Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just when you think this couldn't get any more ridiculous! Greece surprises.. this time with Iceland!

Greek-Macedonian spat splatters Iceland

The ongoing Greek-Macedonian dispute has spilled over to affect Icelanders…in Washington DC and Norway.

The issue came up when Hjalmar Hannesson, Iceland’s ambassador to the USA decided to screen the new film by Norway-based Icelander Sigurjon Einarsson.

Einarsson’s film is called ‘A Name is a Name’ and is set in Macedonia and explores the country’s relationship with Greece, which claims the name Macedonia is already in use by a region in Greece and cannot therefore be used by the nation of Macedonia. This seemingly minor issue has soured relations between Skopje and Athens since Macedonian independence in 1991 and has even stalled Macedonian intentions to join the EU and other organisations.

Macedonian sources claim that Athens threatened to hinder Iceland’s own EU application procedure if Hannesson decided to show the movie. The proposed date of the private screening and whether or not Hannesson has chosen to go ahead are not yet known.

From MINA, the Macedonian International News Agency:

“On October 21, Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Hjalmar Hannesson, invited a select group of invitees to his Washington, DC residence for a screening of a film by Icelandic filmmaker Sigurjon Einarsson.

“Upon hearing of this, Greece’s foreign ministry via its Embassy in DC had sent a communique to Iceland’s US Ambassador not to showcase the movie, hinting Athens could made life difficult for Reykyavik’s application for EU membership.

““A Name is a Name” movie was being shown as a part in spreading Icelandic made culture in the US. This may be the first time a foreign Ambassador is told what movie he can’t show at his private residence by a foreign country. Pesky Athenians.”



  1. Greece's dispute with Macedonia's name is much more complex than you have just outlined, and I find your oversimplification troubling. It has very little to do with the name of a region in Greece, and a lot to do with historic Macedonia, Alexander, and other historical episodes that have shaped Greek history and identity. Greeks feel that Macedonia are claiming their own history and contributions to civilisation; we are upset with Israeli's over them claiming our land, so you can see how the Greek woes are actually deeper.
    If we truly want to solve a conflict we have to go into the intricate details. oversimplification is always used by those who want to propagate detrimental ideas. Just like the rationale of the creation of the state of Israel in the 30s as a 'land without a people for a people without a land'.

  2. oh I just noticed the Macedonian flag, so I understand now that you are partial to a side and not just commenting on foreign affairs. Anyway, I hope you realise that Greeks aren't out there to get Macedonia for no reason, but they feel Macedonia has claimed something of theirs.
    As a young nation, if Macedonia wants to build its own history, and aspire to a great one some day hopefully, then they can start by respecting and acknowledging that of others.