Saturday, 16 December 2017 | News today: 0

Vlahov Micov: The great powers forge the Balkan history

In the 18th century, the national states caused a global twist, thus changing history. The big states are re-writing their and the history of Europe. Then they go to Eastern Europe, creating artificial nations and writing the Balkan history as they see fit

Stefan Vlahov Micov is a Bulgarian author of Macedonian origin. He has published about twenty books in the field of philosophy, publicism, literary criticism and essayism. He is continuously studying, analyzing  and interpreting the Balkan historical processes in their anthropological and psychological depth. As a result of his thorough readiness and  systematic feature, in the past ten years he has published the books “Philosophical Key to Macedonian Identity”, “Viruses for Shattered Minds”, “Heroes and Descendants”, “Macedonian Emancipation in the Balkans”, and “How to build and defend a State”. His latest work is called “The Philosophy of the Balkan Hell”.

Your latest work “The Philosophy of the Balkan Hell” is a voluminous monographic research, but it can also be read as an interesting book. It abounds with notes, registers, etc. How much time have you dedicated to research while working on the book?

VLAHOV MICOV: When writing a book, time is divided into two parts: the first is when you are imagining it and taking notes, while the second is when you sit down and write. I am interested in these problems because I am a Balkanologist by profession, but, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to publish them in the larger part in my life. So a book is not just writing, but research as well. Actually, I was writing the book for two years, but I had also been working on it for many years prior.

At the very beginning of the book, instead of a preface, you published your point of view saying that writing the Balkan history is an ungrateful thing. Why? 

VLAHOV MICOV: That’s right. It is ungrateful because the Balkans is a knot of intractable problems. It is said that the Balkans is a barrel of gunpowder, that is where WWI began…etc.  In 1997 I published a book called “20th Century lies ahead”. Back then, some people were laughing that the author of the book did not know that the 20th century had ended. I perfectly know that chronologically, yes, it ended, but what will happen in the 21st century is incomparable with both world wars, violence and destruction. The Balkan history is a mix of history and ideology, and I must say that we, the historians, are missing something. Historians in the 21st century have narrow focus. If you want to understand the essence of the Balkans, you should have certain knowledge not only of history but of philosophy, anthropology, ethnology, psychology. We can see from one aspect only, but in order to understand the essence, one aspect is not enough.

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The knot of intractable problems, or the Gordian Knot is easier to cut than to untie. Who can cut it?

VLAHOV MICOV: In order to understand the Balkan history, we must compare it to life and Europe’s history. But, the true history. Because the history of both the Balkans and other regions has been changed and forged. In the 18th century, the national states caused a global twist, thus changing history. The big states are re-writing their and the history of Europe. Then they go to Eastern Europe, creating artificial nations and writing the Balkan history as they see fit. On the other hand, since the 19th century, the new Balkan countries has been changing history, and not only theirs, but also their neighbors’, as they see fit.  You see, what a mess. What a deformation of the Balkan man. That deformation gives birth to larger problems between states, between the Balkan nations and the nations themselves. I think that the Gordian knot can be cut only if we seek the truth and if we have the courage to accept it regardless of whether it is fit for one or the other. But, unfortunately, I think that we will see such a mess in the future as well. The Balkan nations have nothing to share. For now we share our ego, we share our stupidity. All the people in the Balkans should be happy or according to the principle I should be happy, and the others should not, or if I can not be happy, so the others can not be happy as well … This is what the great powers use, they treat the Balkans as their pantry, we give them a reason for that daily. When one wants to be bigger than the other. We want to prove that we are bigger. One had two thousand years of identity, another had five thousand years of identity. After that time will not get anywhere. That road will not take us anywhere.

According to your opinion, big countries have forged the Balkan. Why the need for constant forging of Balkan history?

VLAHOV MICOV: Western Europe need the Balkan in terms of economy. The more Balkan countries are divided, the easier to rule them. The Balkan continues to be of geo-strategical and political interest. The bigger the number of countries on the Balkan, the smaller they are and are pressured to stick up to the bigger countries, fantasizing they will outgrow them some day. In the 90s, the Balkan was comprised of six states. Now, if we consider Kosovo as a state, there are twelve states. Hence, number of states on the Balkan will continue to increase in the future. That is my point of view, and that is not good. In my book, I compare the Balkan to Latin America, where big powers also do not allow the nations to reach any unity. Moreover, the Balkan is a bridge. One or two persons cannot hold it, there has to be more.

The book epilogue is titled: “The Balkan without any essence”. Why?

VLAHOV MICOV: It reviews the last period of the Balkan history, when national states are being formed. After that, each of them looks for a faster way to get rid of Ottoman heritage and walk faster to Europe, trying to accomplish a lot in just a few decades. I remember, when Georgi Dimitrov was president of Bulgaria, said that we would have 10-15 years to accomplish  what other nations have done in a century. That cannot be done. It is good to wish for it, but it is impossible. Countries are rushing to take over Europe’s architecture, manners etc, while forgetting Balkan traditions, which are similar. We have similar social, cultural relations, we have similar sayings. The Balkan is specific. We are giving it all up, while accepting what is worthless. That is how the Balkan loses its essence.

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You claim Romania and Bulgaria to be the Balkan countries which have most complexes. Why?

VLAHOV MICOV: Exactly. The Greek nation also has complexes. It is known that the Greek nation and Greek history have been rewritten by the West. Regardless of what they might say, they cannot convince themselves deep inside and believe something which is not true. They would not admit it, but it is all around. As for the Bulgarian nation, Russia has created Bulgaria with the Treaty of San Stefano. Than, the propaganda has done its job. The ideology enters every home. In 1989, the first global forgery took place 0 the, so called, revolution against Ceaușescu. When I went to Romania, I was shown how bodies from the near cemeteries were excavated and presented as victims killed by the regime. In that time, televisions were broadcasting news from Romania 24/7. We were all burdened, all we could see in front of our eyes was a revolution. But, it was like filming a movie. The information we receive does not let us think. Personal freedom drops. One cannot think with their head. The more information we have, the less truth they contain and we think less. This is a global problem, not just on the Balkan.

You use examples of Balkan countries to point out to wrong Balkan philosophy. What i the right strategy to fight against stereotypes?

VLAHOV MICOV: We do miss reasoning and strategy. Macedonian people has the energy, but it is not being used for nation’s and state benefits. It requires the right people in the right place. When I visit the different cities, ordinary people have practical, strong opinions, although they do not hold diplomas like we do and are not in cabinets or institutions. For instance, even back during the Ilinden Uprising the people has asked for the presence of a Macedonian flag, coins etc., but some of the uprising leaders did not agree. Being a small people and a small state is not an excuse. If you want to be small, you will be small. We have to write in an understandable manner, so that everyone can read you, not just a dozen of people. Writings on Macedonia are also supposed to be delivered to Washington’s Congress Library, in the library in Sorbonne, in Brussels, where everyone can find information on our truth.

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By: Nevena Popovska

Photo: Aleksandar Ivanovski