I've condemned racism my entire life. I've been a human rights activist for as long as I can remember. When someone gets discriminated against based on their ethnic background it makes me livid. And for my entire life, I've endured hate because of my ethnicity. Now, I'm asking you for help. Will you help me? No, you probably won't. Actually, I can almost guarantee it. But we'll get to that in a bit.
I'll tell you why I'm writing this op-ed. Because I was watching another news talk show that made me want to vomit. Pundits were talking about human rights, equality, and condemning one specific side, the Republican Party, for stoking racism and hatred. And guess what? They're RIGHT. But they're not looking in the mirror. And this is what makes me sick. The generic "glass house” analogy applies, but I'll get right to the point. Don't bother condemning racism if you're a racist. You have no right.
My ethnic group is on the verge of collapse because of the people who are condemning the OTHER side for racism. You see, Democrats, the supposed "good guys", instituted a policy many years ago to rename and redefine my ethnic group, country, language and history to appease our oppressors. And the Republicans are continuing this racist policy. It has now reached a boiling point and with each passing day, my ethnic group is going, going...
So does it matter what my ethnicity is before you act to prevent its extinction? Sadly, it does. For you. But tell me that you need help, and I'm there for you. This is what a real human rights activist does.
Because of the United States and its racist foreign policy, there is now a 19-page document redefining who I always was, and now telling me who I am. It hands over my ethnic group's name to our biggest oppressor (while ignoring our other oppressors who also claim our name, what happened to "equality"?) and it outlines specific instances on how and when I can define myself. It gives full control to our oppressor to punish my country and ethnic group for "misusing" any of the terms that they give us permission to use. Does this seem normal?
Sadly, what is normal is that the United States practices the complete opposite of what it preaches. Democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the will of the people are taglines. In reality, the US has perfected the art of blackmail, bribery, threats and intimidation until it gets its way. Case in point, Jess Baily, the US ambassador to my country was in a recent parliamentary session holding female opposition MPs in private meeting rooms against their will until they caved into his demands and voted to commit treason to change our name. The consequences if they refused? Prison time for their family members. The reward? Hundreds of thousands of Euros. And the US accuses other countries of meddling. Offence is the best defence, I guess...
The saddest part of all of this, other than the cultural genocide of my ethnic group due to US foreign policy, is that many of the pundits that I referred to earlier actually believe in the lies that they're spewing. They are accustomed to the American superiority complex and believe that American values should be spread around the world. As we so often hear when these pundits disagree with each other, "You should've done your homework". Well, I couldn't agree more. Please learn what American values really are first, then you'll definitely want to keep them to yourselves.
Actually, the second saddest part is that, still, nobody will come to our defence in any meaningful way. Will you prove me wrong? Will you defend us even though we're not high-profile? I doubt it. But I will still help you. Because I believe in the values that I espouse.
And here it is - I'm Macedonian. My family fought against Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian and Albanian oppression since 1913, when the partition of Macedonia occurred and our country was ripped into four pieces and handed over to our new oppressors. My family fought against Turkish oppression for 500 years before that. And others before that. Yet, our name, ethnicity, language and history endured. So why is the United States aiding one of our oppressors? The "winner", by the way, in the anti-Macedonian lottery of racists, is Greece. But, fear not, Albania and Bulgaria, the US is still helping you discriminate against Macedonians in different ways.
The Republic of Macedonia, independent since 1991, is about to lose its sovereignty, name and identity because of US foreign policy. The name and identity of all parts of Macedonia would disappear with it. Ask yourself what you would do if this were happening to your ethnic group.
Our Name Is Macedonia. Decency tells you to defend us. I'll be waiting, but I'm not holding my breath.
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International