“That’s how the government of Canada recognizes you.”
Not as who we are, but who we’re told to be — based on political decisions aimed at appeasing those who want us eradicated.
The quote is from Liberal Party MP Rob Oliphant, who said it to a group of Macedonians after they objected to him using the highly derogatory terms “North Macedonian” and “North Macedonia” while giving a speech at a Macedonian event in Toronto.
It has come to this. Politicians telling us who we are so they can execute Canada’s American foreign policy while simultaneously appeasing our oppressors so [insert Canadian political party here] can get their votes.
What happened to standing up for human rights even if votes are lost from the group in favour of committing human rights violations?
And what happened to Canada having its own foreign policy?
Don’t be fooled — much like Democrats and Republicans are one and the same when it comes to US foreign policy (forget “location, location, location”, it’s “intervention, intervention, intervention”), the Liberals and Conservatives are one and the same when it comes to Canadian foreign policy — blindly follow the United States.
So what did Canada get itself into when it followed, supported, congratulated and helped execute the US’s anti-Macedonian foreign policy? As I’ve explained to the leadership, and then some, of all Canadian political parties:
They helped to install, and continue to prop up, the regime of Zoran Zaev, which uses tactics such as: ordering riot police to attack Macedonians who oppose the changing of their name, identity and history; falsifying election results; imprisoning dissenting Macedonians; firing people from public and private sector jobs; shutting down media outlets and blocking social media access to those who dare oppose him; and threatening and ordering the intimidation, including physical attacks, of families of dissenters.
In order to appease Greece and Bulgaria, which threatened to veto Macedonia’s (unnecessary and unwanted — but that’s a story for another day) NATO and EU membership bids, unless Macedonia changed its name, identity, history — and the very definition of what a Macedonian is — to suit their policies of denying the existence and persecution of the large Macedonian minorities within their borders. Bulgaria, an ally of Hitler and the occupying power in Macedonia during WWII, even threw in revisions of Jewish history to deny its role in deporting 7,000 Macedonian Jews to the Treblinka death camp in Poland. And Canada supports this all in the name of “increasing Euro-Atlantic integration” (read “imperialism at the expense of human rights”).
While Canadian political parties have no problem denouncing other dictators throughout the world, they won’t denounce Macedonia’s, because Canada supported his installation.
There is rarely, if ever, one issue that will completely unite and galvanize a group. But here we have it. The very existence of Macedonians as an ethnic group is at stake — so yes, we are all united around our survival. You would be too. Macedonians came to Canada to escape persecution, not be subjected to it. Even here, we are being told that we cannot use our name, express our identity and commemorate our history. See the recent Canadian census as an example.
The past few years have been next-level, but for decades, the Liberal Party has taken numerous, public, anti-Macedonian stances in order to appeal to Greek-Canadians, while the other parties remain silent and watch our most basic of human rights be stripped away. (What if you were told to throw away your name, identity and history, celebrate it [as per US instructions], then watch the perpetrators discuss how they defend human rights?)
Yet all parties and candidates (federal, provincial and municipal) have the gall to approach Macedonians at election time and beg for votes. They know that Macedonian-Canadians are a huge voting bloc, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, but what happens when we ask for one simple statement defending our right to exist? The answer is, without fail, “after you help me win”.
For the sake of brevity, I won’t name the countless politicians who have said these exact words (they know who they are), but I’ll leave them with this: Will you defend Macedonians like you claim to “defend and promote democracy and human rights”? No, absolutely not, because you would have done so by now. But will you do so if it could win you an election? You tell me. The Macedonian-Canadian vote is yours to lose — and so is the next (and future) elections.
Voters, make this an election (and everyday) issue. You surely know a Macedonian — stand up for their rights. When you hear or see the terms “North Macedonian” or “North Macedonia”, anywhere, make it known that these are the most derogatory terms for a Macedonian (and we’re accustomed to a lot) and demand use of the terms we’ve only ever used for ourselves — Macedonian and Macedonia. At election time, and one is coming up soon, tell your candidate that unless they make a clear statement in defence of human rights and against the forced name, identity and history change imposed on Macedonians — and Canada’s shocking support of it — that they do not have your vote. Stand up for your fellow Canadians. Stand up for your fellow humans. All it takes is a statement.
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International