Translated from the original text by: Marcus A Templar
Construction or Demolition is the dilemma of the Macedonian[sic] National Unity today.
This achievement is the work of the generation of our antecedents, a generation born in the early decades of the twentieth century, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later known as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Exposed to Serbian assimilation, but aware of their uniqueness, the young generation of “South Serbians” seized the historic moment of wars and revolutions to proclaim the birth of the Macedonia[sic]n nation within the Federation of South Slavic peoples. Thus, the radical segment of the intellectual elite of people spread over the boundaries of the three dominant Balkan countries aiming at the creation of their independent nation. Thus the words of Misirkov “We are not a nation, but we will become one!” come true.
Rejecting his Serbian but also his Bulgarian parents, the late Vladimir Malević who was educated in a Serbian high school in Bitola and the Faculty of Law in Belgrade, dedicated his life to the creation of the Macedonian[sic] literary language. According to Kole Čašule, immediately after the WWII, he [Malević] roamed the countryside riding on donkeys and collecting glossary from the villagers as they gathered wood. As Blaže Koneski would have written, such “simple but rigorous” were the beginnings of our painstaking road to linguistic map of Europe.
The breakup of the Yugoslav Federation in 1991 brought about the necessity of the Macedonian[sic] language and national identity, to protect the borders of a sovereign state. With the admission to the United Nations in 1993, the goal had been successfully achieved. The state of the Republic of Macedonia[sic] was now placed on the political map of the world.
However, not all of us see the Macedonian[sic] past, and therefore the present and the future, with the same eyes. What for some is an achievement, for others is still a fraud? That is to say, that the existing political views in the contemporary Macedonia[sic]n democracy perceive that the recent course of our history is exclusively a communist plot. Again, it is believed, however, that the denunciation of the plot will turn the tide of history toward the Bulgarian direction. An example of this political position among Albanians is their political leader who declares that he does not want to take upon himself the responsibility to accelerate the course of history, implying that he knows exactly where it would not lead. An example of this political position among the Macedonia[sic]ns, however, is the political leader of Bulgarian conscience, who has already reached the “end of history” and now he is expecting the nation to do the same!
Nevertheless, this is total nonsense, because some events lead to the Bulgarian-Albanian political vision on Macedonia[sic] . After all, that complicates the interethnic relations. Namely, one of the smallest nations in Europe, Macedonia[sic] must find a successful formula for life under a common political roof with a large Albanian minority in the future will draw tremendous strength from two Albanian states in the Balkans - Albania and Kosovo. The fear among Macedonia[sic]ns might boost political forces that would try to make up for the shortage of power by approaching Bulgaria, even at the cost of the Macedonian[sic] identity.
Policy options aimed at erasing the recent Macedonian[sic] history, briefly, be guided by the principle of “peaceful resolution of the historical dispute” by improving the state. However, given the vulnerable position or changed international circumstances, they could opt for the principle “the worse, the better”, i.e. the worse for the country is, the better for the ultimate goal, which is the overthrow of the communist “conspiracy” which had created it. Because theoretically speaking, while the necessary consensual elements in the Macedonian[sic] politics are supposed to produce stability of the state, the political elites can use their power to undermine it.
The refusal of the “Macedonians” to get along in a democratic environment also favors the vision of their political opponents. The creation of the Macedonian[sic] nation, almost half a century ago, occurred under a one-party dictatorship. At that time, there was no difference between science and ideology, so the Macedonian[sic] historiography unopposed comfortably selected the historical material from which it created the Macedonian[sic] identity. It would be nothing atypical about the process of the creation of any modern nation if the falsification had not taken place and the word “Bulgarian” was not replaced by the word “Macedonian”. Wherever it was impossible, however, historical figures were declared Bulgarian agents who entered into some ideal pure Macedonian[sic] space.
The era of the Cold War is behind us. Macedonians[sic] do not have to express their individuality through a confrontation with the Bulgarian nation. Today, in the era of European unification, the uniqueness should be expressed through cooperation. When it comes to the defense of our national identity, it has to do with the truth. Because only the truth can purify the intellectual atmosphere in Macedonia[sic] and distract the people from the national apathy which is the product of inconsistencies, ambiguities or ordinary lies. Finally, only truth can stand in the way, and the latest generation of political profiteer is to desire to make “from cash to (national) credit”.
We have seen how the Macedonian[sic] nation reached the linguistic map of Europe in an environment of war and revolution, and then how it affected the political map of the world. Can we draw our national dignity from our history in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy?
If the answer is positive, then do not wait for the cumbersome process of nation building. But not one of the opponents of the Macedonian[sic] nation has an easy task, which is for them to show us how a nation collapses in an environment of freedom and democracy. Construction or demolition, in fact, is the dilemma of the Macedonian[sic] National Unity today.
Originally published: March 2, 2007
About Denko Maleski
Denko Maleski is a professor at the Law School, University of Skopje and the director of the postgraduate studies of International Politics and International Law. He was the first minister of foreign affairs (1991-1993) of the FYROM and ambassador to the UN (1993-1997). His last books are International Politics (Law School. 2000) and The world of Thucydides and Machiavelli.