Letter to the President

November 6, 2004
Mr. George W. Bush
President, United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I would first like to extend to you my sincere congratulations on your re-election. Your courage and leadership throughout the past 4 years in these troubled times have been nothing short of inspiring, and you have my utmost respect and admiration. Because of you and your leadership, America is safer and progressing forward to a better future.

As an ardent supporter of you and your policies, I share the same value and vision as you with respect to bringing democracy to those countries who yearn to be free. However, it is with great regret that I must offer a dissenting opinion on your administration's recent decision to recognize The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as the "Republic of Macedonia." As a young man of Greek descent, whose family emigrated from the country of Greece in 1955, I am concerned that this policy decision will have great consequences. My family is from the northern province of Macedonia in Greece, where we identify ourselves with Alexander the Great and his Kingdom. In fact, Alexander's Kingdom is only a 25 minute drive from my mother's birthplace. Deeply ingrained in our roots is Alexander's sense of culture and patriotism of what it means to be Greek. His influence and character still lives on in the lives of Greeks located globally around the world.

I, like you, am a man of tradition and cultural values. We both share the same sense of pride and spirit in our backgrounds, and we both fight to defend them when they are threatened. In this instance, my family's heritage and culture are threatened by the people of FYROM, who have launched a smear campaign against Greece's culture, and of re-writing history so that Alexander and his Kingdom of Macedonia is identified with them, and not with Greece. The people of FYROM claim that Alexander was Slavic, however, Slavs did not move into the Balkan region until the 6th and 7th century AD, where they joined with the Ottoman Empire to suppress and enslave Greeks for over 400 years. Alexander was, is, and will always be Greek. The historical facts of his heritage are not disputed, but with FYROM having launched their campaign against Greece, people are reading distortions of the truth of Alexander and his heritage.

Mr. President, your administration's position with respect to FYROM has only enabled those who seek to continue to distort history. It flies in the face of the negotiations between Greece and FYROM to resolve the issue, but it also flies in the face of the work of my father to protect the identity of Greece, and also of the land both of my grandfathers fought to protect in World War II. I implore you to please reconsider your administration's position, and to let the truth prevail. It is not only FYROM that has a stake in this process; the history of Greece and its people's identity of being able to call themselves Macedonians with pride is also at stake. Please, do not let over 3,000 years of history be re-written in a matter of 20 years.

In closing, Mr. President, I applaud you and your leadership. I only wish that I could meet you in person to discuss the issue, however, I know that that is not feasible. It is an honor to have written you for the purpose of expressing my concerns. To not do so, would be un-American, and it would also be a disservice to my family and my heritage. In the grand scheme of things, I understand that the FYROM-Greece issue is of little significance; but to myself and all those who are affected by it, the matter is of paramount importance. I wish you the best of luck in your second term. I look forward to you moving ahead with your agenda, and I also look forward to supporting you in implementing it. Thank you for giving me the chance to express myself to you.

May God Bless You and Your family.


Alexander G. Gatzoulis