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Enviado - 30 septiembre 2007 :  23:58:49  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
BOOK * LLIBRE * LIBRO * LIVRE

This Land We Do Not Give
by Michael Seraphinoff and Chris Stefou

Original work, Nonfiction
Paperback, 270 pages
US $10 plus shipping

Orders to Michael Seraphinoff: mjseraph@whidbey.net

This book chronicles the Macedonian people’s resistance to foreign occupation beginning in 1389 with the Battle of Kosovo and the Turkish conquest of the independent Balkan kingdoms and ending with the history of the most recent war in Macedonia in the year 2001.

For most people the name Macedonia immediately brings to mind the ancient world conquerors led by their daring and charismatic young warrior-king Alexander, who is the subject of so much legend and lore. However, for Europeans Macedonia is known in modern times as the "apple of discord" among southeastern European nations.

By the late 19th century the Ottoman Turkish Empire had lost nearly all of its European colonies. The bulk of what remained was the Ottoman province that was the ancient land of Macedonia. The people of Macedonia at that time were predominantly of a single ethnic group defined by their language, which is a distinct set of Slavic dialects, and their Eastern Orthodox Christian faith, both of which are clearly documented in church manuscripts dating as far back as the 9th century on the Balkan peninsula.

Thus, the Macedonians were in a position to self-organize to resist the foreign rule. However, that resistance was tragically manipulated by their recently liberated neighbors in Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. They saw the future liberation of Macedonia more as an opportunity to expand their own nation-states' borders at the expense of that neighbor than an opportunity to help free one more oppressed Balkan people, despite the fact that all three of those states had achieved their own independence only with aid from outside.

That outside aid had come primarily from the Great Powers of Europe, the Germans, the British, the French and the Russians. The Macedonians, however, while they had the sympathy of most of the people of Europe, were unable to gain the support of any of the governments of Europe for their liberation, because those governments shifted positions and alliances in endless pursuit of further power and influence. Thus, Macedonia has a history not unlike that of other "troubled" regions of Europe, such as the regions of Spain and France inhabited by the Basques or the former island colony of the British Empire, Ireland, where the negative consequences of colonialism are still a fact of life.

As we know, the victors enjoy the various spoils of war, and one of these is the opportunity to have their version of the history of the war broadly and boldly disseminated. So it has been for over a hundred and fifty years that Macedonian history has been primarily written and disseminated by those Greek, Serbian or Bulgarian victors in the Balkan wars of liberation of the 19th and 20th centuries. Only in one small part of Macedonia that fell to socialist Yugoslavia after World War Two were the Macedonian people able to begin to tell their own story in their own words, although even there certain political considerations led to censorship.

In this book you will hear the authentic voices of the people of Macedonia, voices that to this day have been drowned out by the stronger voices of those Balkan neighbors with territorial claims on the land of their Macedonian neighbors. To add to the depth of this tragedy, too many Macedonians in past times and up to the present day have lent their own voices to this anti-Macedonian chorus as the recipients of various "gifts". Those neighbors have at times offered opportunities for social advancement for assimilation into the neighboring linguistic, ethnic, political or religious communities, and, as often, they have meted out punishment to those who refused to cooperate. Centuries ago in the Ottoman Empire one gift took the form of a "torba" or sack of grain during hard times for any Macedonian Christian willing to enter the mosque and receive the Moslem faith. Today it includes such things as new freedom to travel, which the Bulgarian government is offering any Macedonian from the Republic of Macedonia willing to accept Bulgarian citizenship.

While it is possible to understand and even sympathize at times with desperate people who have accepted such offerings, it is the great sacrifice of those who suffered terrible humiliations, hardships, torture, imprisonment, banishment, wounds both physical and mental and even death in order to resist the theft of their land, the denial of their language, their culture or their religion that is the subject of this book.

Few people in the world have endured the trials of war imposed upon the Macedonian people. They resisted the foreign Ottoman Turkish occupation for nearly five hundred years. They fought in large numbers in the Karposh Uprising in 1689. Then, in more modem times they fought and suffered in major struggles for freedom beginning in 1822 in the Negush Uprising, in 1876 in the Razlovtsi Uprising, and in 1878 in the Kresna Uprising. Macedonians rose up again in 1903 in the well-organized and widespread Ilinden Uprising. After the failure of the 1903 revolt many joined regional armies in the Balkan War of 1912 that finally ended Ottoman Turkish rule over Macedonia. Too many were also drawn into the tragic second Balkan War over division of Macedonia among the neighboring Balkan states in 1913, followed by the First World War from 1914 to 1918. In the Second World War Macedonian Partisans helped defeat the fascist occupiers of Yugoslavia and earned the right to form the first autonomous Macedonian Republic within socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. Macedonian anti-fascist Partisans in Greece would later also fight in the Greek Civil War from 1947 through 1949. Most recently Macedonians were caught up in the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia beginning in 1991, leading finally to open warfare in Macedonia in the year 2001. The stories that you will read in this book record Macedonian resistance to foreign occupation over this entire period. This record is one answer to those who might otherwise dismiss the entire existence of the Macedonian people with something like: "What the heck is a Macedonian ?"

This is a must read book not only for Macedonians but also for non-Macedonians worldwide. Our story must be told.

There is an entire generation of young Macedonian Canadians, Americans, Australians and others who know very little of the history of their ancestors and the continuing struggles of the Macedonian people. They may hear occasional stories from their elders, but for a much richer, fuller appreciation of their Macedonian heritage, let them read This Land We Do Not Give.

For more information on how to purchase this book click on: http://www.macedonianlit.com/mac_pages/books.html
or on: http://www.oshchima.com/thisland.htm

(Information sent to CASA DE L'EST by Mr. Risto Stefov.)

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Enviado - 03 octubre 2007 :  00:22:08  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
GOTSE DELCHEV’S LAST HOURS

The testimony of Gotse Delchev’s last hours is presented here by Mihail Chakov, an active Macedonian revolutionary, voivoda (leader) and Gotse Delchev's friend. Mihail Chakov was close to Gotse and participated in the Macedonian struggle for liberation. He was in Banitsa with him when Gotse Delchev was killed.

At about five o'clock in the afternoon a courier originating from the village Banitsa arrived at Leskite. He was carrying two letters, one for our cheta (freedom fighters), and the other for the voivoda Andrei Hrlev stationed in Gorno Brodi. The first letter was from the Serres voivoda Lazar Dimitrov addressed to me and in part read: "This evening Delchev is destined for Banitsa and will journey from Serres through the village Dutli, where he will pick up his rifle and uniform. Please depart immediately and meet him in Banitsa. Also, the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Salonika was blown up about which Delchev will give you more details. Please hurry to Banitsa."

The second letter addressed to voivoda Hrlev contained similar information ordering us once more to immediately proceed to Banitsa. We moved out as soon as it became dark.

We arrived in Banitsa on April 21st (by the old calendar) at about two o'clock in the morning and were lodged in two separate houses. Delchev had arrived a little earlier because his was closer. As soon as we arrived, Delchev, who was lodging in the house opposite to ours, with a big smile on his face came over to greet us. He spoke enthusiastically as he recounted events including the demise of the Ottoman Bank. I remember him saying: "Gentlemen, the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Salonika is no more. It has been uprooted from its foundation just like we will uproot the entire rotten Turkish Empire. He was going to tell us more but as people began to arrive he said: “We will continue this conversation later in the Lovchanski forest during the congress, and now (as he turned to me) give me some of that Dramsko tobacco so I can roll each of us a cigarette." We each made a cigarette as he briefly talked to me about the people who bombed the bank and how each had made a promise and how some went back on it afterward. A little later we left for our lodges to get some rest. Before leaving I posted sentries from our cheta as well as from the Banitsa Cheta at four places outside the village to keep guard.

Unfortunately someone had tipped off the Turks about Delchev being in Banitsa, and they immediately began to form a circle around a half hour's distance from the village. Then before dawn, just as the sentries left their post to return to town, the circle began to close.

The serenity of early morning was broken when I heard a rustle made by a man rushing up the stairs. He flung my door open and out of breath looking frightened he uttered the words “Voivoda Chakov, we are done for!” I immediately recognized the man; he was Georgi Ivanov, a field watchman from the village who at the time was working outside of the village. I jumped to my feet and while he was trying to catch his breath I asked him “what is it Georgi?" In a breathless voice he said “the town is filled with soldiers". “By God man where are the soldiers and where did they come from?” I asked. “Everywhere, voivoda Chakov, everywhere" he said. “Does Delchev know? Have you told him?” I asked and then ordered him to run fast and tell Delchev we need to leave now and take shelter at the edge of the village, because the Turks were surely going to burn the village down and roast us in it like mice!"

While Georgi ran off to inform Delchev, my comrades and I prepared for a quick departure. We assembled in the yard single file as we approached the gate. I was first in line followed by Taska. I looked in both directions outside the gate and saw two girls leaving the house where Delchev was staying. “Where are our comrades?” I asked. One of the girls responded “They are over here and you should come here too” as she disappeared through the gate of the neighbouring house. I whispered to Taska “I am going to go first and see what Delchev had in mind to do” and I advised him to soon follow. I hopped across the narrow street, which was only about two meters wide, and ran into the gate of the house where Delchev was. Unfortunately, I was not expected. It appears that the girl took it upon herself to invite us over without the knowledge of our comrades.

No sooner than I rushed through the gate I found myself confronted by Delchev who at the very moment was hiding behind the gate. He hurled himself at me with gun and knife ready to strike. He wasn’t expecting me, he was expecting Turkish soldiers. When he recognized me he was both relieved and perturbed. “Ckakov, you have no idea what I was going to do to you” he said and added “But it’s good that you came here, now leave and tell the rest of our comrades not to come here and to defend themselves from where they are. Likewise we will defend ourselves from here”.

As Delchev was uttering those words, I saw through the window Turkish soldiers going up the stairs in the neighbouring house. We were lucky they didn’t see as, as their backs were turned to us. I immediately pointed them out to Delchev who said: “Chakov, best we leave now and hold out at the edge of the village”.

We rushed out to the street and made our way to the high edge of the village. Thanks to the narrow and winding streets and to the cover of the thick walls we escaped unseen. About twenty to thirty paces ahead were thick walls, field enclosures, which served us well as we made our getaway. Delchev was running ahead so I tugged at him and asked him to let me and a few others get ahead. To my surprise, Delchev looked at me with a certain pride in his face which I had never seen before and said: Why Chakov, go ahead, do as God wills!”

Delchev was a proud man, his cloak swept over his left shoulder, he wore a white fez wrapped in a blue scarf and his rifle flung over the crook of his left arm but before he finished talking we noticed soldiers with rifles pointing at us. We were running straight into their hands.

Delchev pulled out his gun and fired first shouting: "I despise you!" The rest of us took a dive for cover. Delchev unfortunately remained upright and proceeded to reload his gun. I shouted at him: "Gotse lay down quickly, get yourself on the ground!"

As we lay down bullets showered over us like hail. Delchev too was now down to my left only a foot away, lying on stomach. I saw him reload but before he could manage to fire off a second shot, he slumped over his rifle and remained still. I thought he was taking cover but after a few moments his gun fell out of his hands. He propped himself up on his arms, but just barely looking to see how his comrades were doing. I heard him groan: "Ah they wounded me!" And with those words Delchev was dead.

I grabbed him by the right leg and tugged at him shouting: “Gotse! Gotse! Gotse” but Gotse would not reply. He was gone, gone before his time. The guiding light of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, the soul of the Macedonian Liberation Movement was gone forever.

(Source: Pages 4 to 6, Macedonian Magazine # 421, May, 1988. Translation by Michael Seraphinoff, edited by Risto Stefov.)

[Georgi Nikolov Delchev (1872-1903), well-known with his diminutive name Gotse Delchev, was an important 19th century revolutionary figure in Ottoman Macedonia and Thrace. For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotse_Delchev (note added by the Moderator of CASA DE L'EST's Forum).]
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Enviado - 10 noviembre 2007 :  14:49:41  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
GJURCHIN KOKALESKI (1775-1863)
A MAN OF VISION


By Alexander Matkovski

Gjurchin Kokaleski was one of the first leaders of the Macedonian national revival which affected society, religion and culture in this region. He lived during the second half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century in a district inhabited by the Miyaks. During his lifetime the Miyak clan system was in decline and being replaced by individual family groupings whose senior members were considered to be the owners of all the family property. The women were mostly excluded from production and the children inherited through their father's line. So the contemporary family appeared in Mala Reka and gradually replaced the clan as the basic unit of economic and social organization. The clans did not disappear entirely but remained in a degenerate form throughout the nineteenth century.

As the clans declined so the clan chiefs lost their importance: respect was no longer accorded to character or experience but was won by wealth expressed, in Mala Reka, in terms of sheep.

The owners of the big sheep herds, the kaya, were accorded ever greater authority in their villages or clans (in as far as the latter had not died out) and they gradually rose to be the village or clan chiefs. So the richest man in the village became its representative and a power in the locality though he was not officially recognized by the Turks except in extraordinary cases. As these local chiefs gained in importance the people became more and more convinced that Turkish government was superfluous. It is for this reason that these new village chiefs were of such importance. They differed from the old clan chiefs in that they depended on the support of the whole village or district without discrimination on clan or family lines.

As these chiefs won their authority through their wealth they made no effort to hide it. On the contrary, they emphasized it: they rode fine horses, dressed well in elaborate costume of the Miyaks, were accompanied by many servants and resembled minor princes. The cult of wealth supported the cult of the owners of wealth. They were respected by the Albanians, Macedonians and even the Turks. Using this respect the chiefs were able to protect their people from the Turks and Albanians and so were transformed gradually into the heads of a system of popular defense and were in the pastoral life of the livestock merchants. This autobiography has not yet been properly investigated by historians and economists. The document is an important source for the student of Macedonian and its written forms as well as for the historian. This aspect has been treated by Dr. Aleksandar Belich in The Galichnik Dialect but it now seems to us that some corrections need to be made to several of his conclusions. An important point is that Kokaleski probably developed his own original forms and variations for some of the letters or, more accurately, phonetic symbols, the forefront of the popular struggle against the Turks, Albanians and the cultural influence of the Greek Patriarchate. On the whole they used legal means in their struggle (though some more courageous chiefs turned to armed insurrection). There were many such chiefs in Mala Reka.

Among all these chiefs both in terms of wealth and the extent of his services to his people Gjurchin Kokaleski was outstanding. He was leader not only of his own village Lazaropole but of the whole region. Most important for us he wrote his autobiography. Kokaleski's autobiography is the first known autobiography in Macedonian national history. It is written in Macedonian in Kokaleski's native dialect. We find that the author was extremely knowledgeable about livestock and trade. This autobiography differs from those written by the poet Prlichev and Bishop Natanail in that it was not written by an intellectual nor was it an attempt at a work of art, nor was it intended as a memorial to the author and his clan for future generations. It was written for practical reasons as a textbook for Kokaleski's sons and grandsons as he was himself a practical and enterprising man, a typical member of the merchant bourgeoisie.

Kokaleski's autobiography concerns the early period of the Macedonian popular revival: the period when Kiril Peychinovik and Yoakim Krchovski were publishing their own books in vernacular Macedonian though they were intended for use by the church; a period when a part of the Macedonian intelligentsia considered Greek to be the language of educated people. As Kokaleski's book was not of a religious nature it is also the first secular book in the history of Macedonian culture.

Kokaleski, in keeping with his position as a member of the merchant bourgeoisie, knew Turkish, Greek and Albanian though never used these languages in every day life except for business. We only know of one document written by him which includes a language other than Macedonian and even in this he uses only two lines of Turkish written in the Church-Slavonic script. We can assume from this fact that though he knew Turkish he did not know the Arabic script.

Kokaleski's autobiography is an important economic and political document for Macedonian history as it gives much economic and historical data concerning the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. It includes invaluable material on the situation in Macedonia over a period of 48 years from 1775 to 1824. It is particularly rich in information about livestock, summer and winter pastures and the herdsmen's migrations. We learn about the pastoral life of the livestock merchants.

This autobiography has not yet been properly investigated by historians and economists.

The document is an important source for the student of Macedonian and its written forms as well as for the historian. This aspect has been treated by Dr. Aleksandar Belich in The Galichnik Dialect but it now seems to us that some corrections need to be made to several of his conclusions. An important point is that Kokaleski probably developed his own original forms and variations for some of the letters or, more accurately, phonemic symbols.

We consider these forms to be Kolaleski's own as he used them in 1823 at the time when Vuk Karadzhich began his work on the reform of the orthography and he can hardly have been under the influence of these reforms so early particularly living in such a remote dis- trict of western Macedonia. We also find that Kokaleskie's forms differ substantially from those used by Karadzhich. We should remember that in Church-Slavonic script #1116; and #1107; were not differentiatiated (e.g. in Peychinovik's work) and even if Kokaleski took the #295; form from some church manuscript and added #1106; independently it was an important step forward. We can also base our assumption that Kokaleski was not influenced by Karadzhich's reforms on the fact that he does not use the #1113; and #1114;, forms used by Karadzhich.

The autobiography appeared as a natural consequence of the economic and cultural reevival in Macedania but, not being published, it had no influence on subsequent literature. We can also find no traces in the contents which would indicate the influence of previous religious literature so it is a completely unique work. However, the form taken by the autobiography does reflect some ecclesiastical literature.

In 1822 Kokaleski had over 1,000 sheep, 25 horses and the huge sum of 25,000 grosh.

From 1823 Kokaleski remained more often in Lazaropole and sent his sons to look after the sheep. He only visited his pastures occasionally and left more and more of the work to his sons introducing them in this way to the pastoral life and leaving himself free for his social works. The Constantinople Patriarchate tried to gain influence in Miyak regions but failed in face of the popular resistance led by energetic merchant herdsmen and local monks. Kokaleski was such a leader and considered the greatest crime to be to lose one's national identity particularly in favour of Greek or Turkish influences. So he decided to build a great church in his village. In pursuit of this aim he went to Mount Athos in 1807 and visited Zographou to talk with the monk Anatolia who was of like mind and ask his advice on how to extract permission for the building from the Turks. He failed to get permission and shelved his plan until better times. After the Peace of Edrine conditions for the Orthodox Church improved but for church buildings permission was still necessary. Finding it difficult to be granted an audience with the sultan Kokaleski decided in 1832 to begin building without the necessary documents. This was possible in such a remote mountain village where the Turks rarely appeared. The building began on 15th April, 1832, and the new church arose around the old wooden structure, which could hold no more than 20 people, which had served as a church up till then. The wooden church was demolished in 1841. Kokaleski succeeded in making the undertaking legal in 1838 when he was granted an audience with the sultan.

The organization of the church building remained throughout in Kokaleski's and the priest Martin Dimkovski's hands. It was built with the aid of voluntary contributions of money, ecclesiastical objects or labour.

Kokaleski wanted to name the church St. Ilia in memory of his father whose name was Ilia, but the villagers insisted his own name be used and the church consecrated on St. Ilia's day to keep the memory of his father alive. It was duly named St. Gjorgjia and consecrated on St. Ilia's day, 1841. The celebrations attracted visitors from all the Miyak villages bringing gifts for the church: this was a true Miyak holiday as the church was the first in the region.

Before the completion of the church Kokaleski decided that it must be decorated with icons and frescoes in the Slavonic manner so he sent one of the local inhabitants to find an icon painter in the Thessalonica region. None wanted to come to this remote village so the price asked by the painter Mihael (Greek or Vlach?) and his 23 year old pupil Dimitria Dicho was high. When this group approached Lazaropole rifle shots were fired to tell the people that the icon painter was coming. They were welcomed heartily. The paintings in the church were started in 1837 but Mihael did not behave well and was obliged to leave Lazaropole after quarreling with most of the important men of the village. His pupil Dicho who came from the nearby village of Tresonche continued the work. It was his first independent work. To begin with he worked uncertainly on the frescoes started by Mihael. He completed his first paintings in 1841. Besides some inscriptions and scenes from the Old and New Testaments Dicho has also left us some realistic frescoes showing Kokaleskl and Martin the priest in the women's area of the church high on the right-hand wall. There were two frescoes depicting Kokaleski and one of Martin. One shows Kokaleski as a young man dressed in the costume of the Miyaks, the other during the years when he was a sick old man. This is certainly the only example in Macedonia of secular persons being painted in a church. During the Middle Ages governors, church dignitaries and various lords, wishing to leave a memorial to themselves, built churches and had their own portraits included in the frescoes. And why should the newly-rich herdsmen, lords, not do likewise? When the church was complete Kokaleski set about providing a bell. We have no information as to whether he traveled personally to Austria but it is more likely that he ordered the bell from the workshops of the Bota brothers through migrant workers -there were many Miyaks both in Austria and Serbia. The bell was cast in this foundry in 1856 and was probably carried by merchants or migrant workers back to Lazaropole in the same year. This was only the fourth bell in Macedonia and the first to be paid for and ordered by a local man. As the Turks did not permit church building bells, they were of necessity rare. Lazaropole was the second place in Macedonia to get a bell (after St. Yovan Bigorski).

For the first ten years the bell was hung from a large oak beam which can now be found in the church dome. After 1856 Kokaleski decided to build a bell tower but he was already nearing his death, a paralyzed old man. He left this job to his sons and four years after his death his eldest son Damyan fulfilled his father's wish.

Before the completion of the church Kokaleski and Martin, the priest, were already worrying how to provide the necessary ecclesiastical texts. They bought books from Russia through merchants and migrant workers who brought them via Thessalonica, Vidin and Serbia. This is very important as it shows they completely rejected books in Greek. From their inscriptions it seems that almost all the books in Lazaropole were bought by Kokaleski and Martin.

When the church was completed a primary school was founded in 1841 on the initiative of Kokaleski and Martin. This was the first Miyak village school.

In one book we find that the first teacher at the school signed himself: “Martin Dimkoski, the priest in the time of Lord Gjurchin Kokaleski”. It is no surprise that the first teacher was Martin, the priest. He was followed by his son Kosta in about 1850. From a document in the possession of Krste Yovanov, a former teacher from Lazaropole, it seems that the first school building adjoined the church and was built towards the end of 1840. The new school was built twenty years later (about 1860) and so Lazaropole had the finest church and the finest school in the whole region.

This same document mentioned above also tells us that classes were held in the mother tongue as the teachers, local people, knew no other language and the books used were written in Church-Slavonic.

Kokaleski also helped rebuild the monastery of the Immaculate Mother (Sv. Prechista) near Kichevo which had caught fire four times and been raided by Albanians. After the fourth fire, which had been started by robbers from the village of Drugovo, the monastery began to revive in 1848 but there were not the means with which to complete the restoration work so Simeon, the abbot, turned to the Miyaks for aid. The request was answered by Kokaleski, Sardzho Bradina from Tresonche and Todor Tomovski of Galichnik who, with the help of the people, saw the rebuilding completed. These leaders organized the villagers so that they carried stones from Tresonche to the monastery each time they went to market. The builders came from Lukovo as they had for the building of the church at Lazaropole. This monastery was important to the Miyaks because, next in importance to St. Yovan Bigorski, it was the focus for religious and educational activity in western Macedonia. The villagers of Lazaropole gave 500 grosh in 1850 for the construction of living quarters.

Kokaleski was given a place of honour in the church as a mark of gratitude for all his services. Even after his death popular demand was such that he was buried within the church by the altar and not in the cemetery. He died in 1863, seven years before Martin Dimkoski who buried him. Kokaleski's death brought many people from nearby villages to pay their last respects to this man. Official representatives of the Turkish authorities in Debar and beys from the region also came. His kinsmen travelled from Albania. The funeral was attended by the abbots of St. Yovan Bigorski and the monastery of the Immaculate Mother and it was led by Martin, the priest, who spoke of the fine deeds of Kokaleski and likened his life to the life of a national fighter.

("Macedonian Review")

(From The Macedonian Digest, Edition 23 – November 2007: http://www.maknews.com/html/articles/stefov/digest_23.html)
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Enviado - 04 diciembre 2007 :  00:18:26  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
PROCLAMATION OF THE "MACEDONIA TO THE MACEDONIANS" SOCIETY

15th April 1891

To the Macedonian people!

Our homeland of Macedonia was once one of the most glorious countries. The Macedonian people laid the first foundations of the art of war. Alexander the Great with his victorious phalanxes spread Aristotle's enlightenment into the Asian continent and thus civilized humanity. Yet our homeland so glorious in the past is now in danger of being dismembered and even obliterated, for we, the Macedonians have neglected our nationality, and the other nations are demanding our country as theirs, seeking to subject our great nation which in the past shone so brightly in her independence.

True Macedonians!

Our homeland has become an orphan. Her victorious banner, in front of which the whole world once trembled, today exists no more as a banner of a separate nation. The name of Macedonia is today written on the maps as some memory, and her victorious graves lie in the great graveyards of oblivion, thanks to the pernicious intrigues of those who have been cruising through our land for several years imbuing our people with discord and open hatred. These bodies are gravediggers of our once glorious Macedonia. They work on her being dismembered and prepare the ground by local disputes concerning the penetration of foreign armies into our homeland. These are critical days for the existence of Macedonia. The question of her life or death is being decided. Macedonian heroes! Will you allow your beautiful homeland to be buried while you are still alive? Look at her wounds inflicted by the poisoned arrows of the surrounding peoples who want to split her up! In such a desperate position our dear motherland of Macedonia is looking at us with her eyes full of tears, calling:

If you are really my children, if Macedonian blood is still flowing in your veins, then it will be better to die for me than to remain living witnesses of the disappearance of the Macedonian nationality. Do not believe any more the intrigues of the neighbouring peoples who only desire my downfall. You are the children of my womb, regardless of whether you speak Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Romanian, Wallachian or Hebrew. All of you are my babies, regardless of whether you believe in Mohammed, Moses or Jesus. Although some of you may recognize the Pope as your leader, others the Sheikh-Islam, a third group the Exarch, a fourth the Patriarch, a fifth the Rabbi, you are nevertheless the children of your only mother of Macedonia who weeps day and night, imploring you to be reconciled and agree among yourselves and become brothers. Will you not be ashamed if you were split up and divided by your neighbours who speak in their respective languages but who are my enemies? Will you moreover allow them to bury me in the grave together with the glorious Macedonian name? If you do not desire it, but, on the contrary, if you want to heal my wounds and decide as real Macedonians to write "Macedonia to the Macedonians" upon the banner I have raised today, then banish from the land of your great-grandfathers all the conspirators that inculcate discord and national hatred among you, my children and brothers in blood, and disunite you into various alien nationalities. Acknowledging this banner of mine as your only true banner, call out: Long live the indivisible Macedonian people!

From the protocol of the latest meeting of the Central "Macedonia to the Macedonians" Society, at which it was decided to print this proclamation in all the languages of Macedonia.

In Constantinople, 15th April 1891
The Central Society

(From The Macedonian Digest. Edition 24 – December 2007.)
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BOOK * LLIBRE * LIBRO * LIVRE

The Contest for Macedonian Identity 1870-1912
by Nick Anastasovski

Pollitecon Publications, Abbotsford NSW 2046 (Australia), 2008
ISBN 978-0-9804763-0-9
520 pages


The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912 is a scholarly book detailing the ongoing campaigns to divide and conquer the Macedonian people - first by the Ottoman Empire under which Macedonia was colonized by Muslims and many Macedonians converted to Islam; and then by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria as they fought to turn Macedonians into Greeks, Serbs and Bulgarians using State-sponsored teachers, priests, bandits and terrorists.

The Contest For Macedonian Identity examines in detail this fierce competition, and how it was fought at the political, religious, educational, and day-to-day village level. It analyzes Ottoman, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian and other sources and introduces new and original research by the author from the Bitola region, western Macedonia, and many other parts of ethnic and Ottoman Macedonia. This is a definitive work on the occupation of Macedonia in the modern era and the development and defense of the Macedonian identity.

With 520 pages, The Contest for Macedonian Identity 1870-1912 is a big, generous book, well researched and easy to read. It has a large format 245 mm high x 170 mm wide, and a four colour celloglazed cover. The ISBN is 978-0-9804763-0-9

The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912 is the ninth Macedonian book published by Pollitecon Publications. It is available in Australia for $35 plus $10 postage. Overseas airmail is A$60. To order your copy simply complete the attached coupon or visit http://www.pollitecon.com.

Thank you

Victor Bivell
Pollitecon Publications
PO Box 3102
Abbotsford NSW 2046
Australia
Ph 02 9713 7608
Fx 02 9713 1004
Email vbivell@pollitecon.com
Web http://www.pollitecon.com
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Enviado - 29 septiembre 2008 :  20:01:20  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912

Book Review by Risto Stefov (rstefov@hotmail.com)
August 27, 2008

The book “The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912”, written by Nick Anastasovski and published by Pollitecon Publications is a scholarly publication which describes in detail ongoing attempts first by the Ottoman Empire then by Macedonia’s neighbours Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria to dominate Macedonia and control the Macedonian people. After colonizing Macedonia, the Muslim Ottoman Empire economically influenced many Macedonians to convert to Islam. Then when the Ottoman Empire fell apart Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria fought by any means possible to turn Macedonians into Greeks, Serbs and Bulgarians including the use of State-sponsored teachers, priests, and terrorism through armed interventions.

Nick Anastasovski in his book “The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912” carefully examines in detail the fierce competition between the various factions and shows how they fought at the political, religious, educational and day-to-day level. He analyzes numerous Ottoman, Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian and other sources and introduces new and original research which he conducted in the Bitola region, western Macedonia and other parts of ethnic and Ottoman Macedonia.

Besides offering historical and personal accounts of people and events that shaped Macedonia in the last two hundred years or so, Nick also provides maps, statistical and demographic charts from various sources, does his own comparative analysis and reaches his own conclusions.

The book is full of historical facts not only about Macedonia’s history but also about the Macedonian peoples’ culture, centuries old traditions and customs. Nick dedicates an entire chapter to Bitola in which, among other things, he describes the various customs and traditions observed in the region including those of marriage, the role of women in society and the home, religious celebrations, holidays, rain rituals and more. The customs and traditions may vary a little but equally apply to every corner of Macedonia. The tradition I liked best, which Nick describes in his book on page 263, is the Dudule. I have always been fascinated by the rain ritual performed during droughts especially by the lyrics in the various chants. The rain dance is not exclusive to Macedonia, it is a world phenomenon most popularized by the indigenous people of North America.

I also found a map on page 118, which I have been looking for. It is a map of the three Ottoman Macedonian Vilayetes of 1900. Did you know that Kosovo was part of the Skopje Vilayet and most of Albania was under the Vilayet of Bitola?

The book is subdivided into six chapters. Chapter one examines the colonization of Macedonia and the role religion played in the political and economic classification of people. Chapter two examines the inconsistencies and contradictions of ethnographic data on Macedonia. Chapter three outlines demographic data of the Bitola Region. This chapter also describes how political insecurity initiated by the rivalry of the Balkan States created general economic instability and gave rise to the emigration of temporary workers known as pechelbari. Chapter four provides an overview of the establishment and role of foreign religious organizations in Macedonia. Here the reader will not only learn about the role of the Patriarchate and Exarchate Churches but also about the role Western Churches played in Macedonia. Chapter five analyzes the impact of schools in both the Bitola rural environment as well as the urban center to determine what effects foreign education had on the Macedonian identity. Chapter six seeks to evaluate the impact of islamicisation upon identity, social structure and village rituals in the Dolna Reka, Debar Region.

By far the strongest of Nick’s abilities here is his understanding and presentation of the roles of each of the competitors vying for Macedonia and how each manipulated situations to gain an advantage over the others and particularly over the Macedonian people.

In his abstract he writes, “As a contested space Macedonia in the late nineteenth century suffered political, religious and paramilitary incursions made upon the population by the neighbouring nascent states and the disappearing Ottoman Empire. Territorial claims were rationalized by ethnographic maps and statistical population data. Interested commentators viewed Macedonia in accordance with government policy and presented their studies as academic and scientific, even though these studies were clearly political in nature. The European Powers maintained their own pretence and acted as patrons of the small Balkan States. Although churches, schools and paramilitary bands were the primary instruments of the Greek, Bulgarian and Serb states, expansion into Macedonia was ultimately achieved by a full military mobilization when the armies of Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia marched into Macedonia in October 1912 and drove out the Ottoman Turks. The territorial division of Macedonia and claims upon the Macedonians have continued to be a matter of contention between the Balkan States into contemporary times.”

In regards to population data compiled by non-Balkan Europeans supporting views of the respective Balkan States, on page 148 he writes: “Of primary importance to the European powers was Macedonia’s strategic geographical location. Since ancient times Macedonia had been a strategic stepping stone between east and west for invading armies and empires. In the late nineteenth-century Macedonia found herself the central focus of conflicting European power struggles. Russian and Austrian hopes for access to Solun had to be achieved via Serbian or Bulgarian territories, and Russia offered Macedonia to Serbia and Bulgaria from time to time in the course of negotiations. The English and French encouraged the idea of a greater Greece in order to forestall Russian and Austrian attempts to gain access to the Mediterranean. The imperialist designs of the European Powers took precedence over ethnographic questions and views based on Macedonia being a ‘territory of dispute’ were more in line with existing political agendas. There was no shortage of individuals willing to link their ethnographic findings to political positions. As we have seen, subsequent population statistics are generally unreliable and ‘either compiled to project specific national claims, or, as with certain foreign census takers, based on insufficient or intentionally distorted facts and sources’.”

On page 92 he writes “Expressions of Macedonian national identity were disregarded, or otherwise poorly grasped by many nineteenth-century commentators. Visitors to Macedonia would tour the country in tow of a representative of one or another of the interested rivals and the traveler ‘assimilated the ideas of his guide rather than divined the nationalism of the people’. Other commentators attested that Macedonians possessed no national consciousness and simply identified as Christians.”

On page 92-93 Nick provides an example of religion being used to substitute for ethnic or national identity. He writes “A parallel account was given in 1888 by the Greek Professor Valavanes concerning his native Cappodocian village. Valavanes concluded that: Hellenism exists almost intact in the Christian community, the Asia Minor Greek ‘does not even know the name of the tribe to which he belongs’. Asked what he is ‘he will answer you promptly Christian’. ‘Very well, others are Christian too, the Armenians, the French, the Russians. ...’ ‘I don’t know’, he will tell you, ‘yes, they too (may) believe in Christ, but I am a Christian’. ‘Aren’t you perhaps a Hellene?’ ‘No, I’m not anything (of the sort). I told you I am a Christian, and again I tell you I am a Christian!’ he will answer you impatiently. According to Valavanes, this demonstrates the close relationship of the notions of Christianity and ethnicity for these people, and they ‘love Russia as a bulwark of the faith against the enemy of Christ’.”

I have always believed that Macedonians had never had the need to define themselves as anything other than Macedonians. Here is what Nick has to say: “A popular term of identification indicating separateness from, others, and acknowledges an individual or group as being Macedonian, is the term ‘nash’ or ‘nashi’, literally meaning ‘ours’ -or ‘one of ours’.

These terms of identification persist even at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Similarly Macedonian Muslims, when referring to other Macedonian Muslims, used the term ‘nash Turchin’ (‘one of us’ / ‘ours – Turk’) instead of simply ‘Turchin’, as was the case when referring to a Muslim Turkish speaker. Depending upon which particular Balkan church maintained religious jurisdiction over a village, the inhabitants might have used the terms ‘Exarchists’ (Eksarhisti) or ‘Patriarchists’ (Patriarhisti) when referring to ‘others’, or when intending to use derogatory labels one could refer to ‘others’ as ‘Bugari’ (Bulgarians) or ‘Grci’ (Greeks). These labels were understood as being representative of a religious association and not as a form of ethnic or national identification.”

Nick in his book also tackles another controversial but less known subject, the role of the Muslim Albanians in Macedonia. On page 454 he says: “From the end of the eighteenth century, Albanian Muslim colonists, more hostile and violent than the Ottoman Turks, commenced moving into Macedonia and over the coming centuries, to the end of Ottoman rule, were notorious persecutors of the Christian population. Although a limited number of historians have acknowledged that Albanian persecution of Christians resulted in Christians emigrating from western Macedonia, the Albanian role in the Islamicisation of the Macedonian Christian population has been largely unnoticed by historians.”

Another less noticeable subject that Nick has tackled in his book is how religion was used to manipulate census numbers. Here is what he has to say on page 454: “Islamicisation can be viewed as a strategy aimed at securing Ottoman rule. At the end of the nineteenth century; when the Empire was in a process of decay, and the Ottomans were attempting to prolong their rule in the land, they claimed that the Muslim element constituted the majority element in Macedonia. The numerical importance of Islamicised Macedonians saw them incorporated into the overall Turkish/Muslim population figures.

Contemporary and modern, accounts of the political rivalry of late nineteenth-century Ottoman Macedonia fail to examine the position of the Macedonian Muslim population. Ottoman Macedonia is too often viewed only from a Christian perspective -in relation to the struggle of the Balkan States for the adherence of the Macedonian Christian population. In contrast, the present work has considered Macedonians of the Muslim religion in terms of perceptions of their own identity. Furthermore, Macedonian Muslim perceptions of Macedonian Christians are of vital importance to the overall aims of this thesis. Evidence obtained indicates that Macedonian Christians were viewed as the same people, but of a different religion, and not as ‘Bulgarians’, ‘Greeks’ or ‘Serbs’. Macedonian Muslims of the sample Reka district had no concept or understanding of the terms ‘Patriarchists’ and ‘Exarchists’ as labels for Macedonian Christians.”

Nick Anastasovski has made use of over sixty primary and more that one hundred and thirty secondary sources as well as numerous other documents to put this book together.

With 520 pages and a large format, “The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912” is a well researched and easy to read book that everyone should own. It is an excellent defensive weapon to use in the protection of the Macedonian identity.

“The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912” is the ninth Macedonian book published by Pollitecon Publications. It is available in Australia for $35 plus $10 postage.

In North America the book can be purchased from the Canadian Macedonian Historical Society’s web page www.macedonianhistory.ca for $ 45 Canadian. See http://www.macedonianhistory.ca/html/books.html

The Contest For Macedonian Identity 1870-1912
By Nick Anastasovski

ISBN 978-0-9804763-0-9
Published by POLLITECON PUBLICATIONS, 2008
PO Box 3102 Abbotsford NSW 2046
Australia Ph: (02) 9715 7608
Fx: (02) 9713 1004
Em: info@pollitecon.com
Web: www.pollitecon.com
Editor & Publisher: Victor Bivell
Front Cover: A Macedonian family from the Reka region of western Macedonia circa early 20th century.

About the author:

Nick Anastasovski was born in 1965 in Bitola, Macedonia. He arrived with his family in Australia in early 1966 and grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne. He graduated from La Trobe University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Sociology and Philosophy. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Victoria University in 2006 for The Contest for Macedonian Identity 1870-1912 (under the title of Contestations over Macedonian Identity 1870-1912). In recognition of Nick's academic performance, he was awarded Outstanding Final Year Research Student in the School of Social Sciences at Victoria University in 2006.

(Text sent to CASA DE L'EST by Mr. Risto Stefov.)
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Enviado - 14 diciembre 2008 :  13:58:13  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
La falta de conservación amenaza el santuario medieval de Treskavec

LAOPINION.es / EFE
Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Entre las imponentes pedregosas cumbres que se elevan por encima de la ciudad de Prilep, a 170 kilómetros de Skopje, se levanta el monasterio ortodoxo de Treskavec, uno de los cien monumentos culturales más valiosos del mundo que corre riesgo de desaparecer.

El santuario de la Santa Virgen, del siglo XII, ubicado en Zlatovrv (Cima de oro), a una altura de 1.280 metros sobre el nivel del mar, está incluido desde hace tres años en el programa World Monuments Watch, una lista de monumentos y sitios culturales amenazados en el mundo por negligencia, vandalismo, conflictos armados o catástrofes naturales.

El acceso al monasterio, donde ahora vive sólo un monje, es posible a pie desde Prilep, en unas dos horas, o en un vehículo todoterreno por una senda sin asfaltar muy difícil.

El monasterio fue edificado sobre los cimientos de una basílica cristiana del siglo V, que a su vez nació de un templo pagano de la antigüedad, del que todavía persisten los restos de varios pilares.

Fragmentos de estatuas que representan a seres humanos de aquella época están incorporados en la fachada del santuario ortodoxo.

El cristianismo llegó al territorio de la actual Macedonia por primera vez con el apóstol Pablo, que pasó por la zona en sus viajes en los que propagaba incansablemente su religión.

Grandes grietas en las paredes del templo, deterioros que se deben a su antigüedad y también a frecuentes sismos en esa zona del sureste europeo, ponen en peligro el valioso objeto hasta el punto de que podría derrumbarse.

Los frescos más antiguos del templo son del siglo XIII. En algunos se pueden ver representaciones muy singulares de los santos que en sus cabezas llevan gorras venecianas medievales.

El Gobierno de Macedonia, país balcánico de unos dos millones de habitantes y uno de los más pobres de Europa, ha destinado este año 700.000 euros para la conservación del monasterio de Treskavec.

El programa gubernamental prevé, además de la reconstrucción del monasterio, la construcción de la carretera de acceso y del sistema de suministro de agua, según la ministra de Cultura, Elizabeta Kancheva-Mileva.

En la Iglesia ortodoxa macedonia, algunos no ven con beneplácito todos los planes del gobierno.

"Queremos mucho que se conserve el templo, y eso debe ser una prioridad suprema. Pero no hay que asfaltar la carretera, porque (el monasterio) debe permanecer como un sitio de paz y oración, y eso sería imposible si hay una carretera. Con ésta será como un manicomio", declararon a Efe en la MPC.

Treskavec es desde hace años uno de los destinos en Macedonia que más desean visitar los turistas, y pernoctar en sus celdas auténticas.

El paisaje en torno al templo tiene un aspecto de relieve lunar, con peñascos de formas diferentes y de colores entre gris y verde.

En esa zona, se rodaron varias películas nacionales y extranjeras, entre ellas "Before the rain" ("Antes de la lluvia"), del director macedonio Milcho Manchevski, que en 1994 fue premiado por el León de Oro en el festival de cine de Venecia

(http://www.laopinion.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008110700_8_180570__Cultura-falta-conservacion-amenaza-santuario-medieval-Treskavec)
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Enviado - 19 diciembre 2008 :  21:40:56  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
republiquedemacedoine.com
CULTURA, HISTÒRIA I GEOGRAFIA DE MACEDÒNIA
CULTURA, HISTORIA Y GEOGRAFÍA DE MACEDONIA


http://www.republiquedemacedoine.com/cms/index.php

Portal web en francès que recull informació diversa sobre Macedònia: geografia, història, política, actualitat, llengua, música, imatges...

Portal web en francés que recoge información diversa sobre Macedonia: geografía, historia, política, actualidad, lengua, música, imágenes...

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Enviado - 19 mayo 2009 :  13:19:23  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
The End Of An Era
“The Conspiracy Of Silence Is Finally Over”


Vasil Bogov

www.macedonian-revelation.cjb.net

Modern European powers, don’t forget Macedonia!
Macedonian people and the Macedonian language have a legitimate right to be called Macedonian.


A transparent historical phenomenon in European history, a pragmatic historical reality; now reveal a foremost task for modern Europe and the whole world, to analyse and acknowledge this ethical discovery.

From the author of the book “Macedonian Revelation”.

Remember at the beginning in 1878 that disputed European congress in Berlin by the “modern powers of Europe”, the cause was Macedonia, those old Christian churches and huge Christian libraries, that sacred Christian sanctuary of the living God in Christendom Macedonia. Yet no Macedonian representative was invited to that congress.

In 1913 that controversial and unjust European treaty in Bucharest by the “modern powers”, again no Macedonian representative was invited there, yet the cause was Macedonia; the Macedonian territory, Macedonian language and old Christendom. However, that Bucharest treaty in 1913 now becomes the European calamity, the real blunder or misconception for any united Europe today.

Remember, the first Christian bishop was a Macedonian; he nominated Solun as the capital city for Macedonia, and the base or foundation for a Christian faith. From Solun started the “Christian Church Building Program”, hence forward Solun and Holy Mountain in Macedonia flourished for over one thousand years. The Christian religion stood for trust and confidence among fellow men. For centuries during that great Christian era, the ambition of every devout Christian man was to make a pilgrimage to Holy Mountain in Macedonia. Let’s not forget that the first literary book printed in Europe was the Christian Bible in Solun - the capital city of Macedonia, there were uninterrupted printing presses in that great Christian era, or throughout all ages right up to 1878. For the first time in 1878 the Christian Bible was translated into a new political modern language, and it was politicised with over 6000 new words and names to accommodate a new ideology created by the modern secular system, and it was renamed “The New Testament”.

Also remember history’s greatest and most agonising trek, the 1922 human tidal waves that too was initiated by “modern powers”, that destructive scandal on humanity, the cause was Macedonia again, those ancient Christian churches and libraries in Christendom Macedonia.

In 1977 an ancient tomb was discovered in Europe. In now modern north Greece by a professor of archeology, and it was proved conclusively that it is a Macedonian tomb with the Macedonian nations sacred symbol; the 16 arrow sunrays in solid gold.

Coincidentally as the professor was looking on those shining spears and sword he said with confidence: “looks like the Macedonian people had stainless steel over 2,300 years ago”.

Macedonia now must be considered at the cradle of human history.

A 2,300 years old tribe that come into existence for the first time in 1978 north Pakistan, they say with confidence “we are Makedontsi (Macedonians)”, descendants of Alexander the Great cultural empire. SURPRISE! Their main communication words are identical to Macedonian words even today, and their embroideries nothing like that traditional to Pakistan, but rather like typical Macedonian craftwork, the same as in the market places in the Republic of Macedonia today. For Macedonian culture and language, we now have profound evidence that it is an imperative historical culture throughout all ages.

A tangible evidence of this historical truth unveils a real cultural genocide did take place in Macedonia, a humanitarian catastrophe, to people whom did so much for European civilisation and the legacy it holds world over today, especially in regards to European culture and literature to say the least. In a nutshell; Macedonia and the Macedonian people became the victim in this modern secular or political world, for no other cause than that, for being the Christian torchbearers for over 1000 years.

Big powers today should stop their unrealistic crusade and offensive policy against Macedonia and the Macedonian people. Hear a logical conclusion by the pioneers or modern historians: “the Macedonian people have created work, which hitherto history has rarely been able to record”. Now that the secret is out, and the truth revealed, all our modern neighbours can rest in peace their heartless provocations and bickering against Macedonia and Macedonian people with confidence.

(Article sent to CASA DE L'EST by Mr. Risto Stefov, May 19, 2009.)
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Enviado - 24 julio 2009 :  23:27:19  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Ancient tombs with peculiar gold mask discovered in Macedonia

EARTH TIMES, London / DPA
20 July 2009

Skopje - Macedonian archaeologists have discovered 17 tombs dating from the 5th century BC in Ohrid, southwestern Macedonia, local media reported Monday. In one tomb, archaeologists found bones of a 15-year-old girl with a unique funeral mask made up of thin gold eye-covers, gold plate for the mouth and a plaque with an engraved sun placed on her chest.

"This kind of a mask is unique for the Balkans. Several gold plates were found in Aegean region, but this kind of combination in one grave is unknown," Pasko Kuzman, head of the Macedonian Department for Cultural Heritage, was quoted as saying.

Jewelry, golden chains and objects made from amber were also found in the graves. Amber was brought to the region from the Baltic, indicating strong trade relations with northern European.

Archaeologists will continue with explorations of the site until autumn, and by the end of the year an exhibition with the findings from the sites will be organized.

(http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/278179,ancient-tombs-with-peculiar-gold-mask-discovered-in-macedonia.html)
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Enviado - 04 agosto 2009 :  12:08:10  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Macedonian Struggle for Independence
The Uprising in Krushevo (1903)


By Risto Stefov
rstefov@hotmail.com
August 2009

The Krushovo Revolutionary District covered an area stretching from the Blato River in the east, the Tsrna River and Prilep in the south, the Velika River in the north and Demir Hisar Region in the west. With the town of Krushevo as its center, the Krushevo Region supported about 10,000 inhabitants of whom 5,000 were Macedonians, 4,000 Vlachs, 400 Christian Albanians and others. In comparison to other towns, Krushevo was more developed and its people more educated and highly motivated working in the fields of trade, handicrafts and cattle breeding.

Like other revolutionary Districts, Krushevo, right after the Smilevo Congress, began preparations for the Uprising by electing leaders and enlisting, training and arming insurgents. Among the six elected representatives, Nikola Karev was elected commander of the insurgency force which at the time numbered about 1,200.

Weapons for the forces were supplied by various channels from Greece, Albania, Tetovo, Kichevo and other places. Six cherry-wood cannons were especially built for the defense of Krushevo and their operators received special instructions on how to deploy them. A ten day training course was provided to all insurgents, which included various tactical exercises and instructions on how to use weapons. Special ovens and storage facilities were also constructed in several secluded places to accommodate cooking for a large number of people and for storing food, clothing, ammunition and other materials.

Upon Krushevo Region’s decision to participate in the Uprising a survey of enemy forces was undertaken and it was discovered that the town of Krushevo was garrisoned by only 60 soldiers and no more than 100 Ottoman civilians were armed. It was also discovered that it would take the Ottomans from 8 to 10 hours to bring reinforcements.

In view of the above facts it was decided to begin the Uprising with an attack and speedy destruction of the Krushevo garrison before the Ottoman reinforcements had enough time to arrive.

It was also decided that after its liberation the Krushevo Region would be defended by positioning the Cheti at various strategic locations. The insurgent force would be divided into eight units; six main and two support. Andrej Dimov’s unit would be assigned to take over the prison, telegraph, post office and the home of the state treasurer and the gendarmerie. Ivan Alabakov’s unit would be assigned to take over the barracks where the Ottoman soldiers were stationed. Pitu Guli’s unit, which would be accompanied by members of the Macedonian village police, would be assigned to protect Krushevo on the south from the direction of the villages Ostriltsi, Birino and Trsenik and provide support to other units when needed. Being the largest, consisting of 300 insurgents, this unit would also have a flag bearer. Gjorgij Dimov was tasked with that duty. Marko Hristov-Mirche’s unit would be assigned to protect Krushevo from the north-east side. Tashko Karev’s unit would be assigned to protect the Pavlena Cheshma Pass and Kosta Hristov’s unit would be assigned to take position at the Muratova Cheshma Pass. Gjurchin Naumov and Gjorgij Stojanov’s units would be assigned to occupy positions at Deni Kamen between Sliva and Bushova Cheshma to the north-west and Pusta Reka.

The Krushevo Uprising Headquarters held a meeting in Birinska Mountain on July 30th, 1903 and finalized its plan for the attack on Krushevo. It also briefed the unit leaders on their assignments. Details of the attacks were withheld until the signal to commence the Uprising was received.

While the military leaders were preparing their strategies, the government in Krushevo, headed by Nikola Karev, was busy preparing the Krushevo Manifesto which was to be distributed to all Ottoman villages just after the Uprising began. The idea of the Manifesto was to provide the people with a real picture of what the Uprising was all about and to assure the Muslims that the Uprising was not against them but against the oppressive Ottoman government. In part the Manifesto said that the Uprising was not aimed against the Muslims but rather against the tyranny and slavery of the oppressive Ottoman government which violated the honour of all people including that of the poor Muslims. The Manifesto also called on all people to rise up against the Ottoman government, join the rebellion and fight for liberty and justice for all. Surprisingly the Manifesto did exactly what it was designed to do and caught the attention of many Ottomans including the attention of Lieutenant Suleyman Ali, the commander of the Krushevo garrison who escaped the rebel attack. In a letter addressed to the Krushevo Republic, Sulayman Ali congratulated the rebels for their accomplishments and on behalf of his people apologized for treating the revolutionaries like bandits. He also wished the rebels success and gave them his blessings. At the end he asked them to destroy the communiqué.

It was believed, because of the Manifesto, less Bashibazuks joined the Ottomans in attacking and ravaging the villages which was of great help to the insurgents.

Attacks against Ottoman defenses took place as planned and the insurgent forces were deployed as expected and in a timely fashion. The attack on Krushevo itself began at midnight with Vangel Topuzov firing the first shot. The gendarmerie was stormed and everyone in it surrendered. The post office also fell without any resistance. The tax inspectors refused to surrender and were killed in a firefight. By the morning of August 3rd, 1903 all of Krushevo business district was in rebel hands.

The Ottoman soldiers however were not as easy to put down as first anticipated and had reached a stalemate with Alabakov’s insurgents. It took the additional forces of Pitu Guli’s reserve detachment to finish the job. Incendiary bombs were eventually used to dislodge the Ottomans. Fourteen hours later 9 soldiers were captured and 17 along with their commander Sulayman Ali broke through the rebel breach and escaped. Eight insurgents were killed and 16 were wounded in this battle. The attack was unexpected and a complete surprise to the Ottomans giving them no advanced warning.

Upon discovering the rebel attack on Krushevo, the Ottomans quickly assembled and dispatched 300 soldiers consisting in part of the 3rd regiment from Prilep and some Albanian Bashibazuks. Upon their arrival in the Spili and Kale vicinity the Ottomans were intercepted by Marko Hristov-Mirche’s Cheta and a firefight broke out forcing the Ottomans to quickly retreat. The Ottomans tried again the next day and the day after to breach Mirche’s defenses but without success. After that the situation in Krushevo remained calm until August 11th, 1903 when a large Ottoman force arrived.

On August 4th, 1903 a Bashibazuk detachment was spotted near Deni Kamen advancing towards Drenovo. Gjurchin Naumov’s Cheta was quickly dispatched and managed to push the Bashibazuks back into a hasty retreat. Twenty Bashibazuks were killed in that battle.

Just as the Ottoman forces were being put down on August 4th, 1903 Nikola Karev, along with other MRO political leaders, arrived in Krushevo. Immediately upon his arrival he proposed the establishment of a six member provisional government. After being welcomed as a hero and liberator, Nikola Karev requested the presence of 60 of the most prominent residents of Krushevo. He specifically asked for prominent people from all three ethnicities, Macedonian, Vlach and Albanian which lived there. From these people six were selected to run the provisional government. They were Dinu Vangel appointed as President and head of the court, Gijorgij Chache appointed Secretary and requisitions manager, Teohar Neshok appointed Treasurer, Hristo Kjurchiev appointed Mayor and Chief of Police, Dimitar Sekulov appointed Manager of food supplies and Dr. Nikola Baljo appointed Manager of Health Care. A Governing Council was then elected and Nikola Karev was appointed President. As President, Nikola Karev declared the Krushevo Region a Republic, the first republic in the Balkans run by Macedonians, Vlachs and Albanians.

First order of business for the newly elected government was to make sure all people, including the Muslims, were protected and treated as equals.

Several houses and stores were turned into workshops and storage depots to store, manufacture and repair weapons, shoes and clothing in aid of the Uprising. Extraordinary measures were also taken to requisition food supplies, weapons and ammunition. Most of the population voluntarily donated such items as pots, pans, dishes and other utensils to be melted down to make bullets.

Headquarters in the meantime worked hard to devise defense plans in order to defend the newly established Macedonian Republic from an Ottoman invasion and looked for the most efficient ways it could deploy its limited defenses. One of the actions taken to bolster the defenses was the construction of a well stocked trench system which would protect the insurgents from enemy fire as well as provision them with supplies for prolonged battles.

It did not take long however for the Ottomans to regroup and start an all out offensive. Between August 5th and 12th, 1903 a sizable force of 18,000 Ottoman soldiers and Bashibazuks was quickly assembled. The force consisted of 40 infantry battalions, several cavalry units, 4 artillery batteries and 24 cannons all concentrated in the Bitola, Prilep and Kichevo Regions.

While the insurgents were busy bolstering their defenses three Ottoman columns were dispatched to attack the regions. The main column commanded by Bahtiar Pasha consisting of 10,000 soldiers, fully equipped with artillery, advanced towards Krushevo from the east, from the Prilep and Krivogashtani direction. The second column consisting of 3,000 Ottoman soldiers also supported by artillery advanced from the south. The third column consisting of about 5,000 soldiers equipped with cavalry and mountain artillery advanced from the north-west.

The Ottomans had good reason to act fast and suppress this Uprising as soon as possible because the Ottoman government was seen as somewhat of a villain by the European public. The establishment of the Krushevo Republic could have had unforeseeable political consequences for the Ottoman Empire if not quickly checked. Besides, Krushevo was a rich region with a healthy economy that would support a high concentration of insurgents and a sustainable and prolonged uprising if allowed to deeply trench itself.

On August 12, 1903 Bahtiar Pasha ordered his troops to encircle Krushevo. Following that he dispatched an ultimatum to the Uprising Headquarters demanding its surrender. The answer from Headquarters however was a flat “no”. “We did not rise up so that we can surrender but rather we took up arms to fight for our liberty and for Macedonia” was the Headquarters’ response. Upon receiving his reply, Bahtiar Pasha ordered his troops to start firing.

Children and the elderly were quickly evacuated in the nearby forests and the rest took up their positions to defend Krushevo. Gjurchin Naumov’s Cheta took up position to defend the heights above the Bitola-Prilep road. Ivan Alabakov’s Cheta took up the defense of Bushova Cheshma, Deni Kamen and the road to Kichevo. Gjiorgij Stojanov’s Cheta was assigned to protect the Sliva Pass and Tashko Karev’s Cheta was sent to defend the road to the village Kochishte at Kojov Trn. Todor Hristov and his group took up defense in the rocky peak at Mechkin Kamen. By orders of Pitu Guli, inspector of the insurgent units, all insurgents without weapons were sent home. The Uprising Headquarters was moved to Gumenje which gave the leadership a good view of the entire Prilep Field.

Upon discovering the size of the Ottoman force surrounding Krushevo, the Council of vojvodas met and recommended to the Provisional Government to surrender the town of Krushevo to spare it from destruction. The plan was to surrender Krushevo and retreat, hoping the Ottomans would pursue. Then while retreating, the insurgents would lead the Ottomans into a trap at the River Zhaba’s narrow pass west of Krushevo. Unfortunately that plan was quickly abandoned when it was discovered that the Ottomans had already taken the pass. Failing that, the Council decided to save its forces by leaving the region altogether. Unfortunately too many insurgents, not wanting to leave their families behind unprotected, disobeyed the orders and decided to fight to the death. Among those who fought suicidal battles was Pitu Guli and his Cheta who declared “if there is no liberty then there is death”.

At 10:00 AM on August 13th, 1903 Bahtiar Pasha ordered his artillery to begin firing. He then ordered his troops to tighten the encirclement around Krushevo. While Krushevo was burning, Headquarters again ordered all insurgents to retreat and Pitu Guli along with 34 of his men again disobeyed and fought until their ammunition ran out saving the last bullets for themselves. Pitu Guli and his men displayed great courage that must never be forgotten.

While most defenses fell apart, Gjiorgij Stojanov’s Cheta managed to safeguard the Sliva Pass allowing many civilians and insurgents to be evacuated. Ivan Alabakov’s Cheta took with it is as many people as possible and also retreated to the hills via the Sliva Pass. Stojanov, with 40 of his fighters however, remained active at the pass and fought to the death. His and his men’s sacrifice saved thousands of people from being trapped by the Ottomans.

By the end of the day on August 13th, 1903 Krushevo was on fire and pillaged by the Bashibazuks who took no pity and slaughtered, murdered, tortured and raped the civilian population. Krushevo and the villages Seltse, Rastoitsa and Zhurche suffered the most with 139 men killed, 165 women raped, 217 houses burned, 210 stores burned to the ground and 1,170 people left homeless. (Vanche Stojchev. “Military History of Macedonia”. Military academy. Skopje, 2004. Page 322)
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