K. Misirkov: The self-determination of Macedonians
My article Macedonian Nationalism, which appeared in Mir on 12 March this year, aroused the ire of the paper Svobodna rech, which described me as "a man who still does not even know his own nationality", a "simple-minded thinker who is capable of writing nonsense, of sinking even lower", and who is "well-known for having once served in the Serbian propaganda service" and for lending his support to the theories of the Belgrade professor Cvyitch concerning the existence of a separate Macedonian nationality". As a result of these slanders against me in Svobodna rech many of my own townsfolk turned in fury upon me, and there were even some people who thoughtlessly claimed that they knew that in my student days I had attended assemblies of both the Bulgarian and the Serbian students and that this was why I had been driven out of the Bulgarian assemblies.
Similar senseless accusations were made in Svobodna rech and, as was only to be expected, these false rumors spread around Karlovo. This, however, did not greatly disturb me, as would have been clear to anyone who had read my article in Mir and who knew anything about my past… I knew full well that I would be attacked for my Macedonian Nationalism and that my article could certainly not be published in Ilinden. Nevertheless, although I was far from sure that it would be printed in Mir, I wrote out the article and sent it to this journal. And two days after it had appeared, Svobodna rech made me out to be a man who does not know his own nationality. I was fully aware that I will be attacked for my “Macedonian nationalism”, that this article has no chance to be published in “Ilinden”, and I was not even sure that they will print it in “Mir”. I still wrote the article and sent it to the newspaper “Mir”. On the second day after its printing “Svobodna rech” named me a man that does not know his ethnicity.
Unfortunately “Svobodna rech” cannot make me give up my “lowly reasoning”. I still find that Macedonia today is butchered, that Greeks took their best parts, and have chased away the Macedonian population and replaced them with Asiatic new-comers that today are piled up next to the Serbian and Bulgarian border, the same as once the Byzantine Emperors were establishing next to the Bulgarian border military settlements of the Asiatic colonists: Armenians and Paulikians. I also find that if Serbs and Bulgarians do not find peace, and Macedonians are not included in voluntary cooperation with both Bulgarians and Serbs for safeguarding against the Greek wave that slowly, but surely moves from south toward north, all of us: Serbs, Bulgarians and Macedonians will drown in the non-Slavic see that surrounds us from all sides. I think that only in agreement and cooperation between Serbs, Macedonians and Bulgarians is the salvation for all of us. Serbs and Bulgarians were fighting, Greeks and Romanians were profiting: they lost Macedonia, Trace and Dobrudza.
The most important condition for a cooperation between Serbs, Bulgarians and Macedonians, however, is the freedom of self-determination of Macedonians. And that is why, regarding this last issue, I emphasized the principle of the Macedonian patriotism and nationalism, as a fully neutral and satisfying for all: Serbs, Bulgarians and Macedonians alike; but for now it is more correct to say that it is equally unsatisfying for all: Serbs, Bulgarians and Macedonians.
Since it is primarily us Macedonians that are suffering from the Serb-Bulgarian conflict, it is our duty to search for means and ways of resolving that conflict. That is forcing us “to know” up to the current day our nationality and to tell both Serbs and Bulgarians: forget about your big-Serb and big-Bulgarian ideas, give up enforcing your nationalism and patriotism on us, since it basically is putting your interests up front instead of ours. Let us have our own understanding for our relations toward you and your conflict about us and our fatherland, as well as for the means that will bring us to a general South Slav benefit. Let us have our own Macedonian national feelings and to create Macedonian culture, as we did that during the ages when our fatherland was not part of the same state with yours.
As Macedonians we will be more useful for all: for Macedonia, for Bulgaria and for Serbia and in general for the whole South Slav community, than as Bulgarians and Serbs.
As a Bulgarian I would have said long time ago: What Macedonia! It is good for me here too. I don’t need to think for what is already lost. But as Macedonian, in Bulgaria I feel as in a foreign land, although between brothers, I’m not at home, in my fatherland. My fatherland is there, where I have been born and where I should leave my bones, where my son should go at least, if I am not allowed to go myself. The awareness and the feeling that I am Macedonian should stand higher than everything else in the world. Macedonians should not let themselves been assimilated and to lose their individuality living among Bulgarians and Serbs. We can acknowledge the closeness of the Serb, Bulgarians and Macedonian interests, but we need to evaluate them from the Macedonian stand point of view.
Uncompromising and unlimited love toward Macedonia, the constant thinking and working for the interests of Macedonia and the full conservativism in the manifestations of the Macedonian national spirit: the language, the national poetry, mentality and customs – those are the main characteristics of the Macedonian nationalism, demonstrated through “lowly reasonings of a man that still does not know his nationality”. But we are not egoists. We don’t think only about ourselves. We are ready to make a good service to both Serbs and Bulgarians, but only if that service is voluntary and not forced.
How we can serve Serbs: we will all die, and we will not let the Greek foot to cross the current border of the Serb and Bulgarian Macedonia. But we will do that as Macedonians, and not as Serbs. We will fight with Greeks because they are our only historic and age old enemies. Our complete Macedonian national history is full with fights against Greeks. There is no fight with Bulgarians and Serbs recorded in the Macedonian history. Bulgarians and Serbs have respected the national rights of the Macedonians in the middle ages, and it was only Greeks that were destroying our national spirit and were de-nationalizing us. They even to the current day are chasing us away from our native fireplaces, and are reminding us that we have an age old obligation to chase the un-invited guests from our grand father’s and great grand-father’s lands.
That is the Macedonian national feeling, which is the historic call of every Macedonian that can be fulfilled only as a free and equal citizen of Yugoslavia, allowed to think and feel and talk and act as Macedonian.
K. Misirkov: The self-determination of Macedonians, “Mir”, 7427, 25. III 1925, 1.