ABOUT THE LANGUAGE AND NATIONAL FEELING
By Trifun Kostovski
I would like to refer to one of the most delicate and, I would say, the most dangerous topics, especially in contexts like ours, which by their nature are multiethnic and which presuppose identity fragility. It is the topic of national identity and language, which is certainly an expression of national affiliation.
The reason for this column was the recent guest appearance of our Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov on the national Bulgarian television, where the host of the program, in a very unsuitable way, addressed our Minister with the words “Which language shall we use in the program today”, to which Nikola Dimitrov answered “You Bulgarian, and I Macedonian”.
Today, in the 21st century, we Macedonians are still fighting for our recognition, and the paradox to be bigger, we fight it with the biggest bet with our neighbors.
Dear readers, as far as I know from history, the nations come into the real life at the end of the 18th and 19th century. In Macedonia, this national feeling was born in the late 19th and early 20th century. The surroundings of Macedonia are the real source of all the problems that in the past were the reasons for wars, and God forbid, this can happen in the future. Treatment of Macedonia in the late 19th and early 20th century, before the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, was like no man’s land, where all larger countries around us pretended that it was their country.
There were two Balkan and two World Wars, where we Macedonians were a coin. I want to tell all neighbors that have illusions and pretensions not to take us as Bulgarians, Serbs or Greeks, that the Macedonian nation was born and exists autonomously. Yes, I agree, it is the youngest of all nations in our surroundings. But that does not minimize its importance and its sovereignty.
Beginning with Krste Petkov Misirkov and many other activists, finishing with Blaze Koneski, we established our strongest Macedonian instrument, our Macedonian language. Language is the key identity reference for each nation.
My distinguished friends from Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Kosovo, respect my national feelings and make no mistakes that will be able to reintroduce the whole region into a political turmoil, which can turn into a violent unwanted war.
Famous are the words of the last Montenegrin king Nikola: “Lost a battle? Do not worry, you will return it, lost a war? Do not worry, you will return it, but if you lose your language, you cease to exist”.
I have no doubt and any identity dilemmas – I am a Macedonian who has its own cultural heritage, specific cultural features and a language registered in the United Nations. Instead of building a future that will be based on respect for diversity, but also cooperation with all nations around us with the things that connect us, and these are, above all, similar traditions, a similar culture, a similar dinner, we bury ourselves in xenophobic or hegemonic trenches in which we bury our individual and common future.
My dear Bulgarians in Bulgaria, even those who feel Bulgarians in Macedonia, respect me as a Macedonian and then we will become a true kind.
Do not touch me where it hurts most, and that is my national feeling, my language, my culture. The same is true for all our neighbors, especially Greeks and Albanians.
Although we may be the youngest child in the entire geopolitical Balkan environment in terms of forming a national country, however, it is necessary to accept that we exist sovereign and autonomous. Only if you act egalitarian towards us, we can transform the utopia for a common future into reality and essentially strengthen the region.
I still feel the words of the President of MANU, Academician Taki Fiti, who told me that the former president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Academician Vodenicharov, listening to the Macedonian literary language, stated that “Macedonian language is the most romantic language of all Slavic languages that exist on the globe”.
I am happy and very proud that this nice conclusion has been given by a very strong and eminent person from Bulgaria.
Let the motto for the future be: to build bridges that will connect all the peoples of the Balkans and to accept that the region belongs equally to all of us.
That is all from me, and you think whether national romanticism cherished by certain structures from our neighborhood has still the right to life.
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