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Old 02-12-2019, 11:43 PM   #11
Liberator of Makedonija
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Originally Posted by Gocka View Post
On the face of it its easy to classify it as such and move on, but in a much broader context its not petty.

We have to start off with the fact that Europe as a continent has been shaped and defined by Christianity for almost 1500 years. So any religion other than Christian is somewhat foreign. Apart from the middle east in terms of the oldest, the oldest and largest populations of Christians are in Europe. Apart from the last 50 to 75 year it was still largely defined through Christianity.

So right from the start a religion like Islam has to be seen as foreign to the continent, especially given how different the religion and cultures who practice it are from those found in Europe. For Macedonia it is an even more foreign concept given how they were enslaved and tortured by the Ottoman Muslim empire for 500 years. Macedonia was arguably the first Christian population in Europe. Macedonia had hundreds of churches that were several hundred years old by the time the Ottomans showed up and converted most of them to Mosques.

The Macedonian identity during that time hinged upon the Orthodox faith because nationalism wasn't a thing yet. The Ottomans and others grouped people by faith. Jews, Muslims, Christians. Later on labels like Bulgarians and Greeks substituted Christians from villages and Christians from cities. Not only were Macedonians defined by their religion but so were others of the region.

If you were not Orthodox Christian, the odds are you did not consider yourself Macedonian and neither did the people around you. This is just a simple historical fact.

Yes 1700 years ago Macedonians were not Christians but for the most part our culture and identity today is shaped by the Ottoman period, a period in which our religious affiliation was more important than ever.

In terms of foreign vs native, that's playing with semantics in my book. Saying things live native and foreign sound naughty without context. Flip that around and ask instead historically how many Macedonians were Muslim, catholic or, Jewish? The few that were either adopted those religions in exchange for their Orthodox faith, or they were people who came from outside Macedonia and adopted the identity. Does that make them foreign? Who cares, its not that important.

This is all from a person that is not religious at all anyway, but we can't rewrite history, it is what it is and I hope that doesn't discourage you as identifying as Macedonian.
I agree with those points, I am not blind to the history the faith has played in the formation of our identity but it angers me that so many Macedonians hold what I call the 'Serb-mentality' of associating our identity soley with Eastern Orthodox Christianity and discriminating against Macedonians who don't subscribe to this.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:48 PM   #12
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I acknowledge the high position Eastern Orthodox Christianity has held in Macedonia for the past millenia but there were religions in Macedonia before Christianity and there have been new ones introduced since then and the pettiness of these disputes concerning "foreign" and "indigenous" religions baffles me.
Neither of the religions that were in Macedonia prior to or after Christianity have had anywhere near the influence in our culture. Not sure why such an obvious fact would baffle you.
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.....it angers me that so many Macedonians hold what I call the 'Serb-mentality' of associating our identity soley with Eastern Orthodox Christianity....
In all my time I have never met a Macedonian that associates our identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity. You're either being hyperbolic or you need to seek a new circle of acquaintances.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:17 PM   #13
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In all my time I have never met a Macedonian that associates our identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity. You're either being hyperbolic or you need to seek a new circle of acquaintances.
I've never heard it in those terms exactly, probably because most Macedonians are as intellectual as a sack of potatoes: But I can't say he is 100% wrong either. In Macedonia I can say with certainty that most people look upon Macedonians who do not identify as Orthodox as not Macedonian or at a minimum they are apprehensive. For example when I refer to Macedonians who are Muslim (Torbeshi), as Macedonians, most people just call them Muslims, sometimes they call them Torbeshi. Very few people consider them as Macedonians. Same with a hand full of Jews who are left, they call them Jews not Macedonians. Other religions are extremely rare so I can't say I've ever heard anything in regards to them. I don't think I've ever met a Macedonian who was catholic or protestant.

Even people who identify as agnostic or atheist are looked at as pariahs at a minimum, even though the vast majority of Macedonians couldn't tell the difference between a bible and a cook book. Its certainly a remnant from the Ottoman period.

BUT, Macedonians are no where near as fanatical about it as Serbs or Greeks. To them it is still is a corner stone of their identity. For Macedonians its subtle, it may manifest in a comment here or there but I certainly wouldn't say its at a discriminatory level, not even close.

How could it be given they don't given a shit about their own identity anyway?

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Old 02-13-2019, 11:49 PM   #14
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I've never heard it in those terms exactly, probably because most Macedonians are as intellectual as a sack of potatoes: But I can't say he is 100% wrong either. In Macedonia I can say with certainty that most people look upon Macedonians who do not identify as Orthodox as not Macedonian or at a minimum they are apprehensive. For example when I refer to Macedonians who are Muslim (Torbeshi), as Macedonians, most people just call them Muslims, sometimes they call them Torbeshi. Very few people consider them as Macedonians. Same with a hand full of Jews who are left, they call them Jews not Macedonians. Other religions are extremely rare so I can't say I've ever heard anything in regards to them. I don't think I've ever met a Macedonian who was catholic or protestant.

Even people who identify as agnostic or atheist are looked at as pariahs at a minimum, even though the vast majority of Macedonians couldn't tell the difference between a bible and a cook book. Its certainly a remnant from the Ottoman period.

BUT, Macedonians are no where near as fanatical about it as Serbs or Greeks. To them it is still is a corner stone of their identity. For Macedonians its subtle, it may manifest in a comment here or there but I certainly wouldn't say its at a discriminatory level, not even close.

How could it be given they don't given a shit about their own identity anyway?

You just summed up my thoughts exactly. We aren't as obsessed with it as our neighbours but Macedonians (particulary in the Republic) have a habit of looking down on those who aren't Eastern Orthodox Christians, they still link Macedonian identity to religious identity and view those outside of this sect as less-Macedonian. Even those who actually choose to somewhat accept Macedonians for other religious denominations will often still use some kind of suffix e.g. Macedonian Muslims, Macedonian Jews, Macedonian Protestants, etc. Whereas they almost never use the term Macedonian Orthodox, referring to these people simply as Macedonian. I understand Orthodoxy is the majority religion in our nation but still it's subtle things like that that give-off the impression that those who don't subscribe to Eastern Orthodox Christianity aren't as Macedonian as those who do and are treated as such with the gift of a suffix.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:26 AM   #15
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I've never heard it in those terms exactly, probably because most Macedonians are as intellectual as a sack of potatoes....
You've never heard Macedonians associate their identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity, and because they don't, they're intellectually deficient? Not sure how that makes sense.
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In Macedonia I can say with certainty that most people look upon Macedonians who do not identify as Orthodox as not Macedonian or at a minimum they are apprehensive.
To say they are viewed as being outside the norm in terms of religious affiliation is accurate. To go so far as to say they are viewed as not Macedonian? Sounds anecdotal, at least if it's in reference to other Christian denominations. If that were true for most people in Macedonia, they wouldn't have voted for Boris Trajkovski, a Methodist, as President.
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For example when I refer to Macedonians who are Muslim (Torbeshi), as Macedonians, most people just call them Muslims, sometimes they call them Torbeshi. Very few people consider them as Macedonians.
I would like nothing more than for those people to fully embrace their Macedonian heritage. Many of them do. Unfortunately, many of them don't and that contributes to existing perceptions. For some, it may be difficult to rationalise the thought of their kinsmen having adopted the religion of occupiers who oppressed Macedonia for over 500 years. I'm not suggesting the descendants of such converts should be punished for the actions of their ancestors, but we can't just wipe that part of our history from memory.
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Same with a hand full of Jews who are left, they call them Jews not Macedonians.
The Jews in Macedonia aren't ethnic Macedonians nor do they see themselves as such.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:37 AM   #16
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You've never heard Macedonians associate their identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity, and because they don't, they're intellectually deficient? Not sure how that makes sense


To say they are viewed as being outside the norm in terms of religious affiliation is accurate. To go so far as to say they are viewed as not Macedonian? Sounds anecdotal, at least if it's in reference to other Christian denominations. If that were true for most people in Macedonia, they wouldn't have voted for Boris Trajkovski, a Methodist, as President.
Some people do have this mentality.

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Originally Posted by Soldier of Macedon View Post
I would like nothing more than for those people to fully embrace their Macedonian heritage. Many of them do. Unfortunately, many of them don't and that contributes to existing perceptions. For some, it may be difficult to rationalise the thought of their kinsmen having adopted the religion of occupiers who oppressed Macedonia for over 500 years. I'm not suggesting the descendants of such converts should be punished for the actions of their ancestors, but we can't just wipe that part of our history from memory.
The Ottomans are long gone, they are not our enemy anymore. I don't think Orthodox Macedonians should be upset at these people for what is pretty much ancient history these days.

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The Jews in Macedonia aren't ethnic Macedonians nor do they see themselves as such.
This one is debatable, maybe not in the contemporary context but definitely in the historical context.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:36 AM   #17
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The Ottomans are long gone, they are not our enemy anymore. I don't think Orthodox Macedonians should be upset at these people for what is pretty much ancient history these days.
Neither do I, but many of them have questionable allegiances or prefer the company of their coreligionists. In such cases, the apparent uneasiness goes both ways. You may think religious tensions are silly in a modern society, but without taking the legacy factor into consideration, you're not fully appreciating the situation. One way this can be countered is the demonstration of loyalty towards Macedonia, which would in turn lead to an increased level of mutual trust. But Macedonia can't even rely on much of its Orthodox population when it comes to this let alone the Muslims and other religious or ethnic minorities, who care even less about our history, culture and identity.
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This one is debatable, maybe not in the contemporary context but definitely in the historical context.
Find one historical example of Jews identifying as Macedonians in an ethnic sense, then we'll debate it.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:01 AM   #18
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You've never heard Macedonians associate their identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity, and because they don't, they're intellectually deficient? Not sure how that makes sense.
I seldom hear Macedonians discuss things in terms of identities and history and articulate and verbalize things in a well thought out manner in general and yes even on this topic. Not because they may or may not hold a specific view on this specific topic. If they weren't intellectually deficient I think 90% of the topics we discuss here would be moot points.

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To say they are viewed as being outside the norm in terms of religious affiliation is accurate. To go so far as to say they are viewed as not Macedonian? Sounds anecdotal
It is but I think in this case its hard to find purely objective proof since all we have to go on is our interactions with Macedonians. It's not like either of us have met ever Macedonian, and as far as i know no studies or surveys have been conducted on the matter, so all I have to go on is casual encounters with Macedonians I know.

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If that were true for most people in Macedonia, they wouldn't have voted for Boris Trajkovski, a Methodist, as President.
I'm not so sure being Macedonian is a requirement in Macedonians minds, I think you might lament this argument in short time when we have our first Albanian president. For what it's worth I know a great deal of people who mocked and questioned his Macedonian-ness because of that fact. Macedonians typically vote for whoever the party puts before them.

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I would like nothing more than for those people to fully embrace their Macedonian heritage. Many of them do. Unfortunately, many of them don't and that contributes to existing perceptions. For some, it may be difficult to rationalise the thought of their kinsmen having adopted the religion of occupiers who oppressed Macedonia for over 500 years. I'm not suggesting the descendants of such converts should be punished for the actions of their ancestors, but we can't just wipe that part of our history from memory.
I don't disagree with that. I just spent the last couple of pages explaining why many Macedonians feel the Orthodox faith is integral to their identity and why they view other religions especially Islam as foreign. Most Torbeshi identify as Muslims of Macedonia not Macedonians who are Muslim.

I never said Macedonians were wrong to rationalize things in such a way, I merely pushed back a little on your assertion that they don't rationalize things in such a way.

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The Jews in Macedonia aren't ethnic Macedonians nor do they see themselves as such.
I agree, and Macedonians never viewed them as such either. Another group who viewed themselves as Jews of Macedonia an not Macedonian Jews.

My only point of contention with what you said is that Macedonians don't see the Orthodox faith as mandatory in order to be considered Macedonian. I countered that they don't say it so bluntly or discuss it in those terms exactly, but in a round about kind of way they do feel that way. It's one of those things where I think if you push the issue you will see it more than you would in a passive setting. In the end Macedonians don't really care about anything so that's why it may seem like they don't hold that view.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:05 AM   #19
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I'm not so sure being Macedonian is a requirement in Macedonians minds, I think you might lament this argument in short time when we have our first Albanian president.
We can circle back to the above if an ethnic Albanian ever becomes president of Macedonia. My point about Trajkovski was that his Methodist religion didn't deter people from voting for him.
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I never said Macedonians were wrong to rationalize things in such a way, I merely pushed back a little on your assertion that they don't rationalize things in such a way.
Are you referring to my assertion that they don't associate our identity "solely" with Orthodox Christianity? If so, then I would've found it less disagreeable had the words "largely" or "significantly" (or something else which wasn't so absolute) been used in place of "solely".
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My only point of contention with what you said is that Macedonians don't see the Orthodox faith as mandatory in order to be considered Macedonian. I countered that they don't say it so bluntly or discuss it in those terms exactly, but in a round about kind of way they do feel that way. It's one of those things where I think if you push the issue you will see it more than you would in a passive setting.
Many may feel that way given the significance of Orthodox Christianity in Macedonia. Many don't. Perhaps an anecdotal example, but I have a relative married to a protestant with roots from eastern Macedonia and nobody in my family has ever treated her or her family as anything less than Macedonian. We have many friends that rarely if ever go to church, but again, none of us treat them as anything less. Just some of my personal experiences. In any case, for historical reasons Orthodox Christianity is viewed as the traditional religion of Macedonians and I don't think that is something which can be disputed. It's a big part of our culture and even those who aren't Orthodox Christians understand this.
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Old 02-14-2019, 10:18 AM   #20
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Neither do I, but many of them have questionable allegiances or prefer the company of their coreligionists. In such cases, the apparent uneasiness goes both ways. You may think religious tensions are silly in a modern society, but without taking the legacy factor into consideration, you're not fully appreciating the situation. One way this can be countered is the demonstration of loyalty towards Macedonia, which would in turn lead to an increased level of mutual trust. But Macedonia can't even rely on much of its Orthodox population when it comes to this let alone the Muslims and other religious or ethnic minorities, who care even less about our history, culture and identity.
Reasonable argument. To expand on the 'questionable allegiances', I personally believe part of the reason for this is the failure of successive Macedonian governments to integrate these people into the greater Macedonian nation and actually make them feel Macedonian, this has been replicated by the people which we have been discussing already.

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Find one historical example of Jews identifying as Macedonians in an ethnic sense, then we'll debate it.
Rafael Moshe Kamhi is definitely the finest example though there were others.
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