04/26/12

Building a nation in a hurry or grafting identities? A difficult choice in today’s Macedonia

I had the opportunity to visit Skopje a couple of years ago, at the invitation of the Institute for the National History of Macedonia, during a conference organized by the NISE network. Being a meeting of experts in the field of nationalism, our hosts took time to show us and explain some of the most important milestones of the Macedonian nation in town and abroad: orthodox churches, Gotse Delchev, Aegean and Pirin Macedonia, Alexander the Great… all of them were explained to us in full detail (obviously from a Macedonian point of view: no Bulgarian or Greek connections mentioned!).

It was very clear to me that the process of nation building was still riding high, not only because of the common, persistent discourse on the specific character of the Macedonian people as a kind of fusion between ancient Macedonians and medieval Slavs, but also because of the building and sculpting fever that was going on in downtown Skopje in order to show to the world that this was the capital city of the Macedonian nation. Continue reading