|Krushevo Manifest (1903)
Sent by the Republican Rebel Committee in Krushevo
To the Moslem villages around Krushevo,
On Aug 2 1903
Fellow compatriots and dear neighbors!
We, your perennial neighbors, friends and acquaintances from beautiful Krushevo and its pretty villages, regardless of faith, nationality, sex or conviction, not being able to endure any more the tyranny of bloodthirsty criminals who hunger for human flesh, who would like to lead both you and us to slaughter, to reduce both you and us to poverty, and to turn our dear and wealthy land of Macedonia into a wasteland, we have today raised our heads and decided to defend ourselves with rifles in our hands from our and your enemies, and obtain freedom.
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! In addition, 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 feudal lords 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 honor 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 honor.
We are not criminals 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 converts, against robbers, against oppressors and plunderers, against soiling our honor and faith and against those who benefit from our sweat and exploit our labor. 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 appointed rulers, masters and governors, 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!
We understand that you as Turks, Albanians 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 your honor 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 your freedom and ours, for your justice and ours. "Liberty or Death" is written on our foreheads and on our bloodstained 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!"
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.