macedonia

 

Most of the languages spoken around the world come from someplace else and nobody seems to mind that. English is spoken by many millions in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc., but there has yet been no effort to declare that language American, Canadian, Australian etc. Even the Irish, who have a good reason to be unhappy about the way they were treated by the English historically, have no problem acknowledging that the language they speak is English. It’s the same in Latin America, where the language they use is neither Argentinian nor Colombian or Venezuelan, but what the conquistadores, rapacious as they were, brought with them.  There is also a small prosperous country in Europe called Switzerland that has done very well for itself for centuries recognizing four national languages none of whom is called Swiss.

 

This is all well-known, but still worth mentioning since a current candidate for EU membership has borrowed a neighbor’s language and a considerable part of its history as its own in an act of rather open violation of the democratic norms  prevailing in the European Union. That candidate is called Macedonia, to be known as North Macedonia, should it get to be a EU member. The language in question is Bulgarian, of which Macedonian is but a local dialect, and the history in question was standard Bulgarian history before Macedonia became part of Yugoslavia in 1945. Thus, what we’re dealing with here is the open falsification of the history of a EU member and the appropriation of its language as the proof of membership bona fides. Much of this is a fait accompli by now  and there are many who would let sleeping dogs lie in the hope that EU and NATO membership would ‘civilize’ that small nation. Others believe that if the aggrieved party did nothing but greater economic involvement with the falsifiers things will eventually work out. Except that this kind of behavior has caused more than a few wars in the past and could again. So it is worth asking why wouldn’t Skopje simply admit that the language they speak is Bulgarian and get it over with?

 

To answer this question one would have to delve into the turgid history of what used to be called Yugoslavia. Before doing that just a couple of words about the language may be worthwhile. What makes it difficult for language falsifiers to ply their trade with Bulgarian is that that language and its Macedonian dialect is unique among Slavic languages in a number of ways. Alone among Slavic tongues, it is a prepositional language (also called analytic vs. synthetic by linguists), which means that it has lost its cases and uses prepositions instead, just as Macedonian does. It is also the only Slavic language that uses a suffixed definitive article, just as Macedonian does.

 

And so, what happened to that unhappy province to make it go haywire to such an extreme and ultimately counterproductive ways? What happened is called communism and it plied its destructive business in both Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. It is now often forgotten that before Tito broke with Stalin in 1948, the former was no less of a totalitarian thug, complete with his own gulag at Goli Otok, than the latter. As for the Bulgarian communists, they have never been anything but a slavishly subservient branch of the Bolshevik party. And despite Tito, Yugoslavia was never anything but a Serb-dominated fake federation, as became clear when it started collapsing after Tito’s death in 1980.

 

For Macedonia, the Serb domination started even earlier when in February of 1934, the Comintern, an organization half-seriously referred to as the Soviet ministry of revolution, declared that there existed a Macedonian nation and language.  A little later at Yaice, Bosnia, the Yugoslav communists (and their Moscow-subservient Bulgarian confreres) declared that all of Macedonia, including its putative Bulgarian and Greek parts were to be united in an independent state to be guaranteed by the Soviet Union, which meant territorial claims on both Bulgaria and Greece.[1]

 

Events accelerated rapidly after Tito took over Yugoslavia and began an active process of ‘debulgarianization’ of Macedonia and the Serbianization of the local communist party with the active support of the Bulgarian communists. This included a wide-spread effort to Serbianize the Macedonian language by introducing the Serb alphabet (Karadzica) removing some characteristic Bulgarian letters and introducing typical Serbian language constructs. [2] It also involved the massive Serbianization of the Macedonian communist cadres, the whole-sale purge of Bulgarian-minded officials and cultural figures and the de facto occupation of Macedonia by 30,000 primarily Serb military.[3]

 

The end result of all of this was that as Yugoslavia collapsed after an unsuccessful effort by the Serb communists under accused war-criminal Slobodan Miloshevich to keep it together by force, Macedonia was completely Serbianized. And both left and right of the political spectrum sought political legitimacy by claiming the Bulgarian history and language as their own. Though it may seem temporarily as a successful strategy due to European ignorance or disinterest, it is doomed in the final analysis. What the new Macedonian faux nationalists will have to understand sooner or later, is that without the support of the much larger Bulgaria and given the rapidly growing and increasingly inimical Albanian minority, Macedonia is not feasible in the long-term, whether it is part of the European Union or not.

 

By Alex Alexiev

 


[1] The best source  of the historical evidence of these events is in Angel Dimitrov, ‘Раждането на една нова държава: република Македония между Югославизъм и нациоанализъм,”  Sofia, 2011 (The Birth of a New Nation: the Republic of Macedonia Between Yugoslavism and Nationalism).

[2] See Dimitrov, op. cit. pp. 494-499.

[3] Op.cit. pp. 499-512 and especially pp. 512-535 (The start of the total debulgarianization).

One thought on “A New Language that Isn’t in Search of a Fake New Nation

  1. Pingback: Алксиев: „Без поддршка од Бугарија, Македонија нема иднина“ - Expres.mk

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