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Our Bulgarian Friends
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The Ministry of Interior – in fact, the whole government – is doing everything necessary to track the killers who murdered five innocent fishermen near Skopje just before Easter.  Work is moving forward, clues are being found and progress will be made.  For the sake of justice, it is my prayer and hope that the killers are found.  Once found, they should be executed (unlike Europe, most states in the United States have capital punishment, most Americans agree with it and I wholeheartedly support capital punishment).

At the same time, the Government of Macedonia has called for calm and for people not to jump to conclusions.  It has asked the media to refrain from inflaming tensions.  Other responsible organizations and governments – the EU, NATO, OSCE – have also made these calls.  And for the most part, citizens are behaving responsibly.  OSCE Ambassador Ralf Breth recently told the media that “Macedonia is a safe and stable country,” expanding his statement saying “I feel safe here, and this has always been the case. The very fact that such a cruel act is a rarity, proves that the general situation in the country is safe, and that this state is a good place to live.” I completely agree and always have.

Unfortunately, our Bulgarian friends have not heeded the advice of the Government and others and do not believe Ambassador Breth.  Many in the media and some associated with the government of Bulgaria are openly using this opportunity to attempt to drive a wedge between Macedonia’s citizens.  Some of our Bulgarian friends are up to their tired old tricks once again – trying to cause trouble in Macedonia.

First and foremost is Focus News’ Krasimir Uzunov.  Touted as an expert on the Balkan region and a former member of the State Security Service of Bulgaria under the Communists (well there’s your problem – he’s a Communist!), Uzunov affirms that this one incident will lead to a breakup of Macedonia.  He states what he actually wishes to happen in an interview with Novinite: “Macedonia is definitely headed in the direction of federalization, confederalization, and breakup.”  He goes on to explain his version of the events of the past and of the future which could lead to this.  This is not really new, however, as he has long advocated this.

Ivan Dikov, writing for Novinite on April 21, goes much further in his analysis using his “special report” on the website to call for a “preemptive division of Macedonia.” Dikov writes that “A ‘preemptive division’ of Macedonia, bold and tough an option as it might seem, could turn out to be the one providing the most sustainable solution.”  Naturally he refers to Macedonians as “Slavic Macedonians” and claims that Albanians are nearing one third of the population of Macedonia.  And that’s just the mild stuff.

Dikov continues his rant: “However, unpalatable this may sound, the Slavic Macedonians will benefit from such a ‘preemptive division’ scenario because their position is weakening as time goes by because of the higher birth rate of the ethnic Albanians. If Macedonia gets divided in 10 or 20 years (possibly after a civil or international war, in the worst case scenario), the Albanians are likely to get a larger chunk, perhaps even half or more of the country's territory….The ‘preemptive division’ idea set forth hereby will certainly be criticized for laying out this solution from the point of view of Bulgarian interests. The problem with that criticism would be that a sustainable solution that preempts a crisis in the Balkans is in everybody's interest….”

Of course Dikov goes to lengths to deliberately insult the Macedonian people stating that Macedonia is “designed as a nation state for a different nation (i.e. the Macedonian nation invented by communist Yugoslavia in 1943-44, and considered part of the Bulgarian nation before that).” That false point alone has nothing to do with his main point but he goes out of his way to make sure that it is in the story.

All of this shows that Dikov is irresponsible, dangerous and most importantly, wrong, and I am surprised that his editors allow him to write such drivel.  This type of “reporting” and writing does nothing to calm tensions and is in fact designed to inflame tensions for the purposes of certain elements in Bulgaria who, for various reasons, want to see the break-up of Macedonia, or at least do not want to see Macedonia in NATO or the EU.  They harbor some type of resentment toward Macedonia and the Macedonians and this is their way of “getting back.” Shame on them.

Perhaps these individuals and others should take an inward look. Bulgaria’s treatment of its ethnic minorities – including its Macedonians, Turks and Roma – is dismal.  Bulgaria’s media and government elite should be focusing more on their own issues before making pronouncements about their neighbor’s.

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Jason Miko
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