Published in iAffairs Canada / Canadian Foreign Policy Journal
The leader of a new Macedonian political party was texting me in the middle of the night recently, giving me updates on her spokeswoman's surgery to repair two broken legs, suffered at the hands of riot police earlier that night. Her crime? Attending a peaceful protest against changing Macedonia's name and identity. The riot police were ordered in by US-installed "Prime Minister" Zoran Zaev who is doing everything in his power to brutally silence any dissent.
And these brutal US-led tactics are being supported by our Canadian government.
Despite my appeals to her and her policy advisors to defend basic human rights and self-determination, Canadian FM Chrystia Freeland has chosen to applaud Zaev's attempts at forcibly changing Macedonia's name in order to appease its biggest oppressor, Greece.
The new name would be "North Macedonia" and Macedonians everywhere, not just in the Republic of Macedonia, would be known as "Northern Macedonians" who speak "Northern Macedonian". The agreement supported by the West that would change Macedonia's name even mandates what the new definition of "Macedonian" would be and that history be changed, and textbooks rewritten. The term "Macedonian" would suddenly not belong to Macedonians any more. Imagine this happening to Armenians, Ukrainians or any other ethnic group.
Chrystia, do you know who and what you're supporting?
I'll elaborate. Zaev has fixed elections with US support, imprisoned Macedonians who dare disagree with him (including six opposition MPs - thus making it easier to illegally impose new laws), held female opposition MPs in parliamentary chambers against their will until they succumbed to his demands, violated the Macedonian constitution, broken the law, circumvented parliamentary rules to force through anti-Macedonian policies, ordered the firing (from public and private sector jobs) of perceived opponents, shut down media that is critical of him, blocked social media access for media outlets that don't support him, and ordered government intimidation and investigation of those who are against his policies - including those, specifically, who are in contact with me and the organization that I run - Macedonian Human Rights Movement International.
For Zaev and his American, Canadian and EU backers, my organization's stance that international law, human rights conventions and decency be respected stands in their way of achieving their goal - to change Macedonia's name, identity, ethnicity, language and history to appease Greece's goal of eradicating our existence - all so Greece refrains from using its veto power so Macedonia can get NATO and EU membership.
Is this the Canada that you know?
Macedonia was divided in 1913 among Serbia (Yugoslavia), Bulgaria, Greece and later, Albania and each country immediately began campaigns aimed at eradicating any trace of Macedonia. The Republic of Macedonia declared its independence in 1991 after the fall of Yugoslavia, but Macedonians who find themselves outside its territory are still at the mercy of their oppressors. So, this "name dispute", admitted by Greece to be artificial, affects Macedonians throughout all of Macedonia and the world, not just the Republic of Macedonia. We are witnessing modern-day cultural genocide - and it is inexplicably being aided by the West.
I told Chrystia Freeland and her policy advisors that my Canada does not support dictators intent on destroying an entire ethnic group. Chrystia, tell all Canadians what your response is.
I've handed the opposition parties a chance to stand up for traditional Canadian values, expose the Liberal Party for blatantly violating them, and to defend the very existence of an entire ethnic group - all to no avail.
Their excuses? One, they view the cultural genocide of Macedonians as a "diplomatic dispute between neighbours". Well, they have fallen right into Greece's trap.
Second, they claim that because the "leader" of Macedonia is executing this policy that it somehow makes it legitimate. If this were the case, nobody would've denounced Donald Trump's Muslim ban, his support of neo-Nazis, or any of his continuous racist comments. If this were the case, Canada never would've helped to oust former Ukrainian President Yanukovych because of his pro-Russian policies.
However, it's important to note that it is not the Prime Minister, but the President of Macedonia, Gjorgi Ivanov, who is the head of state, but the West conveniently ignores this fact because he is opposed to Zaev's policies.
Chrystia, I've asked you, if you were of Macedonian, instead of Ukrainian ethnic background, what would Canada's policy be?
Opposition parties, why aren't you denouncing the Canadian government's anti-Canadian actions?
I was Macedonian way before anti-Macedonian Zaev was brought into power. As were my ancestors who moved to Canada to escape persecution, never expecting that I would be subject to it decades later by the very country that claims to be a global leader in defending human rights. As I've told all Canadian political parties - my Canada defends human rights for all ethnic groups - not just the high-profile.
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information: 1-416-850-7125, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mhrmi.org, twitter.com/mhrmi, facebook.com/mhrmi, mhrmi.org/OurNameIsMacedonia.