UMD: Honoring the Sacrifices of Ilinden

The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) honors the 116th Anniversary of the Ilinden Uprising when Macedonians rebelled against the Ottoman Empire on August 2, 1903 to regain their freedom, founding the first-ever democratic republic in the Balkans in Krusevo. For 10 days and nights, Macedonians experienced the freedom that they had risked their lives to achieve. The short-lived Krusevo Republic fell after an overwhelming offensive by the Ottoman armies that resulted in 200 villages burned as well as 6,000 soldier and 5,000 civilian casualties.

It is vital that Macedonians preserve the memory of Ilinden, and ensure that our historical figures like Goce Delčev, Pitu Guli, Dame Gruev, Jane Sandanski remain an integral part of the Macedonian anthem.

On this day, we also celebrate the 75th 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. ASNOM laid the foundations of an autonomous Macedonian state where Macedonian culture, language, and heritage would be preserved.

Ilinden serves as a reminder to Macedonians of the battle for independence and the sacrifices our people made to achieve it. But the price of freedom is not cheap, and the preservation thereof not automatic. Macedonians must take a greater role in public service, not just in Macedonia, but also around the world where Macedonian communities thrive. Here at UMD, we encourage and support young Macedonians who are interested in politics and government to pursue their dreams. The ideals of democracy and freedom must be upheld for the sake and prosperity of future generations. Freedom is a gift achieved through sacrifice and selfless acts of bravely, both individual and collective, and it must be constantly safeguarded and protected.

When the Macedonian government ignored the results of the September 30, 2018 referendum and without respect of the Macedonian constitution changed Macedonia’s name, it gravely damaged and jeopardized the Macedonian cause and freedoms. We cannot sit idly while our basic human freedoms are infringed upon. To do so would be a disgrace to those who fought in the Ilinden Uprising. We urge Macedonians everywhere to take part in our efforts, work harder to unite our people, to let your opinion be known, and to engage with one another civilly so we become stronger. United, We Can!

Ilinden 2019 Message from the UMD President