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Macedonian Refugees and World Refugee Day

June 20, 2004

Today, June 20th, we mark World Refugee Day.

"World Refugee Day is a salute to the indomitable spirit and courage of the world's refugees, and as such it should be a real celebration." 1 June 20th is a day in which we think about the 28,000 Macedonian children refugees (Detsa Begaltsi) who left their homes during the Greek Civil War, and extend to them our encouragement, support and respect. I salute and commemorate those who have died without returning to their homes and praise those who are alive and continue to fight for their return.

I selected a passage from "The Plight of the Macedonian Refugee Children" by Risto Stefov

which I highly recommend reading in order to see how tragic the situation was for those children:
"It was a dreary spring day on March 25th, 1948 when it all began. It was a day filled with high emotions, tears and heartbreak for the mothers and children of western Aegean Macedonia. It was the day the Detsa Begaltsi (Refugee Children) left, and for most it was the last time that they would ever see their beloved family and home."

"Mothers prepared luggage, a change of clothing, food and eating utensils before escorting their little ones to the designated meeting places. With eyes tearing mothers said goodbye to their loved ones before sending them into the hands of destiny. Their cries could be heard for a long time as they disappeared into the distance. It didn't take too long before the emptiness was felt and many mothers could not stop crying and contemplating the fate of their little ones."

To learn more about the recent struggles of the Detsa Begaltsi, please visit:

Also, here is the website of the United Nation's High Commission for Refugees' World Refugee Day (the intro flashpoint presentation is POWERFUL):

Metodija A. Koloski may be reached at:

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