The Ilinden Testament to Freedom and Diversity

Release No. 06-08/02

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Ilinden Uprising on the Day of the Prophet St. Elijah (August 2nd) signifies the start of the modern Macedonian Republic as a stronghold of the first multi-ethnic, Balkan state. Just like modern Macedonia, the first Macedonian Republic bespoke the freedom cry into one that encompassed all ethnicities as one cohesive voice under the Macedonian sun. The Ilinden Uprising was a joint fight for freedom from the Ottoman yoke, and a cultural movement to freely nurture the ancient Macedonian tradition.

Today, the prophet’s day Ilinden stands as a national pillar for all Macedonians regardless of their ethnicity. Significantly, Macedonia is still the prime example of the multi-ethnic state in the Balkans.  Our forefathers, Goce Delcev, Dame Gruev, and Jane Sandanski’s legacy is unmovable. We celebrate their sacrifices for freedom of will with an understanding that their struggle is still prevalent today. Macedonians relish their identity as sacred, yet they continue to champion the Macedonian State as the ‘Balkan Melting pot’.  As a testimony to Macedonian achievement, citizens from all over come to witness the diversity at the many cultural festivals, while EU aspirants look to Macedonia as the constitutive example. There is no doubt that Macedonia will continue this leadership role.

Importantly, the United Macedonian Diaspora wishes to see the attributes of the Ilinden Uprising transcend Macedonian borders into neighboring nations as these countries still struggle with their multi-ethnic perception and have yet to recognize or grant ethnic Macedonians living within their borders with their God-given rights and freedoms. Recent calls by European Union officials to the Republic of Bulgaria and Greece to recognize their ethnic Macedonian minorities have gone without response.  In addition, threats of violence and unrest against Macedonian minorities by these governments as retaliation against desires for more freedom will only fortify the apartheid that already exits within these nations.

The United Macedonian Diaspora calls for a glorious celebration of this sacred holiday, however, our organization also encourages Macedonian celebrants worldwide to remember that there are still Macedonians who have yet to feel the freedoms and recognition that many of us enjoy.  Our organization openly calls on Albania, Bulgaria and Greece to end the resistance of diversity and recognize the ethnic Macedonians living in their countries.  

Founded in 2004, United Macedonian Diaspora is an international membership organization based in Washington, D.C. addressing the interests and needs of Macedonians and Macedonian communities throughout the world.

For more information about United Macedonian Diaspora the public is invited to contact the D.C. office at (202) 294-3400, or e-mail at   



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