[Full-screen view is advised for optimal clarity. Please navigate by using ▲ ▼ / ◀ ▶ keys.]
“Skopje is not a film, not a thriller where we guess the chief event. It is a concentration of man’s struggle for freedom, with a result which inspires further struggles and no acceptance of defeat.”
Jean-Paul Sartre, 1963
May 18, 2009
The Honourable Barack Obama
President, United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
We, the undersigned scholars of Graeco-Roman antiquity, respectfully request that you intervene to clean up some of the historical debris left in southeast Europe by the previous U.S. administration.
On November 4, 2004, two days after the re-election of President George W. Bush, his administration unilaterally recognised the “Republic of Macedonia.” This action not only abrogated geographic and historic fact, but it also has unleashed a dangerous epidemic of historical revisionism, of which the most obvious symptom is the misappropriation by the government in Skopje of the most famous of Macedonians, Alexander the Great.
We believe that this silliness has gone too far, and that the U.S.A. has no business in supporting the subversion of history. Let us review facts. […]
Fragment of a letter sent by 200 Classical Scholars to the President of the United States of America.
11 JUL 08
A high delegation of Hunza people came to Macedonia
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski welcomed Friday a high delegation, led by Prince Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Princess Rani Atiqa of the Hunza people, who are self-proclaimed Macedonians and descendants of Alexander the Great.
Gruevski expressed satisfaction with an establishment of ties between the two peoples, as well as Macedonia's readiness for further boosting of the relations and cooperation in all spheres of mutual interest, the PM's Cabinet said in a press release. Gruevski also informed the high guests on political, economic and cultural developments in Macedonia, as well as about the country's efforts to join the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions.
I am honoured to be in my country Macedonia, the Prince said, pointing out that Hunza people are proud to be the descendants of Alexander the Great. The princely state of the Hunza is currently part of Pakistan, former Persia, and the place of their residence is, according to historic data, the most eastern point of the kingdom of Alexander of Macedonia. […]
Source: MIA, Macedonian Information Agency
06 JAN 09
Macedonia Debuts 'Alexander' Highway
Macedonia's government has renamed a main highway after the ancient conqueror Alexander the Great, whose ethnic origin is one part of the thorny 17-year dispute between Macedonia and its southern neighbour Greece over Macedonia's name. Government spokesman Shefik Duraku told local Alfa TV that "Alexander of Macedon" will be the new name of the country’s main highway that runs from Serbia to the north to the Greek border to the south as part of the pan-European Corridor 10.
Duraku added that the main soccer stadium in Skopje would be renamed to Arena Philip the Second, after Alexander's father, and the same name was chosen for the planned cargo airport near the central Macedonian town of Stip.
Local media have speculated that such moves, guaranteed to provoke vehement protests from the Greeks, are part of the government’s “plan B” after Athens blocked Macedonia's membership to NATO last April, and indicated it would veto the country's European Union entry as well. Greece says Alexander was a Greek hero and the name Macedonia implicates territorial claims on its own northern province of the same name. A move last year to rename the Skopje airport to Alexander the Great raised a storm of protest in Athens.
The dispute dates from the early 1990s, after Macedonia broke away from socialist Yugoslavia. Greece blockaded the new state, forcing Macedonia to change its flag and its constitution in order to end the embargo and eventually sign an interim U.N. accord. In November, Macedonia announced it is taking Greece to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, arguing that Athens broke that 1995 accord when it put the breaks on its NATO invitation.
At first, I imagined how […] the name archaeologist sounded – ar-chae-o-logist – wonderful! So I liked the kind of title I would have gained once I graduate. I also used to write poetry, so I connected the dots: an archaeologist and a poet – aha, it sounds nice. That was the necessary fascination – it was enough in a time when we all were rebellious, the year ’68. And it was then, that I for the first time started thinking of Alexander the Great. […] Not because I was a Macedonian; not because he was a Macedonian, but because back then I used to read about him as a young person who had been, primarily, a great adventurist. An unprecedented adventure - he waged war for ten years, right, and he conquered the entire then-known world. That is what I was obsessed with. What came afterwards in Macedonia is a different story. […] At one time we did not think that Yugoslavia would ever fall apart.
— Prof. Pasko Kuzman, Ohrid, 2015.
If you take a seven year old and tell him: You are a newcomer in this place. All other peoples in their roots have Gods, kings and so on - but you derive from the mosquitoes from beyond the Carpathian mountains. Afterwards, to the same child, you say look, you were illiterate until the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius gave you literacy in the ninth century. Meanwhile, all the others had a script. […] So if you raise somebody in this way, later, he, by the force of life, will […] feel inferiority vis-a-vis anyone from outside, because during his time in the educational system he was repeatedly told that any foreigner is better than him and everyone else in general is better than you because you are you. You have no roots.
Vangel Bozjinovski, Architect, Source
27 OCT 09
Ghosts of the Past Endanger Macedonia's Future
[…] Along with the erection of monuments and the renaming of public spaces, the government has funded a new edition of the History of the Macedonian People.
For the first time in its 65-year history, this semi-official tome asserts that Macedonians do not descend from Slavs, as official histories previously suggested, but from the Macedonians of the era of Antiquity.
Officials defend the new interpretation of the past. “We need a version of history to equip Macedonians for the 21st century,” Ivica Bocevski, the deputy prime minister in charge of European Integration, said in June – days before he resigned. […]
GORDANA JANKULOSKA - Minister of Internal Affairs
ZORAN STAVRESKI - Minister of Finance
GJ: Let this year pass. Next year will be better. But it’s not better. We are only dragging our tails.
ZS: Gorde, even if it is better, we always add things, non-stop, so many costs and liabilities, that there’s no normal country in the world, even if we were America, we would not be able to sustain it. There’s not a single meeting of the Government, of the Economic Council, or of these committee we have created, that goes by without their creative ideas about what should be done: pedestrian path here, pedestrian path there, aqua parks... I don’t know what we are doing. I mean, we are lunatics. We are lunatics! What we are doing is not normal. We should understand that it’s not normal.
GJ: This situation is idiotic.
ZS: We are lunatics. We spend on chocolate, but don’t have bread at home, that’s what we are doing.
GJ: That’s exactly what we are doing. Look, we are cutting down, consciously we behave irrationally. We have reduced basic operations under the minimum, they are not even at the bare minimum, while on the other side, we build ‘I don’t know what’. Our state is not functioning.
Tape 6, 29:12 - 30:24
When I was working in Switzerland in 90’s I Iived together with Serbs, Bosnians, Croatians, Slovenians, let’s say, from all around the Federation. Whenever you’re distant from your homeland topics such as national pride and history are getting spicy in discussions. Many of them couldn’t accept the fact we are the independent state. The centres of Yugoslavia were in Belgrade and Zagreb, but Skopje was a periphery. Most people barely know where my home country is, not to even mention our issues. Then, abroad, I made this tattoo of Philip II, father to Alexander the Great and to the Macedonian nation. […] I was born here, in Skopje, in the Republic of Macedonia. And nobody can take this pride away from me.
— Boban, Skopje, 2015.
MARTIN PROTUGJER - Prime Minister's chief of staff
GORDANA JANKULOSKA - Minister of Internal Affairs
GJ: Yeah, hello?
GJ: I’m listening.
MP: Can you please tell me, or can we answer somehow about this… this kid who got killed yesterday…
GJ: We did answer about it.
GJ: Firstly, that there is no such thing. Secondly, the autopsy showed no traces of violence and we did not get such an event reported at all. So we did answer the public about that, Ivo gave a statement today and plus I gave one.
MP: Aha, aha….
GJ: So, if anyone asks, they have our position.
MP: ON Twitter and Facebook they are calling for protests… Okay, okay.
GJ: But we have a statement. Someone from ours, for example Sitel or Kanal 5 will broadcast the statement.
MP: Okay, that’s it. Sorted then.
GJ: He was a druggie as it seems.
MP: Aaaah, a druggie, I see. Bye, bye.
Tape 29, 1:16 - 2:14
[…] I feel an obligation to address the public and to inform you of several significant moments. […] I held four meetings with Mr. Zoran Zaev, the President of the political party SDSM. […] In these meetings, Mr. Zoran Zaev, requested of me the urgent formation of a technical government, thereby informing me that, cooperating with a certain foreign intelligence service, he had obtained recorded telephone conversations of almost all high state officials […]. Today, a criminal charge was pressed against several people [...] for espionage and violence against representatives of the highest state organs. […] This all is a forged scenario which they have been witnessing since its inception and according to which the whole country should have ended their hostage in the end. […] From today on, you will be hearing all sorts of speculations. The truth will surface eventually, since hard evidence exists for everything. Thank you.
Statement of PM Gruevski confronting the leak of wiretaps compromising his government and accusations of major illegal wiretapping ordered by his administration.