Dr Trendafil Mitev

"Macedonian Tribune"

MPOs activities have gone through four stages until nowadays. The first one encompasses the organizations development from its foundation to 1925. During this period the first congress was prepared and held. The Central Committees first members started fulfilling their tasks. A tradition was established and every year, on the first weekend in September, a congress was held, yet no official reports were prepared and presented by the Central Committee*. MPOs chart was applied as a basis for its work. First the Chart was copied by hand for the use of local organizations. MPOs Third congress was extremely important. It was held in Fort Wayne in 1924. Yordan Chkatrov, from the Macedonian National Committee in Bulgaria was present as a guest at the congress. He was elected MPOs secretary [49] and for three years he worked actively to arouse the organization. Under his leadership MPOs Central Committee established its permanent headquarters in Indianapolis. Permanent relations were established also between the Central Committee and local organizations. Local executive bodies started following zealously decisions taken by congresses and the Central Committee. The organizations life was in full compliance with the charts requirements. The third congress elected Pandil Shanev to be the Central Committees Chairman and Tashe Popchev became the cashier [50]. They remained in these offices without interruption until the beginning of World War II. The Macedonian Patriotic Organization opposed the attempts of some emigrant organizations in the USA and Canada to impose changes in the organizations strategy and tactics [51]. As a whole, up to 1925 MPO managed to establish itself and started an active, independent life as an organization. The organization had favorable opportunities to start a political attack on the Macedonian issue.

The second stage in MPOs development involves the period between 1925 and 1934. In 1925, in order to summarize the organizations work each year, the Central Committee introduced the practice of preparing a written report to be discussed by the delegates at the congress. In this way a tradition was established to make a thorough analysis of achievements and mistakes, as well as of perspectives of Bulgarian national liberation movement in Macedonia. In 1927 the Central Committee started publishing the reports on brochures. They are kept in the Central Committees records and those of the local patriotic organizations, and serve as a means of reference.

At the end of 1926 the Central Committee bought for 15,000 US dollars the printing press of an already non-existing newspaper issued in New York in the Russian language [52]. The Cyrillic-printing font allowed MPO to publish its editions in Bulgarian. They supplied also three sizes of English letters to print titles and texts in English as well. It was decided at the organizations fourth congress that MPOs newspaper would be called Macedonska Tribuna (Macedonian Tribune). The newspapers first issue appeared on February 10, 1927 [53]. In this way, one of the most interesting political newspapers in the Bulgarian language appeared in North America.

Macedonian Tribune s first editor was Boris Zografov. In 1927 he lived in Sofia. MPOs Central Committee sent him an official invitation and asked him to come to the States and become the newspapers editor [54]. Boris Zografov remained at this office until MPOs ninth congress in Youngstown in 1930. At the congress Lyuben Dimitrov was chosen to be the newspapers editor. He also lived in Sofia at the time. In 1931 Dimitrov arrived in the States in order to the take the office and the responsibility for the newspaper until his death in 1964 [55]. Macedonian Tribune was read in the States, Canada, Australia, Bulgaria, Vardar and Aegean Macedonia, as well as in many European countries. By the beginning of World War II it had already become the most popular emigrant newspaper in the world, issued in the Bulgarian language [56].

In 1934 the editors introduced the practice of publishing a patriotic page in English. It was written for the emigrants children. Being born in North America, some of them were more fluent in English, than in Bulgarian. The English page also allowed for the dispersal of the truth about Macedonian Bulgarians tragic destiny to reach a wider circle of English-speaking readers [57]. In this way, on the pages of this newspaper, the emigration started a fight against enemies of the national liberation movement in Macedonian Bulgarians. This made governments in Belgrade and Athens to ban the newspaper in 1928 by official decrees. Bulgarians in Vardar and Aegean Macedonia who were found reading the newspaper were given heavy sentences [58].

During the second period in MPOs development the Central Committee organized the printing and distribution of political papers, documents of congresses and the Central Committees decisions, and even books in the Bulgarian language [*]. It is hard to find out the exact number of publications that MPO issued by the beginning of World War II, because not all editions have been preserved. The number of editions amounts to about 50 ones. They played a positive role in popularizing and advancing the arguments of MPOs activities as a whole, as well as in the internal establishment of the organizations ideas. However, until the end of World War II publications were not among MPOs main tasks. There were several reasons for that fact. First, the emigrants in free Bulgaria founded a Macedonian Scientific Institute in Sofia. Among its members and contributors were some of the famous Bulgarians historians, ethnographers, linguists, diplomats and former revolutionaries. This center issued some of the most serious publications on the Macedonian issue between the two World Wars. MPO used in its propaganda work some of these materials and researches also, as well as publications of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, which were sent to the USA and Canada, and then they were quickly distributed [59].

Second, by the end of the 1930s there had not emerged any professional historians and philologists among Bulgarian emigrants in North America. MPO experienced the need for well-prepared authors of books and articles. The only prominent emigrant figures in the humanities during this period were Stoyan Hristov and Hristo Atanasov [60].

Third, there were difficulties in finding a publisher for specialized scientific papers in the USA related to regional political problems as the Macedonian issue. At the time of the Great Depression in 1929 as a result of a bank failure [61] MPO lost a big sum of money. This was an additional circumstance to complicate the organizations publishing. However, thanks to the organization, the issues of the Macedonian Scientific Institute in Sofia, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Sofia University reached some of the greatest academic and scientific centers and city libraries in North America.

In 1927, as a result of a decision taken at MPOs fifth congress, an Information Bureau of the organization [62] was opened in New York. In spite of the fact that it was closed for a short time and reopened again in the 30s because of financial difficulties, as a whole the Bureau played a significant role for the Macedonian Bulgarian cause and its popularization in the English-speaking countries. The first associates in this auxiliary structure of MPOs Central Committee were Lazar Kiselinchev and Hristo Nizamov, and in the second half of the 30s Hristo Atanasov headed the Information Bureau. The Bureaus major task was defined by the organizations congress: to follow articles in the English-speaking press and answer all tendentious and misrepresenting ones [63].

The Bureau followed with great attention all printed materials of the Greek and Serbian immigration in the USA and Canada, and they revealed the truth about all of their anti-Bulgarian falsifications. The Information Bureaus representatives often met prominent American and Canadian journalists, scientists and political figures, in order to offer them materials to print, or simply to acquaint them with recent developments in the quickly changing Macedonian issue. Members of the bureau visited scientific conferences and academic colloquiums in the USA [64], where they gave lectures and reports, and acquainted the listeners with the situation in Macedonia, with MPOs tactics and with the claims of Bulgarians under bondage [65].

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49 .

50 1940, . 223.

51 , . 3, 24 . 1927.

52 Nizamoff, H. Struggle for freedom, Ind., USA, 1980, p. 128.

53 ʅ, 1927, . 17.

54 Nizamoff, H. Op.cit., p. 128.

55 , . , . 148.

56 , . 150 .

57 , . 577, 1 1938.

58 1940, . 232.

* The book publishing is initiated with the library Pro Macedonia in 1927.

59 , . 155, 23 . 1930.

60 , . 417, 14 . 1935; . 533, . 34.

61 1930 1931, , 1931, . 34.

62 ʅ, 1927, . 4.

63 , . 5.

64 1930 1931, . 17.

65 Nizamoff, H. Op. Cit., p. 121.