Today, as it did over a century ago, Ilinden stands as a testament of Macedonian freedom, as well as a challenge to our future generations to keep this vision alive. On this day of the anniversary of Macedonia’s nationhood, the United Macedonian Diaspora would like to salute all those who have fought to keep the Macedonian vision alive, and stand side by side with those who continue to progress towards a bright and free future for all Macedonians wherever they may be.
After almost five hundred years of Ottoman rule, in the 1870s, the Macedonian people decided that something had to be done in order to regain their freedom. As a result, a national reawakening occurred amongst the Macedonians – a desire to achieve national independence and self-determination – a free Macedonia for the Macedonians. On August 2, 1903, Macedonian people rose in the St. Elijah’s uprising against the Ottoman Empire – one of the greatest moments in the history of the Macedonian people. One hundred and seven years later, we celebrate and honor the bravery of those who fought and died for a free and independent Macedonia.
Today, we also celebrate the 66th Anniversary of the Anti-Fascist Assembly for the People’s Liberation of Macedonia, ASNOM, which acted as the executive and legislative representative body of Macedonia and Macedonians from August 2, 1944 to the end of World War II. The first assembly convened on this date at the St. Prohor Pčinjski Monastery in modern Serbia, near the Macedonian town of Kumanovo. The assembly made significant decisions for the future of the Macedonian nation, and proclaimed that Macedonia is nation-state of ethnic Macedonian, that the Macedonian language is the official language of the Macedonian state, and that all citizens of Macedonia, regardless of their ethnic affiliation were guaranteed civil rights, as well as the right to use their mother tongue and confession of faith.
Goce Delchev once stated: “I see the world as a field for cultural competition amongst nations.” With a single statement, this Macedonian visionary predicted that our modern Macedonian State would exemplify multicultural accountability in a diverse world. The ideals behind the Ilinden Uprising signify the first modern Macedonian Republic as well as the succession to our current nationhood.
As we look back today and celebrate yet another anniversary to the uprising on Ilinden and ASNOM, we cannot help but remember that Delcev’s prophecy still holds true. As inheritors of this treasured and vast heritage, the United Macedonian Diaspora believes the responsibility was handed down to us, all Macedonians globally, to keep this vision of freedom, diversity, and progressivism on course.
Long live and prosper our ancestral homeland Macedonia!!!
Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora is a leading international non-governmental organization addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.
UMD’s headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and it has representatives serving Macedonian communities around the world, including Brussels, Canberra, Chicago, Detroit, Kiev, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Perth, St. Petersburg, Stuttgart, Sydney, Toronto, and Vienna.