One day in the fall of 1991 an Italian contractor introduced Peter to Kostas, a Greek carpenter who would be working with him on a new house.
"This is my friend Peter," the contractor said. "He's Macedonian, but he speaks Greek."
With a look of suspicion Kostas asked Peter in heavily accented English "What kind of Macedonian are you? Are you one of those ones who makes trouble?"
"No," Peter replied. "We're just trying to protect our culture from the Greek government."
"What do you mean?" asked Kostas.
Peter suggested they speak in Greek.
"Where are you from?" asked Kostas in Greek. "Are you one of the ones who wants to take our land?"
"Wait a minute," Peter said. "I'm a Macedonian. What land are you talking about? I'm from Macedonia, Macedonia of the Aegean."
'You speak good Greek!" said Kostas, somewhat surprised.
'Yes," said Peter. "I speak pure Greek. I learned it in school."
'You're a Greek-Macedonian," said Kostas.
"No! I'm a Macedonian." replied Peter.
Kostas was starting to get angry. "But you can't understand those Yugoslavs who want to take our land."
"When it comes to language," Peter explained, "a Macedonian from Greece and a Macedonian from Yugoslavia can understand each other perfectly. They speak the same language."
"Why does it bother you if I'm Macedonian?" asked Peter. "Are you Greek?"
"If I said that you weren't Greek, wouldn't you tell me to get stuffed?"
"It's the same for me. If you say I'm not a Macedonian, I'll tell you to go get stuffed."
"But you're a Greek-Macedonian," insisted Kostas again.
"I'm a Greek citizen," said Peter, "but I'm a Macedonian by birth. You could have an Australian passport, but by birth what are you?"
"A Greek," replied Kostas.
"It's the same with me," said Peter. "I'm Macedonian by birth. If a hundred years ago they divided up Greece, and Italy and Bulgaria and Thrkey each took a part, what would you be?"
"I'd still be a Greek," replied Kostas.
"That's right," said Peter, shaking Kostas' hand. "And I'm still a Macedonian. I am what I am, and you are what you are. If you say I'm not a Macedonian, then I'll say you're not a Greek."
How can a woman give birth to one Greek and one Macedonian