The Macedonian Alliance for European Integration (MAEI) strongly condemns the latest provocations and lies coming from the Bulgarian Embassy in Tirana, which, in its statement issued today, claims that the children of the Korca region celebrated "Christmas in the Bulgarian style", and that the Embassy gave Christmas presents to all the children, K to 12, in the municipality of Pustec.
The Macedonian Alliance for European Integration considers these statements from the Bulgarian Embassy in Tirana to be provocations. The Macedonian Alliance for European Integration informs the public that there was no celebration of "Bulgarian style Christmas" in the municipality of Pustec.
Today, the Macedonians in Pustec and in other parts of Albania, celebrated Badnik according to the traditional Macedonian customs, and tomorrow we celebrate Christmas, in a way that was inherited for centuries, from our Macedonian ancestors.
The elementary and high school "Mitre Kolefski and Trajan Gjeorgjievski" from Pustec informed that no-one was donating Christmas packages to the Children today. Only that, on December 23rd 2021, gifts for the New Year were given by the municipality of Pustec, to the children and the teachers, who were told that the packages are from the municipality of Pustec.
The Bulgarian Embassy in Tirana fails to mention the name of the elementary and high school "Mitre Kolefski and Trajan Gjeorgjieski" in its press release. It knows that the hero Trajan Gjeorgjievski from Pustec, who the school is named after, joined the Macedonian partisans in 1942 and was killed in 1944, fighting for the freedom of the Macedonian people against the Bulgarian fascist occupiers of Macedonia. The schools in the municipality of Pustec have taught in the Macedonian language for 77 years now, without interruption!
Regarding the press conference from the Bulgarian Embassy that, in the area of Gora in Kukes municipality, the Embassy gave New Year presents to all the children who also celebrated "Christmas according to the Bulgarian style", we also consider it to be a tactless provocation.
Nine villages in Gora are inhabited by Macedonians of the Islamic religion. According to the last census in 2011, they self-declared as Macedonians. No-one declared a Bulgarian identity. Handing presents for the children of Gora and making up a story that they celebrated "Bulgarian style Christmas" is another primitive perversion and toying with the religious sentiments of the Macedonians of Islamic religion. But this is nothing new when it comes to Bulgaria. The Bulgarian attempts to assimilate the Bulgarian citizens of Islamic religion with the forced renaming and replacing of Muslim names during the time of Todor Zhivkov is a well known fact.
Macedonians in the areas of Gora and Golo Brdo await an official apology from Bulgaria for the crimes carried out in these areas during the occupation by Bulgaria in the First World War, crimes that are deeply ingrained in the memory of all Macedonians.
We condemn the primitive Bulgarian tricks, which is trying to take advantage of the poverty the Macedonians in these areas in Albania live in, to try to portray them as Bulgarians.
The areas of Prespa, Golo Brdo, Gora, Poleto and Vrbjanik, where Bulgaria is "searching" for a "Bulgarian minority" are inhabited with self-conscious and self-aware Macedonians who have the same folklore, traditions and language as the Macedonian people in its entirety, in all the countries in the Balkans, and live within compact areas along the Macedonian border, with territorial continuity with the state of Macedonia, and we have no connection to Bulgaria!
In light of the coming census, that is due in October 2022, we expect to see reinforced attempts by the Bulgarian authorities to assimilate the Macedonian community in Albania.