The Macedonian Tendency: February 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ohrid - Macedonia's Hidden Gem from CNN

By David Edenden

Nice reportage by Nic Robertson on Ohrid

Macedonian Muslim Looks Good in Sweden

Muslim-Jewish tensions roil a Swedish city
By KARL RITTER | Published: 03/20/10 

Bejzat Becirov
Sweden prides itself on having taken in tens of thousands of the world’s war refugees, and Malmo, its third largest city, should be a showcase: 7 percent of its 285,000 people were born in the Middle East, according to city statistics, and it has large numbers of from the Balkans, including the Macedonian who heads the city’s largest mosque. 
After the Holocaust, it took in many Jews who survived the World War II Nazi genocide. 
Bejzat Becirov, the mosque head, said he feels “great sympathy for the Jewish community” and knows what it’s going through because “the Muslim community, too, is exposed to Islamophobia.”

Daniel Cohn-Bendit

By David Edenden

Daniel, may I suggest that you table a motion in the EU Parliament to suspend Greece from the EU until it meets the qualifications for human rights with regard to its ethnic Macedonian minority ... as any new candidate would have to do.

Failing that, can you table a motion for reparations payments to ethnic Macedonians in Greece for the EU's role in aiding and abetting their cultural genocide.

Failing that, make it a crime to deny the ethnicity of ethnic Macedonians in the EU and to expel any professors who promote that genocidal hatred.

Failing that, can you propose a resolution warning the Ossetians and Abkhazians that Greece's values regarding minority rights are also, by definition, EU values and if they are unified with Georgia and then Georgia joins the EU, they can expect to enjoy the same rights as the ethnic Macedonians in Greece.

Pressure to be exerted over Greece to unblock Macedonia's EU integration, says French MEP
Strasbourg, 21 April 2010 (MIA) - Co-chairman of the European Parliament Group of the Greens, Daniel Cohn-Bendit believes now is the time to exercise pressure on Greece regarding concessions in the name dispute, adding however that the solution cannot come from outside.
"Regarding the Macedonia name dispute, I have always had a simple stance: Macedonia is Macedonia and it will remain Macedonia. It is time to end this game", Cohn-Bendit told Deutsche Welle. 
Pertaining to pressure put on Macedonia to change its name, he says, "If Macedonia wants to keep name Macedonia, it is fine with me. If Macedonia wants to change its name, I accept it. A big nationalistic contest has been made over the name, both in Macedonia and Greece. I believe it would be good to do something so that everyone calms down. If not, we will not find a way out" 
According to Cohn-Bendit, the way out is possible by exercising pressure on Greece to raise the blockade of Macedonia's European integration.
"However, there is also the problem of the unanimous EU decision-making process. As long as Greece blocks Macedonia, this is a problem in the Union's functioning. Now there is a possibility to negotiate with Greece regarding the aid provided to resolve the crisis and its concession regarding Macedonia's name. This could represent an opportunity to leave this impasse", stresses the French MEP. 
He says the European Union has demonstrated its weakness in the Macedonia case in the same way as the one of Cyprus. 
"We lost the battle with Cyprus. According to me, the game is played in Macedonia and Greece. They are the ones that need to become more reasonable. If they do not demonstrate reason, then a solution cannot be reached. When nationalistic madness gets in the way, then it is difficult to stop it", added Cohn-Bendit. 
On the possibility for the Group of the Greens, which has always given its support to Macedonia's Euro-integration, to launch an initiative for the name row's settlement, he says it could be done under the condition that both sides are ready to accept a compromise.
"For the time being, the reaction over the identity is the one blocking everything for both sides", assesses MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

Conservative Heritage Foundation for Macedonia in Nato

Push for Macedonia’s Accession to NATO at the Lisbon Summit 
The Heritage Foundation

The Obama Administration Must Push for Macedonia’s Accession to NATO at the Lisbon Summit

Published on October 14, 2010 
by Sally McNamara and Morgan Roach
NATO leaders will meet in Lisbon for a formal heads-of-state summit. The dominant issue for the United States will be the adoption of NATO’s new Strategic Concept, the first of the new millennium. However, the Obama Administration should also throw its weight behind further expansion of the alliance, especially Macedonia’s accession.
Macedonia has been on the road to membership for over a decade and has successfully completed NATO’s Membership Action Plan. Despite being one of the largest per capita contributors to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and enjoying broad support for its accession across the alliance, Athens continues to unfairly wield its veto power and block Macedonia’s accession over a purely bilateral dispute.[1]
Over the past year, Greece has received enormous financial and political support from the Euro-Atlantic community and the global financial institutions. Consequently, it is time for Greece to reciprocate that friendship and uphold its obligation under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. The Greco–Macedonian name dispute has dragged on for 18 years, and it may not be resolved in time for the Lisbon Summit.[2]However, Athens should not bring its bilateral disputes into the alliance—a longstanding NATO principle—and instead demonstrate its willingness to be a positive regional player rather than a truculent and obstructionist partner.
Window of Opportunity
At the Bucharest Summit in 2008, Albania and Croatia received invitations to NATO membership and took their seats at the alliance’s table in Strasbourg in 2009. It was nothing short of diplomatic hostility on Athens’s part that Macedonia could not join them. Following the Bucharest debacle, parliamentary elections were called in Macedonia, two years ahead of schedule. The elections were held in a tense atmosphere and were directly related to Greece’s continued obstructionism and Macedonia’s exclusion from the Euro–Atlantic family.
Although Macedonia is a vibrant multi-ethnic democracy, its progress remains nascent, and its patience is not endless. Its democratic development has been directly supported by the U.S. and all other members of the NATO alliance save Greece. It is important that the transatlantic alliance sends the message that there is a place in its institutions for Balkan nations that have earned it.
A Provider—Not Just a Consumer—of Security
Having been a primary consumer of security in the past, Macedonia has quickly made the transition to being a provider of security, both regionally and globally. Although Skopje does not enjoy the benefits of NATO membership, it has advanced NATO’s core mission of providing for the collective defense. Macedonia was a critical staging area for the NATO intervention in Kosovo and provided a safe haven for over 360,000 Kosovars during the conflict.[3] Macedonia continues to provide logistical coordination and support for the Kosovo Force mission.
One of the most impressive acts of good faith by Macedonia has been its robust participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Despite having a population a fifth the size of Greece’s, Skopje has deployed more troops than Athens has to Afghanistan. Maintaining a commitment of 240 troops, Macedonia is one of the largest per capita contributors to the mission, providing security at NATO headquarters in Kabul.[4]
Macedonia also takes part in the crucial Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams program tasked with training the Afghan National Security Forces.[5] Macedonia sent additional trainers following President Obama’s request for support at the Strasbourg Summit in April 2009, as well as additional troops following another U.S. request in December 2009.[6]
Macedonia also supported the U.S. and its coalition partners in Iraq from 2003 onward, carrying out joint and independent combat missions. The 2-11 Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Gleichenhaus, stated of Macedonia’s contribution in Iraq: “My only reservation about the Macedonians is that we don’t have more of them.”[7]
U.S. Support: Is It Enough?
Skopje has enjoyed the support of both the former and current U.S. Administration in its quest for accession. At the Strasbourg summit, President Obama voiced his eagerness to welcome Macedonia into the alliance, and recently 19 Congressmen—from both sides of the House—outlined their support for Macedonia’s accession at the Lisbon Summit.[8]
However, U.S. support will not be enough to secure Macedonia’s accession. The Administration will have to use its diplomatic channels in Europe, in concert with U.S. representatives in Athens, to increase international pressure on Greece to resolve this matter expeditiously. Significant diplomatic pressure will have to be applied on Athens by Europe as well, especially France and Germany, and the U.S. should ask Berlin and Paris to make this issue a priority for the summit.
Time for Macedonia to Join
The U.N.-mediated talks between Greece and Macedonia will continue even if Macedonia accedes to the alliance. In a 1995 interim accord between the two nations, Greece pledged not to abuse its dominant position and block Macedonia’s entry into international institutions. Since its inception, NATO enlargement has proven to be a hallmark of European integration, and Macedonia has more than earned its place in the alliance. The U.S. and key European allies including Britain, France, and Germany should stand by their friends and intensify its efforts to ensure that Skopje’s place at the table is no longer unfairly blocked.
Sally McNamara is Senior Policy Analyst in European Affairs and Morgan L. Roach is a Research Assistant in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.
Show references in this report

[1]See Sally McNamara, “It Is Past Time for Macedonia to Join NATO,” Heritage Foundation WebMemoNo. 2784, January 29, 2010, at
[2]Defence Professionals, “Macedonian Defence Minister Demands from Gates That Macedonia Gets Well Deserved Place in NATO,” October 6, 2010, at (October 6, 2010).
[3]Metojija Koloski, “NATO: The Case for Macedonia,” Foreign Policy Association, March 12, 2009, at (October 14, 2010).
[4]North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Army Strength and Laydown,” August 6, 2010, at (October 14, 2010).
[5]North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “Fact Sheet: NATO’s Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams (OMLTs),” October 2009, at (October 12, 2010).
[6]Trend, “Macedonia Pledges to Send More Troops to Afghanistan,” December 3, 2009, at (October 14, 2010).
[7]Steve Gillen, “Macedonia Stands with the Coalition in Iraq,” Embassy of the United States, Baghdad, Iraq, June 2, 2008, at (October 12, 2010).
[8]Earl Pomeroy, et al., “Letter to President Obama in Support of Macedonia’s NATO Membership,” October 1, 2010, at (October 13, 2010).

Numerous slights raise questions of Obama's support of ally Macedonia | The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN

By David Edenden

A nice newspaper column on Obama and the Macedonian "Name Issue".
Numerous slights raise questions of Obama's support of ally Macedonia |The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN
By Argie BellioFor The News-Sentinel  
In politics, everything means something. WikiLeaks' release of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cable communications gave insight into what our nation's diplomats are really saying about our friends behind closed doors. 
Macedonia – one of our strongest allies in southeast Europe – was mentioned in several of the communications, being encouraged to back down on its inherent sovereign right to its name, identity, language and constitution, thus giving in to Greek demands in order to join NATO. This policy development has many who have a strong interest in southeast Europe questioning President Obama's intentions for the region. 
In 2004, the United States and President George W. Bush recognized Macedonia under its constitutional and rightful name, the Republic of Macedonia, joining 128 other countries that have done so, including our allies Canada, India, Russia, China and the United Kingdom. Macedonia has been a strong ally to the U.S. since the two countries entered into diplomatic relations in 1994. 
Macedonia demonstrated its commitment to the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by serving as the key staging area for the U.S./NATO intervention in Kosovo (KFOR) in 1999, as well as by offering refuge to more than 360,000 Kosovars during the conflict. Macedonia has since assumed command of NATO's former KFOR logistical support coordination center for Kosovo. 
Macedonia participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom from July 2003 to December 2008, during which many of the Macedonian soldiers were highly decorated by U.S. military commanders for showing special courage, meritorious achievements and protecting U.S. personnel. In Afghanistan, Macedonia is among the top four largest troop contributors per capita to ISAF, and its 255 soldiers have been deployed to patrol the ISAF headquarters in Kabul.
While Macedonia is not a member of NATO, its contributions to peace, democracy, stability and security throughout the world make it a clear U.S. ally by doing its part as a de facto member for years. At the 2008 NATO summit, Macedonia was not offered membership into NATO because of Greece, and again this year at the NATO summit in Portugal. The Bush administration, and Clinton's before him, was adamant in its support of Macedonia and its goals to join NATO. This support has begun to waver since President Obama took office two years ago. 
Despite Macedonia's valuable support of U.S.-led missions in Afghanistan and the world, the Obama administration has slighted Macedonia on several occasions. In May 2009, Vice President Joe Biden visited southeast Europe and bypassed Macedonia, although he was 45 minutes away in Kosovo. In April, President Obama hosted a dinner for NATO allies and did not invite Macedonia. At the 60th anniversary of NATO the same month, Macedonia was again not invited. In October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited southeast Europe and bypassed Macedonia, although she was 45 minutes away in Kosovo. Since President Obama took office, no Macedonian president, prime minister or foreign minister has had an official invitation to visit the White House or State Department, although the leaders of all the other southeast European nations have been to Washington, D.C., during the last two years.
One begins to wonder if these are just coincidences or good-old-fashioned mistakes. However, one mistake after another has our nation's close to half a million Macedonian-Americans and 2.1 million Macedonians in the country wondering if they are intentional. 
President Obama is well known to be a strong friend to the Greek-American community, and his relationship with basketball buddy and losing Greek-American senatorial candidate, Alexi Giannoulias. The Obama administration went out on a limb to encourage the IMF and European bailouts for Greece all because Greece had child-like economic policies, which put the region, Europe and the world at jeopardy. Earlier this year, during the White House celebration of Greek Independence Day, President Obama offered Greek Orthodox Church Archbishop Demetrius a free platform to spread ethnic hatred against Macedonia and Macedonians. According to a recent Vanity Fair article, the Greek Orthodox Church holds a 20 percent stake in Greece's national bank. 
When everything in politics means something, what is being said and done to Macedonia isn't good. Macedonia has continued to support our nation and our allies by sending troops into harm's way. If Macedonian troops can fight alongside American troops and allies, then Macedonians deserve our respect and support. 
President Obama must do everything he can to show U.S. gratitude for Macedonia's contributions by using concerted diplomatic efforts to get Macedonia into NATO. Macedonia's future in Euro-Atlantic institutions, as well as the security and stability of southeast Europe, must no longer be negatively affected by bilateral issues with Greece. 

Argie N. Bellio, an American of Macedonian heritage and resident of Fort Wayne, serves as the representative of the United Macedonian Diaspora's Indiana operations.

Noel Malcolm Is To Blame for Balkan Ills

By David Edenden 

I  have to say that I agree with every thought expressed below, by Noel Malcolm, but I still think that he bears significant responsibility, along with Samantha Power,  for the wars in the Balkans ... yeah! ... you read it right the first time!

!Along with the Economist article, Do not disagree (Aug.14, 1993), the THE NEW BULLY OF THE BALKANS,(1992) by Noel Malcolm helped put the plight of ethnic Macedonians in Greece before the before journalists, academics, human rights groups and some politicians in the early 1990's. However, he has said nothing since then and the Economist seems also to have lost interest.

If Noel Malcolm, early on, had wrote that the mistreatment of ethnic Macedonians in Greece is the inspiration for every racist, every fascist and every ethnic cleanser in the Balkans. The United States, the EU and Nato are complicit in the ongoing cultural genocide, of a people who have lived in, what considered the cradle of democracy, for 1,500 years ... 

If Noel Malcolm had put the boots to the nonsense that Robert D.Kaplan and Christopher Hitchens spewed about Macedonians ... 

If ...

Noel, its still not to late to do so.
Noel Malcolm: ‘Communists, not Ottomans, Are To Blame for Balkan Ills’ ::
"Q: Knowing how Europe operates and its mentality, could we see Serbia get into EU without recognizing Kosovo, and then blocking it? 
A: If people in the EU are extremely stupid, yes. I am not a great admirer of the EU. I don’t think it is a coherent political project, I think it just led to very incoherent foreign policy. In the end, national governments have fundamentally different national ideas and preferences.
We’ve seen it very clearly with… the strange situation whereby the EU claims to be responsible for the development of Kosovo as a state but sends a mission there [the rule of law mission, EULEX] that does not recognize Kosovo as a state.  
I do worry about European policy. I honestly think they followed a very mistaken path over Cyprus. We are seeing one of the consequences of that now with the ultra-hard line of the Cyprus government against the recognition of Kosovo. If I remember correctly they have said that even if Serbia recognizes Kosovo, Cyprus will never recognize Kosovo. This is bizarre. I am not optimistic about Brussels policy. 
But Brussels does contain intelligent and well-informed people… so, I hope it will form an intelligent policy on this extremely important question.

'A Name Is a Name' Premieres at Masonic Temple Theatre,

'A Name Is a Name' Premieres at Masonic Temple Theatre, 9/11 2010/08/25:

"'A Name is a Name,' a film about the Macedonian people and their desire to have their name and identity recognized - the Republic of Macedonia, will premiere in Detroit at the Masonic Temple- Scottish Rite Cathedral Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 11 at 7:00 p.m.

All net proceeds from the screening will be donated to a special project in Macedonia by the United Macedonian Churches of Detroit, in their first joint effort to help the Macedonian people. Individually, the churches have contributed to projects providing medical equipment and supplies to hospitals, books for libraries and materials to repair windows at numerous orphanages.

Tickets ($25.00 general seating and $100.00 VIP) are on sale now and may be purchased at any of the United Macedonian Churches of Detroit.

A cross between a documentary and a feature film, 'A Name is a Name,' brings personalities together from Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and Macedonia. The 48 minute documentary takes viewers through the Republic of Macedonia through the eyes of a Scandinavian traveler who speaks with Macedonians from various backgrounds who tell the traveler what it means for them to be Macedonians. The film's title, 'A Name is a Name,' is a song from Morten Harket's solo album, 'Letter from Egypt,' released in 2008.

The film is directed by Icelander Sigurjon Einarsson, produced by American Jason Miko, narrated by Englishman Sir Andrew Motion (until May of 2009 the UK's Poet Laureate for 10 years), and features music by Morten Harket, lead singer of Norwegian rock group a-ha, Icelandic bands Sigur Ros, mum and Earth Affair, Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young fame, California band Monte Negro, and Macedonians Kiril Dzajkovski and the late Tose Proeski. Macedonian production house fx3x provided the production team, equipment and facilities to create the film.

For more information, visit the film website, The producer, Arizonian Jason Miko, will be on hand for a question and answer period after the film.

15 Monastery Stays - Ohrid is # 10!

15 Monastery Stays Worldwide:
Kristin Conard

10. Sveti Naum, near Ohrid, Macedonia

I walked across the border between Albania and Macedonia near Lake Ohrid, and I could hear the mournful call of the peacocks that live at the 9th-century monastery before I finally reached it. Along with the peacocks, there is a hotel/spa on the grounds. It’s a peaceful place, and I was impressed at how well the architecture and feel of the hotel blended with the monastery."

Sveti Naum, Ohrid Macedonia

Fund of the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia

By David Edenden

Below is the website of the small community of the Jewish people in Macedonia. 
Fund of the Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia
Holocaust Memorial Center of the Jews from Macedonia, will be opened on March 10, 2011, and is located in the former Jewish neighborhood in Skopje.This will pay tribute to the 7,148 Jews deported from Macedonia to Treblinka Nazi concentration camp, said at a press conference, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Darko Stefanovski- Memorial Center Holocaust of the Jews from Macedonia is a multimedia center, a series of functional parts and will be opened in several stages. In the first phase, 10 March 2011 will open a museum complex that will comprise the exhibition will present the life of the Jews as an important community in Macedonia, Stefanovski said, adding that the center will be the fourth in the world after centers in Israel, USA and Germany.

According to Wiki-leaks, the US cable from Skopje, Israel has no problems with the Macedonian government's actions with regard to Jewish properties.

9. (C/REL NATO) POW and Holocaust Issues: There are no 
unresolved POW issues. The government receives high marks 
from the Israeli government and in the State Department,s 
International Religious Freedom report for handling Jewish 
community restitution issues. Ground-breaking for a 
Holocaust memorial site in downtown Skopje took place in 
2005, and Jewish community representatives generally express 
satisfaction with the government,s actions to resolve 
outstanding property claims. 

In appreciation for this enlightened policy, Rep. Adam B.Schiff has thoughtfully decided to support Greece's campaign to wipe ethnic Macedonians off the face of the map, (here)!


Berlin movie review: "Mothers" -

Berlin movie review: "Mothers" -Milcho Manchevski

By Natasha Senjanovic

La Times Hollywood Reporter) - Macedonian director Milcho Manchevski continues down his distinctive artistic path in his fourth feature, "Mothers," which is about women of all shapes and sizes, not just maternal figures. Structured in three parts like his Oscar-nominated debut "Before the Rain," it mixes fiction (the first two episodes) with documentary for an interesting result that's more compelling than the film's underlying philosophical questions.

Manchevski says "Mothers" was inspired by the artwork of Robert Rauschenberg and is about the nature of truth, specifically our very subjective perception of truth. Perceptions of reality are stock themes for experimental filmmakers, yet despite the highbrow concept of "Mothers," the film's three sections are relatively linear and hit home on an emotional rather than intellectual level.

Nevertheless, the film's unorthodox structure will make it the director's most theatrically limited work to date. "Mothers" will be lucky to screen outside narrow cinephile circles.

All three episodes are set in Macedonia, the first (also the shortest and weakest) in the capital city of Skopje. Although the intimidating Bea (Emilija Stojkovska) and her sidekick Kjara (Miljana Bogdanoska) didn't actually see the man who flashed their friend near their elementary school, they decide to report the event to the police. They stop along the way to buy some shoes and at the station take pictures of themselves on their cell phones. The girls play with the truth until somebody gets hurt, but none of the more serious questions about power and how reality can be manufactured are developed in an original way.

The film's second and strongest part is about a small TV crew traveling to Mavrovo, in the country's central-west region, for a documentary on dying rural traditions. They find perfect subjects in a deserted village with only two inhabitants -- an ancient brother (Salaetin Bilal) and sister (Ratka Radmanovic) who haven't spoken for 16 years. The crew has its own intrigues as well: sound engineer Simon (Dmitar Gjorgjievski) is in love with camerawoman Ana (Ana Stojanovska), who's sleeping with the director (Vladimir Jacev).

While Manchevski would have us ponder the nature of the siblings' feud, the story's true power lies in its depiction of social change. The brother and sister's way of life has all but vanished in the modern world, a colorful bit of folklore for the bemused, urban filmmakers.

That women have come a long way and yet are fundamentally still the same also couldn't be more explicitly shown in the differences between the free-spirited, 20-something Ana and the elderly woman who cracks dirty jokes as she talks about her arranged marriage. The only one to feel a maternal pull from the old woman, Ana starts up a friendship that goes beyond the documentary.

All of the actors are quite good, but the episode belongs to Stojanovska and Radmanovic. Aged to look like she's over 100, the latter's performance is hauntingly gripping.

The third installment in "Mothers" is an TV-style documentary on a serial killer from the town of Kicevo, who raped and murdered three women in their 60s. Crafted like a mystery, although the story ran in the international news in 2008, it features interviews with the victims' families before disclosing the alleged perpetrator, Vlado Taneski, a respected crime reporter who lived next door to the three women and wrote about their murders.

Truth and fiction mix on several levels here, not least of which in regards the trust Taneski instilled in his neighbors, and his guilt, still being contested today. But Manchevski goes too far with police footage of the cadavers in the segment. Such images are gratuitous, even disrespectful of the victims' families.

As in "Before the Rain," elements from each segment are woven into the others, adding yet another layer to Manchevski's recurring notion of the cyclicality of life itself.