This is our home
On a recent drive to my office one morning, I found myself listening to the Norwegian band a-ha and their 2017 MTV Unplugged album. They started that album and concert with a new song — “This is our home.” Here are the opening lyrics:
It matters what you do
It matters what you say
It matters that you lead the way
It matters what you think
It matters what you know
There’s no other place to go
For this is our home
This is our home
This is where we belong
Poignant, all of it.
Consider: “There’s no other place to go…this is where we belong.” And because of that truth, it matters what you do, what you say, what you think, what you know and that, in all of this, to the extent you can, you lead the way. You don’t have to be famous, important, rich, educated or even particularly intelligent as measured by tests. You can be young or old, a man or a woman, even a young child. You can have little education, and yet have wisdom. You can be a bricklayer, or you can be a businessman. You get the idea.
And those labels don’t matter when considering your home.
What does matter is the other stuff — what you do, say, think, and what you know about your home, this home, Macedonia.
There is no other Macedonia. This is it. This is where you, where Macedonians, belong.
Of course other ethnic groups live here, as is their right.
But there is no other home for the Macedonians.
A Macedonian friend told me a few months ago, “I have no other identity, no spare identity. I am Macedonian and that is all I can be.”
Isn’t that the same for all Macedonians?
As you celebrate Ilinden and consider what Ilinden means, and what sacrifices were made by Macedonian men and women during the Ilinden Uprising, it is worth thinking about what they were fighting and sacrificing for — an independent homeland, Macedonia, for Macedonians, and, yes, for others living here.
But first, and foremost, for Macedonia. For this is our home, Macedonia.
All of this is under attack today. From neighboring countries denying Macedonia its name, identity, culture, history, language, Church, and much more. From international institutions, politicians, and diplomats, doing the same and often aiding those other countries. From an insidious culture — materialism, humanism, wokeism, and more — that tells Macedonians, and the world over, that identity, the nation-state, sovereignty and more, simply does not matter, that we are all so-called “global citizens,” who should worship at the altar of money, fame, fortune, beauty, prosperity, and much more. All of this is a lie.
It is a lie because these things seek to replace what matters most — and it matters what you do, what you do, say, think, and know.
What matters most, ultimately, is relationships — horizontally with family, friends, neighbors, our country, etc. and vertically, with God. Even for non-believers, even they must believe that at the very least the horizontal relationships are what matter, not the fleeting, ephemeral lies of today.
I hope — I know — that Macedonians will think about these things as you gather to celebrate the Ilinden Uprising and what it means.