Greece and the Macedonian Question Yesterday
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Metamorphosis > News > Interview with Petar Kajevski, Creator of Macedonian Search Engine Najdi!:
Recently, Metamorphosis has published the news about new Macedonian search engine Najdi!. These days we talked to the man responsible for this project, Petar Kajevski, who currently lives and works in London.
This is his statement regarding Najdi!
“Until few months there was a great gap between substantial amount of content in Macedonian and opportunity for finding it. There has not been a suitable Macedonian search engine, and regular search engines like Google performed and are still performing very shallow indexing of Macedonian web sites. As additional problem, very few web sites provide internal search, so one can access the content of the web site only via navigation.
The gap results in users inability to locate relevant content regarding their queries, although such content exists in digital inscription. This goes vice-versa, too. The organizations providing the content have problems with the distribution of the content to the readers.
That was the reason for launching Najdi! I believe that everybody who needs information from Macedonian web sites and everybody who publishes information on those web sites have benefit from Najdi! Users have greater amount of pages at their disposal compared to the current search engines. Just to illustrate, Najdi! is currently indexing over 387.000 pages in Macedonian and over 40.000 pages in English. The number is constantly increasing."
US Ambassador Nominations Sent to the Senate:
"Gillian Arlette Milovanovic, of Pennsylvania, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenpotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Macedonia."
Radio Free Europe is funded by the US and is sensitive to pressure from the Greek lobby. Below is an e-mail that I sent to RFE regarding such bias. My assumption is that they will not correct their errors.
To: Ulrich Buechsenschuetz email@example.com
Monday, June 27, 2005
Re: MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS JAIL SENTENCE FOR MAVERICK CLERIC
June 24, 2005
1. This statement is false. Jovan was tried for "allegedly" inciting religious and ethnic hatred He now stands "convicted" of inciting religious and ethnic hatred.
Serbian Orthodox Bishop Jovan must spend 18 months in jail for allegedly inciting religious and ethnic hatred
Replace with this one:
Serbian Orthodox Bishop Jovan was convicted of inciting religious and ethnic hatred and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
2. This paragraph makes no sense. The Macedonian Church enjoys the overwhelming support Macedonians. The Serbian and Bulgarian Churches are supported by a few quislings.
In 1967, the communist Macedonian authorities recognized a MPC separate from the SPC and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which has a much smaller number of Macedonian adherents than the other two. The SPC and other Orthodox churches do not recognize their Macedonian counterpart, regarding it as schismatic. PM
Replace with this one:
In 1967, the MPC declared independence from the SPC, which, in 1945 was denied by Communist leader Tito when the Macedonian republic and the Macedonian language were recognised. For over 20 years Macedonians resented being nominally tied to the SPC, viewing as a vestige of Serbian colonialism. The SPC, branding this move as "schismatic", successfully lobbied other Orthodox Churches to deny recognition to their Macedonian counterpart.
The Original Article
RFE, June 24, 2005
RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY:
"MACEDONIAN GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS JAIL SENTENCE FOR MAVERICK CLERIC"
An appeals court in Bitola confirmed on 23 June that Serbian Orthodox Bishop Jovan must spend 18 months in jail for allegedly inciting religious and ethnic hatred, Reuters reported. Jovan, who became a central figure in the long-standing dispute between the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) when he switched allegiance from MPC to the SPC in 2003, was sentenced in August 2004 (see 'RFE/RL Newsline,' 20 August 2004 and 'RFE/RL Balkan Report,' 23 January and 6 August 2004). Jovan must now surrender to police within eight days or risk arrest. He said after the appeals court handed down its ruling that he is 'ready to go to jail if that is what the court says.'
The central problem is deeply rooted in what historians call the Macedonian Question and interrelated issues involving the traditional Balkan tendency to equate one's nationality with one's religion. In 1967, the communist Macedonian authorities recognized a MPC separate from the SPC and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which has a much smaller number of Macedonian adherents than the other two. The SPC and other Orthodox churches do not recognize their Macedonian counterpart, regarding it as schismatic. PM"
Monday, June 27, 2005
Yahoo! Groups : RMDigest Messages : Message 4523 of 4609: "A Balkan rethink is required before it is too late
By Pauline Neville-Jones
Today, there is no fighting in the Balkans, there is no ethnic cleansing and there are elections. There has been progress in the decade since the Bosnia peace agreement. But, Croatia aside, the former Yugoslavia is drifting. Political development is stunted, unemployment high, growth low and corruption pervasive.
More dangerous is the fact that, as the International Crisis Group recently reported, Kosovo stands on the edge of renewed conflict. Pessimism prevails among suspicious, isolated people who are unable to get visas to travel abroad. The Balkans is becoming ghettoised as the gap between the region and the rest of Europe widens.
The international community continues to pour in money. Almost half of Europe's deployable military force is stuck. Exit is impossible as long as Bosnia is governed by an imposed proconsular figure, the status of Kosovo is undecided and the region lacks a vision of the future.
The European Union needs to fulfil the promise its leaders made in Thessalonika in 2003 to integrate the Balkan countries. This can only mean enlargement of the Union. If the EU reneges, there are two possible outcomes: Europe entrenches empire merely to keep law and order, or it lets go to the revived forces of nationalism and conflict. Both are deeply unappealing.
The International Commission on the Balkans, led by Giuliano Amato, the former Italian prime minister, recently issued a report on the way forward. *The commission is clear that present policy, which evolved piecemeal, will no longer do. A coherent, long-term action plan leading to the establishment of stable and open societies is urgently needed.
The commission proposes three big steps towards integration. First, a summit should be held in 2006 at which the Balkan countries would be set on their respective roads to EU accession. Most countries will first need extensive preparation in which institutions are built and small national markets opened up to the regional free trade that is indispensable to attracting private investors. The region should provide its own security. All the countries should join Nato's Partnership for Peace. The role played by Nato in central and eastern Europe in modernising armed forces and creating the climate of confidence indispensable to stability should be replicated in the Balkans.
Policy on justice and human rights needs adjustment. It is easier for local leaders to refuse to surrender indicted war criminals than to improve their international standing by complying with outside pressure. Balkan
governments cannot escape their obligations to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but the commission considers that co-operation so far has been good enough to move to the stage of 'Europe Agreements' - in which resources would start to flow in the context of countries enforcing standards. In Kosovo, 'standards before status' blocks decisions that are urgently needed to prevent a new slide into violence. The United Nations is right to have instituted a review of its weak administration that is barely in control of local political infighting. The commission advocates an early start on staged moves (which require the co-operation of Belgrade) to full sovereignty realised within, but only within, the EU. Kosovo's independence arouses strong emotions. But neither return to rule from Belgrade or doing nothing is an option. The commission's polling suggests that Kosovo's independence would not lead to the dismemberment of Bosnia but could tempt Kosovo Albanians to seek a 'Greater Albania' that could drive conflict in Macedonia along ethnic lines.
The EU must use its muscle to enforce acceptable outcomes. The EU needs to rethink its thin policy towards Serbia-Montenegro. Managing Kosovo requires this, as does the need either to revive or put an end to the dysfunctional federation.
Finally, Bosnia. Much has been achieved under international administrators but their power now stops local leaders assuming their responsibilities. A special EU negotiator, exercising soft power rather than sovereignty, should replace them - and soon.
The commission has suggested an ambitious accession timetable. Substance must have priority over timing. But the EU should rise to the challenge of bringing the Balkans into the European mainstream not later than a century after the assassination in Sarajevo of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914, which sparked the cataclysms of the 20th century.
* _www.balkan-commission.org_ (http://www.balkan-commission.org/)
Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, who was a member of the International Commission on the Balkans, is chairman of QinetiQ
NEW MACEDONIAN HISTORY BOOK LAUNCHED
Janko Tomov 'DISCOVERIES ABOUT AND IMPORTANT EVENTS IN
Diplomatic action with new archaeological discoveries. Proof that European Civilization began not from Greeks, but from Macedonians' was launched. It has been published both in English and in Macedonian.
The book contains a review by renowned Macedonian historian Aleksandar Donski, and had assistance with editing the English version from Margaret Morse of Brisbane. The book was introduced at the launch by Ljubco Stankovski, editor of the Australian Macedonian Weekly, who gave a biography of the author's life and information about the Macedonian Version.
Tomov explained the importance of the spreading of historical facts and
documents to the world, especially to local governments where Macedonians live outside of Macedonia, to State and Federal politicians, legal system
representatives, institutions and important individuals in the EU and the
European parliament, the UN, Prime Ministers and Presidents of leading countries etc for the purpose of getting them to recognise the Constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia and its nationality, culture, religion, language and traditional customs. It aims to encourage human rights and Macedonian sovereignty of Macedonia, some parts of which are occupied by Greece, Albania and Bulgaria.
Tomov's books can be purchased from him at PO Box 566 Stones Corner Q 4120, or through the Foreign Language Bookshop at 259 Collins St, Melbourne.
Kosovo independence would set Europe on fire - Serbia-Montenegro minister: "Media Monitor
Excerpt from report by Montenegrin Mina news agency
Belgrade, 26 June: The independence of Kosovo would automatically lead to the independence of the [Bosnian] Serb Republic because the same principles would apply, Serbia-Montenegro Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic has said.
'In my contacts with world leaders, I insist on the principle of identical standards and I always tell them that the situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina would become more stable if the Kosovo problem was resolved within the Serbian framework. Let the Serbs of the Serb Republic get everything that will be granted to the Kosovo Albanians,' Draskovic told Blic [Belgrade-based daily].
According to Draskovic, the world understands that the future status of Kosovo must be a result of a compromise and an unconventional solution.
'The worst thing would be to impose a declaration of Kosovo's independence. I tell everyone that no Serbian politician will sign a document granting independence to Kosovo. Without Serbia's approval, such a declaration would immediately cause upheaval in Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Albania,' Draskovic said.
This fire could destabilize Europe and Kosovo's independence would provoke demands for the same status to be granted to the Serb Republic, the Turkish part of Cyprus, Basque country, Northern Ireland, Corsica and South Ossetia. [Passage omitted]
Source: Mina news agency, Podgorica, in Serbian 1907 gmt 26 Jun 05
BBC Mon EU1 EuroPol mb/cg"
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Christian Today > Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church Sentenced to Prison in Macedonia: "Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church Sentenced to Prison in Macedonia
Posted: Saturday, June 25 , 2005, 21:33 (UK)
Archbishop of Serbian Orthodox Church, Jovan (Zoran Vranisskovski) of Ohrid was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Macedonian Court of Appeal, Forum 18 has reported.
Archbishop Jovan was charged of 'inciting national, racial and religious hatred, schism and intolerance.'
The Archbishop commented on the situation: 'When they imprisoned an archbishop of a church in the 21st century - merely for serving his people - what else can you say about the system and the state?'
The archbishop is due to be taken to prison eight days after the court decision. He told Forum 18, he had not yet seen the verdict, but expected the court to copy the ruling of the lower court. 'This ruling is final and any appeal to the Supreme Court will not put off serving the prison sentence. So, as you may expect, I am going to jail after all.'
The sentencing of Archbishop Jovan is the latest move in the long lasting discord in Macedonia between the Serbian Orthodox Church and Macedonian Orthodox Church.
The origin of the discord dates back to the 1958, when under pressure from the then-communist government of Marshal Tito, the Macedonian Church was established.
Ten years later in 1968, the Macedonian Church declared its autonomy from the Serbian Orthodox Church; however it was not accepted by any other canonical Orthodox Church in the world.
The Macedonian government refused to give state registration to the Serbian Orthodox Church, and has staged police raids with priests of the rival Macedonian Orthodox Church to 'persuade' members of the Serbian Church in Macedonia to join the Macedonian Church and they also demolished a monastery.
The actions of the Macedonian government against the Serbian Orthodox Church in Macedonia were intensified after the Serbian Church in late May granted full autonomy to its branch in Macedonia and elevated Jovan to the rank of Archbishop.
'It is ridiculous that they are trying to silence me, in this age of the internet and mass communication' Archbishop Jovan told Forum 18. 'When they strike the shepherd they expect the sheep to scatter, but church history is paradoxical – the more the church is persecuted, the more followers it gets.'"
Saturday, June 25, 2005
balkanalysis.com - Collision Course: NATO, Russia and Kosovo: "Book reviews: Collision Course: NATO, Russia and Kosovo
By John Norris
Praeger, 2005, 334 pp.
Reviewed by Christopher Deliso
Collision Course: NATO, Russia and Kosovo gives an unprecedented inside view of the planning and conduct of NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. Written by John Norris, the former communications director for Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, this recently released work traces the chronology of decisions and events made by all of the key political players involved. With his enviable access to the communications and meetings held between US, European, Serbian and Russian diplomats, Norris is able to weave a riveting narrative that provides access to the minds and motives of those who crafted the war
...t’s important to note from the outset that Collision Course is an establishment work, and its author and key sources were and are cheerleaders for an intervention and occupation that have led to humanitarian horrors, local mafia consolidation of power, and the imminent betrayal of UN Resolution 1244, which guaranteed that Kosovo would remain a part of Yugoslavia. Despite the analytical critiques Norris makes of poor decision-making and infighting among Clinton officials, the rationale for intervention itself is never seriously questioned, except when it is referred to in order to cast doubting allies (and especially Russia) in a bad light.
House of Commons Hansard for 18 May 2005: "UK House of Commons Hansard
May 18, 2005
Excerpt on Macedonia from the Hon. John Randall
(Submitted by Metodija Koloski)
A slightly happier part of the region is Macedonia. My hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Mr. Walter) talked about countries that hope to join the EU. Often when that subject is discussed Macedonia is not mentioned, yet Macedonia is making good progress toward joining the EU and has lots of things going for it. I believe that the Government's position is that they look forward to accepting Macedonia into the EU when it has met all the criteria. Macedonia has done a lot to solve some of its internal problems—like many Balkan countries, it has a diverse population—and I consider it a model of what can be achieved."
Friday, June 24, 2005
An appeals court in Bitola confirmed on 23 June that Serbian Orthodox Bishop Jovan must spend 18 months in jail for allegedly inciting religious and ethnic hatred, Reuters reported. Jovan, who became a central figure in the long-standing dispute between the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) when he switched allegiance from MPC to the SPC in 2003, was sentenced in August 2004 (see 'RFE/RL Newsline,' 20 August 2004 and 'RFE/RL Balkan Report,' 23 January and 6 August 2004). Jovan must now surrender to police within eight days or risk arrest. He said after the appeals court handed down its ruling that he is 'ready to go to jail if that is what the court says.' The central problem is deeply rooted in what historians call the Macedonian Question and interrelated issues involving the traditional Balkan tendency to equate one's nationality with one's religion. In 1967, the communist Macedonian authorities recognized a MPC separate from the SPC and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which has a much smaller number of Macedonian adherents than the other two. The SPC and other Orthodox churches do not recognize their Macedonian counterpart, regarding it as schismatic. PM"
MAKNWS-L Archives -- June 2005, week 4 (#5): "MILS NEWS Skopje June 24, 2005
COURT OF APPEAL CONFIRMED ZORAN VRANISKOVSKI'S PRISON SENTENCE The Court of Appeal in Bitola yesterday confirmed the 18 months prison sentence passed last year by the Primary Court to the demoted Bishop Jovan, Zoran Vraniskovski. Vraniskovski was sentenced to 18 moths imprisonment for inciting national, racial and religious hatred, schism and intolerance. The verdict passed by the Court of Appeal is final and Vraniskovski has 8 days to submit himself for serving the sentence. As 'Dnevnik' informs, Vraniskovski said that he is ready to go to prison and that he has intention to finish his PHD at the Faculty of Theology in Thessalonica while serving his sentence. Vasko Gjorgiev, the legal representative of Vraniskovski, said that he would appeal to the Supreme Court and the Court in Strasburg. According to 'Dnevnik', the public in Bitola generally approved the sentence passed by the Court. Vraniskovski's supporters from the so-called 'Ohrid Archbishopric' said that sometimes a sentence can be regard as award and recognition. A1 TV informs that Vraniskovski has been sentenced for committing several criminal acts last year through distribution of Church calendar and propaganda material, as well as holding masses in an apartment in Bitola. He was convicted of issuing slanders against the Macedonia Orthodox Church (MOC) and violation of citizens' religious feelings. In January 2004 Vraniskovski was in custody for 20 days, after which the Primary Court sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment. The lawyers of Vraniskovski appealed against the verdict, but the Court of Appeal confirmed the prison sentence. Vraniskovski was also sentenced to probationary 12 month imprisonment for breaking into the MOC churches. A1 TV informs that the Public Prosecutor in Bitola, Stefce Tasevski, said that he would additional review whether to activate Vraiskovski's probationary prison sentence. If the probationary sentence is activated, Vraniskovski is to serve 30 months in prison."
Bosnian Institute News: Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox churches at war:
he Macedonian Church proclaimed by the Tomos does not have its own canonical territory or congregation, and exists only on paper. There is no possibility that Macedonia would accept it. On the other hand - herein lies the paradox - the unrecognised MPC headed by Patriarch [or archbishop, depending on the point of view] Stefan has a territory that pays for its upkeep, has its own places of worship, and ordains priests. According to the Macedonian constitution, it is separated from the state but its position is legally established. It is not likely that Macedonia will accept the church proclaimed in Belgrade. The new SPC-appointed ‘head’ of the latter, Jovan, was even arrested. Right now not even the best of church experts have any idea what will happen.
Serbian Orthodox Church:
THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
REGARDING THE DESTRUCTION OF
THE MONASTERY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church is shocked and deeply saddened by the destruction of the monastery of St. John Chrysostom (Svetoga Jovana Zlatousta) in the village of Nizepolje near Bitolj at midnight on October 15, 2004, and considers this to be a barbaric act of state terrorism on the part of the Government in Skoplje, with the full collaboration of the schismatic bishops in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
Amnesty prevents Macedonia prosecuting cases rejected by ICTY - legal expert: "Amnesty prevents Macedonia prosecuting cases rejected by ICTY - legal expert
Jun 23, 2005, 11:25 GMT
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The Macedonian courts do not have the right to deal with cases rejected by the Hague tribunal [International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia - ICTY]. This limitation is stipulated in the Amnesty Law, which applies to all NLA [National Liberation Army - UCK in Albanian] fighters and others who participated in the 2001 conflict. This law has been approved by parliament and has been published in the Official Gazette.
The statement by Public Prosecutor Aleksandar Prcevski that Macedonia was going to try the cases that the Hague tribunal had rejected has no legal basis, because if that were to happen it would constitute a violation of the Amnesty Law; that is, Article 4 of that law.
'The Amnesty Law exists and has been published in the Official Gazette. It clearly stipulates that all cases that have to do with the 2001 conflict, but are not included in the amnesty, are under the jurisdiction of the Hague tribunal,' said Naser Zyberi, a legal expert and participant in the drafting of the Oher [Ohrid Framework] Agreement in 2001. [Passage omitted]
Zyberi explained that Macedonia has been excluded from the four cases that fall under the responsibility of the Hague tribunal. 'Macedonia has been excluded from the prosecution of these cases. Regardless of the justification that the Hague tribunal has announced for deciding not to prosecute these cases, Macedonia is prohibited under the Amnesty Law to continue investigations into these cases. The law prohibits the prosecutor and all courts from dealing with these cases,' Zyberi said.
Legal experts explained recently that this law had been violated by many senior officials in Macedonia. [Former Interior Minister] Ljube Boskovski has violated this law over 500 times by investigating crimes committed during the war and has not been held to account for that. It seems that Public Prosecutor Aleksandar Prcevski will be the next to break this law.
The four cases that have been handed over by the Macedonian authorities to The Hague tribunal have been dismissed because of insufficient evidence to start criminal procedures against defendants accused of genocide during the 2001 conflict.
The Hague tribunal has said that 70 per cent of the evidence handed over by Macedonia was ridiculous and simple nonsense that justice systems cannot regard as facts.
Source: Fakti, Skopje, in Albanian 22 Jun 05 p 3
BBC Mon EU1 EuroPol cal
Copyright 2005 BBC Monitoring Service distributed by United Press International"
Text of a Letter from the President to the Congress of the United States:
"For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 23, 2005
Text of a Letter from the President to the Congress of the United States
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication, stating that the Western Balkans emergency is to continue in effect beyond June 26, 2005. The most recent notice continuing this emergency was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2004, 69 FR 36005.
The crisis constituted by the actions of persons engaged in, or assisting, sponsoring, or supporting (i) extremist violence in the Republic of Macedonia, and elsewhere in the Western Balkans region, or (ii) acts obstructing implementation of the Dayton Accords in Bosnia or United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999, in Kosovo, that led to the declaration of a national emergency on June 26, 2001, has not been resolved. Subsequent to the declaration of the national emergency, I amended Executive Order 13219 in Executive Order 13304 of May 28, 2003, to address acts obstructing implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement of 2001 in the Republic of Macedonia, which have also become a concern. The acts of extremist violence and obstructionist activity outlined in Executive Order 13219, as amended, are hostile to U.S. interests and pose a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined tha emergency declared with respect to the Western Balkans and maintain in force the comprehensive sanctions to respond to this threat.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
June 23, 2005."
NATO to Repair 60 Bridges in Macedonia (SETimes.com): "NATO to Repair 60 Bridges in Macedonia
NATO is investing 34m euros to help reconstruct bridges in Macedonia damaged during the intervention in Kosovo.
By Zoran Nikolovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje – 21/06/05
The bridges are located along routes used by NATO convoys for the needs of troops in Kosovo. [Getty Images]
On 14 June, NATO and the Macedonian government signed a memorandum of understanding on a grant for reconstruction and recovery of road infrastructure. Specifically, 35m euros will be invested in repairing 60 bridges damaged during the intervention in Kosovo.
... Signing of the memorandum initiates the bidding process. Only companies in NATO member states are eligible to apply for the tender or to be chosen as the main contractor, but Macedonian construction firms could be chosen as subcontractors.
Blease said he hopes some local firms would be selected, though he cautioned that this option is not always available in countries that have yet to become NATO members. The transport and communications ministry has already submitted a request to the NATO Infrastructure Committee to allow for such an opportunity."
(PDM staff with CTK) 23 June - 'The Great Water' from Czech director Ivo Trajkov has won the viewers' prize at an international film festival in Dubrovnik, producer Vladimir Chrenovsky told CTK.
Chrenovsky said the distribution premier of the film was to take place in New York on 17 June. The film has also been sold to Australia and New Zealand.
A co-production of the Czech Republic, Macedonia, Germany and the US, 'The Great Water' appeared in Czech cinemas this spring.
The film based on the Macedonian novel of the same name written by Zivko Cingo and published in the early 1970s at the peak of the Communist regime in the former Yugoslavia.
It shed light on the Stalinist period in Yugoslavia and the cruelty of the Communist leadership towards the children of the 'enemies of the revolution' in labour camps established after World War II.
It is a powerful and emotionally moving story of friendship and betrayal between two boys which explores conflicts between religion, spirituality and political blindness.
Trajkov is also one of the authors of the script.
Chrenovsky says that he would never again participate in a similar project.
'In Macedonia, no written agreements exist, everything is agreed upon verbally and everything looks accordingly. There are no film crews there capable of ensuring any service for shooting. The film was therefore a flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants affair, he said.
Trajkov's first film, 'The Canary Connection' in 1993, passed unnoticed. Five years later, he made, in co-production with the World Circle Foundation, the film 'The Past', which won awards at many international film festivals."
indieWIRE Insider > Picture This! Acquires Toronto Film, "Mirage":
"Picture This! Entertainment announced today the company’s acquisition of North American rights to Svetozar Ristovski’s SXSW '05 U.S. premiere feature, 'Mirage' (Ilujiza), from Small Moves Ltd. The company plans a November 2005 theatrical release.
Based on an original screenplay by Ristovski and Grace Lea Troje, 'Mirage' tells the story of Marko, a young boy tortured by a tumultuous home life and bullies at school. A microcosm of the lawlessness and corruption extant in post-Balkan War Macedonia, MIRAGE provides one chance for Marko to escape when his teacher encourages him to enter a poetry competition in Paris. But when the teacher later dashes the boy’s hopes and dreams, Marko seeks guidance from another role model: a mercenary who tells him he must “either eat or be eaten.”"
New Balkan Politics > The Conduct of the Great Power:
The cruel statistics of Balkan history show that not a single problem in the region has been resolved with a compromise, but that all “agreements” are a result either of wars or external interventions. The last series of Balkan wars in the territory of former Yugoslavia, including the one in Macedonia in 2001, only confirmed this observation. In that sense, the unilateral move of the US to accept the constitutional name of Macedonia is only a historical continuation of the external interventions in Balkan matters. The great power explained its move as a desire to introduce stability in the Balkans. True. However, it was precisely the policy of the two main power centers, the US and the EU, which, as hostages to Greek policy, continuously held the name issue open for more than thirteen years, causing a serious erosion of Macedonian national dignity, with two very dangerous consequences. The first consequence was breathing life into the traditional aspirations of neighboring countries towards the territory and the people in Macedonia. The second one was introducing internal instability into the state through extensive strengthening of the “Albanian factor” in the region, in contrast to the disputed Macedonian identity.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting:
"Macedonia is today the pivotal state in terms of EU integration. Until a few months ago, there was a consensus among EU policy makers that its membership application was going well.
The European Commission was expected to deliver a positive report in the autumn, followed by a decision at the EU council in December to give Macedonia candidate status. This could have led to the beginning of membership talks before the end of 2006 or in early 2007.
Now, however, some EU member states have second thoughts and seek to slow down this process. Objectively, this would be difficult to explain: after all, Macedonia has largely implemenbted the Ohrid Agreement and meets the Copenhagen political and human rights criteria (the hurdle for gaining candidate status) at least as much as Central European countries in 1997 or Turkey in 1999, when they became candidates.
Such a strategy looks risky, given the importance of internal stability and the investment the EU has already made in Macedonia, and given the risks that emerge as the United States and EU seek to settle Kosovo’s status. A serious setback would send a very negative signal to the region as a whole."
RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY:
"At least one leader of a major EU member state indicated before the summit that he remains committed to enlargement, stressing that its benefits far outweigh its costs. During a joint news briefing with Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in Berlin on 8 June that unspecified 'populists' are seeking to destroy the EU by attempting to prevent the western Balkan countries from joining that body.
Asked if the EU can afford to fund further enlargement in that region, Schroeder replied: 'Instability is much more expensive.' He added that 'you would be amazed if I told you how much the current situation in the Balkans with European soldiers costs.' He argued that 'Macedonia's example without any doubt...shows that the region's stability is linked to its European perspectives.' He also warned that eliminating these 'perspectives' would fuel instability in the region. At the same time, the chancellor refrained from naming concrete dates for the EU accession of the countries in the western Balkans.
The results of the Brussels summit indicated that Schroeder's pro-enlargement views are in the minority. Regional leaders were not slow in reacting to the unpleasant news but generally sought to put on a brave face. Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said in Brussels on 16 June that members of the European People's Party, which is a coalition of conservative parties active in European affairs, have given 'full support' to Croatia's bid for EU membership. He added that negotiations could start now and last two to three years, during which time all outstanding problems between Zagreb and Brussels could be resolved. "
Friday, June 17, 2005
Google Groups : alt.news.macedonia: "Failure of Greek Policy towards FYROM!
Greek policy towards FYROM despite some limited successes in the initial stages continues with its failure to produce the desired results and a resolution to this important issue. After 14 years of frustrating attempts
to resolve the matter, Greece continues with its diplomatic failure to produce a desired outcome! In fact, the only thing successfully produced is a huge rift or chasm between itself and its allies! "
The Balkans - The Titanic Waltz
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2005
The Austrian Embassy again held a Vienese Ball at the Alexander Palace Hotel in Skopje, Macedonia. It was as surrealistic as they get: a Viennese Ball in a decaying Balkan city. Organized by the nation of former Nazis and current Nazi sympathizers in a land of former communist thieves turned capitalist robbers.
... "Outside, fly-infested children beggars extended ulcerated soiled hands in silent plea. Others peddled rusted razor blades and leaking batteries to passers-by. Young men smiled rotting teeth in the smoking humidity of dingy coffee-houses. The middle aged, bent, sparkless eyes, consumed by unemployment and disease, a confluence of wrinkled toothlessness and dwindling hair. The women grey and flabby, wise, weary eyes in penumbral sockets. They glided, huddled, fending off the windy chill that ricocheted from cracking, mouldy walls. Dark clouds weighed on denuded trees in littered boulevards."
New York Daily News - Entertainment - Movie Digest: "The Great Water
At the Quad (1:30). Not rated: Mature themes.
A dying man in contemporary Macedonia reflects on his childhood at a Communist-run orphanage in post-World War II Yugoslavia. The framing device is unnecessary; what happens inside the orphanage, where the sons and daughters of anti-Communists are forced to adopt the party's strict doctrines, is powerful enough.
The film follows the developing friendship between two boys who share a determination to resist the increasingly hostile system. The boys - one is actually played by a girl, but you'd never guess - are angels in hell, and director Ivo Trajkov is way too prone to melodrama.
'The Great Water' is ultimately about the indomitability of faith, and the Christian symbolism is laid on thick. But the story, adapted from a famous behind-the-Iron-Curtain novel, sheds light on a subject few people have known about.
A Macedonian orphan’s passage into old age as a political survivorBy STEVE ERICKSON
“The Great Water” is filled with a mystical air, accompanied by plenty of Christian symbolism. Communism attempted to take the place of organized religion, wiping out centuries of tradition overnight, and Lem’s orphanage is no exception. Owning a cross is cause for punishment. Perhaps because of this prohibition, the boys take refuge in faith; Isak even seems to have the supernatural powers of a Christ- like figure
Taos Picture Show
March 30-April 3, 2005
The film successfully conveys the confusion of a young boy who is captured and incarcerated in a postwar labor camp for orphans of "political undesirables" through a strong script (adapted by Trajkov from a novel), convincing child actors, stunning cinematography, subtle symbolism and an appropriately desolate and menacing set that serves as a moody and intimidating character of its own (as well as a surprising casting twist revealed by cinematographer Suki Medencevic during the Q&A following the screening).
The young protagonist, acclimating to his confines, spends his days being indoctrinated into the righteousness of communism while endeavoring to avoid being mistreated by the overzealous, masochistic staff. He becomes mesmerized by a mysterious new arrival who helps him explore the secrets behind the walls of the camp and whose serene presence has an unusual affect on the orphans and staff alike.
June 8, 2005
Thanks to the tireless effort of our first Canadian-Macedonian Member of Parliament, the Honourable Lui Temelkovski, we now have a Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group. This is indeed an accomplishment for the Macedonian community in Canada, which has been part of this country since the late 1800's.
The Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group, made up strictly of members of the House of Commons, will function within the mandate of the Speakers of the House of Commons. It will operate with the support of the International and Interparliamentary Affairs Directorate in affiliation, from time to time, with selected groups of Macedonian parliamentarians.
The group's aim will be to strengthen and promote political, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Macedonia.
Establishing the Canada-Macedonia Interparliamentary Friendship Group has been Mr. Temelkovski's goal since his arrival in Ottawa in the fall of last year.
When the momentous occasion finally arrived, Mr. Temelkovski invited the Macedonian community to celebrate it with him.
Among Mr. Temelkovski's Macedonian guests were: the Macedonian Ambassador to Canada, Dr. Sashko Nasev, Dr. Lefter Mantse and Zvonko Mutsunski from Ottawa, the very Reverend Ilija Donev from the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Mississauga, Vlado and Vassa Grozdanovski the organizers of the trip, Mirche Vidinovski, Andre Shukovski, Louie Sekulovski, Alex Nitsis from the Canadian-Macedonian Historical Society and myself, Risto Stefov from Toronto.
Mr. Temelkovski used the occasion to also formally introduce Dr. Nasev, the Macedonian Ambassador, to the Canadian Parliamentarians in attendance.
The various functions which took place in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday June 8th, 2005, began late morning with our arrival from Toronto.
After a brief visit with Mr. Temelkovski in his 3rd floor office, in the east wing, we were escorted to the main building for a wine and cheese get-together with Senators and Members of Parliament.
Mr. Temelkovski used the occasion to formally introduce our Macedonian Ambassador who in turn addressed the gathering in both French and English.
We then had the opportunity to mingle with the dozen or so Parliamentarians who attended the function. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Bloc Quebecois M.P. Claude Bachand was interested in helping Macedonia join NATO.
Overall our meeting with the Senators and Members of Parliament was very positive and their interest in our issues exceeded expectations. It goes to show that Mr. Temelkovski has been hard at work making friends and promoting the Macedonian cause.
After the wine and cheese get-together we were escorted to the House of Commons visitor's gallery for question period, where we observed our Members of Parliament hard at work.
After question period we were taken to a meeting room where we witnessed the initiation of the Canadian-Macedonia Interpaliamentary Friendship Group. This was indeed a historic moment for Macedonia and the Macedonian people and we were proud to have been there.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Roger Valley, the MP from Kenora, who formalized the new organization and summarized, for the audience, the most important articles of its constitution. MP's and Senators, members of the new organization, introduced themselves and briefly talked about their interests in the Friendship Group. Afterwards we again had the opportunity to mingle and talk with the Parliamentarians.
After the meeting, Mr. Temelkovski personally took us on a tour of the Parliament Buildings. I particularly enjoyed viewing the building's architecture and visiting the peace tower and the Memorial Room.
Inside the Memorial Room, written on the marble wall, we found the words 'Macedonia'.
The Memorial Room pays tribute to the fallen Canadian soldiers who, over the years, gave their lives to protect us and keep us free. The word 'Macedonia' is in tribute of the Allied Canadians soldiers who in 1915 died, in Macedonia, fighting against the Central Powers.
At the conclusion of our tour, Mr. Temelkovski treated us to a buffet dinner, wine and further opportunities to meet and mingle with Senators and MP's.
Among Mr. Temelkovski's dinner guests was Mr. James Bissett, Former Ambassador to Yugoslavia and a friend to Macedonia.
After dinner we visited the office of the Macedonian Ambassador, which happened to be only a couple of blocks away from the Parliament Buildings.
It was a memorable experience for all of us.
On behalf of all his Macedonian guests, I would like to thank Mr. Lui Temelkovski, for awarding us the opportunity to be part of this momentous occasion.
I would also like to thank Loretta, Lui's wife for her hospitality and courtesy and Julie and Richard, Mr. Temelkovski's aides, for their assistance with the meetings and tour.
For comments regarding this article contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org"
Recent Church TOMOS hits Orthodox Faithful in the Soul: "Recent Church TOMOS hits Orthodox Faithful in the Soul
By Chris M. Purdef
June 13, 2005
In response to Forum 18 News article Macedonia: Why is state interfering in Orthodox dispute? on June 8, 2005 by Branko Bjelajac http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=579
... Nonetheless, when it was clear that efforts to establish the new Archbishphoric in Macedonia were unsuccessful, the Serbian Orthodox Holy Synod, apparently deciding to discipline the Macedonian parish, took it a step further and issued a TOMOS, publicly recognizing the “Orthodox Archbishphoric of Ohrid” as the only canonically legal church in the Macedonia. The official Serbian Holy Synod declaration, for all intents and purposes, proposed to excommunicate the approximately 1.8 million Orthodox Macedonians; clear indication that Serbian Bishops have relinquished their pastoral ideals.
Still however, early indications demonstrate that the TOMOS has drawn little regional orthodox support. In a recent statement, the Patriarchic of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexy II, came out against the move taken by the Serbian Orthodox Church. It was only a few weeks before the TOMOS that the ROC had sent a representative to the Republic of Macedonia to strengthen Russian and Macedonian Orthodox ties with the announcement that the Moscow Patriarchic Chorus would be performing in Macedonia, bringing with them a written letter of support from Patriarch Alexey II. The official representative from Moscow gave this statement in light of the then rumored Serbian Orthodox TOMOS,
MOYANA - Message from H.H. Archbishop Stefan: "The Macedonian Orthodox Church is in line with the other Regional Orthodox Churches
The Orthodox Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. However, in its administrative activities, the Church is divided into regional Orthodox Churches. Today, again, every regional Church, without exception, is based upon a national source, for people who have their own territory or sovereign and independent nation.
There isn’t a regional church that does not hold the name of the people it belongs to: The Albanian Church for the Albanians, the Bulgarian Church for the Bulgarians, the Greek Church for the Greeks, the Russian, Romanian, Polish, etc. for their own nations, not to mention the Serbian for the Serbs and Macedonian for the Macedonians.
Every regional Orthodox Church establishes its jurisdiction in the land and within the boarders of the nation in which it belongs. Our Macedonian Orthodox Church respects this principle. There has never been a continued or renewed ancient Church or a newly formed regional church without people gaining their own nation or freedom first!
Yahoo! Groups : Macedonian_News_Service Messages : Message 6485 of 6486: "The Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia
The Macedonian Center of New York
present the opening of the highly anticipated Macedonian film
THE GREAT WATER
Macedonia's Official Submission for Best Foreign Film for the 2004 Academy Awards!
THE GREAT WATER is the fifth feature from the Macedonian born, award-winning director Ivo Trajkov. Based on the original novel, Golemata Voda by acclaimed author Zhivko Chingo, THE GREAT WATER is 'a story of emotional dislocation and childhood resilience, of friendship and betrayal, of the state versus the individual. Like many great works, it plays on both a metaphoric and literal level'. (Screen International).
The story follows the childhood of Lem Nikodinoski. Now a high-ranking political figure in the communist movernment, an elderly Lem is rushed to a hospital fighting for his life. As he nears death, his only memories are of his life when he was twelve."
Yahoo! Groups : Macedonian_News_Service Messages : Message 6483 of 6486:
It is our pleasure to inform you that the CRPM Program Director, Zidas
Daskalovski, PhD has published his new book Walking on the Edge:
Consolidating Multiethnic Macedonia 1989-2004.
The publication is a pioneering attempt to engage the Macedonian academic
world and political scientists in particular. It aims at reaching out to
the general public, policy makers, representatives of international
organizations, NGOs and lobbyists, as it scholarly defines some of the
basic terms and definitions of the Macedonian democratization and provides
intellectually challenging account of the issues of democratic consolidation.
The book is divided into two parts: 1) The democratization of the country
and the events of the 2001 war; 2) The Ohrid Framework Agreement and its
consequences. In the conclusion the author offers a discussion on the 'way
forward', the current state of affairs in the implementation of the accords
from Ohrid and the potential difficulties the Macedonian policy makers will
MAKNWS-L Archives -- June 2005, week 3 (#4): "MANDATE OF EU SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE AND 'PROXIMA' WILL BE EXTENDED ?
'EU plans to extend the mandate of the special representative in Macedonia Mihael Sahlin, in charge of monitoring and implementing the Framework Agreement. EU also seriously considers for new mandate of the police mission 'Proxima'', stated diplomatic source for 'Vreme'.
'Mihael Sahlin's mandate expires 31st August, but there is possibility the mandate to be extended until the end of the year, due to uncompleted obligations from the Framework Agreement. 'The mandate of 'Proxima', which expires the end of December 2005, could be extended for another six months or a year, due to the uncompleted reforms in the police and the latest problems in Kondovo', stated the same diplomats.
According to 'Vreme', Sahlin confirmed that Brussels reviews this plans, but added that it is too early to make more concrete statements. According to A1 TV, the latest events in Kondovo and the dispute regarding the law for symbols of the ethnic communities are the reasons due to which EU considers extending the mandate of the EU special representative and 'Proxima'. The departure of Mihael Sahlin and 'Proxima' was previously announced and unofficial sources from the Government say that there are no changes regarding the matter. The Government is yet to make any official statements regarding the issue, informs A1 TV."
VINOZHTO’s Position on the Name Issue: "VINOZHTO’s Position on the Name Issue
June 11, 2005
Taken (in part) from an interview with Pavle Voskopoulos from the political party VINOZHITO which aired Saturday morning June 11, 2005, on CHKT 1430 on the United Macedonia, Macedonian radio program.
Q. In the last few weeks the Macedonian Government was in talks with Greece about Greece adopting the name “Republika Makedonija-Skopje” for our country in bilateral agreements with the Greeks while world organizations use the name “Republic of Macedonia”.
What is your position as a political party with regards to this issue?
Pavle. With regards to this question and within our means we have taken steps to intervene and inform all relevant official institutions.
VINIZHITO is a member of the European Free Alliance and through this party we have taken steps to protect the interests of the Macedonian minority in Greece.
The solution to this problem lies strictly within the political structures of the Republic of Macedonia. They are the elected representative body of the Macedonian people responsible for solving the problem which Greece created.
VINOZHITO does not want to interfere in Macedonia’s affairs, we are not citizens of that state and we cannot be directly responsible for making decisions regarding this problem. When, however, there are talks about the Macedonian question, specifically about the identity of the Macedonian people and the name, we are obligated to voice our concerns.
VINOZHITO’s position is that every person, every individual, every people collectively has the absolute right to self-determination in accordance with international law and human rights conventions. It is the same for people collectively as it is for individuals. How and what Macedonians call themselves is their absolute right and nobody, no others have the right by force or otherwise to impose their own interests on them.
VINOZHITO’s position has been to inform our partners in the European Parliament, in the European Union Committee for External Affairs, in the European Union Commission for External Affairs, in the United Nations, including Matthew Nimetz and other official bodies.
The heart of the problem in this issue is not about the name. The name is only a superficial problem created by the Greek side. The real problem is about the existence of the Macedonian minority inside Greece, which at the moment is not recognized and has no minority rights.
If Greece was sincere about the name they would have said, “We don’t want this country to be called Macedonia because there is already a Macedonian minority living inside Greece and we are afraid that tomorrow or at some later time, this minority will exhibit separatist desires or some other desires.”
If Greece admitted to having a Macedonian minority living inside its borders, then it would be obligated to recognize it with full rights and privileges in accordance with agreements it has signed. This is why Greece is not being sincere but instead is carrying on with superficial concerns like “the name is Greek”, “history is Greek” and that people will get confused with the Republic of Macedonia and Macedonia and other superficial nonsense..
Our (VINOZHITO’s) position is clear and to the point and we have informed everyone we could within our sphere of influence."
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Balkanalysis.com Rapid Reactions: Securing the Future of Balkanalysis.com - How You Can Help: "Thursday, June 09, 2005
Securing the Future of Balkanalysis.com - How You Can Help
During the summer break we will be plotting away regarding how to expand and improve coverage. Now is your chance to tell us what kind of changes and additions you would like to see. More breaking news? More in-depth investigations? More photos? etc. We don't have to remind regular readers of our David-and-Goliath struggle vs. the mass media. So far, Balkanalysis.com has been an arduous labor of love.
Please mail your suggestions to us at: email@example.com
If you want to know more about some of the changes being considered, think of it in the following terms:
1.) An extra $250 a month will mean new reports of the latest in Balkan politics, security and current events appearing several times a day.
2.) An extra $500 a month will mean the publication of investigations in Macedonia not found anywhere else and which might result in considerable adventure for those researching them. Yeah, baby!
3.) An extra $1,000 a month will mean several such reports a month from various other Balkan countries.
4.) An extra $2,000 a month will mean the creation of an entire archive of rare, hard-to-find primary sources from Macedonian history, scanned and translated into English, done in tandem with academic experts on a whole new website. This is something that is essential for the preservation and enrichment of this fast-disappearing culture. As old people die, and villages are left abandoned, ancient traditions and key documents vanish. We are happy to do the painstaking work, again in coalition with experts, but everything has a price. And you know what? Despite all their so-called patriotism and complaints of injustices from abroad, the government is not interested in preserving their own history, as will be seen in a forthcoming interview.
Now, how have we arrived at such monetary figures? Basically, as everyone knows, everything depends on resources. We have no great desire for fame or riches, but such work is expensive.
The first figure cited above would mean we could hire an extra researcher to help research and publish new stories all day, every day. The second and third costs depend on two factors: first, the time, travel, equipment and effort required; and second, the obviously wiser decision, financially speaking, to sell exciting stories to larger, wealthier media bodies. We are happy to publish them here and thus build on the site's reputation, but it has to be financially feasible. The final cost involves website production and programming as well as travel costs, archival research costs and translation costs.
If you are interested in contributing contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate which venture you would be most interested in supporting and how much you would be willing to contribute. While you are free to contribute at any time via the Amazon Honor Program, we do not plan to implement the above ventures unless we are assured of the total cost being covered from as many readers as it takes. This is because we don't want to waste your money or do something halfheartedly.
Finally, if the reader interest is high enough, we are also considering contributing to humanitarian projects (and not to corrupt NGO's!) but directly to those most in need and in the form of tangible, locatable equipment (think food, medical or other necessary gear), as opposed to conferences, consultants or other forms of the organized, Western-style theft that has left the Balkans worse off, emotionally and physically, than it was before the arrival of the career do-gooders.
Simply put, we would like to give something back to the region, people and places that have provided us with so many wonderful experiences, ideas and accounts over the past few years. Any readers who feel the same way are welcome to earmark their contributions for specific causes, and if we agree we will see that it is done.
Crikey Website - Do we really need SBS?: "
By Sasha Uzunov
Does Australia really need to be serviced by two public broadcasters? Sasha Uzunov investigates the audience of SBS, 25 years on:
Date: 9 June 2005
The ABC's Chairman Donald Macdonald recently gave an elegant speech at the National Press Club in Canberra about where the public broadcaster was heading. Afterwards, as he fielded questions, reporters once again honed in on the thorny issue of whether the second public broadcaster, Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), should exist.
Macdonald refused to be drawn on whether SBS was just duplicating a role the ABC is already performing. It's a pity – we all know that SBS will soon broadcast the Ashes Test cricket from England, normally the preserve of the Nine Network, a large commercial entity. SBS prides itself on being the voice and face of multicultural Australia. But do we really need it? Another question is have Australia's ethnic communities already moved into the mainstream of Australian society? Just look at the non-Anglo-Celtic surnames in our parliaments, favourite sporting teams or on mainstream television!
What is ironic about SBS is that it claims to serve multiculturalism. But that has to be questioned. Since its inception in 1980, SBS TV, then known as Channel 0-28, has had reporters and presenters from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as Greek, Italian, Croat, Serb, South American, Asian and so on.
In 25 years there has not been one reporter or presenter from Australia's sizeable Turkish and Macedonian communities. This is a remarkable statistic. Members of the Turkish and Macedonian communities claim that SBS TV marginalises them because the broadcaster fears the influence of the politically savvy Greek lobby. All of these ethnic groups do not get along because of historic tensions that have no place in peaceful Australia. SBS by playing favourites rather than showing toughness is in fact keeping these tensions alive."
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Reuters.com: Yugoslavia revisited in unique film project
By Matthew Robinson
PESTANI, Macedonia (Reuters) - High on a Macedonian mountainside, a unique collaboration is under way among the countries that once made up Yugoslavia, to revisit the calm before the storm that tore them apart.
Karaula, or "Border Post," is the first film co-financed and co-produced by all the former republics of the socialist federation since war broke out in Croatia in 1991 and was followed so fiercely by the Bosnian conflict a year later.
"This is a story which is more or less our collective memory," Croatian director Rajko Grlic says of the film, about life in a dysfunctional Yugoslav army border unit in 1987.
"We're playing with that memory and trying to find out why and how war came so easily to this part of the world," he told Reuters one week into filming above the vast Lake Ohrid that spans the Macedonian-Albanian border.
MAKNWS-L Archives -- June 2005, week 3 (#1): "MILS NEWS Skopje June 15, 2005
DIFFERENCES FOR THE DRAFT-LAW FOR SYMBOLS OF ETHNIC COMMUNITIES INCREASES
The Municipal Councils will decide whether the flags of the ethnic communities will be used in the municipalities where the ethnic community does not constitute majority of the population. As 'Dnevnik' writes, this will most likely be the change in the draft-law for symbols of the ethnic communities, discussed by the coalition partners DUI and SDSM. Officially, representatives of the Ministry of Justice claim that the draft-law for symbols of ethnic communities will not undergo any changes, i.e. the flag of the ethnic community will be used only in municipality where the ethnic community constitutes the majority.
However, Fazli Veliu, MP from DUI, campaigns for changes in the draft by the Government, due to the low possibility the changes to be adopted during a parliamentary session. 'The councilors in the municipalities where the Albanians do not represent the majority should be able to reach decision for using the symbols of the ethnic communities. The Albanians should be able to use their flag in additional 10 municipalities with over 20% Albanian population, beside the 15 municipalities where the Albanians constitute the majority of the population.
This refers to Skopje, Kumanovo and Kicevo, and some other smaller rural municipalities. With this regulation the law for symbols of the ethnic communities will not be contradictory to the Framework Agreement, and the discrimination of the Albanian population in the municipalities with over 20% Albanians will be removed', stated Veliu. 'Dnevnik' writes that DUI exerts pressure over SDSM for changes in the draft-law for symbols of the ethnic communities.
According to 'Dnevnik', if the changes are not adopted, DUI will lose the support of its electorate. The pressure exerted by DUI has increased after the Alabamian opposition parties negatively assessed the draft-law for symbols of the ethnic communities.
'Dnevnik' informs that Veliu has also raised the question about the State symbols. 'DUI will not initiate debate in the Parliament for changes of the State symbols, only if the Macedonian political block agrees the Macedonians to adopt their own national flag, different from the State flag. The anthem and the emblem should be changed, and I believe that we will reach consensus regarding this matter. We have nothing against the State flag. The flag does not have to undergo changes, only if the Macedonians adopt flag different from the State one', stated Veliu. According to 'Vecer', the demand for changes of the anthem and emblem has recently been raised by Gzim Ostreni and Rafiz Aliti, members of DUI. They believe that the Albanians can not identify themselves with the current anthem and emblem and the same should be changed. Rafiz Aliti stated that the matter will most likely be discussed when the draft-law for symbols of ethnic communities is debated by the parliamentary commissions. The spokesperson of DUI, Ermira Mehmeti, stated that DUI will not demand changes of the current anthem and emblem. She refused to comment the latest statements issued by the members of DUI, according to which the current anthem and emblem are not Albanian symbols.
According to the spokesperson of SDSM, Boris Kondarko, the coalition partners have never discussed changes of the anthem and emblem. As 'Vreme' writes, representatives of LDP (coalition partner of SDSM and DUI in the Government) have announced that they do not agree with the draft-law for symbols of the ethnic communities. Officially, the party still does not have stand regarding the draft-law, but unofficially the use of foreign flags in Macedonia is unacceptable for LDP. 'If the other solution is not reached within the ruling coalition, MP from LDP will submit amendments for the law proposed by the Government. If Macedonia could have changed the State flag, why could not Albanians in Macedonia do the same and the flag to be different from the one of Republic of Albania', stated representatives of LDP for 'Vreme'. They stated that SDSM and DUI have reached an agreement regarding the draft-law for symbols of the ethnic communities, but LDP has remarks about the use of foreign flags in Macedonia. The representatives of LDP reminded that 1998 the party submitted an appeal to the Court of Appeals, which regarded the use of foreign flags in Macedonia as unconstitutional. Now the Constitution has been changed and allows use of foreign flags. However, we believe that DUI should have understanding, instead of leading one-way politics', stated representatives of LDP. 'Vreme' informs that the opposition parties VMRO-DPMNE and VMRO-National are against the use of foreign flags, while the majority MPs from the ruling coalition parties SDSM and DUI agree with the draft-law proposed by the Government. According to 'Vreme', the representatives of the international community in Macedonia appeals for passing the laws for symbols and languages of the ethnic communities by the end of July, which would close the Framework Agreement in the part of the legislature."
RADIO FREE EUROPE/ RADIO LIBERTY: "Macedonia: A Political Pact To Regulate Demography?"
14 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The age-old issue of the relationship between politics and birthrates has reemerged in Macedonia. During a conference on recent demographic developments at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU) in Skopje on 3 June, Ilija Aceski -- who is a professor for social sciences at Skopje university -- triggered a controversy over whether demographic trends can be regulated through political agreements.
Discussions about the possible negative impact of some demographic trends in modern societies are not confined to Macedonia. In some western European countries such as Germany, politicians face the problem that decreasing birthrates and aging societies will inevitably undermine the current state-regulated pension systems. Mainland China is well-known for its one-child policy to curb population growth.
But references to "problematic demographic developments" in Macedonia almost inevitably pertain to the fact that the country's 23 percent ethnic Albanian minority continues to grow due to a high birthrate, while the ethnic Macedonian majority's birthrate continues to decline (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 11 April, 17 October, and 12 December 2003).
Macedonian nationalists have -- just like their counterparts in neighboring Serbia -- long warned of demographic trends favoring the Albanians across the Balkans. In Serbia, it was the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) that played an important role in promoting this idea. With its 1986 memorandum on the alleged grievances of Serbs in Yugoslavia, the SANU facilitated Slobodan Milosevic's ascension to power, ultimately paving the way the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosova during the 1990s (see "RFE/RL East European Perspectives," 5 March, 30 April, and 14 May 2003).
Aceski's presentation in Skopje should be viewed against this backdrop; he reportedly worried aloud that ethnic Albanians would consolidate their majority in certain parts of the country and ethnic Macedonians would leave those areas.
In an editorial for the daily "Utrinski vesnik" of 11 June, Ivica Bocevski slammed the conference at the MANU as a "pseudo-scientific" event. Bocevski wrote that the MANU followed its Serbian counterpart's footsteps in promoting nationalist ideas.
In order to slow this trend, Aceski proposed that the government work out a "demographic agreement" to help curb such developments. The measures proposed by Aceski include tax relief and other state subsidies for families from those ethnic groups in the minority in areas with a different ethnic majority. According to Aceski, such measures would provide incentives for Macedonians to stay in the overwhelmingly Albanian-population parts in western Macedonia.
At the same time, Aceski also proposed that the state reduce its subsidies to families by cutting support for school costs, health care, and welfare benefits. Aceski apparently hoped that this would effectively reduce the incentives for families to raise more children than they can financially afford. (He did not mention that Albanians are generally known throughout the Balkans for having large families.)
Aceski's final aim is to avoid "ethnically clean" territories in Macedonia, which, in his view, could negatively affect the functioning of the state. That is why he called his proposed pact an "anti-segregationist" agreement. The document itself should be drafted by a state body that includes representatives from all ethnic groups in the country. It should be a "political answer to the low birth rate of Macedonians and the high birth rate of Albanians."
Already during the conference at the MANU, Aceski's proposal was met with skepticism. Former Prime Minister Nikola Kljusev said the Macedonian government cannot introduce measures to regulate population growth like China, but should nevertheless consider defining a population policy.
Abdylmenaf Bexheti, who is a former chairman of the ethnic Albanian Party for Democratic Prosperity and a professor at the private Southeast European University in Tetovo, said that such an agreement is not feasible. Bexheti argued that even the 2001 Ohrid peace agreement, which ended hostilities between ethnic Albanian insurgents and the Macedonian security forces -- has not yet been fully implemented.
But perhaps the most pointed criticism came from an ethnic Macedonian. In an editorial for the daily "Utrinski vesnik" of 11 June, Ivica Bocevski slammed the conference at the MANU as a "pseudo-scientific" event. Bocevski wrote that the MANU followed its Serbian counterpart's footsteps in promoting nationalist ideas. Instead of being a stronghold against "quasi-scientific" views, "we saw the MANU as the 'avant-garde of Macedonian nationalism,'" Bocevski wrote.
For him, the problem was not only Aceski's presentation but also the widespread and often uncritical media coverage of his proposal. Bocevski said that because of this publicity he was forced into a discussion by his friends but resolved the problem with a computer. By entering the current growth rates of the Albanian and Macedonian populations, he showed his friends that even if the Albanian population continued to grow at its current pace, it would be a matter of centuries rather than decades before Albanians were in the majority in Macedonia.
Nonetheless, given the widespread anti-Albanian feelings among ethnic Macedonians, Aceski's proposal rather than Bocevski's debunking is likely to attract more supporters among the majority population.
Skopje, June 11 (MIA) - Macedonian Interior Minister Ljubomir Mihajlovski stated Saturday that the found weapons in Tanushevci and the situation in the village of Kondovo do not mean destabilisation of the country.
"There are no claims of great destabilisation. The weapons in Tanushevci are found long time ago. The weapons are not surrendered, we have seized them in order to protect the local population and citizens in Macedonia," Mihajlovski said Saturday at the Day of Police Academy.
In regard to the events in Kosovo, Mihajlovski said that the police is monitoring the situation.
"The situation in Kondovo is being monitored. We have information what is happening there and we will act according to the law. I can not say any details in regard to the operation and information we have," Mihajlovski said.
Hellenic News of America:
"Time has come for Philhellenes and Greeks to come to the aid of a wounded country, helping her to recover her Hellenic spirit so evident in the opening ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics. Only then Greece will be in a position to claim its dignity and hegemony, putting the church in its place, and saying no to the Slavs trying to legitimatize their stolen Greek cultural property in the name of Macedonia. Finally, a proud Greece that knows herself ought to be able to stand up for her sovereignty, ending any Turkish privileges she has granted to the Turks living in Thrace, and shooting down any Turkish aircraft violating her Aegean air space.
E.G. Vallianatos is a writer with a doctorate in Greek history. His forthcoming book is “This land is their land: How corporate farms threaten the world.” "
Friday, June 10, 2005
IDIVIDI - English - Politics: "Mpc sends letter to orthodox churches regarding Spc decision
Skopje, June 8 (MIA) - Synod of Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) decided Wednesday to send a letter to other orthodox churches worldwide, appealing to reject the non-canonic decision of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) for recognition of the so-called Ohrid Archbishopric.
'SPC has attacked MPC, an act unknown in history, one which has nothing in common with the canons. Please help the God-loving Macedonian people and its church in liberating from the national-chauvinist activities against it, conducted by those that are bothered by its existence', reads the letter."
Hellenic News of America: "WHOSE VIOLATIONS IS MRS. SEKERINSKA TALKING ABOUT?
“The dispute over Macedonia's official name between Skopje and Athens cannot be part of the political criteria for Macedonia's EU membership, although it could have a negative impact on its road to Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Sekerinska has said. With the signing of the Interim Accord, Greece has committed itself not to block Macedonia's integration in European institutions, but this kind of behavior on the part of Greece - linkage between EU candidacy and the resolution of the name dispute - could constitute a violation of the accord's decree, she said. Sekerinska said that, nevertheless, Macedonia should not compromise, adding that she was convinced it would receive a positive avis from the European Commission.”
The above report contains some very strong statements expressed by the FYROM Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Sekerinska. The reader gets the impression that Greece by signing the Interim Agreement, has undertaken only obligations and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (The FYROM) has the green light to do as it pleases. Nevertheless, Mrs. Sekerinska is partially correct. Whether Greece may or may not block the FYROM from receiving the green light that signals the beginning of the talks for her country’s membership in the EU legally depends under which name this state applies with. "
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Forum 18 Archive
This article was published by F18News on: 8 June 2005
MACEDONIA: Why is state interfering in Orthodox dispute?
By Branko Bjelajac, Balkans Correspondent, Forum 18 News Service
When the Serbian Orthodox Church granted its embattled branch in Macedonia full autonomy in late May, the Macedonian prime minister rejected the move "with indignation". The government has stepped up its hostility to the Church and reaffirmed its support for the rival Macedonian Orthodox Church, which is not recognised by the rest of the Orthodox world. Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid – who heads the Serbian Church in Macedonia – complained of a new state-backed media campaign against his Church. "They are creating an unstable, explosive atmosphere among the population and are virtually inviting people to lynch us," he told Forum 18 News Service. The government has denied his Church registration, attacked its places of worship and launched two criminal cases against him. Macedonian government leaders have been unable to tell Forum 18 why they are interfering in the dispute between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox Churches in Macedonia and why they are denying full legal rights to Serbian Orthodox believers.
Macedonian government leaders have been unable to tell Forum 18 News Service why they are interfering in the dispute between the Macedonian and Serbian Orthodox Churches in Macedonia which intensified after the Serbian Church upgraded its branch in the country in late May. Within days of the move, the Macedonian government wrote to the head of the Orthodox Churches worldwide, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to promote the Macedonian Church's own claim to autocephaly (full canonical independence), while the Macedonian president and prime minister both vocally supported the Macedonian Church and attacked the Serbian Church move. Serbian Orthodox representatives in Macedonia have complained to Forum 18 that their government has renewed its campaign of denigration against Serbian Orthodox believers.
Reached several times on 7 and 8 June, prime ministerial spokesperson Marjan Gurovski was each time in a meeting or too busy to explain why the government was intervening in the dispute. Cane Mojanovski, head of the government's Committee for Relations with Religious Communities who has previously told Forum 18 the Serbian Church "will never get registration" in Macedonia and defended the denial of its rights (see F18News 23 September 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=418), refused to answer Forum 18's questions on 8 June about the latest government interference.
Reached on 7 June, presidential spokesperson Valentin Nikoloski told Forum 18 that the dispute was an issue for the Macedonian state because, he claimed, the Serbian Orthodox Church has not recognised the Macedonian nation and state. He promised to pass on to President Branko Crvenkovski Forum 18's questions as to why the state was involved in a dispute that concerned two religious communities and why Macedonian citizens do not yet enjoy the right to join religious communities of their choice. Nikoloski told Forum 18 on 8 June that he was travelling in southern Macedonia with President Crvenkovski and had been unable to put Forum 18's questions to him.
Archbishop Jovan (Zoran Vranisskovski) of Ohrid – who heads the Serbian Orthodox Church in Macedonia - rejects Nikoloski's assertion that his Church denies the legitimacy of the Macedonian state. "The Serbian Orthodox Church fully recognises the Macedonian state and the Macedonian nation," the archbishop told Forum 18 from the southern Macedonian town of Bitola on 8 June. "[Serbian] Patriarch Pavle stated exactly that in 2002 – that the Serbian Orthodox Church recognises the Macedonian republic and the Macedonian nation as an indigenous nation. It would be ridiculous not to recognise a state that is in the United Nations and that we are trying to serve in its territory. I believe our government is making much out of issues that are not true issues." He stressed that his Church's struggle to gain legal status is fully in accord with Macedonia's laws.
The latest dispute broke out after the Serbian Orthodox synod, meeting on 22-24 May, elevated Jovan to Archbishop of Ohrid and granted his Archbishopric a tomos (proclamation) of full autonomy. This recognition was earlier reserved for the Macedonian Orthodox Church in case of an eventual reconciliation and return to the Serbian Orthodox Church.
"Ever since the tomos was issued," Archbishop Jovan told Forum 18, "there has been a continuous campaign against us in all printed and electronic media." He mainly blamed the Macedonian Church, but maintained the campaign is also supported by the state. "They are creating an unstable, explosive atmosphere among the population and are virtually inviting people to lynch us – me and the rest of the priests of the Ohrid Archbishopric," he complained. "If something occurs, it will not be possible to control it - and then they will be able to blame the crowd. However, the state itself is tolerating this kind of attitude against us. The situation is serious and grim."
Immediately after the Serbian Church move, a Macedonian government statement declared that prime minister Vlado Buckovski "rejects with indignation the decision of the Serbian Orthodox Church to declare the so-called Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric of defrocked bishop Zoran Vranisskovski autocephalous". Buckovski wrote to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew seeking his support for the autocephalous status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church to be recognised by other Orthodox Churches and asking him to mediate in the dispute between the Serbian and Macedonian Churches.
On 29 May President Crvenkovski met the head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Stefan (Veljanovski), to demonstrate his support. "The Macedonian Orthodox Church's existence doesn't depend on the position of some other Church, but above all on the faith and trust of its believers and clergy, and the commitment of the Macedonian people," the president declared. "A Church is neither founded nor closed on someone's order, especially not when it comes from someone that has no historical and moral right to do so." He complained that the Serbian Church move represented "a scenario for exerting pressure", linking it with alleged attempts to deny the "existence of the Macedonian nation, national and cultural identity". He described such attempts as "doomed to failure".
The following day prime minister Buckovski also met Archbishop Stefan. "The government fully supports the autocephalous status of the Macedonian Orthodox Church and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and the laws it will continue to fully stand for protection of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, its autocephalous status and church properties," a governmental statement of 31 May reported the prime minister as telling the archbishop.
The Macedonian Orthodox Church proclaimed its autocephalous status in 1967, with the full support of the then Communist government, but this was not recognised by the other Orthodox Churches. After several years of unsuccessful negotiations, two years ago the Serbian Church made an open invitation to the Macedonian Church to "return to the Serbian Orthodox Church" with full autonomy. The invitation was rejected by most Macedonian Church clerics. However, one of them, the then Metropolitan Jovan of Veles, accepted the Serbian Orthodox invitation to reconciliation, and was defrocked by the Macedonian Orthodox Church as a result. For the last two years he served as exarch of the Serbian Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid. Archbishop Jovan told Forum 18 that full autonomy is a first step towards autocephalous status for his Church.
Macedonian Church leaders argue that independent states have independent Orthodox Churches. "The Orthodox church is one, sacred and apostolic. However, in its administrative function, the church is divided into local Orthodox churches," Archbishop Stefan declared. "Each church is organised on a national base, for Orthodox peoples that have their territory, independent or sovereign state." Dr Petko Zlatevski, professor at the Macedonian Orthodox Faculty in Skopje, echoed these views. "Every nation that has its state, language and church, and also an episcopate and people, has autocephalous status," he told Forum 18 from the capital Skopje. "The tomos given to the Ohrid Archbishopric of the Serbian Orthodox Church negates the Macedonian Orthodox Church, since it states that we are not canonical."
Archbishop Jovan complained of constant state pressure, not least the continuing legal cases against him. "The state is trying to keep me in a state of instability." In the first case he was sentenced to eighteen months in prison on charges of kindling religious and nationalist hatred and intolerance for holding a service in his father's flat in Bitola. A final hearing at the Appellation Court, which is considering his appeal against the sentence, was due to have taken place in Bitola on 8 June, but was again postponed – this time because a judge was ill.
In the second case, Archbishop Jovan was accused of embezzlement during the time when he was a Macedonian Orthodox bishop. "Everyone is rather silent on the accusations against me," he told Forum 18. "It looks as though the investigators do not have a case against me. They cannot prove that I misused the funds or the position I held. It is a ridiculous accusation." He believes the authorities are deliberately letting the case languish so that the threat of prison hangs over him. He blames the "negative campaign in the media" against his Church for provoking a burglary at the end of May on a rented flat the church uses for services in Skopje. A monastery was bulldozed by the authorities last year and other church properties have been threatened (see F18News 21 October 2004 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=437).
In October 2004, the Ohrid diocese again requested registration as a religious community with the Committee for Relations with Religious Communities, and was rejected on the ground of the constitutional recognition of only one Orthodox Church in the country – the Macedonian Orthodox Church. The latest draft of the proposed new Law on Religious Communities and Religious Groups still states in article 3 that: "For one religion there can be only one religious community." This was also the Committee's ground for earlier rejecting the registration application (see F18News 4 February 2005 http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=505).
"Though we sent a complaint to the Supreme Court against this ruling, we still haven't had a response," Archbishop Jovan told Forum 18. "But we are confident we will be able to benefit from the rights given to us by the Macedonian constitution and also by international human rights charters."
There are 25 churches and other religious communities in Macedonia, of which the Macedonian Orthodox Church, the Islamic Faith Community, the Catholic Church, the Methodist Church and the Jewish community are recognised by the Constitution. When the Macedonian Orthodox Church was put on an equal footing with the country's other religious communities in 2001, Archbishop Stefan threatened to excommunicate all parliamentary deputies who voted for the constitutional change.