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There is no Greater Glory than to be a Soldier of Macedonia May 11, 2010

Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses, Macedonia, Yunanistan.
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By Risto Stefov

At the height of Alexander the Greats´ campaign in Asia and after almost a decade of fighting and winning battle after major battle, the whole world had noticed the Macedonians. Their fame unfortunately came with a high price, paid in blood both by the Macedonian soldiers who gave their lives for this distinction and by Macedonia´s opponents who defended their territory from this unstoppable army. While fighting against its opponents, the Macedonian army demonstrated bravery, skill, discipline, determination and performed extraordinary achievements deemed impossible by ordinary men. They carried out feats like passing through impassible terrain in record time, fighting much superior opponents and winning, scaling un-scalable walls, fast marching through monsoons, etc., which gave the impression that these Macedonian soldiers were “super human”.

It didn´t take long after that for the Macedonian soldier to become somewhat of a legend; a revered hero worshipped by the young and not so young alike. This was a time when there was no greater glory in the world than to be a soldier of Macedonia; a glory remembered to this day when the words “Macedonia and Alexander the Great” are mentioned together. It was the politicians and strong leaders like Philip II, however, who wanted a “safe” Macedonian that gave this professional army its beginnings. But it was the soldiers themselves and their willingness to risk their lives who made Macedonia powerful and famous and who immortalized it on the ancient and modern maps. Macedonia before Philip´s time was no different than it is today. It was picked on by its neighbours just as it is picked on by its neighbours today.

The Illyrians were constantly invading Macedonian territories, robbing and pillaging the Macedonian population. In the fall, after the harvests, they would come with their horses and wagons, rob their crops and then set their houses on fire. The Athenians were no better. They constantly invaded the Macedonian coastlines and even built cities on Macedonian lands. They too were not beyond robbing Macedonian timber and other natural resources. It was terrible to be a Macedonian then as it is terrible to be one today when no-one respects you, your feelings, or your property. Philip II, as many kings before him, was well aware of the “Macedonian situation”. But unlike his predecessors he “did something” about it. This was not the way he wanted his people to live and be treated so he built a professional army to deal with this kind of problem. At that time Philip was not thinking of “conquering the world”. He was simply thinking of making Macedonia a safe and peaceful place for his people to live. He was willing to sacrifice resources and many lives, including his own, to give his people peace, for which he was supported by his nobles and by the Macedonian people in general.

Philip tried to talk sense into his neighbours using diplomacy and “negotiations” but they were too busy robbing and pillaging his country and his people. Well, we all know what happened next. The moral of this story is that you can talk peace all you want and “negotiate” with your enemies forever but if you don´t have the “clout” to enforce it you are wasting your time because no one is going to pay any attention! If there is any indication that history repeats itself or time runs in a circle, Macedonia today has again found itself at pre-Philippian times where its neighbours are picking on it from every side. Today there are Macedonian territories being occupied, robbed and pillaged by Greece, Bulgaria and Albania. We have the Greeks who refuse to recognize the Macedonian identity or the Macedonian state who insist that Macedonians don´t exist and that the Republic of Macedonia is populated by “Slavs”. We also have Greeks who insist that Macedonia is Greek and would like to see all of it annexed by Greece.

On the other hand we have Bulgarians who recognize a “Macedonia” but insist that the Macedonian people are Bulgarians who have “plum forgotten” that they are Bulgarians. And let us not forget Macedonia´s “internal people” who over the years came to Macedonia as guests, some as late as two or three decades ago, settled there but remain ungrateful for what they have received and now want part of Macedonia for themselves. Well it doesn´t take a genius to figure out what needs to be done to remedy the situation. But how can it be done without a Philip at the helm? If there is anything that we have learned from history it is that Macedonia was always small but has accomplished great things and much of its greatness lies in its ability to get world attention and that can be done now as it was done in ancient times; through its military! It doesn´t take a big army to get world attention, as Alexander proved this once before when he entered Asia with only fifteen thousand Macedonians soldiers and defeated the mighty Persian Empire, the greatest empire the world has seen, with an army of one million.

To do that, however, it takes a brave, dedicated and disciplined army; similar to the one we have in Macedonia today. In fact if Modern Macedonia has gained any serious attention from the world it is mainly because of its little army. Now before I get attacked for “supporting” the “men and women of war” please allow me to explain. Soldiers and armies do not create war or conflict; politicians and warmongers do. Soldiers are people like you and me, but unlike you and me soldiers take orders without question and are prepared to give their lives, even if they don´t always believe in what they are fighting for. So please do not blame the soldier for what politicians do. There is another definition of what a soldier is besides the conventional one offered by the dictionary and by those who oppose war. A soldier is a young man or woman, a mom or a dad who knows their turn will come someday to serve their country and will be called upon to drop everything in their lives and go far away to do their duty even if it means having to die while doing it. You can argue that it is their job and they were familiar with the risks when they signed up. So what´s the big deal? There is no big deal of course until you stack up your job against theirs.

Would you do whatever your boss tells you without question? Would you be prepared to die while doing your job or would you take the job knowing full well that you may never return alive? If your answer was “yes” to both questions then you unquestionably qualify to call yourself a soldier. If you answered “no” then how can you even come close to calling it a mere job. If you truly understand what “soldiering” is all about I am sure you would be hesitant to criticize the soldier. Please allow me to again emphasize that soldiers are not responsible for waging wars! I know many of you have said “what are Macedonian soldiers doing supporting NATO when NATO is not even willing to recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name or accept the Macedonians for who they are?” Again, please do not blame the soldiers for this. The soldiers themselves did not make decisions to support or not support NATO. If there is any blame to be placed, place it squarely on those that make such decisions. Irrespective of “why” Macedonian soldiers are participating in NATO missions there are also the questions of “how” Macedonians are doing in those missions and this should be of interest to all of us. It seems that the small Macedonian military abroad is making quite an impression on the NATO leading armies and their military leaders. I know Macedonian officers and soldiers have a tradition to uphold and very big shoes to fill but even by the standards of the best of today´s best, they are doing very well and as a Macedonian that makes me feel very proud. In fact the Macedonian military and its accomplishments in these NATO missions are positively influencing today´s powers and are again putting Macedonia on the world map. We as Macedonians need to understand this and give our soldiers and officers, who accepted these missions knowing very well that they may not return alive, the respect they deserve. You can still object to Macedonian soldier being sent to NATO missions and, as citizens with democratic voting rights, you can replace those who are responsible for sending our men and women on these risky missions but please do not take away their sacrifices by blaming the soldiers for these wars. Like most ordinary people, most soldiers prefer peace over war but unlike ordinary people soldiers are prepared to fight and sacrifice their lives to make our lives better. We must recognize and acknowledge that. Soldiers may be called “men and women of war” but that nomenclature is flawed because soldiers prefer peace over war. If Macedonia wants to enter the world scene as an equal then it must carefully look at where its strengths lie. Today, the way I see it, its strength lies in its small military, which in spite of its size has turned a few heads. After all Macedonia has a military tradition to follow and uphold and as the saying goes “there is no greater glory than to be a soldier of Macedonia”. Other articles by Risto Stefov: http://www.maknews.com/html/articles.html#stefov http://www.americanchronicle.com/authors/view/3446 You can contact the author at rstefov@hotmail.com blood both by the Macedonian soldiers who gave their lives for this distinction and by Macedonia´s opponents who defended their territory from this unstoppable army. While fighting against its opponents, the Macedonian army demonstrated bravery, skill, discipline, determination and performed extraordinary achievements deemed impossible by ordinary men. They carried out feats like passing through impassible terrain in record time, fighting much superior opponents and winning, scaling un-scalable walls, fast marching through monsoons, etc., which gave the impression that these Macedonian soldiers were “super human”. It didn´t take long after that for the Macedonian soldier to become somewhat of a legend; a revered hero worshipped by the young and not so young alike. This was a time when there was no greater glory in the world than to be a soldier of Macedonia; a glory remembered to this day when the words “Macedonia and Alexander the Great” are mentioned together. It was the politicians and strong leaders like Philip II, however, who wanted a “safe” Macedonian that gave this professional army its beginnings. But it was the soldiers themselves and their willingness to risk their lives who made Macedonia powerful and famous and who immortalized it on the ancient and modern maps. Macedonia before Philip´s time was no different than it is today. It was picked on by its neighbours just as it is picked on by its neighbours today. The Illyrians were constantly invading Macedonian territories, robbing and pillaging the Macedonian population. In the fall, after the harvests, they would come with their horses and wagons, rob their crops and then set their houses on fire. The Athenians were no better. They constantly invaded the Macedonian coastlines and even built cities on Macedonian lands. They too were not beyond robbing Macedonian timber and other natural resources. It was terrible to be a Macedonian then as it is terrible to be one today when no-one respects you, your feelings, or your property. Philip II, as many kings before him, was well aware of the “Macedonian situation”. But unlike his predecessors he “did something” about it. This was not the way he wanted his people to live and be treated so he built a professional army to deal with this kind of problem. At that time Philip was not thinking of “conquering the world”. He was simply thinking of making Macedonia a safe and peaceful place for his people to live. He was willing to sacrifice resources and many lives, including his own, to give his people peace, for which he was supported by his nobles and by the Macedonian people in general. Philip tried to talk sense into his neighbours using diplomacy and “negotiations” but they were too busy robbing and pillaging his country and his people. Well, we all know what happened next. The moral of this story is that you can talk peace all you want and “negotiate” with your enemies forever but if you don´t have the “clout” to enforce it you are wasting your time because no one is going to pay any attention! If there is any indication that history repeats itself or time runs in a circle, Macedonia today has again found itself at pre-Philippian times where its neighbours are picking on it from every side. Today there are Macedonian territories being occupied, robbed and pillaged by Greece, Bulgaria and Albania. We have the Greeks who refuse to recognize the Macedonian identity or the Macedonian state who insist that Macedonians don´t exist and that the Republic of Macedonia is populated by “Slavs”.

We also have Greeks who insist that Macedonia is Greek and would like to see all of it annexed by Greece. On the other hand we have Bulgarians who recognize a “Macedonia” but insist that the Macedonian people are Bulgarians who have “plum forgotten” that they are Bulgarians. And let us not forget Macedonia´s “internal people” who over the years came to Macedonia as guests, some as late as two or three decades ago, settled there but remain ungrateful for what they have received and now want part of Macedonia for themselves.

Well it doesn´t take a genius to figure out what needs to be done to remedy the situation. But how can it be done without a Philip at the helm? If there is anything that we have learned from history it is that Macedonia was always small but has accomplished great things and much of its greatness lies in its ability to get world attention and that can be done now as it was done in ancient times; through its military! It doesn´t take a big army to get world attention, as Alexander proved this once before when he entered Asia with only fifteen thousand Macedonians soldiers and defeated the mighty Persian Empire, the greatest empire the world has seen, with an army of one million.

To do that, however, it takes a brave, dedicated and disciplined army; similar to the one we have in Macedonia today. In fact if Modern Macedonia has gained any serious attention from the world it is mainly because of its little army. Now before I get attacked for “supporting” the “men and women of war” please allow me to explain. Soldiers and armies do not create war or conflict; politicians and warmongers do. Soldiers are people like you and me, but unlike you and me soldiers take orders without question and are prepared to give their lives, even if they don´t always believe in what they are fighting for. So please do not blame the soldier for what politicians do. There is another definition of what a soldier is besides the conventional one offered by the dictionary and by those who oppose war. A soldier is a young man or woman, a mom or a dad who knows their turn will come someday to serve their country and will be called upon to drop everything in their lives and go far away to do their duty even if it means having to die while doing it. You can argue that it is their job and they were familiar with the risks when they signed up. So what´s the big deal? There is no big deal of course until you stack up your job against theirs. Would you do whatever your boss tells you without question? Would you be prepared to die while doing your job or would you take the job knowing full well that you may never return alive? If your answer was “yes” to both questions then you unquestionably qualify to call yourself a soldier. If you answered “no” then how can you even come close to calling it a mere job. If you truly understand what “soldiering” is all about I am sure you would be hesitant to criticize the soldier. Please allow me to again emphasize that soldiers are not responsible for waging wars! I know many of you have said “what are Macedonian soldiers doing supporting NATO when NATO is not even willing to recognize Macedonia by its constitutional name or accept the Macedonians for who they are?” Again, please do not blame the soldiers for this. The soldiers themselves did not make decisions to support or not support NATO. If there is any blame to be placed, place it squarely on those that make such decisions.

Irrespective of “why” Macedonian soldiers are participating in NATO missions there are also the questions of “how” Macedonians are doing in those missions and this should be of interest to all of us. It seems that the small Macedonian military abroad is making quite an impression on the NATO leading armies and their military leaders. I know Macedonian officers and soldiers have a tradition to uphold and very big shoes to fill but even by the standards of the best of today´s best, they are doing very well and as a Macedonian that makes me feel very proud. In fact the Macedonian military and its accomplishments in these NATO missions are positively influencing today´s powers and are again putting Macedonia on the world map. We as Macedonians need to understand this and give our soldiers and officers, who accepted these missions knowing very well that they may not return alive, the respect they deserve. You can still object to Macedonian soldier being sent to NATO missions and, as citizens with democratic voting rights, you can replace those who are responsible for sending our men and women on these risky missions but please do not take away their sacrifices by blaming the soldiers for these wars.

Like most ordinary people, most soldiers prefer peace over war but unlike ordinary people soldiers are prepared to fight and sacrifice their lives to make our lives better. We must recognize and acknowledge that. Soldiers may be called “men and women of war” but that nomenclature is flawed because soldiers prefer peace over war. If Macedonia wants to enter the world scene as an equal then it must carefully look at where its strengths lie. Today, the way I see it, its strength lies in its small military, which in spite of its size has turned a few heads. After all Macedonia has a military tradition to follow and uphold and as the saying goes “there is no greater glory than to be a soldier of Macedonia”.

Other articles by Risto Stefov:

http://www.maknews.com/html/articles.html#stefov

http://www.americanchronicle.com/authors/view/3446

You can contact the author at rstefov@hotmail.com

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Comments»

1. nicky - May 11, 2010

Ο Χριστος κι η μανα του. Ειπαμε να λεμε καμια μαλακια που και που να περναει η ωρα αλλα εσεις το παρακανατε. Ολοι οι μεγαλοι τρελοι νομιζουν οτι ειναι ο αλεξανδρος ή ο Ναπολεοντας. Και που να σφιξουν κι οι ζεστες. Με 40 βαθμους τον ιουλιο θα παρει φωτια καθε λογικη

2. Tina - March 17, 2012

Mr. Stefov, I read about Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba / chorba, and am
positiv that Nikos in his book has found a way to tell us, that he to is
Macedonian. With all those words of emotion to prove Zorba’s origin, he in fact has proven his own. Nikola Kazanov, or Kazantski.
Why not? When Macedonian names were chainged for villages and people, how can we think he was a Greek. And then for goodnes sakes, such nation as Greeks, does not exist. Just like there is no nation of Yugoslavs. As well as all the philosophers who come to Athens to earn living, never stated that they were of Greek descendant or nation and such. With this, I would like to add, I like your aproach to truth, which is always easier to understand then
Greek pathetic uslles explanations with which they loose the battle.

Tina - March 18, 2012

To Mr. Stefov, why, oh, why, do all historians, who should know better, refer to indiginous ancient, Troyans, Spartans, Mikeni, Itaka, and so forth, as ancient Greeks? And now, there are new created images of ancient Macedonia, being refered to as ancient Greek teritory? Isn’t that against some law in historical circles?
Aleksandar mentiones Ela’s, the new commers. isn’t it obvious that those new commers, the merchants and traders from mediteranian and midle east, are in no way some ancient Greeks?
And isn’t it obvious that Athens did not exist before 400BC? So how in havens name can exist Greeks during the Troyan war?
History is simple if truth is told. How dare historians make a mess of it. All in the name of newly created Europian dream, they call Utopia.
And we Macedonians know very well that Utopia/Utopija means to drown. Plural. I’ll live the rest of my questions for some other time. Thank you for youe eforth.

3. Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet - June 13, 2012

NEW MACEDONIAN BOOK 2012: From the author Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet MY FIGHT FOR MACEDONIA!

Please visit my web site: http://www.myfightformacedonia.com

NOVA MAKEDONSKA KNIGA 2012: Od Avtorot Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet MOJATA BORBA ZA MAKEDONIJA!

Ve molam posetete ja mojata web stranica. http://www.myfightformacedonia.com

http://sv-se.facebook.com/people/Ljupco-Mircevski-Trepet/100000849458261

Best regards
Ljupco Mircevski-Trepet


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