Times reports:

Top European Union leaders and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an economic partnership agreement Tuesday in Tokyo, a pact that will create a massive free trade zone accounting for 37 percent of the world’s trade by value.

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hastily arranged their visit to Tokyo after Abe was forced to abruptly cancel plans to attend a July 11 signing ceremony in Brussels in the aftermath of flooding and mudslides in western Japan.

Japanese officials said the signing is particularly important to counter intensifying protectionism worldwide triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Negotiations on the pact between Japan and the EU, which started in 2013, had stagnated for a time but regained momentum after Trump took office in January 2017.

“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” Tusk said at a joint news conference with Abe after they signed the agreement.

“The relationship between the EU and Japan has never been stronger. Geographically we are far apart, but politically and economically we could be hardly any closer,” Tusk said. “I’m proud today we are taking our strategic partnership to a new level.”

Tusk stressed that the EU and Japan are partners sharing the same basic values, such as liberal democracy, human rights and rule-based order.

Abe also emphasized the importance of free and fair trade.

“Right now, concerns are rising over protectionism all around the world. We are sending out a message emphasizing the importance of a trade system based on free and fair rules,” he said.

The pact will create a free trade bloc accounting for roughly 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Japan and the EU hope to have the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by both parties, come into force by March.

Under the EPA, tariffs on about 99 percent of Japan’s exported goods to the EU will eventually be eliminated, while duties on 94 percent of EU’s exported items to Japan will be abolished, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The EPA will eliminate duties of 10 percent on Japan’s auto exports to the EU seven years after the pact takes effect. The current 15 percent duties on wine imports from the EU will be eliminated immediately, while those on cheese, pork and beef will be sharply cut.

In total, the EPA will push up domestic GDP by 1 percent, or ¥5 trillion a year, and create 290,000 new jobs nationwide, according to the government.

“The world is now facing raging waves of protectionism. So the signing ceremony at this time is particularly meaningful,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said earlier this month on condition of anonymity.

“The impact for Japan is big,” the official said.

Fukunari Kimura, an economics professor at Keio University, said the EU is now trying to accelerate the ratification process.

“This is a repercussion of President Trump’s policies. They will try to ratify it before Brexit in March of next year,” he said in an interview with The Japan Times last week.

But the deal has raised concerns among some domestic farmers, in particular those from Hokkaido, the country’s major dairy producer.

According to an estimate by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government, the EPA will cut national production in the agriculture, fishery and forestry industries by up to ¥114.3 billion a year, with Hokkaido accounting for 34 percent of the predicted losses.

“The sustainable development of the prefecture’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries is our top priority. We need to make efforts to raise our international competitiveness,” Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said during a news conference July 10.

Japan and the EU had reached a basic agreement on the EPA in December.

Tokyo also led negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in January 2017.

In March, 11 countries including Japan signed the so-called TPP11, or a revised TPP pact that does not include the U.S.

“The Japan-EU EPA is another important step for Japan to strengthen its trade relationship with key trading partners, and demonstrate that trade liberalization is alive and well, even if the United States is taking a different stance,” wrote Wendy Cutler, a former acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative, in an email sent to The Japan Times last week.

“The EU deal also reduces Japanese dependence on the U.S. market and thus increases its leverage to resist unreasonable trade demands by the United States,” she wrote.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the EU, which accounts for 22 percent of the world’s GDP, was the destination for 11.4 percent of Japanese exports in 2016. In the same year, the figure for the U.S. was 20.2 percent and 17.7 percent for China.

In 2016, Japan’s exports to the EU totaled ¥8 trillion, while reciprocal trade was ¥8.2 trillion.

The deal provides tariff relief for both parties and can improve the quantity of trade between them, expand the economy and create many jobs. It also helps to further diversify their trade portfolios in order to mitigate the prospect of a single global trade partner wielding too much influence, which in turn provides a certain amount of cover from any adverse actions or demands from a single actor. In this way, current trade dependencies can be reduced and free and diversified trade is further bolstered.

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Russia just DUMPED $80 billion in US debt

The US Treasury published a report naming those countries that are the largest holders of US bonds. The list includes 33 countries, and for the first time Russia is no longer in it.

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Russia has stopped “inching towards de-dollarization” as I wrote about on July 3rd, and has now energetically walked out of the list of largest holders of US government bonds, hence this update. For the two months ending in May 2018, Moscow has offloaded more than $80 billion in US Government debt obligations.

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The $30 billion “minimum” listing Rubicon has been crossed by Russia.

As of the end of May, Russia had bonds worth only $ 14.9 billion. For comparison: in April, Russia was on the Treasury list with bonds totaling $48.7 billion. Even then it was offloading US$ debt securities as Russia owned in March over $96 billion. At the end of 2017, Russia had US treasury securities worth $102.2 billion. It is anyones guess what Russia will own when the June and July figures are released in August and September – probably less than today.

This simply serves as a confirmation that Russia is steadfastly following a conservative policy of risk diversification in several areas such as financial, economic, and geopolitical. The US public debt and spend is increasingly viewed as a heightened risk area, deserving sober assessment.

So where have all the dollars gone? The total reserves of the Russian Central Bank have not changed and remain at approximately the equivalent of $ 457 billion, so what we are seeing is a shift of assets to other central banks, other asset classes, just not US$ government bonds.

During the same time (April-May) as this US$ shift happened, the Russian Central Bank bought more than 1 million troy ounces of gold in 60 days, and continues.

For comparison sake, the maximum Russia investment in US public debt was in October 2010 totaling $176.3 billion. Today it is $14.9 billion.

The largest holders of US government bonds as of May are China ($ 1,183.1 billion), Japan ($ 1048.8 billion), Ireland ($ 301 billion), Brazil ($ 299.2 billion), Great Britain ($ 265 billion).

Using the similar conservative metrics that the Russian Central Bank has been rather successfully applying through this geopolitically and economically challenging period with the US and the US Dollar, it may not stretch the imagination too much that other countries such as China may eventually follow suit. Who will finance the debt/spend then?

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