SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA, Mr. TRAJKO VELJANOSKI, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 18TH OF NOVEMBER, THE BIRTH DATE OF KRSTE PETKOV MISIRKOV
There has been a series of prominent individuals in the history of the Macedonian people, in its century-old struggle for freedom, for its own state and for preservation of its national and cultural identity; numerous grand personalities who have with their actions built the foundations of the Macedonian statehood, and who will always remain part of what is called collective and individual awareness for a distinct, Macedonian national identity. Special place among those grand men is obviously taken by Krste Petkov Misirkov, born on this date in 1874.
He had dedicated his entire literary and scientific opus exactly to the realisation of the century-old ideals of the Macedonian people - independent and sovereign state and protection of the Macedonian national and cultural identity against the aggressive assaults from the neighbourhood. He had lived and worked in one of the most troubled periods in the Balkans and in the European and world history at large - the period before and in the wake of the First World War - and had not only clearly and critically identified the injustices inflicted on the Macedonian people, but had in a well-argumented manner established the principles that lie in the foundations of every nation's national and cultural identity. And it is precisely the national and cultural identity that Misirkov had considered the most powerful and invincible weapon of the Macedonian people in its struggle for freedom and realisation of its rights to live equitably among other "civilized peoples", as he said.
In the far-off 1925, in the Ilinden journal, Misirkov had written: "Let Bulgarians fool themselves with political and economic theories. Let Serbs think that God, when creating the World, spoke Serbian. Let Greeks consider themselves direct descendants of Homer, Odysseus and Aristotle. We have to put great effort in studying the past and the present of these peoples, while safeguarding our full freedom of scientific thought. Thus we will decide on our place among them and preserve our ethnic and historical individuality."
I believe, dear friends, that these thoughts of Misirkov are still relevant today and represent a challenge for us all. Misirkov clearly spoke that he was against any sort of exclusivity, and was at the same time committed to inclusiveness in the history of all Balkan nations, while respecting the ethnic and national identity of each one of them. And it happens to us right now that, only due to our national and cultural identity, we are faced with obstacles imposed by our southern neighbour on our path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
Therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe that we should constantly look back on the body of Misirkov’s work. Today’s event, co-organised with the Ramkovski Foundation, aims not only at marking the day of his birth, but also at sending a clear message to everyone who tries to deny our national and cultural identity that their attempts will fail. Because today we bear deeply engraved in our historical and national memory the Misirkov thought that "The duty to one's nation is closely linked to the duty to one's fatherland, because the word nation is closely linked to the word fatherland. The duty to one's people and fatherland, until its fulfillment, is called people's ideal and every aware person should strive for its realisation".