The latest Our Name Is Macedonia billboards contain a message to Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia from oppressed Macedonians in Pirin Macedonia saying – “Do not take away my name and identity”.
“We are struggling to attain our basic human rights and recognition as who we are – Macedonians. Bulgaria does not recognize our existence and persecutes us based solely on our Macedonian ethnic origin. If the Republic of Macedonia changes its name, it will change the name and identity of Macedonians throughout the whole world. As is the case with the anti-Macedonian “Friendship Agreement”, this step will only assist Bulgaria in attaining its goal of wiping out the existence of Macedonians”, stated Gjorgi Hristov, Editor-in-Chief of the Macedonian newspaper in Bulgaria “Narodna Volja”.
“Even if we forget the simple fact that neither Greece nor any one else has any right to demand a change of name for the Republic of Macedonia, the “negotiations” have clearly shown that what Greece really wants is to change the Macedonian identity. Both Greece and Bulgaria, through their highest representatives, have unambiguously stated that Macedonia (if it changes its name) may enter European institutions, but not “Macedonianism”, a concept they use to label Macedonian identity. However, our name and identity cannot be negotiated”, stated Ivan Singartiski, Co-Chairman of OMO Ilinden Pirin.
Over the past two decades, the United Nations, US State Department, European Court of Human Rights, European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance and Human Rights Watch, among others, have concluded that Greece and Bulgaria have consistently violated the rights of the Macedonians in those countries and have demanded that Greece and Bulgaria immediately recognize their Macedonian minorities.
This support occurred because Macedonians in the neighbouring countries, with the assistance of MHRMI, are defending their right to exist and have appealed to the international community to defend their basic human rights, in accordance with all universally accepted and ratified conventions on human rights.
Stojan Gerasimov , President of the Association of Repressed Macedonians in Bulgaria, who himself spent five years in jail because of his Macedonian identity has made the following appeal:
“Macedonians in the Republic of Macedonia- you have to fight in the same way that we are fighting. End the name negotiations and the world will support you for doing so. Defend yourselves and you will be defended. Our Name Is Macedonia. Demand respect for it and you will get it.”
— Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI)