Loading...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

MACEDONIA’S LIFE OR DEATH STRUGGLE? Tirana Platform.

Q & A with Dr Chris Popov - Australian-Macedonian activist

1. Since your last interview for Team Uzunov Blog in 2016 - the situation in Macedonia has worsened. What is your assessment now? 

Dr Popov: The situation in Macedonia is incomparably worse than then, both politically, economically and from a security point of view This is due to many factors, such as the corruption and venality of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE [conservative, nominally “nationalist party], the inconclusive nature of the 11 December 2016 general elections, the open and flagrant meddling in Macedonia’s internal affairs by the USA and European Union (EU) and their respective ambassadors and representatives and the willingness of the opposition SDSM [Social Democrats] party to entertain and implement the demands contained in the Tirana Platform which represents a direct threat to the Republic of Macedonia’s continuation as a state of the Macedonian people. In saying this I am not giving a free pass to VMRO-DPMNE. That party like the SDSM did not condemn the Platform when it was announced and negotiated with DUI in the hope that it could “cut a deal” and in so doing, possibly mitigate the worst aspects of the platform in an attempt to stay in power and thus avoid the prosecution of major party leaders and functionaries for what appears to be gross corruption and abuse of public office. 

However for one reason or another VMRO-DPMNE and DUI did not form a coalition government- President Gjorge Ivanov says it was due to a “phone call” possibly alluding to a foreign diplomat, Bujar Osmani of DUI says that they had reached agreement on ”ethnic matters”, but could not agree on the continuation of the mandate of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, while Artan Grubi of DUI stated that the offer made by VMRO-DPMNE on “ethnic matters” was unsatisfactory- and the SDSM party led by Zoran Zaev agreed to form a coalition with the Albanian parties DUI, BESA and Alianza za Albancite. 

On 1 March 2017, despite the fact that Zaev had secured the support of 67 MPs for the granting of a mandate to form government, the mandate was denied to him by Ivanov on the grounds that the acceptance of the Tirana Platform represented a threat to Macedonia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and was thus unconstitutional. SDSM and its coalition partners in turn say Ivanov’s action was unconstitutional. Therefore, the campaign against Zaev and the SDSM, especially in the Diaspora, is being waged simply because it has fallen to him to form government and because he has not renounced the Tirana Platform. Had VMRO-DPMNE been in the same position, I have no doubt that the reaction of Diaspora Macedonians would have been the same.

Since then there has been a stalemate, with the protesters from the “Zaednicka Makedonija” [Macedonia Together] movement supporting the President’s decision with daily street marches for seven weeks now and the EU, USA through their ambassadors and prominent government officials, applying pressure to Ivanov to relent and grant the mandate to Zaev. The cosmetic “concessions” announced by Zaev on March 11-namely that there would be no bi-lingual banknotes or army uniforms- were not enough to convince Ivanov that he had renounced the Tirana Platform. Moreover, the fact that the three Albanian parties have not withdrawn their support for Zaev is evidence that they have reached an agreement on the platform and agreed to implement it. 

The result of all this is a political stalemate, with VMRO-DPMNE filibustering in Parliament to prevent the election of a speaker-most likely the extremely controversial Talat Xhaferi, the former NLA [Kosovo Liberation Army offshoot in Macedonia] commander-and increasingly open interference by the EU in order to get the SDSM-Albanian party coalition into power. The institutions of the state have been paralysed, while at the same time Macedonia’s neighbours are jockeying for position in order to grab a piece of Macedonian territory in the event that war breaks out, which I sincerely hope is not the case. Given the current volatile situation in Macedonia and the Balkan region I do not believe that any armed conflict there would be contained within Macedonia’s borders, but would develop into a regional conflagration, given Macedonia’s central geo-strategic position 

2. You gave what many are saying was a powerful speech at a recent Macedonian rally in Melbourne, Australia against the Tirana Platform in which you said in Macedonian [English translation]: 

“The Republic of Macedonia was not handed to us on a plate. Many generations fought and died for the establishment of a Macedonian state and we are not going to allow it to be taken away from us in order to satisfy someone’s thirst for power and the appetites of those who wish to create a Greater Albania.” 

What has moved you to reach that conclusion? 

Dr Popov: It’s quite simple. Having read the Tirana Platform I am of the firm view that if such a platform is implemented in Macedonia it will eventually spell the end of Macedonia as a unitary state of the Macedonian people. It is the final phase of the plan which began to be realised in 2001 when Macedonia was attacked by the KLA/NLA from Kosovo. The Albanian separatist agenda in Macedonia has been advancing apace since 1991 and steadily achieving its goals; one could say that a de facto federalisation of Macedonia has taken place already and that this would represent the final stage of the plan. Nevertheless, official, constitutionally-sanctioned federalisation would represent a new escalation and acceleration of the separatist agenda. The implementation of this platform would signify the final blow-coup de grace-for the Macedonian state. 

The main demands contained in this document-namely, the declaration of Albanians in Macedonia as a constituent state people, Albanian to be officially designated an official language throughout the whole territory of Macedonia, a debate on changing the flag, anthem and national coat of arms and a declaration that Albanians in Macedonia were subjected to genocide between 1912-1956 are not designed to defend the rights of Albanians in Macedonia (which they have an abundance, indeed surfeit of) but to lay the foundations for the acceptance of a federalist, indeed confederalist and separatist agenda, whose goal is the redefinition and eventual division of the Macedonian state. This agenda is tacitly, but strongly, supported by the EU and USA, as it increases the power and influence in the Balkans of their most loyal vassals, the Albanian political leadership in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia which is willing to do their bidding in return for support for the project of unifying all so-called Albanian lands on the basis laid out by the Prizren League of 1878. Therefore, those who wish to attain power by implementing such a platform must be opposed as energetically as possible, as Macedonia was indeed not handed to us on plate, but fought for by the Macedonian people for centuries so that the Macedonian people could have a country they call home.

In saying this, I am cognisant of the myriad problems which hinder Macedonia’s development as a modern, prosperous state; corruption, misuse of state funds, nepotism and clientelism. Those who have committed such crimes-of whatever political stripe-should be investigated and punished accordingly in a non-selective and non-partisan way. However, in order to have a Macedonia in which such justice is fairly dispensed, there must be a state called Macedonia in existence. The Tirana Platform threatens the very existence of such a state and this is precisely why it must be opposed at this juncture as the most pressing and urgent problem facing Macedonia and the Macedonian people.

3. Many media outlets, including those in Macedonia, have deliberately portrayed opponents of the Tirana Platform as rabid “nationalists,” VMRO-DPMNE “puppets,” Russian “stooges - it harks back to the days of the 1980s when the Greek, Yugoslav and Bulgarian governments, labelled anything that moved or scratched its head not in accordance with the tastes of Athens, Belgrade or Sofia as “extremist” - why is this same template being used now? 

Ironically those who draw support from the US (see left photo) hold pan-Yugo-Slavist / pan-Slavist views, traditionally the preserve of Serbia and Russia, but also support the Tirana Platform. Yet these individuals are never pulled up or scrutinised for their paradoxical views, instead others are labelled as being “pro Russian” and “pro Putin.” Why the blatant hypocrisy?

Dr Popov: People who oppose the Tirana Platform are portrayed in this way in order to discredit them and prevent them from organising effectively in defence of Macedonia’s continued existence as a Macedonian state. While I am certain that there is VMRO-DPMNE involvement in the protest movement, I do not believe that all those attending are motivated by the desire to keep that party in power at all costs. Many of those attending see the danger inherent in the Tirana Platform and wish to resist its implementation by participating in the daily marches. I do not accept that the VMRO-DPMNE is so powerful and all-pervasive that all or a large part of the protesters are regularly “called out” to do their patriotic duty, as it were. 

Those Macedonians who either tacitly support the Tirana Platform or see its implementation as a necessary evil which must be stomached in the interests of removing the “regime” from power ( a strange characterisation given the amount of open and vociferous opposition in Macedonia to VMRO-DPMNE) are routinely portrayed by organisations such as BIRN [London directed Balkan Insight news website], the mainstream Western and European media and pro-SDSM media outlets as “progressive”,”reform-minded”, “committed to fighting corruption” and possessing “European values”. 

The juxtaposition of “conservative, backward” opponents of the Tirana Platform vis-a-vis “modern, progressive” opponents of the “regime” is not only erroneous, but is designed to win support for the EU and USA strategy of bringing Macedonia completely to heel in order for it to become a bulwark on NATO’s southern flank against “ Russian expansionism”. 

I notice that while many SDSM supporters in Macedonia chide Macedonians in the Diaspora for “interfering “ in Macedonia’s internal affairs, no such venom is directed against European officials and foreign ambassadors who brazenly intervene uninvited in Macedonia, often in complete contravention of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The double standard is breathtaking. Macedonia is in many respects a pawn in the struggle between the USA and EU on one side and Russia on the other, for political and economic dominance of the region. 



4. What do you see as likely happening? What would you like to see happen to resolve the crisis, the impasse in Macedonia?

Dr Popov: I most certainly do not want to see the Tirana Platform implemented and the best insurance against this happening is for the street protests and marches throughout Macedonia to continue until Zoran Zaev and the SDSM, as well as VMRO-DPMNE, renounce it in writing. It is clearly in the realm of fantasy to expect VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM to form a broad coalition without the ethnic Albanian parties in order to prevent its implementation, given the level of mutual antagonism which exists between them. VMRO-DPMNE is calling for new elections as a way out of the impasse, but I would not expect SDSM to agree to such new elections, nor that the “international community” (a euphemism for the EU and the USA) will recognise the results of any such elections. There will only be new elections if the EU and the USA believe that the SDSM and its allies can win and are able to convince Zaev and the SDSM to participate. There may be new elections if the regional security situation becomes less stable and this same “international community” sees them as the only way to prevent further deterioration of the situation. However, such elections would most likely be several months away given that the date for local municipal elections has had to be pushed back; such local elections would take priority given that the mandate of mayors and other municipal officials expires in mid-May.

Alternatively, some players may see low level warfare as a way of forcing Ivanov and VMRO-DPMNE to relent, but that option carries with it the danger of the situation spiralling out of control. However, if new elections are held I would like to see a new political party emerge from the ranks of those protesting in the streets, provided that any such political formation was independent of both VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM and remained committed to the protection of vital national and state interests. SDSM and its allies have often spoken of forming a government without a formal mandate from Ivanov which would not only be completely unconstitutional, but also further deepen the crisis and create the preconditions for social upheaval and armed conflict. 

The ethnic Albanian parties have even floated the idea of forming their own Sobranie [parliament] in Tetovo, but that would be an unrealistic option which the Albanians’ international mentors- primarily the USA- would not countenance as it would leave the door wide open for Russia to intensify its pressure on the interim government and VMRO-DPMNE and offer greater assistance and support. Given the entrenched positions of both main Macedonian political parties and the obvious international support for Zaev, I do not see any quick solution to the current deep crisis occurring for at least several months. It appears that the war of political attrition will continue for some considerable time and I do not have a concrete realistic proposal for bringing an end to the situation. My fervent hope is that any solution manages to avoid violent confrontation and armed conflict which would be the worst possible outcome. 

5. In your view what do Macedonians, in both the Republic of Macedonia and in the diaspora, need to do counter the Tirana Platform? 

Dr Popov: The best insurance against the implementation of the Platform is the continuation of the protests and marches throughout Macedonia led by the “Zaednicka Makedonija” movement. This mass movement has to date prevented the formation of an SDSM-led government by providing President Ivanov with the popular backing necessary for him to continue to refuse to grant the mandate to Zaev and has prevented SDSM and its coalition partners from forming a government without the formal consent of the President. Macedonians in the Diaspora cannot directly influence events in Macedonia, however the rallies and protests which have been held in recent weeks around the world, including the biggest to date in Melbourne, have undoubtedly encouraged the movement in Macedonia to persist in its struggle to defeat the platform and have provided strong moral support to it. Such events should occur at regular intervals until the final goal is attained.

6. What will be the knock on effect or repercussions for ethnic Macedonians in Albanian, Greece and Bulgaria if Macedonia is federalised?

Dr Popov: Successive governments in Macedonia have done precious little to advocate for and defend the rights of the Macedonians in Aegean and Pirin Macedonia, Mala Prespa, Golo Brdo and Gora and throughout Greece, Bulgaria and Albania as a whole. The lack of any coherent state strategy in defence of these Macedonian minorities is the result of a desire to not worsen relations further with neighbouring countries that have for decades disputed, denied and subverted the identity of Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia, not to speak of the policies of forced assimilation of the Macedonians in their own countries ( with the exception of the Macedonians in Mala Prespa, Albania). In other words a continuation of the policy of self-interested appeasement which often marked the period when Macedonia formed part of the former socialist Yugoslav Federation.

Recognition of the rights of the Macedonians in the neighbouring countries would serve to strengthen the security of the Republic itself by creating buffer zones of Macedonians on four of Macedonia’s external borders. However, since independence what we have witnessed is a formal renunciation of the obligation to defend the rights of Macedonians in Egej, Pirin and Albania via formal pledges in agreements signed with Greece and Bulgaria to not defend the rights of persons in those countries who are not citizens of the Republic of Macedonia. The Interim Agreement with Greece in 1995 and the Joint Declaration with Bulgaria of 1999 contained such restrictive clauses. Contrast this policy of retreat with the aggressive nationalistic demands contained in the Tirana Platform signed under the tutelage of Edi Rama in Albania.

The formal-as opposed to the current de facto-federalisation of the Republic of Macedonia would inevitably lead to the further weakening of the position of Macedonians in these neighbouring states where their existence is precarious enough as it is. For under such conditions, the national and moral “beacon of hope” represented by the Republic and the Macedonian character of the Macedonian state would be further diluted, thereby contributing to a concomitant weakening of the Macedonian identity of those Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria and Albania. The struggle to defeat the Tirana Platform is literally a battle of life and death not only for the Republic of Macedonia, but also for Macedonians in Aegean and Pirin Macedonia and Albania.

--
BIOGRPAHY:

Dr Chris Popov was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1953 to parents originating from the Lerin and Kostur regions of Macedonia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Ph.D. in History. Dr Popov is active in Macedonian community circles in Melbourne and Australia.  He is now retired and was employed for 24 years by the Federal Department of Immigration (Australia).


In the late 1980s he was president of the Australian Macedonian Progressive Society and from 1994 until 2001 he was president of the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee and the Macedonian Human Rights Committee of Melbourne and Victoria. He has served on the Executive of the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee from 2008 to March 2017. He is a regular contributor to the Macedonian press and radio and on-line media both in Australia and Macedonia and has also contributed to the Melbourne Age newspaper, SBS Radio and Television (Australia).




Monday, April 10, 2017

AUSTRALIAN RALLY CALLS FOR MACEDONIAN UNITY





PROTEST AGAINST “TIRANA PLATFORM”

by Sasha Uzunov
Melbourne, Australia

A large rally by the local Macedonian community held outside the Republic of Macedonia’s Consulate in Melbourne, Australia, has thrown its support behind Macedonia’s President George Ivanov in his refusal to grant a mandate to the Social Democrats (SDSM) and its Albanian coalition partners in forming a government over what is called the Tirana or Albanian platform (see link), seen as a threat to the Republic of Macedonia’s very existence.

Dr Chris Popov, a long time Australian-Macedonian activist, (see link), read out a declaration which amongst other things called for the Tirana Platform to be rejected.

Despite the bad weather and a major sporting event which cut off some of the major streets of Melbourne and access to the Republic of Macedonia Consulate, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 or more people were at the rally.

Dr Popov said:


"As you all know we have gathered here today to express our support for the brave decision of Macedonia’s President Gjorgje Ivanov on 1 March to not grant a mandate to form government to Zoran Zaev on the basis that the SDS party and its ethnic Albanian allies have not renounced the Tirana Platform which represents a direct threat to Macedonia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and continued existence as a Macedonian state. We have also gathered to give and express our unreserved support for the those hundreds of thousands of patriotic Macedonians and members of other minorities who have for nearly six weeks now been demonstrating in nearly 40 cities all over Macedonia and have encouraged President Ivanov to hold firm in his determination not to grant a mandate to those who goal is to transform Macedonia into a bi-national state with a watered down Macedonian identity. 

"We wish both President Ivanov and the Macedonian protesters well in their efforts to safeguard and protect Macedonia as the homeland of the Macedonian people and applaud their successes to date. 
The Tirana Platform as you know was signed in Tirana , Albania on 7 January 2017 and contains the following main demands: the declaration of Albanians in Macedonia as a constituent state people, Albanian to be officially designated an official language throughout the whole territory of Macedonia, a debate on the flag, anthem and national coat of arms and a declaration that Albanians in Macedonia were subjected to genocide between 1912-1956. As such it is not a document designed to defend the rights of Albanians in Macedonia, but to lay the foundations for the acceptance of a federalist, indeed confederalist and separatist agenda, whose goal is the redefinition and eventual division of the Macedonian state. 

"We consider that the language, cultural and veto rights granted to the ethnic Albanian minority by the 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement more than satisfy international conventions and accords designed to protect minority groups and cultures. Indeed, this Agreement goes far beyond the provisions contained in such conventions and accords. Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia enjoy legal protections for their language, culture and rights which surpass those enjoyed by any minority group in Europe. Moreover, ethnic Albanians in the Balkans already have two states, Albania and Kosovo, where Albanian culture and language flourishes and dominates. They cannot have another state within a state in Macedonia at the expense of the Macedonian people for which Macedonia is the one and only state.


Dr Popov added that the legitimate battle with crime and corruption in Macedonia should not be used as a pretext to implement the Tirana Platform. He handed the declaration to the Macedonian Consul General in Melbourne, Ms Beti Korunovska.

Mr Nafis Redzepovski (left in photo), of Melbourne’s Macedonian Roma community said he was in support of a unitary state of Macedonia which had guaranteed the rights of the Roma people in that country.

“Republic of Macedonia is one of the most democratic states in the world when it comes to recognising the rights of the Roma…Where is the a Roma municipality in the world? Only in Macedonia…”

“We Roma are grateful for the Republic of Macedonia. We are first Macedonians then Roma.” 




ORGANISER OF THE RALLY: Zhivan Rendev: “All of us here want one Macedonia…one common Macedonia.” 



One of the chief organisers of the rally was Mr Zhivan Rendev (right in the above photo), who began as a student radical in Melbourne’s hothouse of counterculture, Melbourne’s Monash University, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mr Rendev, than a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War faced imprisonment over his passionate beliefs. He has no political affiliations in Macedonia, neither with SDSM nor VMRO-DPMNE.

Was also instrumental in setting up a Social media page on Facebook called Viva Macedonia and prior to the rally made an emotional appeal to both major Macedonian political parties, VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM to bury their differences and oppose the Tirana Platform.



In 1990 he was the driving force behind a Macedonian academic seminar at Melbourne University which faced fierce Greek opposition. In 1975 Mr Rendev studied as an international student in the then Socialist Republic of Macedonia, then under Yugoslavist rule.



In the Republic of Macedonia, as a consequence of Yugoslavist rule (1944-91), any independent Macedonian behaviour has been collectively and wrongfully labelled as “nationalistic” and there is a tendency to mistakenly confuse Serbian cultural hegemony with genuine internationalism.

Australia’s Macedonian community is largely made up of Macedonians from the Republic of Macedonia and ethnic Macedonians from Greece who identify as Macedonian.

In 1912-1913 Macedonia, which had been under Ottoman Turkish occupation for nearly five centuries, was partitioned by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, and the Macedonian people subjected to brutal assimilation.

The part under brutal Serbian colonial rule (1912-1941), eventually gained de facto statehood, largely by its own efforts, in Tito’s communist federal Yugoslavia (1944-91) but which still fell short of full autonomy because of Serbian hegemony. It declared independence from Yugoslavia in September 1991.

Macedonians in the other parts, in Greece and Bulgaria, fared worse.

ANGER AT GREECE, US & EU TOO

Greece has waged a political campaign to destabilise the Republic of Macedonia by blocking its entry into the European Union and NATO. In the early 1990s Greece imposed an illegal economic embargo with the intention of strangling Macedonia to death.

In 2001, Albanian nationalists from the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA or UCK in Albanian), with US backing, launched an invasion of Macedonia to take territory in trying to establish a Greater Albania. (see The Guardian story - link here ). Ethnic Albanians make up about 15 to 20% of Macedonia’s population but because no accurate census has been held in decades it is hard to discover their true number.

In the 2001 war, Macedonian Police and Army forces were initially on the back foot until recovering the initiative and about to destroy the KLA when US, NATO and EU involvement threw a lifeline to the KLA and with the Macedonian government strong-armed into signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) giving the Albanians a de facto state within Macedonia. Also the ringleaders of the war, such as Ali Ahmeti were given an amnesty by the Macedonian state, largely by behind the scenes US pressure, instead of facing war crimes charges in The Hague.

Many Macedonians still feel enormous resentment and view the OFA as rewarding violence and partition of Macedonia by a thousand cuts.

In 2004, a territorial and administrative reorganisation of Macedonia was implemented which created ethnic Albanian majority areas and to “sweeten” this and cut off opposition the US recognised Macedonia by its constitutional name of Republic of Macedonia, instead of the humiliating FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) as imposed by Greece post 1991. Macedonian majority cities such as Struga in the west became Albanian because of the reorganisation. Struga has become a base for Albanian nationalist leader Ziadin Sela, who has gone on record as saying he would burn down the Macedonian Parliament if his demands were not met and recently in a racist manner questions the existence of Macedonians, inferring they are Serbs.

The Tirana Platform and its incredible and unrealistic set of demands reveals a desire for Albanian step by step separation from the Macedonian state and subverting Macedonian national identity under the guise of a “bi-national state Macedonia, which would leave the other ethnic groups at a disadvantage such as the Turks, Roma, Aromanians (Vlachs) Serbs and others in order to satisfy Albanian nationalist demands--And also a manner in which to change Macedonia’s name.

Some are saying that implementing the platform will lead to federalisation and partition of Macedonia between Kosovo and Bulgaria; another variant is partition between Kosovo and Serbia.



Yesterday’s rally also vented anger at the US and EU and their kowtowing to the Albanian nationalist bloc and neighbouring Greece over Macedonia and silence over ethnic Macedonians being denied full rights in Albania, Greece and Bulgaria, the latter two are both EU and NATO members. see link here


Australian Foreign Affairs reports from 1988-89 highlighting Greece’s intransigent behaviour towards anyone who identifies as Macedonian and the then Yugoslav, Greek and Bulgarian governments’ attempts to falsely portray Macedonians seeking independence as “extremists - no bomb throwers, hostage takers, etc. Alarmingly, a similar “template’ is now being used to tar Macedonians who oppose the Tirana Platform - even though it was the KLA which illegally invaded Macedonia in 2001.



Dr Chris Popov’s above statement in full, English translation:

Dear Fellow Macedonians , Dear Friends

It is a great honour for me to have been asked by the organisers of this rally to address you on this historic occasion.


As you all know we have gathered here today to express our support for the brave decision of Macedonia’s President Gjorgje Ivanov on 1 March to not grant a mandate to form government to Zoran Zaev on the basis that the SDS party and its ethnic Albanian allies have not renounced the Tirana Platform which represents a direct threat to Macedonia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and continued existence as a Macedonian state. We have also gathered to give and express our unreserved support for the those hundreds of thousands of patriotic Macedonians and members of other minorities who have for nearly six weeks now been demonstrating in nearly 40 cities all over Macedonia and have encouraged President Ivanov to hold firm in his determination not to grant a mandate to those who goal is to transform Macedonia into a bi-national state with a watered down Macedonian identity. We wish both President Ivanov and the Macedonian protesters well in their efforts to safeguard and protect Macedonia as the homeland of the Macedonian people and applaud their successes to date. 


The Tirana Platform as you know was signed in Tirana , Albania on 7 January 2017 and contains the following main demands: the declaration of Albanians in Macedonia as a constituent state people, Albanian to be officially designated an official language throughout the whole territory of Macedonia, a debate on the flag, anthem and national coat of arms and a declaration that Albanians in Macedonia were subjected to genocide between 1912-1956. As such it is not a document designed to defend the rights of Albanians in Macedonia, but to lay the foundations for the acceptance of a federalist, indeed confederalist and separatist agenda, whose goal is the redefinition and eventual division of the Macedonian state. 

We consider that the language, cultural and veto rights granted to the ethnic Albanian minority by the 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement more than satisfy international conventions and accords designed to protect minority groups and cultures. Indeed, this Agreement goes far beyond the provisions contained in such conventions and accords. Ethnic Albanians in Macedonia enjoy legal protections for their language, culture and rights which surpass those enjoyed by any minority group in Europe. Moreover, ethnic Albanians in the Balkans already have two states, Albania and Kosovo, where Albanian culture and language flourishes and dominates. They cannot have another state within a state in Macedonia at the expense of the Macedonian people for which Macedonia is the one and only state.

We therefore condemn the acceptance of the so-called “Tirana platform” by the SDSM party as a condition for forming government with its three Albanian allies. Promises of greater economic development and higher living standards-albeit illusory-and the continuation of the fight against official crime and corruption do not justify the acceptance of a platform which was drafted in a foreign capital and has serious implications for the survival of the Macedonian state. We do not accept that the so-called concessions made by Zaev on 11 March-that is, that there would not be bi-lingual banknotes or insignia on army uniforms- amount to a rejection of the platform. Indeed, he has still left the door open to discussion with his Albanian partners on matters such as the flag, coat of arms and anthem and has accepted Albanian ultimatums for the greater official use of the Albanian language. Zaev must tell us what he has bargained away in his naked lust for power. President Ivanov rightly refused to grant him a mandate after these so-called concessions.

The attempts by the Albanian parties, especially DUI, to impose the Albanian language as an official language in the whole of Macedonia, including in those areas where no or very few ethnic Albanians live, will do very little to improve the living standards and quality of life of those it claims to represent and will increase ethnic tensions in the country. DUI did not promote any such language policy during the recent election campaign and its focus on this issue as a condition for forming or supporting a SDSM-led government can only be viewed as an attempt to deflect public attention from its involvement in the corruption and plunder of public money and resources which marked the years in power of the VMRO-DUI coalition government. The acceptance by SDSM of the so-called Law on the Use of the Albanian Language which reportedly contains huge fines for non-compliance, is nothing more than a shameless capitulation in its quest to regain power and will further erode Macedonian identity and culture, not only in Macedonia, but throughout the Balkans where Macedonian minorities are denied even the most basic of human rights.

We call on the membership of both VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM to vehemently oppose any attempts by their parties’ leaderships to grant formal official status to the Albanian language as the price for forming government. We also call on the Macedonian people and those Macedonian citizens belonging to smaller minority groups such as the Turks, Roma, Serbs,Vlachs and Bosnians to peacefully employ all legal means at their disposal to prevent the adoption of Albanian as a second official language. 

The leadership of VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM are put on notice that any such agreement which further erodes our sovereignty and independence will be treated as a treacherous act for which they will never be forgiven by the Macedonian nation.

We demand that the Republic of Macedonia ceases this degrading charade of discussions with Greece about our name. Our name is Republic of Macedonia and no one has the right to negotiate any change of our name now or ever.

We demand that the EU and its emissaries,Western European governments and the USA via its ambassador Bailey, stop their blatant meddling in Macedonia’s internal affairs in order to bring Zaev to power.

Finally, we demand that an urgent, credible Census of the Population in Macedonia be undertaken to conclusively and fairly determine the size and percentage of the various ethnic minorities. This will bring an end to the false assertions and manipulations being used by the Albanian parties to extract benefits and advantages far in excess of those commensurate to their actual numbers and percentage.

The Republic of Macedonia was not handed to us on a plate. Many generations fought and died for the establishment of a Macedonian state and we are not going to allow it to be taken away from us in order to satisfy someone’s thirst for power and the appetites of those who wish to create a Greater Albania.

That is why ladies and gentlemen I call on you to continue to support and express your support for the protests in Macedonia and President Ivanov’s refusal to grant a mandate to form government to Zoran Zaev.

The Republic of Macedonia is the only homeland we have and it must be defended with all our strength. Long Live Macedonia, long live the Macedonian people.

Monday, January 23, 2017

PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV’S PUZZLING PREACHING?




Practice what you preach?
PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV’S PUZZLING PREACHING?

by Sasha Uzunov

Bulgaria’s outgoing President, Rosen Plevneliev,  in a bizarre and some would say, hypocritical, parting shot has called for Macedonia to drop “Macedonianism” if it wants Bulgaria’s support for joining the European Union. see link here

At the heart of the matter is Bulgaria’s historical refusal to accept a Macedonian identity even though it was the first to recognise Macedonia’s independence in 1991 from the then crumbling Yugoslavia.

The Bulgarian formula is that the Macedonians are allegedly  “Western Bulgarians” and the Republic of Macedonia is like Kosovo is to Albania, Montenegro and Republika Srpska in Bosnia are to Serbia.

HISTORICAL MACEDONIAN HEARTLAND

Macedonia had fallen under Ottoman Turk occupation for five hundred years. Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria started the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 which led to the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Macedonia was then divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Albania took a tiny slice in 1919. Macedonians were then subjected to a brutal campaign of denationalisation and forced assimilation by Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria. Macedonian resistance broke out in the various divided parts of Macedonia. The territory that was annexed by Serbia was renamed Južna Srbija, “Southern Serbia".

A1926 report by British diplomat R.A. Gallop who spent a week in Macedonia (then under Serbian occupation), including the City of Skopje:

"Those of the latter that I met were equally insistent on calling themselves neither Serbs nor Bulgars, but Macedonians....There seemed to be no love lost for the Bulgars in most places. Their brutality during the war [World War I] had lost them the affection even of those who before the Balkan War had been their friends…” see link here

In 1944, Macedonia was elevated, mostly in part by its own efforts, to republican status within Marshal Tito’s Communist Yugoslavia. Though nominally the nation-state of the Macedonian people its autonomy was limited by federalist power in Belgrade. In 1991 that part became the independent state of the Republic of Macedonia.

BULGARIA’S NAZI PAST - a touchy subject !

Bulgaria remains very prickly about its collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II (1941-44) which saw a brutal Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia displace equally brutal Serb and Greek colonial rule; as well as Bulgaria’s role in the genocide of Macedonia’s one thriving centuries old Sephardic Jewish community. With the war lost, Bulgaria cynically changed sides - in fact it was occupied by the Soviet Red Army in September 1944.

During World War II, a Macedonian partizan resistance movement - an uneasy alliance of communists and nationalist banded together to fight the Germans, Bulgarian, Italians and the quisling Albanian nationalist militia the Balle Kombetar. After the war, the Macedonian communists then turned on their erstwhile nationalist allies, jailing some  of ts prominent leaders such as the hugely popular non communist and businessman Metodija Andonov Cento, Macedonia’s President, during an infamous Stalinist style political show trial in Yugoslavist administered Macedonia. His conviction was overturned in 1990 - a year before independence.

1942 massive Macedonian resistence against the Bulgarian occupation. Nazi Germany sends in the dreaded Gestapo.

The Newcastle Sun (Australia), Monday, 14 September 1942,  Page 1. see link here


1942 - GET GABROVSKI - Bulgaria’s own Hangman Heydrich

American newspaper archives - Font page - The Daily Banner newspaper, Indiana, 14 September 1942. Macedonian guerillas (Partizans) attempt assassination.

7 September 1942 - the Macedonian Partizan operation that nearly removed one of Hitler's Holocaust Henchmen - the evil Petur Gabrovski, Interior Minister in the Bulgarian occcupation of Macedonia during World War II.

According to prominent Macedonan historian Dr Todor Cepreganov, Macedonian Partizans from the "Dimitar Vlahov" unit tried to assassinate the dreaded Gabrovski on a visit to occupied Macedonia.

Gabrovski collaborated in the rounding up of Macedonia’s Jews and in handing them over to the Nazis for extermination.


The attempt on Gabrovski failed and in revenge the Bulgarian occupation authorities launched a brutal campaign of reprisals and atrocities against the Macedonian partizans and civilians which was met with fierce resistance.

The Bulgarian press at the time labelled the Macedonian resistance as “Bulgarian communists” whilst in the some sections of the British press the Royal Yugoslav government in exile in London tried to take the credit for the failed assassination attempt.

In 1996, as an insult to Macedonian Jews and Gentiles alike, the Bulgarian High Court rehabilitated Gabrovski.
---
For a short period, whilst Yugoslavia was still within the Soviet camp (1946-48), Bulgaria recognised a Macedonian nationality. After Tito’s split with Soviet leader Stalin in 1948-49, Bulgaria changed its tune over the Macedonians. Interesting to note that Bulgaria into the early 1960s kept official population statistics of ethnic Macedonians.

1965 US STATE DEPARTMENT SECRET REPORT ON BULGARIA-GREECE BORDER. - located in the National Archives of Australia www.naa.gov.au




The US report, quoting the Bulgarian national census of 1956, lists total population of Bulgaria as 7,613,709

Bulgars 6,506,541
Turks 662,018
Gypsies 197,865
Macedonians 187,789
----------

POST 1991 EVENTS 


Bulgarian nationalist propaganda has tried to make inroads into post independence Macedonia with “missionaries” such as Kressimir Karakachanov (pictured above) and his offsider Angel Djambazki attending commemorations in The Republic of Macedonia for the Ilinden Uprising of 2 August 1903 which unsuccessfully saw Macedonian rebels try to throw off centuries of Ottoman Turkish occupation. Ilinden remains the foundation legend of the modern Macedonian state, as Gallipoli is for Australia, the War of Independence of 1776 is for the United States.

Karakachanov provocatively and wrongfully claims the Macedonian rebels in the Ilinden Uprising were Bulgarians. No counter protests have ever been held by leading Macedonian “internationalists” such as Borjan Jovanovski or Branko Geroski over deliberate Bulgarian nationalist activity in the Republic of Macedonia. Both major Macedonian parties, the nominally “Macedonian nationalist VMRO-DPMNE and the Social Democrats, SDSM, have remained passive - perhaps fearing Bulgarian blackmail in blocking EU membership. Bulgarian nationalists have used this vulnerability - the desperate attempt to get into the EU by Macedonia.

So President Plevneliev’s comment is out of place…and out of line. Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Popovski has reacted in a kind of warm and fuzzy manner, not wanting to disturb the grumbling Bulgarian political bear too much but letting Sofia know the President’s comments are not justified.  see link here 

The Bulgarian neo-Nazi Ataka Party, led by dangerous extremist Volen Siderov, also has staunch anti Macedonian views to go along with a hatred of Turks, Roma, Jews and Freemasons. see link here

There has been a marked rise in right wing extremism in Bulgaria - see link here  - as there has been in Greece with the advent of the Golden Dawn party, which also has an anti Macedonian, anti Turkish, anti Albanian and anti Semitic platform.
What is disturbing is that Siderov received nearly 25% of the Bulgarian presidential vote in 2006. That means at least a quarter of Bulgaria’s voters agreed with his fanatical views. see link here

As with Greece and Serbia, Bulgaria’s political landscape, both on the left and right, is underpinned by nationalism to varying degrees - a kind of sliding scale in fervour.

So even though the leftist Syriza in government and the ultra rightist Golden Dawn in Greece may hate each, on certain nationalistic issues they agree, namely the Macedonia issue. Likewise in Bulgaria, both left and right refuse to recognise a Macedonian identity.

It’s also no coincidence that Bulgaria has tried to undermine key events in Macedonian history, such as the partizan resistance movement and Bulgaria’s evil role in the Holocaust of Macedonia’s Jewish people and brutal occupation of Macedonia.

The Macedonian feature film, The Third Half, about Bulgaria’s wartime role in Macedonia, met with fierce opposition in Sofia, when it was released internationally in 2012. see link here



Ljubco Georgievski, the former Macedonian Prime Minister (1998-2002) and ex leader of VMRO-DPMNE, is seen as an advocate of “Bulgarianism” in Macedonia. Accusations were levelled against him in conspiring with Albanian nationalists in provoking the 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising in order to defacto partition the country and leave it susceptible to Bulgarian subversion. see link here

Others, too, such as British academic James Pettifer, have warned of a Bulgarianist faction that set up within Macedonia’s VMRO-DPMNE party in 1997. - (Cited in Pettifer - “The New Macedonian Question,” Springer, 1999, page 145).

In 2013 - the US Senate Select Committee -intelligence assessment on global threats - US monitored growing tensions between Macedonia and Bulgaria. see link here 

2007 - EUROPEAN UNION ADMISSION - Political expedience ?

How Bulgaria got into the EU with one of the most corrupt judicial systems is beyond belief. see links here and here.

Plus the many international criticisms of Bulgaria’s mistreatment of its Macedonian minority… In 2006 “Bulgaria has stepped up its campaign of blatant racism and intimidation against its large Macedonian minority [and its organisation, UMO-Ilinden] only months before its acceptance into the European Union…” see link here and here.

“In 2001 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Bulgaria had violated Macedonians’ right to freedom of assembly by prohibiting commemorative activities of the previous incarnation of the UMO-Ilinden organization."

"In September 2007, the European Commission reminded Bulgaria of its obligation to respect the ECHR ruling, as well as the EU Directive that all EU citizens are protected from racial or ethnic discrimination.  Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini stated that the Commission would inquire whether that Directive has been adequately incorporated into Bulgarian legislation.

"Macedonians continue to face routine harassment.  In July 2005, members of a nationalist Bulgarian party disrupted a Macedonian commemoration in Razlog with violent intimidation, and police refused to provide protection.  In September 2007, police in Blagoevgrad, whose mayor has been virulently anti-Macedonian, prevented a rally by members of UMO-Ilindin-PIRIN by detaining participants and seizing posters.  Police in the town have previously gone door-to-door to question party members. In Bulgaria’s schools, there remains no mention of Macedonian ethnicity."

Bulgaria got into the EU because it’s ruling elite replaced the old Soviets for new US masters as well as allowing joint US military bases on its territory.

Bulgaria was one of the most loyal of Soviet satellite states during the Cold War (1948-89) with a rumoured plan to turn Bulgaria into a republic of the Soviet Union at the time. But out of its own self interest Bulgaria changed its masters at the end of the Cold War, aligning itself with the West. But it is a cynical marriage of political convenience to cut off Russian influence in the Balkans and not out of a shared belief in “Western values.”



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FEDERALISING ALBANIA - nasty rebound for Rama?




FEDERALISING ALBANIA? From a slam-dunk to a nasty rebound for Rama?

By Sasha Uzunov

The federation genie is now well and truly out of the bottle in the Balkans, in particular Macedonia, and driven hard by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Albanian Kosovar counterpart Hashim “the snake” Thaci.  This populist political platform could rebound on Rama and reopen cultural faultiness which criss-cross the Republic of Albania.

-------------------------------------
BACKGROUND 

- Sunday 8 January, 2017 - previous post - link

SURRENDERING THE STATE Post-Macedonia ?

by Sasha Uzunov

The two year crisis in which Macedonia still finds itself in has only gotten worse. An indecisive election in December leaving no party from the Macedonian bloc able to claim a clear mandate to form government has left the ethnic Albanian parties in a huge bargaining position, so much so they are now going for broke. Their chance to push for federalisation of the country and with European Union and US backing.

In essence, the demands can never be met because they have no justification and are not intended to be met, and if they are met then they will simple lead to the federalisation of Macedonia and eventual partition and disappearance.

RAMA MELODRAMA ? - BAD KARMA?

Albanian Prime Minister Rama (right) bringing all four major Albanian political parties from Macedonia to Tirana to work out a joint strategy had created panic stations, justifiably so, of an attempt of “foreign influence” in Macedonia. No leader from the Republic of Macedonia has ever dared to bring leaders of Macedonian ethnic minorities from Greece, Bulgaria and Albanian under the one roof in Skopje to discuss joint strategy. The juxtaposition has been well and truly noted. Yet there has been no reproach from the EU or the US for Rama to stay out. see link here

It is ironic that Macedonia’s destiny as a unitary state is being decided in Tirana.

There are two Albanian states in the Balkans; there are three Serbian states in the Balkans - Serbia, Montenegro, and Republika Srpska in Bosnia.


There is barely one Macedonian state in the Balkans. Macedonia has bent over backwards to please the EU and US and appease ever increasing Albanian demands, despite Albanian extremists from Kosovo kick starting an uprising in Macedonia in 2001, which had its genesis in NATO’s war in Kosovo in 1999.
------------------------------------------

- LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE?

Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie, rather than awaken them…. Albania is a dysfunctional state, riven by internal divisions and cultural fault lines between two warring Albanian sub groups - the Tosks and Ghegs and further complicated by religion - Islam and Christianity plus ethnic minorities…Greeks, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Aromanians (Vlachs), Roma, “Egyptians.” see links here and here and here

The figures vary but anywhere between 20 to 25 per cent of the population in Albania does not regard itself as Albanian.

The short lived civil war in Albania in 1997, caused by a pyramid scheme scandal, revealed the intense hatreds of the north (Gheg)-south (Tosk) divide of ethnic Albanians. Prime Minister Edi Rama, in his sponsorship of a defacto Greater Albania as a political project is taking a big gamble. His intentions, we can only speculate, is to paper over these fault lines in Albanian society with “ultra nationalism.” But the question remains, could it backfire on him? Others will be watching in the Balkans and taking note.

Federalising Albania - an idea whose time has come?

A Greek Republic of Northern Epiros? Macedonian, Aromanian (Vlach) and Montenegrin cantons? More rights for Tosk Albanians?

There is large restive Greek minority in Southern Albania, which no doubt, as would Athens look upon developments in Macedonia with a keen eye. The Greek authorities would welcome the Macedonian issue being “settled” in their favour by the Republic of Macedonia disappearing. But it could unleash a ripple effect in Albania itself.

If the Albanians can pull off federalisation in Macedonia, why can’t the Greeks in Southern Albania?

A 1994 CIA report about the simmering tensions between Tirana and Athens of the large Greek minority in the Epirus region which borders Albania and Greece.

Greek nationalists claim half of Albania… Whilst Albania nationalists counter claim a large chunk of “Greek” territory in the Epirus…

After Macedonia, is Epirus the new flashpoint of Albanian nationalism as it collides with Greek nationalism? Which side will the US take, as both Albania and Greece are US allies?

Does ex UK diplomat Timothy Less advocate partitioning Albania or does this only apply to Bosnia and Macedonia ?

HISTORICAL MACEDONIAN HEARTLAND

Macedonia had fallen under Ottoman Turk occupation for five hundred years. Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria started the two Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 which led to the end of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Macedonia was then mostly divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia. Albania took a tiny slice in 1919. Macedonians were then subjected to a brutal campaign of denationalisation and forced assimilation. Resistence broke out. The territory that was annexed by Serbia was named Južna Srbija, "Southern Serbia". In 1944, Macedonia was elevated, mostly in part by its own efforts, to republican status within Tito's Communist Yugoslavia. Though nominally the nation-state of the Macedonian people its autonomy was limited by federalist power in Belgrade. In 1991 that part became the independent state of the Republic of Macedonia.

THE FORGOTTEN MACEDONIANS OF ALBANIA:


NGO Minority Rights Group International - Profile - Macedonians in Albania. see link here

The Albanian government recognizes as Macedonian only the minority living in the Prespa area and excludes Macedonians living in other areas, especially those in Golo Brdo who are mainly Muslim. Elementary schooling in Macedonian is provided. A radio and TV programme in Macedonian was broadcast by the Korca state radio and TV station. The areas where Macedonians live are extremely poor and many survive as day labourers in the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonians in the Prespa region are Eastern Orthodox Christian and those in Golo Brdo are predominantly Muslim.

Historical context
The part of Macedonia known as Mala Prespa was given to Albania by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Albania is the only neighbouring country which recognizes the status of the Macedonian ethnic minority, but restricts it to the region of Mala Prespa. There has been instruction in Macedonian in this region since 1945 in elementary education up to the fifth form, for which textbooks have been issued by the state. It is expected that the right to instruction in their mother tongue, according to international standards, will also be extended to pupils of Macedonian ethnic affiliation in the other parts of Albania. The introduction of instruction in Macedonian in secondary education is also expected. Albania must respect the cooperation agreements in the field of education signed four years ago.

There are several organized and active associations of Macedonians in Albania, but the opportunities for political activity are small because the state does not financially support their organization. It was as late as 1993 that the first periodical in Macedonian, the journal Mir (Peace), appeared.

Current issues
The four Macedonian organizations in Albania, Mir (Peace), Gora, MED (Macedonian Aegean Society) and Prespa, boycotted the 2001 census in Albania because there was no option for Macedonian in the census list. In 2003, the Association of Macedonians in Albania (consisting of the four organizations) conducted their own census of the number of Macedonians in Albania. It estimated a population of between 120,000 and 350,000, while the Albanian state only officially recognises 5,000.

In its 2005 report the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recorded complaints by ethnic Macedonians that not all sections of their community had access to mother tongue education. This was due to the fact that they live outside of areas previously categorized as ‘minority zones’ during the communist era. ECRI notes that, under Albanian law, minority-language schools are only established if a sufficient number of parents must request such a school and they must be recognized as belonging to that ethnicity. The Albanian authorities indicated to ECRI that they check the civil registry in order to determine ethnicity. However, members of minority groups living outside of areas previously categorised as ‘minority zones’ have difficulties registering their ethnic belonging in the civil registry.

ECRI furthermore recommends that the Albanian authorities ensure that people are not denied the possibility of having their ethnic identity officially recognised simply due to their geographic location in the country outside of areas previously categorised as minority zones.

In 2005 most of the Macedonian organizations united into the political party Macedonian Alliance for European Prosperity, which participated in the 2007 elections.

- Minority Rights Group International profile on Macedonians in Bulgaria. see link here.

- Minority Rights Group International profile on Macedonians in Greece. see link here

----------------
Ethnic Macedonians from Albania were forced to flee their ethnic heartland for Australia before World War II looking for a better life… they remain the forgotten Macedonians.


When Stalinist Enver Hoxha came to power in 1945 in Albania, some of these people were cut off for forever from relatives.

Here is Koli Ylo, who wrote down Macedonian as his nationality but from the village of Shulin in Mala Prespa region of Albanian. This is an Australian immigration document, amongst many others, in the National Archives of Australia, which proves a Macedonian consciousness prior to World War II.






1937 - NESTOR KOLE - of Macedonian nationality born at Globocani, ALBANIA (Mala Prespa). Nestor KOLE, born 1888 in Mala Prespa, arrived in Australia in 1928 and becomes a “naturalised” Britiish Subject or AUSTRALIAN citizen in 1937. 
Published in the The West Australian newspaper, (Perth, WA), Wednesday 16 June 1937 & The Western Mail newspaper (WA), Thursday 17 June 1937. 

1974 - US IGNORANT ABOUT MACEDONIANS IN ALBANIA !

Wikileaks cable - 1974 - 6th Congress of the League of Communists of Macedonia. Party President Angel Cemerski (pictured below) takes the US by surprise by expressing concern for ethnic Macedonians in Albania. He also expresses concerns for ethnic Macedonians in Greece and Bulgaria.






US diplomats, bizarrely, admit they had no idea of the existence of ethnic Macedonians in Albania !


APRIL 1991 - THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS - 50,000 Macedonians in Albania, according to "Yugoslav" estimate.

The Canberra Times newspaper (Australia), Monday 8 April 1991, page 14. see link here

Quote: 

"Meanwhile, informed diplomatic sources here said that almost 4000 Albanians of Macedonian origin were planning to cross illegally into Yugoslavia yesterday to celebrate Orthodox Easter with relatives.

"Albanian authorities were planning to prevent them crossing in the southern Prespa region, the sources said.

Three weeks ago, border guards shot and seriously wounded four people when 1200 ethnic Macedonians crossed the border near the northern town of Debar, the sources said. Macedonians form a community of 50,000 in Albania, according to Yugoslav estimates."

"An organisation they formed to promote their cultural and national rights, Prespa, was legalised last week."

THE UNDOCUMENTED & THE OVERDOCUMENTED - “They do the jobs that Americans and Macedonians won’t."

The Undocumented are largely Mexican illegal immigrants in the US trying to eke out a living.
The Overdocumented are ethnic Macedonians in Mala Prespa, in Albania who, to a large extent, have out of basic survival grabbed at whatever political party in the Republic of Macedonia has thrown at them, as in the scraps from the table. That has been VMRO-DPMNE, the current party in power. In return for such “help,” these Macedonians are expected to vote for VMRO-DPME, the nominally Macedonian “patriotic” party, which has been in power for a decade in coalition with Albanian nationalist party, DUI, lead by ex insurgent/terrorist Ali Ahmeti. An odd political marriage, to say the least.

Еx Interior Minister Gordana Jankukovska, herself from VMRO-DPMNE, was found to have been patronising towards the Macedonians from Albania, treating them as mere political assets to be wheeled out during election time. They have become a political football. As a result of the political cross-fire between VMRO-DPMNE & SDSM, the Social Democrats and main opposition party, they could become innocent victims as SDSM seeks its revenge.

Many of these Macedonians from Albania do the jobs in the Republic of Macedonia and in neighbouring Greece that Macedonians in the Republic, and ordinary Greeks won’t do, as in work in the fields or as stone masons or as labourers.

What remains interesting is this zealotry of some Macedonian “internationalists” to expose this “relationship”of ethnic Macedonians and the Republic of Macedonia; the same level of zealotry doesn’t exist in exposing the thousands upon thousands of illegal Kosovars in Macedonia; the patronage that exists. Moreover, despite Albania being a dysfunctional state and ethnic Macedonians having genuine grievances, they have never taken up arms nor engaged in any “separatist” behaviour - yet there is an obsession with “Albanian rights” in Macedonia, where aggression and starting a war in 2001 in Macedonia has been “rewarded.”

In a Wikileaks US cables - both ALBANIAN parties in Macedonia, DUI & DPA, were importing toughs or thugs from Kosovo to intimidate local Albanians at election time in Macedonia in 2006. see links here and here and here

There are some who want to help Syrian immigrants transit Macedonia for a better life in Germany but Macedonians in Albania are not allowed to seek a better life in Macedonia. It’s strange logic.

Moreover, this picking on ethnic Macedonians from Mala Prespa has another agenda - and that is to knock them out as a factor in the Republic of Macedonia - they act as a protective wall against a Greater Albania in Western Macedonia and they are an emergency ace to play on the Albanian nationalist bloc if it gets out of control.

You don’t have to be a chess grandmaster to see or read or anticipate the moves !

IN THE US:

Approximately 11 million illegal immigrants are estimated to be living in the United States. Estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center show the number of illegal immigrants has declined to 11.1 million in March 2009 from a peak of 12 million in March 2007. The majority of the illegal immigrants are from Mexico. Illegal immigration has long been controversial.

In 2007, President George W. Bush called for Congress to endorse his guest worker proposal, stating that illegal immigrants took jobs that Americans would not take.

The Pew Hispanic Center notes that while the number of legal immigrants arriving has not varied substantially since the 1980s, the number of illegal immigrants has increased dramatically and, since the mid-1990s, has surpassed the number of legal immigrants. Penalties for employers of illegal immigrants, of $2,000–$10,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment, go largely unenforced.

Political groups like Americans for Legal Immigration have been formed to demand enforcement of immigration laws and secure borders. ALIPAC has also called for “safe departure” border checkpoints, free of criminal checks. Sources: see links here and here