Today President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, addressed the citizens who attended the central celebration of the great national holiday August 2nd Ilinden – the Republic Day which this year is celebrated under the motto: “We are all children of Ilinden”.
Below you will find the address of Prime Minister Zaev.
Distinguished citizens, esteemed people of Ilinden,
We are all children of Ilinden!
Ilinden is the symbol of our fight for freedom and human justices. Ilinden is the symbol of our victory. Ilinden is the symbol, the loadstar for all children of our country, Ilinden is for all.
The first Ilinden, 1903, is a symbol of the joint fight for free and autonomous Macedonia, no matter the religion, nationality, gender or belief.
The second Ilinden, 1944, is the symbol of the victory over fascism, the successful fight for liberation from a several century long slavery, for creation of free and sovereign state, with Macedonian as the official language.
What do the first Ilinden people from 1903 and the ASNOM Ilinden people from 1944 have in common?
The anthem and the Republic!
And the heroes from our anthem – Goce Delchev, Pitu Guli, Dame Gruev, Sandanski and the heroes from the National Liberation Fight who were sung in the partisan songs and named the partisan detachments with their names – the two groups fought for a REPUBLIC!
The first Ilinden people fought for the Krushevo Republic while the second fought for ASNOM – democratic, federal, people’s, socialist, independent REPUBLIC of Macedonia – today REPUBLIC of North Macedonia!
Both the first Ilinden people from 1903 and the second Ilinden people from 1944 fought for the FUTURE, not for the PAST.
That is why today, all of us together, are children of Ilinden, because our political initiative is fight for the future.
ILINDEN became a symbol of our glorious past, because the Ilinden people fought for our bright future!
Our patriotic duty is to follow the victorious aspiration of the Ilinden people from 1944, as they followed the feisty aspiration of the Ilinden people from 1903 – the aspiration for bright future of the Macedonian Republic and all its citizens! Ilinden is our statehood, our pride. Ilinden is our holiday, Ilinden is our Macedonian language, and Ilinden is our national anthem!
One might ask: why our liberators from 1944 have established partisan detachments named “Goce Delchev”, “Pitu Guli”, “Dame Gruev”, “Jane Sandanski” and sang their names in the fiery song “Today, over Macedonia, a new sun of freedom is being born”?
We all know why: the famous people from Prilep had established a partisan detachment named “Goce Delchev” because they believed the words of Goce Delchev that “Liberation of Macedonia lies in the internal uprising” and then, together with the people from Kumanovo, they initiated this uprising on October 11th 1941.
The famous people from Krushevo founded a partisan detachment named “Pitu Guli” because exactly on this spot he heroically gave his life for the defence of the Krushevo Republic.
The people from Bitola founded the partisan detachment named “Jane Sandanski” because they knew his favourite toast: “For independent Macedonia” which he envisaged as Republic of equality, brotherhood and freedom – One society for all!
The people from Bitola and Prespa had established a partisan detachment named “Dame Gruev” in order to continue the traditions of the founder of the “underground Republic” which, after the Ilinden Uprising, who prophetically wrote to Hilmi Pasha that “close is the hour when over blood-drenched Macedonia the sun of freedom will shine again”.
We do not forget that the original version of “Denes nad Makedonija” sang by our famous singers Vaska Ilieva, Nikola Badev and Aleksandar Sarievski, also mentions the names of Karev and Vlahov.
We know why it mentions the socialist Nikola Karev, the leader of the HQ of Krushevo Uprisers, who liberated Krushevo and established a Republic.
In 1902 Karev wrote to Goce Delchev: “We should no longer wait, Goce. It is high time to stand up and to fight… We, the Macedonians alone, to fight for our Macedonia…”
We know why it mentions Dimitar Vlahov, the fellow-citizen of Delchev, from Kukush, who is a symbol of the connection between the two Ilindens, participant in the Macedonian revolutionary movement of 1903, and also a delegate to AVNOJ and ASNOM.
That is why in “Denes nad Makedonija” Ilinden and the famous masons of the Krushevo Republic have been sung. That is why the flag of Krushevo Republic, was hoisted in the people’s liberation struggle for Macedonia and for the establishment of a new, above-the-ground Republic!
There is no better way to repay our heroes, mentioned in the anthem, but to continue their courageous deeds for the future of the Republic, embodied in the Manifest of Krushevo, resurrected in the decisions made by ASNOM, when Ilinden was proclaimed for a national holiday of the Macedonian country. We continue to nurture the concept of “One Society” and unity that is our heritage from the Manifest of Krushevo. The Manifest that appealed to neighbours and friends, no matter their gender, religion, conviction and nationality, for better life.
We continue with the policies for overcoming divisions. All of us, Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs, Serbians, Roma, Bosniaks and others, believe that it is a patriotic duty to unite and to reconcile inside. That is why this holy place, Mechkin Kamen, must not be an obstacle, but it should be a cornerstone to reconciliation, unity and understanding.
We united with our neighbours; we united with the Western European family. What is, in fact, the Ilinden Uprising, if it is not a cry for European North Macedonia as an advanced Republic on the Balkan?
That is why I say that Ilinden is an appeal for unification. Divisions are not patriotism. Ilinden and ASNOM are symbols of unity, not of divisions. Unity for better future of our children and grandchildren.
I’ve said once and I will say it again: in every citizen of North Macedonia there is one partisan and one komitadji!
We will continue to jointly build our century-long future, as it was built by the partisans and komitadji, both men and women.
We stand proudly under the Macedonian flag. We proudly sing the Macedonian anthem. We proudly speak on our mother tongues. We were proud to introduce May 5th as the day of the Macedonian language which was registered as an official language in the Macedonian state exactly on Ilinden in 1944.
We may proudly say that we completed the process of international recognition of the Republic of North Macedonia which, as a future NATO member-state, guarantees the security of its citizens as never before.
We may proudly say that we were given the best assessments from the European Union which open our European perspectives, unconditionally. We proudly say that we are ready to commence negotiations with the EU as soon as possible and to accelerate the process of unification with the European family to which we belong according to the geography, culture and civilization!
These are the aspirations for the future. These aspirations require daily fight. From every single one of us.
That is why each day is Ilinden! That is why we are all children of Ilinden!
We may proudly say that patriotism means taking care of securing better life for the present and future generations, here, in North Macedonia, just as Delchev and Racin had done.
Kocho Racin, in his work “The Importance of Ilinden” underlines that “… Dame Gruev, Goce Delchev and Jane Sandanski, as true national fighters, knew what Macedonia was then and what the true needs of its people are. They propagated for a free, independent, autonomous Macedonia, regulated as democratic and civil country. They wanted to take away the feudal land from the beys and to give it to the villagers who worked on those lands. To disassemble the old and corrupted powers, to create a democratic power from the people throughout the cities and villages, that will be responsible before the autonomous governance of Macedonia, elected and set in pursuance with democratic principles by all people who live in Macedonia”.
This is patriotism. That is why the true patriotism is to continue the tradition nurtured by Delchev, Gruev, Sandanski, Racin, Chento. They taught us that the future is the true choice of each patriot – future in civil and democratic North Macedonia, equally represented by all its citizens.
The future of that time is our today’s present which we have reached with united and complex initiatives. We, the citizens, the children of Ilinden, are naturally directed to look forward, towards the future. We are looking forward because we want safe and stable country – a NATO member state. We are all invested in the future because we are ready for even more reforms, because we bring and build European values and we stride towards the European Union.
We are all determined for the future because the integration path is the path towards perspective. This is the pat towards investments. Towards new jobs, higher salaries and more money for the citizens. This means new chance for all citizens. This means chance for all children of Ilinden for whom the country must invest its maximum efforts, for which the institutions must provide equal and quality care.
Today, we are building this beautiful North Macedonia, as a country in which the citizens can secure dignified life, country where institutions are protectors and friends of citizens, and services are available everywhere. That is why we invest a lot in equipping the health institutions, we increase salaries, we support farmers and we build safe roads – we create conditions for better environment.
We are constantly working on our mosaic - our motherland is created by diversities and values – that is why we must invest ourselves to secure even better glow for this mosaic. We all must be committed, hardworking and accountable before the objectives we had set – to be together and to be determined.
Let us take the path traced by the Ilinden people, because we have no right to deviate from this path.
We are all children of Ilinden! Every day is Ilinden!
May we have a happy Ilinden!
Long live the Republic of North Macedonia!