August 2, 2011 – Washington, D.C.; Toronto, Canada; Canberra, Australia – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) calls upon all Macedonians to affirm what unites us during today’s 108th Anniversary of Ilinden – in particular, our name Macedonia, our Macedonian national identity and ethnicity, our Macedonian language, and our Macedonian heritage. In addition, we recognize that, for thousands of years, Macedonians have identified with their homeland – Macedonia, and today we call out from the highest mountaintops that they will continue to do so in perpetuity.
Today, as it did over a century ago, Ilinden stands as a testament of Macedonian liberty, as well as a challenge to our future generations to keep this vision alive. On this anniversary of Macedonia’s first modern era nation-state – the Krusevo Republic – the first such Republic in the Balkans, the United Macedonian Diaspora salutes all those who fought to keep the Macedonian vision alive, and stands side-by-side with those who continue to work together with us to bring a bright and free future to all Macedonian identifying people, wherever they may be.
In the 1870s, after five hundred years of Ottoman rule, the Macedonian people began to rise up to regain their freedom. As a result, a national reawakening occurred among Macedonians – a desire to achieve national independence and self-determination – a free Macedonia for the Macedonians. On August 2, 1903, Macedonian heroes led a revolt — St. Elijah’s uprising — against the Ottoman Empire, one of the greatest moments in the history of the Macedonian people. One hundred and eight years later, we celebrate and honor the bravery of those who fought and died for a free, independent, and sovereign Macedonia.
In 1875, Gjorgji Pulevski in his book, “Dictionary of Three Languages”, stated: “What do we call a nation? – People who are of the same origin and who speak the same words and who live and make friends of each other, who have the same customs and songs and entertainment are what we call a nation, and the place where that people lives is called the people’s country. Thus the Macedonians also are a nation and the place which is theirs is called Macedonia.”
Goce Delchev once stated: “Macedonia has its own interests and its own politics which belong to the Macedonians. The one who works for joining of Macedonia to Bulgaria, Greece, or Serbia, can consider himself as a good Bulgarian, Greek, or Serb, but not as a good Macedonian.” This and other key ideals behind the Ilinden uprising were the driving force that led to the first modern Macedonian republic, as well as the succession to our current nationhood.
Today, we also celebrate the 67th 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 a nation-state of ethnic Macedonians, 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, including the rights to use their mother tongue and practice the faith of their choosing.
As we look back today and celebrate yet another anniversary of the heroic uprising on Ilinden, as well as the historic first assembly of ASNOM, the United Macedonian Diaspora calls on all Macedonians to follow through on the sacred responsibility that was handed down to each of us, as Macedonians globally, to keep this vision of freedom alive and on course.
Long live and prosper our ancestral homeland of Macedonia!!!
UMD NEEDS YOUR HELP TODAY TO CONTINUE ITS IMPORTANT WORK!!!
Here are a few ways you can help:
– Become a Member of UMD by clicking HERE; or
– Become a monthly donor to UMD, $20, $50 goes a long way, or make a one-time donation by clicking HERE; or
– Pledge your support to become a Macedonian Companion (donating $1,000 a year for 3 years, comes out to $84 a month) by e-mailing UMD Vice President Aleksandar Mitreski at [email protected]; (Learn more about the Macedonian Companions Program by clicking HERE)
– Buy a book on Macedonian history through UMD’s Amazon Store and donate it to your nearest public library by clicking HERE. (UMD can earn up to 15% from Amazon for each purchase)
– Conduct all your searches through UMD’s Yahoo-powered search engine by clicking HERE. (UMD earns a penny from every search conducted)
– Please Pass this website link to every Macedonian you know!
Have you seen some of the videos or pictures from the 3rd Annual UMD Global Conference this past June 23-25, 2011 in Washington, D.C.? Please click HERE.