Published in The Hill
If you play a game by the rules and your opponent cheats, you'll lose. If the referee is siding with your opponent in spite of his cheating, you'll lose. Does this mean that I'm advocating that you cheat to level the playing field? No. Stop playing the game.
Unfortunately, the game in this case is Macedonia, and it's viability as an independent state. And the West has been changing the twisted rules as they go. The key though, is that Macedonia owns this game and can choose to stop playing at any time. This is not an oversimplification of things, it's basic common sense. If someone tells you to negotiate a name change to appease a blatant oppressor of your own people, you don't agree. If someone tells you to change your flag to deny your ethnic identity and origin, you don't agree. If someone puts up never-ending hoops and tells you to keep jumping through them to achieve an unachievable goal, you don't agree.
This is something that Macedonian Human Rights Movement International has been telling each successive Macedonian government since independence in 1991, but to no avail. And look where we are today. We have told every Macedonian Prime Minister, President and government representative that the artificial name dispute is the overarching issue that is wreaking havoc in Macedonia. Stop negotiating your own name, and the name dispute goes away. Stop looking to the West to solve all of Macedonia's problems, when it is the West that creates many of them. If the European Union and NATO tell you to change your age-old name to enter a coalition of oppressors, then don't engage.
The West has chosen to intervene in Macedonia and enable a coalition of war-criminals and political sellouts because they are viewed as more pro-West. In other words, controllable. Ironically, VMRO, having been in power for the past 11 years, has succumbed to many Western demands to the detriment of Macedonia, but was viewed as "nationalist” because it wouldn't change Macedonia's name. To quote Seinfeld, quoting Superman, what kind of bizarro world do we live in? Would any other country even engage in such a discussion? Would any other country be pressured to engage in such a discussion? In the past few months, the Macedonian government decided to stand up to the West, in other words, to heed MHRMI's advice. Too little, too late. Now, it seems, like the fate of Macedonia rests in the hands of an American-enabled 10% minority population whose public goal is the destruction of Macedonia in the name of Greater Albania. Bizarro? More like pathetic.
Macedonian politicians, you have no right to play with our country's name and the ethnic origin of our people. Current citizens of a country do not have the right to change an age-old nationality. As MHRMI's Our Name Is Macedonia campaign says, "Who Gave You the Right to Negotiate Our Name?”
We told you that the West is treating you exactly how you're asking to be treated. If you do not stand up for yourself, do you think they will? Take advantage of Macedonians living abroad, who know how the West thinks, and who vehemently defend Macedonia more than any of its politicians ever have. Our Name Is Macedonia and we are Macedonian. Wake up.
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International