August 10, 2011 – Washington, D.C. – On this day 98 years ago, the Treaty of Bucharest formally ended the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars. Today, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) and millions of Macedonians worldwide solemnly commemorate the victims of those brutal wars. UMD reproaches Greece and Bulgaria for their over-a-century old (and continuing) policies of forced assimilation of Macedonian identifying people. UMD celebrates the moral courage and perseverance of the Macedonian people, who continue their ongoing struggle to protect our unique Macedonian name, identity, language and culture.
“Macedonians throughout the world will never forget August 10th – the day that geographic Macedonia was partitioned, which led to 98 years of further (and ongoing) forced Hellenization and Bulgarization in modern-day Greece and Bulgaria,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “Today is also a day to remember our brave and selfless forefathers, who fought for a free, independent and sovereign nation.”
“As recorded by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Report in 1914, entire villages were ruthlessly burned and pillaged, innocent Macedonians and other populations were massacred, women were raped by invading soldiers and children were left to starve,” said UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov. “Hundreds of thousands of people were killed at the hands of the Greek, Bulgarian and Serbian armies; the psychological wounds felt by the survivors of those crimes against humanity remain with Macedonians to this day.”
With the signing of the Treaty of Bucharest on August 10, 1913, geographic Macedonia was carved up among the then-emergent kingdoms of Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. In the First Balkan War of 1912, these countries, with the aid of various world powers, fought to ostensibly “liberate” Macedonia from over 500 years of oppression under the Ottoman Empire. However, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia then turned on each other — in the Second Balkan War of 1913. At the end of hostilities, they divided Macedonia among themselves. They then proceeded to establish agricultural colonies in each of their expanded territories, ethnically cleanse large numbers of Macedonians from their homes, and systematically assimilate those who remained.
Since 2004, UMD has been educating policymakers throughout the world on the real reasons why Macedonia and the Macedonians have been denied their human rights in modern-day Greece and Bulgaria. “An independent Macedonian state is anathema to Greece, in particular, because it is an embarrassing reminder of Greece’s failed attempts to wipe out the Macedonian people from Aegean Macedonia — which is today Northern Greece,” said Koloski.
Historian and human rights advocate Risto Stefov describes the importance of Macedonia to the imperial plans of the neighboring Balkan kingdoms:
‘A declaration of Bulgarian policy in 1885 stated: ‘Our whole future depends on Macedonia; without her the Bulgarian State in the Balkans will be without importance or authority: Salonika must be the main port of this State, the grand window to illuminate the entire building. If Macedonia does not belong to Bulgaria, Bulgaria will never be firmly based.’ Greece too had its own designs, made evident by the 1904 comments of Pavlos Melas, the infamous Greek Army officer: ‘Macedonia is the lung of Greece: without it … Greece will be condemned to death. For Greece to become a great power she must expand into Macedonia.’ Meanwhile, a Serbian aristocrat stated: ‘We, Serbia, are ready to enter into any combination necessary in order to prevent the Macedonian Question being settled in any way that harms our vital interests, without which Serbia cannot survive.’
Only one occupied part, the Macedonian territory ceded to Serbia at the Treaty of Bucharest, managed to establish itself as a Macedonian Republic (in 1944), within the federation of Yugoslavia. That Republic peacefully declared its independence from Belgrade in 1991, and became today’s sovereign Republic of Macedonia.
In 2005, UMD initiated a 100,000-name petition, to advocate for Macedonian human rights and to bring an end to racial, ethnic and religious discrimination against people of ethnic Macedonian origin. As the declaration stated at that time: “No matter what we, Macedonians, have gone through, we will never give up!”
On this historic day, UMD invites all Macedonians to continue to work together and to spread the truth about Macedonia and Macedonians. UMD encourages all Macedonians to get involved in the important work of UMD, so as to ensure that Macedonians have a strong, united voice before global policymakers.
Treaty of Bucharest:
The Treaties that Divided Macedonia:
Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan War by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
UMD Article in Washington Times:
UMD NEEDS YOUR HELP TODAY TO CONTINUE ITS IMPORTANT WORK!!!
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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.