Macedonia’s history and heritage, here, the Star of Kutlesh, being erased and eroded (Photo: Republika)

Erosion

“I do not mean to say, that the scenes of the revolution are now or ever will be entirely forgotten; but that like every thing else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time….At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was, that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son or brother, a living history was to be found in every family…But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but, what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done; the leveling of its walls. They are gone.”

Abraham Lincoln

Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois
January 27, 1838

To put the above in proper context for Macedonia, insert “Ilinden” for “revolution” in the first sentence. Or any other of Macedonia’s fights for freedom, pre-1991.

To begin: In mid-March the governor of my home state of Arizona, like most of his fellow governors around the country, ordered a temporary closure of all gyms and fitness centers due to the coronavirus epidemic. As a physically fit guy who enjoys daily workouts at the gym, this was a bit of an inconvenience to me. Fortunately for me at least, there is a hiking trail a mere 15-minute walk from my home, the Linda Vista Trail. At the foot of the Pusch Ridge Wilderness area, part of the Catalina Mountains, these trails offer a range of short hikes that provide both elevation gain and a good workout. So, for two months, I made the trails my outdoor gym.

So did everyone else, apparently.

Even arriving shortly after six in the morning, I would still pass people on the trails who had arrived earlier. And with the many feet trampling over these trails at all hours for many months, I quickly noticed the enemy of all trails — erosion. The trails, these days, look and feel, like they have been torn up, chewed up, and spit out.

Dirt, coupled with rocks of all sizes — from pebbles, to rocks the size of a fist, to rocks the size of a watermelon or larger — creates a literally slippery situation. You put your foot down on a patch of dirt and rocks that you think is relatively solid, only to find your foot moving inadvertently either in front of you or behind you, forcing you to catch your balance — or else.

This forces you to look, frequently, at the ground to watch where you put your feet, when you should be looking up and out at the incredible scenery — the many and varied cactus and desert plants, the birds, the rabbits, even the deer. But when you are looking down, you can’t look up.

Trails erode due to wear and tear and neglect (and of course the weather) over time. Regular maintenance, however, can protect those trails.

While this erosion on the trails has been noticeable over a short two-month period, other erosions are more subtle, occurring gradually over time. Whether it is our freedoms and liberties, or our identities, these things erode, both through deliberate actions on the part of malignant actors, and through neglect on our part.

And isn’t this what is happening to the Macedonian identity, right now? It’s being torn up, worn down, chewed up, spit out — and with the agreement of the Macedonian Government.

British writer, scholar and former MEP Daniel Hannan writes in the UK’s Telegraph, and writing about the madness overtaking the USA and the UK as Jacobin mobs tear down statues of presidents and abolitionists, notes “As people are defined by their memories, so nations are defined by their histories. What, after all, is self-awareness if not the recollection of past sensations? John Locke, the seventeenth-century philosopher who has a pretty good claim to have invented modern society, understood that our sense of self was an accumulation of our previous thoughts and actions: ‘in this alone consists personal identity’.”

“Something similar is true of the composite entities we call nations. They are not random aggregations of individuals. They are shaped by what they have done and suffered. Because those experiences are often carved in stone or bronze, a nation’s story takes physical form in its memorials.”

“The Red Guards were as dangerous as they were because they represented the spirit of the age. The Chinese authorities indulged them just as politicians, corporates and public bodies indulge today’s crowds. But the aim is the same: the eradication of reminders of the past. And a nation that loses its past is like a person with severe Alzheimer’s — helpless and lost.”

The erosion that is happening today in Macedonia is two-fold and right in front of our eyes. First, it is happening through the current government of Zoran Zaev and his SDS party, along with his junior party, the Macedonian-Albanian DUI party. Through his acceptance of the so-called Tirana Platform, through his illegal changing of Macedonia’s name through the so-called Prespa Agreement, and through his capitulation to Bulgaria through the so-called treaty on good neighborly relations, Zaev and his ilk are eroding Macedonia’s identity, heritage, culture, language, history, and much else. Second, this erosion is happening by allowing others in Macedonia to also engage in this behavior of erosion — the so-called “colorful revolutionaries” and the civil society organizations they run, academia, much of the media, the think tanks, and the internationals in Macedonia represented through the Western embassies, the EU, and others. These aforementioned institutions and the people in them work hand-in-glove with the government of Zoran Zaev to erode and eradicate Macedonia’s collective past and its memory of the past.

Let me return to the words of Lincoln, above, who would go on to become America’s 16th president. He wrote that the memories of the American founding were a fortress of strength but that time itself was slowing eroding those memories. We know the work of time. And when you combine that along with the deliberate effort to erode and eradicate memory, you merely speed up the process by which, in Macedonia’s case, the fortress of strength that protects Macedonia, memories, are gone. They are gone.

The question is, will you allow this to continue?

Proud American & Arizonan w/Hungarian ethnicity & passion for Macedonia, Hungary & Estonia. Traveler, PR man, history buff & wine, craft beer & cigar enthusiast