The Macedonian Tendency: New Book: This Land We Do Not Give

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Book: This Land We Do Not Give


Dear readers and friends,

It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you a new book This Land We Do Not Give co-authored by Dr. Michael Seraphinoff and Chris Stefou.

This book chronicles the Macedonian people resistance to foreign occupation beginning in 1389 with the Battle of Kosovo and the Turkish conquest of the independent Balkan kingdoms and ending with the history of the most recent war in Macedonia in the year 2001.

For most people the name Macedonia immediately brings to mind the ancient world conquerors led by their daring and charismatic young warrior-king Alexander, who is the subject of so much legend and lore. However, for Europeans Macedonia is known in modern times as the "apple of discord" among southeastern European nations.

By the late 19th century the Ottoman Turkish Empire had lost nearly all of its European colonies. The bulk of what remained was the Ottoman province that was the ancient land of Macedonia. The people of Macedonia at that time were predominantly of a single ethnic group defined by their language, which is a distinct set of Slavic dialects, and their Eastern Orthodox Christian faith, both of which are clearly documented in church manuscripts dating as far back as the 9th century on the Balkan peninsula.

Thus, the Macedonians were in a position to self-organize to resist the foreign rule. However, that resistance was tragically manipulated by their recently liberated neighbors in Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. They saw the future liberation of Macedonia more as an opportunity to expand their own nation-states' borders at the expense of that neighbor than an opportunity to help free one more oppressed Balkan people, despite the fact that all three of those states had achieved their own independence only with aid from outside.

That outside aid had come primarily from the Great Powers of Europe, the Germans, the British, the French and the Russians. The Macedonians, however, while they had the sympathy of most of the people of Europe, were unable to gain the support of any of the governments of Europe for their liberation, because those governments shifted positions and alliances in endless pursuit of further power and influence. Thus, Macedonia has a history not unlike that of other "troubled" regions of Europe, such as the regions of Spain and France inhabited by the Basques or the former island colony of the British Empire, Ireland, where the negative consequences of colonialism are still a fact of life.

As we know, the victors enjoy the various spoils of war, and one of these is the opportunity to have their version of the history of the war broadly and boldly disseminated. So it has been for over a hundred and fifty years that Macedonian history has been primarily written and disseminated by those Greek, Serbian or Bulgarian victors in the Balkan wars of liberation of the 19th and 20th centuries. Only in one small part of Macedonia that fell to socialist Yugoslavia after World War Two were the Macedonian people able to begin to tell their own story in their own words, although even there certain political considerations led to censorship.

In this book you will hear the authentic voices of the people of Macedonia, voices that to this day have been drowned out by the stronger voices of those Balkan neighbors with territorial claims on the land of their Macedonian neighbors. To add to the depth of this tragedy, too many Macedonians in past times and up to the present day have lent their own voices to this anti-Macedonian chorus as the recipients of various "gifts". Those neighbors have at times offered opportunities for social advancement for assimilation into the neighboring linguistic, ethnic, political or religious communities, and, as often, they have meted out punishment to those who refused to cooperate. Centuries ago in the Ottoman Empire one gift took the form of a "torba" or sack of grain during hard times for any Macedonian Christian willing to enter the mosque and receive the Moslem faith. Today it includes such things as new freedom to travel, which the Bulgarian government is offering any Macedonian from the Republic of Macedonia willing to accept Bulgarian citizenship.

While it is possible to understand and even sympathize at times with desperate people who have accepted such offerings, it is the great sacrifice of those who suffered terrible humiliations, hardships, torture, imprisonment, banishment, wounds both physical and mental and even death in order to resist the theft of their land, the denial of their language, their culture or their religion that is the subject of this book.

Few people in the world have endured the trials of war imposed upon the Macedonian people. They resisted the foreign Ottoman Turkish occupation for nearly five hundred years. They fought in large numbers in the Karposh Uprising in 1689. Then, in more modem times they fought and suffered in major struggles for freedom beginning in 1822 in the Negush Uprising, in 1876 in the Razlovtsi Uprising, and in 1878 in the Kresna Uprising. Macedonians rose up again in 1903 in the well-organized and widespread Ilinden Uprising. After the failure of the 1903 revolt many joined regional armies in the Balkan War of 1912 that finally ended Ottoman Turkish rule over Macedonia. Too many were also drawn into the tragic second Balkan War over division of Macedonia among the neighboring Balkan states in 1913, followed by the First World War from 1914 to 1918. In the Second World War Macedonian Partisans helped defeat the fascist occupiers of Yugoslavia and earned the right to form the first autonomous Macedonian Republic within socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. Macedonian anti-fascist Partisans in Greece would later also fight in the Greek Civil War from 1947 through 1949. Most recently Macedonians were caught up in the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia beginning in 1991, leading finally to open warfare in Macedonia in the year 2001. The stories that you will read in this book record Macedonian resistance to foreign occupation over this entire period. This record is one answer to those who might otherwise dismiss the entire existence of the Macedonian people with something like: "What the heck is a Macedonian ?"

This is a must read book not only for Macedonians but also for non-Macedonians worldwide. Our story must be told.

There is an entire generation of young Macedonian Canadians, Americans, Australians and others who know very little of the history of their ancestors and the continuing struggles of the Macedonian people. They may hear occasional stories from
their elders, but for a much richer, fuller appreciation of their Macedonian heritage, let them read This Land We Do Not Give.

For more information on how to purchase this book click on:

or on:

It would also make an excellent gift.

1 comment:

  1. NEW MACEDONIAN BOOK 2012: From the author Mr. Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet MY FIGHT FOR MACEDONIA!

    Please visit my web site:

    NOVA MAKEDONSKA KNIGA 2012: Od Avtorot G-din. Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet MOJATA BORBA ZA MAKEDONIJA!

    Ve molam posetete ja mojata web stranica.

    Best regards
    Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet