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My Identity, Part II
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I recently spotted a web advertisement for LifeLock which describes itself as “Relentlessly Protecting Your Identity.”  The thing that drew me into the ad however was their tag line – “my identity is my life!”  In a world of online identity theft, the firm offers online identity theft protection for individuals and businesses.

That phrase – my identity is my life – is very true.  Our core identity – what we call ourselves as a national and ethnic identification – is a core part of our lives.  And as I wrote last week, the name is inseparable from the identity.

Names are always a part of identity.  For instance, those of us who identify ourselves as Christians take our name, our identity, from Christ.  In the New Testament book of Acts 11:16 Luke writes “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”  The identity of “Christian” takes its name from Christ.

In the Old Testament book of Psalms 5:11 we read “Spread your protection over them that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”  The notes in my English version of the Bible for that verse state “the name of the Lord is a manifestation of his character.” Character, of course, being the attributes and features that make up an individual…or a nation of people.  The manifestation of his character is also his name, his identity.

Identity is one of those issues that is difficult to grasp.  After all, if your identity is not threatened, how to you relate to those whose identity is threatened?

I have known what it is like to be hungry but I have never been in danger of starving.  I do know that others around the world are in danger of starving and are in fact starving and I can choose to give my charitable dollars to organizations that are fighting and combating world hunger.  But hunger is tangible, understandable, and visible.  Identity is not necessarily so.  Identity is a bit esoteric, ethereal, out there.  You can see the accoutrements or trappings of identity – flags, for instance – but one cannot see identity itself.  Like gravity, you can see what it does but you cannot see gravity itself.  You cannot touch it, smell it or taste it, but have someone pull the chair you are sitting on away from you and you can feel the effects of it!

So the question might seem obvious: how do you make others understand identity when it seem as though they cannot grasp it?

Perhaps though, maybe that is not the right question.  After all, 133 countries recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name and call the people and language “Macedonian.”  Even the powers that be in NATO, the EU and the UN (among other organizations) will privately refer to the country, people and language by their proper names.  But when we enter into the realm of public discourse in those international forums, those same powers that be all of the sudden become silent as to the proper names.  They refer to “your country” and “this country” and “your people” and of course, the temporary and fictional derivative.  Why can’t they do the right thing?  Within NATO, Turkey does the right thing by insisting that Macedonia be referred to under its constitutional name.  Who cares if Greece is offended?

Today’s lesson: In George Orwell’s famous book 1984, a book that looked ahead and pronounced a dystopian future under socialism (Europe and where it is heading now), a group of animals takes over a farm from their human owners and begin to run it themselves.  A committee of pigs, named Napoleon and Snowball, set themselves up as leaders, adopt rules for the working of the farm and also implement commandments for the rest of the animals, the most important of which is the last: “All animals are created equal.” As time goes by the pigs begin to take on the trappings and benefits of power and begin a slow campaign of convincing other animals to work harder, while the pigs begin to enjoy the benefits the humans there once enjoyed.  By the end of the story, the most important commandment has changed to “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

Sound familiar?  You Macedonia, were (past tense) equal with the other countries when it came to the rules and requirements of membership in the clubs, NATO, the EU, the UN, etc.  But as time went by, you became less equal.

You know who the pigs are; now you understand that they run the show.

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Jason Miko
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