Posts Tagged ‘Macedonism’

FYROM: How a Lie was Imposed as a Supreme Reality

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Vasko Gligorijevic
A citizen of FYROM 

The nominally “Macedonian” nation of FYROM emerged as a byproduct of Yugoslavia’s dissolution in the 1990’s and suffered a major transformation of the internal relationships after the US-supported uprising of its Albanian population in 2001 which led to a de facto confederalization of the country. As of late 2008, it is led by the charismatic ex-boxer Nikola Gruevski surrounded by a clique of young politicians. Plagued by chronic unemployment standing at the rate of 35%, with economy characterized by collapsing light industry based on primitive technologies and decaying public infrastructure, the nationalistic government of VMRO-DPMNE failed to attract any substantial foreign investments. Most of its economic policies failed to raise the public standard based on average salary of barely 300 USD. At the same time analysts predict that the consequences of the Global financial crisis are yet to strike FYROM, raising the issue of further deterioration of the prospects for decent livelihood.

The main-although progressively marginalized ethnic group-in FYROM are the “Macedonians”, a nation postulated by the Communist internationale in 1934 and created by policies of Josip Broz, Communist’s Yugoslavia strongman after 1944. A basic historical review of their ethnicity reveals that prior to 1941, when the Bulgarian army, invading the remains of royalist Yugoslavia, was greeted euphorically by the local population, this population considered itself Bulgarian and led a combined struggle of civil disobedience and guerrilla warfare against Belgrade in order to achieve either annexation to Bulgaria or a transitional autonomous state with Bulgarian preeminence. Further exploration of the past reveals an ubiquitously attested in historical sources Bulgarian character, an impression complemented with the peculiar character of the local Slavic language which shares features with standard and dialectal forms of the Bulgarian language proper which set it quite radically apart from all Slavic languages. While this ethnic group to a various degrees assimilated in the last two centuries a certain number of Serbs and Vlach/Aromanians (the latter having historically a Greek consciousness), this is almost irrelevant to its ethnological and linguistic qualities which are almost identical as the Bulgarian vernacular.

The other large population in FYROM is the Albanian. Compromised from descendants of the Paleobalkan ethnic group of Dardanians which was to a certain extent influenced by Roman culture and Latin language and which took refuge in the mountains of present-day north Albania (“Ghegnia”) in late antiquity/early middle ages, the Albanians which converted to Islam under Ottoman rule spread to Kosovo and western FYROM in 17th and 18th centuries. Today, in FYROM, they number near 600. 000, with a compact presence in the towns of Tetovo, Gostivar and Debar and representing a significant population in Skoplje, Kumanovo, Ki?evo and Struga. Cherishing an archaic formalized code of conduct based on family and clan loyalty, ethos of reciprocity and obligation, Albanians have been historically more successful than the Bulgarians/”Macedonians” in preservation of means of private entrepreneurship and achieving a more vertical socio-economic stratification coupled with elaborated social network designed to minimize contact with the “Macedonian” non-Muslim population.

Among both the “Macedonians” and the Albanians, collectivist, anti-individualist attitude is deep-seated. Within the daily affairs of both ethnic groups there is a strong reverence for authority and hierarchy. The notion of “state”, a concept held identical with the actual government, which has to be obeyed and respected and which represent the supreme reality in which any individuality is lost is particularity prominent among the “Macedonians” having its root in their quite recent and long-lasting premodern feudal historical phase. It is no wonder that having realized that after the 2001 conflict and the subsequent signing of the Ohrid Agreement they lost the privileged status and that both factually and symbolically they cannot cherish the FYROMian state as their own, the elite of the “Macedonians”, realizing that any confrontation with the Albanian factor would be too dangerous, designed a national idea with the purpose of keeping the wider “Macedonian” public mobilized against non-issues. This recent idea is composed of the recycled concept of “Macedonian autonomism”-Bulgarian idea that that any initiative of the Slavs of Geographic Macedonia has to be labeled “Macedonian” in order to gain sympathies by deciding external political factors and the concept of “Ancient Macedonism”, the idea that the Slavs of FYROM are direct descendants of Ancient Macedonians.

The idea of “Macedonian autonomism” needs no further explanation of its perfidiousness and absurdity. Regardless of the trick character of the concept it still remains a doctrine of the Bulgarian nationalist originating from FYROM: The Bulgarians of Geographic Macedonia should claim that although their singular ethnic identity is the Bulgarian one they are, nevertheless, the exclusive Macedonians. As late as 1960’s this doctrine was restated by the leader of VMRO Ivan Mihailoff with the words “the name Macedonia should be preserved because it is a thorn in the eyes of Greeks and Serbs”.

The enormous success of the idea of “Ancient Macedonian continuity”, which originated among the most primitive sections of FYRO Macedonian emigration in 1970’s (in Sweden, Australia and Canada) needs careful analysis. Although the fallacy of the crude ethnogenetic theory which claims that the “Macedonians” of FYROM and elsewhere speak the tongue of Phillip II and Alexander the Great and that their customs, folklore and other aspects of the culture are either intact or evolved form of the civilization of Ancient Macedon is quite easy refutable, this is not the case in the current conditions under which the national discourse articulates itself in FYROM.

Briefly, Ancient Macedonians were a Greek entity with Greek ethnic name, using exclusively a Greek Doric dialect and later Koine Greek and practicing the same Olympian religion with the rest of the Greek. Ancient Macedonians participated at the Olympic Games, where only Greek were allowed to compete and had theaters on the soil of Macedon, an uniquely Greek concept. All names of Macedonians (with several exceptions) are Greek as confirmed by their Greek etymology. Conclusive to 2008, no scholar outside FYROM has even remotely claimed that the language and culture of Ancient Macedonians are an ancestral type of the present-day FYRO Macedonians, which are descendants of Slavs, an ethnic group originating from North-East Europe. Slavs settled the Balkans from 5th to 7th century and the FYRO Macedonian tribes were homogenized under the rule of the Turkic horsemen tribe of Bulgarians. These Slavs never called themselves “Macedonians”, while Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ottoman sources as well as western travelers and others failed to furnish any reference to a “Macedonian” ethnic group prior to late 19th century.

The issue of the ethnic, cultural and linguistic nature of the Ancient Macedonians deserves a wider and detailed expose, referenced and structured according to the scientific method. However, in light of the present state of knowledge, based on the enormous archaeological wealth and a plethora of historic sources, modern historiography universally accepts the conclusion that Ancient Macedonians were Greeks. The key issue with regard to the “Macedonian” nationalism is how the opposite and improbable conclusion could became a “valid” and all-pervading form of public discourse and the root of national self-identification.

The problems arouse with the way in which the totalitarian VMRO-DPMNE government energized the masses among which the national confusion brought by media exposure of contradictory data grew. Firstly, it reactivated the conflict with Greece by multitude of irredentist moves. Secondly, within FYROM it carried massive policy of introduction of Ancient Macedonian symbols (names of institutions, statues) after the expected and natural Greek negative reaction. The population, feeling threatened, mistook the attitude of aggressive “Macedonization” sponsored by the government as “defiance” against a hostile state (the hostility of which was precisely provoked by FYROM’s initial provocations). Capitalizing on the fact that the vast majority of the general population does not have neither a capability nor a will for sustained scientific research regarding ethnology, history and linguistics, the government managed to capture attention of the whole body of citizens. One can presume that the sheer authority the organized government yields in a conformist society where libertarian principles of critical thinking and individual self-reliance regarding the process of opinion-forming are practically absent is sufficient to impose an entirely absurd idea of identity. In FYROM it is unchallenged by organized bodies from which a better knowledge of the true state of affairs might be expected, including universities, institutes, museums etc. With the sole exception of Internet, all electronic and printed media are participants in government’s monopoly over identity dogmas. Only few individual voices of distaste and revolt against the lies have insofar voiced their concerns (Denko Maleski, Petar Hr. Ilievski) but they got a hostile, unsympathetic public response.

While the prospect of organized challenge of the pro-governmental stances regarding the identity issues is something expected given the conventional political dynamics within pluralist societies, this is not quite a case. Nikola Gruevski achieved dominance of his party by calling premature elections in 2008 at the time of peak in the approval rating of his first mandate caused by populist measures. That gave him an unprecedented might against which FYROM has no institutionalized mechanisms of control. Furthermore, in a state of affairs whereby the larger part of the Slavs have abandoned their Bulgarian and Serbian culture in belief that they represent a separate ancient ethnicity in a category of its own, creators of the policy of the opposition (led by the leftist SDSM party) must carefully measure their words of opposition to the lavish Pseudomacedonian rhetorics, since they may be branded as “traitors” given the appropriate circumstances. Consequently, in such occasion they would find themselves ostracized from the ongoing debate.

This leads to the conclusion that the solution to the Pseudomacedonian hysteria which totally dominates public life in FYROM is not only confined to the change in the internal situation which may come as a result of economic collapse or a full-scale civil war, but also from strong pressure from outside which would enable FYROM to conform itself to reality and to rational way of conducting cultural policy. The reign of VMRO-DPMNE, characterized by collectivist, group-centered policies, extensive role of the police in society, new legislature sponsoring religious education, subsidizing biological procreation with wealth redistribution, enforcing ethics of service to the “common good”, emphasizing the feral, folklorist and medieval aspects of local national culture in opposition to modern as well as apolitical high culture, is the greatest political catastrophe FYROM faces in early 21st century. A hope remains that the Slavs of FYROM will reject the artificial and overbearing attempts to instill a connection with chronologically and ethnically distant Greek kingdom as well as to make history the most important aspect of their everyday lives. Only through enduring action from within and from abroad the local state-worshiping, centrally-planned tribal way of life may be liquidated and replaced with a political system based on freedom, a change which will forever put the era of Pseudomacedonism behind, as a doomed ideology based on lies.

To all Lost Souls pf Pseudomacedonia

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

To all Lost Souls pf Pseudomacedonia: -The Fallacy of Their Cause

Interlocutors of Slavic spiritual, cultural and biological origin, originating from the area of fmr. Vardarska Banovina, wherever are you now, listen to my arguments against your contradictory, inconsistent, ignorant patchwork of informations and its abuse via unscientific methods.

I have stated my basic bibliography many times, but another one is not too much: I am a Serb, graduated archaeology in 2002, worked as volunteer at couple of dozens excavation and in laboratory work.Apart from Serbian, I speak your Bulgarian dialect elevated in 1940’s by Communists into “Macedonian literature standard”, English, Russian, Bulgarian, Old Church Slavonic and Latin.From 2005 I am student of History at UKIM, with my last undergraduate year being 2008/9

Just like all of you, I used to accept the “Macedonian truth” about our unity as a people and our victimization by neighbors, primarily by Greeks. I was more exposed to anti-Greek propaganda (”600.000 Macedonians under Greek slavery” etc, of that type),not least because I was a half-Aegean from a sociobiological perspective and I grew in “Aegean” household.But starting to realize that “Macedoniasm” is based on lies, conclusions which I reached via extensive contact with foreign historic, anthropological, lingustic literature, I rejected my Pseudomacedonian identity, accepted the Serbian one, as an authentic centuries old identity in the northern strip of FYROM from where my patrilinear ancestors originate from.
After that I confronted the establishment at UKIM, both during my first studies and now , more vigourosly, during the second. I came to conclusion that this particular brands of lies that are produced by the Academia or are being produced by various individuals (Donski, Tentov et al) and are condoned and praised by highest institutions represent a ferocious attack on our true Slavic, Bulgaro-Serbian being which includes a number of semi-assimiliated Greaco-Vlachs and that such brazen ideology is generator of crisis in the wider Balkan area.

The number of opponents of the Pseudomacedonistic ideology is now small, but visible.Among the Serbian community mechanisms of cultural conservatism and innovation are rich enough to secure distinct, non-pseudomacedonian ethnic identity. The Pseudomacedonian mass is decaying by the acts of Bulgarian irredenta (passports, radical VMRO fractions, annual festivities of Bulgarian history, FYROMian students in Bulgaria).Greeks are starting with progressive tempo their own initiatives regarding the organization and stimulation of cultural and political initiatives of Greek type among Vlach population of Monastiri/Bitola, Gevgeli and Krušovo.

In such vibrant situation upon which the emotions extrapolated from the ongoing negotiations are interwoven, you have choosed Pseudomacedonian nationalism as an answer to your thirst for national identity and national path after the collapse of Yugoslav Communistic ideology.In the name of aprioristic dogmatic “truths” which energize you, you are spending time in “hypermacedonization”: ad nauseum proclamation of the holy “truths” of the Pseudomacedonism, the crucial among which is the claim that todays “Makedonci” of FYROM are direct descendants of Alexander’s Macedonians, which in turn were quite distinct from Greeks and from which today’s “Makedonci” inherited the genetic basis, their language (!), culture (including folklore) and a “right” to expand and embrace alleged 1.000.000 more of their kin, primarily in Greece, then Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia.

Well, let me disappoint you by demolition of your thesis:

1.Ancient Macedonians were a conglomerate of Greek tribes and clans constituting a conservative monarchistic military democracy , essentially an evolved extension of Dorian and on longer period, Indo-European system of social architecture.

2.Ancient Macedonians were long time before Phillip and Alexander considered Greeks by other Greeks and they were allowed to participate in the Olympic Games, an event in which only ethnic Greeks were allowed to participate.Persian used the term “Yauna Takabara” (Greek wearing a hat) for Macedonians already in the V century BCE

3.Dozens of epigraphic objects predating the epoch of Phillip and Alexander show clearly a Greek language of North-Western type.

4. The names of Macedonians were not an import from the south since there is a marked deficit of names of eminent Athenians and other Greeks south from Macedonia

5. From its prehistoric inception, Macedonia was an area which was for the most part, even more restrictive in size than todays Greek Macedonia.Only much later lower 15% of today’s FYROM came within the borders of Macedonia, probably without significant ethnic changes among native Paeonian stock, situated from ancient times North-Eastern from Macedonians, bordering on Thracians in Eastern FYROM, Dardanians in the line of Tetovo-Skoplje-Kumanovo and Illyrians proper from Ohrid to Ki?evo and Debar.As you may see, FYROM was essentially never Macedonia neither ethnically nor politically.

6.Expansion of Macedonia under Alexander the Great shows progressive patronage of Hellenic way of life, culture and civilization.The entire enormous opus of linguistic material on three continents was exclusively in Greek.Isn’t it strange that the dominating Macedonian element, if it was ethnically of alien nature vis-a-vis Greeks, did not left hundreds, if not thousands monuments in its alleged separate, non-Greek language as a sign of its prestige?From those times we have testimonies of the historians about Hellenic ethnic identity of chief historical protagonist among Macedonians.

10.Analysis of the entire corpus of Macedonian-authored inscription reveal a form of Greek which is quite different from the Ionic dialects and which has self-developed Greek features , thus proving that the Greek language among Macedonians is not borrowing.

11. There is a gap of 900 years from the Macedonia of Alexander to the arrival of Slavs, a North-Eastern agricultural people whose arrival is recorded by Gothic, Byzantine and Arab sources, confirmed with archaeology and attested with the extensive name changes of ancient geonymes.These Slavs, i.e. the part of them which overlapped Macedonia never took the name Macedonians for themselves, nor there was any mixture between the Greek and Vlach Christian population and the pagan newcomers.It would appear that from 7th and 8th century to the formation of Samuel Empire in 10th these people are known as Bulgarians.The first Slavic text in the area of FYROM show Bulgarian features, while the Bitola text confirms the Bulgarian ethnology of the dynasty and people.DAI doesn’t mention Slavic Macedonians.Serbs in 13/14th century never mentioned Macedonians, but very often Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs and even the tiny Saxon community.The Macedonia proper during Serb rule was a separate province, with Greek as official language.

12. Not a single Turkish document mentions any “Macedonian” ethnicity nor the books by Turkish travelers.Not a single local work of literacy mentions “Macedonians”,”Macedonian language” etc.There are hundred references from other Balkanites, Westerners, Russians all the way to 19th century about Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, Albanians, Jews, Vlachs but no Macedonians

13. The process of Bulgarian national awakening in FYROM, which began as a movement for Slavic-Bulgarian literacy, Church and school and ended with creation of VMRO (fmr. BMORK) is extensively studied and confirms that there wasn’t an atom of any authentic “Macedonian ethnic feeling” among the population.

14.Only in late 19th, early 20th century, conclusive with Yugoslav decision, based on the Commintern’s decision to establish a “Macedonian” nationality and state there are occasional and sporadic appearances of the Pseudomacedonian idea, in many cases by authors which renounced them later, like Misirkov. The population still considers itself Bulgarian, with lower percentage thinking of itself as “Macedonian” but not necessary in opposition with the broader Bulgarian national feeling.Most organization and eminent individuals fighting either for “Independent Macedonia” or Greater Bulgaria expressed their Bulgarian identity and that is extensively documentated.

15. Even after the process of ethno-lingustic mutation, most folkloristic and lingustical features of the post-1944 “Macedonian” ethnos have strong analogies with Bulgarian vernacular.

So, Pseudomacedonians, what are you doing constructively, excluding your opposition of overwhelming, rigidly scientifically analyzed evidence for the Greekness of Macedonia and Macedonians, your opposition to the fact that no significant cultural and biological admixture happened between Slavs and Greeks, that history doesn’t know for Macedonian identity of Slavic type attested in documents and other points which testify against your ideology?

You use nothing else than stubbornness nurtured out of spiritual impoverishment of Pseudomacedonian culture and fanatical, extensive injection of pseudonationalism by VMRO-DPMNE and the attached crew of pseudohistorians, together with other forms of indoctrination. All your “reasoning” is devastated by usage of brute logic in unity with fact and proper reasoning. In the attempt to gain some psychological pleasure from playing “tough opposition”, you will end like loosers and you are loosers now-programmed creatures by the political elite of FYROM, instead of emancipated beings capable of integrating and rationally judging all viewpoints.This is why I consider dialogue with you, in this dogmatic phase of yours, counterproductive until you start to absorb knowledge from primary sources and non-Pseudomacedonian authors. Then you will feel the bitter tragedy of your own brainwashing, together with the chance to opt-out from the world of dellusions.

Vasilj Gligorov