By Stojko Stojkov, Co-President of OMO Ilinden PIRIN: As a Macedonian from Pirin Macedonia, and an activist in the Macedonian movement in Bulgaria, I'm often bothered by the following issue: why is it that all countries in the Balkans care about their minorities living outside of their borders, all except Macedonia! Is this some kind of a unique feature of our state? Where does this absolute lack of desire - to care for and to at least verbally support your compatriots across the border - come from? Is the lack of compassion and solidarity a unique Macedonian character trait?
The Macedonian Association “Ilinden“ - Tirana and the Macedonian national minority in the Republic of Albania seek cultural and educational autonomy for the inhabitants of the regions of Golo Brdo, Mala Prespa and Gora in order to preserve the Macedonian culture in these regions inhabited by a purely Macedonian population.
If NATO was truly interested in "promoting democratic values" and "building trust", they would immediately denounce the forced name and identity change on Macedonia and Macedonians. If they were interested in having Macedonia join NATO for some altruistic dream, they would insist that it be under the name Macedonia. They would further attempt to clarify the supposed "benefits" of NATO membership instead of spewing tag lines about claiming to spread democracy.
The name change imposed on Macedonia represents an attempt at cultural genocide in the 21st century and cannot be allowed to stand. This is not a “diplomatic dispute” as the Western press quaintly puts it, but a concerted attempt to erase an old and proud people by denying them their most fundamental human rights of self-determination and self-identification; those which the countries of the EU and NATO which are attempting to impose this agreement on Macedonia would not dream of denying to their own citizens. Democratic and progressive forces throughout the world cannot sit idly by and allow this to happen.
We call on the Helsinki Committee in Albania and demand that European representatives denounce the force deracination of the Macedonian national minority in Albania, conducted by Bulgaria with the use of threats and blackmail aimed against the progress of the Albanian state toward Europe.
11 years since Bulgaria became a member of the European Union, 29 years since it became a democracy, 55 years since the beginning of the policy of denial, assimilation and discrimination of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria...
If someone told you that a name used to describe their ethnic group is deeply offensive, would you continue to use that name and even try to convince them that it is not offensive?
NO. So stop calling me a “North Macedonian” from “North Macedonia”. I am Macedonian from Macedonia. Any other term is designed to negate my ethnic identity. Maybe you didn't know that before, but you do now...
ACTION ALERT: Visit this link (mhrmi.org/act-now) to instantly send an email to Canada's decision makers and DEMAND defence of our Macedonian name and identity. OUR NAME IS MACEDONIA!
ALL MACEDONIANS, regardless of where you live, must ACT NOW.
One of my kids' friends was talking about how his ethnic group doesn't get along with another ethnic group because of long-standing tensions between the two. He discussed how his parents taught him how “bad” the other group was. He then asked, "So who do you hate?“ Our answer - ”Nobody." But how do I tell my kids that a lot of people hate us? We're Macedonian...
"We have been fighting for our existence as Macedonians our whole lives, as did all of our ancestors. Nobody has the right to change our name, ethnicity, identity and history at the stroke of a pen", said Father Nikodim Tsarknias, well-known Macedonian human rights activist from Sobotsko, in the Voden region of Aegean Macedonia (annexed by Greece after Macedonia's partition in 1913).