Thursday, April 27, 2006

Macedonia during World War I

"..World War I

In August 1903, VMRO organized the Ilinden uprising, the first major action, crushed by the Ottomans after a little bit more than a week. An anarchist faction of the VMRO, the Gemidzhi, organized a series of sabotages against Western properties in Thessalonica, hoping for a Western intervention (Phillips 26), which seems to have been the goal of the uprising. However, the Western powers decided to “continue their policy of status quo” (Poulton 56). The major accomplishment of the Ilinden uprising was the creation of the Krushevo Republic, which lasted for about a week, before crushed by the Ottomans. Although a complete failure, the Ilinden uprising represents a turning point in Macedonian history, especially from the point of contemporary Slav Macedonians, because the Krushevo Republic was the first modern independent Macedonian state, and “an expression of the desire of [the Macedonians] for the creation of a national state ”.

The newly formed states in the Balkans were gaining in strength, both militarily and diplomatically. Since all of them were under the Ottomans for a long time, the shifted balance of power opened a strong possibility for those countries allying against the Ottoman Empire, but division of Macedonia was the greatest obstacle in achieving unity (Poulton 73). After the first Balkan War, the allied forces of Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece managed to drive Turkey out of Europe, but the alliance failed when it came to dividing the conquered territories of Macedonia, which was the cause for the second Balkan War.

The effects of the Balkan wars were the creation of an independent Albanian state and partition of Macedonia among Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. The partition of Macedonia also left the three Balkan powers dissatisfied with their territorial gains and losses and combined with other crises in the international arena led to the beginning of World War I. “A Carnegie Endowment international commission of inquiry arrived in Macedonia at the end of the Balkan war. It reported in detail the brutal treatment handed out by all combatants to their enemies and to the civilian population” (Phillips 30).

During World War I, Bulgaria allied with Central powers and occupied most of Macedonia, persecuting Greeks and Serbs (Poulton 76) as a revenge for Balkan wars. However, since Bulgaria was on the losing side in World War I, Macedonia was again divided in three parts after the war. As Phillips notes, “in the 1920s, the Macedonian national identity was still indistinct” (31). The Serbian government considered the Slavs of Vardar Macedonia to be Southern Serbs (Poulton 90), the Greek government considering their Slavs as ‘Slavophone Greeks’ (Poulton 85). Bulgaria was still claiming Slav Macedonians to be Bulgarians. VMRO had claims of an independent Macedonia (Poulton 83), which led them to ally themselves with fascist organizations – Italian and Hungarian fascists, as well as the Croatian Ustashas, with whom they have organized the assassination of the Yugoslav king Alexander in 1934 (Phillips 31), as a response to ‘Serbization’ of Vardar Macedonians and centralist policies of the Yugoslav government...."

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Ilinden Uprising as seen by the English daily The Times, Aug. 10, 1903


"Violations of Human Rights of Macedonian Citizens with a Bulgarian Ethnic Consciousness 1990-1997"

"...2. Violations of Human Rights of Macedonian Citizens with a Bulgarian Ethnic Consciousness 1990-1997

There were many manifestations of Bulgarian ethnical awareness in Macedonia in the recent years, but those sentiments were brutally persecuted.
On June 2nd, 1991, Mr.Ilia Ilievski, chairman of Human Rights Party in Macedonia was arrested by the Yugoslav authorities at the Bulgarian - Yugoslav border. His party was registered on December 14th, 1990 in accordance with decision No 23-4029/ 1-90.
Bulgarian literary language books and other Bulgarian materials were confiscated from him. In the beginning of September, 1991, he was deprived of his passport. In this way he was prevented from taking part in the International Conference on Human Rights in Moscow. According to a memorandum promulgated on September 12th, 1991
"The Party for Human Rights has gathered, relying only on its own sources, information for over 23000 people killed or missing and over 150 000 cruelly repressed, most of whom were people with Bulgarian sympathies".
At the time of the referendum for independence, the Bulgarian national television showed an agent of the secret service beating up a Macedonian citizen merely because he had declared in an interview that there was no difference between Bulgarians and Macedonians.
On November 29th, 1991, the secretary of the Municipal Committee of VMRO-DPMNE in the town of Veles, Georgi Kalauzarov, burned an Yugoslav flag hanging from the terrace of an office building of the Socialist Party of Macedonia. He declared that his act was "a protest against the fact that Macedonian soldiers were decaying for the interests of Great Serbia"[9]. Meanwhile, on December 19th, 1991, the Republic of Macedonia proclaimed its independence and less than a month later, on January 15th, 1992, Bulgaria became the first country in the world to recognise the new state. The government of Macedonia officially began to regard the Yugoslav army as an occupying force. Despite of all that, on June 12th, 1992, the so called Veles trial was set up against G. Kalauzarov and eleven of his followers for the burning of the Yugoslav flag.
In order to prepare the public opinion for the outcome of the trial which was decided in advance, the defendants were branded as Mihailovists and Bulgarophils[10]. In New Macedonia, a newspaper close to the regime , in an anonymous article it was announced that the defendants could not be Macedonians, since they possessed Bulgarian and 'vrhovist' literature, found with them during their detention[11]. G. Kalauzarov was deprived both of his identity card and of his passport. One night the windows of his house were broken with stones. He also received an anonymous threatening letter with a warning that he would be punished because of his struggle for the disintegration of the (already non-existent) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The families of the arrested were not informed for more than 10 days that the detained had been taken to a prison in Skopje. During the preliminary inquest the defendants suffered physical and mental torment. The indictment was handed to them only few days before the beginning of the trial. Although the trial was declared open to the public, the Macedonian police did not allow several buses carrying members of VMRO-DPMNE, who intended to offer moral support to the defendants to arrive. In front of the court house hundreds of citizens gathered, but none was admitted to the trial. During the first recess, the two journalists from Bulgaria attending the trial were evicted. At the trial the group was accused of being Mihailovists and Bulgarophils. During the questioning the prosecutor called the defendant Zhivko Petrushev from Tetovo, by the family name Petrushevski. The defendant objected: "My name is not Petrushevski, my name is Petrushev and I am a Macedonian Bulgarian[12] ". (IIM has a taped record with the statements of one of the defendants). One of the defendants, sent a letter to the Bulgarian president Zhelio Zhelev, signed with the alias K. Veleshki, (His name is known to IIM) where he stated: "In Macedonia the cause of the Bulgarian ethnic awareness is not lost. On the contrary - it is reviving again now, and we want this revival to be felt by all of the Bulgarian people". [13]
The campaign against the defendants continued during the following years. The only accusation was that the activity of the group: "could have caused great bloodshed at the hands of the then Yugoslav National Army, especially when the dangerous terrorist, in the face of SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) burned the Yugoslav flag on 29.11.1991". [14]
In fact this charge was made three years after the secession of the Republic of Macedonia from Yugoslavia. The methods used in the propaganda campaign were similar to the ones used by the frequent anti-Bulgarian propaganda campaigns during Tito's times: "Krum Chushkov (one of the defendants) as a student and as a disciple of the occupying royalist Bulgaria, entered the 'Brannik' organisation, in about 1945, with a group of intellectuals he was under trial for allegedly preparing to commit acts of terrorism. Later he became friends with Kalauzarov".[15] The devious deviousness is evident from the fact that in 1945 the 'Brannik' organisation was already disbanded, and so could not have been active in Macedonia.
On June 22 Th., 1992, another defendant, Gotse Chushkov, made a statement in front of Radio Free Europe's correspondence post in Belgrade about "the most cruel methods of physical tortures, beatings and maltreatment's", suffered by the detained during investigations.
On October 20th, 1995, the trial in Veles was re-opened. The defendants had to spend 43 months under investigation. The main prosecutor in the trial was an ex-officer with 30 years of experience in the Yugoslav secret services.
It is still a common practice of the Macedonian police to confiscate all kinds books and other materials written in Bulgarian literary language from Macedonian citizens.
According to protocol N 239-01/339 from December 28th, 1991, many documents and photocopies in Bulgarian literary language were taken from Slavtcho Cekovski.
What is ironic is that in the supposedly independent Republic of Macedonia, these confiscations are carried on the grounds of article 14 of the Yugoslav Law for Import and Dissemination of Foreign Mass Media, passed in 1974 (see appendix No 1). In 1992, Slavtcho Cekovski tried to establish an association of the Bulgarians in Republic of Macedonia. He even managed to publish one issue of a bulletin called "All- Macedonian Movement for the Rights and Freedom of the Bulgarian Christians and Muslims in the Republic of Macedonia". The authorities banned is activities.
According to protocol 71-01/91 from March 18th, 1992, many Bulgarian literary language books, booklets and badges with the image of Todor Alexandrov printed on them, were confiscated from the Macedonian citizen Angelko Mitrev (see appendix No 2). On November 16th, 1992, the police conducted a search of his home and according to the protocol, found booklets with the image of Ivan Mihailov, issues of the Bulgarian newspapers "Macedonia" and "Zora" (Dawn), issues of "Macedonian Tribune", published in USA, and the book "VMRO" (IMRO) - written by Ivan Mihailov, published in Brussels, Belgium; all were taken from him. Specifically in the police protocol was written: "REMINDER: all the magazines are printed in Bulgarian" (see appendix No 3). As if using Bulgarian is a horrendous crime! Of course by the term "Bulgarian" the Macedonian police understands the Bulgarian literary norm, which for the displeasure of the Skopje regime remains easily legible and understandable even for Macedonians who come in touch with it for a first time and who by no stretch of imagination could honestly regarded it as a completely foreign language.
That is how the victim describes the reasons for the search: "Few days earlier I met with some friends. We talked about Macedonia. I took out one of the badges with the image of Todor Alexandrov and told one boy: have it and wear on your chest the image of Todor Alexandrov because he is the eagle of Macedonia. These words were heard by a man who used to be an officer in the Serbian Army. We began to argue. Later he went to the police office and told them about me. So they cane home". [16]
Angelko Mitrev handed to the government of the Republic of Macedonia a written objection, protesting the confiscation of his materials. But according to decision 28/11- 409/ 1-92, his complaint was rejected because: "As he admitted, he was going to spread them among his friends" (see appendix No 4).
The Macedonian authorities have taken some measures in order to prevent their citizens from visiting Bulgaria. For that reason on April 26th, 1992, it was decided to charge with a fee of 30 DM every Macedonian citizen who was leaving Macedonia for Bulgaria. No such fee was asked from the Macedonian citizens who visited other neighbouring countries.
All attempts of ethnic Bulgarian organisations to obtain legal registration register continue to be brutally suppressed in the Republic of Macedonia.
On June 7th, 1993, documents for the registration of organisation called VMRO were launched in the branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ohrid. According to article 1, of the proposed party statute, the organisation was defined as a "democratic, independent, national and political organisation of the Macedonian Bulgarians". According to article 11 of its proposed statute: "VMRO will strive to save the traditions and to revive Bulgarianness (the Slavic traits of the Macedonian Bulgarians) in Macedonia".
A protocol describing the events of the constituent assembly that took place on June 5th, 1993 was produced. From the conference protocol it is evident Vladimir Paunkovski was elected as chairman and that the constituents rejected the ethnic implications of the term "Macedonian people". They declared: "We consider that all the nationalities that inhabit Macedonia have a consciousness that they belong together, so that all of them share the common name "Macedonian people".
However, the authorities in Skopje refused to register the newly created organisation. After a decision of the Supreme Court of Macedonia in the same sense, the organisation self-disbanded, but entrusted the members of the Central Committee (CC) to continue with the attempts to obtain a registration.
The leader of VMRO, V. Paunkovski, has left Yugoslavia for political reasons in June 1986 and settled in Switzerland. Optimistic about the democratic processes going on in the Republic of Macedonia, he returned in December 1991. In 1995, V. Paunkovski became a chairman of a committee, which on August 2, intended to conduct a commemorative service at the grave one of the voivodas (leaders) of the historical VMRO - Toma Davidov in the Village of Ozdoleni near Ohrid. For the occasion the committee printed posters and sent invitations to sympathisers in the Republic of Macedonia and abroad. Invitations were also sent to the ambassadors of the USA, Germany and Russia, to the Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov and to the Human Rights Office in Skopje. Notice of the commemoration, along with copies of the posters, were handed by the organisers to the office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ohrid on July 18, 1995. On July 25th, 1995, two policemen went to V. Paunkovski's apartment and personally let him know that the conducting of the commemoration was forbidden. All the posters were seized. At the same time they refused to present a written decision of that prohibition and a confirmation that the materials had been confiscated.
On July 27th, 1995, Vladimir Paunkovski was called by the telephone to come to the police office and was detained there from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. He was made to sign a declaration that he had been informed about the prohibition of the commemoration service, but he was not given a copy of it. He was told that every attempt to visit the grave of Toma Davidov will trigger a ruthless reaction of the police. Paunovski was beaten by the ethnic Serb Atsa Chancharevich, an officer in the MIA in Skopje. Because of all that, Paunkovski's Action Committee decided to commemorate the event in a motel called 'Kotsare' near Ohrid. On August 2nd, Mr. Paunovski was arrested in his apartment and detained by the police at 8 p.m. and kept in the police until 9 p.m. He was told that they had to hold an 'important conversation' with him but no conversation took place. At the same time his lawyer Savo Kotsarev from Skopje, inquired at the police office about Paunkovski but he was told that they didn't know anything about him.
On the same day the Macedonian police prevented the Bulgarian Member of Parliament Evgeniy Ekov (an co-chairman of VMRO-SMD) from visiting Ozdoleni by car, in spite of his diplomatic immunity. He was told that he might go there only alone and on foot. At the same time his car had to be returned to Ohrid, because as it was parked by the road it supposedly hindered the traffic.
On October 25th, 1995, Mr. V. Paunkovski was arrested at the Skopje Airport and his Macedonian passport was confiscated. He was detained for 5 days and cruelly maltreated. All these steps were taken to impede his visit to Austria, at the invitation of professor Otto Kronsteiner from Salzburg University. There he was to read a report about the Bulgarian character and on the dialectical basis of the literary norm used in Skopje called Macedonian language. While Mr. Paunkovski was detained, his apartment was robbed. There were no signs that the door had been forced (at that time Mr. Paunkovski's keys were held by the police). Signs written in a non-standard Macedonian dialect with a mixed Serbian Latin and Cyrillic script: "Bulgarians get out of Macedonia", and "All Bulgarians that live here will die" appeared on the wall. The losses from the theft and the stolen plane ticket amounted to more than 10 000 DM.
On that occasion, on November 8th, 1995, professor Otto Kronsteiner sent the following open letter to the president of the Macedonian Academy of Science - Professor Bozhidar Vidoeski, to the rector of Skopje University, and to the dean of the Philological Department of the same University: " We just learned that a Macedonian scholar, who did not refuse to participate (in the Slavistic dabates in Salzburg university), was detained by the authorities at the airport in Skopje, just before his departure for Salzburg... If you consider it imperative by such measures to save and inspire live into the Macedonian nation and assert the Macedonian as a national language , then your actions only confirm that in your Republic, there is a reign of terror over the convictions of the citizens and that a suppression over the open expressions of their opinions is exerted. This way, your Republic and your Macedonian language will only become a symbol of injustice. You counter the struggle for spiritual and intellectual freedom, waged by scholars and students from other countries with a meaningless old ideology, which you try to preserve by pseudo-scientific means".
In order to turn the public opinion against Mr. Paunkovski, the Macedonian authorities accused him of not paying alimony for his daughter Natasha. According to decision No 9/96 of the City Court in Ohrid, Paunkovski was imprisoned for 30 days. The execution of the sentence began on March 4th, 1996. After he was released from prison, a representative of the International Institute for Macedonia met V. Paunkovski on April 5th, 1996. During a walk along Ohrid's quay, around noon, the group met by chance with one of Paunkovski's interrogators, who told him: "For one thing or another you will be back in prison".
Because of those brutal repressions, Paunkovski presented his grievances to the Minister of Internal Affairs at that time, L. Frchkovski, and renounced his Macedonian citizenship. He declared: "I, who by ethnical origin am a Macedonian Bulgarian, a citizen of Republic of Macedonia, in a clear conscience voluntarily renounce my Macedonian citizenship. The reason for my denouncement is the violation of my human rights on the part of the country" (appendix No 5).
In an interview to "Fokus" newspaper Mr. Paunkovski decleared: "I accept the concept of a Macedonian nation but only in its implication of statehood. According to us, Macedonia is a territorial unit inhabited by ethnic Bulgarians, Serbs, Vlahs, Albanians, Greeks, Turks and Gypsies, but with no ethnic Macedonians. That is a category fabricated by the communists...I confirm that everything that the official history or literature promotes throughout the country is false and is a robbery of the cultural and historical inheritance of Bulgaria... I guarantee that in Ohrid alone there are from 10.000 to 15.000 people who privately admit that they are Bulgarians and feel like Bulgarians, but they are afraid of saying so in public".[17]
On December 21st, 1995, at 7.30 a.m., another member of VMRO-Ohrid - Riste Manev, was arrested. He was taken away by a police car, but the police denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the arrested man in front of his family. Furthermore, such repressive acts were taken against Georgi Nastevski, Stavre Temelkovski, Pipilevski and others, all members of VMRO-Ohrid.
On May 1st, 1996, V. Paunkovski addressed the Bulgarian president Z. Zhelev with a request for a Bulgarian citizenship, since his own Macedonian identity documents had been confiscated the previous year and he could not leave the Republic of Macedonia. In his request he emphasised that as a patriot, he would continue to live in Ohrid. Mr. Paunkovski also requested to restore his surname to Pankov - the surname used by his forfeitures before they were forced to alter it to 'Paunkovski' after 1944.
On November 8th, V. Paunkovski was detained at the Ohrid airport for a sixth time. The Macedonian police took away his new Bulgarian passport, on the grounds that they "suspected that it was forged."
During that period, the activity of other legally registered organisations was also hindered. The chairman of the Party for Human Rights, Ilia Ilievski, was not given a new passport so he could not visit the Conference for human rights that took place in Vienna, Austria. On that occasion, the party, in its own memorandum No 180 from June 17th, 1993, while defending the rights of the Bulgarian ethnic nationality, declared that notwithstanding its new name, in power was still the old communist party. Because of this action and the statements of its leader published in some Bulgarian newspapers, the activities of the Party for Human Rights in Macedonia ware forbidden at a session of the Regional Court in Shtip on December 9th, 1993. As reasons the court stressed that: "In fact, the chairman Ilia Ilievski, taking advantage of the name of the party, often acts against the interests of the Macedonian nation and country, renounces the existence of the Macedonian nation and statehood and insists on the "Bulgarian" character of the Macedonian Republic" (see appendix No 6).
It is significant that articles and statements of Mr. Ilievski published in Bulgarian newspapers were presented as evidence against his party. These materials used in court were not rewritten to conform to the Macedonian written norm. This way the Shtip court and after that the High Court of Macedonia admitted that the literary Bulgarian was totally understandable to them. [18]
After the attempted assassination of the Macedonian president K. Gligorov on October 3th, 1995, a wave of arrests swept over the Republic of Macedonia. Mainly persons showing interest in Bulgaria, were prosecuted. Dragi Karev, one of the defendants of the trial against the Veles Bulgarians (Veleshki Bugarashi) in 1992, was arrested by the police in Veles.
On January 18th, 1996, the Macedonian journalist Stefan Sharovski was badly beaten by an army officer in Skopje. He adds to the picture of the arbitrary misrule of the Skopje regime: "In that context I would like also to mention Dimitar Delevski. He was a journalist for the Bulgarian newspaper "Macedonia", an organ of VMRO-SMD and irrespective of his deposition and positions of the newspaper, the fact remains, that he was prevented from corresponding from Macedonia. In Ohrid Delevski was beaten in a similar way".[19]
The case of Dimitar Delevski and its repercussions is indicative of the nature of the Macedonist regime in Skopje. In 1992. Delevski addressed the Macedonian president with an open letter: "This attack launched by the MVR (Ministry of Internal Affairs), against my personality and my journalistic activities, will cease, I hope". [20]
On December 11th, 1992, the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation based in USA and Canada wrote a letter of support of Mr. Delevski's activities, to the president K. Gligorov: "It comes to our attention that the human rights of those who consider themselves Bulgarians are often violated. This is true, despite of the fact that Bulgaria is the only neighbouring country showing an amicable attitude and which immediately recognised Macedonia... We are disturbed about Dimitar Delevski, a Macedonian correspondent for a newspaper published in Sofia, whom the police has ordered not to write for the Bulgarian newspaper any more". [21]
In spite of that interference, the circumstances of Delevski did not improve. He asked for Bulgarian citizenship and such was granted to him by a decree of the Bulgarian president Dr Z. Zhelev in 1995.
According to protocol n. 71-01/127 from March 27th, 1993, two calendars with inscriptions "100 years VMRO, with images of turn of the century revolutionaries and cover of the statute of the historical Bulgarian Macedono-Odrin Revolutionary Committee of VMRO" printed on it, were confiscated from Delevski ( see appendix No 7).
In Bulgaria, Delevski studied journalism and continued to publish articles against the excesses of Macedonism. On November 13th, 1996 in the well in his own property, the corpse of Gerasim Delevski, the father of D. Delevski, was found. A number of facts indicate that he was first killed and then thrown there. The medical authorities refused to make an autopsy or offer a medical conclusion. Close friends of the Delevski family insist that the murder of Delevski was intended to frighten his son.
The repressions over Mr. Vancho Veskov, leader of the United Macedonians Party were closely connected with his friendship with Delevski In the summer of 1992 Veskov gave an interview to Delevski, which due to the difficulties in passing the information to Bulgaria, was published at last on November 20th. Says Veskov: "The biggest mistake at the moment is that the help of the Macedonians from all over the world and especially of those from Bulgaria, whose consciousness is Bulgarian has been eliminated, I think that in the Republic of Macedonia a discrimination is practised against those people due to their Bulgarian identity. Even the people who feel themselves Bulgarian in Vardar Macedonia are persecuted. The Republic of Macedonia has to respect the rights of those Bulgarians living on its territory".[22]
Right after that interview the police began to terrorise Vancho Veskov. On September 15th, 1992, his two-year-old son was killed with a hunting gun in front of his house. The father declared that he was anticipating such an incident to happen to him. The police did not find the killer and the attacks on Veskov continued. He was forced to leave Macedonia and now he lives in Australia.
Beside the cases with Delevski and Veskov, some other death cases happened in Macedonia, for which it is supposed that pro-Serbian circles of the police, have something to do with. These are the murders of Minister of Internal Affairs Jordan Mijalkov, the officer of MVR Mile Milevski, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE in Kumanovo Mile Ilievski and the journalist from the editorial office of "Glas", organ of VMRO-DPMNE, Ljupcho Atanasovski[23].
On March 8th, 1995 the chairman of VMRO-Tatkovinska Party (VMRO-Motherland Party) - Dr Dimitar Tsarnomarov was arrested for more than three days and nights in Bitola. After a search, all the documents of his party, literature in Bulgarian literary language have been confiscated. The police refused to give any information to his wife Marina, as to the reasons for his detention and about his physical condition. During the detention he was interrogated again and again about his contacts with some Bulgarian social circles. He was beaten with a butt-stock of an automatic gun over his head and as a result of that his eyesight was non durably injured. In the press close to the regime Dr. Tsrnomarov was continually accused of being a "Bulgarophil" . As a result of all the harassment, on January 3th, 1996, Dr. Tsrnomarov suffered a heart attack.
On October 18th, 1995, Dr Tsrnomarov and the active members of VMRO-Motherland Party - Hristo Petsev and Grigor Tsurev were detained in the prison of Strumitsa.
On March 6th, 1996, the 25 years old Trajan Godev - a member of -the VMRO-Motherland Party, was also detained for examination. On the same day, he was taken home, under police escort, where literature in Bulgarian literary language was confiscated. Godev complained to his close friends that he had suffered cruel mental torment while in custody.
On the following day, the 30 years old Tihomir Jajnaliev and the 36 years old Dimitar Nicolov were arrested in Strumitsa. The latter was also sacked from his work, all because of his Bulgarian consciousness. The independent Macedonian press described the occasion "In a classic Stalinist style they were put to mental maltreatment for many hours (from 6 o'clock am, to 2 o'clock p.m.) by the police, while being injured and threatened. However, apart from treating them as enemies of the state, they all were threatened with regard to their rights of free travel, religion and political determination"[24]
On November 6th, 1996, the Macedonian citizens Liljana Stoimenova and Traian Godev were called to the police office for an "informative conversation" and were detained for more than 10 hours. They were interrogated about their contacts with Bulgarian citizens and organisations, and at the same time they were maltreated.
A number of Macedonian intellectuals were put to particularly humiliating harassment. On March 1st, 1996 Professor Dimitar Galev was arrested. He is an author of a number of books containing unfalsified historical documents about Macedonia. Two of them : "Beliot teror vo Jugoistochna Makedonija" (The white Terror in south-east Macedonia)" (Shtip 1991) and "Todor Aleksandrov - od avtonomija do samostojna drzhava" (Todor Alexandrov - from an autonomy to an Independent State)" (Skopje 1996) were really outstanding. He is also a chairman of the Agrarian Party and of the unregistered for almost two years Movement for Friendship and Co-operation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Bulgaria. On that occasion he addressed the Macedonian public, whit an open letter containing the following: "I was called to the police for an official conversation, which according to me, was an examination of the loyalty for the Macedonian cause, and by the way I was asked about the book about Todor Alexandrov, about the memorandums addressed to the European Union and to the Organisation of the United Nations in 1992 and 1993, about my stay in America for the congress of MPO (Macedonian Patriotic Organisation) in 1993, about my conversation with the secretary of the Russian embassy in Sofia, about my participation in the session of a forum in R.of Bulgaria in 1993, where the topic "Macedonia today and tomorrow" was discussed."[25]
In a panoramic interview, professor Galev, in an very discreet way, expressed his views on the language spoken in the Republic of Macedonia: "It is true that at the congress (of the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation in USA and Canada) they were speaking in English and in Bulgarian. But we, who were from Macedonia excused ourselves and said: let us speak the language that our mothers speak, because we understand Bulgarian but we can not speak literary Bulgarian".[26] As a result of his activities, professor Galev was fired.
Another intellectual, who was put to an enormous mental harassment, was the Macedonian writer Mladen Srbinovski. The reason for the campaign against him were his brave articles in which he openly maintained the idea of the Bulgarian ethnical nature of the Macedonian people. The following are some examples of the qualifications of him written in a single article in a supposedly respectful newspaper:
"On Bulgarian payroll; an alienated Macedonian; Srbinovski (read Bugarinovski); incurable patological case and an oathbraker; proved to be paid by the Bulgarians and callous fighter the for spread of Bulgarian vrhovist ideas; vrhovist of a high rank in his native country; callous Bulgaromaniac; Srbinovski the Macedonophob; one of the most reliable Bulgarians; mad Bulgarian dog;...his occupator-like macedonophobia and distorted spirituality..."[27] This quotations are indicative of the atmosphere in which the Macedonian intellectuals have to work.
A very interesting case was the arrest on October 6th, 1995 of the Skopje resident Marija Stoimenova and her husband Georgi Stoimenov. She had the courage to describe the methods of maltreatment used by the Macedonian police (appendix No 8). The reason for her arrest was that she was a relative of Alekso Stoimenov from Strumitsa who at present is a political emigrant in Belgium and a chairman of MPO "Todor Alexandrov" there. At the time of her arrest she needed to go to the toilet. M. Stoimenova describes the behaviour of the police officers in the following way: "We stopped and I went to the WC. At the same time a woman went in together with me and stood there next to me while I was performing my most intimate and natural functions. At that very moment I began to ask myself if I was a human being and if I had any human rights.
The interrogation went on: They began making threats. They wanted me to tell them about the first arrival of Alekso Stoimenov; to remember when did he cone? Who did he come with? Why? Through which border did he come? With whom did he meet? What did he talk about? How long did he stay in Macedonia? Whom had he phoned? What were his ideas? What was the aim of his presence in Macedonia? Why did he come here? Whereabout did he go in Macedonia? And if I didn't tell all that, and all my life during the last 3- 4 years for each day and if I didn't confess that I have carried out the attempted assassination against Kiro Gligorov, I was going to be finished. They were going to change my outlook and I would stay in prison for about 20 years.
Than a conversation began like this: Come on, tell us when did Alekso Stoimenov come to Skopje for the first time and whom did he meet with? And what did he talk about? What places do I visit? Where do I work? How many times I have been to Bulgaria? What have I brought from Bulgaria and what has Alekso asked me to bring to Skopje"
Than one of the inspectors told me: "if you don't want to confess that you have carried out the attempted assassination against Kiro Gligorov, in a gentle way, we can try a ruder one. We don't have the nerves to wait for you". He went out and five minutes later he came back with a stick. Firstly he began to boast and to hit the wall and the desk with the sick, crying to me "Do you see what will happen to you?" Then he began to push me to the wall and to beat me against it. He was saying: "you are very strong, stronger than the wall. Let me see if you are stronger than the stick ..." All that happened to me, the way I was maltreated and humiliated, happened also to my husband with the only difference that he was also mercilessly beaten. On the sixth day I collapsed, being entirely exhausted of hunger and sleeplessness".
After she was released from the police office, her problems did not finish: "We called for an ambulance by the phone and when we said who is phoning they answered: we cannot come; go to the nearest hospital, we can not send you an ambulance. We went throughout Skopje to get a doctor's certificate for our injuries but none of the doctors wanted to give us a certificate saying: We do not dare. They will imprison us too".
In the summer of 1996, dozens of Macedonian citizens, who were students in Bulgaria, were called to the police office for an informal conversation. They had been asked if they knew particular persons from VMRO-SMD. If they denied such acquaintances, the inspectors would show them photos of meetings of VMRO-SMD. The students were put under the pressure to drop their studies in Bulgaria.
In the physical repressions against people with preserved Bulgarian ethnical consciousness, the following officers from the State Security Service have taken part: Itse Damtchevski and Igor Galovski from Bitola; Alexander Tsancharevich from Skopje; Stefan Buzovski from Ohrid. No one has ever held them accountable for their actions..."


Prof.Stammler-"What is the National character of the Macedonian slavs?"


(Prof. Heinrich A.Stammler , IMRO - Union of The Macedonian Brotherhoods in Bulgaria, Sofia, 1991)

This is the first issue in the series of "Macedonia: and the Macedonian Question".
Throughout the series, we will be inviting emminent academics and political figures from around the world to view, examine and comment on this most difficult of socio-political problems.
The series will deal at length with all aspects of the question, from the ancient movements and settlements of peoples to the most up-to-date polls and censuses; from the manipulation of people by the use of force and terror to the more insidious techniques of modern propaganda; and from the development of early slavic languages to the present, unprecedented accusations of the creation of a new, "literary standard language", all of which have been used to convince a people of who they are and what they are not!
Ultimately, this publication hopes to help the efforts being made to set straight the problems within the region known as Macedonia and to disentangle the knot of misinformation, hidden facts and lies, all of which has resulted in particular interpretations (or misinterpretations) of history. This is the legacy of many periods of instability, dating back to the 1877 - 78 Russo-Turkish War and the Bulgarian liberation, the Berlin Treaty of 1879 and decades of Serbianization and of the far more protracted and subtle Hellenization of the Southsrn region of Macedonia. Of course, the last 45 years of totalitarian rule has done more to bury the truth than any other single force, but this series will endeavour to confront the expantionist nationalism that presently seeks to continue its history of falsification and oppression of the Bulgarian character of Macedonia.
By presenting the views of outside observers and "innocent bystanders", we feel sure that this series will help to give the clearest and most objective view of the problems and their best solutions and will serve as an essential companion to the other publications, concerning this problem, which have more "involved" contributors.
We are certain that, in the end, by careful work and study, the truth will out and real and, above all, just solutions will be found and adopted.

Andy Barrett

Mr. President, Dear friends. Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all please allow me to express my sinccrcsl gratitude to the President of this Organization and to the Committee for having afforded me the precious opportunity of addressing this Conference. Time is short and I do not want to claim your attention longer than is absolutely necessary. I honestly feel that perhaps my justification for speaking to you about the problems of Macedonia is somewhat flimsy. What are my credentials? It is true, I am a professor of Slavic and East European Studies, but as far as my teaching and writing is concerned, Russia and, more recently, Poland have come more closely under my observation. I hope , nevertheless, that you might forgive me my boldness to appear here before you when I refer to a point of saving grace in my favour: I love the Southeast of Europe, and five wonderful years of my life were spent in Bulgaria in the capacities of an academic teacher and a public servant. There I had the opportunity of meeting people from all walks of life, of making myself familiar with the history, the culture and living conditions of the country and last but not least, of striking up close and firm friendships, some of which have survived the trials and tribulations of the catastrophic events which living through has been our common lot. I also availed myself of the possibility of making a trip to Macedonia and, although the journey was short, places like Kratovo, Skopic, Veles, Shtip and Goma Dzumaya are for me not merely names, geographic nomenclature or statistical data, but I can say: I was there; I saw, I listened and heard; I have not forgotten!
I will not go into a presentation of the manifold facts of history, ethnography, linguistics, folklore and statistics which bear testimony - and I think this testimony is incontrovertible - of the Bulgarian character of the Slavic-speaking population settled in Macedonia. Whole libraries, have been written to establish the Bulgarianism of the Macedonian Slavs and I believe that many of you are much more intimately familiar with this vast literature than I could ever be. And, Indeed, it would be absurd if I, a mere outside observer, and only an occasional one at that, would presume to teach you things which you not only know, but live.
Let me, however, point out one circumstance which in my eyes, has profoundly changed the whole situation. Up to the Second World War the Bulgarian Macedonians, after the retreat of Turkey from Europe, had to struggle incessantly for the preservation of their heritage against the encroachment and machinations of the Pan-Serbian circles, carried under the slogan that Macedonia is nothing but Southern Serbia; and on the other hand they had to fight the absurd notion propounded by Athens, that the Bulgarian-speaking Macedonians are but "Slavophone Greeks". That would be the same as if the English would assert that the French-Canadians are but "Francophone" English people! Recent events have taught us what reactions to expect from the French-Canadians if such insinuations were to be made.
I believe, however, that it was easier to counter the Pan-Serbian claims, even though they were dressed in the political scholarship of men like A.Belie and Jovan Cvijic, because here was only the matter of a spirited and well-reasoned defense against the illegitimate ambitions of expansionists, which was, at bottom, still old fashioned nationalism. And this is still the situation in which the Macedo-Bulgarians find themselves under Greek rule.
I wish,however, to call your attention to a much more sinister device concocted in Belgrade under the sign of the Red Star, the Hammer and the Sickle. That the invention of a separate Macedonian nation, a Macedonian literary language and even a Macedonian history, is divorced from all the evidences of historical research and scholarship. By sophistry and the distortion of the historical facts it is said, for example, that St.Clement of Ochrid was a member of some separate Macedonian people which has never exited, and that the language used by the apostles and teachers of the Slavs for the christianization and the enlightenment of the Slavonic world was a separate Macedonian idiom, which has nothing or only very little to do with the Bulgarian language as such. In order to find some historical foundation for these unproven and undemonslrable allegations, historians of this school have even restyled the West-Bulgarian Kingdom of Tsar Samuel as a state run for the benefit of the mythical separate Macedonian people. Let me quote only one authority, the eminent Russian byzaniologist, A. A. Vassilijev, whose monumcnted history of the Byzantine Empire is generally considered a standard work in this field. What has he to say about the national character of Samuels Kingdom?"Afler the death of John Tzimisoes the Bulgarians took advantage of the internal complications in the Empire and rebelled against Byzantine domination. The outstanding leader of this period was Samuel, the energetic ruler of Western independent Bulgaria, and probably the founder of a new dynasty, one of the most prominent rulers of the First Bulgarian Empire." In the entire passage dealing with this heroic, as well as tragic episode in Bulgarian history, Vassiljev consistently uses the term "Bulgaria". In a footnote, it is true, he mentions the hypothesis put forward by the Serbian historian D.Anastasijevich that Samuel's Kingdom was not lawfully Bulgarian, but a "Sloveno-macedonian Empire". But quite obviously he does not make this hypothesis his own. I think that in the market of international historical scholarship the authority of Professor Vassiljev rates considerably higher than that of Mr.Anaslasijevich. Another noteworthy fact that is such attempts to deprive the Bulgarians of their history and heritage by declaring that they were not Bulgarians at all, had already been made in the years soon after the First World War. This shows that the recent creation of a separate non-Bulgarian Macedonian nation, complete with history, literary language, folklore, etc., by fiat from above, does have its precedent.
It goes without saying that the endeavors to divest the Macedo-Bulgarians of their national identity were accompanied in recent times by violent measures designed to lend force to the arguments set forth by Pan-Serbian propaganda, no matter whether this propaganda appeared disguised as scholarship or downright indoctrination. Let me quote from a symposium entitled," The case for an Autonomous Macedonia" compiled and edited in 1945 by Mr.Christ Atanasoff. One of the crown witnesses summoned to testify was the well-known British Balkan expert. Miss Edith Durham. In 1931, she wrote the following in the paper La Macedonian, published in Geneva: "During the Balkan War there was a Serbian schoolmaster - an Austrian subject - at Cetinje, who taught German in the boy's school. He rejoiced greatly over the conquest the Serbian army was making in Macedonia. It would add much valuable land to Serbia. An Englishman said to him: "Oh, but Serbia cannot annex these places, they are all Bulgar". The inhabitants put the article after the noun. This is well known as a Bulgar peculiarity. The Serb replied: "That does not matter. When our army has been there for two years, you will find no articles after nouns there, I can assure you". But, in spite of torture, murder, imprisonment, the Bulgai article still lives on at the end of the noun."
Since it was not possible to do away with that stubborn post posited article by administrative matters, comprising the whole gamut from violent suppression to persistent persuasion and bribery, a new tack had to be tried. The article was declared not to be a peculiarity of the Bulgarian language, but also a characteristic of a hitherto non-existent separate Macedonian language.
In parenthesis let me say this: Since the disappearance of the classical, semi-Hellenic Macedonian Kingdom of Philip, Alexander and Perseus in Roman limes, the terms "Macedonian" and the "Macedonia" have been used as geographic terms for that area in Southeastern Europe, which is still known under this name. Since the middle ages it has been inhabited predominantly by Slavo-Bulgarians and by minorities of Albanians, Valachians, Turks, Greeks, Gypsies, Jews and, as the statistics of the 19th and 20th Centuries show, surprisingly few Serbians. For more than a thousand years the Slavs living in this area have been considered Bulgarians, or to be more precise. Western Bulgarians whose idiom is distinguished by certain dialectical peculiarities, without thereby losing its general Bulgarian character. This clearly recognized fact, incidentally, caused the great 19th century philologists, who laid the groundwork for a systematic study of this language to call it, in the early stages of its development, Old Bulgarian. The language employed by Sts.Cyril and Metodi, St.Klement and St.Naum and a host of other medieval writers and teachers is an old Bulgarian idiom. Please allow me to make a personal remark in this context. When I, in the spring "of 1931, began to study Slavic philology at the University of Munich, we used the famous handbooks and grammar of this language written by the celebrated German Slavist, August Leskich. These books described and analyzed the phonology, morphology, vocabulary syntax of a language which unequivocally was designated as Old Bulgarian :Handbuch or Grammatik der Altbulgarichen Sprache. It is also true that the term "Old Church Slavonic", most frequently used nowadays,was sometimes applied to this language, but one should keep in mind that this term is basically meaningless, at least up to the times of Peter the Great. In the course of his secularizing transformations and reforms, Peter favored the introduction of the Russian vernacular into common usage, relegating the then library language of the Muscovite Tsardom, still based as it were on Old Bulgarian, to purely liturgical and ecclesiastical purposes. This practice was later followed by other awakening Slavic nations, especially those of the Orthodox faith.profoundly. Nevertheless may it be said here, in parenthesis only, that the Old Bulgarian imprint on the native language of the Russians was so strong that even nowadays authoritative scholars in the field of Slavic linguistics and philology, such as Boris Unbegaun, speak with good reason about the partially Old Bulgarian character of the Russian standard literary language.
Thus, the fiction of Macedonia as "Southern Serbia" could not be maintained in the long run because it really held no water. Even responsible Serbian leaders could not close their eyes to this fact. Even the Yugoslav Ambassador in Sofia, Mr.Milanovich, in a moment of deep crisis for the Yugoslav State, that is in the summer of 1940, saw fit to forward to his master in Belgrade the Prime Minister Slojadinovich, a statement from Macedonia received in Bulgaria on the situation in this region. Here we read: "Everybody has to know that today Macedonia is not lost for Bulgaria, but on the contrary, there exists a healthy Bulgarian spirit more than ever. Some call themselves Macedonians, but this is due to the terrible reaction which the name Bulgarian provokes in the Serbians. It is well known that all injustices, robbery and violence create reaction and disgust. This is exactly what the Serbians have achieved in Macedonia. When they came to Macedonia they knew that Bulgarians lived in this country. That is why they thought, by crude measures and lawlessness, to frighten the people and to win them over for the Serbian cause. But all was in vain. And now they are surprised at the anti-Serbian feelings in the hearts of the majority of people. The common wish of the people is : Let Gypsy come, only let this one, the Serbian, go away. Anathema to any Bulgarian who will forget his own brothers.".
The war and its aftermath did away with the Pan-Serbian military-bourgeois monarchy. Overboard went what Marxists call Bourgeois nationalism and chauvinism. But let no man be deceived that the substitution of the old order by the dictatorship of a Communist party and its leader spelt the disappearance of an expansionist Greater Serbian nationalism. Had the means employed between 1912 and 1940 been crude and brutal, and therefore in the end unsuccessful, new devices had to be invented, this time more clever, more insidious, in order to attain the same goal. This time under the banner of a Yugoslav Communist Revolution! If we have failed so far wean away the Macedonians from their Bulgarianism, because we tried so hard to make them into Serbians, well, then let us now try to insinuate that they arc neither Serbians nor Bulgarians, but a separate national entity, for instance, Macedonians with their own history, language and culture; but let us also make it perfectly clear to them that only we here in Belgrade are willing and able to guarantee this artificial nationality concocted in the test tubes of Serbian Communists and their non-Communist predecessors. The whole Macedonian nation and the so called language -this I wish to affirm here before you- is not a philologicum, but a polilicum designed according to the well tried maxim of old: divide et impcra - divide and rule. History teaches that a ruler, a parly or a leading group which enjoys unlimited power and has the will to use this power ruthlessly for the attainment of its goal, has always found partisans, advocates and adherents prepared to do the bidding of those at the helm of the state, sometimes against their own belter knowledge. Wasn't it one of the great cynics on the throne. Henry the VIII of England, who said when planning something particularly outrageous and arbitrary "let me first carry out this measure, afterwards I shall always find professors at Oxford to justify it". So it is no wonder that in Skopie and elsewhere the Belgrade government should have found learned collaborators who fell for their line. I think that under the circumstances prevailing one should not judge them and their zealous efforts too harshly. But it is deplorable that scholars abroad with solid academic reputations and achievements, who are not exposed to the pressures of the intellectual under totalitarian regimes, should also swallow this latest Belgrade bait hook, line and sinker. Can they really accept the thesis that, contrary to their own testimony and conviction, people like the Miladinoff brothers, Gregory Perlicerr, Alexander Todoroff, Damjan Gruev, Gotse Delceff, Peju Javoroff, Anion Strashimirof, Dimitr Taleff are Macedonians in the sense of the word bestowed upon it with the blessings of the Belgrade party bosses? And what about men who figure so prominently in the Pantheon of Bulgarian letters like Ivan Vazoff and Teodor Trajanoff who lived and worked in Bulgaria proper, but whose family background is Macedonian, Bulgaro-Macedonian that is. What about such a significant figure of the Bulgarian Renaissance like Raiko Zhinzifoff from Veles, who declared in 1963 in his Novobulgarska sbirka - or did he, perhaps, call it Novo-Makedonska sbirka? "As Bulgarian language we regard that language which is spoken in all Macedonia, Thrace and Bulgaria proper. The differences between the dialects are negligible. Every Bulgarian who does not suffer from nearsighteness cannot designate a certain expression as "Macedonian" or "Thracian"., for there are no "Macedonians" or "Thracians" as individual nations, but only Slavo-Bulgarians - in short, one Bulgarian people and one Bulgarian language".
One could object here that this is a voice from the long forgotten depth of the 19th century. One could also maintain that Zhinzifoff, with all his linguistic and folklore erudition, was not up to par with regard to the achievements of philological science, that is that we in the 20th century know better now. Let us then examine a few testimonies belonging to our century.
Let us first listen to the voice of practical common sense, the voice of a man who would never lay claim to the reputation of a learned academic linguist. The opinions of this man, however, deserve to be listened to attentively and carefully because they are based on the profound national experience of a statesman and a leader of his people, Ivan Mihailoff.In his book, Makedonia: A Switzerland of the Balkans, edited and translated by Christ Anastasoff, he makes the following observations pertinent to the linguistic problem: "Like the scholars of different countries who were familiar with Macedonia, so also did the Turkish authorities and all the rest of the objective observers consider the Macedonian Slavs as Bulgarians. This was not only upon the basis of the logically had introduced in their schools, but on the basis of all other ethnic features by which a given nationality is judged. The local dialects of the Macedonian Slavs arc basically considered by all as Bulgarian language. Every nationality employs its own common literary language, while in every nationality meets different dialects. As far as the Bulgarian dialects in Macedonia arc concirned they do not vary very much from the rest of the Bulgarian dialects as, for instance, do dialects among the Germans, Italians and other nationalities. The dialects of the Germans in Switzerland is, perhaps, the most difficult for all the rest of the Germans.
But that did not prevent the Swiss of German origin to consider as their own the common German literary language. Precisely so, before the appearance of the regimes of national oppression in Macedonia after 1912, the native Bulgarians officially used that literary language which is common for all the Bulgarians of the world and to the formation of which the cultural workers of Macedonia have contributed a great deal." This point of view deserves to be firmly kept in mind, especially in view of the artificial construction of a new "Macedonian" nation and language as commanded from above. For this purpose the chief perpetrators of this dubious enterprise now take great pains to smuggle into this newfangled synthetic idiom all sorts of Serbanianist and other foreign ingredients so as to alienate the Macedo-Bulgarians from their historical, cultural and linguistic matrix.
But what has the linguistic science of the 20-th century to say about these attempts to deny the Bulgarian character of the Slavic idiom spoken in Macedonia? Here I cannot go into the details of the lingiustic argument adduced by international scholars, to refute the claims. To note that Professor A.M.Selishchev, the eminent Russian philologist, in his article entitled "Macedonian Dialectology and Serbian Linguistics" already in 1935 destroyed the claims of Serbian scholars like Velich, Djordjevich, Pavlovich and others that the idiom spoken in Macedonia is closer to Serbian than to Bulgaria should be enough. This task he performed in a thorough scholary way, basing himself upon the findings and achievements of modern linguistic research in the field of Slavic philology. Whoever is interested in the course of his irrefutable reasonic can study this article in a volume recently published by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences under the title L'histoire Bulgare dans les Ouvrages des Savants Europeens. Professor Selishchev cannot be suspected of any sort of polilicing. He has worked in Russia under the old as well as the new regime; following nothing, to the best of his abilities, but the dictates of his scientific conscience. It is remarkable to see how to this pure scholar and cabinet savant, far as he was from the passionate turmoil of the political motives behind the scientific smokescreen spread by the named Serbian scholars. He said: "The aim of all these books is the same: namely, to furnish an historical, ethnographic and linguistic justification for Serbian domination in Macedonia - to furnish this justification by means of true scholarship. The arrogance in the style, the irony with which the Bulgarian people are treated is another common feature of the books of Belgrade professors. In the case of Professor Georgevich this irony borders upon downright rudeness. On the other hand, everything Serbian is idealized. The attempts of the authors of such books to clothe their products in a science-like garb must be unmasked. The true character of their content, harmful to all science, must be demonstrated".
The results of the linguistic and ethnographic research in the field of Macedo-Bulgarian studies undertaken by Professor Selishchev not so long ago match the findings not only of the Bulgaro-Macedonian philologist Krusle Misirkoff, which he published in 1910-1911, but also of a number of 19th century Serbian scholars like Stefan Verkovich, Tuminski, A.Hadzic, Vasa Peladic and others. That authors like Selishchev, Misirkoff and Verkovic working at different times and under completely different circumstances should have arrived at the same results, with regard to the Bulgarian character of the dialects spoken in Macedonia and their geographic extensions points to two noteworthy qualities of their research Its exactitude and its factual and logical consistency, in view of which all the counter-arguments of Serbian and Pseudo-Macedonian opponents take on the suspect colouring of sophisty and political expediency. More proof was recently given for the Bulgarianism of the Macedonian dialects by the Bulgarian philologist Blagoi Shklifoff in a paper about the idiom spoken in the area of Kostur. From the evidence he is able to muster, it becomes perfectly clear that the Kostur dialect cannot be used to buttress the hypothetical existence of a separate and individual Slavic language called Macedonian, but that here, as elsewhere, we deal with but another variant of the Bulgarian language as spoken by the Western half of the nation.If indeed, this is the conclusion at which Mr.Shklifoff arrives, the dialects in Macedonia are by their character intrinsically different from those spoken in Moesia and Thrace, then these differences would have to show more than anywhere else in the dialect of Kostur, the area of which borders on two non-Slavic linguistic regions, located geographically distant from the other Bulgarian dialects. A strictly scholary approach to this idiom, however, cannot but establish its basically Bulgarian character. The paper by Mr.Blagoi Shklifoff was published in 1968. Sclishches's analysis and demolition of the claims raised in 1935. But the same position and results are visible in the book about Macedonia by the Czech Balkaniologic Vladimir Sis which was printed in Prague in 1914 and came out in Zurich, Switzerland in 1981 in a German translation. After Sis enumerates all the factors which effect the closest mutual correspondence between Old Bulgarian and the Modem Bulgarian language as spoken also in Macedonia, he points to certain philological peculiarities by means of which the Bulgarian language is distinguished from all other Slavic language, Serbian included. After a painstaking comparison between the Bulgarian standard literary language and various dialects spoken in Macedonia, he arrives at the following conclusion which I shall quote here verbatim "Whoever is familiar with the basic structural principles of the two neighboring languages must, even though he may not be a philologist, arrive, on the basis of the examples cited here, at the same conclusion to which also the French slavicist, Louis Leger, came, and I repeat his words: The Macedonian Slavs are Bulgarians and speak a Bulgarian dialect. Indeed, even the Serbian Vuk Karadzic, who was the first to publish some Macedonian folksongs, selected them in order to determine with their help the basic characteristics of the Bulgarian language. That there occur Serbanianisms in some North Macedonian dialects does not prove anything. It is inevitable that in border areas between two linguistically kindred groups a certain inlcrminigling of vocabulary lakes place. If the fin Serbianisms in the regions of Tetovo or Kumanovo, we also find Bulgarianisms in the Prizren dialect behind the Shar Planina, a purely Serbian area. The Russian scholar Hilferding says in his book An Excursion Into Hersegovina And Old Serbia:" In the language of the Serbians around Prizren it is clearly noticeable how much it tends to resemble the Bulgarian dialects. It would be interesting to investigate how this blend of the Serbian language with the Macedo-Bulgarian has come about. "That authorities marshalled here in such an imposing array would be sufficient to support and prove the point I wish make here, namely, that the language spoken by the Slavs between Skopie and Salonica, Kostur and Kustandil is neither Serbian nor "Macedonian", but Bulgarian. Please allow me to invite one more witness to make his deposition. The man and scholar I am refering to is a former countryman. Professor Guslav Wcigand, the eminent German Balkanologist, cthnographer, linguist and lexicographer. Wcigang ordinarily was no Slavist. When he began his career, his research interests were centered in Rumania and Albania. He is one of the very few Western Scholars to give the world a grammar and reader of the Albanian languagc. But in the course of his studies he became convinced that he would have to embrace with his research also the Slavic groups settling in this, as Christ Atanasoff has called it, tragic peninsula. This extension of his studies had the effect that Wcigang became also a linguistic expert in the Modern Bulgarian language, a field in which again he proved himself as grammarian and lexicographer. In 1924, he published in Leipzig his fundamental work Ethnographic von Maccdonicn, a chapter of which is devoted under the headline "The Bulgarian Language As Spoken In Macedonia" (Das Makedonische Bulgarisch) to linguistic issues. The result of Weigand's meticulous observations do not essentially diverge from the findings of the other students of these affairs, quoted in this context. But in one point, at least as far as I can sec on the basis of the limited number of documents available to me, Weigang had an intuition which had not occured, at least in so many words, to other scholars. He was , of course, fully aware of what was going on at that time in Macedonia, a period which Ivan Michailov, as we have seen, so aptly called "The Regimes Of National Oppression". He must have speculated which devices, apart from brute force, the oppressors might yet use to achieve their goal - the denationalization of the Macedo-Bulgarians. As a well-trained experienced linguist and ethnographcr it was, in all probability, clear to him that all the attempts at Serbanization would end in futility and frustration. But then - what other means could the enemy of the Bulgarian nationality propose to undermine and destroy Macedonian Bugarianism? And here he hit intuilively what was to happen 20 years later. The artificial, test tube creation of a separate Macedonian History, literary language and nation. Here are the conclusions at which Weigang arrived after a conscientious examination of the linguistic and ethnographic facts: "Whatever segment of this language we analyze, again and again it becomes evident that we deal here not with the Serbian, but the Bulgarian language. All attempts of Serbian chauvinists to design the Bulgarian language as spoken in Macedonia as a Serbian dialect or as a mixed language of indefinite character will therefore end in failure. One could pose the question whether, perhaps, the Macedonian Slavs haven't their own language, something in between Serbian and Bulgarian. Such an assumption, however, would be absolutely unjustified, for, as we have seen, in phonology, morphology and syntax Macedonian Bulgarian and Bulgarian proper harmonize in every respect. Certain exclusively Macedonian peculiarities cannot essentially change this picture. In the lexicon there occurs a number of words of Greek or Turkish origin which do not exist in the Serbian or Bulgarian vocabulary. In proportion to the overall lexicon, however, their number is quite insignificant, as can be seen from the linguistic samples adduced here, which clearly demonstrate that Macedonian can only be considered a Bulgarian Dialect".
In the 1926, the Russian journalist L.Nemanov, a representative of the respectable emigre newspaper Poslednie Novosti, edited in Paris, travelled in what then was officially called "Southern Serbia". He published a report about his impressions and experiences under the title, "What I Saw in Macedonia". His findings are those of a man who was probably a good practical linguist, but certainly not a learned professor of linguistics. They felicitously supplement the results of strict academic research, in his own trend of observant impressionism, he relates: "The Serbian authorities insist that the language spoken by the population in Macedonia is not Bulgarian, but a Macedonian dialect of the Serbian language. This reminds me of a case when a Serbian man of science was trying to prove to me that in general there was no Bulgarian language, but that it was a Shop dialect of the Serbian, to which I seriously retorted that Russian as an independent language was nonexistent to except as a Moscow dialect of the Serbian language. That is why whatever the Serbian politicians cail the language in Macedonia, it is a fact that this local language is comprehensible to me, a man knowing a bit of Bulgarian, while it is difficult for me to understand Serbian". This statement, not devoid of humor as it is, may furnish some comic relief after all the dry seriousness of philological research and linguistic inquiry. But one should not forget that it is the question of depriving a people of its national identity, the first blows are invariably directed at its language, because a common language, a common heritage and a common destiny are the chief characteristics of historical nationality. And the pride in just this heritage and the hopes and aspirations of a common destiny, in rcturn,arc expressed in just this common language. So the best way to emasculate a national group is to rob it of its native tongue or to corrupt it. If it should turn oul impossible to extirpate the language of a group one desires to oppress and destroy - well, then let's try to persuade them and the world that their language docs not exist at all, that in reality it is quite another language they arc speaking, a language of whose existence they had not even dreamed before, which, however, exists because we tell them so. You do not speak Bulgarian, you have never spoken Bulgarian, neither have St.Cyril, St.Methodius, St-Clemens, Tsar Simeon or Tsar Samuel. They have all spoken Macedonian only, ignorant and unenlightened as they were, they didn't notice. The same is true of the Miladinoff, Gotse Delchev, Peju Javoroff or Teodor Trajanoff. They did not know, but now they are better informed because we tell them so.

A nation which will not surrender its own national identity and national heritage, will not give up its native tongue, the treasure house of all its achievements and aspirations. When the Israelis and the Irish succeeded in re-establishing their own state, it was the first legitimate, and natural endeavor of their leading minds to recapture their lost or half-lost native idioms and restore them to their rightful glory. When, before the First World War, the Prussian government undertook to ban instruction in Polish in the schools in the eastern provinces of Prussia these decrees were bitterly and resolutely resisted by the Polish minority. In the end, all these measures proved futile, but they have contributed to poisoning the atmosphere between Germans and Poles down to our own day. The press tells us what undesirable things happened in the Southern Tyrol where the Italian government shows but scant regard for the cultural rights of the German-speaking minority. Alas, these examples, spread all over the globe, could be multiplied ad infinitum. It also shows that even at a lime when many of the more advanced nations are making great moral efforts to overcome a narrow-minded, self-centered and often aggressive nationalism there persists the feeling that questions of language and national identity cannot and must not be resolved by cither brute force or cunning persuasion, or by distortion and falsification of the historical and statistical facts. In his attempts to explain the origins of human language, the great German humanist, statesman and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt once declared that all research in this problem leads to a point where further explanation avails nothing, where even the keenest, most critical intelligence will have lo admit that human language in its deepest well-springs is a divine miracle. From the limes of the ancient Helenes on, the nations have delighted in their own languages, have recorded them not only with the intelligent curiosity of science and scholarship, but also with a sense of awe and wonder. At bottom, their languages have always appeared to them as a precious vessel, a national possession cherished above all other things, a sacred covenant with their inscrutable destiny. As long as there is one living soul also among the Macedo-Bulgarians who remembers this deep in his heart and acts accordingly, the Macedo-Bulgarian cause is not lost. Keep the banner of your language flying, then the hope for a free Macedonia for the Macedo-Bulgarians will be resurrected again and again, and in the end, if Heaven wills it so, Macedonia's goal will be fulfilled. "


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


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