Krushevo Manifesto – Message That Echoes for a Century
Fellow countrymen and dear neighbours !
You know very well that we are not evil and you understand that it is trouble that made us risk our lives, so that we might begin living like human beings or die like heroes! And because since the times of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers we have lived together like brothers of this land, we consider you as our own, and would like it to remain the same forever. We have not raised our rifles against you – it would be shameful for us to do so; we have not raised against the peaceful diligent and honest Turkish people who, like ourselves, earn their living through sweat full of blood – they are our brothers with whom we have always lived and would like to live again; we have not risen to slaughter and plunder, to set fire and steal – we have had enough of countless derebeyis pillaging and plundering our poor and blood-stained Macedonia; we have not risen to convert to Christianity and disgrace your mothers and sisters, wives and daughters; you should know that your property, your lives, your faith and your honour are as dear to us as our own. Alas, we have taken up arms only to protect our property, our lives, our faith and our honour. We are not murtats of our own land that has given birth to us, we are not robbers and plunderers, but revolutionaries sworn to die for justice and freedom; we rebel against tyranny and against slavery; we are fighting and will fight against murtats, against robbers, against oppressors and plunderers, against besmirchers of our honour and our faith and against those who benefit from our sweat and exploit our labour. Do not be afraid of us and of our villages – we shall not harm anyone. Not only do we consider you as our brothers, but we also feel sorry for you as our brothers, since we understand that you are slaves like ourselves, slaves of the Sultan and of his beys, effendis and pashas, slaves of the rich and powerful, slaves of tyrants and oppressors, who have set fire to the empire from all four sides and have made us rise up for justice, for freedom and for human life. We invite you, too, to join us in our struggle for justice, freedom and human life! Come, Moslem brothers, let us together go against your and our enemies! Come under the banner of “Autonomous Macedonia”! Macedonia is the mother of us all and she calls on us for help. Let us break the chains of slavery, free ourselves from suffering and pain, and dry the rivers of blood and tears! Join us, brothers, let us fuse our souls and hearts and save ourselves, so that we and our children and our children’s children might live in peace, work calmly and make progress!…
Dear neighbours! We understand that you as Turks, Arnauts and Moslems might think that the empire is yours and that you are not slaves since there is no cross on the imperial flag but a star and a crescent. You will soon see and understand that this is not so and that you are wrong. Nevertheless, if you honour does not allow you to join us and declare yourselves against the Sultan’s tyranny, we, your brothers in suffering and of the same homeland, shall do you no harm and shall not hate you. We will fight alone both for you and us, and if necessary, we will fight to the last man under the banner for our and your freedom, for our and your justice. “Freedom or Death” is written on our foreheads and on our blood-stained banner. We have already raised that banner and there is no way back. If you consider us as your brothers, too, if you wish us well, if you intend to live with us again as you have lived up to now, and if you are faithful and worthy sons of our mother Macedonia, you could help us in one way at least – and it would be a great help indeed – do not make partners of the enemy, do not raise guns against us and do not oppress the Christian villages!
May God bless our holy struggle for justice and freedom!
Long live the fighters for freedom and all honest and good Macedonian sons!
Hurrah! For “Autonomous Macedonia!”