Micov: Western Powers Continue to Forge Balkan History, Create Conflicts

Stefan Vlahov Micov is a Bulgarian author of Macedonian origin. He has published about twenty books in the field of philosophy, publicism, literary criticism and essayism. He is continuously studying, analyzing and interpreting the Balkan historical processes in their anthropological and psychological depth. As a result of his thorough readiness and systematic feature, in the past ten years he has published the books “Philosophical Key to Macedonian Identity”, “Viruses for Shattered Minds”, “Heroes and Descendants”, “Macedonian Emancipation in the Balkans”, and “How to build and defend a State”. His latest work is called “The Philosophy of the Balkan Hell”.


Your latest work “The Philosophy of the Balkan Hell” is a voluminous monographic research, but it can also be read as an interesting book. It abounds with notes, registers, etc. How much time have you dedicated to research while working on the book?
VLAHOV MICOV: When writing a book, time is divided into two parts: the first is when you are imagining it and taking notes, while the second is when you sit down and write. I am interested in these problems because I am a Balkanologist by profession, but, unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to publish them in the larger part in my life. So a book is not just writing, but much research as well. Actually, I was writing the book for two years, but I had also been working on it for many years prior.


At the very beginning of the book, instead of a preface, you published your point of view saying that writing the Balkan history is an ungrateful thing. Why?
VLAHOV MICOV: That’s right. It is ungrateful because the Balkans is a knot of intractable problems. It is said that the Balkans is a barrel of gunpowder, that is where WWI began…etc. In 1997 I published a book called “20th Century lies ahead”. Back then, some people were laughing that the author of the book did not know that the 20th century had ended. I perfectly know that chronologically, yes, it ended, but what will happen in the 21st century is incomparable with both world wars, violence and destruction. The Balkan history is a mix of history and ideology, and I must say that we, the historians, are missing something. Historians in the 21st century have narrow focus. If you want to understand the essence of the Balkans, you should have certain knowledge of not only of history but of philosophy, anthropology, ethnology, psychology. We can see from one aspect only, but in order to understand the essence, one aspect is not enough.

The knot of intractable problems, or the Gordian Knot is easier to cut than to untie. Who can cut it?
VLAHOV MICOV: In order to understand the Balkan history, we must compare it to life and Europe’s history. But, the true history. Because the history of both the Balkans and other regions has been changed and forged. In the 18th century, the national states caused a global twist, thus changing history. The big states are re-writing their and the history of Europe. Then they go to Eastern Europe, create artificial nations and re-write the Balkan history as they see fit. On the other hand, since the 19th century, the new Balkan countries begun changing history, and not just theirs, but also their neighbors’, as they see fit. As you see, we have a major mess. What a deformation of the Balkan people. That deformation gives birth to larger problems between states, between people and the nations themselves. I think that the Gordian knot can be cut only if we seek the truth and if we have the courage to accept it regardless of whether it is fit for one or the other. But, unfortunately, I think that we will see mess in the future as well. The Balkan nations have nothing to share. For now we share our ego, we share our stupidity - we have plenty of both. All the people in the Balkans should be happy. Sadly, we have a strange principle - I should be happy, and the others should not, or if I can not be happy, so the others can not be happy as well … This is what the great powers use, they treat the Balkans as their pantry, we give them a reason for that daily. When one wants to be bigger than the other. We want to prove that we are bigger. One had two thousand years of identity, another had five thousand years of identity. Unfortunately, we are just not intelligent. Our attitude will not take us anywhere.

According to your opinion, big countries have forged Balkan history. Why the need for constant forging of Balkan history?
VLAHOV MICOV: Western Europe needs the Balkans economically. The more Balkan countries are divided, the easier it becomes to rule them. The Balkan continues to be of geo-strategical and political interest. The bigger the number of countries in the Balkans, the smaller they become and the larger the pressure for them to suck up to the bigger countries, fantasizing they will outgrow them some day. In the 90s, the Balkan had six countries. Now, if we consider Kosovo as a state, there are 12 countries. I expect the number of states in the Balkans will continue to increase in the future. The West will continue to carve up new states because they are easy to manage and maniupalte. That is my point of view, and that is not good. In my book, I compare the Balkans to Latin America, where big powers also do not allow the nations to reach any unity. Moreover, the Balkan is a bridge. One or two persons cannot hold it, there has to be more.

The book epilogue is titled: “The Balkan without any essence”. Why?
VLAHOV MICOV: It reviews the last period of the Balkan history, when national states formed. After that, each of them looks for a faster way to get rid of Ottoman heritage and walk faster to Europe, trying to accomplish a lot in just a few decades. I remember, when Georgi Dimitrov was president of Bulgaria, he said that we would have 10-15 years to accomplish what other nations have done in a century. That cannot be done. It is ok to wish for it, but it is impossible. Countries are rushing to take over Europe’s architecture, manners etc, while forgetting Balkan traditions, which are similar. We have similar social, cultural relations, we have similar sayings. The Balkan is specific. We are giving it all up, while accepting supposed European values, many view as worthless. That is how the Balkan is losing its essence.
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You claim Romania and Bulgaria to be the Balkan countries which have the most complexes. Why?
VLAHOV MICOV: Exactly. The Greek nation also has complexes. It is very well known that the Greek nation and Greek history have been rewritten by the West. Regardless of what they might say, they cannot convince themselves deep inside and believe something which is not true. They would not admit it, but it is all around. As for the Bulgarian nation, Russia created Bulgaria with the Treaty of San Stefano. Then, the propaganda did its job. This ideology enters every home. In 1989, the first global forgery took place - the so called revolution against Ceaușescu. When I went to Romania, I was shown bodies excavated from the cemeteries nearby and presented as victims killed by the regime.  Absolutely disgusting! In that time, televisions were broadcasting news from Romania 24/7. We were all burdened, all we could see in front of our eyes was a supposed revolution. But, it was like filming a movie. The information we received was so fast, it did not allow us to properly think. Our personal freedoms dropped. We couldn't use our heads, we weren't allowed. The more information you receive, the less truth it contains and the less we think. This is a huge global problem, not just here on the Balkan.

You use examples of Balkan countries to point out to wrong Balkan philosophy. What i the right strategy to fight against stereotypes?
VLAHOV MICOV: We do miss reasoning and strategy. Macedonian people have the energy, but it is not being used for the benefit of the country. It requires the right people in the right places, which isn't the case today. When I visit different cities, ordinary people have practical, strong opinions, although they do not hold diplomas like we do and are not in the Government or any institutions. For instance, even during the Ilinden Uprising people asked for the presence of a Macedonian flag, currency and coins etc., but some of the uprising leaders did not agree! Their excuse was "we are a small state, small people". Guess what, if you want to be small, you will be treated as such. We have to write in an understandable manner, so that everyone can understand you, not just a dozen people. Writings on Macedonia ought to be delivered to Washington’s Congress Library, in the library in Sorbonne, in Brussels, where everyone can find information on our truth.

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