North Macedonian identity, language and culture
The history of North Macedonia and the identity of the people currently living in North Macedonia are complex topics of discussion. Understanding the history of the Balkans enables the understanding of those topics.
The year is 680 A.D. The place – the territory of today’s North Macedonia. A Bulgarian ruler together with his 400 thousand Bulgarians Kuberova founded Bulgaria. The population of the state by ethnic composition is the same as that of his brother – Asparuh Danube Bulgaria, namely – Bulgarians. Kuber’s Bulgaria never fought with the Danube Bulgaria. Moreover, although it was subordinated to Byzantium, it never provided troops to it in its numerous campaigns against the Bulgarians in the north. So that under Khan Presian these territories inhabited by the descendants of the Kuber Bulgars were already part of Danube Bulgaria. And when Bulgaria converted to Christianity, the literary school of Ohrid became the most important cultural and educational center of the Bulgarian kingdom, next to the capital.
Skopje, Prespa, Ohrid and Bitola
here was the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarch and the center of the Bulgarian state.
In the following years, the Bulgarians went through almost two centuries of Byzantine rule together. This was followed by the establishment of the Second Bulgarian State and centuries of enslavement by the Ottoman Empire. Then followed long years of resistance, struggles and uprisings of the Bulgarian people. The April Uprising, the Razlov Uprising, the Shipka Uprising, the Kresna-Razlog Uprising, the Gorno-Jumay Uprising, the Ilinden-Preobrazhensk Uprising, the Macedonian-Drinsk Uprising, are listed one after another. Resistance, struggles and uprisings. A lot of blood was shed and thousands of sacrifices were made for freedom. Finally, they managed to win it. Nevertheless, after the Berlin Congress of 1878, Macedonia remained in the Ottoman Empire. The great powers did not want a strong state to emerge on the Balkan Peninsula, as Bulgaria could have been. Until that moment, there are neither Byzantine chronicles nor Ottoman or European historians who describe or recognize anything like a Macedonian identity.
During the First and Second World Wars, attempts were made to save this lost part. After a short-lived success came the beginning of a long and painful period for Macedonia. It was divided into three parts – Vardar, which went to the Kingdom of Serbia, Aegean to the Kingdom of Greece and Pirin to the Kingdom of Bulgaria. And at that moment began something that no nation should experience. In the part that was under Serbian control, Bulgarians suddenly became “Southern Serbs”, Vardar Macedonia became “Southern Serbia”. The language – a dialect of Serbo-Croatian. In order to assert their supremacy in Vardar-Macedonia, the Serbs began to spread anti-Bulgarian ideas. In the beginning there was the so-called Greater Serbian idea, which was later replaced by the ideology of “Yugoslavism”.
From the beginning of the thirties it turned into the so-called “Macedonism”. And in their barbarism, which continues to this day, is supported by Russia. It most eagerly helps the Serbian propagandists to carry out their genocide of the Bulgarian people. The ruling elite in Russia has tirelessly and relentlessly supported the enslavement of the Bulgarians in Macedonia for more than a century. Serbian forces, emboldened by Russia’s unqualified support, are engaged in fierce persecution against the Bulgarian population. Neither rights, nor treaties, nor agreements are respected. Serbia has only one goal – the extermination of all Bulgarian citizens.
About 600,000 Bulgarians from the Macedonian region, have sought refuge in Bulgaria after the confiscation of their homes and because of Serbia’s repression. These were the people who could stand on the path of the new Macedonian identity. Thousands fled, leaving all their possessions behind. Often they even left part of their families behind to escape the persecutions and cruelties of the slave owners. They are of the same blood, have the same language and the same traditions and for them Bulgaria was the only salvation. Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, of Sofia’s 70,000 inhabitants, more than 20,000 alone came from Macedonia.
The year is 1944, Macedonia already has the status of a federal entity in the existing Yugoslav Federation and bears the name People’s Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia is increasingly becoming a valley of tears, blood and death. Under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, it became one of the six republics of the federal Yugoslavia. There, with full force and active support from Stalin, “Macedonism” flourished and was elevated to the rank of state doctrine by Tito’s loyal Serbs. Mass repressions and murders against everything Bulgarian and against all persons with Bulgarian national consciousness continued. They were pressed into prisons and concentration camps and killed without trial or conviction.
Within a short time, linguistic propaganda commissions were set up in Belgrade and Moscow to denationalize the Macedonian Bulgarians. The Macedonian language was developed and unified through the introduction of a Macedonian alphabet and a Macedonian orthography. In other words the beginning of Macedonian historiography was given. Thus, with the help of the falsification of history, the Macedonian nation came into being. From the conquest of Vardar Macedonia in 1912 until the collapse of Yugoslavia, the bloody regime of Belgrade massacred over 70,000 Macedonian Bulgarians. More than 150,000 were placed in camps and prisons, and over 600,000 were rescued abroad. Is the Macedonian identity a result of Russia’s geostrategic policy?
It was the year 1991. The Republic of Macedonia is now its own independent state. Bulgaria is the first country in the world to recognize this new state, and it succeeds in convincing Russia to do the same. So that two years later, the Republic of Macedonia is accepted as a member of the United Nations, and in 2020 it becomes a member of NATO.
Is there a Macedonian identity or not? Who wrote the Macedonian history and is it a fiction? Do we have a Macedonian problem in the Balkans? Today, not many people ask themselves these questions. There are also not many people looking for the answers. And where does the problem actually lie and is there one at all?
Maybe there is no problem only for the Bulgarians on the other side of the border, because for them it is a torture. When a Bulgarian woman in Macedonia is repeatedly raped by a Serb soldier, when she gets pregnant and gives birth to a child by this soldier, when he beats her to death because she gave birth to his child, that is pain. When a Bulgarian is tied up in Macedonia and has to watch his 12-year-old daughter being raped by Serbian soldiers, that is pain. Pain is when a child in Macedonia loses his mind because his mother and father were slaughtered before his eyes. And if all this happens because they are not supposed to be Bulgarians, then that is Bulgarian pain.
There are things, events, personalities and spoken words that have existed on this earth, and it was not too long ago, and no historical fiction can change that. And whether the people of Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia know the past and whether they know history is not clear. But one thing is sure: everyone in this world has the right to know what happened and is happening to the Bulgarians who did not give up their identity and did not ask to be called Macedonians. And while they were locked up somewhere, unable to sit or lie down, while they could hardly breathe because of pain, hunger and fainting, while they asked themselves a thousand times the question “Why?”, they believed that the Bulgarians who would come after them would find the answer.