Cultural Center „Ivan Mihailov”, Bitola, Northern Macedonia is launching appeal to the authorities in Bulgaria to help us obtain a feeling of security for those of us Macedonians who want to serenely and freely register as "Macedonian Bulgarians".
Dear Mr. Borisov /PM of Bulgaria/,
Dear Mrs. Zaharieva /FM of Bulgaria/,
Dear Mr. Karakachanov /DM of Bulgaria/,
Dear compatriots from Bulgaria,
You are aware that in recent years more than 100,000 Macedonian Bulgarians have already received Bulgarian citizenship, and tens of thousands more have applied for Bulgarian passports. Here in Bitola in front of the Bulgarian consulate there are queues of people waiting. Each of these Macedonians shall afterwards travel to Bulgaria in person to declare his Bulgarian identity and submit respective documents. Despite the mass campaign against these people in North Macedonia, they are no less patriots of their country. They love Macedonia even more than others. They are not "fascists", "Tatars" or any sort of minority, but a large community of Macedonians who have preserved their Bulgarian identity. Our public satanization here forces us to justify ourselves pretending that we are looking for Bulgarian passports only to be able to travel in Europe. This is of course untrue because even with a Macedonian passport you could travel without a visa to Europe, and it is quite clear that the big majority of Macedonian Bulgarians have no intention to leave their homeland Macedonia.
But today we are facing a huge problem with the upcoming census in Northern Macedonia. We, the Macedonian Bulgarians, will find it difficult to overcome the fears in place since 1944 in order to express ourselves freely and democratically. The decades of direct falsifications of our history, on which the state doctrine of Serbo-Macedonianism lies, exclude any pluralism of ethnic self-expression among the Slavic population in our homeland. The stereotypes against us are still in the history textbooks and these stereotypes are a direct violation of our right to free expression and ethnic self-identification. Thus we have the following absurd situation: Tens of thousands of us travel to Sofia for Bulgarian citizenship and openly declare ourselves "Bulgarians by origin" /with our signatures/, while at the census we do not dare to register as Macedonian Bulgarians.
The new census will be held in Northern Macedonia in the coming weeks. That is why we are launching this insistent appeal to the authorities in Bulgaria to help us obtain a feeling of security for those of us Macedonians who want to serenely and freely register as "Macedonian Bulgarians". We insist for a radical simplification of the procedures for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship, which will protect us from the pressure of the overwhelming official Bulgarophobia. Isn't this exactly the purpose of Bulgarian citizenship - to protect our rights ?! We urge you to provide every citizen of Northern Macedonia who proves with a photocopy of the completed form during the census that he has dared to register as a "Macedonian Bulgarian" with the right to obtain, if desired, Bulgarian citizenship under a simplified procedure. Thus we would avoid looking for certificates of origin, which give rise to speculations about corruption and which may reveal to the local security structures our intention to obtain Bulgarian citizenship. In other words - the Bulgarian state will protect the Macedonian Bulgarians who have self-identified as such.
As your brothers, we believe that our request will be understood because it is in the interest of the people on both sides of the border - this border with which our dramatic history has divided us.
Cultural Center Ivan Mihailov
We hope this letter finds you well. Being aware of the burdens of your every day occupations we would like nevertheless to ask you to bring to the attention of your foreign policy administration the following letter that we have addressed to the PM of Bulgaria on behalf of the MACEDONIAN BULGARIAN community in Bitola. Being deeply convinced that respect for human rights is not optional following geo-political choices but a general principle our Motherland the Republic of North Macedonia should abide by, we thank you in advance for your attention.
Cultural Center Ivan Mihailov
Ljupcho Gyorgievski /bgnes