Is a new “front” opening between Macedonia and Bulgaria, but now directly in the US Congress?, “Pressing TV” has learned.
This question inevitably arises after the latest reaction of the Macedonian Patriotic Organization (MPO) in the United States, in connection with the announced “Macedonian American Heritage Month”, which should be held in September this year, to mark the history, customs and the culture of Macedonian Americans and their contribution to the development of the United States.
MPO’s statement was sent only to the agency BGNES and according to it, it is evident that an attempt is being made to steal the whole idea and event, and the Macedonian language is used as a basis for that. The draft resolution on the Macedonian American Heritage Month was submitted to the House of Representatives by Democrat Brandan Boyle from Pennsylvania. The initiative has been submitted to the Committee for Supervision and Reforms for consideration and it should assess whether it will be introduced in the plenary hall.
“Our American ancestors before 1945 were Macedonians and defined themselves as ‘Macedonians’, but they used the term ‘MACEDONIAN BULGARIANS’ or ‘Bulgarian Macedonians’ to distinguish themselves from other ethnic groups in Macedonia. Before the Second World War, “Macedonian” was not an ethnographic, but a geographical term, and the vast majority of Macedonians before 1945 declared themselves as Macedonian Bulgarians.
When the current resolution of the US Congress mentions the “Macedonian language”, the vast majority of Bulgarian-speaking Macedonians, who contributed to the greatness of America, are ignored. This resolution recognizes only the ethnic Macedonians of the past and present, who, however, were never a real factor until World War II,” it is said in an address to the US Congress by the Central Executive Board of MPO in the US.
In some media, MPO presents itself as the oldest and most important Macedonian and Bulgarian political organization in America and as consistent with the ideals of Goce Delcev, Todor Aleksandrov and Ivan Mihajlov. What is intriguing is that the MPO statement came down to “a reaction to the attempt to pass a resolution by pro-Skopje circles in the United States to celebrate a “Macedonian identity “different from the Bulgarian one.”
As Macedonian Americans, we are pleased to see a Congress Resolution (House Resolution 741) proposing that September 2022 be declared Macedonian American Heritage Month. The idea of respect for Macedonian Americans is good, because many former and current members of our Macedonian American diaspora have really made a “valuable contribution” to the quality of life in America.
However, there is a real problem with the wording of the resolution, because it includes the expression “honoring the Macedonian language”. Using the “Macedonian language”, the resolution completely ignores the contribution of Macedonian Americans who emigrated to America before World War II, and the contribution of their American-born descendants, who have identified and continue to identify as Bulgarian-speaking Macedonians. The “Macedonian language” is part of the new ethnic Macedonian identity, which became visible only after the Second World War with the creation of the ethnic Macedonian state within the Yugoslav federation…
… In short, there are two Macedonian identities – Macedonian-Bulgarian and ethnic Macedonian identity. Your resolution would recognize only those who identify as ethnic Macedonians, because it refers to the “Macedonian” language.
The wording of the resolution needs to be changed. The reference to the “Macedonian language” should either be rejected or a clarification on both Macedonian identities added.
For MPO members, who believe in their Bulgarian Macedonian or Macedonian-Bulgarian identity, rejecting the term “Macedonian language” would be important, as Bulgarian Macedonians were almost always referred to simply as Macedonians. So we think that one modified version of the phrase, which would be accepted by both parties, could be the following: Expressing support for the proclamation of September 2022 as “Macedonian American Heritage Month” and for marking the history, customs and culture of Macedonian Americans, who identify as ethnic Macedonians or Macedonian Bulgarians, and marking their contribution to the United States.”
Preserving the phrase in its current form would be a “slap in the face” to the vast majority of our Macedonian ancestors and founders and supporters of the MPO, who came to the United States before World War II and identified themselves as Macedonian Bulgarians!
Please consider reformulating the resolution so that September 2022 can truly be the Month of Macedonian American Heritage for all Macedonians, regardless of their identity, the MPO said in a statement.