A side front in the dispute between Macedonia and Bulgaria are the old pages of the American and European newspapers and magazines who reported from the Balkans during the period of the national liberation movements. One such article, which declared Goce Delcev as a Macedonian fighter, was recently cited by VMRO-DPMNE President Hristijan Mickoski.
Bulgarian activists also frequently cite newspaper clippings which take the contrary line.
One of the best known such articles comes from the National Geographic. Published in 1917, as Macedonia was torn between the Central and Allied powers who opened a front here during the First World War, it describes the fighting near Bitola (Monastir), which was devastated in the war.
If one could forget the foreground, a Macedonian winter landscape would remind one of Wyoming or Montana. There are the same washed out ravines, the same distant hills clouded with dark wood, while here and there a great bare eminence thrusts upwards.Shepherds herd their sheep within sound of the guns. Women wash their clothes at the river side, and do not even look up when the infantry tramp on the Monastir road… “Neither Bulgar nor Serb”, said one such old woman, defiantly, when we left the Monastir road near Dobraveni. “I am Macedonian only and I am sick of war”, the report, fielded by journalist Herbert Corey states.
Macedonia and Bulgaria have a joint committee of historians who look into documents and reports from the Macedonian past in an attempt to forge a common historic narrative. The process so far has been largely one-sided, with Bulgaria having the upper hand and using its veto threat in the EU to demand that only reports that favor its positions are taken into consideration.