Sunday, August 05, 2018
IVANOV & THE SECOND BATTLE OF MECKIN KAMEN
by Sasha Uzunov
Meckin Kamen, Krusevo,
and Skopje, Macedonia
On 2 August 1903, Macedonian rebels were heavily outnumbered and slaughtered by the Ottoman Turkish Army and its Albanian bashi-bazouk irregulars on the strategic hill known as Meckin Kamen overlooking the town of Krusevo - south west of Skopje, the present day capital - in what was to become known as the Ilinden Uprising (St Elijah’s Day) - an unsuccessful rebellion to free Macedonia from five centuries of Ottoman occupation.
Ilinden is regarded as the foundation of the modern Macedonian state. In 1912-13, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria joined forces to evict the Ottomans out of Macedonia and then divided the country. The part under Serbian colonial rule eventually freed itself after World War II, becoming a constituent republic in Marshal Tito’s Federal Communist Yugoslavia. In 1991 it declared independence from Yugoslavia as the Republic of Macedonia. It has been the subject of a three decade campaign by Greece to change its name in order to gain EU and NATO entry.
The Macedonians lacked any heavy weapons during Battle for Meckin Kamen and were cut to pieces by Ottoman artillery.
In the “second battle" of Meckin Kamen on 2 August 2018 - a political one - Macedonian President George Ivanov emerged as the clear victor on the battle field -as some Macedonians cheekily point out-the modern day Sultanate (US) and its bashi-bazouk irregulars were forced to retire under the artillery barrage of drink bottle and cans.
The irony was not missed by keen students of Macedonian history.
What transpired in the “second battle”? President Ivanov reiterated his strong opposition to the Prespa Agreement - see link here - signed by the Greek and Macedonian governments - but in reality formulated by the US for its strategic needs. A high ranking US State Department official Matthew Palmer together with one of Macedonia’s Deputy Prime Ministers, Koco Angjusev, were present at Ivanov’s speech. The President also highlighted the call for ethnic tolerance amongst all of Macedonia’s ethnic minorities, including Albanians and Serbs.
Palmer had earlier arrived in Macedonia in order to massage Washington’s message that it wants a referendum scheduled in late September in Macedonia to approve the Prespa Agreement, which would lead to Macedonia changing its name, losing its identity in order to gain NATO and EU membership. As mentioned above, the President is opposed to the agreement but supports NATO and EU membership without Macedonia losing its identity.
When President Ivanov’s speech ended, the government delegation including Palmer left. As it was being escorted back to the convoy of limousines by security, angry Macedonians began booing, shouting at the delegation. Bottles and cans were seen being hurled at the delegation. No one was hurt. I was some distance away from the delegation but clearly saw the incoming “artillery.”
From what I could gather and sense from the crowd near me and later on when I moved to the location where the delegation had been pelted from , it was a spontaneous act of anger at the prospect
of losing Macedonian identity and nothing to do with the President in provoking any kind of such behaviour.
However, It remains to be see what “retaliatory” strike will occur against Ivanov. Prime Minister Zaev and his coalition government, which includes Albanian right wing nationalist DUI party, supports the name change and the Prespa deal. It’s no understatement to say that the President, originally from the rival VMRO-DPMNE party, are not on the best of terms.
PALMER’S VISIT TO MACEDONIA - Ominous ?
“I met Palmer [Director of Office of South-Central Europe] at the State Department in Washingron D.C. He gave me the impression he likes to talk and to answer specific questions. He didn't like the idea of having a two way conversation with me, particularly if I didn't like the answer or found holes in it. He often used humour to dumb down something not to his liking.
"But underneath his facade there is a seasoned operator who gets things done. If he is in Macedonia he is there to bellow orders and add weight to developments. Contrary to descriptions of a diplomat, I see his role as a heavy hitter. Considering his role in what is likely to happen, he has no place in Macedonia and definitely not at Mečkin Kamen.
“I do not have a good feeling about his presence there."
But it was more the spontaneous anger of the people there at Meckin Kamen which was the spark for the incident rather than a deliberate ploy by a usually timid, mild mannered Ivanov - once described by ex Albanian terrorist turned US political client Ali Ahmeti--and meant as an insult over the President’s nerdy image--a nice guy and a professor.
But the media campaign against Ivanov fell into swing - being labelled a “fascist” etc. see link
The irony is the only real fascists in the true sense of the word have been the Albanian political bloc which has built World War II Nazi collaborator statues in Macedonia, whereas in Germany, the birthplace of Nazism, statues associated with Nazis are forbidden. The US has remained silent about this especially since the Albanian bloc is seen as a key US supporter.
You’re beginning to see in Macedonia - and I've seen it too - that rules apply differently.
- Albanian Neo fascists are permitted to build WWII Nazi statues and preach racist ideology and no condemnation from the international community. Instead Ali Ahmeti is supported by the West. see links here and here
The Norwegian Ambassador to Macedonia, resident in Belgrade, has given an undertaking to investigating these nasty statues but others such as the US, France have deliberately declined to comment nor condemn them. Likewise the French Ambassador has declined to comment about the behaviour of Macedonia’s Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska (see below)
- Serb racists cleverly rebranded as “anti nationalists” such as media pundit Borjan Jovanovski, Macedonia’s Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska, Colour Revolution activist Pavle Bogoevski, and Skopje suburban Mayor Sasa Bogdanovic-Srpce are permitted to attack Macedonian identity and statues and in fact be rewarded for it by the West -as long as their racism doesn't apply to Albanians.
You’re now getting the picture...and this is being driven by the US in order to hammer Macedonia into submission. see links here and here
TRICKOVSKI - ZAEV’S LOOSE CANNON ? He can say things the PM can’t but wants to?
And who could forget pro Macedonia Prime Minister Zaev mouthpiece Branko Trickovski’s call sometime ago for Macedonia’s President Ivanov to be lynched and the death of two prominent female Macedonian academics Solza Grceva and Biljana Vankovska who oppose the Prespa Agreement-there hasn’t been any action from the Interior Ministry, which runs the police in Macedonia. link
HISTORICAL HORSE TRADING
BULGARIA’S point scoring at Macedonia's expense:
The big winner of the Ilinden commemoration and all the commotion attached to it this year has been Bulgaria - which is a bizarre but true thing to say. A national holiday which is the foundation or cornerstone of the Macedonian state is now "jointly celebrated" with Bulgaria with Bulgarian officials openly saying - incorrectly of course - that Macedonians are Bulgarians; that the Uprising was Bulgarian inspired even though it was sabotaged by Bulgaria. Macedonia's Prime Minister Zoran Zaev turning up in Bulgaria to "jointly commemorate" legitimises Bulgarian racism towards Macedonians. It’s a truly strange thing for a Macedonian political leader to do...
This “joint celebrating” is the result of political extortion, known as a good neighbourly agreement demanded by Bulgaria in order to support Macedonia’s application to join NATO.
Put crudely, the simple arithmetic is there are four US military bases in Bulgaria, so Macedonians have to lose their history for Washington to keep its Bulgar allies happy. Outrageous horse trading in a people’s identity - using it as a commodity at the diplomatic poker table. This is another source of popular discontent in having to swallow this humiliation in the name of “good neighbourly relations” but in reality US strategic needs in order to bed down the Balkans and keep the Russians out.