Macedonian Paralympians, like their Olympian counterparts, will be forced to enter the Rio Paralympics Opening Ceremony behind the letter “E” for “Ex”, putting a regional twist on the infamous “F” for “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
The Paralympic website, like the Olympic one, lists Macedonia under “T” for “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. Depending on the local language, Macedonian athletes have entered behind many letters, except M, of course, for the actual name of their country, Macedonia.
Furthermore, Macedonian athletes are not permitted to use their own country name on their uniforms. See Macedonian sprinter, Riste Pandev, in the photo below racing against athletes from Indonesia, Afghanistan and Gabon. Pandev’s uniform is blank. What an Olympic-sized slap in the face.
This spectacle occurs because Greece objects to Macedonia using its own name, and international institutions, at best, have no desire to stand up for common sense and the most basic of human rights or, at worst, they’re complicit in Greece’s attempts to “wipe Macedonia off the map”. Those are the words of the first UN mediator for the name dispute, Robin O’Neil.
Greece has admitted to initiating the artificial name dispute as a means to keep denying the existence of the Macedonian nation and to persecute the Macedonian minority that it inherited after Macedonia’s partition among Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania at the beginning of the twentieth century. Moreover, it is Greece that is trying to appropriate Macedonia’s name, not the other way around as it claims.
The vast majority of the world has recognized Macedonia using its proper name, so why does the most nonsensical dispute in UN history linger? Certainly the UN, IOC, FIFA, etc., have been unable to provide any reason. End the farcical name negotiations now and the “name dispute” will be over.
Call to action: The International Paralympic Committee has shown that it thinks independently of the corrupt IOC. Let’s see proof in the Rio Paralympic Games. Join us in our demand that Macedonia’s name be respected.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC)