The Macedonian Tendency: December 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

"Shadows" Macedonia's Oscar nominee

"Shadows" set records, Macedonia's Oscar nominee
Macedonian_News_Service : Message: Daily Bulletin:

The world premiere of the latest film by famous Macedonian director Milco Mancevski titled "Shadows," was held at Toronto Film festival on September 9, and Macedonian premiere happened on November 2 at the Skopje’s Universal Hall. The hall was technically prepared for projection of the film with very expensive equipment and largest ever seen movie screen in Macedonia.

A record number of 50.000 people have seen the movie in six-weeks. The film is among 63 countries that submitted films for Oscar 2008 for foreign film nominees.

Milco Manchevski honorary ambassador of culture

Film director Milco Mancevski, awarded with the title Honorary Ambassador of Culture by the Macedonian Government for his contribution in affirming the Macedonian culture in the world.

The Government presented the title, being awarded for the first time ever. Mancevski will be honorary ambassador in New York, where he currently resides and works.

The Government also promoted several other famous Macedonian ambassador of culture - drama playwright Goran Stefanovski in London, the pianist Elena Misirkova – Loza in Vienna, singer Vlado Janevski in Zagreb, theatre director Ivan Popovski in Moscow and singer Zafir Hadzimanov in Belgrade.

An Ambassador of Culture has a diplomatic status and their engagement is on the voluntary basis without any compensation. Their noble and patriotic mission is promotion of the Macedonian culture to the world public.

By David Edenden

On Serbs and Serbia

By David Edenden

I have a complicated relationship with the Serbs and Serbia. Serbs and Bulgarians are "first cousins" to Macedonians, but it turns out we are a dysfunctional family.

I oppose the the independence of Kosovo which is basically a partition of Serbia because it will lead to instability in the Balkans. However, I condemn Serbian nationalists as the basic cause of the collapse of Yugoslavia. Serbian nationalists continue to this day to reject Macedonian ethnicity and the legality of the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Anyway, here are some of my posts, lest anyone think that I am a "Serboman" because of my anti-independence for Kosovo stance.

The Serbs in the Balkans (The Scorpion and the Turtle) Part 1

The Serbs in the Balkans (The Scorpion and the Turtle) Part 2

Serbs of Macedonia Caught in the Middle

US Hot on Kosovo Independence

Kosovo Independence Would Set Europe on Fire - Serbia-Montenegro Minister

More Bad Press on Jovan

Can't we Orthodox Slavs "just get along"

The Henry Jackson Society - Greeks Must Play by the Rules

The Hellenic tail must not wag the European dog
The Henry Jackson Society:
By Marko Attila Hoare, 31st December 2007


1. Greece and Cyprus are, over Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo, pursuing policies motivated by nationalist concerns that are out of keeping with democratic values and counter to EU interests.

2. Greece and Cyprus have since the early 1990s consistently pursued destructive policies in South East Europe that have proved highly damaging vis-a-vis both Turkey and the former Yugoslavia.

3. For the sake of regional stability, and to set an example for how new EU member-states should behave, it is time for the Western alliance to cease to tolerate Greek and Cypriot mischief-making.

The ideal of the European Union presupposes that member-states will pursue national policies that take into account the interests of the union as a whole. This means they should not try to drag the EU behind policies that are wholly against its interests, and that merely reflect the exclusive nationalism of the member-states in question. Yet this is precisely what the EU’s two most south-easterly member-states, first Greece and then Cyprus, have tried to do repeatedly since the early 1990s. In several spheres, Greece and Cyprus are pursuing policies that are wholly determined by nationalist motives, that have nothing to do with EU or Western interests or values and that are potentially highly damaging and dangerous. This cannot be allowed to continue if we are to maintain stability in South East Europe.

Greece threatens to veto the entry of Macedonia into NATO unless Macedonia changes its name. This represents the continuation of one of the most farcical episodes in the history of national chauvinism in Europe in the last two decades: Greece’s attempt since the early 1990s to prevent Macedonia using its name. Greece’s ‘justification’ for this, if that word can be used in this context, is that the historic land of Macedonia was solely ‘Greek’, that the ancient Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great was ‘Greek’, and that therefore Greece has an exclusive right to the use of the name ‘Macedonia’, rather like a corporation’s exclusive right to its logo.

It should not be necessary to engage in the childish debate about whether Alexander or ancient Macedon really was ‘Greek’ or not - every undergraduate student of nationalism knows that one cannot simply transpose modern national identities back onto ancient historical figures and lands; still less can ancient history be allowed to determine modern geopolitics. The very fact that contemporary Greek politicians and intellectuals attempt to do just this is evidence that Greece has not yet made the transition to genuinely post-nationalist, twenty-first-century politics. The background to Greece’s bizarre hang-up over the Macedonian name is the conquest of part of the Ottoman territory of Macedonia by the Greek state in 1912-13 - a part that was less than 50% Greek in ethnic terms at the time - and the subsequent brutal Hellenisation of this territory through the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Slavs, the settling on it of Orthodox Greek refugees and the forced assimilation of the remaining non-Greeks through the suppression of their language and identity - something that reached its peak under the fascist dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas in the late 1930s and after the Greek Civil War of the 1940s.

Greece’s policy of denying the existence of a Macedonian nation while asserting the exclusively ‘Greek’ character of historic Macedonia thus represents the last dregs of a nationalist policy of forced homogenisation. It is equivalent to Turkey’s attempt forcibly to assimilate its ethnic Kurds on the grounds that they are ‘really’ Turks and its continued denial of the Armenian Genocide, or to Serbia’s claim to Kosovo as a ‘Serb land’ on the grounds that there are a handful of medieval Serbian monasteries there. If the EU is to have any meaning at all, it has to have a zero-tolerance approach to exclusivist national ideologies of this type. The Turkish Kurds can call themselves Kurds and speak, write and be educated in Kurdish if they want to; the people of Kosovo can decide for themselves if they want to be part of Serbia or not; and the Macedonians and the Greeks both have the same right to use the Macedonian name. End of discussion.

Yet it is not solely for the sake of our values, but also for the sake of our geopolitical interests that we must take a hard line in opposing Greece over Macedonia. The embargo imposed by Greece on Macedonia after the latter seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991-92 and the bullying that forced Macedonia to change its flag, and to enter the UN under the clumsy acronym ‘FYROM’ (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) dangerously contributed to the destabilisation of this fragile and strategically sensitive state. Western policy-makers have long been aware that Macedonia could not be allowed to collapse - unlike Bosnia, its collapse could lead to two NATO states, Greece and Turkey, coming into conflict with one another. Hence the US made it clear to Slobodan Milosevic, right from the start in the early 1990s, that Serbia would not be permitted to extend the war into Macedonia; hence Macedonia’s peaceful secession from Yugoslavia; hence NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999, as Milosevic’s ethnic-cleansing of the Kosovo Albanians threatened to upset Macedonia’s own delicate ethnic balance between ethnic Macedonians and Albanians. In recent weeks, Turkey and Greece have rebuked each other over the issue of Macedonia’s name. Although Turkey is wrong about a lot of things (including Cyprus and Iraqi Kurdistan), on this issue it is entirely in the right and playing a constructive role. For the sake of its own fragile stability and the equally fragile stability of South East Europe, Macedonia’s rapid entry into NATO is imperative.

Greece’s obstructionism over Macedonia is not an isolated quirk, but forms part of a wider regional policy guided by nationalist concerns that has significantly damaged Western interests since the early 1990s - although, to be fair, it was not entirely out of keeping with the narrow-minded Western policy toward the Balkans of the first half of the 1990s. Greece supported Milosevic’s Serbia more wholeheartedly than did any other state; Milosevic was more popular in Greece than he ever was in Serbia itself; Greek fascist paramilitaries participated in the Serb conquest of Srebrenica in 1995. The Greek journalist Takis Michas has described the virulence of Greek support, both at the elite and at the popular level, for Serbian imperialism and ethnic-cleansing in his brilliant but shocking book, ‘Unholy Alliance: Greece and Milosevic’s Serbia’ (Texas A&M University Press, 2002). Kostas Simitis’s PASOK government half-heartedly acquiesced in NATO’s intervention against Milosevic in Kosovo in the face of almost total public opposition and an outpouring of anti-American and anti-Western bile that found murderous expression in the assassination in June 2000 of the British defence attache in Athens, Brigadier Stephen Saunders, by the terrorist group ‘November 17′, supposedly in revenge for the Kosovo war. More recently, in January of this year left-wing terrorists launched an anti-tank grenade at the US embassy in Athens. In Greece, as in Serbia and Russia, the extremes of left and right find common ground in hatred of the US and the West. This red-brown current tends to agitate for more extreme nationalistic and anti-Western policies than those actually pursued by Greek governments themselves, which is another reason why such policies should be opposed on principle.

Greece remains Serbia’s most loyal ally in the EU, and is currently attempting to lead a Balkan bloc, made up of Romania and a more lukewarm Bulgaria, that favours Serbia’s rapid entry into the EU, irrespective of Serbia’s behaviour over Kosovo and over the arrest of war-criminals. This is damaging to Western efforts to resolve the issue of Kosovo and the war-criminals, and to establish a united diplomatic front vis-a-vis Russia. Ironically, Greece’s behaviour shows why we should not allow countries such as Serbia and Turkey into the EU unless they are prepared to abandon national chauvinism and small-mindedness; we want them in, but as responsible democracies, not as nationalistic trouble-makers.

It is not only in the Balkans where Greece has pursued a selfish and destructive policy at the expense of EU interests. Earlier this decade, indicating just how far it was prepared to jeopardise the entire EU project for its own ends, Greece threatened to veto the EU’s expansion into Eastern Europe unless Cyprus were included in the expansion. There were very sound reasons why a divided Cyprus should not have been allowed to join the EU, and these immediately became clear. In a referendum in 2004, the Greek Cypriot electorate, under the guidance of Cyprus’s crude nationalist president, Tassos Papadopoulos, overwhelmingly rejected the Annan Plan for Cyprus’s reunification. With EU membership already safely in the bag, Papadopoulos judged that Cyprus as an EU member would be in a strong position to extract a better deal from Turkey. Greece’s New Democracy government under Kostas Karamanlis, for its part, refused unambiguously to endorse the Annan Plan, something that might have encouraged the Greek Cypriots to vote in favour; Greece thus studiously failed to help clear up the mess it had made.

Had EU membership been made conditional upon acceptance of the Annan Plan by the Greek Cypriot electorate, the latter would almost certainly have voted in favour, and this old wound in the flank of the Western alliance would finally have been healed. As things stand, a settlement is now less likely than ever. There is every reason to believe that Papadopoulos and other Greek Cypriot politicians prefer the status quo in Cyprus to any reasonable compromise settlement, and are entirely ready in principle to veto Turkish EU membership indefinitely, pending the total Turkish capitulation that will never happen. Paradoxically, of course, the Cypriots do not wish to see Turkey driven away from the EU entirely, as then their veto loses all coercive power; Papadopoulos’s strategy is a contradictory and self-defeating one. However wrong Turkey’s policy toward Cyprus was and remains, over the Annan Plan it showed itself to be the more reasonable and flexible side. Greece’s pursuit of its own nationalist agenda has introduced the Cyprus dispute, like a foreign disease, into the very heart of the EU; last autumn, the EU suspended eight of the negotiating chapters of Turkey’s accession talks in retaliation for Turkey’s refusal to open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and planes. Cyprus is now in a position to pursue indefinitely its own selfish and self-defeating nationalist agenda at the expense of EU-Turkish relations. The Hellenic tail has wagged the European dog.

One of the smallest and newest EU member-states, Cyprus is also the most hard-line in its outright opposition to Kosovo’s independence. So far as the Papadopoulos regime is concerned, EU unity, Western interests and regional stability count for nothing: all that matters is that Kosovo’s independence should be opposed, lest it set a precedent for the international recognition of Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. That there are no indications whatsoever that Western states or anyone else will follow up the recognition of Kosovo by recognising northern Cyprus is deemed irrelevant. The Papadopoulos regime, pursuing its own policy of indefinite obstructionism, is no doubt disconcerted by the fact that Serbia’s similar obstructionism over Kosovo is going to be definitely punished by the US and the EU. The so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ is simply a creation of the illegitimate Turkish occupation, therefore not equivalent to Kosovo, which was a recognised member of the former Yugoslav Federation. Still, it will do Cyprus no harm if it learns from the Serbian example that the principle of ‘inviolable territorial integrity’ is not a trump card that bloody-minded states can play indefinitely.

For too long, we have allowed Greek nationalism to poison Western policy. To some extent, this is the result of our own policy errors toward the people of Greece and Cyprus over the last sixty years or more. In one of the sorrier episodes of the early Cold War, we allowed a short-sighted anti-Communist agenda to lead us to support the motley alliance of chauvinist and ultra-reactionary elements, many of them former Nazi collaborators, which made up the anti-Communist side in the Greek Civil War, against a Greek left that had led one of the most impressive anti-Nazi resistance movements in all occupied Europe. It is a moot point whether the anti-Communist victory in Greece served our interests any better than the Communist victory in Yugoslavia; Tito’s Yugoslavia proved more than adept at resisting Soviet domination, while the brutal anti-Communist victory in Greece laid down a repressive and chauvinistic legacy for the country that found its most extreme expression in the Colonels’ dictatorship of 1967-74, and from which Greece has still not entirely recovered. The extreme anti-Communist and former Nazi-collaborator, Georgios Grivas, repaid our support to his side in the Greek Civil War by launching an uprising against British rule in Cyprus in 1955 through the EOKA movement; Grivas’s attacks on Turkish Cypriot civilians sowed the seeds of Cyprus’s future tragedy. Our misguided response to the Greek Cypriot national movement for union with Greece was to play Turkey off against Greece over Cyprus; this policy of divide-and-rule, coupled with the suicidal ultra-nationalist policy of first Grivas and then the Greek Colonels, paved the way in 1974 for the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, something that remains a thorn in the side of the Western alliance to this day.

It is time to turn our back on this long and undistinguished tradition of a modus vivendi between the Western alliance and Greek nationalism, one that has proved consistently damaging to all concerned. There must be zero tolerance of Greek and Cypriot obstruction over Macedonia, Turkey and Kosovo (to be fair, Greece itself has bravely come out in support of Turkish EU membership, in defiance of popular Greek opinion, indicating an enlightened stance on this issue at least). Every time the Greeks or Cypriots try to undermine EU policy or drag it behind them for the sake of their own retrograde nationalism, we should pursue a determined effort to isolate them. Such an effort will pay dividends: not only will it put an end to a persistant policy of trouble-making, but it will set an example for how other new EU member-states should behave.

The Henry Jackson Society - Macedonia on the Move!

Balkan Tiger - The Henry Jackson Society: "Balkan Tiger
By Meelis Kitsing, 5th September 2006

The fountain of youth found in Macedonia? So claims travel writer Richard Bangs. If true, it is surprising that rejuvenation of the Macedonian economy has been so elusive for so long. In fact, the arrival of Macedonian independence in the 1990s came with high levels of unemployment inherited from the structural weaknesses of the Yugoslav economy and international isolation fed by intransigent Greek foreign policy wonks.

The late 1990s saw some economic reforms under the center-right government, but the onslaught of violence between ethnic Albanians and Macedonians forced any type of economic reforms to the backseat, where they remained until just last month. The outcome of elections held on July 5 gives reason to believe in the rebirth. The Western media have emphasized the peaceful nature of these elections in comparison with the violence that accompanied the last elections, in 2002. Yet this primary emphasis understates the implications and significance of the elections results. Some leading papers have even predicted the potential rise of violence stemming from the victory of the center-right and supposedly nationalist Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organization (VMRO- DPMNE).

The VMRO-DPMNE has learned the right lessons. The party, headed by the youthful Nikola Gruevski, a former trade minister and finance minister in the government headed by the VMRO-DPMNE in 1998-2002, emphasized economic reform in its campaign, not Macedonian nationalism. "We believe that Macedonians want to do more than just survive - they want to succeed. And to succeed we need a stronger, healthier economy - one that delivers jobs and growth, that frees individuals to pursue their God-given potential with a minimum of government interference and that opens up the creative spirit in people," wrote Gruevski in the Washington Times on July 4. VMRO-DPMNE's election platform was based on a comprehensive and detailed study of reforms by other countries in the Central and Eastern Europe. Radical reformers of Central and Eastern Europe are seen as examples to be followed.

The VMRO-DPMNE promises to cut public expenditure by 2 percent of the GDP by 2010. It plans to cut red-tape by 2007, thereby enabling registration of new companies to be completed within three days. The party plans to implement a flat personal tax rate of 10 percent by 2008 - a turnaround from the current progressive income tax rates of 15, 18 and 24 percent. The tax rate on corporate profits will be reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent and, following the example of Estonia, the tax on reinvested profits will be scrapped altogether.

Certainly, the implementation of these ideas does not depend on VMRO-DPMNE alone. Having received 34 percent of the vote, implementation of the party's plans depends on the compromises reached with its coalition partners. The negotiations concerning new coalition formation with three smaller parties and one independent candidate ended in principle agreement, giving the VMRO-DPMNE-led coalition 65 seats out of 120 in the Macedonian parliament. The new coalition includes an ethnic Albanian party, DPA, while keeping out of the cabinet another Albanian party, DUI. The DUI was formed on the basis of former Albanian guerillas from the National Liberation Army and was in a previous coalition with social democrats. Inclusion of one Albanian party in the new government coalition indicates that focusing on economic issues has allowed VMRO-DPMNE (which used to be seen as Macedonian nationalist) to make compromises with its former rivals. Being a senior coalition partner in the government and having a strong mandate from the electorate certainly increases the odds of pushing through many of the radical reforms proposed in its election program.

Nevertheless, skeptics may argue that the nature of the new Macedonian government and its ideas may not be sufficient for achieving economic success. The notion that Macedonia could learn from success stories in Central and Eastern Europe rests on assumptions that we can change factors beyond our control - like the weather. Macedonia is located in the Balkans, i.e. its geopolitical situation is different and imposes tough constraints that no government can change.

Certainly some conditions are beyond our control, but there are so many ways we can deal with them. The way we prepare for unpredictable weather carries some lessons for the post-socialist politics of countries such as Macedonia. If we live in a cold climate, we can build houses that are warm for the winter. If we live in a warmer climate, we can build houses with air conditioning. We would make these modifications even if some winters may be unbearably freezing and others milder, a more bearable cold. Some summers can be enjoyably warm and others unbearably hot. We prepare for the worst because we know that the weather is unpredictable.

Judging from the recent history of reform in former socialist countries as well as conventional expectations, nobody would have suspected Estonia to become a wunderkind of economic reform. Comparing Estonia (a country constantly given as an example in VMRO-DPMNE's election program) with Macedonia, it becomes obvious that 20 years ago one would have expected Macedonia to do better than Estonia. The quality of life was better in socialist Macedonia than in socialist Estonia. Yugoslavia offered more economic freedom than the Soviet Union, to which Estonia had been incorporated. Macedonians were able to travel and work abroad - even the thought alone was out of the question in socialist Estonia.

In the early 1990s the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia meant uncertainty for both Estonia and Macedonia. Both were new and unknown countries on the periphery of Europe. Many Westerners confused the Baltics with the Balkans. Estonia had a sizeable Russian-speaking minority that made up 35 percent of the population. Macedonia had an Albanian minority which was 20 percent of population in 1990 and has now increased to 25 percent. The confusion was not simply due to sheer ignorance. There were as many experts predicting doom for Estonia as there were "sovietologists" failing to predict the collapse of the USSR in the 1980s. A possible ethnic conflict or even a war with Russia was seen as likely. Despite the disadvantaged starting position and ethnic mix, combined with post-socialist politicking, Estonia emerged as a phoenix.

The reasons for Estonia's success remained invisible to the casual observer for years. While Macedonia chose a gradual, stop-and-go economic reform path, Estonia chose a radical and rapid approach by relying on the invisible hand of the market instead of on government intervention. The rapid economic development of Estonia is not just economic achievement: having benefited the Russian-speaking population in Estonia - it has contributed to social peace, as well. Good economic circumstances are less likely to feed social unrest. Indeed, Estonia has not had any large-scale ethnic conflicts, even if relations between the various ethnic groups are far from perfect.

The fact that thinking along those lines has reached the Balkans is a major improvement. Economic reforms do not offer absolute guarantees against potential ethnic conflicts but they will certainly reduce the likelihood of such conflicts. If the new Macedonian leaders run out of ideas and options for the rebirth of the Macedonian economy, they need not look far for inspiration: According to Bangs,- the fountain of youth is located in Macedonia's capital, Skopje - a mere 23 kilometers away.

Meelis Kitsing is an Honorary Fellow at Copenhagen Institute. This article originally appeared at, and is reproduced with the permission of the author.

The Henry Jackson Society Likes Macedonians

Adding Insult to Injury: Washington Decorates a Nazi Collaborator -
The Henry Jackson Society:
Marko Attila Hoare, 11th June 2005

"The Bush Administration’s readiness to overturn American diplomatic tradition in this way should perhaps come as no surprise from an administration that has made a habit of overturning diplomatic tradition, for better or for worse. One of the Administration’s first diplomatic initiatives, following Bush’s recent reelection, was to recognise the Republic of Macedonia under its rightful name, delivering a well-deserved slap in the face to Greece, thanks to whose merciless chauvinistic bullying, Macedonia has been forced to labour under the clumsy official denomination of ‘Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ since its independence in the early 1990s. The Bush Administration thereby rewarded a loyal ally,"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Putin--Time Magazine's 2007 Person of the Year

David Edenden: My hero!

Putin--Time Magazine's 2007 Person of the Year:

"It's also reassuring to know that Time's editors didn't get fully hoodwinked by Putin's steely blue gaze or hard-as-rock pecs (which, by the way, are featured on some softpornpolitico websites in Russia today). As stated clearly in it's lead editorial, 'Putin is not a boy scout.' (Nor are any other world leaders I can think of.)"

"Thank You Macedonia": Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Mark Souder

By David Edenden

Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Mark Souder say "Thank You Macedonia" for new troops in Iraq. Senator Barack Obama continues to say "Drop Dead Macedonia"
US Congressmen: Macedonia deserves thanks for doubling its commitment in Iraq:
Wednesday, 12 December 2007

 We write today to thank one of our great allies in southeastern Europe-the Republic of Macedonia-for its recent commitment to double the number of Macedonian troops serving alongside our brave men and women in uniform in Iraq, and to acknowledge the successes Macedonians have recently achieved in their country, US Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Mark Souder say in their letter to the US Congress. Earlier this year, without hesitation and without conditions, the Government of Macedonia made a commitment to double its troop commitment in Iraq. Since 2003, our ally Macedonia has had troops in Iraq serving with U.S. and other coalition forces.

- The late President Boris Trajkovski, a staunch ally and friend of the United States, unhesitatingly agreed to commit troops to Afghanistan and later Iraq, when asked. The current government, led by Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, continues with that spirit of friendship and commitment to helping a people who want to share in democracy's benefits and blessings, the letter reads.

The Republic of Macedonia has shown us that it is a true friend of our nation. Macedonia's increase is needed, welcome and consistent with its friendship and partnership with the United States of America. We thank the government and people of Macedonia for their continued support and friendship.

At the same time, we want to acknowledge Macedonia's successes at home as a result of reforms and actions taken by the Macedonian government.

- As Macedonia, together with our friends Albania and Croatia, expect an invitation to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit in April of next year, it is important to recognize and reaffirm their commitment to transforming their country into a dynamic one oriented to the free-market, pluralistic democracy, and the rule of law, the Congressmen say in their letter.

Recently, the World Bank's Doing Business in 2008 Report ranked Macedonia fourth among top-10 reformers in 2006-07. According to the report, Macedonia undertook several measures to bolster economic activity so that it's now easier for businesses to start up and get going. The corporate and individual tax rate is a flat 12 percent this year, and it will be lowered to 10 percent on January 1,2008. Tax payment procedures have been simplified. At the same time, the "regulatory guillotine" (as it has been called) is now slicing through unnecessary bureaucratic barriers creating even more opportunities for business to flourish.
In addition, Transparency International noted that Macedonia has made significant movement toward eliminating corruption, giving Macedonia a score of 3.3 in 2007 in their Corruption Perception Index. This is a significant improvement from 2.7 in 2006, and Macedonia now ranks fifth in the region, up from twelfth in 2006. Overall, Macedonia jumped 21 places, from 105 in the world (2006) to 84 (2007).

The bottom line in all this is that our friend Macedonia is now a producer of stability in southeastern Europe, at home, regionally and abroad.

- A friend like Macedonia is worth celebrating, acknowledging and helping and today, we extend our hands of thanks in friendship, the letter reads.

Iran Receives Nuclear Fuel in Blow to U.S. - New York Times

By David Edenden

Hey, Richard Holbrooke and Janusz Bugajski, I think you guys should get together and record this song and then apologize the American people for walking across the block to piss on the doorstep the Russian people. The result of your deep rooted disrespect of Russia can be seen below.

Iran Receives Nuclear Fuel in Blow to U.S. -
New York Times:

"WASHINGTON — The United States lost a long battle when Russia, as it announced on Monday, delivered nuclear fuel to an Iranian power plant that is at the center of an international dispute over its nuclear program. Iran, for its part, confirmed on Monday plans to build a second such plant.

In announcing that it had delivered the first shipment of enriched-uranium fuel rods to the power plant, at Bushehr in southern Iran, on Sunday, Russian officials said that while the fuel was in Iran, it would be under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear monitoring agency for the United Nations. Russia also said the Iranian government had guaranteed that the fuel would be used only for the power plant."

Crvenkovski : Name is Job One! Nato is Job Two!

Crvenkovski: If ultimate choice is NATO or name change, we will stand in name defense
Idividi 27 12 2007

Skopje, December 27 (MIA) - If the ultimate choice is NATO or name change, we will stand in defense of our name, says President Branko Crvenkovski in an interview with TV station "Alsat M".

"If Greece vetoes Macedonia's NATO accession, this would represent an obvious violation of the 1995 Interim Treaty, and the document would not be in force in Macedonia too. Pressure is exercised on both parties. We are asked to be more constructive towards Greece, which on the other hand, is asked to refrain from the use of veto", stressed President Crvenkovski.

In the interview, Crvenkovski expresses hope that the veto would not materialize, but says it is difficult to assume what will Greece do next April.

Macedonian Soldiers in Iraq

Blackanthem Military News

Photos : Macedonians transfer authority
By Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs
Dec 13, 2007 - 1:39:54 PM
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During a transfer of authority ceremony, incoming Macedonian Rangers of the Macedonian Special Forces march to the spot where they will receive the their national colors from the Macedonian "Wolves" Special Forces Battalion at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 12 thereby accepting responsibility for their area of operations for their six-month deployment to Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
Sequim, Wash. native Lt. Col. Robert McAleer, commander of Fires Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, attached to the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, shares a joke while bidding farewell to Macedonian troops of the Macedonian Special Forces "Wolves" Battalion, Team Rotation 9 during their transfer of authority ceremony with Team Rotation 10 at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 12. Team Rotation 9, which just completed a six-month tour, worked with McAleer's squadron and Iraqi Security Forces, conducting cordon and searches, patrols and other joint missions. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Sequim, Wash. native Lt. Col. Robert J. McAleer, commander of Fires Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, presents a plaque to Capt. Ivica Arsovski, a platoon leader from the Macedonian "Wolves" Special Forces Battalion, during a ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 12. McAleer presented the award to Arsovski in appreciation for the support the Wolves gave to Fires Squadron. The Wolves, who have completed their six-month rotation in Iraq, transferred authority for their area of responsibility to Macedonian Rangers from the Macedonian Special Forces Battalion during the ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

After a transfer of authority ceremony, incoming Macedonian troops from the Macedonian Rangers, Macedonian Special Forces Battalion, receive a briefing at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 12 from Macedonian Maj. Marjan Jachevski (center), the Macedonian liaison officer for Multi-National Force - Iraq, on the types of things they can expect during their six-month rotation to Iraq. Jachevski also gave the troops some words of encouragement as they began their tour. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Macedonian Special Forces soldiers from the outgoing Macedonian "Wolves" Team Rotation 9 (right in red berets) prepare to hand the Macedonian national colors to the incoming Macedonian Rangers (left) of Macedonian Team Rotation 10 during a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 12. The troops from the Macedonian "Wolves" Special Forces Battalion spent a six-month tour in Iraq working alongside Iraqi Security Forces and U.S. troops from the Fires Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment during joint operations. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)

Vecher (Tonight): Obama against Macedonia

The democrat Barack Obama against Macedonia
Obama and Greek friends vs. Policard alias Jimmy
Vecher (Tonight) Published on 20.12.2007

Greece reacted harshly on the Turkish support for accession of Macedonia in NATO under its constitutional name; transmit the media in Athens after the meeting of Gruevski and Erdoðan.

The Greek lobby in the American policy, this time lead by the influential Presidential candidate Barack Obama, continues to push the initiative in the Senate about stopping the state propaganda of FYROM which threatens Greece!

Similar initiative of the Hellenic block which asks Macedonia to give up the long propaganda against Greece encountered to strong support in the Congress. Over 100 congressmen (almost ¼ of the total number in the Representative House) have supported the proposal, and the number is not yet final. Obama and his Greek friends are calling on TV reports which show that Macedonian students are learning that certain parts from Greece should belong to Macedonia, also the maps from the Macedonian Military Academy which are representing Great Macedonia are pointed out, and it is also claimed that after the World War 2, the idea of the Macedonian nation has caused murder of thousand Greeks.

The proposal asks the UN to prescribe to Macedonia to immediately stop with the anti-Greek propaganda sponsored by the state and to find name which will be acceptable for Greece.
The experts say that this will be on the agenda of the Senate very soon, immediately after voting the initiative “Iraq to the Iraqi”. This official policy of the Presidential candidate Obama stands opposite the efforts of the Nigerian, Simon Policard, who lives in Macedonia for 30 years and has Macedonian citizenship. He recently announced that he will start an offensive campaign of lobbying for Macedonia throughout the world.

- The Macedonian people, culture, antic nation, are an acquisition for the entire mankind and they exist. The International community should be reminded of what happened in Bucharest in 1913, when the neighbors have executed genocide over the Macedonian nation, recommended Policard, alias Jimmy.

List of influential Americans against Macedonia!

On the list of influential political figures who are pushing the initiative contra FYROM are:

1. Barack Obama (Presidential candidate and most influential Senator for European Issues, President of the House Committee on International Relations);

2. Bob Menendez- Senator;

3. Olympia Snowe – Senator;

4. Robert Wexler and Elton Gallegly, Carolyn Maloney and Gus Bilirakis – Congressmen;

5. Andrew A. Athens – President of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) and of United Hellenic American Congress, honorary President of World Council of Hellenes Abroad (CAE);

6. Andrew E. Manatos, President of National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes;

7. Philip Christopher, vice President of National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), President of International Coordinating Committee-Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), and of Pancyprian Association of America;

8. Panicos Papanicolaqu, President of Cyprus Federation of America and

9. Nikos Mouyiaris, executive vice President of Pancyprian Association of America.

Vecher (Tonight) Turkey Likes Macedonia - Greeks Pissed Again!

Greece got angry with Turkey because of the Macedonian support!
Vecher (Tonight) 20.Dec.2007

Greece reacted harshly on the Turkish support for accession of Macedonia in NATO under its constitutional name; transmit the media in Athens after the meeting of Gruevski and Erdoðan.
- Regarding this issue, Turkey, as well as the rest of the countries members of the Alliance, has been informed when and under what circumstances will Greece use the right to veto.

It was expected that Turkey is aware of the fact that the countries-members of NATO, as well as of the European Union, have certain rights, and also the possibility to use those rights, announced the Chief of the Greek diplomacy, Dora Bakoyannis. Her reaction followed after the statement of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey will continue until the very end to support Macedonia`s membership in NATO, and that it will do absolutely anything in order the country to receive invitation on the Summit next year.

On the meeting, with the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, on Tuesday in Ankara, Erdogan pointed out that Greece has absolutely no right at all to ask Macedonia to change its name, with which it became independent and sovereign state.

Thnos: Glass is Half Empty on US Greek Ties

By David Edenden

It is nice to know that the Greek newspapers (in this case "Ethnos") see Macedonia in having an advantage on the name issue. I see their point, but it is always possible that the fix is in and Macedonia can be betrayed at the drop of a hat. Macedonians everywhere, put your thinking caps on and watch your back!

Crisis deepens in Greek-American ties
The independent news agency Makfax:
Athens, 12:50

Macedonia's name has turned into 'open wound' for Greek-American relations at times when Athens and Washington disagree on other issues, Greek daily Ethnos said on Monday.

Besides name dispute, Ethnos daily brings up the Cyprus issue. Amid an apparent lack of Washington's support, Greece mustered Moscow's backing, the paper said.

The paper says an example of deteriorated relations is the fact that US Deputy Assistant Secretary John Negroponte and Assistant Secretary Daniel Fried had reassured the Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Miloshoski that name dispute cannot hamper Macedonia's NATO entry.

A confirmation of the crisis in Greek-American relations is the refusal by US authorities to invite Greek President Karolos Papoulias, particularly given the fact that such an invitation has been already extended to Turkish President Abdullah"

AMC for Visa Free Visits to USA for Macedonians

MIC - Macedonian Information Centre:
MIC – December 24, 2007 – 3:30pm

The Republic of Macedonia should be included in U.S.’s program for canceling of visas. This is the request of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). This committee decided some time ago to include Macedonia among the 12 countries for which they believe visas should be cancelled.

AJC is lobbying for this among the U.S. congressmen, sources from this committee informed, Dnevnik reports."

Good Overview of the Balkans

2007 Balkan Year in Review:

Key Underreported Trends for the Future

12/30/2007 (

The year 2007 was an eventful one in the Balkans, though several major trends remained underreported or were simply ignored. The Western media utilized most of its limited capacity to the political dimensions of the future status of Kosovo, choosing to tell and retell a tired story of good vs. bad (i.e., the West vs. Russia and Serbia), barely scratching the surface of what is if not necessarily the most important, at least the most hyped issue in the region.

Kosovo is however intimately tied to specific events and factors that, on the larger level, indicate an emerging strategic balance of power in the region, one that may not quite be what had been planned by the West, and thus which will likely leave a complicit media scrambling to find explanations for years to come. In this special retrospective report, discusses a few of the major trends that have been identified in 2007 and which will likely help shape the Balkans in 2008.

The first major event has to be the growing power of Russia in the region and the future way in which this power, even if lessened, will be exerted. Less than a decade ago, the chief successor state to the USSR was grasping for economic stability and political respect on the global stage, with the nadir being reached in March 1999, when it proved powerless to stop NATO’s air war on Yugoslavia over Kosovo. This national humiliation was aggravated when the West failed to grant Russia equal partner status in keeping the peace in post-war Kosovo. Russia could only watch helplessly as half of Kosovo’s Serbian Orthodox population was driven out of the province by Albanian ethnic cleansers, with tacit Western approval.

From the ashes of this defeat arose Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB officer determined to not let the national interest be trampled on again. In fact, Putin’s opportunity was created by the West in its reckless game in 1999. Until the question of changing Kosovo’s political status arose, Russia had not had a point of strategic leverage in the Balkans. For Putin, simply fomenting stubborn diplomatic opposition while an increasingly frantic West tries to appease the independence-minded Albanians has proven a very cost-effective and powerful strategy to contest Western ambitions and reassert his country’s role as a major power.

Nevertheless, the Western media has more often than not chosen to simply condemn these tactics rather than provide objective analysis, thus betraying their own sympathies with Western governments. Although there is little to be learned from boring invective, it would prove embarrassing to the powers that bombed Kosovo in 1999 for journalists to ask whether the intervention itself provided an opportunity for Russia to expand its sphere of influence, and precisely an opportunity that had simply not existed before. True, the US got its enormous military base in the heart of the Balkans with Camp Bondsteel – now more than a liability than anything else – but Russia has made major inroads on Balkan energy acquisitions, as well as buying considerable valuable seaside real estate in Montenegro, that former partner republic with Serbia whose independence, myopic and partisan Western diplomats still today maintain, is yet another well deserved punishment for the Serbs.

Reporting on the changing Russian role in the Balkans becomes even scantier in terms of its relation to the year’s second key trend, and perhaps the most astonishing- the diplomatic triumphs of Greece. A member of both the EU and NATO, Greece is a thoroughly Western country which has however sought to maintain its diverse relationships in nurturing national interests- in the process perhaps becoming guilty of wanting to have its cake and eat it too. While Greece’s major new alliance, with Russia, is more a harmonious convergence of certain interests than a deliberate planned partnership, it has been amply displayed and was singled out in a ‘power audit’ by the new interventionist think-tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations, some of whose members are famous for their roles in the Kosovo war and peace.

Greece’s convergence of interests with Russia owes primarily to two things; wariness over national security, vis-à-vis perennial enemy Turkey, and its ambition to be a regional player in the energy sector. As with the Russian bear’s awakening over Kosovo, Greece determined these interests in the late 1990’s, in response to Turkey’s enhanced position globally. The first Greek concerns were registered with the Clinton administration’s determination to use the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan for the terminus of a new oil pipeline (the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, or BTC pipeline) that would bring Caspian oil to the West and bypass Russia in the process. Under such a scenario, it was only natural that both affronted parties would reach out to one another in the energy sector, as has been the case with both LUKoil’s acquisitions in Hellenic Petroleum and in the major efforts to hammer out a deal on the anticipated Burgas-Alexandroupoli Pipeline bringing Russian oil to the Aegean via Bulgaria.

Greece’s second point of panic, though a far less reported one, came with the deepening alliance in the late 1990’s between Turkey and Israel. This first of all involved the transfer of lobbying know-how from the latter to the former in Washington, and soon developed into full-fledged intelligence cooperation, with one jarring result being the Turkish MIT’s kidnapping of Kurdish guerrilla leader Abdullah Ocalan, supposedly under Greek protection, in Nairobi. The Israelis had participated in gathering intelligence. It was a major embarrassment for Athens and a wild success for the Turkish government, by which it effectively ended the Kurdish insurrection, at least for a few years. Israeli-Turkish cooperation would strengthen and, with the victory of George W. Bush in 2000, catapult the neoconservatives, closely affiliated to both Israeli and Turkish lobby groups, into power in Washington.

Greece, like Russia a historic ally of Serbia, had also been less than thrilled about the NATO intervention of 1999, and chose not to participate in NATO air strikes; pivotally, however, it also chose not to veto the operation as Serbia had hoped. Alienated and insulted on all sides, Greece began to develop a parallel security infrastructure to that of NATO, turning to Russian expertise, most significantly in the advanced S-300 and TOR M-1 mobile anti-aircraft system which by virtue of its provenance was not supposed to be acquired by a NATO member. Intense interest in Greece’s air defense capacities from the Turks led, in May 2006, to a brief skirmish between Turkish and Greek fighter jets near the island of Karpathos, leading to the accidental death of a Greek pilot.

Aside from the defense sector, Greece’s budding partnership with Russia has also comprised energy diplomacy- the factor that will raise Greece’s political and economic stature as a transit corridor for oil, at a time of fierce competition between European countries desiring such a role. The expected Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline, in which Russia’s stake will be larger than either of the two countries through which the pipeline will actually go, is also seen by Athens as a defensive precaution against Turkey: it will hug the militarized eastern border in Evros, a tangible investment deterring any Turkish invasion. This factor was dramatically enhanced with the Greek Cypriot government’s decision, against Turkish protests, to drill for oil off of the island’s coast. Should multinational oil companies be active in Cypriot oil projects, the logic goes, Turkey will have to take a less bellicose stance towards Nicosia and, by extension, Athens.

The larger implications of Greece’s diplomatic success in 2004 in lobbying for Cyprus’ unconditional entry into the EU – that is, with its membership not being contingent on the passage of the ‘Annan Plan’ for unification – have indeed registered this year, with the EU’s second Greek state ready to uphold Athens’ policies within the bloc, particularly on the Kosovo issue, thus relieving Greece of having to take the strongest stance possible against Kosovo independence. So long as Cyprus can be counted on to conduct an identical policy, Greece can desist and so appear more ‘accommodating’ to Western interests- something that also buys it more political capital to expend on issues which are (erroneously, perhaps) equated with the national interest, such as trying to force the Republic of Macedonia to change its constitutional name. Despite increasing world sympathy for the Macedonian side, Greece has continued to prevent major EU powers from recognizing the country’s name, allegedly due to economic threats. At the same time, Greece is happy to let Turkey remain bogged down on its eastern front, embroiled in a war against Kurdish guerrillas that has now unwisely led it into northern Iraq.

That said, the major point of inquiry for journalists in 2008 has got to be the question of finding the source of Greek power. A NATO member that uses Russian military technology, opposes Kosovo independence, and that has threatened to torpedo NATO plans by vetoing Macedonian accession in April, Greece nevertheless continues to have its way with the West. Despite all of these apparent red flags, there has never been a detailed media investigation into precisely how Greece wields its economic and diplomatic clout to extract results that diverge wildly from those of its allies.

This brings us to the third major issue in the Balkans this year, though before considering it we must acknowledge that for the Greeks, success may be coming at a price: the massive summer fires, which blazed along fronts of up to 70km in width and which reached urban Athens, while decimating large stretches of the Peloponnese, can be considered the greatest threat to national security, and we expect that they will be happen again this coming summer.

While some fires occurred due to natural causes amidst parched, hot natural conditions, the majority occurred due to human involvement. Everyone from arsonists to property developers to Kosovo Albanians have been blamed, all with different alleged motives. While the last of these propositions has been derided as conspiracy-theorizing, it is clear that for irredentists with no chance of undertaking military action against much stronger state forces, the only other possibility for pressuring Greek policy is by causing widespread material destruction through fires or other terrorist acts. However, the Western press by and large chose not to look at the situation from this strategic aspect.

The third major underreported issue of the year in the Balkans has been the intrinsic connections and future possibilities of the major international bodies’ self-created problems in the region. The issue of Kosovo, Western governments have continuously maintained, is one that cannot be considered a precedent for any other of the numerous self-determination struggles across the globe- even as the representatives of these independence movements continue to remind that no, in fact Kosovo is being perceived as a precedent for them.

The possibility that Kosovo could be partitioned, anathema to the West as potentially having the capacity to set off a chain reaction in the Balkans, has ironically been given precedent due to the admission of a divided Cyprus into the EU in 2004. In that case, both the UN and EU were unable, or unwilling, to force Greek and Turkish Cypriots to settle their differences and enter as one nation, thus exacerbating the existing political animosities between Greece and Turkey. Whatever the reason for Cyprus entering the EU divided may have been, it is clear now that the whole thing has proven an embarrassment for the credibility of the supranational world bodies.

Since the UN could not force the non-warring Greeks and Turks of Cyprus to come together in 2004, it should be no surprise that the UN is now saying it can’t do anything more to solve the Kosovo conundrum, and will hand it off to the EU to figure out. This is another blow to the credibility of the alleged global peacekeeper, and will be perceived by potential secessionists around the world as evidence that the UN has no ability to curtail their future ambitions.

For its part, the EU has enough of a headache dealing with embarrassments more recent than the Cyprus fiasco. The two countries that made headlines on Jan 1 by joining the bloc, Bulgaria and Romania, did so on condition of implementing further reforms in the future. European diplomats state that by the end of 2006, the whole train of EU enlargement had built up such momentum that it could not be stopped; and, had everything gone according to plan with the Romanians and Bulgarians, the EU might be more confident now of its future enlargement. However, the complacency that has been shown by the new members – disinterested in finishing reforms, safe in knowing that they are finally in the club – is making Brussels much more circumspect about further Balkan enlargement. While the value of Croatia’s tourism industry and its relatively homogenous Christian society could indeed keep it on track for membership, Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania and Serbia could find themselves out in the cold, stymied both by the cancerous presence of Kosovo in the middle and the recent legacy of less-than-honest candidate countries.

For 2008 at least, therefore, events in the Balkans should continue to outstrip the control of supranational institutions, and perhaps at an accelerated pace. While this is not necessarily a recipe for war, it does mean that the demonstrated trends in the region towards the bold and unpredictable unilateralism of the pre-WWII alliance systems will intensify. To paraphrase the friendly Chinese curse, we are indeed living in interesting times.

Finally, another emerging trend in the Balkans to watch during 2008 will be the activities of Islamic extremist groups in the region. Although their activities in 2007 were reported mostly in the local medias, the international press took interest as well when Serbian police in March broke up a Wahhabi training camp in the mountains of Novi Pazar, in the southwest Sandzak region; recently, from the other side of the border, Montenegro’s intelligence chief attested that the fundamentalists inhabited camps in Montenegrin Sandzak, while also masquerading their activities in NGOs and youth groups. Also in 2007 Macedonian special police carried out an action against an Albanian irredentist group near the Kosovo border, killing at least one known Islamic extremist in the process. And failed jihadi plots against the US Embassy in Vienna and Ft. Dix in New Jersey both had clear connections with the Balkans. These are only a few of the stories that emerged this year, indicating activity that we believe will increase in the year ahead. The fact that certain Western countries and Israel are starting to take a closer look at the phenomenon of Islamic extremism in the Balkans provides further indications that it remains one of the major, if more underreported, issues affecting regional security.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The "Novel" in Macedonia Since the 1990's

Dalkey Archive Press, University of Illinois

"Letter from Macedonia"
by Goce Smilevski

Letter from Macedonia
by Goce Smilevski

One of the negative consequences of the so-called “period of transition” in Macedonia which started, as in most Eastern European countries, at the beginning of the 1990s, and which is still going on in the Balkans, was the closing of a large number of bookstores. The privatization of the publishing industry during the transition period as well as the desire of the new owners to get rid of large unprofitable spaces—a result of the significant drop in book demand which in turn was the result of the dramatically decreased purchasing power of the population— were the reasons why a large number of bookstores had to close down. Today, a decade and a half later, things are moving in a different direction: new bookshops are being opened and most of them function as cafés/bookshops. A few of them, like the bookshop at the “Tochka” (Dot) Cultural Center, are only one part of a much wider concept of exhibition spaces which host debates and symposiums dedicated to the work of artists from Macedonia and around the world. Dubravka Ugresic and Guyatri Chakravorty Spivak, the world-famous writer and theoretician, have been among the participants at these symposiums. These are sure signs that the previously frozen Macedonian cultural life is experiencing a thaw of revival.

The above-mentioned bookstore initiatives have coincided with the initiatives of several funding agencies interested in investing in arts and culture. Included among their beneficiaries have been the weekly teenage magazine Tea, the first to start the “cultural development” campaign when it included a free CD with each purchased copy of the magazine. This initiative was carried out in three cycles: the first was dedicated to classical music, the second to jazz, and the third to Macedonian folk music. Soon to follow was the “Best of World Literature” series of books that you could buy at a very reasonable price with a copy of Dnevnik and Utrinski vesnik, Macedonian dailies. A different title would accompany the daily every Thursday. Similar editions came out in Croatia, where the books were sold with copies of Jutarnji list, and also in Serbia, where they came with copies of the daily Politika (similar editions of these books were sold with the daily Vecernje novosti as well). “The Best of World Literature” series was comprised of a couple dozen books written by world-famous authors and of five books written by Macedonian authors. In Croatia and Serbia, the same series also included books written by local authors.

As with most other countries that went through a transition period during the 1990s, Macedonia saw a change of theme selection in its novels. If, in the past, the Macedonian historical novel typically had World War II and the period of Ottoman rule as its background, the present era is witnessing a change of chronotopes: nowadays, the action of historical novels is taking place during the Middle Ages, or Byzantine rule, or elsewhere in Europe during different historical periods. In addition, the past obsession with rural themes has given way to urban topics.

These changes are visible in the literary works that have recently received some of the most important prizes for prose writing in Macedonia. The recent recipients of “Racin’s Recognition” (part of “Racin’s Meetings,” a conference dedicated to the promotion of Balkan authors and literature) for the best novel published in Macedonia in the Macedonian language were the following novels: Zaharij i drugi raskazi (Zacharij and Other Stories) by Mihail Rendzov, Kamenot od Tvojot den (The Stone of Your Day) by Jagoda Mihajlovska-Georgieva, Drugata (The Other Woman) by Liljana Eftimova, and Ubavicata i maroderot (The Beauty and the Marauder) by Bozin Pavlovski. The “Stale Popov” award, given by the Macedonian Writers’ Association for the best prose novel published by a member of the Association, has honored the following works in recent years: Opishuvach (Describer) by Ermis Lafazanovski, Smrtta na dijakot (The Death of the Diac) by Dragi Mihajlovski, Spleteni raskazi (Plaited Stories) by Olivera Korverziroska, Skriena kamera (Hidden Camera) by Lidija Dimkovska (whose poetry collection Don’t Awaken Them with Hammers was published by Ugly Duckling Press in the U.S. this year) and Ervehe (Ervehe) by Luan Starova. Seven years ago, the Macedonian daily newspaper Utrinski vestnik, at the initiative of its Arts and Culture editor, Zvezdan Georgievski, created the award for the Macedonian Novel of the Year. A fair amount of publicity always surrounds this event, and it is not uncommon for the awarded novel to achieve three or more editions. The recipients of this award so far have been: Slobodan Mickovic for his Kukata na mazarena (Mazarena’s House), Venko Andonovski for Papokot na svetot (The Navel of the World), Dimitar Bashevski for Bunar (A Well), Goce Smilevski for Razgovori so Spinoza (Conversations with Spinoza), Milovan Stefanovski for Izgubeniot Zhegol (Lost Zhegol), Olivera Nikolova for Kuklite na Rosica (Rositsa’s Dolls), and Pajo Avirovic for Dzahiz i istrebuvachite na kuchinja (Dzahiz and the Dog Euthanizers).

Many of these novels explore in close detail what it means to live during a turbulent period in a particular place. The past is reflected through the prism of the present, and it frequently happens that the period of transition becomes a point where the hopes of the revolution, disappointments of the post-revolutionary period, and living and surviving during the Socialist era combine and intersect.

One of the main problems of Macedonian publishers in a country of two million people is how to come up with the money to cover printing costs, the author’s royalties, and also bring profit to the publisher so that they can continue to exist. The yearly subsidies of the Publishing Sector of the Macedonian Ministry of Culture support thirty percent of all titles applied for each year. The rest of the publications are published with the publishers’ own funds, through various grants and sponsorships, or with the help of organizations such as Soros Open Society, Pro Helvetia, and the Next Page Foundation. The result of this is that three groups of publishers have differentiated themselves in Macedonia: the first group depends largely on Ministry of Culture subventions, and its catalogues typically include a significant number of books written by Macedonian writers. The second group relies on foreign donations and grants with which they develop their Science and Literature in Translation Series, and the third, for the most part, is a self-supporting group which has to sell high print runs in order to stay in business. In an attempt to “play it safe” and have their own solid financial base, the publishers are turning more and more to publishing bestsellers—and not only those from the American Top 150, but also books that have sold many copies in neighboring countries. So, at kiosk stands, you can buy daily newspapers, cigarettes, condoms, and the translations of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and the novel Eragon written by American teenage author Christopher Paolini. But another trend is visible too: a publisher might announce a book as an American bestseller, while the book was never on any bestseller list, a marketing trick that still manages to significantly increase the sales of the book.

In this context, the following question imposes itself: how much of Macedonian literature is translated into other languages? To be translated into a foreign language means to exist on the world literature map. One of the biggest problems of Macedonian literature has always been that it is almost invisible on this map, with only a few books translated per decade. One of the reasons for this is that the government has never really built a strategy for support and training of quality translators from the Macedonian language and the result is that there is not even one translator who translates from Macedonian into any other major language. Another reason is that, unlike many other countries that have their own funds, organizations and strategies for promoting their own literature and creating interest in translating domestic writers into foreign languages, Macedonia has never had any fund that would support the translation of Macedonian books into foreign languages or that would build a strategy for presenting Macedonian literature to foreign publishers. Given the current state of the economy, we cannot, of course, afford to establish a fund similar to those that exist in Slovenia and Denmark (Denmark has recently allocated a budget of more than $1.5 million for artistic—including literary—collaborative exchanges between artists in Denmark and New York City), but even with a more modest budget, certain improvements could be made and several important books could be translated into two or three major languages, then later offered to foreign publishers specializing in foreign literature.

The current situation will probably see some improvement with a new initiative started by the recently formed Forum for Slavic Cultures. Pen Centers from eleven Slavic countries selected 110 novels from these countries written from 1989 to the present (ten novels from each country), in October 2006. Each country will publish one novel from each of the other ten countries and, in that way, each of the selected 110 novels will come out in one Slavic language. If all goes according to plan, the whole action should be carried out through 2007 and all of these novels will later be translated into English and offered to publishers in the United States and Great Britain. This will be a significant step in opening up the possibilities for more intensive circulation of literary works that are important and valuable in different languages and cultures. It will also be a chance for Macedonian literature to make its way onto the world literature map.


Translated by Ana Lucic

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Welcome to Rainbow (Vinozhito) - Political Party of the ethnic Macedonians in Greece

November 5 2007
Letter to Matthew Nimetz
United Nations Special Envoy on the Name Dispute between Greece and Republic of Macedonia. click to read more »
read more in Macedonian
read more in Greek

Press release
A new case of an ethnic Macedonian being refused entry into Greece. Greek authorities took away his Greek citizenship and placed him on the well known Greek "black list". The reason? He is a member of the Macedonian minority in Greece . click to read more »

Press release - The misinformation on the so called "Macedonian issue" by the Greek Mass Media.
In the recent period (as it was systematically happened in the decade of 90s) a part of the greek mass media misinforms the Greek citizens regarding the (new) "Macedonian issue" and particularly regarding the relationships between our country Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. click to read more »

Bitola or Monastiri?...Florina or Lerin?...Istanbul or Constantinopole?
Finally when, will we understand that the toponyms, the difference of language, the cultural variety is richness for a place, for a country? click to read more »
read more in Greek

Press Release - A policeman controlled a mother with her son because they seemed to be "suspicious". The reason? They were talking all the time not in Greek but in Macedonian.
click to read more »
read more in Greek

Press Release : Second respond to the article of Mr. Nikos Rousis, Correspondent of the Daily Newspaper Eletherotypia in Strasburg.
click to read more »

Press Release : EFA - Rainbow's reply to the article of Mr. Nikos Rousis, Correspondent of the Daily Newspaper Eletherotypia in Strasburg.
The article of Mr. Rousis is referred in the discussion of the Commission of the Permanent Representatives (Committee of Ministers) in the Council of Europe, regarding the issue of the Macedonian political refugees of the civil war in Greece (1956-1949). Unfortunately there is still in force a racistic law in Greece which doesn't allow them to repatriate in Greece. click to read more »

Article by Pavlos Filipov Voskopoulos : The impasse of the Greek policy in the "Macedonian issue".
...It's time to start a procedure for an ideological reform in our country regarding the said national issues... for the benefit of the Greek society and the benefit of their citizens, in order our county to move forward in the 21st century, without stereotypes and the complexes that characterize it. click to read more »

In 21st century Greece, a member-state of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a state in which its politicians "trumpet" that there is no discrimination, that all citizens are equal, that minorities do not exist, that the ethnic Macedonians do not exist, the State Security Administration needs to decide for a simple matter such as the issuing of birth certificate - and to in the end to issue a negative opinion for that to read more »
read more in Greek

Another case of discrimination against a Macedonian political refugee, this time a citizen of a member-state of the European Union... click to read more »
read more in Greek

EFA Rainbow's Announcement regarding the upcoming National Elections on 16th of September 2007
read more in Greek

Press release - The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the governmental party "Nea Dimokratia" is claiming that Greeks should remember the unredeemed Greek territories in Turkey
read more in Greek

A very important trial will take place in 5th of September in Athens. EFA-RAINBOW fully support the initiative of Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) which in a joined action with the Anti-nazi Initiative of Greece and the KIS - The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece brings the neonazi lawyer Kostas Plevris in Front of Justice. The xenofobic, and chauvinistic political party of LAOS through his spokesperson Mr. Adonis Georgiadis is supporting the neonazi lawyer

» Press release from the GHM about the trial.

» Open letter from the Anti-nazi Initiative about the trial.

» Press release from the Anti-nazi Movement about the trial.

» Related links on the issue of antisemitism in Greece: The speech of the
representative of Rainbow at the 2005 Human Dimension Implementation
Meeting (Warsaw, September 29), Working Session: Anti-Semitism,
Tolerance and Non-Discrimination

Its still very "difficult" for the majority of Greek mass-media to face the reality about the existence of the Macedonian minority in north Greece - The recent "correspondence" between the daily newspaper "Elevtherotipia" and the NGO "Minority Rights Group-Greece" (MRGG).... click to read more »

Catholics live civilly but without recognition and discriminated against in Orthodox Greece
Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) highlights the following article on the problems Catholics continue to face in contemporary Greece... click to read more »

Consul General of the United States of America visited Florina / Lerin
On 24th of July 2007 the Consul General of the United States of America in Thessaloniki made a ceremonial visit in the city of Florina / Lerin. click to read more »
read more in Macedonian
read more in Greek

Greek Helsinki Monitor Press Release - Based on information provided to the International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the proposed media law titled, "Concentration and Licensing of Media Enterprises and other Provisions" was passed by the Greek parliament on 5 July... click to read more »
read more in Macedonian

The hypocrisy and the totalitarian perception of the Greek political establishment and the Greek mass media regarding so called “national issues” in Greece. There are similarities with the policy implemented in the former eastern block countries during the "Cold War"
Article by Taki Mixa - in the daily newspaper Elevtherotipia
read more in Greek

Magic picture …by Dionisio Gouseti
An open falsification of a photo – documentation regarding the Cyprus issue from the daily newspaper “Kathimerini”. Massive graves of innocents Turkish Cypriots, victims of the terroristic Greek Cypriot Organigation EOKA B’ before 1974 (see photo dated 14/08/74) were presented in the daily newspaper “Kathimerini” (edition 22/07/07) as a massive grave of Greek Cypriots “victims” of the Turkish army during its intervention in 1974
read more in Greek

Article about the visa’s status between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia
read more in Greek

The question submitted by Mr Lambert has been officially published
The Civil War in Greece witnessed the plight of thousands of political refugees, both ethnic Macedonian and others, including Greeks. At least 28,000 child refugees, mostly ethnic Macedonians, were also evacuated from areas of heavy fighting and relocated in countries like Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania... click to read more »

The Abecedar with “cyrillic alphabet” edited in Thessaloniki in 1926 by the Greek Government
read more in Greek

Press Release about the presentation of the second edition of the Abecedar in Ovcharani / Meliti on 20th of July 2007 by EFA – Rainbow
read more in Greek

Ntora Mpakogiannis and the Macedonian issue... article by Takis Mihas
read more in Greek

IPI-SEEMO deeply concerned at a proposed draft media law containing provisions damaging to press freedom in Greece
The International Press Institute (IPI), a global press freedom organisation representing editors, publishers and leading journalists in over 110 countries, together with its affiliate organisation the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), is deeply concerned at a proposed draft media law containing provisions damaging to press freedom in Greece... click to read more »

South East Europe Media Organisation protests Greece - part II
Based on information provided to the International Press Institute (IPI) and its affiliate, the South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), the proposed media law titled, "Concentration and Licensing of Media Enterprises and other Provisions" was passed by the Greek parliament on 5 July... click to read more »

Press Release - Discussion at the General Assembly of the Council of Europe about the Macedonian Political Refugees of Greece
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Greek irredentism and expansionism exposed officially from the Greek Parliament... click to read more »
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Press release by EFA – Rainbow regarding the resent meetings with: Mr. Tomas Hammarberg - Commissioner for Human Rights, Officials from the Council of Europe and with the Greek delegation during the General Asembly. (Strasburg, 26&27 June 2007)
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Parliamentary question to the Commission tabled by Mr. Mikel Irujo - MEP of European Free Alliance - European Political Party
The EC's point of view on the name issue FYROM in European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR)... click to read more »

Decision by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe about the case of OMO Ilinden of Pirin
1. Took note of the continuing commitment of the Bulgarian authorities to ensure without further delay full implementation of these judgments of the Court, with a view to preventing any new violation of the freedom of association of the applicant organisations and their members... click to read more »
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Vlach activist wins another case in Greek courts
Sotiris Bletsas, President of the Aromanian Cultural Society and a leading Vlach activist in Greece, has won his lawsuit against Dimitris Rizos, owner of the nationalist right-wing daily newspaper “Adesmeftos Typos”... click to read more »
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Press Release by the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe regards the removal of the word “Turk” from a street sign in Komotini
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EP backs Macedonia in name dispute with Greece
Following the adoption of a report on Macedonia's progress towards EU membership by the EP Foreign Affairs Committee today, which included a Green amendment (1) underlining that Macedonia should be recognised by its constitutional name, German Green MEP Angelika Beer said... click to read more »
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Press Release by the Greek Helsinki Monitor on 25 April 2007 - Discussion on human and minority rights in Greece in the Council of Europe was once again suppressed by the “conscripted” Greek Mass Media...
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On 28-29 of April took place the first Congress of the political party “Liberal Alliance” in Anabisso (Attiki). Please click here to see Rainbow’s presentation...

Rainbow’s answer to the daily paper “Ethnos” - The "conscripted" journalism … and the games of the “journalists” with Rainbow...
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Macedonian national minority envoy in US and Canada to seek support
Representatives of Macedonian national minority organizations from Greece, Bulgaria and Albania are concluding their first joint visit to the US and Canada, aiming to inform government officials, diplomats and members of the Congress about the violations of human rights against Macedonians in all three countries ... click to read more »
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Representatives from EFA – Rainbow (Greece), OMO Ilinden Pirin (Bulgaria) and Macedonian Alliance for European Integration (Albania) visited Canada and the USA - Meetings have been realized with Macedonian Organizations as well as with Governmental Officers.
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EFA-Rainbow participated at the General Assembly of the European Free Alliance - European Political Party (Bilbao / 20 - 21 April 2007)
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Dimitras interview to Macedonian daily newspaper “Dnevnik” on human rights in Greece - Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) disseminates the interview of its Spokesperson Panayote Dimitras to the Macedonian daily newspaper “Dnevnik” published on 17 April 2007. He gave answers to several questions of journalist Zana P. Bozinovska. The full text follows in English... click to read more »
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Representativies from EFA - Rainbow meet Officials from the Council of Europe (Strasburg, 18/04/2007)
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Motion for a resolution in the Council of Europe regarding the status of the Macedonian ethnic minority in Greece... click to read more »
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Interview with Dr. Nakratzas Georgios - (writter and publisher) for the greek newspaper "Epohi" (Sunday 26th November 2006) about greek nationalisam, macedonian language and the macedonian primer ABECEDAR ...
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The Macedonian primer ABECEDAR and the comments in the blog DONCAT of
the famous writer Mr. Nikos Dimou.

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A new book on national minorities in Europe ranks both France and Greece as having worse national minority rights than Russia.
The book, written by Christoph Pan and Beate Sibylle Pfeil, was launched on Wednesday (14th February) at the joint Sud Tirol, Trentino, and Tyrol office in Brussels. The authors compiled the ranking by comparing the performance of European states in their implementation of national minority rights, based on data drawn from the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM)... click to read more »
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Recent decision from the International Court of Justice on the Genocide in Srebrenitsa bring our memory back to the "ethnic cleansing" of the Macedonians of Kilkis/Kukush committed by the Greek Army in 1913. Read Rainbow’s answer to Mr. George Nakratza on the above issue. (The article was published in Info Zora N.19)
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EFA urges to promote cultural diversity and multilingualism in EU
Today in 2007, the celebration of the International Mother Language day* remains necessary to highlight the threats to cultural diversity that this International Day embraces. In Europe particularly the problems of many languages and minorized cultures are completely absent on the political agenda. In some cases regions and stateless nations face serious threats and even struggle for the survival of their culture as distinct manifestation of the European cultural and linguistic diversity... click to read more »

An Interview of Mr. Dimitri Lithoxoou - in the Macedonian Political Magazine FOCUS, N. 516 (Skopie - Republic of Macedonia, 20/5/2005)
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Press Release by the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF)
Confiscation Scenarios in Western Thrace. Western Thrace Turkish Minority members, majority of whom are engaged in farming, are apprehensive that their land will be confiscated by the Greek authorities ... click to read more »
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“The Land of the Indians”
Some days ago, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece visited the "Land of the Indians".… in this “strange country” the minorities neither can name themselves as Turks nor can give a Turkish name to their associations … sometimes … the Greek government and the majority of the Greek people do them a favour by calling them "Greek Muslims".
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Answer to Mr. Kofos’ article by Mr. Pavlos Voskopoulos
When will the political leadership in our country stop being a hostage to a policy which "turns a deaf ear" to the "realistic" Europe? When will our political leadership understand that "historians" and "advisers" of the likes of the honourable Kofos are already out of date in the modern era, so that the Prime Minister of the country is not exposed, as well as Greek policy, at international level?
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“The airports of Skopje, the statues and the Bible” - aticle by Mr. Evagelos Kofos - Counselor at the Greek Institution on European & Foreign Policy on Balkan issues.
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“The myth for the unity of the Greek language” - By Theodori Markopoulo
From the very interesting blog “Anorthografies”, in the Indymedia, a text that shows that the babbles about the “united and indivisible language of 3000 years” is an invention, and indeed an invention that have only the Greek nationalists and no other nation in the world.
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Finally we are beginning to hear in the Greek press the voices of honourable figures on the left raised against the wretched embargo inflicted on the Turkish Cypriots of Northern Cyprus. Here and there, the crushing silence of the left is being broken ... click to read more »
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