What Nationality Has the Population of Mala Prespa, Albania
From: e.karloukovski@uea.ac.uk (Vassil Karloukovski)
Subject: Re: What Nationality Has the Population of Mala Prespa, Albania
Date: 24 Oct 1997 00:00:00 GMT
Organization: University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
Newsgroups: soc.culture.bulgaria,soc.culture.greek,alt.news.macedonia

 In article <344EB436.B279C297@sympatico.ca>, nicholov@sympatico.ca says...

> Plamen,
>Get over it. Macedonians are not Bulgarians and have never believed
>themselves to be. How are you going to convince millions of people that
>they are "really Bulgarians"? You lost the battle buddy, and so have the
>Greeks. Plain and simple, the Macedonian nation is an established fact,
>like it or not. BTW, here's a quote from MILS.

 No way, my dear. A month ago I was still in Sofia and was able to watch on the TV the distribution of the humanitarian aid among the Bulgarians in Albania. Please, specify to which period of time is referring the above information from MILS.

On my part, I translated for you a short paper by Spas Tashev, published on 17.09.1997 in the weekly 'Makedonija'.



Spas Tashev

The problem about the national identity of the Slavic population of Albania appeared after its creation after the Balkan wars. Till that moment the Turkish authorities officially recognised the Slavic Christians as Bulgarians.

The persecution of the Bulgarian self-consciousness in Albania starts after the conquest of Vardar Macedonia by Belgrade. In a letter to Belgrade the district governor of Ohrid Jovan Kirkovich writes about the Bulgarian villages in Albania that "it would be out disadvantage for them to be close to your borders and to be recognised as Bulgarian. If the Bulgarians open schools in these villages, then every foreigner will conclude that their neighbours in the our territory are also Bulgarians." At the beginning of the 30s the Serbian authorities even organised the killing of the Bulgarian priest in Golo Bardo (the village of Pasinki).

The Macedonism as a continuation (if even strongly modified) of the previous politics of Belgrade displayed the same aggressiveness. In 1945 according to the Comintern formulations an Albanian-Yugoslavian agreement for opening of Macedonian schools with teachers from SR of Macedonia was signed. This practice continues only till 1948, when the Skopean teachers were expelled and the Skopean literary norm abandoned. The schools started to teach in the local dialect, using the standard Bulgarian alphabet.

Only after the collapse of the communist regime in Albania the Macedonian authorities attempted to implant the Macedonism. For example, in 1991 Skopie sent a humanitarian aid to the village of Ostreni, but the inhabitants refused to accept it as they saw it was driven by self-interested motives. Another serious blow for Macedonia for the failure to register the Macedonist organisation 'Bratsvo' (Fraternity). The examination by the Albanian authorities established that in the total number of 300 signatures of the 'founders' more than 100 were falsified.

In the begging of 1993 in order to boost the Macedonism, the organisation 'Prespa' received from Bitola a bus, videorecorders, telephones, etc. According to an information from Albania the Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov personally allotted 3,000,000 DM to Izair Fetao - a president of the virtually unknown party for a democr. prosperity of the Macedonians in Albania. But as the most of the money were embezzled by Fetao, he was beaten black and blue by several of his followers and had to spend several months in the hospital of Elbasan with broken limbs.

That Macedonia suffers one failure after another in Albania is evident from the reactions followed the signed in 1992 agreement for opening of Macedonian schools in Golo Bardo which contained the explicit formulation 'if the people ask (for such schools)'. That unsuccessful move of Skopie served as a referendum, because there was a strong unrest among the population in Albania, expressed in several anti-Macedonian demonstrations. Even the heralds of the Macedonism in Albania had to admit that the agreement was 'unsuccessful'.

According to an information from the Albanian newspaper 'Koha Jon' during the last year alone the Macedonian border authorities had confiscated a number of passports of Albanian citizens, declaring themselves as Bulgarians. Skopie obviously cannot accept the fact that the attempt of formation of a Macedonian national consciousness represents a late and artificially supported political phenomenon, extending mainly within the borders of the Republic of Macedonia. That is why they deny the existence of Bulgarians in Albania although this question is treated in the published in 1990 by the CIA Atlas of Eastern Europe (p.35). That Atlas mentions only Bulgarians, not Macedonians in Albania.

The Macedonian authorities in their relations with Tirana try to put the question of the Slavic population of Albania on a reciprocal basis. Yielding to the Albanian demands Skopie hopes that it will be freely allowed to plant the Macedonism in Albania. That bargain is well described by the folk saying 'a horse for a hení. Blind with their anti-bilgarism the Skopean politicians do not see that the house of Macedonia is on fire and that they just foment the fire, ruining completely their state.