Come take a ride in Tito’s time Machine 16

Come take a ride in Tito’s time Machine – Part 16 – Insurgents take oath

Risto Stefov

November 29, 2009

If we “must” believe that Josip Broz Tito (May 7, 1892 - May 4, 1980), the Yugoslav dictator, along with the Communists, “invented” the Macedonians then we must also believe that Tito possessed a “Time Machine” because in this series of articles we will show you that the Macedonians existed way before Tito’s time.

As I awoke the next morning I noticed it was already light outside. Then I remembered I had not set the alarm on my clock the night before. Not knowing what to do I decided to ride my bicycle to the secret spot in hopes of getting there faster, before Tito and the team arrived. To be safe I left the bicycle in the woods and took a shortcut through the wooded area, only to find that I was too late. The Delorean had departed, disappeared, left without me. I hung around for a while, hiding in the woods and hoping that the team might return and somehow I could sneak into the time machine unnoticed. But who was I kidding, how could I do that? I decided to call it quits and left for home.

I sat around all day brooding, wondering how I could have been so careless and forgotten to set the alarm on my clock. When I couldn’t sit around any more I decided to go back to the hiding place. I took my position in the woods and waited and watched. I saw the Delorean appear and disappear a couple of times before the team finally left for home.

I felt cheated that I had missed out on today’s missions so I was tempted to hop on the Delorean and do some missions of my own when I noticed a crumpled piece of paper on the ground.

I picked up the crumpled ball and began to unwrap it. It dawned on me that TrueMacedonian must have been there early in the morning looking for me and when he didn’t find me he decided to leave me a message.

As I opened the paper I could see it consisted of two pages; clippings from newspapers.

TrueMacedonian probably did not want me to miss out on today’s missions so he did what I ordinarily would do; look in the next day’s papers to see the results of the missions, so I thought! Unsure I began to read the first page, here is what it said;


To the Editor of the New York Times:

The Writer read with much interest the letter in The Times of to-day relating to the Macedonian disturbances. It has been said that ‘the worst Christian Government is better than the best Muslim Government,’ but Mr. Berman, the writer of the letter in question, apparently thinks Turkish rule good enough in its way or feels international justice demands that Turkey in Europe be preserved at any price. He speaks of ‘acts of retribution on the parts of their (the Macedonians’) Turkish masters.’ As the Turks have long referred to the Christians in their dominion as ‘dogs’ the term is perhaps a very apt one.

We rid Cuba of Spanish rule because it was felt the conditions there had become unbearable and because we considered that our peace and safety rendered it imperative that we do so. If Russia and Austria pursued a like course in the Balkans they would have at least as good cause for their actions as had we, though of course such a move on their part would stir up trouble among other interested powers.

The Macedonians, a hardy race of farmers and laborers, do not ask independence, but autonomy – the right to rule themselves, to have a voice in their own government. In this age of self-government surely they are but asking for their own.

In every vilayet in European Turkey outside of Constantinople , except in Albania , the Christian population outnumbers the Mohammedan, yet the Christians exist in a land of their fathers simply on sufferance. If one of them approaches a circle in which there are Christians and Mohammedans he must first address the latter, after which he may speak to his own people.

Let those who think Turkey should be kept alive at any price ponder the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina since they have passed under Austrian control. Let them consider the conditions of those states today and compare it with any period during which the Crescent floated over them. This is not an appeal for those people simply because they are Christians, but because they are men living under conditions that we believe are intolerable, without political rights or any political or economic future.

It is not desirable that this plum fall to either Austria or Russia, but evidently it will do so eventually unless all civilization rises up in arms for a people that has lived in Turkey for ages and yet are not Turks, a people honest, frugal, industrious, but a race of strangers without a country, in the valleys and on the hillsides that they have tilled for centuries.


Orange , N. J., August 11, 1903 .” (The New York Times, August 11, 1903)

Ah, quite an interesting story. Bravo to Tito and the team! So let’s see what the other article has to say;


System of Operation Adopted by the Revolutionary Bands.

Turkish soldiers fear them and avoid engagements – Women fighters as brave as the men.

The insurgent bands in Macedonia are in organization and method of operation developed from the system used in Bulgaria before Bulgaria became free. At that time the bands were formed in Roumania and used Roumania as their base. The traditions of the leaders of these old Bulgarian bands are celebrated in song and story, and many of the chiefs after Bulgaria became free occupied important posts in the administration of the new country.

The life of an insurgent is the greatest of hardship. He often goes days without food, seldom spends the night twice in the same place, and, of course, is in perpetual danger. Before joining a band the insurgent takes oath never to surrender. The conduct and the membership of the bands are practically in the hands of young men. There are, however, several known women among them. The most celebrated is Ekaterina Arnaudova. She is said to be one of the best shots in the Balkans, and there are many stories of her prowess. There are also many former schoolmasters among the insurgents. While I was in Bulgaria a former schoolmaster and his fiancé were both killed while fighting with one of the bands.

The Macedonians were nearly freed from the Turks at the end of the Russo-Turkish war in ’78. Knowing this and seeing the great prosperity of their kinsmen in Bulgaria , they have never ceased their struggle to obtain the same position. The movement began to be particularly strong in the early part of nineties and received great impetus in 1895, owing to the interest that Prince Ferdinand then took in their affairs. At the time Bulgarian officers, Sarafoff, among the number, first seriously attempted to raise an insurrection. This, however, was easily stifled by the Turkish soldiers.

However, the revolutionary propaganda made great headway among the younger generations in Macedonia , who became greatly interested in the work for future freedom. Rifles were obtained and military exercises were started in the villages. But for some time a central organization was not worked out, or rather there were several conflicting small organizations. In a few years, however, one current became dominant, the one having for leaders Delcheff (since killed), Grooyeff now chief of the Monastir staff; Gyorcho Petroff, and Tattarcheff, the foreign representative. They took for their motto the words of Gladstone ‘ Macedonia for the Macedonians’. They differentiated themselves from the Bulgarians and the Macedonians living in Bulgaria , who formed the old committee with headquarters in Sofia .

After some struggle the Bulgarian committee were obliged to take the secondary role of gathering money and representing the movement before Europe . At the same time the internal committee of the Macedonians had to contend with discordant elements, but finally came into entire control. It then began to perfect its organization and systematize the levying of taxes, finally monopolizing the cause of liberation of Macedonia .

Meanwhile, the committee at Sofia , very moderate in tone, gradually losing its influence, and at last was obliged to give way to a new and more radical policy. Sarafoff took the lead and the committee assented to his policy of terroristic activity by the internal organization. But this, of course, soon made the official existence of the Sofia committee impossible. Sarafoff’s course was too severe, and he was obliged to give up the Presidency. The power fell into the hands of Gen. Tsoncheff, whose movements were supposed to be inspired by Prince Ferdinand. Sarafoff went to Macedonia , where he had since taken an active part as leader of one of the bands.

Gen. Tsoncheff began propaganda for an immediate revolution in Macedonia . That started a new and bitter strife not only between the internal committees and the Sofia committees, but among the insurgents themselves, and many of the most important influential leaders inside Macedonia fell into the hands of the Turks. Gen. Tsoncheff, however, decided to force the situation, and, although the results showed that the organization was not in shape to proceed on the best lines, it showed that the elements were too many and too powerful to be stopped after the movement had once got under way.

Then the internal organization after some hesitation decided to co-operate with Tsoncheff, and he on the other hand agreed to acknowledge the leadership of the internal committee. The whole region of insurrection had already been divided into circuits, and the members of the internal committee who survived divided among themselves the leadership of these circuits. To preserve unity of operation they held monthly meetings where the whole movement was discussed and the programme adopted by majority vote. Communication among the bands in action was also well established. Their headquarters in the mountains are practically inaccessible to Turkish troops and at the present time they are well equipped with arms and ammunition.

The Turkish army holds the insurrection at great awe, and never seriously seek and engagement with them. The whole force of the Askar or regular Turkish soldiers, as well as the Bashi-Bazouks, or irregulars is thrown on the defenseless population of the villages.

Something of the spirit which animates these people can be shown by the following incident, which occurred after I had left Bulgaria . In the same compartment with me was traveling a young man, possibly twenty-five or twenty-six years old. We engaged in conversation, and when he learned that I was interested in the Macedonian movement, he told his own story in the calmest kind of way. He said: ‘I am a Macedonian engineer. My father, mother, two brothers and two sisters were killed by the Turkish soldiers, so that all there is for me left to do is to fight as long as I can stand up. I have seven wounds, which I have not had time to have attended to. One in my knee is very serious and bothers me a great deal. I am out of Macedonia to get cartridges and dynamite for the band but I am anxious to get back and begin fighting again as soon as I can. I may have a chance to have a surgeon examine the wounds on my knee, but I have no time to give to it, - as I want to return to the fighting as soon as possible.’

This is one story of countless that I heard when down there, but it is quite a typical one. The demands of the insurrectionists are, however, very moderate. They offer no programme, but say they will lay down their arms as soon as a method is found for protecting life and property in Macedonia . But it must be a real method, and no paper reform will answer. They are going to keep right on fighting until this is obtained beyond all question.


Chicago , Dec. 3, 1903 .” (The New York Times, December 3, 1903)

This story too was very satisfying to read and confirmed historically everything I knew about that period.

Satisfied that my day was not a total loss, I returned home and the first thing I did was set the alarm clock to wake me up the next day.

To be continued.

Other articles by Risto Stefov:

Many thanks to TrueMacedonian from for his contribution to this article.

You can contact the author at

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