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"I conceive the world as a place for cultural competition between nations" - Gotse Delchev (1872-1903) was born on that date

"I conceive the world as a place for cultural competition between nations" - Gotse Delchev (1872-1903) was born on that date

1/23/2011 9:00:46 AM

Gotse Delchev, one of the most famous Macedonian revolutionaries, was born in Kukush, Aegean Macedonia (now Kilkis in northern Greece), on January 23, 1872. He was one of the founders and leaders of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO). Gotse Delchev was a chief organizer and leader of the armed forces (chetas) of IMRO. He was then author of the first statute of IMRO, named "Statute of the Bulgarian Macedono-Adrianopol Revolutionary Committees".

Inspired by the eminent Balkan revolutionaries Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev, Gotse Delchev dedicated himself to the cause of a free Macedonia, organizing a network of underground cells for the IMRO, while publicly leading the life of a teacher. An enlightened and unusually liberal revolutionary, he was similar to his idol Levski in refusing to target local Turks, considering them victims of Ottoman oppression too. Loyal to the Bulgarian revolutionary tradition, he stood for an autonomous Macedonia as part of a future Balkan federation, as opposed to the right-wing Sofia-based Supremists seeking its union with Bulgaria.

Killed in a skirmish with Turkish troops three months before the long awaited and abortive Ilinden uprising, Delchev neither witnessed nor was tarnished by the IMRO's decline into sectarian butchery, and is still honoured as a hero in both Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia. Initially buried in the Rila Monastery, his bones were taken after World War II to the Macedonian capital Skopje, where his tomb now lies in the courtyard of the "Sveti Spas" Church.

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