Dr. Lubomir Todorov: MPO is a natural link to resolve historical misunderstandings between North Macedonia and Bulgaria

Today will be the premiere of the BGNES documentary "MPO - 100-year Struggle For the Independence of Macedonia". On this occasion, one of the present-day leaders of the MPO and former editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Macedonian Tribune", published in the USA, wrote a special address.

 BGNES is publishing the address of Dr Lubomir Todorov.

 Over the last century, many articles and books have been written about the Macedonian Patriotic Organization of the US and Canada, attempting to explain this organization's views, mission, and position. Depending on the author’s country of origin, inclination, or vested interest, these writings have ranged from cautiously positive to significantly negative, usually focusing on a selected partial set of MPO principles, often missing a comprehensive and holistic view of MPO’s mission. 

Today, a different account of the MPO is being introduced -- a documentary movie containing first-hand personal stories of MPO members recorded during the 102nd MPO Annual Convention in 2023 in Columbus, Ohio.

Any organization with a continuing existence of more than a century instigates respect and curiosity. To understand the reasons for the perseverance of the MPO for more than 100 years, during one of the most turbulent periods in world history, let’s outline the MPO's original ideas, mission, and brief history, which have not always been widely known or accurately presented.

The MPO was founded in 1922 as the Macedonian Political Organization in the US and Canada. In 1956, the word “Political” was replaced with “Patriotic” to avoid any misunderstanding in line with the US law restricting the political engagement of non-profit organizations.

MPO is not just another emigrant organization in the US aiming to preserve the culture and tradition of economic emigrants. MPO was established as an integral part and is a product of the Macedonian Liberation Movement, which was resurrected after WW1 with two clearly defined goals – creating an independent Macedonian state as a solution to the Macedonian Question and preserving and promoting the truth about Macedonia and its people.

In 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a group of former Ilinden fighters founded a political organization of immigrants from Macedonia in the US and Canada who would fight legally for the freedom of Macedonia. Although most of the MPO members were of Bulgarian heritage, they aimed to create an independent state in their motherland, Macedonia, where all ethnic groups and religions, not just their own, would be free to thrive. This inclusiveness, quite unusual for the Balkans at the time, where the majority rarely showed any mercy for the minority, became a vision, motivation, and driving force of the MPO for over 100 years.

The political direction of the MPO was outlined by Jordan Chkatrov, who, at the request of Todor Alexandrov, visited the US in 1924 and initiated the establishment of the MPO headquarters office in Indianapolis, and in 1927, founded the MPO newspaper “Macedonian Tribune” and the MPO Information Bureau in New York City.

For the next 70 years, the MPO stood firmly to its founding principles and continued the fight for independence and justice for Macedonia and its people. In the 1920s, the MPO raised its voice against the brutal denationalization of the Macedonian Bulgarians in Greece and Serbia. The MPO continued the fight after 1934 when the VMRO and Macedonian Organizations were banned in Bulgaria. The MPO didn’t stop its fight even after WW2 when the communists in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria took power and imposed a new Yugo-Macedonianism doctrine. The MPO remained the only Macedonian organization in the world to keep alive the fight for Macedonian freedom and justice until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe brought a glimmer of hope for establishing an independent Macedonian state.