Brutal assault against a young Greek man in Australia by 15 Skopjians and the role of the nationalist Skopje organization World Macedonian Congress – Australia

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Brutal assault against a young Greek man in Australia by 15 Skopjians and the role of the nationalist Skopje organization World Macedonian Congress – Australia
by Ioannis Abatzoglou PhD*
I have been in contact with the victim of a brutal assault against a young Greek man in Melbourne by 15 Skopjians. Everything began on 9th of December 2019 when former Skopjian Mayor of Whittlesea, Emilia Lisa Sterjova, then 22 years old, uploaded a post on her Facebook page showing her brandishing the Vergina Sun flag while dancing. In the post she provocatively claimed that she went to a «Macedonian language school» and that she was «proud of her (“Macedonian”) heritage» (1, 2). However, the facts of the matter are that there is no such thing as a Macedonian ethnicity let alone language. The language spoken in the country to Greece’s north is a Bulgarian dialect and their so-called «Macedonian» ethnicity is a baseless concoction propagated by communist dictator of Yugoslavia Tito. Emilia’s baseless Facebook post drew hundreds of negative comments by Greeks because the post not only culturally appropriated a Hellenic symbol, but also claimed that there exists a Macedonian language and ethnicity. Dimosthenis Manasis wrote: «Wrong flag mayor. Perhaps your personal preference, but completely unacceptable and inexcusable in the office you hold. It should be retracted and an apology issued» (2). The negative comments were mainly from Greeks in Melbourne with the overwhelming pressure from Greek lobby groups and the broader community compelling Emilia Sterjova to delete the post and subsequently apologising in a separate post. The spark however had been lit and ethnic tension between Greeks and Skopjians was on a high. It is important to note that in the area of Whittlesea, more Skopjians reside there than Greeks.
The next Whittlesea council meeting was scheduled for 17 December 2019. One Skopjian Facebook page called, «Macedonian Australian Pride» spearheaded a gathering at the council on the day of the meeting to support Emilia (3, 4). The Page itself stated, «Please note, Emilija has indicated she prefers to see her supporters in red and yellow colours». This was the preference of the Mayor and this is how most of her supporters appeared on the day; wearing red and yellow. At this meeting the then 26 year old young Greek was also present. The following is an official statement from the victim regarding what happened on the day of the assault:
«I went to Whittlesea Council so I can ask Emilia questions about why she thought it was ok to steal Greek Symbols like the Vergina Sun. In the Council building where the meeting was happening there were about 250 Skopjians, some of who held Vergina Sun flags, some were speaking Bulgarian and most were wearing red and yellow clothing. I was wearing white shorts, a black t-shirt and a khaki green jacket. I could tell that the climate was tense and that there was no point in me asking my questions so I decided to leave as I wanted to avoid provoking a reaction from the Skopjians given the limited police presence (there were only 6 police officers present, three inside the building and three outside). I started walking to the South Morang train station carpark where I had parked my car. Once I started driving out of the carpark I noticed a white van driving head on towards me. The driver of the van had his mobile in front of the steering wheel and was taking video of my car. I passed the van and exited the carpark, however I could see from my rear view mirror that the van was making a three point turn in effort to follow me. I went onto the main road in order to leave the area. As I drove to my destination, I checked my rear-view mirror to see if anyone was following me but no one was. I checked in at a local restaurant called Ribs and Burgers a couple of minutes away. After 15 minutes, when I was standing outside the restaurant 6 cars pulled up from a distance carrying 15 Skopjians who parked at the restaurant. Most of the Skopjians wore red and yellow clothing. Once I saw them, I went inside the restaurant and called the police. Meanwhile the Skopjians were loitering outside while I was cornered inside the restaurant. I was hoping that the police would arrive before the Skopjians attacked me. After about 10 minutes, the 15 Skopjians came into the restaurant, a couple of them sat around me and surrounded me. They immediately began punching me with the first punch being a king hit to the back of the head. After the first blow I immediately covered my face and skull with my hands and arms in order to cushion the blows. They were assaulting me for about 40 seconds non-stop as the restaurant footage showed. My salvation was my knowledge of self defence and knowing how to deal with a gang attack. When they finished their cowardly attack, they ran outside so they can leave the restaurant. One of them called me a “Greek c..t” as he exited the door. Even though my face was covered in blood I chased them into the carpark and took photos of their number plates. The police arrived about three minutes later. As I was assessing everything I noticed that they had keyed my car with “F..k Greece” and had punctured the back left tyre. Covered in blood I went to the nearest hospital to the emergency ward where it was found that I had a small fracture on my left pinky finger, a few small bruises on the skull and sternum but thankfully nothing more serious. The doctors had told me that had I not defended myself the way that I did I could have died or been admitted to the intensive care unit for broken teeth and/or worse. Of the 15 Skopjians who were present at the restaurant only three had actually physically assaulted me, the rest merely observed the attack. The police explained to me that legally speaking, only the three who physically assaulted me would be charged under the law. I am fine now both physically and mentally. My message to all Greeks wherever they are on this earth is to hold their heads up high and their flags even higher. We must all be energetic Greek patriots, no matter what happens to us. So, “Whoever is alive”, as the title of the book by Ion Dragoumis says, lets continue unrestrained in our honourable struggle until total justice for Hellenism is secured. Let’s nullify the treacherous Prespa Agreement immediately and fight for our ideals, our national rights against the treason of the enemies of our nation».
With regard to the gang bashing of the young Greek man, web pages and newspapers in Australia and Greece including mainstream Australian newspapers like the Herald Sun and Τhe Age reported (3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). The bravery and fortitude of the young Greek man as well as his knowledge of martial arts is what allowed him to survive the attack with minimal damage to his physical and psychological wellbeing. The photos of the motor vehicles that the Skopjians drove which the young man managed to capture in the immediate aftermath of the assault facilitated the prompt identification and arrest of the Skopjian assailants within 2 months of the attack. The three Skopjian assailants were initially charged with two charges each; intention to cause harm and affray. The former charge was found to be duplicitous and was rejected by the judge however the charge of affray was maintained. All three Skopjians plead guilty to affray and were convicted as a result on 4 March 2019. The magistrate from Heidelberg Magistrates Court not only convicted the three Skopjians but also applied a hefty community corrections order; assigning each assailant to complete 300 hours of community service within 18 months (12, 13, 14).
The three Skopjians who were convicted of affray are Nick Ilievski, Aleksandar Ilievski and Goran Naumovski (11, 12, 13, 14). According to the victim, but also according to a Greek newspaper, Nick Ilievski is the owner and operator of a plumbing business called «Victorian Plumbing Crew», his brother Aleksandar Ilievski is an electrician, works in an electrical company called «Fuzed Electrical Solutions» and Goran Naumovski was a security guard but lost his security license as a result of his involvement in the assault (12). Also according to the victim and according to the above Greek newspaper, Goran also had been found guilty of property damage in September 2017 but avoided a conviction and Aleksandar Ilievski was convicted in 2010 of amphetamine trafficking, possession MDMA (ecstasy drug) and dealing in the proceeds of illegal activities (12, 13).
Which organisation however do these thug Skopjians belong to? Two of the three belong to the «World Macedonian Congress – Australia» (WMC-A) (8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) which is a nationalist Skopjian organisation of the diaspora which aligns itself with the VMRO-DPMNE party in Skopia. Aleksandar Ilievski is the President of the Victorian branch of the WMC-A while Nick Ilievski is a member of the support committee (8, 12).
Furthermore, Jim Stefanovski, one of WMC-A’s former national co-executive chairmen, has been convicted of fraud and arms trafficking (8, 12, 16). Stefanovski has brushed shoulders with a member of Australian parliament Craig Kelly, who until recently belonged to a right-wing party in Australia (Liberal Party Australia), while now he is an independent (12). It is worth noting that Jim Stefanovski was sentenced in 2002 to 6 years in prison for fraud and possession of a firearm without parole for 4 years (12, 16, 17). Specifically, he extorted money by fraud and possessed 12 weapons without a license (12, 16, 17). In his earlier years Jim Stefanovski was a well-known branch stacker for the Australian Labor Party and he was also co-owner of a brothel on Pitt Street in Sydney (16, 18). In conclusion, WMC-A, in addition to its anti-Greek propaganda, seems to have criminal elements in its ranks and even in high positions, while at the same time it is related to foreign politicians in the countries in which it operates (12, 16).
So, the two of three perpetrators of brutal assault of the young Greek are members of WMC-A. These Skopjians have as their logo the Vergina Sun which is a symbol copyrighted to the Hellenic republic as per the Paris Convention which recognised it as so. They also post maps of «Greater Macedonia» which encompass parts of Greece such as Halkiidiki and Thasos. These are the fanatical Slavs who want to claim the cultural and historical glory of Ancient Macedonia and who think they are «ethnic Macedonians».
These pseudomacedonian Slavs are the laughing stock of the entire world, promoting fantasies and falsehoods at every turn. They still believe that the ancient Macedonians they were not Greeks. Unfortunately for them, modern analysis and historiography proves that the ancient Macedonian language was a Greek dialect, the Macedonians were Greeks and the civilization they spread was Greek. These people who like to live with lies and think that if they disguise themselves as Macedonians, they will become real Macedonians, are a disgrace! They are not brave but cowards who assault people in gang attacks of fifteen onto one.
I have the following message to these pseudomacedonians:
«Skopjian’s, I hope one day you accept that you are Slavs which many of your countrymen have already admitted. If however you think you are true Macedonians I suggest you learn the language of the Ancient Macedonians which is the Greek language and attach yourselves to their country, that is Greece!».
I also write this message to them in their language, that is Bulgarian, so that they can better understand it:
«Скопјани, се надевам дека еден ден ќе признаете дека сте Словени, како што веќе признаа многу ваши сограѓани. Но, ако сметате дека навистина имате македонско потекло, тогаш научете го јазикот на античките Македонци што е грчки јазик и обединете се со нивната татковина, односно со Грција!».
P.S.: The three perpetrators from Skopje who committed violence against the young Greek, have already sent letters to the victim through the police, apologizing to him. Characteristically, Aleksandar Ilievski states that the specific violent incident should never have happened, while he admits that his actions against the young Greek were cowardly and disgusting. A small part of this letter is quoted: «I will end my letter by sending my deepest apologies, my deepest regrets at all my actions and I only hope for forgiveness from you and your family. This should never have occurred and hope that you recover from this event… I would like you to read my letter of apology and find it in yourself to forgive my actions; the actions were cowardly and straight up disgusting». We hope that the repentance of that Skopjian is sincere and not a trick to reduce his sentence.

The 22-year-old Skopjian mayor Emilia Lisa Sterjova while dancing with the flag flying the Vergina Sun. The posting of this photo on Facebook caused tension between the Greek and Skopje communities in Melbourne.

The text of the mayor, in which she calls the people of Skopje Macedonians and their school Macedonian. Of course, her last sentence (честитки студенти) is Bulgarian and shows the origin of the Skopjians.

The Skopjian group «Macedonian Australian Pride» in a Facebook post invites the Skopjian community of Melbourne to attend the town hall of Whittlesea in order to support the Skopjian mayor. In this post, they state that the mayor prefers to see her supporters dressed in red and yellow. On the left is the map circulated by the people of Skopje and they include in the supposed «Macedonia», apart from Skopje, territories of Bulgaria and Greece up to Halkidiki and Thasos (source 19).

From left to right the brothers Aleksandar and Nick Ilievski (source 12).

Nick Ilievski (in the box on the right) with two more Skopjians (source 12). The T-shirts they wear bear the acronym Д.O.O.M (Latin D.O.O.M) which comes from the Skopjian phrase «Движење за Ослободување и Обединување на Македонија» which means «Movement for the Liberation and Unification of Macedonia». What supposed «Macedonia» do these Slavs want to liberate? However, based on the maps they circulate, they consider that the territories of Bulgaria and Greece belong to them.

The founder and president of the World Macedonian Congress – Australia, Todor Petrov (left) with Aleksandar Ilievski (right) (source 12).

The pro-Skopjian member of Australian parliament Craig Kelly from a WMC-A event.

In contexts, the member of Australian parliament Craig Kelly (left) and Jim Stefanovski (right) at a WMC-A event (source 20).

In contexts, Jim Stefanovski (left) and Aleksandar Ilievski (right) (from Jim Stefanovski’s personal Facebook account, source 21).

Two of the Skopjians who participated in the incident with the victim being the young Greek, while leaving their car from the restaurant parking lot. Our compatriot, despite his savage beating, had the courage to run after them and photograph them. The coward Skopjian, who took part to the brutal assault against the young Greek under the cover of an entire group of Skopjians (15 Skopjians against a Greek), is now hiding his face.

The interior of the restaurant, where the 15 Skopjians assaulted to a young Greek.

The clothes of the 26-year-old Greek after his beating. The Greek covered his head with his hands to protect it from the blows of the Skopjians, with the result that mainly the sleeves of his jacket filled with blood.

1.https://neoskosmos.com/el/232783/i-dimarchos-tou-whittlesea-eksorgise-tous-ellines-tis-periochis/
2.https://neoskosmos.com/en/154233/greek-communitys-outcry-as-whittlesea-mayor-holds-up-vergina-sun-as-a-symbol-of-macedonia/
3.https://neoskosmos.com/el/233632/se-oksynsi-to-makedoniko-sti-melvourni-kai-epithesi-kai-kakopoiisi-se-ellina/
4.https://neoskosmos.com/en/154662/skopjian-interests-dominate-whittlesea-council-meeting-after-mayor-uses-greek-symbols-at-north-macedonian-event1/
5.https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/man-attacked-after-whittlesea-mayor-s-flag-waving-stokes-up-balkan-tensions-20191218-p53l7x.html
6.https://greekherald.com.au/news/man-attacked-following-clash-between-balkans/
7.https://neoskosmos.com/en/154900/man-attacked-in-south-morang-restaurant-following-protest-at-whittlesea-council-meeting/
8.https://neoskosmos.com/en/159646/men-charged-with-restaurant-attack-on-greek-australian-hold-leadership-positions-in-north-macedonian-group/
9.https://neoskosmos.com/el/248831/me-edeiran-anandra-kai-varvara-alla-den-to-vazo-kato/
10.https://pointmedia.gr/skopianoi-ethnikistes-xylokopisan-ellina-omogeni-stin-aystralia/
11.https://www.stoxos.gr/2021/03/15-15.html
12.https://www.stoxos.gr/2021/04/blog-post_3788.html
13.https://neoskosmos.com/el/297816/me-aformi-to-makedoniko-ksylokopisan-omogeni-tis-melvournis-kai-katadikastikan/
14.https://neoskosmos.com/en/204177/three-men-escape-jail-over-racially-motivated-attack/
15.https://neoskosmos.com/el/238600/ypsilovathma-stelechi-tou-aftoapo23323kaloumenou-macedonian-congress-katigorountai-gia-ton-ksylodarmo-ellina-tis-melvournis/
16.https://www.smh.com.au/national/labor-hero-in-jail-not-firefighting-20030202-gdg7c4.html
17.https://www.smh.com.au/national/fraudster-forced-to-hand-back-award-20030209-gdg8op.html
18.James Morton and Susanna Lobez (2011). Gangland Sydney. Victory Books, ebook, page: 175
19.https://www.facebook.com/MKAUSPRIDE/photos/3304093332995306
20.https://www.facebook.com/WMCAustralia/photos/a.1777712802348252/1777714769014722
21.https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=421542105005247&set=pb.100014483821877.-2207520000

*Ioannis Abatzoglou is the President of the Committee of Hellenism.
abadzoglou@yahoo.gr