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Reprisals from nationalist
Physician - Author
3008 AD Rotterdam
e-mail : email@example.com
The Scientists' Association
of the Ethnic Turkish Minority
of Western Thrace
Rotterdam 24 Augustus 1999
From the Greek Helsinki website I have learnt of the open letter
sent by the parliamentary representatives of the Turkish minority in
Western Thrace and the non-governmental organisations to the Greek
Parliament concerning the recognition of the ethnic Turkish and the
ethnic Macedonian minorities in Greece.
The step you have taken shows that the ethnic Macedonians and the
ethnic Turks crossed the Rubicon.
Minister Reppas's reply is symptomatic of the ideological
backwardness of Greek society, and indeed of all Balkan societies.
It seems that the Greek political world has not learnt from the EU
and NATO's recent deplorable and essentially unwished-for punishment
of Serbian nationalism, for it has not realised that Europe is now in
its postnational period, when national boundaries are being abolished
and human rights (which were first philosophically asserted by Erasmus
in Holland in the sixtheenth century) are being defended in every way.
Mr Reppas states that, while Greece is a democracy that respects
human rights and individual freedoms, it is not prepared to recognise
the existence of " unrealistic ethnic minorities with no knowledge of
The realisation has not yet dawned that it is not the majority that
decides whether a minority exists or not, but the minority itself.
What everyone needs to realise is that Europe's centre of power is
not Athens or Ancara but Brussels; and you as Greek nationals, are first
citizens of Europe with all the obligations and rights that that
You probably know that Rainbow is a member of the Minorities Party in
the European Parliament and has the right to speak at the party's
plenary sessions in the small parliament in Brussels. The cost of one
Rainbow representative's attending for six months comes out of Community
funds, which means that the party de jure recognises the ethnic
Macedonian minority and its rights. A few weeks ago, the Euro-MP Nely
Maes submitted a question to the speaker of the European Parliament
concerning the recognition of the Macedonian language and its
introduction into the Greek educational system and the local mass media
- which means that the European Parliament is moving into action regard
to the preservation of the so-called less-spoken languages in the EU.
What is more important, however, is the need for the m?norities in
Greece to have their own Euro-MP, who can monitor and promote the issues
that concern them.
As far as national elections are concerned, it would be beter for
things to stay as they are, for the simple reason that a left-wing voter
in the minority has different ideological preferences from a
For the European elections, however, there could be a coalition
party comprising basically the Macedonian Rainbow and the Turkish
Rainbow: I am certain that it would be supported by many Pomaks, many
Christian Gypsies, many Moslem Gypsies, many Vlachs, many ethnic
Albanians, a good many ecologists, the OAKKE, and many other oppressed
religious groups, together with many progressive Greeks.
Only this sort of co-operation is likely to give the coalition the
200.000 votes that will bring it close enough to 3 per cent to enable it
to sent one or two Euro-MPs to Brussels in five years's time, where they
will be able to present the oppressed groups' problems from a position
A prerequisite would be to create a minority Turkish party with a
published manifesto, just like Rainbow, that would emphasise EU
principles and support for human rights and the rights of minorities,
not excluding the Kurdish minority in Turkey. The manifesto could
-indeed must- condemn all violence, whether by Ocalan's PKK or Taci's
KLA in Kosovo.
I do assure you that the minority representatives in the European
Parliament today abhor the violence of people like Ocalan and Taci and
refuse membership to parties that do not repudiate armed violence. The
fundamental political philosophy of the minority Euro-MPs is that the
struggle must be exclusively political, within the framework of the
We could share more detailed information at a private meeting of
those interested, in Komotini.
Copies to :
1. Abdullhalim Dede, journalist and member of the Turkish minority
2. Pavlos Voskopoulos, member of the political secretariat of Rainbow
3. Ibram Onsunoglou , Phycisian and member of the Turkish minority
3008 AD Rotterdam
E-meil : firstname.lastname@example.org
GLOBE AND MAIL: WE CREATED A MONSTER
Albanian terrorists, armed by the West to fight in Kosovo, are destroying Macedonia, says Canada's former ambassador to Yugoslavia JAMES BISSETT
JAMES BISSETT 07/31/2001
The Globe and Mail
"All material Copyright (c) Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved."
When Canadian pilots joined in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in March of 1999, we were told by Lloyd Axworthy and Art Eggleton that the NATO intervention in Kosovo was necessary to prevent the violence there from spreading and de-stabilizing the Balkans. Yet we now know that, long before the bombing, NATO countries were inciting violence in Kosovo and attempting to de-stabilize that Serbian province. Now, despite the bombing, the violence has spread -- in Kosovo itself, in southern Serbia, and more recently in Macedonia.
Media reports have revealed that as early as 1998, the Central Intelligence Agency, assisted by the British Special Armed Services, were arming and training Kosovo Liberation Army members in Albania to foment armed rebellion in Kosovo. The KLA terrorists were sent back into Kosovo to assassinate Serbian mayors, ambush Serbian policemen and do everything possible to incite murder and chaos. The hope was that with Kosovo in flames, NATO could intervene and, in so doing, not only overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian strong man, but more importantly, provide the aging and increasingly irrelevant military organization with a reason for its continued existence.
After bombing Yugoslavia into submission, NATO then stood by and submissively allowed the KLA to murder, pillage and burn. The KLA was given a free hand to do as it wished. Almost all of the non-Albanian population was "ethnically cleansed" from Kosovo under the watchful eyes of 40,000 NATO troops. Moreover, in defiance of United Nations Resolution 1244, which brought an end to the fighting, NATO adamantly refused to disarm the KLA fighters. Instead, NATO converted this ragtag band of terrorists into the Kosovo Protection Force -- allegedly to maintain peace and order in Kosovo.
To add insult to injury, NATO appointed an alleged war criminal, Agim Ceku, as commander of this force. Some news reports have suggested that there is a sealed indictment against Mr. Ceku held by the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague but not acted upon because to do so would embarrass his NATO bosses. Mr. Ceku is an Albanian Kosovar who led the Croatian army in 1995 in "Operation Storm," which ethnically cleansed almost all of the Serbian population from their ancestral lands in Croatia. On June 10, 2001, The Times of London reported that in early March, Mr. Ceku ordered 800 KLA reservists from Kosovo to enter Macedonia to help their fellow Albanians in their rebellion against the government there.
Few Albanian nationalists in the Balkans had forgotten that, under the fascist and Nazi regimes of the 1940s, Albania was given control of Kosovo, parts of Macedonia and northern Greece. Those latent dreams of Greater Albania have been given new life by NATO's policy of actively supporting the Albanians of Kosovo in the use of violence and force to achieve their political goals. It appears our NATO leaders did not realize (or did not care) that by supporting Albanian extremists, the scourge of Albanian racism would be unleashed.
Now, in Macedonia, the broader consequences of NATO's ill-considered intervention in that troubled region of Europe are becoming more evident.
The KLA learned early in the Yugoslavian campaign that NATO countries are unwilling to risk the lives of their soldiers to resolve Balkan problems. It is one thing to bomb targets in Yugoslavia from 15,000 feet with little risk to its pilots; it's quite another to become involved in armed conflict on the ground against a well-armed, determined enemy. Confirmation of this was evident when the KLA went into southern Serbia, and NATO was not prepared to intervene militarily to halt that aggression. It was only when NATO was able to strike a deal with the new democratic powers in Serbia to have Serbian troops restore order in that region that the KLA was stopped.
Thwarted, at least temporarily, in southern Serbia, the KLA then turned its attention to Macedonia, and in March started a new military campaign in that country. The group's tactics were the same as those used successfully in Kosovo, i.e. assassination, ambush, and intimidation of the local population. As in Kosovo, the KLA is armed and equipped by Western powers. To put down the armed rebellion, the Macedonian authorities have used the same tactics the Serbian forces employed in Kosovo: shelling villages occupied by KLA fighters, with consequent civilian casualties and refugees.
Unlike Kosovo, however, NATO authorities are unable to react to the Macedonian crisis, as they did two years earlier in Kosovo, because obviously bombing Macedonia is not the answer. Macedonia is not headed by a Slobodan Milosevic and its record of dealing with its Albanian minority is, by Balkan standards, exemplary. The issue is further complicated by the fact that the KLA is NATO's own creature and is looked upon favourably by its previous masters. There seems little doubt that NATO intends to ensure that Kosovo remains under KLA control.
Even more alarming is the fact that the KLA and its brethren in Macedonia continue to receive assistance and military help from NATO countries. Last month when Macedonian forces were closing in on KLA rebels near the town of Aracinovo, NATO intervened and helped evacuate the KLA fighters. According to German media reports, it did so because among the KLA forces were 17 Americans, advisers from a U.S. mercenary organization that has been actively engaged in the Balkans during the Yugoslav wars, and it wouldn't do to have had a number of former U.S. military personnel captured along with KLA terrorists.
Although it is embarrassed by the actions of the KLA in Macedonia, NATO has shown no inclination to bring a stop to this naked aggression against a democratic and peaceful nation. To do so would mean armed clashes with the KLA, with consequent loss of NATO lives. It would also underline the bankruptcy of NATO's policy in the Balkans -- not something NATO's secretary-general, Lord George Robertson, or our NATO political leaders wish to have highlighted.
Unwilling to confront the KLA, NATO's response so far has been to bring diplomatic pressure on the government of Macedonia, forcing it to yield to Albanian demands. Lord Robertson and the European Union's foreign minister, Javier Solana, have gone to Skopje to press home NATO's insistence that Macedonia's sovereignty must be compromised. In the meantime, KLA rebels are reinforcing their forces which have occupied most of western and northern Macedonia. So much for NATO's dedication to democratic ideals, the rule of law and the peaceful resolution of international disputes. James
Bissett is a former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia.
Copyright © 2000 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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Web posted at: 8/6/2001 3:08:00 AM (GMT-8)
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The Claims put forward by Greece that the ancient Macedonians were Greeks, that their native language was Greek, and that Macedonia was a region of Greece are all false. The historical truth is that Greece was inhabited by Greeks, Macedonia by Macedonians. The presence of Greek settlements along the coast of Macedonia which Philip II destroyed anyway did not change Macedonia's ethnic character. Likewise, a very much stronger and longer Greek presence in Egypt did not transform that African land into a region of Greece. The ancients knew where Greece ended and where Macedonia began. They believed that Mount Olympus was in Macedonia, Mount Parnassus in Greece. Thus the geographer Strabo calls Olympus "the highest mountain in Macedonia". It still is.
Jacques Bacid, Ph.D. Columbia University, 1983, has taught Slavic languages, Balkan, and East European history at the University of Oregon. He writes and lectures on these subjects. Jacques Bacid is a chairperson of the Illyrian Committee. He is an American Croatian.
For additional information, write to the following:
Illyrian Committee or Macedonian World Congress P.O. Box 1948 P.O. Box 2826 Cathedral Station Ormond Beach, FL New York, NY 10025 32175-2826 USA USA
The enclosed is not intended to defend the right of the Macedonian people to call themselves by this name; the civilized world has acknowledges this right. Highlighted here are some signposts from Macedonia's past and its relations with neighbouring Greece. This document is written in the form of a court-case presentation to allow readers to see clearly the absurdity of Greek allegations against the people of Macedonia.
Greece alleges that:
1) The Macedonians should not be recognized as Macedonians because the Macedonians have been of Greek nationality since 2000 B.C.
2) Those Macedonians whose language belongs to the Slavic family of languages, must not call themselves Macedonians because 4000 years ago the Macedonians spoke Greek and still speak nothing but Greek.
3) Macedonia has no right to call itself by this name because Macedonia has always been and is today a region of Greece.
The people of Macedonian affirm that:
1) The ancient Macedonians were a distinct European people, conscious and proud of their nationality, their customs, their language, and their name. The same applies to their descendants today.
2) The ancient Macedonians regarded the Greeks as neighbours not as kinsmen. The Greeks treated the Macedonians as foreigners ("barbarians") whose native language was Macedonian not Greek.
3) Macedonian was never a region of Greece. On the contrary, Greece was often subject to Macedonia. In 1913, Greece and her Balkan allies partitioned Macedonia, and if today a portion of Macedonian belongs to Greece, it is by virtue of an illegal partition of the whole and occupation of a part of Macedonia.
These assertions will be shown to be true in the eyes of history.
MACEDONIANS AND GREEKS THROUGH THE AGES
Throughout antiquity, the Chasia and Kamvounia mountains, Mount Olympus, and the vale of Tempe separated Macedonia from Greece. On the north, Macedonia extended as far as the Vardar watershed and along the Struma and Mesta valleys, past the city of Blagoevgrad to the sources of the Bistrica River in the Rila Mountain in today's Bulgaria. Macedonia covered a land area of c. 26,000 square miles.
In the course of the second pre-Christian millennium, the ancient Greeks descended in several migratory waves as goatherds and shepherds from the interior of the Balkans into Greece. Some passed through the Morava-Vardar Valley and across the plain of Thessaly on their way south, while others went south through Epirus. More recent scholars point to Asia minor as the original Greek homeland.
There is no evidence that prehistoric Macedonia was ever occupied by Greeks.
The Bronze Age Mycenaean Greek civilization, names so after the city of Mycenae on the Peloponnesus, thrived from c. 1400 to 1100 B.C. in mainly Greece and on the Aegean islands. Archaeological finds from Macedonia are meagre and sporadic; scholars believe that ancient Macedonia lay beyond the cultural and ethnic borders of Mycenaean Greece.
The ancient Macedonians claimed kinship with the Illyrians, Thracians, and the Phrygians, not with the Greeks. In fact, the Brygians of Macedonia were believed to be the European branch of the people who in Asia Minor were known as the Phrygians.
Ancient Macedonia was home to many tribes and nations. Homer did not know the Macedonians by this name. Of the many Macedonia peoples, Homer only mentions the Paeones who lives in the heart of Macedonia. In the Trojan War, the Paeones joined the besieged Trojans, an indication that they were not Greeks. Greek and other historians frequently mention the Brygians. Their name derives from the Macedonian word 'breg', "hill/mountain". The Brygians were the "hillsmen" of Macedonia. Another remarkable people were the Mygdones, who lived in Aegean Macedonia, in Asia Minor, and in Upper Mesopotamia.
Greek migrants came to Macedonia, Thrace, and Illyria after they had exhausted the possibilities of settlement in Asia Minor, Italy, France, Spain and Scythia, known today as Ukraine and Russia. Some famous ancient Greeks went to Macedonia and Thrace in search of livelihood or adventure. These included Pythagoras, Euripides, Herodotus, and Aristotle's ancestors. However, the Greeks did not consider Macedonia especially attractive for permanent settlement. Neither did the Macedonians welcome them as openheartedly as did the Italians and Scythians. Perhaps Aristotle who left Macedonia while still a young man would have never gone back had the Macedonia King Philip II (360-366 B.C.) not hired him to be his son's tutor. In any case, by the middle of the fourth pre-Christian century, Greek settlers were expelled from Macedonia, their cities, including Aristotle's native Stagira, razed to the ground by Philip, and Aristotle died in exile in Greece.
The ancient Macedonians regarded the Greeks as potentially dangerous neighbours, never as kinsmen. The Greeks unanimously stereotyped the Macedonians as "barbarians" and treated them in the same bigoted manner in which they treated all non-Greeks. Herodotus, the Father of History, relates how the Macedonian king Alexander I (498-454 B.C.), a Philhellene, that is, "a friend of the Greeks", and logically a non-Greek, wanted to take part in the Olympic games. The Greek athletes protested, saying they would not run with a barbarian. The historian Thucydides, himself half barbarian, considered the Macedonians as barbarians. Demosthenes, the great Athenians statesman and orator, spoke of the Macedonia king Philip II as:
"... not only no Greek, nor related to the Greeks, but not even a barbarian from any place that can be named with honours, but a pestilent knave from Macedonia, whence it was never yet possible to buy a decent slave." [Third Phillipic, 31]
The Macedonian "barbarian" defeated Greece at the battle of Chaeronea in August 338 B.C. and appointed himself "Commander of the Greeks." The date is commonly takes as the end of Greek history and the beginning of the Macedonian era.
[Greece did not regain its independence until 1827 A.D.]
Greeks prospered under the Macedonians, but they prospered in Egypt and West Asia, not in Greece and not in Macedonia. Though the Macedonians expelled the Greeks from Macedonia and Thrace, they permitted them to settle throughout their vast empire in Asia and Africa. Antiochia and Alexandria, to name just the two most important cities established by Macedonians, grew into great cosmopolitan metropolises where Europeans, Africans, and Asians traded goods, ideas, and insults conversing mainly in Greek, the 'lingua franca' (common language) of the Macedonian empire.
Other significant historical signposts include:
* Greece was conquered by Macedonia at the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C.
* Both Macedonia and Greece were annexed by the Romans to their empire after the battle of Pydna in 168 B.C.
* Under the Romans, the Greeks continued to prosper in the Levant, Asia Minor, and Egypt, less so in Greece and not at all in Macedonia. While the Romans did not establish any province by the name of Greece or Hellas, there were two Macedonia's in their Empire: 'Macedonia Prima', known today as the Aegean Macedonia, and 'Macedonia Salutaris', known today as the Vardar and Pirin Macedonias. The two Macedonian provinces formed the Diocese of Macedonia, to which the Romans attached all of modern Greece and Albania. Latin was the official language in Roman Macedonia, from 168 B.C. until the demise of Roman rule at the end of the sixth Christian century.
* After the establishment of Christianity, the Macedonians and Greeks shed their ethnicity in favour of the new identity as Christian and Roman citizens. Those who spoke Latin called themselves 'Romani'. Those who spoke Greek, whether they were Macedonians, Greeks, Armenians, or Arabs, referred to themselves as 'Rhomaioi', a Greek word for Romans. Those who used Slavic language were known as 'Slovene'.
* In the sixth century, the Paeones, now called Slavs, came back and captured all of Macedonia from the East Romans, with the exception of a few coastal cities. Macedonia maintained its independence and resisted attacks by the Armenian and Syrian dynasties who held power in New Rome (Byzantium) and by the shamanist and nomadic Bulgars who roamed the steppes of the Dobrudja with their herds. Since the sixth century, the native Macedonian language had been the dominant speech of the land. It was first systematized in the middle of the ninth Christian century by SS. Cyril and Methodius, the apostles of the Slavs who were born in Thessalonica, Solun. The Macedonian language has functioned as the principal literary, liturgical, and colloquial language of Macedonia ever since.
* In 867, the first European dynasty assumed power in medieval East Rome. The dynasty is called Macedonian because the parents of its founder, Basil I, originated from the Byzantine province of Macedonia. The Macedonian rulers in Byzantium spoke Macedonian and Greek and thought of themselves as Macedonians and Rhomaioi. In the tenth century, another dynasty came to power in Macedonia proper and reached its apogee under Tsar Samuilo at the turn of the millennium.
* In 1014, the Macedonian Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Basil II defeated Tsar Samuilo and soon annexed Macedonia to his East Roman state. Under the Macedonian rules and their successors in Byzantium, the Macedonians retained their language, customs, and their church organization.
* The East Roman Empire was destroyed by the Crusaders in 1204. During the next two and a half centuries, the Macedonians fought foreign invaders, adventurers, and bandits who tried to dominate their land. The Ottoman Turks established their rule in Macedonia in the fifteenth century. The Turks used the name 'Rumelia' for their possessions in the Balkan Peninsula in the belief that they had once belonged to the Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
* In 1827, the Christian European powers intervened on behalf of Greek rebels and forced the Turks to grant them independence. In 1832, the same powers established the first modern Greek state, chose Prince Otto of Bavaria to be "King of the Hellenes", and sent him to Athens.
* Macedonian entered this century as a province of the Ottoman Empire, divided among the Solun, Bitola, and Kosovo vilayets. The region was occupied primarily by Macedonians. The census in the three vilayets taken by the Ottoman state in 1905 found 3,181,690 inhabitants. Other than to Macedonians, this region was home to many Albanians, Turks, Romi, Vlachs, Jews, and Greeks.
* After the Ottoman state was weakened by internal troubles, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece attacked their former masters. In this war, called the First Balkan War, the Turks lost Macedonia. The victorious Balkan kingdoms convened in Bucharest in August 1913 to divide the spoils. By the Treaty of Bucharest, Macedonian was partitioned. Greece was awarded Aegean Macedonia and renamed it "Northern Greece"; Bulgaria annexed Pirin Macedonia and abolished the Macedonian name, and Serbia took Vardar Macedonia and renamed it "Southern Serbia."
* The Republic of Macedonia was created out of the ashes of the Second World War by Josip Broz Tito, the anti-fascist leader of Yugoslavia, who recognized the Macedonians as a distinct people with their own nationalist, language, and culture when he created modern Yugoslavia. Macedonia became a sovereign state by a popular referendum held in September 1991 when the majority of voters chose independence.
MACEDONIAN AND OTHER LANGUAGES
During the reign of Alexander the Great, the Macedonians spoke their own native language.
The question of the use of the Macedonian language was raised by Alexander himself during the trial of Philotas, one of his generals accused of treason. Alexander said to Philotas:
"The Macedonians are about to pass judgement upon you; I wish to know whether you their native tongue in addressing them." Thereupon Philotas replied: "Besides the Macedonians there are many present who, I think, will more easily understand what I shall say if I use the same language which you have employed, for no other reason, I suppose, than in order that you speech might be understood by the greater number." Then said the king: "Do you not see how Philotas loathes even the language of his fatherland? For he alone disdains to learn it. But let him by all means speak in whatever way he desires, provided that you remember he holds our customs in as much abhorrence as our language." [Quintus Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander the Great of Macedon, VI. ix. 34-36]
The trial of Philotas took place in Asia before a multi-ethnic public, which had accepted Greek as their common language. Alexander spoke Macedonian with his conationals, but used Greek in addressing West Asians.
Like Illyrian and Thracian, ancient Macedonian was not recorded in writing. However, on the basis of about a hundred glosses, Macedonian words noted and explained by Greek writers, some place-names from Macedonia, and a few names of individuals, most scholars believe that ancient Macedonian was a separate Indo-European language. Evidence from phonology indicates that the Macedonian language was distinct from Greek and closer to the Thracian and Illyrian languages.
Linguistic continuity between the ancient and modern Macedonians is shown by the survival of Philip's original native name. Philip was known abroad as 'Philippos'. The native Macedonian and Thracian form of his name was recorded in the name of the Thracian town which he has conquered and named 'Pulpudeva', "the city of Philip". In the language of its Slavic citizens it is known today as 'Plovdiv'. The cosmopolitan form of the city's name is 'Philipopolis', a learned rendering of the native name. Another example of this continuity involves the ancient capital of Macedonia, Edessa. The Macedonians knew this city as 'Voden' long before linguists discovered that the Slavic name was a translation of the original name and that both meant "watertown." The Greeks, on the other hand, unless they study linguistics, do not know the meaning of the name.
Since 1913, official Greece has been trying to banish native Macedonian names of villages, towns, cities, and rivers in Aegean Macedonia. For example, the Macedonians are being instructed to forget Voden and use the name Edessa and to drop the name Solun in favour of Thessaloniki. The people whose ancestors have over the millennia plowed the earth and grazed their sheep and goats in the Bistrica and Vardar valleys are forced to learn from dead writers a dead language the "proper" names for their rivers.
The little stream which issues from Mount Olympus and flows into the Aegean Sea by the town of Katerini is labelled 'Mavroneri', "black water", on maps made by Greek cartographers. However, the same river appears as "Crna Reka', a native Macedonian name meaning "black river" on maps made before 1913. Perhaps the village of Nezero on the southern slopes of Mount Olympus, has not yet been given a Greek name because it has escaped the attention of Greek linguist purists. The name in fact derives from the Slavic word for "lake". Of course, when Zeus and his divine company lived on Mount Olympus, the lake had another name. But, ever since mortal Macedonians have lived there, the lake has been called 'Ezero', meaning "lake"
It is common knowledge that the northern boundary of ancient Greece ran from the modern city of Preveza (a Macedonian name, meaning "ferrytown") or from Korfu to the Vale of Tempe south of Mount Olympus. In antiquity, Macedonian was a northern neighbour of Greece, never a province of Greece.
Alexander spoke Macedonian and was proud of his ethnicity. However, the Macedonian language of his day was not used as a literary idiom. The first native written language of Macedonia is the idiom called Macedonian or Old Church Slavic.
Though Alexander spoke Greek, loved Homer, and respected his tutor Aristotle, there is much evidence that he hated and despised the Greeks of his day. He thoroughly destroyed Thebes. His Asian empire is correctly called Macedonian, not Greek, for he won it with an army of 35,000 Macedonians and only 7,600 Greeks. The Greeks distinguished themselves on the side of the Persians. For instance, at the battle of Issus, Alexander's European army was opposed by a large Asian host which included about 30,000 Greek mercenaries who fought for the Persians. During his campaign in Asia, Alexander dismissed the messenger who had brought him news of a war among the Greeks, saying: "Why should I trouble myself with battles of mice"?
Alexander could not think of himself as a Greek, for his mother was from Epirus, a land more Illyrian than Hellenic, and his earthly father was a Macedonian whom the Greeks of his day called "a barbarian". More importantly, Alexander told the Egyptians that his heavenly parent was their god Ammon. After he conquered Mesopotamia, Persia, and the Indus Valley, he believed he was a god commanding his Greek subjects to accept his divinity.
It is possible that the native Macedonian name "Mygdones" was the basis of the name "Makedones," which then became the collective name for all the different peoples of Macedonia. It is by the latter form that the various peoples of Macedonia became universally known. Even if the ancient Greeks did take part in the shaping and popularizing of this name, this does not give today's Greece the copyright to the name "Macedonia".
Last updated on Tuesday, April 9, 1996
Copyright © 1996 ~bvs4997/Macedonia/boris.html"Boris Soposki, All Rights Reserved
by Nebojsa Malic
August 9, 2001
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Old and worn as that phrase may be, it is no less accurate today than it was the first time it was spoken. The familiar descent of Balkans nations first into warfare, then into servitude and poverty, ought to stand as a living example. Now that Macedonia is being torn apart as the old Yugoslavia, then Bosnia and Serbia were, most Balkans nations look upon the unfolding grisly spectacle with a mixture of relief and fear: relief, for it is not them on the sacrificial altar of the "international community"; fear, for they are not at the altar yet.
Indeed, most Balkans nations try to think about Macedonia as little as possible. Slovenia is too busy trying to become a NATO fiefdom; Croatia has its own troubles, which - most inconveniently - its politicians cannot blame on Serbs anymore; Bosnia is preoccupied with pretending it is not a dysfunctional foreign colony, losing what little of its youth survived the 1992-95 war; today's Yugoslavia is but a shadow of a shadow, with Montenegro's regime determined to secede, federal leadership downright comatose, and Serbia in hands of men with an eighteen-fold personality disorder and a gargantuan inferiority complex. Indeed, on a good day, Yugoslavia cannot decide whether it exists or not. Bulgaria is still waiting for the difference King Simeon promised. Greece watches its northern border not so much out of principle as out of territorial curiosity. And Albania... no one really knows, though whoever ends up running the illusion of government in Tirana will surely do as they are told.
DEATH OF A THOUSAND CUTS
Those that survived firsthand the kind of death currently administered to Macedonia know the script by heart, including the inevitable local variations. Most often, the Empire gives its verbal support to the legitimate government while maintaining a more practical relationship with its enemies. (The scenario in Bosnia-Herzegovina had a modified cast of characters, but that merits a column of its own at a later date.)
If there is fighting, the Empire's true protégés are always saved by a timely ceasefire, one they have no compunction breaking. Peace talks organized by the Empire's envoys almost always involve an ultimatum to the government to accept its enemy's demands. When the government refuses to submit - stubbornly believing in sovereignty, rights and justice, or whatnot - the Empire blames it for everything: obstructing "peace," violence, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, even genocide, if that's what it takes.
Overwhelmed by this sudden "reversal" and the onslaught of propaganda, the targeted government always chooses surrender.
MURDER BY SUICIDE
Thus, as Macedonians are being stretched on the rack to sign the "agreement" with Albanian separatists that would effectively destroy their nation, those very same separatists are growing stronger and bolder every day - a fact that is then used to increase pressure on the Macedonians even further.
The Empire grows frustrated. Its troops are ready to occupy Macedonia and pretend to disarm the Albanians as soon as the blasted politicians sign the surrender papers. But the accursed wretches just keep dithering... Well, wouldn't you? If your country was being drawn and quartered by supposedly well-meaning foreigners, wouldn't any one of you out there at least think twice before putting a torch to your own funeral pyre?
To give them credit, Macedonians are fighting any which way they can. They've marched on the White House (though neglecting the fact that His Glorious and Elevated Majesty was on vacation) and they've appealed to the world's conscience with testimonies of their people, who have been dispossessed, abused and exiled by Albanian bandits, in what certainly qualifies as ethnic cleansing. They have even tried fighting the usurpers, though such actions immediately draw harsh Imperial condemnations and deadly reprisals. Most of all, they've stalled for time, hoping, perhaps, that some alternative to defeat lies in the future.
THE USUAL SUSPECT(S)
Macedonia would not find itself in this predicament had the Imperial intrusion into what used to be Yugoslavia been halted in its early stage, in 1990. Back then, however, few took it seriously and even fewer bothered to fight. Those who did - for whatever reasons, patriotic or private - are now either dead, imprisoned, or in exile. Tens of thousands of troops occupy Bosnia and Kosovo, protecting not their inhabitants, but the foreigners who rule them. And if the rumors are true, the Empire will soon link their dominions in Bosnia and Kosovo with a string of bases in Serbia itself.
Talks on the topic have already been held between American generals and some Serbian officials. Two of them, Nebojsa Covic and General Ninoslav Krstic, had negotiated with NATO the end of Albanian invasion in Presevo. Just a few days ago, those supposedly demobilized bandits ambushed a police patrol and killed two officers in a village near Presevo. Either someone's not holding up their end of the bargain, or this is an example of the diplomatic communication that the Empire is so good at: give us your bases, or else...
LOGIC OF DEDUCTION
It may seem that events in Serbia have no bearing on Macedonia, but that impression is very wrong. First of all, both face the same Albanian militants - not just the same movement, but actual individuals. Wearing hats of different "armies," the same people fought first in Kosovo, then in Presevo, and now in Tetovo.
Their aim is clear: an ethnically pure Albanian territory, mapped by some as "Greater Albania," by others as "Greater Kosovo," but definitely separate from non-Albanian nations. Their methods are consistent: first attack the police, then the army; expel non-Albanian civilians; take control of Albanian civilians, even by murdering those who resist; finally, appeal to Western help on grounds of "repression," and "humanitarian disaster," while falsely claiming to fight for "civil rights."
That help always comes. It came in Kosovo, when the KLA was resurrected and eventually brought to power by a NATO military intervention. It came in Presevo, since the Albanian "Liberation army" there was armed and organized as a tool against Yugoslavia's President Milosevic. Now the same people that fought in both of these "armies" are fighting against Macedonia. Those who helped them twice already have now come up with a Macedonia "peace plan" - which, incidentally, is supposed to wipe out the "rebellion" by capitulating completely to its demands. (They have the nerve to deny it.)
Next time you see the Western media describe Macedonian resistance to Western treachery as "angry mob violence, organized by hard-line nationalists" or some similar bit of drivel, consider why the Macedonians are angry. Also, try to think why the press describes them so, and what the press has done every other time the Empire intervened in the Balkans.
Suddenly, the world will make much more sense.
A PLETHORA OF MOTIVES
There is one more, crucial question. No, not what will happen in Macedonia - though the outcome is far from preordained, it is likely to pattern itself after all the other interventions of the previous decade. The real question is why?
Is the Empire aiding the Albanians because it believes their grievances are legitimate, or is it simply appeasing them to protect its vulnerable occupation force in Kosovo? Is it aiding Greater Albania out of love for Albanians, or because it's using Albanians against other nations? Is it occupying the Balkans because it wants "peace and stability," or because it plans a pipeline through its heartland?
It could be, though, that all of those explanations fail to see the forest for the trees. After all, the Balkans mountain-tops offer a far more interesting view of Moscow and the Caspian oil fields than of Belgrade, Skopje or Tirana.
A consistent ideology underlies the Empires actions: it will do everything and anything that increases its power and eliminates potential obstacles or, God forbid, competition. Power, in the final analysis, is about forcing people to do things they would not do of their own will. And if the greatest individual power is over life and death, would not the greatest power of one nation be that over the life and death of others?
A PECULIAR CRIME
One peculiar thing about the murder of Macedonia is that it has not yet fully taken place. There is still a chance that the victim might make a fortuitous turn somewhere and escape the knife-wielding butcher at its heels. Perhaps help will come from the outside, though the Empire's reach is long and powerful. What we see now is a life-and-death contest of willpower. Do people value their land, their name and their honor enough defend them, no matter how sweet the murderers' words, no matter how powerful their weapons and lies?
No sooner have these words touched the screen when news came of the KLA's ambush on the Skopje-Tetovo highway, and the death of 10 Macedonian soldiers. There seems to be no more room to maneuver; it has come to fight or flight, and the dice are loaded.
HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
The greatest plague in Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans is not poverty, corruption or violence. Those are but symptoms of a greater evil: despair.
After a tumultuous decade that saw the destruction of many structures - political, social and physical - but almost no construction of new ones, denizens of the peninsula wander around aimlessly, seeking meaning while trying to survive from one day to another. Stripped of ideas and goals, cheated of beliefs and possessions, they are now slowly being robbed of the last vestiges of hope as well. Unless they find the strength to stop that slide, and soon, the entire Balkans will become a land of walking zombies - mindless, resigned servants of local satraps and their Imperial overlords.
Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams - the death of not just freedom, but the dream of freedom itself. Macedonia fights not just against invaders and usurpers, but against chaos and despair. It's a fight that they cannot afford to lose, and we cannot afford to ignore.
The evidence amply confirms that the US and Britain – in complicity with their NATO partners-- have been arming and equipping the terrorists, while paying lip service to constitutional reform in Macedonia.
The "framework document", to be ratified by the leaders of Macedonia's political parties has nothing to do with "peace". It is an act of surrender by a sovereign country to the enemy, paving the way for the military occupation of Macedonia by NATO troops.
The Western press points to the "mediation" of the US and the EU in what is largely portrayed as an "internal conflict". Public opinion is led to believe that the Macedonian crisis pertains solely to the social, political and language rights of the ethnic Albanian minority and that the "international community" is committed to ending the violence "between government forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents" while assisting opposing sides to reach a solution.
The truth is that US military personnel is advising and equipping the terrorists. The KLA-NLA is America's proxy military force. KLA-NLA commanders -- who until recently were on the United Nations payroll in Kosovo – were trained by British and American Special Forces.
The media describes the terrorists as "Albanian rebels" upholding the rights of an ethnic minority in Macedonia. Amply documented, the KLA-NLA is a well organised mercenary army, which includes recruits from NATO countries as well as Mujahedin ("holy warriors") from a number of Muslim countries.
The Western media mantra portrays America's envoy Ambassador James Pardew as a "foreign facilitator", when in fact his military-intelligence mandate consists in ensuring (through threat, intimidation and political manipulation) the signing of a "framework document". The purpose of the latter is to provide legitimacy to the military occupation of Macedonia by NATO troops. To reach this objective, the leaders of Macedonia's political parties have been deceived and co-opted, and (according to one source) directly bribed by powerful American business interests.1
SURRENDER TO THE ENEMY
The Ohrid "framework document" to be ratified by the leaders of Macedonia's political parties has nothing to do with "peace". It is an act of surrender by a sovereign country to the enemy.
While the US and EU "mediators" promised that the "peace agreement" would lay the basis for "disarming the rebels" and enforcing a cease-fire, the evidence amply confirms that exactly the opposite will occur.
NATO has no intention to confiscate the weapons of its own proxy army. Washington has been directly arming and equipping the terrorists with brand new weapons "Made in America".
Following the acceptance of the "framework document" by the Macedonian parties, a NATO spokesperson clarified that:
"it [NATO] would not actually disarm ethnic Albanian rebels and would have to rely on their cooperation to lay down their weapons. A NATO official said the surrender of arms by National Liberation Army (NLA) guerrillas was a matter of trust, and reports that NATO had given new disarmament guarantees to the former Yugoslav republic's authorities were wrong."
OPERATION "ESSENTIAL HARVEST"
Code-named "Essential Harvest", NATO's intervention under British command serves three related purposes:
1) NATO Special Forces will be deployed to directly protect the terrorists, including their territorial gains.
2) The intent is to not "disarm the rebels" but to weaken and disable the Macedonian Security Forces as evidenced by the pressure exerted by Washington on the Ukraine to discontinue its military aid to the Macedonian ARM.
3) The agreement is intent on instilling an atmosphere of ethnic hatred between the Albanian minority and the Macedonian majority, which would justify military as well as political intervention "on humanitarian grounds".
The "Framework Agreement" lays the basis for the installation of a NATO protectorate (similar to that prevailing in Kosovo and Bosnia) leading to the destruction of Macedonia as a country.
By signing this agreement, the Skopje government relinquishes all its powers and jurisdictions, paving the way for the military occupation of Macedonia by NATO forces in violation of international law.
MILITARISATION OF THE BALKANS
The transformation of Macedonia into a protectorate of the Western military alliance is a further step in the militarisation of the Balkans. In many respects, it is reminiscent of the occupation of the Sudetenland province of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany under the Munich Agreement signed between Adolph Hitler and Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. The annexation of the Sudetenland to the Third Reich was a stepping stone to the
subsequent invasion of Poland in 1939.
OPPOSING THE FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT
It is important that Macedonian citizens of all ethnic groups join hands in forcefully opposing the invasion of their country by NATO troops. The ratification of the framework document by the leaders of Macedonia's political parties should be firmly opposed. NATO is the enemy. It should be understood, however, that even if the "framework document" is not ratified, NATO has already taken the decision to invade Macedonia.
Both Macedonians and ethnic Albanians are the victims of the NATO sponsored terrorist assaults and should act as much as possible in solidarity with one another. The important issue of minority rights in Macedonia is an internal matter to be worked out within the framework of existing national political and social institutions, without outside interference.
NATO is using the issue of social and language rights to trigger divisions between Macedonians and ethnic Albanians. In this insidious design, NATO is using the pretext of minority social rights to send in troops and occupy the country.
In NATO countries and around the World, citizens – acting individually and collectively within their respective communities-- should understand the seriousness of the situation in Macedonia. The so-called National Liberation Army (NLA) is a proxy army of the United States of America. The terrorists are financed and supported by Washington. The war in Macedonia is a war of conquest.
The complicity of the heads of State and heads of government of NATO countries must be confronted. NATO is upholding international terrorism. It plans to send troops into a sovereign country in violation of its own charter, in defiance of international law and without legislative assent or parliamentary debate in NATO member countries. The geopolitical implications are far-reaching. The signing of the Ohrid "framework document" will provide legitimacy to the occupation of Macedonia by NATO troops and the militarisation of the entire Balkans region.
Professor of Economics,
University of Ottawa
FOR THE BULGARIAN AND MACEDONIAN LANGUAGES
Mr. Lebamof, I took great interest in reading your interview published in Skopje’s “Forum” last October. I understand that you are an honest man and lover of truth. I decided to write to you as you are of the same age as my eldest brother, Dimitar, which means that your father and my mother may have been classmates at the Bulgarian Exarchate School in Istanbul.
However, before I start writing about your father and my mother, I would like to present you a small piece of our Macedonian tragedy: I was born in the Kostur village of Zagorichani, neighbouring the village of your father, Visheni. At that time, around 1870-1880, there were two little kids playing in the neighborhood: one was called Dimitar, the other was Vasil. Both of them attended a gymnasium in Thessalonica, Dimitar in a Bulgarian and Vasil who became Vasilis enrolled the Greek gymnasium. Dimitar left Solun and continued his education in Petrovgrad, Russia. After graduation, he intended to return home, but on his way back, he stopped in Sophia where he founded the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. Dimitar’s family name was Blagoev. In his honour, the city was named Blagoevgrad.
Vasilis continued studying at the Greek clerical academy in Istanbul. It is quite possible that your father and my mother went to the same school. After his graduation, the Greek Church sent Vasilis to work in Anatolia, in the town of Smyrna. In 1922, when the Greek army invaded the city of Smyrna, Vasilis had already been appointed a head of the church of Smyrna and showed the Greek army the location of the Turkish villages. According to a Greek professor, only a few people survived there. That is the reason why, when Ataturk’s army besieged Smyrna, they had expelled all the Greeks along with Onosis, and hanged Vasilis.Hundreds of thousands of refugees took flight in Macedonia, some went to Kostur. In 1924, my grandfather, accompanied by two other residents from Zagorichani, visited Kostur on a humanitarian mission: 30 refugee families-Madjiri, were sheltered in Zagorihcani. They knew that Vasilis, the head of the church in Smyrna, was born in Zagorichani, so in 1928, the Madjirs renamed our village Vasiliada to pay respect to Vasilis. That is the official name of Zagorichani, Mr. Lebamoff, that is how Vasil became Greek and Dimitar turned Bulgarian.
In the Kostur village, your father and my mother spoke the same language, OUR language, at home. It was the first language of our parents. In Istanbul, they learnt the second language, Bulgarian. Your father immigrated to America and continued to teach you the second language, Bulgarian, whereas our mother cherished the first, language of Zagorichani, the Macedonian language. I can clearly recall the year 1943 when we used to go to church and where my mother would tell me: “This lady speaks Bulgarian; we studied together in Istanbul, but her husband can only speak our language.”
Some members of the MPO claim that the “Macedonian Tribune” ought to be printed in Bulgarian or the language of the Ilinden revolutionists. In 1903, there was no Macedonian alphabet and our neighbouring countries would not open academies in Athens, Sophia or Belgrade. If only the Ilinden revolutionists could have written in Macedonian! Almost all the leaders of Ilinden completed their education in Sophia, normally, without any fees, as is the case nowadays. They could only write in Bulgarian. That is exactly what they did. Even Goce Delcev wrote in Bulgarian, he was a Bulgarian teacher who said: “Whoever wishes to see Macedonia annexed to Bulgaria, Greece or Serbia, he can regard himself as a good Bulgarian, Greek or Serb, but can never be a good Macedonian.”
The Ilinden leaders wrote in Bulgarian because of the reasons mentioned above; the Ilinden army and its soldiers spoke ours, the Macedonian language. It was during the period of 1940 until 1948 when I communicated with those soldiers in that language which was not Bulgarian.
Your father, as well as other Macedonians from Kostur region, Mr. Lebamoff, who started to publish the “Macedonian Tribune”, were not writing in their mother tongue, in the Kostur language, in the Macedonian, but used the language they had studied at the Bulgarian school, as had Goce Delcev. You maintain that Blaze Koneski modified the language and the alphabet; you are mistaken; what he did is he took the language variant spoken in Kostur, Lerin, Bitola and Prilep in order to define an official Macedonian language. Now you will say that in Kostur we do not use the word “vlada”(government), or “pravitelstvo” (legislation). After the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish occupation in 1878, the Bulgarians borrowed thousands of Russian words, among which “pravitelstvo”. Who passed a law in 1945 stating that we should be borrowing words only from the Bulgarian or Russian languages, and not the other Slavic languages like Serbo-Croatian? Both the Serbs and Croats have the same word “vlada”, but in Kostur we did not say that’s how the Turks “pravestvuvaja” for 5 centuries, but “vladeeja” (governed) for 5 centuries.
Some people in Bulgaria and MPO claim that the Macedonian language and nation were born under the command of Stalin and Tito in the monastery of Prohor Pchinski, on Ilinden 1944. If you, or anybody else can tell me exactly when and at what time that took place, I will be ready to forget the Macedonian history starting from the times of Alexander the Great to Cyril and Methodius and Tsar Samuil, followed by Karposh, Delchev and Chento ending with Kiro Gligorov, in other words everything that is Macedonian, and I will start to declare as Macedonian from that day, that hour and that very minute. Oh, Mr. Lebamoff, where were Stalin and Tito in 1903 when Misirkov published his book “For the Macedonian Matters”? There he declared to be Macedonian, that his grandfather who was illiterate and believed in foreign propaganda might have declared as Bulgarian, but, the question Misirkov posed is the following: Being educated and literate, do I have to do the same?” Misirkov wrote the book in Macedonian and if you start reading it, you will notice that today’s Macedonian language is closer to the Bulgarian than to the language of Misirkov.
Do you know that the Greek government in Athens in 1925 ordered the publication of a Primer book in the language spoken in the village of Visheni? The three teachers who were the authors of the book intended for the Macedonian students were Macedonians originating from Kostur. If you find it hard to believe me, I keep one sample of the book and I am willing to send it to you. That book was written in the language of your and my mother, the first language of your father. We, the Macedonian students, back in the year 1953, in Budapest, formed a secret literacy society. One of the members was from Visheni. At that time, being still children, never before had we heard of Koneski, or Kolisevski, but knew that there existed an “imperialistic dog” residing in Yugoslavia, whose name was Tito.
If the people who state that the Macedonian language was born in 1944, are right, then that is not a miracle each language develops. Until 1990 there was no Serbian or Croatian, but only a Serbo-Croatian language. All the dictionaries before 1990 had been printed in Serbo-Croatian-Russian, Serbo-Croatia-English etc. Now, it is only Serbian or Croatian. Even at present times, radio London announces: this is London in Serbo-Croatian, or Paris: This is radio Paris in south Slavic, which is actually Serbo-Croatian. If you speak the same language, does it necessarily mean that you are of the same nationality? Are you a Englishman? What about the Germans and Austrians? Not to mention the Spaniards and Mexicans, or Argentineans? The Serbo-Croatian is far more related than Macedonian to Bulgarian, and yet the Serbs and Croats regard themselves as separate nations. What seems to be the problem then between the Bulgarians and us? Due to the aspirations towards Macedonia, Bulgaria suffered a great loss, but it apparently did not learn its lesson.
For the tragedy to be greater, I will tell you that 5 years ago, I invited 15 close relatives from Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria to spend their vacation in Ohrid, among which my sister from Zagorichani. When I asked them what their nationality was, they answered me by asking the same question. I told them I was Macedonian. “Being of the same origin, makes us Macedonians, too,” they said. I asked them how they declare themselves in Bulgaria and Greece and they answered: “We do as we are told: we are either Bulgarians or Greeks by ‘origin’.” You will ask me how that may be possible, but I do not know the answer. Ask the democratic European Union. They may have the right answer.
Mr. LebamoFf, I am not a man of substantial wealth, however, I will be able to collect enough means and support your transportation so that together, we could follow the traces of truth. First of all, I would like to let you know that I grew up in Hungary with over 100 children, some of whom came from your village Visheni. Let us begin with Budapest, where, we will pay a visit to Kosta Andreov who publishes the Macedonian magazine ”Macedonian Well”. Then, we will ask this patriot, born in your village, to tell us how he regards himself in Hungary, as a Macedonian or Bulgarian. We will then continue our trip to Bulgaria to see my relatives. You will not disclose your name, for if they find out you are Lebamoff, they will be frightened. I am not certain that the Bulgarians will grant me a visa because they rejected my application in 1961 when I wished to spend my honeymoon there, only because I declared myself as Macedonian, whereas my wife had no problems obtaining it. Leaving Bulgaria, our next destination will be my native village Zagorichani and there we will ask my sister some questions. She won’t be afraid of you since she will have no idea who you are. Then, we will head to your village of Visheni. Should we find a single person during our journey declaring to be a Bulgarian, then you will not have to return the travel expenses. However if they all say to be Macedonians, then you are responsible for bearing the expenditures. I would have suggested Australia as a better place since there is a large number of children-refugees I grew up together with in Hungary, but I’m afraid if they see me with you, they will beat me up thinking I became a Janissary.
I will be ready to anything that can happen to me in Bulgaria or Greece, since every day is my punishment, having outlived the three of my brothers who had sacrificed their lives in order to be allowed to speak the language of the Ilinden revolutionists who had been educated in Bulgaria.
Do you, Mr. Lebamoff, know that in May 1903, just before Ilinden, a Greek reporter interviewed the president of the Krushevo republic, Nikola Karev. He asked him the following question: “ What are you? –A Macedonian, replied Karev. Then, why are you in favour of Bulgaria? –Bulgaria is aiding us in our struggle against the Turks. If you Greeks offer yourselves to help us, we will favour you as well,” said Karev. The interview was published in the Athenian “Akropolis” newspaper. Should you wish to read it, I can send you the Macedonian translation or the original copy of the newspaper written in Greek. You will excuse me but I do not have the Bulgarian version, a fact that is still hiding there until this present day.
You say you visited Vancho Mihajloff when you were 50 years of age, and Mihajloff was at the age of 100. Then he told you: “Georgi, you are a Bulgarian.” Didn’t you know that already? Or did you have to wait for a senile old senseless man to tell you who you are? What would you say if I visited you and told you were a Turk. Would you believe me? I graduated from 2 universities and I believe to have more brain than Ratko and here is the argument: at the beginning of 1944, Ratko arrived in Skopje in order to form a second Bulgarian state the Balkans - a fascist Republic of Macedonia. The whole world knew that Germany had lost the war and that the Red Army crossed Danube and was within reach of the city of Sophia. What was Mihajloff doing there? Did Mihajloff lose his brain? His people in Skopje told him this: “Uncle Ratko, get out of here right now since Chento’s partisans are arriving in Skopje from all sides and once they catch you, they will hang you on a tree by the river Vardar. Mihajloff got scared and left immediately. Did you know that?
Mr. Lebamoff, if you do know the tragic history of our suffering Macedonian people, you will not only become a Macedonian patriot like myself, but a Macedonian nationalist as are all the people born in Visheni, especially those living as far as Australia.
To sum up, Mr. Lebamoff, I would like to let you know that my youngest brother was shot in Solun at the age of 17, and the other two brothers and my mother lost their lives fighting for the rights of the Macedonian people at the battlefield near your father’s village, Visheni. I do not have any information as to the location of my mother’s and my brothers’ graves, but when we meet up there, in front of the gates of heaven, can I tell them: Sorry mother and brothers, you were in a delusion.
From Galichnik to Reka sighs
and shrieks of sorrow rise;
What dire disaster hounds
The men and women thus to waken
echo with their cries?
What new-found ill abounds?
Have the hailstorm's sharp stones shattered
the fields of standing wheat?
Have locusts stripped the fields?
Has the Sultan sent hard-hearted
taxmen early for receipt
of their most bitter yield?
No, the sharp stones have not shattered
the fields of standing wheat;
Nor locusts stripped the fields;
Nor the Sultan sent hard-hearted
taxmen early for receipt
of their most bitter yield.
Fallen is the mighty Kuzman
at the wild Geg's hands;
The sturdy Sirdar's slain.
Now brigands bold will hold our mountains,
ravaging our lands,
And none shall bar their way.
Peasants, Demeter's attendants,
spread the dreadful word,
the word of dire despair;
And wailing loud and moaning low in horror
when they heard,
the women tore their hair.
It rose and swelled and, growing great,
flew fast among the folk,
like Boreas, swift of wing,
In every village, every home
the fearful whispers spoke
that word of woeful ring.
Amongst the widows and the poor
salt tears in tribute flood,
Among the maidens too;
Like men who have been struck by lightning
all the peasants stood
who heard the mournful news.
Near Galichnik there stands a sacred hill,
all sown about
with willow trees, and there
A streamlet rustles, slipping swift
and snake-like, pouring out
its waters, crystal clear.
The bright light of the sun
scarce ever manages to broach
the shady branches here,
And here the cuckoo cries, the herald
of the Spring's approach,
whose call is sad to hear.
Leaning against a willow tree
a pensive man sits here,
weary from travelling.
He listens to the singing of the birds
which fills the air,
the clamour of the Spring.
The man is loth to leave, for
living Nature whispering still
says, "Mortal, linger yet!"
The pale grey ash lies drying
in the dark depths of this hill,
the dwelling of the dead.
It is not seen from Galichnik.
The ancient masters' art
affords no view so fair.
Here sorrow's symbol rules,
here reigns the lowly violet,
which blooms 'midst beauty rare.
Beneath their outspread carpet
the blue violets have concealed
those cold, abandoned graves.
So richly do they spring
the sombre soil is not revealed
between their clustering waves.
The sweet scent wafted on the wind
beguiles the traveller;
His destination fades.
A weeping woman clad in black
is oft encountered here,
among these scented shades.
And higher, if the traveller lifts
his eyes up, he will see
a monument of praise:
A tablet bearing lines
carved out full clearly, and beneath
a death's head stands engraved.
A niche is carved beneath
a cross of marble in the face
that looks towards the west.
Within, a lamp whose pale flame
flickers constantly is placed.
Here Kuzman lies at rest.
Once in a year the maidens come
and sit beside this stone,
Fresh violets in their braids.
In honeyed harmonies for Kuzman
they compose their own
heroic songs of praise.
But hither every day at dusk,
bearing an olive branch
there comes a hooded shade.
She it is who tends the lamp
whose flame is never quenched.
Her tears bedew the grave.
She decks yon death's head,
wreathing it with tender violets young,
weeping her love the while.
And everybody knows her well,
this miserable one -
Maria, Tome's child.
If I had an eagle's wings
I would rise and fly on them
To our shores, to our own parts
To see Stamboul, to see Kukus;
And to watch the sunrise: is it
Dim there too as is here?
If the sun still rises dimly
If it meets me there as here
I'll prepare for further travels
I shall flee to other shores
Where the sunrise greets me brightly
And the sky is sewn with stars.
It is dark here; darkness surrounds me,
It covers all the earth,
Here are frosts and snows and ashes,
Blizzards and harsh winds abound.
Fogs all around, the earth is ice,
And in our breast cold, dark thoughts.
No, I cannot stay here, no;
I cannot look upon these frosts.
Give me wings and I will don them;
I will fly to our own shores,
Go once more to our own places,
Go to Ohrid and to Struga.
There the sunrise warms the soul,
The sun sets bright in mountain woods:
Younder gifts in great profusion
Richly spread by nature's power.
See the clear lake stretching white
Its blueness darkened by the wind
Look at the plains or mountains:
Beauty's everywhere divine.
To pipe there to my heart's content!
Ah! let the sun set, let me die.
One of the founders of the new Macedonian poetry and an active member of the Marxist and Revolutionary Activity in Yugoslavia. His collection of poems White Dawns, the first book of poetry in pre-war Yugoslavia, appeared in 1938 under much unfavourable circumstances. Racin died tragically as a partisan in 1943. His poetry, with its folk basis, expresses the most vital social and spiritual experiences of the Macedonian people during their difficult years of deprivation of national rights in particular and oppression of individual human rights in general. The poetry books The Lyrics, The Gospel Of Itar Pejo; the novels The Village Behind The Seven Ashes, The Sleep Walker, The Stubborn Heads; and the story collection The Clans And the People are his note-worthy contributions.
Yesterday I set out, walked
through yon green wood
beneath the tall branches
on yon shadow carpet broad.
I walked, my head stunned,
drooping, dead, listless;
I walked, a load on my heart
and a black stone in my breast.
The greenwood of the heroes!
Cool water of the heroes!
Birds sing while you weep,
the sun shines as you darken.
What if you hide the bones
of brave young heroes
lying there beneath you
in your dark groves,
why conceal their songs?
Why do the trees
and the branches of the trees
and the leaves on the branches
whisper so secretly, so sadly?
Beastly, beastly is the labourer's life,
walled up in darkness
we are pressed down into beastliness
in this fair world.
Who broke our white wings,
wings of white doves?
who fouled the clear springs,
springs of pure souls?
And who shut, who shut
man off from man with walls?
And who made, who made
man slave to man?
Man from man
from cradle to grave!
sweat and labour and bare your flesh;
close your vain mouth
lest it speaks of its pain.
Gouge out those black eyes,
let them not look;
break those manly arms,
wound the burning heart.
Put out the lights!
Let there be dark-black stone!
There is, there is still in the dark
something alive to shine out
there is the soul's pain,
there are wounded souls.
The pain aches, the pain burns,
the pain smarts, the soul afflicted.
But when the pain shines out -
'ware, beware, 'ware of its curse!
It has burnt out - desire has burnt out,
burnt out and gone to ashes!
Only do not rouse the grief
of good old master-craftsmen!
Heavy times are come
and heavier ways,
men are dying daily
their souls are gathered in.
Sing not the song of suffering -
leaves drip in the woods,
waters flow, breaking their banks
and dragging off young aspens.
The markets are dying,
shops abandoned -
all has fallen, crashed;
the golden craft is rusting.
Born in Skopje. Studied at the College of Technology. Member of the Macedonian Academy of Arts and Sciences. Writes poetry, short stories and novels: several volumes of each genere. Has been translated into Serbo-Croat, Slovene, Romanian, Czech, Italian, Russian, English, Hungarian, Albanian, Turkish, German, French, Polish and Esperanto. Winner of several prizes.
There the hungry wolf
with his teeth
has ripped out the hot entrails.
There the fugitive convict
stone by stone
has dug his grave.
There the naked dead
on a table of their bones
have chopped up the moon.
There the rutting stags,
their antlers entangled,
have turned into skeletons.
There on hard arid ground
sorcerers have woven
a wedding feast banner from their veins.
The groom is the wind,
the bride is the mist.
Amazingly in their cradle
(a handful of earth and hope)
a nameless flower opens.
Let's go and name it:
let it be called Dream.
It left his skin on a stone
and turned into stone. A viper.
It grunted from rifle shots
and turned into mist. A wild boar.
It washed its eyes in foam
and turned into a sigh. Day.
In the village of Vrazi Dol
Old father Time has sat down on a stone
and on his fingers
how many drops of blackberry wine are needed
to prolong his life.
You can ask yourself and still you won't know:
Does time die with man?
this wonderful race!
Here it kisses the hangman
with a golden noose round its neck;
here for a fistful of mulberries
it fights to the blood with a brother;
here it gets drunk with rage,
foaming at the mouth,
here it plucks the live heart
from a dove.
this wonderful race!
In its furrows
under the sun awakens
a flower with a biblical name:
He doesn't come the way you thought
from rose-coloured glaciers
with a dead stag in his arms.
Quietly he creeps out of
the sunflowers' sparks,
his eyes are golden,
his hands those of a ploughman.
We meet like friends
on an ant's trail:
Death with a primrose in his teeth,
you with a cake under your arm.
The primrose of salamader skin
the cake of sweat and sand.
He with primrose wine
you with a mouthful of cake,
both in the jaws of time.
As you lay down together
on a bed of nettles
Death's nine larks
began a lullaby.
And the warm breezes too
fell asleep under the stone.
Participated in the Yugoslav fight for freedom about which he has composed the poems Love and Partisan Spring (dedicated to the brave Vera Jocic). Author of a number of poetry collections. Won many literary awards including the Anti-Fascist Council for the National Liberation of Yugoslavia Prize in 1971.
If you carry within you something unsaid,
something which pains and burns,
bury it within the depths of silence -
the silence will say it for you.
TO THE SEAGULL CIRCLING MY HEAD
Seagull of mine,
do not land upon my eyes.
There is no way to capture those estranged waves.
Swoop down to all depths,
Soar up to all heights
and enable me to see.
I no longer have eyes,
Seagull of mine.
Do not land upon my heart.
My heart is no longer mine,
Seagull of mine.
Fly beyond all unknown regions
to all the living, unknown, dead.
See the lonely, the alienated,
the icy peaks, the green fields
and listen -
As long as your as your wings peacefully flutter above,
my heart beats restlessly with them.
Do not descend seagull of mine,
but return again to your flock.
I am a boat drifting alone
in the uncharted unknown.
READING THE ASHES
Burn within the fire, poem,
which you lit yourself.
Words scatter and disappear
within the ashes of flints.
Reader of the ashes,
do you see the historical drama there,
that comes from the bottom of that dark spring.
I rescued you, poem, from the beak of a bird,
which flies through my blood,
through the red sky of my burning veins,
through the cables of two contradicting worlds,
through sunrises of unknown change.
I rescued you from the anger of the icons;
those unappreciative spectrums,
capturing the lightning as it strikes
the spear of a stone warrior,
and from the dreams of those
who are greater than the dreams that entice them,
and are reborn as soon as they are extinguished.
Now we are two worlds, two enemies,
two conflicting sides,
which are now at war without a truce;
dagger against dagger.
Who is defeated? Who is winner?
Who arises with significant scars?
Burn within the fire, poem, which
you lit yourself.
WOMAN IN IVERNAZ
Night overflows. Vehement rain.
Night and rain. Rain and night. Ivernaz
and a woman alone in the night and ivernaz
beneath the distant thunder of the tom-toms
serpent-like she writhes in the rain
as in the arms of a man.
A woman in the night; an old and squeaky car,
a woman awoken by the noisy rain,
a woman insane from pleasure -
dances in the night, in the rain,
naked and alone.
And the rain falls like a cure
for severe wounds;
a cure from the dark powers and passions.
The rain falls like a murmur, a caress:
Arise and grow!
The rain falls and there
is no end to the ivernaz
Jas sum obespraveniot Makedonec od Egej, od Zhelevo, Lerinsko. Ke vi zboruvam kako eden gol Makedonec, izmien, ischisten od site tugi vlijanija. Ke vi zboruvam I ne se plasham od nikogo: Nitu od srbskite, nitu od bugarskite, nitu od grchkite shovinisti. Shto poveke ke mi storat? Ke me teraat od mojata zemja? Ke mi gi zabranuvaat nacionalnite I chovechkite prava? Ke me tepaat? Ke me machat? Ke me kolat? Se mozhat da pravat ama ne ke mozhat da me izedat. Ke zboruvam I vistinata ke ja kazhuvam nasekade I na sekoj koj ke sretnam.
Makite shto gi dozhiveav, makite shto gi istrpiv, tragedijata shto ja istrga I ja trga mojot narod so zborovi nese dokazhuva, e mnogu golema, e mnogu teshka, e mnogu strashna-kako nekoja bura da pomina I krena se; I drva, I kuki, I lugje, I deca oddeli od majki.
Nekoj od moite brakia I sestri me sovetuvaat da ne baram mnogu odednash, da nemu padni machno na nashite neprijateli I okupatori. Jas ne baram tugja zemja, jas si ja baram mojata, toa shto nas ni pripagja, toa shto nie nashe, ubavo I milo, toa shto ni go okupiraa I ni go prekrstuvaat; jazikot, pesnata I oroto makedonsko shto ni go zabranuvaat, jas si gi baram chovechkite pravdini, jas si ja baram slobodata.
Chvrst kako kamen se storiv i solzi ne kapat od moite ochi, kapnav da se branam od grchkite shovinisti koi ja napagjaat makedonskata nacija, makedonskiot narod I nasheto postoenie. Dosta so propagandi I napagjania mu velam; izlezete od fanatizmot, izlezete od xelinizmot I dojdete da sednite na masata, ne kako fanatici, ne kako grci, da sednete kako lugje I da ja slushnite nashata strana.I nie sme lugje rodeni od majki, ne padnavme od nebo I se najdovme vo teritorijata makedonska. Nashite dedovci I pre dedovci so iljadi godini zhiveeja vo Makedonija, se borea, ja branea I umiraa za slobodata na Makedonija.
Ne mie sram da vikam I da se boram za chovechkite prava.Ne mie sram da ja krenam parolata I da demonstriram, no sam nishto ne ke mozham da storam. I ti, I toj, I taa sami nishto ne ke mozhite. Treba site zaednicki I obedineti.
Denes na Makedonecot mu e potrebno da mu se slushne glasot posilno I podaleku od bilo koga dosega za da mu donesikraj na grchkata shovinistichka propaganda koja raboti otvoreno po site meridijani vo svetot; protiv makedonskata nacija, protiv makedonskiot narod, protiv nasheto postoenie. Iljadnici Makedonci po site meridijani vo svetot denes zhiveat so strav kako prizioneri pod taa propaganda I diskriminacija. Ete zoshto e potrebno nashiot glas da se slushni posilno I podaleku. Ova ke mozheme da go storime ako rabotime ubavo I slozhno, ako bideme chvrsto povrzani, zaednichki I bratski obedineti.
So ovoj mal artikal sakam da mu objasnam na chitatelite prichinata shto me natera da se zainteresiram za slikata ; Jana zhelevkata [ Jana Jankulova od zhelevo ] koj ja nacrta i zoshto? Pred da go spomenam imeto na ovoj Makedonski artist, sakam da gi zapoznam chitatelite, prvo koja beshe Jana Jankulova zhelevkata. Jana Jankulova beshe od moeto selo Zhelevo, isto taka poznato so novoto ime, prekrsteno od grchkite okupatori so grchko ime Antartikon. Jana beshe edna slabodushna zhena, bidejki bev mall vo toa vreme vo mislite moj ja pametvam kako visochka zhena. Neizinata nasmevka otkrivashe edna ubava zhena. Oblechena siromashki, no kako shto treba i sekogash chista so glavata krenata visoko i gordo. Zboruvashe po Makedonski i po grchki podobro od poveketo zheni vo seloto. Nese plasheshe od grchkite okupatori, zboruvashe Makedonski i pred policijata grchka, Policijata nemozheshe da ja zabrani, bidejki Jana beshe sposobna na neizin nachin da gi usrami. Jana gi imala usrameno mnogu pati i zatoa tie odbegvale od giuruntija vo vrska sonea. Samo od selskiot pop se plashela. Koga odela vo crkva, popot ja teral a pak Jana mu vikala prch. Mnogu pati vo sonot gledala kako popot ja terala od crkvata i mnogu pati ovie sonishta mu gi raskazhuvala na zhenite. Sonovite shto gi gledala gi osekiala i gi veruvala,ne kako sonovi tuku kako vistinski nastani.Pomosh nemashe od nikogo, zhiveeshe sekogash sama vo edna malka kukichka, so malku zborovi ; vo edna isturena kakia kako plevnichka. Na kukichkata nekolku gredi bea padnati, na dushemeto sekogash imashe po nekolku rgiosani tengderina i stari kutii od konservi za da gi beri kapkite od dozhdot koga vrneshe. Jana nechekashe pomosh od nikogo, se raneshe sama. I ako nekoja babichka mu davashe neshto, poveketo pati nemugo zevashe, I po nekogash mu veleshe; shto mislite vie jas sum siromasna? amori jas imam poveke i od vas ako sakate da znaete. Jana odeshe sama da si gi zhnie nekolku nivchinia neizini isto taka odela da ja kosi livadata. Jana neznaela da si ja natochi kosata, ja udirala so chekanot od site strani, kosata nesechela i taka Jana mnogu se machela. Ja pametvam ushte od malkite detinski godini, kako odeshe bosa vo najstudenite denovi vo zimata. Mnogu pati odeshe od zhelevo vo Lerin peshki, ponekogash samo da si kupi eden peshnik leb, i toa zoshto ke bil bel i od Lerin. Stanuvala rano, za da mozhi da odi i da se vrati pred da se stemni , bidejki se plashela nokno vreme od mechki, volci i drugo. Decata od zhelevo i okolnite sela; Rula, Trnaa, Oshchima, 'Rmensko se radvale da ja vidat i da mu zboruvat. Jana mnogu gi sakashe decata. Koga ke beshe na dobrite misli, odnosno koga se osekiashe dobro,koga pametot mu doagjashe Jana beshe sposobna da mu raskazhuva prikazni, tolku ubavo shto teshko mozhel da gi raskazhuva eden pouchen chovek. Na Jana bolesta nemozhea da mu ja razberat selanite, bidejki nebea shkoluvani i nivnite odnosi sprema ovaa nesrekna zhena bea takvi shto ushte polosho i poveke mu go vloshuvaa zhivotot i neizinata bolest. Na nikogo nemu beshe gajle, nikoj nemu pomagjashe, nikoj nea chesteshe kako chovek vo seloto osven dechiniata. Koga ponekogash ke pomislam za nekoj nastani shto se sluchija, mi pagja zhal i maka na dushata. Ne samo zoshto ja poznavav, tuku za toa shto nikoj nea chesteshe kako chovek. Sekogash koga minuvashe niz sredselo, samo takanarechenata klasa selani; Helinisti prevedeno po nashe [ Grkomanite ] mu se biea peza na Jana, piejki kafe tursko i uzo grchko, nemale nishto podobro da se zanimavaat. So site ovie maki i teshki uslovi za zhiveenie, ovaa nesrekna zhena dozhive dosta godini. Edna vecher nekoj mi telifonira i mi reche deka Jana Jankulova ja ja izele ovcharskite kuchinia. Mi padna mnogu zhal, kako da mi beshe edna mnogu bliska rodnina, kako da mi beshe majka. Prezhivea, istrga tolku godini za da najsetne da ja najdi takva tragichna smrt. Jana nebeshe samo edna bolna zhena, taa beshe edna chovechka dusha, edna nasha zhena zhelevka, edna nesrekna napatena Makedonka.Za neizinata bolest koga i zoshto se pobolila neznam i nepametvam, postarite od mene sigurno pametvat.
Edna vecher vo konferencijata na Obedinetite Makedonci vo Toronto, Ontario, mi se dade prilika da se sretnam i zapoznam so eden dobroshkoluvan i poznat Makedonski artist od selo 'Rmensko, Lerinsko, gospodinot Vangel Nikovski. Vo nashiot razgovor, gospodinot Vvangel mi raspravi deka bil artist i deka crta sliki so boi, od koji spomena i za slikata na Jana Zhelevkata. Mi padna chudno i sakav da naucham zoshto i kako eden artist od drugo selo se zainteresiral da ja nacrta slikata na Jana Jankulova. Vangel so negovata umetnichka dusha i kako artist dokazha deka e sposoben, ne samo da go prikazhi zhivotot i makite na edna nesrekna zhena, tuku celi stradanija na nashiot nesreken narod i na nashata nesrekna - rasparchena zemja Makedonija, seto vo edna slika kako shto e slikata na Jana Zhelevkata. Samo na takanarechenite junaci i samotakanarechenata pogorna klasa grkomani ke bidat zaboraveni, a pak slikata na Jana Zhelevkata so vekovi ke stoi nacrtana od eden poznat Makedonski artist. Slikata ja kupil eden germanec. Slikata e izlozhena vo zapadna Germania i shirum svetot.
Georgi F. Todorovski
Sts. Cyril & Methody
St. Cyril and his brother St. Methody were born in the city of Solun, Macedonia. Their father Leo held the position of assistant to the Military Procurator of Solun. He was a person of outstanding Christian virtue and was compared to Job the Righteous. His mother was also a very devout woman and history says that both father and mother were of Slavonic origin.
St. Cyril, the youngest child of the family was born in 827; we have no exact date for St. Methody. The two brothers received their primary education and rearing in their home in the city of Solun under the direction of their parents. The older brother, Methody, was for a time Governor of a Slavic Province which probably was found on the Balkan Peninsula. He later became a monk in the monastery on Mount Olympus, in the Province of Vitania, Asia Minor.
St. Cyril, who was orphaned at the age of fourteen, continued his education in Constantinople wherein he was enrolled by Theoclyt the Logician in the Imperial Magnaurska School, where the sons of the Byzantine Royalty were taught. Upon completing his education there under the direction of the famous teachers of that time, Leo the Mathematician, Photious, later the Patriarch of Constantinople, and others, he assumed the position of Librarian in the Patriarchical Library of Constatntinople and later became a teacher in Philosophy in the Magnaurska School. His great knowledge of philosophy and language as well as dialectics, elevated him highly before the Byzantium Imperial Palace. Theoclyt the Logician who had great affection for St. Cyril, offered him an opportunity to marry a relative of his and to place him at a high Byzantine Military Position, as Strategist, but, he refused. As he said, "that it was not his wishes and apart from learning, nothing else interested him."
The Byzantine Government designated him responsible religious-political tasks before the Caliph of Baghdad against the Hussars in southern Russia and the Ikonoclasts, which he performed successfully. He won a famous dispute with the eminent Ikonoclastic Patriarch, John, and also with Saracens and the Hussars. His brother Methody, who accompanied him among the Hussars, later was appointed Egumen of the Polychron Monastery in the City of Kezek on the Sea of Marmora.
St. Cyril, after a brief stay in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, also entered the monastery. Here, it appears, the two brothers conceived the idea of Christianization of the Slavonic tribes in their native tongue. St. Cyril invented in the Polychron Monastery the Slavonic alphabet called "Glagoritsa" (Glagolithic).
Tsar Samuil established the first Macedonian state in 976 A.D. lasting until 1018, following the defeat at the hands of the Byzantines. Samuil's Empire consisted of the entire region of Macedonia, as well as Thessaly, Epirus, Albania, Serbia, Duklja, Travina, Zahumlje, Neretva, and a considerable part of Bulgaria. In this empire the majority of the population were Macedonians, followed by Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Romaioi (Byzantines), Albanians, and Vlachs. The official language of the empire was Macedonian.
The Archbishopric of Ohrid was established with Ohrid becoming the religious centre and capital of the Empire. Following the defeat of Samuil's Empire by the Byzantine Empire in 1018, the Macedonians were dealt with harshly.
"The Byzantine Empire also placed the Archbishopric of Ohrid under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Greek hierarchs started suppressing Slavonic written documents, Slav hagiographies, etc. It was considered, that with the eradication of the Archbishopric of Ohrid the traditions cherished by the Macedonian people will also be eradicated. Yet Slavonic literacy could not be eradicated."
The work of Sts. Cyril and Methody was already well-established. In addition to creating the first Slavonic alphabet, translating religious books into Macedonian, they also expanded their activity among other Macedonians.
Clement and Naum continued the mission of the two brothers.
"In Ohrid, during his activity of 20 years, Clement instructed about 3,500 teachers and priests in the Slavonic alphabet and introduced the Slavonic language in religious service. He was the first original Slav and Macedonian writer. The Ohrid Literary School, being the first Slav university, has left deep traces and has been the basis for Macedonian cultural identity."
was born in the village of Vlahi near Melnik on 28 of May 1872. His father Ivan participated as a flag carrier in the well known Kresna Uprising.
Yane Sandanski is a big Macedonian revolutionist, and one of the leaders of the Macedonian National Revolutionary Movement. Since the start of his revolutionary activity, he became well known because he protected the villager's from the tyranny. He organised national courts, and he also organised the people for a self-defence.
Sandanski lived and fought in the Pirin region, and that is why the people gave him the name "Pirin Tsar" (Pirinski Car). He was also active in the Ilinden Uprising, and in 1908, he supported the young Turkish revolution with the vision for the freedom of the Macedonian people.
Soon after that, the Bulgarian Tsar Ferdinand labelled Yane Sandanski as the most dangerous enemy against the great Bulgarian interests (Macedonia to be under Bulgaria). In the same year, an unsuccessful assassination was attempted on Yane Sandanski by paid killers who were sent by Ferdinand. These paid killers tried again to assassinate Yane on 15 August 1909, where he was only wounded.
With the expulsion of the Turks', Macedonia was partitioned between Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. Sandanski remained in hiding on Mt. Pirin and planned to assassin Tsar Ferdinand but on the 22 April 1915, while on his way from Melnik to Nevrokop near the Rozenski Monastery, paid killers sent by Ferdinand, hidden attacked him from behind and succeeded to kill him.
The murder of Yane Sandanski
Yane Sandanski (1872-1915) was Macedonian revolutionary from Pirin Macedonia.
From 1899 he cooperated with Goce Delcev, and held the positions of the duke of Melnik and a president of the Comity of the Ser area. He persistently fought against the intrusions of vrhovists from Bulgaria and andartas from Greece.
After the establishing of the constitutional regime in Turkey, he advocated the cooperation with the Young Turks in regard to solving the agrarian question, democratization of Turkey and establishing of local government units with schools in the mother language of the people. In 1909 with his regiment he participated in the successful intervention against the contrarevolution in Turkey.
In constitutional Turkey, Yane was the first president of the People's Federative Party.
Yane Sandanski, "the Tsar Pirin" was murdered by mercenaries sent by the Bulgarian tsar Ferdinand in 1915.
Fact, fiction and historical revisionism
Historians have a responsibility to historical facts in general and for
criticising the politico-ideological abuse of history in particular, says
in part two of an extract from a recent lecture
I NEED say little about the first of these responsibilities. I would not have to say anything. but for two developments. One is the present fashion for novelists to base their plots on recorded reality rather than inventing them, thus fudging the border between historical fact and fiction.
The other is the rise of post-modernist intellectual fashions in Western universities, particularly in departments of literature and anthropology, which imply that all "facts" claiming objective existence are simply intellectual constructions. In short, that there is no clear difference between fact and fiction. But there is, and for historians, even for the most militantly antipositivist ones among us, the ability to distinguish between the two is absolutely fundamental. We cannot invent our facts.
Either Elvis Presley is dead or he isn't. The question can be answered unambiguously on the basis of evidence, insofar as reliable evidence is available, which is sometimes the case.
Either the present Turkish Government, which denies the attempted genocide of the Armenians in 1915, is right or it is not. Most of us would dismiss any denial of this massacre from serious historical discourse, although there is no equally unambiguous way to choose between different ways of interpreting the phenomenon or fitting it into the wider context of history. Recently Hindu zealots destroyed a mosque in Ayodhya, ostensibly on the ground that the mosque had been imposed by the Muslim Moghul conqueror Babur on the Hindus in a particularly sacred location which marked the birthplace of the god Rama. My colleagues and friends in the Indian universities published a study showing (a) that nobody until the 19th century had suggested that Ayodhya was the birthplace of Rama and (b) that the mosque was almost certainly not built in the time of Babur. I wish I could say that this has had much effect on the rise of the Hindu party which provoked the incident, but at least they did their duty as historians, for the benefit of those who can read and are exposed to the propaganda of intolerance now and in the future. Let us do ours.
Few of the ideologies of intolerance are based on simple lies or fictions for which no evidence exists. After all there was a battle of Kosovo in 1389: the Serb warriors and their allies were defeated by the Turks, and this did cause deep scars on the popular memory of the Serbs, although it does not follow that this justifies the oppression of the Albanians, who now form 90 per cent of the region's population, or the Serb claim that the land is essentially theirs. Denmark does not claim the large part of eastern England which was settled and ruled by Danes before the 11th century, which continued to be known as the Danelaw and whose village names are still philologically Danish.
The most usual ideological abuse of history is based on anachronism rather than lies. Greek nationalism refused Macedonia even the right to its name on the grounds that all Macedonia is essentially Greek and part of a Greek nation-State, presumably ever since the father of Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia. became the ruler of the Greek lands on the Balkan peninsula. Like everything about Macedonia, this is far from a purely academic matter, but it takes a lot of courage for a Greek intellectual to say that, historically speaking, it is nonsense. There was no Greek nation-state or any other single political entity for the Greeks in the fourth century BC: the Macedonian empire was nothing like the Greek or any other modern nation-State, and in any case it is highly probable that the ancient Greeks regarded the Macedonian rulers, as they did their later Roman rulers, as barbarians and not as Greeks...
...In fairness, the extremes of emigrant Macedonian nationalism should also be dismissed for the same reason, as should all the publications in Croatia which somehow try to turn Zvonimir the Great into the ancestor of President Franjo Tudjman. But it is difficult to stand up against the inventors of a national schoolbook history, although some historians in Zagreb University, whom I am proud to count as friends, have the courage to do so.
These and many other attempts to replace history by myth and invention are not merely bad intellectual jokes. After all, they can determine what goes into schoolbooks, as the Japanese authorities knew when they insisted on a sanitised version of the Japanese war in China for use in Japanese classrooms. Myth and invention are essential to the politics of identity by which groups of people today, defining themselves by ethnicity, religion, or the past or present borders of States, try to find some certainty in an uncertain and shaking world by saying, "We are different from and better than the others". They are our concern in the universities because the people who formulate those myths and inventions are educated people: schoolteachers lay and clerical, professors (few, I hope), journalists, TV and radio producers. Today most will have gone to some university. Make no mistake about it. History is not ancestral memory or collective tradition. It is what people learned from priests, schoolmasters, the writers of history books, and the compilers of magazine articles and TV programs. It is very Important for historians to remember their responsibility, which is, above all, to stand aside from the passions of identity politics - even if they also feel them. After all, we are human beings too.
How serious an affair this may be is shown in a recent article by the Israeli writer Amos Elon about the way in which the genocide of the Jews by Hitler has been turned into a legitimising myth for the existence of the State of Israel. More than this: in the years of right-wing government it was turned into a sort of national ritual assertion of Israeli State identity and superiority and a central item of the official system of national beliefs, alongside God. Elon, who traces the evolution of this transformation of the concept of "the Holocaust", argues, following the Minister of Education of the new Israeli Labor Government, that history must now be separated from national myth, ritual, and politics. As a non-Israeli, though a Jew, I express no views about this. However, as a historian I sadly note one observation by Elon. It is that the leading contributions to the scholarly historiography of the genocide, whether by Jews or non-Jews, were either not translated into Hebrew, like Hilberg's great work, or were translated only with considerable delay, and then sometimes with editorial disclaimers. The serious historiography of the genocide has not made it any less of an unspeakable tragedy. It was merely at variance with the legitimising myth.
Yet this very story gives us ground for hope. For here we have mythological or nationalist history being criticised from within. I note that the history of the establishment of Israel ceased to be written in Israel essentially as national propaganda or Zionist polemic about 40 years after the State came into being. I have noticed the same in Irish history.
About half-a-century after most of Ireland won its independence, Irish historians no longer wrote the history of their island in terms of the mythology of the national liberation movement. Irish history, both in the Republic and in the north, is producing brilliant work because it has succeeded in so liberating itself. This is still a matter that has political implications and risks. The history that is written today breaks with the old tradition which stretches from the Fenians to the IRA, still fighting in the name of the old myths with guns and bombs. But the fact that a new generation has grown up which can stand back from the passions of the great traumatic and formative moments of their countries' history is a sign of hope for historians.
But we cannot wait for the generations to pass. We must resist the formation of national, ethnic and other myths, as they are being formed. It will not make us popular. Thomas Masaryk, founder of the Czechoslovak republic, was not popular when he entered politics as the man who proved, with regret but without hesitation, that the medieval manuscripts on which much of the Czech national myth was based were fakes. But it has to be done, and I hope those of you who are historians will do it.
That is all I wanted to say about the duty of historians. However, before I close, I want to remind you of one other thing. You, as students of this university, are privileged people. The odds are that, as alumni of a distinguished and prestigious institute you will, if you choose, have a good status in society, have better careers, and earn more than other people, though not so much as successful businessmen. What I want to remind you of is something I was told when I began to teach in a university. "The people for whom you are there, said my own teacher, are not the brilliant students like yourself. They are the average students with boring minds who get uninteresting degrees in the lower range of the second class, and whose examination scripts all read the same. The first class people will look after themselves, though you will enjoy teaching them.
The others are the ones who need you. That applies not only to the university but to the world. Governments, the economy, schools, everything in society, are not for the benefit of the privileged minorities. We can look after ourselves. It is for the benefit of the ordinary run of people, who are not particularly clever or interesting (unless, of course, we fall in love with one of them), not highly educated, not successful or destined for success, in fact, nothing very special. It is for the people who, throughout history, have entered history outside their neighbourhoods as individuals only in the records of their births, marriages, and deaths. Any society worth living in is one designed for them, not for the rich, the clever, the exceptional, although any society worth living in must provide room and scope for such minorities. But the world is not made for our personal benefit, nor are we in the world for our personal benefit. A world that claims that this is its purpose is not a good world, and ought not to be a lasting one.
This is an edited version of a lecture given at the
Central European University of Budapest.
The New York Review of Books
One of the major, long-standing questions confusing the historical record has been the question of state legality and legitimacy of the kings of Prilep. The contemporary Serbian historiography proved that the long-time governing notion regarding Volkashin's (and Uglesha's) act of "usurping" and "tyrannical" act of assuming the king's (and tyrant's) crown was untenable. Although data on the origin of the King Volkashin and his son Marko are extremely insufficient and unsure, it is indisputable that they have arisen from the hierarchy of the Serbian feudal state. However, it is indisputable that there were state formations which were opposed to the north Serbian states, and were not even close to the eastern Bulgarian kingdoms in Macedonia in the XIVth century.
On April 15, 1345, when the Serbian king Dushan was crowned as Tzar in Skopje, almost the entire territory of Macedonia was within the scope of his large state, and individual parts were governed by feudal vassals of high rank. Ten years later, after the death of Tzar Dushan (1355), his kingdom began to fall apart - due to, among other causes, intensified strivings of the feudal lords for greater independence. It is believed that the process of the establishment of independent states and feuds between them in Macedonia began during this period. The most respected among the numerous Serbian feudal lords of that time were the brothers Volkashin and Uglesha Mrnjavchevich.
Volkashin - King Marko's father - occupied various positions in Dushan's state: he was a head of a tribal state in Prilep, and late became a high courtier and a despot. In about 1365, he proclaimed himself a Tzar and thus became a co-ruler with the Tzar Urosh. His brother, the despot Uglesha ruled over the Struma region. Both brothers were killed in 1371 at Chernomen (Thrace), during the Marica battle against the Turks, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent further penetration by the Turks into the Balkan Peninsula and forestall the direct danger of Turkish occupation of their territories. This defeat began the lose of independence held by the feudal rulers of Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia. By the end of the 14th century, the Turks had subjected Macedonia to their direct authority. It was the beginning of five centuries of slavery for the Macedonians under the Turks.
After the death of Volkashin, his eldest son Marko inherited the throne and title of his father. He was, however, forced to recognize Turkish authority, as supreme, to take an obligation before the Sultan to pay tribute (jizia and poll-tax) and to provide military assistance whenever so requested by the Sultan. The other Turkish vassals, like Konstantin Dragash or the Serbian despot Stefan Lazarevich (after the battle at Kosovo), had similar obligations.
The territory of Marko's state stretched on the right bank of the River Vardar: from the mountain of Shar and Albanian mountains in the northeast, to Kostur (Kastoria) in the southwest, with its capilal in Prilep. Skopje and Ohrid did not belong to Marko, except perhaps temporanly. As a king, Marko minted coins with the inscription: "King Marko faithful to Lord Jesus Christ." A similar inscription is found on the frescoes depicling his figure in the monastery of St. Dimitar in Varos, Prilep. In the Prizren (Serbia) church of the Introduction of the Holy Virgin, an inscription is found where Marko is named as "a young king. " Fulfilling his vassal obligation for military assistance to Sultan Bayazit, King Marko was killed on May 17,1395 in Craiova (Romania) during the battle against the Vlach military leader Mircho. Other vassals of Sultan Bayazit also took part in the battle: the despot Stefan Lazarevich and Konstantin Dragash, who was also killed at the battlefield.
The preserved frescoes in St. Dimitriya church, Marko's Monastery, Skopje, Macedonia, also speak about the in dependence of the brothers Volkashin and Uglesha. In Marko's monastery near Skopje, "King Marko" is presented in king's clothes in all his dignity, and also with the curved metallic horn decorated with ornaments and pearls which advanced the new dynasty. The intention was to emphasize not only the independence, but also the differences from the Nemagnich dynasty. It was shown not only by the absence of the saints from the Nemagnich circle who had incarnated the Serbian church and historical tradition (St. Simeon, Nemagna and St. Sava) but also by the presence of St. Clement of Ohrid among the holy fathers. By that, a clear distinction was made between the Serbian Patriarchate of Pec (which supported the duke Lazar) and the Archbishopric of Ohrid (which stood behind King Marko and his state.)
In connection with this is also the creation of the new dynasty. The proclamation of King Marko as a young king in a situation when the Czar Urosh (like the tyrant Uglesha) had no legal successor, has already predetermined the king's crown to Marko and the legitimacy or the separate dynasty - especially when Volkashin ended the co-ruler status and proclaimed himself to be independent and the sole sovereign of his state.
The reaction on the Nemagnich dynasty to the crowning of Volkashin and his declared independence is understandable and logical. That's why in that tradition King Volkashin, although a victim of the fight against the Turk, remained a damned usurper . All of this was also the result of intention which is not mentioned very often
In 1369, the decisive Kosovo battle took place between the two dynasties: Lazar I Irebeglanovic, Nikola Altomanovich and the Czar Urosh. That is, the Nemagnich dynasty on one side and the brothers King Volkashin (probably together with the young successor Marko) and Tyrant Uglesha - the new "Mrgnavchevich" dynasty -on the other . The southern rulers won the battle and as cited they even took Czar Urosh prisoner. Details are missing, and the sources are greatly lacking, but the event has historical importance. Although according to the Serbian tradition Czar Urosh was considered to have been killed by King Volkashin, recent data points to the fact that he lived longer than Volkashin. However, as R. Mirkhaljchich says, Czar Urosh become "a Czar without empire, a sovereign without sovereignty," without the support of the Romeyes and without the legitimacy of the Patriarchate of Pec, already in schism at that time. The brothers Volkashin and Uglesha, thanks to the size of the territories they governed and the supplied legitimacy of the Archbishopric of Ohrid (with the support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate) became the strongest power. They were the only power which could oppose the invasion of the Turks.
Such relations were the logic by which the Serbian north did not take place in the Marica battle against the Turks (1371) and King Marko did not take place in the Kosovo battle in 1389. It was a state and church antagonism between two dynasties which perhaps had no expressive national character but in which basis - as Misirkov also thinks - probably was the cultural and historical difference between the north and the south. It is not exactly known when and where Marko was crowned, but it was probably immediately after the Marica battle and his father's death. Literally and legally, Marko might be considered as a co-ruler of the still living Czar Urosh. Taking into consideration the ending of the Nemagnich dynasty, Marko should be considered to be the sole legitimate king of Serbia. But the real situation was probably different. In fact, King Marko was sovereign of the new Mrgnavchevich dynasty, if this name can also be confirmed by more trustworthy sources - because, as we are now informed, nowhere in the contemporary sources is the surname of Mrgnavchevich fixed. By the way, the name of the founder of this dynasty in Macedonia in the previous sources is found in Slovenian in the form ofKing Volkashin (without the suffix Stephen), while in the Dubrovnik documents in Latin he is recorded as Regis Volcassini, dominus rex Volkasinus.
Until now no official document, no charter, nor any royal gold seal has been found -herein Marko is titled as Prince Marko -- only as Young King or King Marko. The folk tradition in Macedonia has been responsible.
King Marko was born about 1335. The first time he is mentioned in a document is when he visited Dubrovnik as a delegate of Volkashin. His name is also mentioned in some notes and chronicles of his time as a son of Volkashin or, later, as a king. Thus, in a document dated 1370, Volkashin mentioned his sons Marko and Andrea and his wife Elena, about whom there is no other data available in the history.
From the more recent documentation, the structure of the Volkashin family appears. King Volkashin and Queen Elena (in the monasticism she is called Elisaveta, and in the folk tradition she is mostly known as Efrosima) had four sons (Marko, Andrea, Ivanish and Dimitrya-Mitrush) and an unknown number of daughters, of which only the name of Olivera is mentioned, married to Gjurgje Balshish. King Marko married the daughter of Radoslav Hlapen, and left her before the Marica battle. Later he probably married Teodora and after 1377, he gave her to his father-in-law Radoslav and brought back Radoslav's daughter, "Marko's first wife, Jelena. " It is not known if Marko had a child and a successor. All this concerning the marriage relations of King Marko gave a base for folk tradition.
In general, these facts are the basic historical data about King Marko. There are some other opinions about Marko to be mentioned, found in the chronicles and histories. The Dubrovnik chroniclers (Orbinin, Lukarevich and others) had mentioned Marko as a successor of Volkashin and had recorded his death at Rovine as a Turkish vassal. The Serbian Patriarch Paisie, a 17th century biographer, in his work The Life of Czar Urosh, does not mention Marko at all, which is strange when one considers the fact that the work was mainly based on folk tradition. Likewise, other 18th century chroniclers and historians did not attribute serious significance to Marko. On the contrary, some accused him of serving the Sultan and the Turks. Thus, in the Thronous geneaology ( 1791), he is even accused of bringing the Turks to the Balkan Peninsula. Jovan Rajich, in his History of the South Slavs (1794), criticized the folk cult of Marko. The opinion of the Bulgarian historian Paisie of Chilandar about King Marko is in no milder.
After the death of King Marko, his state was incorporated by the Turks within their contemtories, perhaps because he had no direct heir. Dimitar and Andrea were forced to leave the country. Dimitar went to Dubrovnik (about 1400) and from here he left for Hungary, where he entered the service of the King Sigmund; he died sometime after 1407.
The destiny of the queen - the mother Elena -and of Marko's brothers gives a possibility for concluding some situations and relations of the states of both Volkashin and Uglesha. It is known that Queen Elena / Elisaveta, Marko and Andrea all minted their own coins. This suggests that they had separate finances, and separate state borders. In 1374 Queen Elena/Elisaveta sent her logothete Dabizhiv to Dubrovnik in connection with the silver deposits of Volkashin. Until 1377, she was still alive, and she was mentioned in an official document with a gold seal of her son Andrea in St. Andrea church near Matka. It is not known when and were they entered the monastic order, but her name is mentioned in a later document of St. Jovan Pretecha monastery.
Especially unclear are the relations of Marko toward his brothers that in 1385 Ivanish left Macedonia and joined the Zeta and Albanian powers in the battle against the Turks where he died. Other data indicates that Andrea, as "a prince" in the time of the Kosovo battle in 1389, built the St. Andrea church. However, more trustworthy sources are missing, preventing us from establishing who was the Andreas de Macedonia who on April 14, 1389 enrolled in Vienna University. We are sure that in the middle of 1394 the brothers Andrea and Dimitrya had already left Macedonia and reached Dubrovnik in order to take their share of their father's deposit. On August 10, they took the money and left for Hungary, where they served the greatest enemy of the Turks, the Hungarian king Sigmund.
What later happened to Andrea is not known, but it is clear that in 1399 he was no longer alive as his brother Dimitrya came alone to Dubrovnik in order to take over the part of the deposits left to the already slain Marko.
Dimitrya (Mitrush) served King Sigmund until the beginning of the century as a castellan of the town of Vilagosh and as head of the Zarand tribal state. The task of researching Hungarian archives and finishing the discovery of the descendants of King Volkashin remains. It is known that from the four brothers (there is no data about the sisters) only Andrea left successors, and his son was father of the wife of the Bosnian feudal lord Stepan Kosach.
In any case, one of the most important questions is that about the vassalage of Marko. Although immediately after the Marica battle many territories from Volkashin's and Uglesha's states were occupied by neighboring Christian rulers, the kingdom of Marko had an independent status for a quarter of a century. Its borders were often disturbed by the Turks, sieges were laid even in Prilep and Bitola, slaves were taken and later sold on Crete; however, the people had a relatively peaceful life. This was reflected in the folk memory and expressed through folk creativity. It is written that after 1377 Marko became a vassal of Bayazit I, but without trustworthy proofs. It is known that Marko's brothers, who were anti-Turkish, left Macedonia toward the middle of 1394 and joined the king of Hungary (Ivanish had been slain in the battle against the Turks nine years before). What was Marko's status at that time and what was the reason for the split between the brothers ? It seems that the crucial events place in the winter of 1393 - 94 when Bayazit I decided to liquidate his Balkan vassals and to include their territories into the borders of the Ottoman Empire. He invited them one-by- one to a conference in Seres, intending to execute them there. But Bayazit I changed his mind; he allowed a part of them to go back, and with the others he went to Thessaly. In some sources it is cited that the vassals gave their word they would not stand for remaining vassals any longer and later that they divided themselves into two groups: one group accepted the vassal destiny. Yet the names of Marko and his, brothers are not mentioned. Was this political schism the period of the split between the brothers?
It is a historical fact that King Marko as a vassal went with Bayazit's army to battle against the Vlach duke Mirche and was killed along with Konstantin Dragash at Rovine on May 17, 1395. Obviously the people could not accept such a destiny for their king. According to folk tradition, immediately before the battle Marko comprehended his dishonest position and said, "I am saying and begging God to help the Christians, even if I am among the first to die in this".
It is very normal that certain entity, in accordance with its views on past and visions of present and future, have profiled and built the personality of King Marko in the national mind. Poor written documents have even more given way to fantasy and encouraged hopes of long occupied Orthodox Balkan Slavs. That is how it came to creating a myth of his character, who absorbed a great deal of characteristics of mythological and legendary characters of the Balkan and non-Balkan provenance. On the other hand, his circumstances of the centuries long position of the Macedonian people. Slavery and freedom, justice and force, antipodes of the cross and the crescent were also in question.
XIVth century represents a turning point in the history of the south Slavic and Balkan nations. It, in fact, was the end of one civilization period and beginning of another completely different period, which significantly changed the ethno-cultural map of the Balkan Peninsula, and to a large extent, Europe's map. It was a historical moment of factual dissolution of a few powerful Christian kingdoms domination Balkan people were dominated by an ethnic and religiously different occupier. The fact itself, creates important presumptions for modulating the ideas pertaining to the King Marko among the south Slavic people, as their last legitimate Christian and Slavic sovereign and protector
Folklore tradition has been trying for two centuries now, to reveal the reasons taking into consideration that in the last years of his ruling, King Marko was an Ottoman vassal. Even Krste Misirkov, in his graduate study at Petersburg University in 1902, entitled as Approaching the Issue of the Nationality and Reasons for Popularity of the Macedonian King Marko, represents an interesting attempt for answering this question. However, final answer to this question has not been yet found Neither has science given the answer of a number of other issues concerning the multidimensional personality of Marko in the south Slavic, and, generally, Balkan folklore.
The character of King Marko is surely the most realistic among the people in Macedonia. It should not be forgotten that Prilep was his seat. The memory of him can be seen in the ma out Macedonia: Marko's Towers in Prilep, where he was born, churches and monasteries with frescoes with his picture. His suggestive look on the frescoes had encouraged the Impressions on the last prominent Christian King in the country.
If we take in consideration all the presentations of the poetic figure of King Marko in Macedonian creative folk works -- to be found in the poems, the legends and the oral traditions -- then we see a figure of a hero who is not "without faults and fears," as in fact every idealized "hero above heroes" should look. But he is a hero who is, first and foremost, a human being, like any other human being, having both positive and negative characteristics. Who has. almost equally, as many faults as he has virtues. It is obvious that the poetic figure of King Marko, in his centuries of development in the environment of the Macedonian people and in those of the other South Slavic peoples, was gradually changing shape in accordance with the living circumstances of the everyday people. In fact, it may be said that the most important good and bad sides of mankind have been incorporated in Marko's personality. That is the reason why King Marko is such a controversial figure in our folk creative works and, at the same time, he is yet so close and understandable, even when some of his actions and deeds are normally unacceptable.
No matter that data concerning King Volkashin and King Marko are extremely uncertain and insufficient, it is undeniable that they emerge from the hierarchy of the Serbian feudal state, and in one period even, they used to be co-rulers of the Serbian throne. I'm not planning to elaborate the question of the ethnic character of the middle century states, including feudal Serbia, it is a historical fact that there were state formations in Macedonia in the second half of the XIV century, which were in many respects opposed to the north Serbian states, and were not close even with the Eastern Bulgarian kingdoms. There were separate regional interests which dictated this relation. It, however, was dictated by the former ethno-cultural development of the people who lived in this area. We are not talking about state formations which had the current ethno-name - Macedonian. It does not mean taking over someone else's history Is not the parallel with the Ukrainians, Slovenians and Slovaks an indicating factor's. In the historical sources often find ethno-names concerning Macedonians which identify us with the Romeis. Bulgarians, Serbs, and rarely. mainly in the last two countries we are represented as Macedonians.
In 1914 Dimitriya Chupovski, in his poem "King Marko", call on Marko to awake and dash forward with his people against the "triple tyranny" by dividers and conquerors of his homeland Macedonia. Pointing out the strife and culture of the Macedonian people in a Memorandum sent to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Macedonian colonies in Petersburg and Odessa, Chupovski, together with Krste Misirkov, inter alia emphasized: "We have an old and high local Macedonian culture, dating back from the times of the founders of Macedonian Slav education St. Clement, Naum and Gorazd, as well as from the period of the first Slav state - Czar Samuil's one, the second Dobromir Strezo's state; and the third one - Kings Volkashin and Marko's, and through the 19th century,
particularly in its second half.
The name of Sterio from Rudari is well known to many people in the area of Prespa, Lerin and surrounding towns and villages especially in the village of Zhelevo (Antartikon) because this is the village where Sterio was murdered and buried.
In the Greek Civil War of 1946-1949 countless Macedonians suffered and experienced the tragedies of war who lost their families, loved ones, relatives and friends. Sterio was not spared from the evils of war. Sterio's personal loss and the destruction he witnessed was so overwhelming the man had lost his mind - he became a catatonic. He stopped talking and stopped smiling. He began a life of wandering without purpose. He would travel from village to village and visit families or people he knew before he became sick.
Everywhere he went he would stop at the front door and wait for someone to invite him in and give him something to eat. Without a word he would sit down at the table, eat his food and sit quietly looking at no one in particular. In about five or ten minutes he would get up and gaze at everyone in the house, with an expression as if he was thanking everybody and that he must leave now for another village to continue his journey. One would think he was looking for his family from town to town.
He was a tall, well-built, strong man. Sterio was a good man. No one ever heard or seen Sterio commit a crime or hurt anyone before or after he became sick.
It was Sterio's destiny to visit Zhelevo one more time on a cloudy and rainy day. This was the end of Sterio's journey.
May the hour and day be cursed that brought Sterio in front of the door to an abandoned shack in the montainous fields across Zhelevo. He opened the door, and with lightning speed, the axe split open Sterio's head and he fell instantly. Poor Sterio.
The truth and identity of the person who committed this crime became known in a matter of days. The fact that fingers were pointing to a suspect proves without a doubt that there was more than one who witnessed the murder of Sterio. No one stepped out publically and accused anyone in particular. From rumours or confession by someone who saw what happened, the names of the killer and conspirators became quickly known. No one bothered to investigate and look for the body of Sterio.
Why did anyone want to kill this sick, homeless soul? What did he witness, to pay with his life and die such a way? The body of Sterio was never found. Only the criminals know where Sterio's body is buried.
The names of the criminals are well known. For many reasons these individuals were never investigated or brought to justice. Today these criminals are in Canada. They call themselves Greeks and are members of the Hellenic Association of Antartikon.
Not too long ago the arch criminal of Antartikon was buried at prospect cemetery - his coffin draped with a Greek flag. The murderers and criminals who are members of the Hellenic Association of Antartikon are using this organization to hide and protect themselves from the criminal activities they committed in the past with the help of Greek chauvenists.
The time has come to bring these criminals and others to justice. We appeal to the Greek community to try and disband these criminal-political organization to improve better relations between our communities. In the long run, this organization will embarrass the Greek community in Canada.
Bin Laden, Iran,
and the KLA
by Christopher Deliso
September 19, 2001
A JARRING PROPHESY
Observers of NATO’s war on behalf of the Albanians in Kosovo, and the
more recent American duplicity in Macedonia, have been fearful of the
potential backlash that would come were the US to desert its bastard
offspring, the KLA/NLA. All the way back in March 2001, the following
disturbing prediction was made:
"When we throw in the possibility that various cells of Osama Bin
Laden’s terrorist international are operating in this part of the world,
the process of retribution against American assets will increase if
America moves against the Greater Albania project."
This remarkable prophesy may soon be tested, in the aftermath of 11
September. Will the US, as Bush has warned, "make no distinction between
the terrorists and those who harbor them"? Indeed, if Bush does strike
against Bin Laden’s entire network, what will become of the Albanians?
BIN LADEN AND THE US – TOGETHER AT LAST IN ALBANIA
The fact that the CIA armed Bin Laden to fight the Soviets, with the
help of Pakistan and the Afghan drug trade, is old news, and makes for
especially bitter reading now. For years, the Albanian operations of Bin
Laden and other radical Muslim terrorists have also been widely
reported. In this article I attempt to trace some of the major points in
this huge and still widely unknown movement, from the events of today
back as far as 1992, when the Islamic reawakening in Albania enhanced
conditions for widespread terrorism.
One of the only good results of the bombing of Serbia was an increased
awareness of Islamic terrorism in the Balkans. Albania was soon
implicated. On 4 May 1999, the Washington Times reported, citing new
reports from US intelligence and Jane’s Defense Review, that the town of
Tropoje, Albania was a"common staging area" for Bin Laden’s and the
KLA’s forces, and thus "a center for Islamic terrorists." US
intelligence also acknowledged that Bin Ladin’s al-Qaeda had "both
trained and financially supported" the Albanians, and that the Kosovo
border had been infiltrated by Bosnian, Chechen and Afghan mujaheedin,
in "…crossings (which) originated in neighboring Albania and, according
to the reports, included parties of up to 50 men." The Jane’s report
added that "…documents found last year on the body of a KLA member
showed that he had escorted several volunteers into Kosovo, including
more than a dozen Saudi Arabians. Each volunteer carried a passport
identifying him as a Macedonian Albanian."
A combination of chaos and poverty in Albania paved the way for Bin
Laden to move in. The Times of London quoted Fatos Klosi, the head of
the Albanian intelligence service, who said that bin Laden sent
terrorists to Kosovo. Using the front of funding a "humanitarian
agency," bin Laden muscled into Albania as far back as 1994.
The Times report gets even better:
"Klosi said he believed terrorists had already infiltrated other parts
of Europe from bases in Albania. Interpol believes more than 100,000
blank Albanian passports were stolen in riots last year, providing ample
opportunity for terrorists to acquire false papers."
A short time before this, a French national on trial for murder in
Albania claimed to have been a member of bin Laden’s Albania cell, and
had come "to recruit and arm fighters for Kosovo."
The general anarchy and upheaval in Albania over the past decade has
made it an easy target for wealthy Islamic terrorists: weapons can be
acquired with ease; high unemployment makes for high recruitment; and
all assistance, whether economic, military or "humanitarian," is gladly
THE "HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION" FRONT
Bin Laden’s kind offer of "humanitarian help" in 1994 has been used
repeatedly ever since to fund terrorism in Albania. Many terrorists have
posed as "humanitarian workers" since. Secret KLA training camps, which
the CIA and SAS also used, were created in Northern Albania by Iran and
other countries "using Islamic educational institutions and projects for
the development of rural communities as a front." Back in 1999, "a Saudi
government audit acquired by US intelligence showed that 5 of Saudi
Arabia’s top business executives ordered the National Commercial Bank
(NCB), the kingdom’s largest, to transfer personal funds along with $3
million diverted from a Saudi pension fund to New York and London banks.
The money was diverted into the accounts of Islamic charities, including
Islamic Relief and Blessed Relief, that serve as fronts for Bin Laden."
AN OFFER THEY COULDN'T REFUSE
Mighty generous of the Saudi executives, don’t you think? The actual
truth of this incident tells another story, and one that anti-Arab
Americans should remember: these guys are just as afraid of bin Laden as
It is well-known that bin Laden has a personal vendetta against the
Saudi government, which he views as corrupt and unabashedly pro-Western.
Over the past few years, he has built his economic base not only through
contributions from rabid fanatics, but by "collecting" from unwilling
businessmen representative of the hated Saudi regime. In this practice,
Bin Laden has become the terrorists' Godfather – extorting from wealthy
Arab businessmen. In the above "donation," for example, "intelligence
sources say the businessmen, who are worth more than $5 billion, were
paying bin Laden ‘protection money’ to stave off attacks on their
businesses in Saudi Arabia."
Apparently, bin Laden tried to "collect" in a similar way from Albania
in late 1999, when he made an unsuccessful request for asylum. This
report, of 17 November, 1999, alleged that the attempt stemmed from the
fact that bin Laden "had ‘bought’ several key politicians who have
looked away from the activities of his supporters in Albania." The
report went on to quote an Albanian newspaper, Koha Jone, which reported
that a 42-year-old Jordanian businessman, resident in Albania since
1992, had just been arrested by the CIA in connection with bin Laden.
Even if the Albanians could keep bin Laden out, they couldn’t control
their protégé, as they had found out only a few months before, in July
1999, when US Secretary of Defense William Cohen canceled a trip to
Albania, out of fear of assassination from bin Laden’s gang.
CHIEF AMONG ENEMIES
A long list of nationalities are represented in these and other
documents relating to Albania and Kosovo: Islamic terrorists are cited
as being from Egypt, Jordan, France, Bosnia, Macedonia, Saudi Arabia,
Chechnya, Afghanistan, Lybia, Pakistan… This indicates that bin Laden
certainly couldn’t have run Albania by himself. He was aided all along
by another old friend of the United States – Iran.
IRAN IN ALBANIA: IDEOLOGY AND TERRORISM
A report of 22 March, 1998 in the Times of London confirmed that bin
Laden and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had signed a pact (on 16
February in Teheran) consolidating their operations in Albania and
Kosovo, hoping "to turn the region into their main base for Islamic
armed action in Europe." This was the unfortunate but logical outcome of
almost a decade of a growing Iranian presence in Albania, and a growing
radicalization of the Albanian "freedom fighters."
At the 1994 summit of Islamic countries in Jeddah, an agreement had been
reached to "help the ‘brothers in the Balkans’ with all available means,
including military aid…. The Balkan peninsula was chosen as a beachhead
for an organized penetration of Islam into Europe." Italy was used as
the base for two failed attempts to assassinate the Pope in 1997 (first
in Sarajevo, and later, in Bologna), attempts which the Iranian secret
services allegedly masterminded, using "a suicide group of 18 terrorists
from Turkey, Moslem Bosnia, and Iran."
One excellent article details the development of Iran’s terrorist cells
in the Balkans. Command centers are found in both Muslim and non-Muslim
countries. At the end of 1997, Iranian diplomat Mahmud Nurani, a
Hezbollah veteran, was put in charge of the Rome cell involved in the
attempts on John Paul II. At the same time, Kurban Ali Najeff Abadi, a
close friend of Ayatollah Khameni, was installed in Albania. The
consolidation of Iranian influence, in both legal and extralegal
concerns, was expedited by Albania’s descent into anarchy in 1997
(during which, incidentally, mafia gangs and the nascent KLA robbed the
Albanian military of much of its US-donated weaponry). Albania
"desperately needed aid, regardless of its origin," and crime,
kidnapping and smuggling were rampant. And so:
"Iranian intelligence circles deemed that Albania was ‘ripe’ and could
accept the introduction of extremist Islamism which was to take place on
two levels, according to Teheran’s plan. Publicly, Iran and its Islamic
partners (were) to build a comprehensive financial support system
ranging from banks and financial institutions to economy, and including
numerous humanitarian organizations… secretly, a broad network was
created to establish the intelligence-operative base destined to cover
entire Europe, going primarily through the Balkans and Italy."
IRAN IN ALBANIA: THE ECONOMIC FRONT
The intersection of these two interests, economic control and the
ideological control necessary for terrorism, came in 1998, at the
meeting of the Iranian Supreme Economic Council. This meeting was
dedicated exclusively to Albania, and it both reconfirmed and extended
the policy of Islamic entrenchment developed since 1991. Meeting with
influential figures such as Mohsen Nurbakan, head of the Iranian Central
Bank, the Council suggested a "long-term plan" to promote Iran’s main
objectives in Albania: the formation of a "commercial operative base"
near the "heart of Europe"; the strengthening of a "strategic axis"
between Sarajevo and Tirana; and the installation of a headquarters for
Iranian intelligence operations on Greece, Austria, Italy, and Europe in
The implementation of Iran’s plan has brought Albania into the fold, and
made it a staging post for Islamic terrorism in Europe. Financial
dependence on Arab banks represents "the exclusive source of hard
currency input into Albania." Iranian banks have in this way "penetrated
all segments" of Albanian society and economy, "thus fully legalizing
the Iranian presence in all spheres of financing."
That this was done for reasons beyond sound business strategy was clear,
from the instructions of Mr. Nurbakan to the banks; they were "to invest
in Albania, regardless of poor profit and business risk factors." In
other words, the banking presence was a "legitimate face" for Iran’s
intelligence: "officials of the Iranian financial intelligence are
deployed in all Teheran’s institutions in Albania and cooperate closely
with the operatives of the Intelligence Affairs Ministry regarding the
financing of terrorist training camps, purchase of arms and military
equipment, ‘money laundering’ and other activities."
Yet, one many wonder, how did ostensibly Europe-oriented Albania get
involved so heavily with radical Islamic movements? The answer is that
the process has been complex, and years in the making.
THE SECRET WAR: RESCUING THE ALBANIANS FROM GODLESSNESS
Albania is and has always been a very poor and backward country. Under
Communism, there was little knowledge of the outside world, to the
extent that the few Albanians who made it out without being shot by
border guards would gaze in wonder at a city such as Athens, not knowing
what planet they had stumbled upon. This unfortunate lack of worldliness
has aided Islamic extremists. In the next two sections I make extensive
use of an excellent study by M. Vickers and J. Pettifer, Albania: from
Anarchy to a Balkan Identity (1997). This close study of the country’s
recent development, while very sympathetic to the Albanian cause,
details the steps which have brought Islamic terrorist organizations to
In 1967, Albania was declared the world’s first atheist state. When this
prohibition was ended in 1990, Albania became an evangelical
free-for-all. Although many religions were represented- including the
Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others, the chief ones (in terms of
Albania’s historical religious demographics) were the Roman Catholics,
Greek Orthodox, and Muslims. The quick growth of Islam was due partly to
its traditionally high profile (a relic of Ottoman days), and partly to
a heavy influx of money from wealthy Arab countries. The Albanians, many
of whom were too young to have experience of religion, were naïvely
eager and curious, as was gleefully noted: "Islamic Relief reported that
Albanian Muslims were like a dry sponge, ready to soak up anything given
to them." (Page 104)
THE GOLDEN CARROT
The chaotic, impoverished state of Albania in the early 1990’s meant
that it was easy pickings for deep-pocketed Islamic proselytizers. They
were willing, at a time when the US and EU still were not, to invest in
the country. Countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait
wanted to bring in hardcore religion. The golden carrot they dangled was
to bring Albania into the fold economically:
"In October 1992 a delegation from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB),
headed by its chairman Ahmed Mohammed Ali, visited Tirana to lay the
groundwork for Albania to join the bank. Ali told President Berisha that
it was willing to invest in Albania and develop cooperation in all areas
of the economy, including agriculture, education and transport… The
delegation also discussed plans to build an institute to train teachers
in Arabic and five schools; to dispatch a first contingent of Albanian
students to undergo higher education in IDB member countries; and to
promote book publishing." (Page 105)
Eight months prior to this, a delegation from the Turkish Islamic
community had arrived in Tirana, to discuss with then-president Alia the
role of religion in Albania, and the strengthening of religious
cooperation between the two countries. In 1992, Albania and Turkey
consolidated for the first time a defense pact which now involves
millions of dollars of aid yearly from the latter to the former.
A month later, "a Kuwaiti delegation presented the beleaguered Alia
administration with an ambitious investment plan and, in return for
promises of economic aid, asked for permission to build several mosques.
It was then that major construction of mosques began in earnest in
Albania." (Page 102)
SPRING, 1992: A MASSIVE CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUES BEGINS
By 1990, Turkish authorities had already started renovating mosques from
the Ottoman period. The Kuwaiti initiative of 1992, which wedded
religion with cash, continued this trend aggressively. It was the
beginning of an ambitious new building program funded entirely from
without. Mosques for the citizens of Tirana, Shkoder, Durres and Kavaja
were promised by four sheiks of the Alislamic Aluok Foundation, based in
the Netherlands, who visited Tirana on 23 April.
In addition to Middle Eastern governments, expatriate groups from Europe
and the US funded the rebirth of Islam in Albania. At first, these new
mosques were many more than demand required, and often strangely
incongruous with their surroundings:
"In the Muslim village of Koplik – which is no more than a cluster of
two-room cottages with small courtyards, joined by a series of dirt
paths which in winter are churned into a sea of swirling mud by the
hooves of cows and horses – an enormous newly-built yellow-painted
mosque stands in the square, paid for by the Saudi Arabian government.
Looking majestically out of place, it stands alone in an inhospitable,
poor and miserable locality. The inside is richly carpeted and Korans
are piled high along the walls. The opulence of Koplik’s mosque is in
marked contrast to the church recently opened not far away in a Catholic
village, which is in a bleak former agricultural building. It had no
seats and the people had collected little piles of stones on which to
sit, until in 1995 an Austrian-based charity furnished the church with
benches." (Page 100)
RADICALIZING THE ALBANIANS
Another of the main purposes of the Islamic mission to Albania was to
train and radicalize the young generation:
"As Albanian schools remained secular, children and young men were being
sent to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Malaysia, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
to study Islamic theology. Islamic organisations helped to fund the
expenses of those Albanians wishing to make the trip to Mecca; in 1991
around 170 Muslims from Albania went on the haji; in 1992 the figure was
300 and in 1993 over 400."
In this period, Albania became known as a place of refuge for those
radical Muslims who were too hot for their own countries to handle, and
"it was well-known that there were several fundamentalists on the run
from Egyptian authorities who were living in Tirana." (Page 106)
EPILOGUE, OR, A BALKAN EPITAPH
There is a lot more to be discovered about the Albanian connection with
bin Laden, and undoubtedly the next few weeks and months will turn up
some dirt. How the US will act remains to be seen. It is unlikely that
America will turn its back on its Albanian allies, as that would mean
admitting yet another embarrassing mistake of foreign policy.
However, this should provoke some serious questions. First, how is it
that the US Defense Secretary cannot visit a country that is one of his
government's chief recipients of aid without fearing for his life from
bin Laden’s terrorists? And why, even though his request was denied, did
bin Laden even imagine that Albania would shelter him? These unsettling
questions tell of a darker reality behind America’s prime "ally" in the
Without exception, all of the other Balkan neighbors fear and hate
Albania, with its American support and military aid, and its
increasingly militant Islamic nature. Although it’s hard to gauge to
what extent radical Islam has propelled the quest for a "Greater
Albania," there is no question that religion is now a key factor in
uniting the fractious Albanian groups – Kosovars, Gegs and Tosks – who
never liked each other much before 1990, and who probably would never
have developed strong feelings of unity, without the imposition of the
kind of radical Islam championed by Osama bin Laden. It’s sad to say
that the nurturing of radical Islam in the Balkans may prove to be
America’s most lasting contribution to the region.
Christopher Deliso is a San Francisco-based travel writer and journalist
with special interest in the Balkans. He received a BA in Philosophy and
Greek (Hampshire College, 1997) and an M.Phil with distinction in
Byzantine Studies (Oxford University, 1999). From 1997-2000 Mr. Deliso
lived and worked in Ireland, England, Turkey and Greece, and he spent
one month in Macedonia in January, 2000. He is currently investigating
media and governmental policies regarding the Macedonian crisis, and he
publishes regularly on European travel destinations.
Description of the Species