The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) categorically rejects Zoran Zaev’s attempts to change Macedonia’s Constitution and impose a “new name” on Macedonia and the Macedonian people. The “fourth Ilinden” will take place when a true statesman is born in Macedonia who will withdraw the country from the ridiculous United Nations-led “negotiations” over Macedonia’s name and identity.
“We currently have a name – the Republic of Macedonia. Zaev’s suggestion to change our name to ’Republika Ilindenska Makedonija,’ and willingness to acquiesce to Greece’s position of “erga omnes,” in addition to his attempts to redefine Macedonia’s fabric as a bi-national state, have jeopardized the very pillars on which the Macedonian nation rests,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “Instead of embarrassingly attempting to redefine and rename the country, Zaev should be focusing on the economy and the rule of law – leading to the creation of more jobs by the private sector and a reduction in dependency on the government (and the political party that is in power).”
Media reported that the Greek government and opposition parties found Zaev’s proposal unacceptable, begging the question: Does Greece really want to resolve this issue (which it instigated)? And does Greece want to have its northern neighbor as a full member of Euro-Atlantic institutions? Sadly, Greek politicians have outplayed their Macedonian counterparts in the diplomacy arena. In order to appear constructive, Zaev again demonstrated naivety, humiliating himself and frustrating the Macedonian nation, as he did when he renamed the highway in Macedonia.
UMD reminds Zaev and all other Macedonian politicians that Macedonians worldwide will never, ever allow a change to the name of the Republic of Macedonia or to our identity as Macedonians.
“To be clear, UMD will take all steps necessary to prevent any potential name change. Over the decades, Macedonians worldwide have made many sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice of those fallen on Ilinden 1903 for a free, independent and sovereign nation-state. The Macedonian name and national identity are not for sale by any elected official,” said UMD Co-Founder and Vice President Aleksandar Mitreski.
“Time and again, UMD has offered its advice to this government, and to the previous one, to tackle this major human rights problem for Macedonia and the Macedonian people – and yet Zaev and his team have demonstrated nothing but amateurism, acquiescing to nonsensical and unending Greek, Bulgarian, and EU demands, while chipping away at everything that is Macedonian – this is wrong, this is unacceptable, and this must end,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski.
UMD is baffled why the Macedonian government and opposition cannot publicly come to terms with the fact that the so-called Greek-instigated “name issue” has never been about the name or claims of territorial aspirations on Greek lands, but rather the identity of the Macedonian people. This has always been an attempt by successive Greek governments and other institutions to deny the Macedonian people their rightful identity.
“Statements such as ‘we must see the proposal in writing,’ ‘we will accept a new name for external purposes but no changes to the Constitution,’ and ‘there must be a referendum on the new name’ are weak excuses for true leadership, and they push Macedonia further away from a clear end to this absurd debate,” stated Nikolov.
UMD calls on the U.S. and the European Union to stop pressuring Macedonia to change its name in order to join NATO and the EU – going against their own brokered 1995 UN Interim Accord, and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and European Conventions.
“For centuries, Macedonians have struggled to gain basic human rights from aggressive neighbors who scheme to take our lands and erase our identity. In 1991, we finally gained our right to self-determination. Macedonians looked forward to joining organizations that championed human rights, rule of law and democracy,” stated UMD Board Member and U.S. Director Trajko Papuckoski.
“Macedonia must immediately withdraw from the UN Interim Accord, which Greece violated in 2008 at the NATO Bucharest Summit, by acting in bad faith when it vetoed Macedonia’s accession into NATO. Relatedly, it is time to suspend aspirations of joining the EU and NATO until these organizations regain their values and accept and recognize us as Macedonians without any adjectives, qualifiers or asterisks,” concluded Papuckoski. “It is time for our neighbor to join civilized countries in the 21st century and accept reality that we are Macedonians, indigenous to our land, with our own unique culture and identity.”
Educational Resources on the Macedonia Name Issue: