In order not to leave the professor trio from the last column “lonely in the fight” and most of the other members of the Macedonian intellectual elite regularly spreads myths in public and try with all his might to sell a story full of untruths and myths in the hope that the lie repeated 1000 times will become true. The famous journalist Branko Gerovski gave a perfect example of the myths that are being spread. In his interview for the show “Debates” on Shenja TV, the popular Gero made several theses about history. The whole show lasts some 57 minutes, but let’s dwell on his historical remarks which are part of the mythology that is parroted in Macedonia. From intellectuals, and also from ordinary people. Here are those myths:
- Struggle for an independent Macedonia
” As a student, I have learned that our revolutionary activists, for the most part, almost one hundred percent, declared themselves as Bulgarians. There is a context, there is a reason why this is so. “These people did not fight for this area to be part of Bulgaria, but for an independent, autonomous or federal Macedonia.”
The popular Gero, like 99% of the Macedonian public and historians, tries to relativize the Bulgarian ethnic and national affiliation of the revolutionaries by claiming that although they were Bulgarians, they did not fight for unification with Bulgaria, but for an autonomous and later independent Macedonia. . They refer to that declaration as one Gotse declared himself a Bulgarian to drive trucks in Sweden. Just like that, it occurred to the revolutionaries to say nonsense that they were Bulgarians, and otherwise, they had nothing to do with Bulgaria. As if they only needed “passports” and cars with Bulgarian license plates. Do these people realize that when Gotse and his associates declared themselves Bulgarians, the Bulgarian nation was a fully formed nation with its own institutions and its own state? We are not just talking about simple villagers, but we are talking here about the elite of these people, its military and intellectual elite. If they did not see themselves as one people with those from Dobrich, Varna, Plovdiv, Sofia, and others. They would never declare themselves Bulgarians. Well, the period of the activity of Gotse and VMORO is not a period of revival, so to say, come by church affiliation or they were Bulgarians from nowhere. They were already born and raised in families that were already conscious Bulgarians and as such, they participated in the cultural and political life of the Bulgarian people.
As such, they formed their revolutionary organization, and here lies the greatest proof that they were considered one people with the other Bulgarians – the VMORO organization. That organization that is Macedonian-Thracian reflects the aspiration for liberation from the Turkish yoke of the unliberated Bulgarians from Macedonia and Edirne Thrace. What is the only nation that considers Macedonia and Edirne Thrace to be an integral part of it? Only Bulgarian and no other. Because they consider themselves Bulgarians, they form an organization together with other Bulgarians, not Greeks or Serbs. To make things even clearer, the first name of the Organization is BMORK or in translation Bulgarian Bulgarian-Odrina Revolutionary Committees.
The purpose of that joint organization reflects the other proof, and that is the struggle for autonomy. Not for independence, but for autonomy. Why, if it is some kind of Macedonian national movement, the struggle would not be for direct independence? What makes Macedonians so different from Greeks, Serbs, or Bulgarians not to fight for independence but to seek some kind of autonomy that they owe under Article 23 of the Berlin Agreement? This is best explained by the first president of the Central Committee of VMORO – Hristo Tatarchev.
“Our inner feeling and thought revolved more around the general Bulgarian ideal – the accession of Macedonia to Bulgaria, but we had to put a millstone on that cultivated dream of the Macedonian and free Bulgarian people for so many years and pursue a realistic policy.” That is why we took Art. “As a starting point for our activity… and we decided to replace it with a more plastic figurative population – the autonomy of Macedonia within its geographical and ethnographic borders, and that was included in the constitution of the Organization.”
So the ideal was generally Bulgarian, but international politics at that time did not allow such a thing. Plus another aggravating factor is the division of the Bulgarians in Macedonia and the Edirne region. It is hard to believe that there could be a direct merger of most of Macedonia and the Edirne region with Bulgaria, so according to Gotse, one should take a detour. Autonomy, but with “back intentions”.
” Comrades, do you not see that we are no longer slaves to the disintegration of the Turkish state, but slaves to the great European powers, before which Turkey signed its full capitulation in Berlin. That is why I have to fight for the autonomy of Macedonia and the Edirne region, in order to preserve them in their entirety, as a stage for their awakening and unification with the general Bulgarian paternity. “
“Comrades, I am leaving for Bulgaria now, I will take money from our comrades and you know that this money will go exactly for the work, for the Macedonian work and will continue with all forces and means (the fight) with these bastards, not with bastards, but като с хора. If we do not unite, you know, Macedonia is torn apart, it will become a war, whether this war will start or not, a bigger war will be provoked, it will become a European alliance, Bulgaria will suffer ……. We can not win, full we will demand autonomy. “The goal of the Central Organization was a secret, one day by itself, after 10 or 15 years, without suspecting Serbia and Greece, that it would unite with Bulgaria.”
This was stated above to Gotse quoted by Kotse Cipushev, his godfather, VMORO activist, and son-in-law of Todor Alexandrov and Andon Kjoseto who I think we all know. The quotes of some of the most important figures of the Organization are enough to capture what is actually hidden behind the demand for autonomy, which in turn is additional proof of its Bulgarian character. The revolutionaries of VMRORO are fighting for autonomy, and after that those of VMRO for independence not because they want to separate from Bulgaria but because they can not unite. This is very nicely said by the last leader of the historical VMRO – Ivan Mihajlov: “Let tomorrow’s generations know, because time is passing, and our precedence is similar, that we made VMRO not to make two Bulgarians, and why we do not have a whole!”
After all, look at what is happening with the Organization itself and the ideas of autonomy and independence every time it is possible to establish San Stefano Bulgaria. In 1913, 1915, and 1941, almost all members of VMORO were part of the Bulgarian armies and administration and worked towards the annexation of Macedonia to the Kingdom of Bulgaria. That is a fact, not a construction.
And in the end, when we have all this in mind, does the vain journalist still think that they are just revolutionaries just by accidentally declaring themselves as Bulgarians? How could he, as a confident Macedonian, find himself in that independent state as imagined by the VMRO komitets? Do you think that the VMRO komitets would consider recognizing the Bulgarian roots of the nation and the language? To have a Bulgarian church and schools and to be the two closest countries in Europe? Here follows the second myth.
- Loss of identity
The second very strong myth in Macedonia is the fear of losing identity. Gerovski only confirms the fears that the average Macedonian has, and are perpetuated by the political and intellectual elites in Skopje.
“We have a methodological problem with the Bulgarians, to harmonize the textbooks at Sofia’s dictation,” Gerovski claims. According to him, Ali Ahmeti and the Albanians should understand that there are things that the Macedonians will not agree on at any cost. “Bulgaria can not be the European identity of the Macedonian nation. “You can say whatever you want, but I am not a Bulgarian,” Gerovski added.
Will the fact that it will be written on paper and confirmed by the historical fact that Gotse was a Bulgarian suddenly make you not Macedonian? How does it work, with a magic wand will the Macedonian uniqueness disappear?
Here we take the worst case, we admit that we are children of Asparuh, we admit that our language has Bulgarian roots, we admit that we were all Bulgarians and it is written in the textbooks. How will this change the existing reality that the Macedonians are a separate nation fully formed with their own consciousness for at least 3 generations? By saying that Bulgaria was not a fascist occupier or removing the name Bulgarian before a fascist occupier of the monuments, will it make the people here non-Macedonians? What if we add the facts that the Bulgarian army also took part in the final operations to get rid of Hitlerism and that the people here bought Bulgarian soldiers captured by German troops with gold? Is the Macedonian identity so weak and does it depend on Bulgaria being a fascist occupier? To make things even more bizarre, a central moment in the new history is the Organization (VMORO), which was part of that “occupation power”. It is the behavior of a nation suffering from schizophrenia and a nation that would believe in lies rather than create an identity based on facts and truth.
Is artificially linking identity with people who have a clear ethnic and national affiliation to another nation a smart solution? Certainly not because it can only work in total darkness. That is why Macedonians still feel that their identity is being taken away because for a long time they were not exposed to the information that says that those people were Bulgarians and acted as such. That is, to quote Panko Brashnarov, the man who opened ASNOM with his speech and was its vice-president: “even though it is a historical fact that the people of Ilinden have always felt and acted as if they knew the Bulgarian consciousness”. It is normal for such an identity that is blindly connected only with carefully filtered faces of the left of VMRO and falsification of their work and the work of the revivalists to be destroyed. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to expand the identity of all those who participated in the Macedonian liberation movement and finally expose all the heroes who first presented the idea of some kind of Macedonian statehood, it is seen as a loss of it.
After all, here the question arises, what is the Macedonian identity? First and foremost, it is a reality. Macedonians if they want to be Macedonians, they can be. Secondly, at least for me, the Macedonian uniqueness is constantly nurtured. It is expressed by nurturing the uniqueness of the Macedonian language (whatever its genesis) which is already taught in dozens of departments around the world and which is accepted as such in the UN, nurturing Macedonian folklore, traditions, and melodies, a sense of closeness and of common affiliation with other Macedonians, not with people in Bulgaria or Serbia. These are the things that make a nation a nation, not whether we will learn a factually accurate history of how Dame Gruev felt. If your grandparents only felt like Macedonians and they passed it on to you, it can not be erased at all. Just as what has been written and said by revolutionaries and revivalists can not be erased.
There are historical facts and even such a glorious misunderstanding by Macedonian historians, multiperspectivity cannot change them. There may be more views on how much the Bulgarian identity was represented, as much as the regional Macedonian among the average peasant, but we can not say in black and white that Gotse Delchev was a Macedonian by gender or nation, who was opposed to Bulgaria and Bulgarianness. Such a claim would simply be a forgery, and the truth, no matter how bad, is better than the most beautiful lie. Everything that is built on lies and has no support is doomed to fail, and Macedonianism will fail if it unreasonably insists on perpetuating lies and myths.
Credit: Mauser (Anonymous) via Tribuna.mk