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Old 03-05-2011, 08:29 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Toronto
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Oh geez, where to begin...

Ok, this may be a little around the circle but bear with me. In Balkans, one of the biggest causes of an individual and group anxiety is the idea that a group of people living in a geographically well-defined region has a national -- and with it, religious and ethnic -- identity that is not very clear. An identity that due to some historical event can be questioned. This historical event can go very deep back into past, it may have as many versions of the story as there are days in between past and current, no matter, the seed of doubt, once sown, is there for eternity. Did I mention historical documents that contradict each other every year as they were published?

These regions are usually mixed as they are always on the edge of the national fatherland epicenter and as such are subject to all kinds of mixing with other groups but most of all, these regions are relatively low in significance in both intellectual and practical sense. Anyone with half a brain wants to leave that region and move closer to center thus making such regions perpetually backwater of the country they belong to.

What these regions are good for is for elites to manipulate its population into a loud, fighting, no-prisoners-taken war machine because that is the only time they get to shine. And the luminescence is usually directly related to the degree of doubt in their identity; in fact, it can be said that in war they shine as much as is the stain on their national identity.

It is no wonder that in a lot of cases the worst leaders of the Balkan national groups come from a region like that - case in point, both Milosevic and Karadzic come from Montenegro.

Something similar can be said of northern Greece and province of Macedonia. Long time ago some Slavs came down from Russian steppes in 6th and 7th century and decided to stay, of all places, in a place called Macedonia. Over time they took the name of the place to distinguish themselves from everyone else and the name stayed on. They were even defined as a Macedonian nationality within former Yugoslavia not even 20 years ago. We never heard of problems then. It is only when Macedonians decided to upgrade from a province to a country that voices became louder and in fact, became official political thread in Greece. It was only able to become “official” because the region itself and the long asleep issue was awakened by the smooth operators from the center (Athena). That’s really all it is - useful idiots of a doubtful identity doing their best to prove they are the purest form while other pressing issues (and trust me there are plenty of those all over Balkans and Greece) go on as always.

Personally, what was really stunning to me is that they were able to block process of UN recognition of country of Macedonia after the breakup of Yugoslavia and force them to take up the most stupid and humiliating name ever. It just tells me to stay the hell away from that region as far as possible and show finger to any UN official.