Macedonia marked the 71st anniversary of National Revolution Day on Thursday with ceremonies and celebrations.
By Biljana Lajmanovska for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 12/10/12
Heading down the path towards EU and NATO integration, Macedonia stands upon the same values that the WWII participants had, Parliament President Trajko Veljanovski said. [Reuters]
Seventy-one years ago, Macedonians launched an antifascist resistance with co-ordinated armed operations against the occupation in World War II. On Thursday (October 11th), the anniversary was marked with ceremonies in front of the monuments of the fighters that participated in the Peoples Liberation War in Skopje, and with celebrations in Priliep and Kumanovo -- the two Macedonian towns where the first operations against the fascist regime were organised.
Many WWII veterans said their example can still serve as a valuable lesson.
"Our war, and the antifascist revolution in Macedonia, were not some kind of historical discontinuity, they just continue the already ongoing struggle of these people to create Macedonian nation and state," Todor Atanasovski, from the Union of World War II fighters, told SETimes.
Still, he adds, the movement had also one specific; it introduced a new strategy that meant that Macedonia does not expect that Europe or the international community will solve its problems.
"This should be a lesson to these generations. Today in Macedonia, both from the left or from the right side, you always have someone that expects a solution for his problems from someone else. We will have to solve our own problems at home. Take this as our experience," Atanasovski said.
According to Macedonian President Georgi Ivanov, dates like October 11th confirm that Macedonia always was, and always will be, on the side of democracy, progress and freedom.
"That is why our membership in the Euro-Atlantic structures, as measures for today’s modern world, comes to us as something natural and well-deserved," Ivanov said in his message on the occasion. "It is thanks to the World War II fighters that we can enjoy freedom today, we can be ourselves on our own land, and we can independently build and decide for our future."
After decades of development, first in the former Yugoslavia and then as an independent country, Macedonia is now heading down the path toward EU and NATO integration.
According to Parliament President Trajko Veljanovski, modern Macedonia stands upon the same values that the WWII participants had.
"Today we live in the same manner in which they wanted for the Macedonian nation to live -- in peace with all nations that respect the principles of brotherhood, equality and solidarity. These, our ideals, are same with the ones being respected in the NATO Alliance, which is the main reason for friendship and co-operation with the member countries from this organisation," Veljanovski said, addressing the 11th October Solemn Academy.
Although expected to attend events, Albanian coalition partner DUI representatives did not show -- signalling that the relations in the Macedonian ruling coalition remain tense.
Some WWII veterans said that Revolution Day remains overshadowed by politics, and does not get the attention it deserves.
"We only hear about Ilinden [Macedonian Republic Day] or about the events before that. This is OK, but bear in mind that Macedonia as it is today was born in our struggle. Now nobody takes care of the monuments of our fellow fighters," Dushko Atanasovski, from the Union of World War II fighters from Tetovo, told SETimes.
The holiday is marked by the Macedonian Academy of Science and Art with a lifetime achievement award for work in the field of science, culture, art, health, sport and humanity.
The award this year went to Academy member Vlado Kambovski, professor Dimitar Mirchev, writer Vele Smilevski, opera singer Boris Trajanov and cardiologist Samuel Sadicario.