One name, multiple identities

One name, multiple identities
"We have one name, we carry it in our soul, we would give our lives for you, Oh Macedonia!" That’s what the song says! Macedonia is, therefore, a soul – someone’s. Macedonia is an idea for something and for someone. And ideas are the guides to action, including the willingness to sacrifice the life for an idea. We, the Macedonians, are known as a singing and playful people. And it is true! There is no other people in recent history, who chant the name Macedonia as a symbol of their own national uniqueness of their collective soul and self-consciousness. The song has a political function. It is part of the arsenal for constructing and raising the Macedonian national consciousness. In this way, the noun Macedonia got one specific meaning. "Macedonia to the Macedonians", Kosta Novakovic would say. For others, it is a slogan that has been and remains a call for Macedonianism or irredentism, as our southern neighbors would call it.

This kind of self-naming has had implications for the attitude of others as to the idea of ​​Macedonia, as well as the "Macedonians" in general, and their attitude towards the idea of ​​Macedonia as a separate national state. It can even be proven that the rise of the program for building a separate Macedonian nation has prompted the neighboring nations to develop their own ideas for Macedonia and for the "Macedonians" as theirs. Thus, the name Macedonia and the adjectives derived from it became the subject of more competitive national programs. One name, and multiple stories for it. One name, multiple identities. More "Macedonian" souls - Bulgarian, Greek, Russian, Macedonian.

I will not get into why, and who, and when someone became "Macedonian". It is a fact that the name Macedonia had and still has great symbolic power. The thing is that many know, and even more people believe that the power of that symbol can become even greater and generate a new policy. Our current, but also past problems with self-identification as Macedonians arise precisely from such "fears". Neighbors, especially Bulgarians and Greeks, are frightened by the possible evolution of Macedonianism.

These fears seem ridiculous to us. The small, poor and internally divided Republic of Macedonia to be considered and treated as a threat to its own national integrity. But for the neighbors, it was this in history, and so it is today. Macedonia challenges! Macedonia mobilizes! The name Macedonia, as Blaze Koneski said, is great... The main difference in terms of the past is that besides the Bulgarian and Greek stories, we also tell our story about Macedonia and the "Macedonians". Even though we started our story, we are developing it completely within the former Yugoslavia. In it, we defined ourselves and established ourselves in a new way with a capital M - Macedonians as an ethno-nation. Until then, the Macedonian identity in national sense related mainly to the already existing states-nations, most often with Bulgaria and Greece, and rarely with Serbia. Therefore, it mainly exists as a regional, descriptive identity – “macedonians" in lowercase.

Inside, within Yugoslavia, the Macedonian national program did not bother much as long as it maintained, or as long as it was possible to maintain within the framework of the Serbian idea of ​​Macedonia and the "Macedonians". As such, it was encouraged and helped because it was compatible, above all with Serbian, and partly with Croatia's strategic goals. With the break-up of Yugoslavia, the ethno-Macedonian national identity, with an unstable policy, went out into the open and restless sea of ​​nations. Since then, in pursuit of a new framework for its further development (NATO and EU), this identity is in open conflict with other competing identities. Some say “you are not Macedonians because "Macedonia is ours (Greek), and "Macedonians are Greeks." Others are more moderate, they say, well, maybe you are Macedonians now, but until recently you were the same as us, Bulgarians! Both of them put pressure, blackmail, block, and threaten. They seek to redefine ourselves as different from their former, present or future "Macedonians". They want us to redefine our Macedonianism and our Macedonia as different from theirs.

The obstacles they pose and the demands they deliver create a typical postcolonial situation in our country. In this sense, we are neither the first, nor will we be the last on the world historical scene from which the indecent thing was demanded - not to be who you are, to change the name of the state, and therefore of the nation. But the international scene is merciless. It creates and destroys states and nations, not truth and virtue. Our postcolonial situation is, however, specific. First, unlike other cases, the once "responsible" for our part of the colonialized, post-Ottoman Macedonia, is indefinable today. Regarding the other two colonizers, he himself expects support for joining the EU. If he succeeds in joining the club of the European Union, he will deliver his expectations as a former "boss". Secondly, some of the helpers and later guarantors of the colonization of post-Ottoman Macedonia are our strategic friends today.

Therefore, I say, who knows why the change in the name of the state could, in the end, be for the greater good. After all, we are new, different, "Macedonians" from those from Ilinden 1903. Most of them, because they were educated or baptized in Bulgarian, Greek, in Serbian schools and churches, felt like Bulgarians, Greeks and Serbs. They could not have it any other way. But I am only a Macedonian, to say a Macedonian “Macedonian”, and some more fundamentalist ones would say a "real" Macedonian. Since the other "Macedonians", according to their spokespersons, are afraid that in my presence (for example, in the EU, for example) can get infected by my Macedonianism and irredentism, then I accept to change my name, but arbitrarily. According to the formula one name, multiple identities, and I have the right to my Macedonianism.

The wisdom of King Solomon teaches of this step, in the story of the two women and the baby he needs to cut into two - to name Macedon. In the story, the woman whose baby had died before, and wished to adopt someone else’s child, asked Solomon to cut the baby who was the object of the dispute into two and share it with them! In contrast, the real mother, wanting for her child above all to live, grow and develop, she gave it up. Wise Solomon gave the baby exactly to the mother who gave up the baby, knowing that true love means life. In that sense, I agree with a friend of mine who ironically says that, if we rename ourselves to "Northern Macedonia", for instance, we will have the excuse to drink to "Longing for the South!"

Ilo Trajkovski

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