Macedonian Human Rights Movement International

Our Name Is Macedonia - Why Do We Have to Keep Justifying Our Existence?

Our Name Is Macedonia In yet another protest against a change to Macedonia's name and identity, Macedonians converged, en masse, in front of Macedonian parliament on November 18, despite road blockages and intimidation, carried out by the US-installed illegitimate government of Zoran Zaev.

Yes, Macedonia is on the brink of collapse due to interference from foreign elements. Its very sovereignty and the existence of the Macedonian people, including millions in the neighbouring countries and throughout the world, are in jeopardy.

Why? Because the US and European Union have deemed it a priority to increase NATO and EU membership and are demanding that the Republic of Macedonia change its name, identity, ethnicity and rewrite its history, contrary to all human rights conventions and international law. The end goal is to appease Greece, which opposes Macedonia's name, all for the promise that Greece might lift its veto to allow discussions for the Republic of Macedonia's potential NATO and EU membership.

Case in point: During an illegal session of Macedonian parliament on October 19, eight opposition MP's were held in a chamber by the illegitimate government of Zoran Zaev until they followed orders to vote to change Macedonia's name and identity. MP's, with women especially targeted, were blackmailed, bribed and threatened with prison sentences, including threats to their families. This treasonous and illegal vote paves the way for two further parliamentary votes and for the complete annihilation of Macedonia's right to self-determination.

These brutal tactics were sanctioned by US Ambassador Jess Baily, who was present in Macedonian parliament at the time. The mere presence of a foreign diplomat violates Macedonian (and any other country's) parliamentary rules. But Baily is not alone. Joining him in interfering in Macedonia's internal affairs are EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and most, recently, US Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell, who have all visited Macedonia recently to issue blatant threats. The common message is "Change your name or else”.

So why does Greece want to rename Macedonia and redefine the identity of the Macedonian people? Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis admitted, in 1995, that Greece manufactured the name dispute in order to deny the existence, and persecution, of its large Macedonian minority.

The name being imposed on Macedonia would be "Republic of North Macedonia”, and the new identity given to all Macedonians would be "Northern Macedonian”. There is a 19-page document known as the "Prespa Agreement” that redefines the terms "Macedonia” and "Macedonian” and gives Greece the power to punish Macedonia if it "misuses” any term to describe itself.

Does this seem normal?

And we are not just referring to Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia. The entire region of Macedonia was partitioned in 1913 (a fact admitted by all, oppressors included) among Serbia/Yugoslavia (now the independent Republic of Macedonia), Bulgaria, Greece and later, Albania. Macedonians have been fighting attempts at eradication ever since. Greece, ironically, outlawed the term "Macedonia” and denied its existence until a dramatic propaganda switch in 1988, when it began a campaign of trying to deceive the world into believing that Macedonia was "Greek”. Let's not forget though, that our other oppressors also claim Macedonia. Or, instead of being bogged down in a brutal game of Balkan roulette, we could just use common sense. Macedonia is Macedonian.

In a shocking interview recently on Macedonian television, Zoran Zaev even admitted that he was put into power to ensure Macedonia's EU and NATO membership by forcing through a name change. But he fears no repercussions because he has the backing of the United States and European Union.

As a result, Zaev has used tactics such as ordering riot police to attack Macedonians who oppose the changing of their name and identity, falsifying election results, imprisoning dissenting Macedonians, firing people from public and private sector jobs, shutting down opposition media outlets and blocking social media access to those who dare oppose him.

Despite blatant and admitted interference, the US and EU have the gall to claim that "Russian meddling is destabilizing Macedonia”. American foreign policy dictates that "offence is the best defence”. In other words, accuse others of your own despicable tactics while continuing to employ them, with each successive one becoming more brazen.

Macedonians are simply demanding that their human rights and self-determination be defended. No one expected that it would be against attacks led by the West.

A solution that satisfies the West's insatiable goal for Macedonian NATO and EU membership while actually respecting human rights, international law and decency? Instead of forcing Macedonia to jump through hoops on its way to cultural extinction, the West could remove the one-country veto rule in NATO and the EU or simply direct Greece not to use its veto power. The West must uphold the principles that it claims to respect, or it will be complicit in the demise of an entire ethnic group. Our Name Is Macedonia. Who gave you the right to change it?

Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International