Macedonia, always and only — the name remains the same

At some point in the future, Zoran Zaev will no longer be prime minister of the Republic of Macedonia. At some point in the future, Ali Ahmeti will be dead. At some point in the future, all of the elected leaders in Macedonia will be gone. Elected and unelected, leaders and bureaucrats come and go. Their power and influence usually go with them. Others replace them.

And yet.

And yet no matter what some individuals do in their pursuit of selfishness, self-aggrandizement, and self-promotion — and here I am referring to a certain set of the current crop of so-called leaders in Macedonia — the name will remain the same: Macedonia. For that matter, the name of the people, the Macedonians, a distinct ethnic group and nationality, will always remain the same — and this applies to Macedonians living in Macedonia, in Greece, in Bulgaria, in Albania, and in any other country on the planet. The name of the language, the Macedonian language, distinct in its own right (and spoken and taught not just in Macedonia and the region but around the world), unique to the Macedonian people, and a unifier of all those individuals who call Macedonia home, will also remain the same. No agreement, however short or long, written in any language, will ever erase any of this as long as there remains a Macedonia and a Macedonian people.

As long as there remains a Macedonia and a Macedonian people, these things will remain — the Macedonian Orthodox Church, rich in tradition and history, affirming the Gospels and Scripture, proclaiming the name of Jesus the Christ and calling all who Believe to a closer relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

As long as there remains a Macedonia and a Macedonian people, these things will remain — Macedonian songs and music from the past, those being created now, and those Macedonian songs and music yet to be created — unique, distinct, creative and beautiful, along with Macedonian literature and poetry.

As long as there remains a Macedonia and a Macedonian people, these things will remain — Macedonian history which has had, currently does and will always encompass a certain geography — including the present-day Republic of Macedonia and all of the areas of Europe that have historically been the home of Macedonians as well as lands around the world where Macedonians live and have lived. This history of the Macedonians will always remain.

As long as there remains a Macedonia and a Macedonian people, these things will remain — Macedonian culture in its entirety, unique Macedonian customs, and Macedonian foods and drinks distinct to Macedonia, Macedonian visual arts, Macedonian sports personalities, and much more.

Pretty much everything that makes Macedonia and the Macedonians a unique and special people.

And yet.

Nineteen pages of paper that do not have a national backing; 19 pages of paper that were drafted without the input or approval of the Macedonian people or president; 19 pages of paper that attempt to appease an aggressor; 19 pages of paper that will be interpreted by that aggressor in an attempt to wring out more concessions and deny Macedonia and the Macedonians; 19 pages of paper that attempt to eradicate the Macedonian people, identity, language, history, culture, heritage and much more; 19 pages of….shame. These 19 pages of an agreement that dirties the name of one of Macedonia’s most beautiful lakes will never eradicate Macedonia and the Macedonians. Here is a truth of history: bad treaties and agreements, especially coerced ones, don’t last long. They are overturned, one way or another, and cast upon the dustbin of history. So it will be with this one. All who love Macedonia will work to cast it on that dustbin.

Membership in clubs such as NATO and the EU will not bring you a meaningful life or peace, prosperity, and security no matter how much anyone says they will. The peace, prosperity, and security of Macedonia and the Macedonians are up to the Macedonian people. This will take hard work, perseverance, determination, strength, a strong will, and much more. That, and, in the case of EU membership, much of your sovereignty, Macedonia, will be demanded of you.

And yet.

Even so, the sum of one’s life should not be measured by such fleeting things as the absence of war, or mere money — far from it. Our lives should be measured by how we raise our children and the legacy we give them, our relationships — hopefully good ones — with family and friends, and our positive impacts on those around us, and more. Our lives, and our contentment, should not and cannot be measured by mere things and a truly meaningful life is always found outside of these things. Mother Teresa, daughter of Macedonia born in Skopje said that the greatest human need is the need to be needed. We all need to belong to something and we all need to be wanted. Macedonians have belonged to Macedonia, and Macedonia has belonged to Macedonians. That cannot be taken away.

At the end of the day, no matter what some 19-pages of typed words state, Macedonians will continue calling each other Macedonians and their country, Macedonia. Macedonians will continue living, loving, and laughing in Macedonia, in Greece, in Bulgaria, in Albania, and wherever else Macedonians live. Friends of Macedonia and the Macedonians will continue with this as well. And here’s a fact: the majority of the world will continue to do the same. Why? Because Macedonians exist and have existed for a very long time and because it is the right of a people to determine who they are, how they identify, what language they speak, how they worship and what kind of culture they create.

As long as you, Macedonia, continue to nurture your children and grandchildren in the Macedonian language and in Macedonian ways, customs, and culture so that they can, in turn, pass on that nurturing to generations yet unborn, you will do fine. The world will respect you and call you by the name and identity you have chosen: Macedonia and Macedonian.

Go now and nurture. And never stop.

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