The Empire's forgotten children: understanding the path from Ottomanism to Titoism in Muslim Macedonia, 1912-1953
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Bilal Ağa: Uh-huh. We're gone, we've perished. They're successful including women in their brigades. Ahmet Ağa: It doesn't matter that the women are working, it's that they have lost their honour. Mula Ağa (lying in the foreground): Their cooperatives will collapse. Shall we see at some point what will happen? Just in case. Musli Ağa: There is no question of 'Just in case' here. We have lost the war. May God bring something from either the east or west. Readers of the weekly newspaper Birlik (Unity) would have come across this cartoon on the week of 10 November 1949. As the sole Turkish-language newspaper servicing the newly created Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Birlik fielded similar commentaries and predications week after week since its establishment in 1947. Cartoons and articles like this one attested to the fact that life and politics had indeed rapidly changed since Tito's ascendancy over a reconstituted Yugoslavia. Literacy programs, collectivization, popular elections, school openings, show trials and urban reconstruction were among the many life-altering happenings shaping Macedonia's first steps down the road towards socialism. Birlik's mandate and purpose during this time was clear and concise: to inform, to convince and to celebrate Macedonia's Muslim population and to incorporate them into the workings of the new state that was emerging around them.