МPO - One Hundred Years of Struggle for Independent Macedonia

Historical truth is eternal news. The premiere of the first documentary of the BGNES Agency "MPO - One Hundred Years of Struggle for Independent Macedonia" is a fact, reported a BGNES reporter.

The event, which took place in the capital's "2020 Event Space" hall, was attended by representatives of the public and political elite, Bulgarian revival families from Macedonia, Bulgarians from the Western outskirts and RS Macedonia, diplomats and foreign correspondents of media accredited in our country.

A special message from the stage of the event was delivered by one of the most prominent doctors in our country. "Macedonia is our pain and love," said Dr. Ivan Kolchakov.

100 years ago legendary Bulgarians created the oldest political organization of the Bulgarian emigration in the USA and Canada - the Macedonian Patriotic Organization (MPO). They reveal the truth about the Bulgarian fate in the Balkans. Today, the world learns about their self-sacrifice thanks to the documentary of the BGNES Agency.

100 years of IPO in struggle for historical truth

In 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a group of ex-Ilindians founded a political organization of Macedonian immigrants in the United States and Canada that would fight legally for Macedonian freedom. Although most of the members of the MPO were of Bulgarian origin, they aimed to create an independent state in their homeland, Macedonia, where all ethnic groups and religions, not just their own, would be free to flourish. This inclusiveness, quite unusual for the Balkans at the time, where the majority rarely showed mercy to the minority, became the vision, motivation and driving force of the IPO for more than 100 years.

The political direction of the IPO was outlined by Yordan Chkatrov, who, at the request of Todor Alexandrov, visited the USA in 1924 and initiated the creation of the IPO headquarters in Indianapolis, and in 1927 founded the IPO newspaper Macedonian Tribune and the information bureau of the IPO in New York.

Tanya Skrinska and Ognyan Gerdzhikov

For the next 70 years, the IPO firmly stood by its founding principles and continued the struggle for independence and justice for Macedonia and its people. In the 1920s, the IPO raised its voice against the brutal denationalization of the Macedonian Bulgarians in Greece and Serbia. The IPO continued the struggle after 1934, when the VMRO and the Macedonian organizations were banned in Bulgaria. The IPO did not stop its struggle even after the Second World War, when the communists in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria took power and imposed a new doctrine of South Macedonianism. The MPO remained the only Macedonian organization in the world that maintained the struggle for Macedonian freedom and justice until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe brought a glimmer of hope for the creation of an independent Macedonian state.

A film-narrative about the personal stories of the members of the MPO

On the occasion of the premiere of the film, one of the contemporary leaders of the MPO and former editor-in-chief of the Macedonian Tribune newspaper, published in the USA, Dr. Lyubomir Todorov said: "Today, a different narrative of the MPO is being presented - a documentary film containing personal stories from first-hand account of MPO members recorded during the 2023 MPO 102nd Annual Convention in Columbus, Ohio."

He emphasized that the mission of the ILO has always had two main components - advocacy for a free and independent Macedonian state and preserving and popularizing the truth about the Macedonian-Bulgarian heritage of its people. "These values are inseparable from the IPO, because historically Macedonian independence came from the Macedonian Bulgarians, and mentioning one without the other is not an accurate or complete representation of the IPO's mission," added Dr. Todorov.

He pointed out that most MPO members today consider themselves Macedonian Americans or Macedonian Canadians. "They strongly identify with the geographic area of Macedonia and its history as their place of origin. At the same time, they are aware and very proud of their Bulgarian origin," Todorov added in his greeting to those present at the film's premiere.

A full house and a standing ovation for the IPO documentary

According to him, due to this harmony between the past and the present, "the MPO can serve today as a natural bridge to resolve historical misunderstandings and strengthen the good relations between North Macedonia and Bulgaria". "Let's hope that the historical injustice committed against the Macedonian Bulgarians in North Macedonia will soon be corrected and they will be offered the same rights as other citizens, which will allow the country to be accepted into the European Union," said Dr. Lubomir. Todorov.

Bulgaria is in debt to the covenant of the Macedonian Bulgarians in America

The Consul General of Bulgaria in Chicago, the city with the largest Bulgarian community overseas, Svetoslav Stankov, also offered a welcome: "The BGNES film "MPO - 100 years of struggle for Independent Macedonia" is an attempt to lift the veil of oblivion that permanently covered the glorious history of the Macedonian Bulgarians in America".

He recalled that, although expelled from their native Macedonia, these Bulgarians preserved their language, culture and identity. "What's more, despite the resistance of authoritarian regimes, they continued the struggle for freedom for their enslaved brothers and sisters using the political tools of American democracy," Stankov said. He emphasized that Bulgaria is in debt to the Macedonian Bulgarians in America. After more than 30 years of democratic changes, we do not know enough about this glorious organization and its role in preserving the Bulgarian character of Macedonia during most of the 20th century. "Let this film make more Bulgarian politicians, scientists, journalists and public figures think and make them look at the covenant and achievements of the IPO. I believe that by preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the Bulgarian emigration from Macedonia to America, we will ensure that today's struggles of the Macedonian Bulgarians for freedom and human rights will also be crowned with success," said Svetoslav Stankov.

Dr. Ivan Kolchakov

Macedonia is our pain and love

We have gathered here because we have one common emotion that can be summed up in two words: pain and love. This was stated by Dr. Ivan Kolchakov, greeting the attendees.

"For centuries, the issue of Macedonia has been a very big Bulgarian pain, and sometimes we empathetically say that Macedonia can also be interpreted as Macedonia, because the Bulgarians in Macedonia have the greatest pain and the greatest tragedies that our people have experienced. And love, because we know that the only way to be together is to have love," he declared.

Dr. Kolchakov emphasized that our country has great opportunities and recalled that the formula for success is that the world has always been governed and will be governed by people who have two qualities: well-organized and well-motivated. "I want to wish that we are so well organized and motivated that our brothers from Macedonia and the Western outskirts will understand that Bulgaria is awake, democratic, powerful and able to help them," said Dr. Kolchakov.

Lyubcho Neshkov

MPO has its hero - Kliment Hristov

Every production has its heroes. MPO has its hero and his name is Kliment Hristov. I want us to applaud him. He's the guy who did everything on this movie. This was stated by Lyubcho Neshkov, owner of BGNES Agency.

Lyubcho Neshkov especially thanked his mother Danica Neshkova, because "without her support and hanging in front of Serbian prisons, there would be neither me, nor my sister Slavica, nor the BGNES Agency. Among us is Danitsa Neshkova, who is almost the same age as the newspaper "Macedonian Tribuna" and congratulates you.

The BGNES team thanks all the participants in the film "MPO - One Hundred Years of Struggle for Independent Macedonia", friends and supporters who helped to create this film. /BGNES