But few Americans seem to know or care
Article by MHRMI President Bill Nicholov published in US anti-imperialism media outlet Covert Action Magazine (CAM), dedicated to exposing US covert action worldwide:
[Note from the Editors of Covert Action Magazine: CAM uses the name “Macedonia”—rather than the imposed “North Macedonia”—as we respect the Macedonian people’s right to self-determination and their own name, identity and history.]
Macedonian girl calling for the release of her father, a political prisoner jailed for opposing the U.S.-installed regime in Macedonia.
The former U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, Jess Baily, presided over the imprisonment of the father of the girl featured in the above photo.
Baily did the same for riot police attacks on innocent civilians, threats against their families, election fixing, shutting down media and imposing prison sentences for journalists, blocking social media access for individuals and media outlets, firing thousands of Macedonians from public and private sector jobs, outlawing and criminalizing the use of the term “Macedonia”, investigating and intimidating Macedonian civilians including physical attacks and arson, and yes, imprisoning even more Macedonians and subjecting them all to abhorrent prison conditions.
Their “crime”? Opposing U.S. interventionism in Macedonia and the U.S. policy of eradicating Macedonia’s name, identity, culture and history in order to appease our oppressors.
You would oppose U.S. policy too.
In one of Baily’s most infamous acts, he and several members of the U.S.-installed regime in Macedonia held female opposition MPs in parliamentary chambers against their will, blackmailed and threatened them and their family members with imprisonment until they followed orders to vote to change Macedonia’s name.
But how could all of this be a policy of the self-proclaimed “global leader in spreading democracy and human rights”? One could also ask why the U.S. formerly viewed Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden as allies, why they overthrow governments worldwide, and why they either invade or start proxy wars and kill millions of innocent civilians.
The short—and only—answer is imperialism. Nothing will stand in the way of the United States imposing its will on the rest of the world. Not human rights, innocent lives, basic decency. Nothing.
In Macedonia’s case, the United States deemed it a priority to increase NATO membership at any cost so it sided with Greece and its campaign—publicly admitted and celebrated—of cultural genocide against Macedonians. As part of the United States’ policy to expand its influence and empire, it has an important military base on Crete and wanted to especially fortify ties with the Greek government after its relations with Turkey began to fray.
Greece had pledged to veto Macedonia’s U.S.-imposed NATO membership bid unless its name was changed, and everything Macedonian was eradicated.
Vast human rights abuses against an entire ethnic group? Of course the United States was in. And they were not alone.
Macedonian prison where political prisoners are housed. [Source: republika.mk]
Bulgaria saw Greece’s “success” so, in a ramp-up of their own generations-old campaign of cultural genocide against Macedonians, they pledged to veto Macedonia’s Western-imposed European Union membership bid unless even more of its own anti-Macedonian demands were met, and they even threw in attacks against Jews in the region.
As a result of Greece and Bulgaria’s Western-enabled anti-Macedonian campaigns, there are now multiple treaties that outline how Macedonians are “permitted” to define ourselves. As I said on a panel discussion on Turkey’s international news channel, TRT World, “There is a 19-page document telling me who I am. Does this seem normal?”
This document is, ironically, known as the “Prespa Agreement”, and was overwhelmingly rejected by Macedonians in a referendum on September 30, 2018. In it, Article 7(2) officially hands over the term “Macedonia” to Greece, and renders the entire Macedonian population in Aegean Macedonia (annexed by Greece in 1913) as non-existent. Article 8(5) mandates that a panel of Greek diplomats rewrite Macedonian history and that Macedonian textbooks be rewritten to officially remove any trace of our existence.
Protest in Macedonia against the forced name change. The sign displays the slogan of Macedonian Human Rights Movement International: “Nobody has the right to change our name and identity – Our Name Is Macedonia”
Bulgaria’s demands include additions to the ironically named “Agreement on Friendship and Good Neighbourliness,” which renounces the existence of Macedonians in Pirin Macedonia (annexed by Bulgaria in 1913), and declarations that Macedonians never existed and are “really Bulgarian.” They also rewrite Macedonian—and Jewish—history to erase any reference to Bulgarian persecution of Macedonians, including the removal of any reference to Bulgaria’s alliance with Nazi Germany during World War II, occupation of Macedonia, and deportation of more than 7,000 Macedonian Jews to the Treblinka death camp in Poland.
Adolf Hitler receives King Boris III of Bulgaria at his headquarters following the collapse of Yugoslavia, April 25, 1941. [Source: wikipedia.org]
How do the U.S., NATO and EU respond? By calling on (read: threatening) Macedonia to “compromise.” Leading up to the forced name change, a slew of international interventionists, including EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, multiple U.S. Secretaries of Defense and Secretaries of State—both Democratic and Republican—have all visited Macedonia to issue blatant threats. The common message, “Change your name or else.”
Subsequently, as per Western orders, every applicable Macedonian and international law, parliamentary rule, constitutional law, human rights convention, and even a referendum, were all violated or ignored to force through the name change to the highly offensive “North Macedonia,” a name specifically designed to eradicate Macedonians’ ethnic identity.
Forget “silence is complicity”; in the West’s case, they are blatantly and “proudly” complicit. And Western media follow their leaders/bosses.Politico EU described a Bulgarian politician’s speech denying Macedonians’ ethnic identity as“a very long and emotional”one.
Politicochose to side with notorious human rights abuser Bulgaria, convicted more than a dozen times by the European Court of Human Rights, in its position to deny Macedonians their basic rights to self-determination and self-identification. And without reservation or condemnation, Reuters published Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva’s statement outlining Bulgaria’s chilling policy regarding Macedonians:
“Our concerns come from the never-ending claims for a Macedonian minority in Bulgaria. The acknowledgment of Bulgarian roots would put an end to this.”
Ekaterina Zakharieva [Source: wikimedia.org]
Replace Macedonians (our oppressors are trying to) with any other ethnic group and there would be an immediate outcry in defence of human rights. Do Macedonians not count? Not in the Western world’s eyes. Macedonians are clearly expendable in the West’s supposed campaign to “defend human rights and self-identification.” These policies have prompted me to ask every leader, foreign minister, politician, diplomat, bureaucrat and journalist I’ve ever met—“You wouldn’t give away your ethnic identity, so why should Macedonians?”
The shocking irony is that, after Macedonia’s partition in 1913 among Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and, in 1919, Albania, and each country brutally denying the existence of the “M” word and trying to wipe out any trace of Macedonia and Macedonians, Greece suddenly, in 1988, began claiming that the name “Macedonia” belonged to them. Greek officials, including former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, even admitted in 1995 that the so-called “name dispute” had nothing to do with Macedonia’s name, but everything to do with hiding Greece’s policy of denying the existence—and cultural genocide—of the large Macedonian minority in Greece.
Constantine Mitsotakis [Source: wikipedia.org]
This led me to ask another question of the aforementioned group:“What would happen if the English claimed that the names of Indigenous groups belonged to them — does that mean colonization and brutalization of Indigenous lands and people didn’t happen?”This is exactly what Greece will have you believe about Macedonia and Macedonians. They’re selling the idea that, if you own the name, identity and history of the oppressed, no oppression could possibly have occurred.
Many more analogies spring to mind and I have asked them all of several political leaders, including Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. One of my “favourites” is an analogy to France, as French governments have traditionally been unabashedly anti-Macedonian and pro-Greek (and now pro-Bulgarian): I’ve asked what they would do if Germany demanded that France change its name to “West France,” declare that the name “France” now belongs to Germany, as does the French identity, language and culture and, let’s not forget to add the revision of French history to declare that Nazi Germany did not invade, occupy and brutalize France, and that it was an “administrator” and “liberator” of France. Welcome to Macedonia’s world.
Back to the ringleader—the United States. The U.S. State Department officials I have met with know all of this—and they do not care. As they have told me, they “execute the direction of the president.” Execute being the key word. Since the beginning of the United States’ foreign policy switch almost eight decades ago to being outwardly interventionist, Macedonians have experienced all of the weapons in the U.S. arsenal, both literally and figuratively.
Little did my family know that, soon after this photo was taken during World War II, the US and UK would start bombing Macedonian villages–in support of Greek fascism.
Despite being on the Allied side in both world wars, Macedonians were the target of U.S. and UK terror after World War II because these “beacons of democracy” chose to aid Greece, its ruling Nazi-supporting fascists, and its policy of complete eradication of Macedonians in its pursuit of creating a country that is “culturally pure” and rid of anyone “inferior.”
If a country aligns with U.S. and UK foreign policy, despite mimicking Nazi tactics and committing genocide, they will support it. And did they ever. The U.S. and UK dropped bombs all over the Aegean part of Macedonia (annexed by Greece earlier in the century)—deliberately targeting civilians—and murdering countless Macedonians, many members of my family included.
The U.S. has since expanded its terrorist repertoire to include modern methods of cultural genocide while still employing “classic” methods of invasion, occupation and murder (or getting a U.S. proxy to do the dirty work) in many countries. (Side note: You can see that the UK started obeying its American little brother long before the Iraq invasion and “WMD” debacle.)
Now to more of the United States’ modern methods: Before Jess Baily’s assault on Macedonia, the United States had gone through a myriad of ambassadors executing its united Democratic/Republican anti-Macedonian policy (see, bipartisanship does exist!).
This policy included: a) starting a civil war; b) supporting neo-Nazi Albanian separatist groups; c) granting them amnesty despite being convicted of terrorism and murder; and d) awarding them with high-level government posts (the more kills, the higher the post). This all lay the groundwork for: a) the forced Macedonia name change; b) forced Macedonia NATO membership; c) increased U.S. imperialism; and d) eventually (possibly not that far off), another partition of Macedonia’s territory.
Albanian separatists supported by the U.S. [Source: kosovo.net]
And since Baily’s departure from Macedonia, the U.S. has replaced him with other sadistic stooges, who are also not shy about their goals to eradicate Macedonians’ ethnic identity, including the enabling of daily anti-Macedonian hate speech and crackdown on Macedonians’ rights by Greek and Bulgarian government officials, and enabling physical attacks by Greek and Bulgarian secret police and neo-Nazis (yet again) against their large Macedonian minorities.
We have seen what happens to Macedonians in Macedonia when they oppose U.S. policy. But what happens to Macedonians abroad? We become the targets of an executive order by Joe Biden banning critics from entering, and owning property in, the United States.
Well, you can cross the U.S. off my list of potential vacation destinations as this executive order puts me on the U.S. blacklist—for having the “audacity” to stand up for the human rights that they claim to defend. Biden has now joined the United States’ anti-Macedonian “strategic partner” Greece, which blacklisted me two decades earlier. Originality is not his strong suit.
But being blacklisted is a blessing. It keeps me from seeing Joe Biden and subsequent U.S. presidents and their minions from preaching/lying to the world in person. As I have asked so many of them,“How do you sleep at night?”And since I am on an inquisitive theme, I will leave you with this and ask those who claim to defend democracy, human rights and the rule of law,“How long will you keep letting the United States, literally, get away with murder?”
Bill Nicholov, President
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International