The Macedonian Tendency: November 2004

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

US State Deartment Background Note: Macedonia Nov. 2004

This Background Note seems to have been recieved by the Greek journalist at the US State Department briefings like one recieves a "hot poker up ones butt". If I was a nit-picker I could find fault with it myself. Let's not.

We are thankfully referred to as "ethnic Macedonians" who speak the "Macedonian language" and have created a "Macedonian culture". "Macedonian slavs" is nowhere to be found.

Now if we can get a the US State Department to plug in Krste Misirkov's "On Macedonian Matters, published in 1901, we can put a stake through the heart of the Greek and Bulgarian slander that "Tito invented the Macedonian nation".

Maybe next year ..... for Christmas!

Macedonia (11/04)

Following the war, Macedonia became one of the constituent republics of the new Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshall Tito. During this period, Macedonian culture and language flourished.

During the Yugoslav period, Macedonian ethnic identity exhibited itself, in that most of Macedonia's Slavic population identified themselves as Macedonians, while several minority groups, in particular ethnic Albanians, sought to retain their own distinct political culture and language. Although interethnic tensions simmered under Yugoslav authority and during the first decade of its independence, the country avoided ethnically motivated conflict until several years after independence.

The expanded coalition of ruling ethnic Macedonian and ethnic Albanian political leaders, with facilitation by U.S. and European Union (EU) diplomats, negotiated and then signed the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001, which brought an end to the fighting.

US State - Press Briefing for November 30

More on US State Department response to Greek journalist on the Macedonian recognition issue. It is lucky that there are no Macedonian journalists at this press conference to make a fool of themselves. That God for small favours.

Daily Press Briefing for November 30 -- Transcript

QUESTION: On FYROM. Mr. Boucher, 70 members of the House of Representatives characterize as counterproductive your policy recognition of FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia" in a letter to the Secretary of State Colin Powell, November 19th. They write in inter alia, "This is more than an issue of a name for the Greek people. As you recall, Mr. Secretary, over 50,000 Greek-Americans attended in May 31st, 1992, memorial service in Washington, for the 40,000 Greek citizens who lost their lives at the hands of people living in what is today FYROM. When the lives were lost, our Secretary of State Edward Stettinius called, ‘talk of Macedonian nations as justified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality,’ ‘and a cloak for aggressive intention against Greece.’"

Similar letter was sent to Secretary of State by 11 senators. How do you respond to that?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we've responded to that specific letter. I think the overall situation, with regards to Macedonia, was explained here many times. As I noted at the time of our announcement, we had consulted with various members of Congress about it and we knew there were differing views on the Hill, and we're always happy to hear from people.

I would note that the decision to call the Republic of Macedonia by that name is not, in any way, a political or historical gesture, or a gesture related to history, nor are we turning our backs on the people who -- nor are we turning our backs on the many people who died in the second World War in this area. It was merely a question of what we thought we should call the nation at this point.

QUESTION: Mr. Boucher, I noted yesterday that you have an advocate or defender in the Voice of America, namely, George Bistis, the director of the Greek program, who attacked me personally in his dispatch all over the world, based on the way you and I conducted yesterday's dialogue on FYROM.

MR. BOUCHER: They attacked you?


MR. BOUCHER: Really?


QUESTION: George Bistis, correct. It's a free dispatch. In a way, however, that only using the VOA facilities as a propaganda machine, but also as a tool to intimidate me, to disgrace me and to threaten me with the usual motives against the freedom of the press and the right to speak free, keeping in mind, Mr. Boucher, that your greatest president, Thomas Jefferson, said once upon a time, "I prefer a free press than a government." I would like you to comment on that.


MR. BOUCHER: Number one, we agree with Thomas Jefferson. Number two --

QUESTION: Excuse me? Number one, what?

MR. BOUCHER: We agree with Thomas Jefferson.

QUESTION: Definitely.

MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary of State -- we got the gist.

QUESTION: That's why I quote him.

MR. BOUCHER: We got the gist.

QUESTION: Number two (inaudible).

MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Number two is, as you know, I've never criticized the questions that are asked here in the briefing room. I think you all come and you have the right to ask whatever you want. I've always said there are no bad questions, there are just bad answers. So I'll stop at that one. I think that's good enough.

QUESTION: Any answer to my pending questions why your November Background Note on FYROM -- I asked you yesterday -- the authors wrote, "Alexander III ("the Great")? Is there any explanation for that because --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I have offered to get you an answer on that one, I'm afraid. That was sort of a level of grammar that I wasn't going to research any further.

QUESTION: Last night you released the following: "The U.S. supports Macedonia's current borders," which means -- and it will speak today. What about in the future borders after a month or a year or three years?

MR. BOUCHER: No, we support Macedonia as it is now within its current borders and we don't -- we're not pressing or encouraging or asking for any change in those borders.

QUESTION: As of today?

MR. BOUCHER: No, for now that is our policy, that our policy for now and in the future is to support Macedonia with its current borders, not to seek any change or forecast any change in those borders.

QUESTION: But taking the example of what happened to Kosovo, you were saying exactly the same when the Albanians moving day by day after the point that they’re ready in May 2005 to create an independent Kosovo. So that's why I'm asking you, this policy will be forever or just as we are speaking as of today?

MR. BOUCHER: This is our policy.


MR. BOUCHER: This is our policy, period. Policies aren't dated. That's our policy and that's the way we see the situation with Macedonia, for now and for the future.

QUESTION: In the state --

MR. BOUCHER: Let's --

QUESTION: In the same statement you are saying yesterday, "The person of the Country Background Note referred to today's briefings is the history section which describes the situation in Macedonia thousands of years ago," but you have not clarified the Greek or Hellenic character of that area. And I'm wondering why. Could you please, for the record, in order to correct the history, clarify that Alexander the Great was Greek from Macedonian territory and that Macedonians would speak in Greek because they were Greek nationals and they speak the Greek language? And the authors did not mention anything to this effect, the Greekness of the ancient Macedonia, since the entire history, Mr. Boucher, including Macedonia, were written in stones in Greek language and the stones are remained in (inaudible). I would like you to comment.


QUESTION: And why not?

MR. BOUCHER: I -- really, I don't want to make light of this, but I don't think we're here to talk about the situation as it existed thousands of years ago. If you want to know current policy, I think we explained current policy.

QUESTION: Why then you released this document, two pages, did you write those stuff?

MR. BOUCHER: In two pages, you can't explain the entire history of a region or an ethnic group or a nationality or a language. I'm going to stand with what we've written, stand with what I said, but I don't think it requires further explanation from me.

QUESTION: But you don't have any --


QUESTION: -- prior policy --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it requires further explanation from here.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. BOUCHER: Our current policy on those questions, you and I have discussed many times here. I think it's been adequately explained.

Impact of Trajkovski's death on George W. Bush

One of these days, a journalist is going to ask George Bush a question about the tragic situation of the oppressed ethnic Macedonians in Greece who are looking to the United States of Amercia for freedom and liberty.

In my opinion the death of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, a fellow Methodist Christian of the US President, had a profound effect on George W. Bush. He could not have helped but be impressed that Macedonians who are 98% Orthodox Christians would be so open minded as to elect a Methodist Minister as their President.

It didn't help that Colin Powell was prevented from attending the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games which were financed mostly by American television rights!

Daily Press Briefing for November 29 -- Transcript

QUESTION: Another issue. FYROM, Mr. Boucher. I am fully aware of your aversion to ancient history, but there is a matter in which ancient history affects present-day reality. The November Background Note you just released the other day on the so-called "Republic of Macedonia," internationally known as FYROM, as written, since legitimized the arrogant disclaims of FYROM, no more, no less. This DOS note implies that the so-called "Republic of Macedonia," like the U.S. Marine manual for which the Greek Government protested earlier, leaves the clear impression that this state has its mission the liberation of the rest of Macedonia.

Is the Department of State aware of the implication arising from its practices of attributing "national identity" via geography?

MR. BOUCHER: I guess I -- my basic point would be I don't agree with your interpretation of the Background Note, that you say it implies this, it leaves the impression of that, that somehow we're supporting wider claims of a broader Macedonia. That is not the policy of the U.S. Government, nor is it the policy of the Macedonian Government, and I just don't -- I'll look at our Background Note again, but I really don't think it leaves that impression or implies that, frankly.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) of the Background Note, including the new appointed Ambassador to Greece, Charles Ries, who at the present time is in charge for the European affairs, too, here at the State Department, explain to the average Greek why a state that comprise of only 38 percent of the total land of ancient Macedonia should be treated as the "liberated segment" after it accept totally the name of the Greek region with the same name that consisted of 58 too of the total of the ancient land?

MR. BOUCHER: Who's referring to it at the "liberated section"?


MR. BOUCHER: We are doing that? No, you are. I'd say you are. I just want to make sure.

QUESTION: Let me explain. In the whole historical page --

MR. BOUCHER: First of all, I don't think we imply or leave the impression or want to intimate, in any way, that we support Macedonia beyond Macedonia's borders. We think that the Republic of Macedonia deserves to be called by that name. We've explained that already. But that is not implying something about expansionism or a greater Macedonia or any of those terms that you keep throwing around.

Nor do we view the Republic of Macedonia as the liberated portion of Macedonia. We see it as an entity that deserves recognition and respect from the United States and the international community because of the way it's handled its own affairs, and that it's not itself committed, nor are we pushing it or encouraging it, to take any expansionist ideas in mind.

QUESTION: Let me be more -- to clarify. Why did Department of State force history, based on this move, presented Alexander, parenthesis, quote, "the Great," unquote, parenthesis, why, in parenthesis and quotation? May we have an explanation? It's in the text.

MR. BOUCHER: I honestly don't know.

QUESTION: It's a very serious matter.

QUESTION: It sounds like a movie review.

QUESTION: It's from the text.

MR. BOUCHER: I honestly don't know why he's referred to that way. There must be a style manual somewhere that says it.

Okay, let's move on to other things.

QUESTION: Wait, wait, I have a Macedonia question.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Christopher Hitchens Part 2

I am a pack rat so I have a hard time throwing things away. Below is a 1993 letter to the editor of the now defunct "The European Newspaper" in which Christopher Hitchens discussed the Macedonian "name" issue . This is the first time that I had heard of him. My assumption was that he was a snoty English upper class right wing twit journalist who had never been to the Balkans. I don't have a copy of the original article, but will try to find and post it.

Quelle surprise ... it seems our comrade Hitchens was had a reputation as a leftist ... even a Trotskyite. It also seems that he married a Greek Cypriot. It also seems that he left his wife and small child for another woman. It seems that Ms. Greek Cypriot raised the child in England while comrade Chris stayed in New England. Nice!

Over the years, Hitchens has contributed anti- Macedonian articles in the Nation and other publications but has never commented on the plight of the ethnic Macedonians in Greece. This is odd because one of his friends is Hugh Poulton of the Minority rights Group ("Who are the Macedonians?") so he can't be totally ignorant of our issues.

His brother is a right wing commentator in Enlgand. My point is that anyone reading his work on Macedonia would never guess that he had been a leftist at one time.

April 7, 1993

To: The European "Letters to the Editor"

Re: "Not Just Paranoid about Macedonia" by Christopher Hitchens, April 1-7,

Mr. Hitchens is incorrect when he stated the title of "King of the Hellenes" was forced upon the newly crowned Greek King George "in deference to Ottoman objections to the original formulation 'King of the Greeks'". In the same way that Germans call their country Deutchland in their language, Greeks call themselves Hellenes and their country Hellas in their language. The word "Greece" like the word "Germany" is based on ancient Roman usage.

The rest of the article is similarly flawed. It reminds me of a lecture on sexual technique that is given by a virgin. Although some of the facts may be right, the insight that one might gain from a more intimate knowledge and direct experience is missing.

Please no more "if this is Tuesday this must be Macedonia (or is it Moldova?)" type of articles.

Christopher Hitchens part 1.

What Made Alexander So Great? - The real mystery of his life isn't his bisexuality. By Christopher�Hitchens

This is really a nothing article with the exception that Hiitchens has taken the opportunity to trash ethnic Macedonians ... what an donkey! More on Hitchens in another post
"The unmistakable Greekness of the trove is part of the reason that the Greek government is so upset at President Bush's recent decision to recognize former Yugoslav "Macedonia" under its assumed name."

Georgie Anne Geyer on the Kurds

Georgie Anne Geyer is a journalist who has been writing articles along the line of "look how nice the West is" even as "the West" destabilize the very countries it is purporting to help. It takes your breath away sometimes. Here she is writing about the good effect of EU membership in Kurdish rights in Turkey. Fair enough. But .... she never mentions that the Kurds have had their rights violated under the watchful eye of NATO, of which Turkey is a leading member. Anyway, below is my post to her story. Read this first, ten read her story.


"Ms Geyer

Please write a column on how the denial of minority rights of ethnic Kurds in Turkey and ethnic Macedonians in Greece is by definition a "value" of NATO and the EU.

The fact that the EU can say to Turkey, that human rights for Kurds is essential for membership, while at the same time saying that mistreatment of ethnic Macedonians in Greece is OK. Not only that, but the Republic of Macedonia has to change its name, the name of the Macedonian language and the name of the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

If it was Jews, this policy would be called anti-semitism, if it was was Africans, it woould be called racism, if it Native Americans, it would be called "cultural genocide"

Because it is happening in the EU today, Macedonians call it LIFE!

The EU policy in the Balkans has been the most de-stabilizing force since the collapse of the Berlin wall."

Macedonian lobby in action!

This is actually very funny.

Reality Macedonia : Bulgarian and Greek Territories Presented as Parts of Macedonia


Athens, November 29 (MIA) - Bulgarian and Greek territories are presented as parts of the Republic of Macedonia on a map, which has been distributed to the US marines, Greek media read on Monday.

The map is entitled "Occupied Macedonia" and relation of the "Former Yugoslav Republic" with ancient Macedonia is mentioned as well.

Greek Foreign Ministry sent a protest note to Washington regarding the map, as afterwards the US diplomatic sources promised that the map would not be used any more.


Good Analysis from a Greek Point of View

The problem with Greece's strategic position is that it brings a lot of problems to the EU table with few benefits. It is anti ... Macedonian, Bulgarian, Albanian, Catholic and Semitic (Jewish and Isreali). Its puny size compared to its giant ambitions make it the laughing stock of the EU.

As long as Greece continues to promote its "values" which denies the ethnicity of its ethnic Macedonian minority, these in effect become European values.

As the EU talks start with Turkey for its EU membership, look for the EU to take a hard line on Turkey's treatment of its Kurdish minority. The Turkish response will be ... 'What am I, chopped liver' ... what about Greece's treatment of its Macedonian minority.

Thanks to Turkey, Macedonianists and Macedonianism will overcome!

(By the way, it has done Greece no favours to take part in US/fEU anti-Russian policy since the Berlin wall fell. The current Ukraine mess is but one more example.) | Without a strategy

"Having failed to use its supposed EU membership leverage to influence the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the government of Costas Karamanlis is now trying to reach a settlement on the name dispute and is threatening to block the Balkan state’s European aspirations, but its chances appear slim."

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Someone at Slate knows the difference between Macedonians and Greeks

It looks like someone at Slate (David Edelstein) knows the difference between Macedonians and Greeks. (Although he does beat a partial retreat at the end of the review in response to various letters. Good reading!)

I probably will wait to see the movie when it comes out on DVD. The reviews seem to be trashing the movie.

I think our friend David has got the right attitude towards Alexander. I am at a loss as to why Macedonians should venerate this thug.

Oliver's Army - In Alexander, Stone makes a mess of Mesopotamia. By David�Edelstein

"Apart from a tendency to view Macedonians and Greeks as one people, the film is more or less historically accurate—aided and abetted by the Oxford scholar Robin Lane Fox, who has no doubt disgraced himself among his colleagues by penning a "making of" book."

"Stone attempts to tell the story of another mass murderer/existential hero, Alexander the Great (played by Colin Farrell), the young Macedonian king who, in 323 B.C., swept through Greece and then the Persian Empire—what is now Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Iraq—and then, more foolishly, into India: a dozen years of conquests that at the very least touched the lives of more people on the planet than any military leader before him (even if only to end them). "

Mabe Slate can take this opportunity to correct this problem on their website from 1997!

Slate Mistake 1997 - Macedonian problem

Monday, November 22, 2004

This can't be true

Security Events Grow 150 Percent from Q3 2003; Ease of Execution, Hacker Sophistication and Financial Reward Catalyze New Hybrid Internet Attacks from VeriSign, Inc.

Is it possible that the fraudulent transactions are in fact frauds in themselves. Could it be that hackers have taken over Macedonian IP addresses to focus the blame on Macedonians

Macedonia has very little penetration of computers and the internet and with a population of only 2 million people, it is not reasonable that Macedonia can produce so much "fraudulent transactions". I smell a plot by the Greek security services. I do not think that the Albanian Mafia is capable of producing this amount of fraud.

"Further, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ranked first in the percentage of total fraudulent transactions during the third quarter of 2004. For the fraudulent transaction listing, countries were selected based upon the number of risky transactions that originated from the identified IP addresses from that nation. Transactions deemed risky are based upon review of multiple fraud screen filters, including identification of stolen credit card numbers, comparison of shipping and mailing addresses for discrepancies, as well as other techniques."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Happy News ... but

I have always felt that the primary engine of de-stabilisation in the Balkans has been the aggressive pursuit by the US/EU of the "national interest" at the expense of human rights.

For some reason, it is now in the interests of the US and Germany to now recognise Macedonia by its name. I suspect it has something to do with the current Macedonian referendum and the desire to prop up the current coalition government of macedonians and Albanians. Maybe it was because Bush really liked Trajkovski and in this way honours his death. Maybe it was because we sent troops to Iraq and Greece did not. I don't know. Anyway, we are now the happy recipients of their favours.

We have to remember, these guys are still not dispensing justice, only "national interest". Macedonians have to be united in wariness of any possible change in policy.

I think, but I do not know for sure, that all the analysts at the semi-official US/EU media such as Radio Free Europe, War and Peace Reporting, and International Crisis Group all acknowledge that the US/EU are a de-stabilising force in the Balkans but they need the job to put food on the table. I hope these people are keeping a diary so that in 20 years they can write books with titles like ... "How we betrayed the Balkans".

The real news media such as New York Times, the Guardian, Reuters have paid a passive role in reporting the hypocrisy because for some reason it is not on ...the agenda ... the radar screen ... whatever.

One of the purposes of this blog is to try to bring to the attention of these people that they are " hurting America", "hurtin Europe", 'hurting the Balkans" and for goodness sake "please stop"!



The Greman Bundestag resolution on Macedonia and the US recognition of "The Republic of Macedonia are both welcome, if long overdue.

"The resolution called for the full implementation of the 2001 Ohrid peace agreement, saying the referendum slated for 7 November against the government's redistricting plans would undermine interethnic trust. Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva welcomed the resolution as an important step, since it also calls on the German government to urge the adoption of Macedonia's constitutional name -- the Republic of Macedonia -- within the EU, "

Macedonia wins recogniton from US

By David Edenden
It looks like the long patient effort to gain recognition, started by Gligorov, has been the right policy after all. I had opposed the "FYROM" compromise at the beginning. However, "FYROM" allowed Macedonian to break the Greek embargo, rebuild its shattered economy and wait for the inevitable to happen. It has been a long ten years of humiliation but well worth it. Can the EU be far behind.
wonder to what extent the death of Trajkovski had on this decision. Both Bush and Trajkovski were Methodists.

International News Article

United Methodist Report on Trajkovski's death

Macedonian president, a United Methodist, dies in plane crash Feb. 25, 2004 A UMNS Report By Linda Bloom*

Boris Trajkovski, president of the Republic of Macedonia, receives the 2002 World Methodist Boris Trajkovski, a United Methodist who helped unite his country of Macedonia and was admired in many circles for his skills at peacemaking and bridge building, died Feb. 26 in a plane crash in southeastern Bosnia.

The 47-year-old Macedonian president had been en route to a regional economic conference in Mostar when air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane under what were reported as poor weather conditions. Wreckage later was found in mountains about 50 miles south of
Sarajevo. Six of Trajkovski's aides and two pilots also were killed, leaving no survivors. His wife, Vilma, and two children survive him.

For United Methodists, his death comes as a double blow. Trajkovski - a recipient of the 2002 World Methodist Peace Award - actively worked  for peace and political stability, both in his own small nation and the entire Balkans region. He also tried to strengthen relations among various ethnic and religious groups, using his own Christian faith to guide him. "It's a tragic loss for the United Methodist Church and the whole Methodist family," the Rev. R. Randy Day told United Methodist News Service.

Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said the entire church was proud of Trajkovski's accomplishments, both as a political leader and faithful lay leader of the church.

"He was proud of his Wesleyan religious roots," Day said. "He was an active partner in the United Methodist global mission network. We will miss his warmth, humor and wise counsel." The Rev. Wilhelm Nausner, based in Austria, had developed a close relationship with Trajkovski because he serves as district superintendent for the United Methodist Church in Macedonia, which has about 6,000 members. Trajkovski, who often assisted during services at his United Methodist church in Skopje, had been active in the church since his childhood in Strumica. He even remained president of the church council after being elected president of Macedonia, Nausner said. His prominent position in the country was not always an advantage for his fellow church members, who sometimes became targets for his enemies. "But the people in the church loved him," he added. "He was always a witnessing Christian. He tried to do everything according to his beliefs."

Trajkovski received a law degree from the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje in 1980 and had specialized in commercial and employment law. He also had participated in a number of international conferences involving conflict resolution, religious tolerance and religious freedom.
His efforts at bridge building as deputy minister of foreign affairs for Macedonia helped him gain the Albanian vote and win the 1999 election for president. At the end of his Dec. 15 inaugural address, he invoked the words of Abraham Lincoln, who wanted to "heal the country's wounds" after the U.S. civil war.

Two years later, he used his skills to help diffuse fighting between the Slavic Macedonian majority and ethnic Albanians and bring about a NATO-enforced peace treaty. Nausner said he visited with the president two weeks before his death and had a long conversation with him regarding his concern about a breach in the Orthodox Church between those who want to remain aligned with the Serbian Orthodox Church and those who favor an autonomous Orthodox Church in Macedonia.
"He always tried to bring people together - to talk with each other and not simply to talk about each other," Nausner said.

Ethnic Albanian leader Arben Xhaferi,
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski
and  Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski 

Trajkovski also played a critical role in pushing the Macedonian Parliament to approve a new constitution recognizing the Albanian minority and the main non-Orthodox religious groups, including Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims. The Rev. Peter Siegfried, a Board of
Global Ministries executive, was a witness of the president's attempt to improve interfaith relations when he attended a conference related to that issue in Macedonia. "Where there was tension, Boris Trajkovski was there and tried to find reconciliation and bring people together," he said. United Methodists such as the Rev. Phil Wogaman of Washington, who got to know Trajkovski as a fellow delegate during the denomination's 1988, 1992 and 1996 General Conferences, recognized him as a "force for good" in Europe. "He was among the best statesmen in the world and in the finest tradition of Methodist peacemaking," Wogaman said.

The church officially recognized Trajkovski when he was nominated for the 2002 World Methodist Peace Award, conferred annually by the World Methodist Council. The nomination originated with the Rev. Thomas Trainor and the Rev. Ed Carll, clergy members of the Greater New  Jersey Annual Conference.

Neither had met the Macedonian president, but they were impressed by news accounts of his efforts to unite that country. Later, they had the chance to greet Trajkovski during the award presentation in Oslo, Norway.

"He spoke of his faith as a natural, 'this is who I am,'" recalled Trainor, a retired pastor in charge of missions at First United Methodist Church in Tuckerton, N.J. "He'd have to be a man of great faith to do what he was doing. It's going to be a great loss over there."

The Rev. George Freeman, top staff executive of the World Methodist Council, said Trajkovski received the award "because he had been able to use his faith to bring peace and stability into a region of the world in a nonviolent way and he was motivated by his faith in God. We were just impressed with his ability to persevere under those kinds of circumstances."

 Macedonia's President Boris Trajkovski, Albania's President Alfred Moisiu,
President Bush,and Croatia's President Stjepan Mesic

Freeman remembered Trajkovski as a "genuine and sincere person." As the president of Macedonia, he met many other world leaders, but he told Freeman the most meaningful encounter occurred when he and U.S. President George Bush - also a United Methodist - prayed in private together in the Oval Office. 

"He (had) been a strong, committed disciple and an ambassador of Christ long before he was an ambassador of any country," said the Rev. H. Eddie Fox, the council's world evangelism director and a friend of Trajkovski's for 14 years.

Fox and the Rev. Maxie Dunnam, president of Asbury Theological Seminary, had planned to visit Trajkovski at Easter and present him with a honorary doctorate from the seminary. As a denomination, United Methodists have contributed to reconciliation and rebuilding in the Balkans,
working on such issues as the return of refugees and providing support to internally displaced people and other vulnerable groups.

Among those participating in the conference that Trajkovski was traveling to attend were representatives of the United Methodist Committee on Relief's nongovernmental organization. Zlatan Buljko, head of the agency's sub office in Mostar, noted that "the people of Bosnia owe him
a great debt of gratitude" for his efforts to establish peace in the region. Robert Garnett, the agency's head of mission for the Balkans, lauded Trajkovski both for the stability he helped bring to Macedonia and his contributions to the church there. "UMCOR will continue to work throughout the Balkan region to ensure that President Trajkovski's legacy of peace building is continued," he said.

*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York. News media can contact her at (646) 369-3759 or