Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Macedonia identity and protest

Macedonia, once part of Yugoslavia, has been slightly peaceful for the past few decades. It is famous for being the Balkans crossing point of migrants heading towards the prosperous European countries

Macedonia is a landlocked country in the Balkans. It is a country of 2.1 million people making it a long with the Baltic countries one of the smallest European countries in terms of population. It is surrounded by Albania, Greece, Bulgaria and Kosovo and Serbia. Macedonia would eventually like to join the EU despite the regional bloc's ranging problems. Macedonia is more famous for being the homeland of Alexander the Great or Alexander of Macedon. This coupled with Greece's claim to Macedonia as Greek (Macedonians are Slavic people) has caused friction between Greece and Macedonia. While both countries haven't fought a war over Macedonia being Greek, its been a century's long cultural battle. Roughly 103 years ago, in 1913, Macedonia was partitioned between Greeks and Bulgarians. Greece has made itself the official guardian for everything connected to Ancient Greece. Macedonia bordered Ancient Greece but was not a part of Hellenic Empire. The fact that there is a Northern Greek province named Macedonia that borders both Macedonia and Bulgaria, does not help. Macedonia has constantly argued it is not Greek and has its own unique culture, language and history. The Macedonia capital Skopje, is famous for its old Bazaar and historic buildings left over from Ottoman rule of the Balkans. It's official name is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or FYRM. When it broke away from the crumbling Yugoslavia in 1992, it was spared the ethnic cleansing and violence in neighbouring Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia. However in 2001, Albanian rebels demanding better rights for the Albanian minority in Macedonia, launched a low intensity insurgency. The Albanian rebels has been accused of being terrorists, disrupting the peace and a nuisance to the politicians. The earlier insurgency of the early 2000s have died down yet anger at the Macedonian government remains.

Macedonia Timeless Tourism Ad

Ordinary Macedonians have been protesting against the government in Skopje and across the country for the past two weeks. Ignored by most of the world, Macedonians' anger at government corruption, voter fraud and ongoing scandals with wire tapping have pushed the country to a boiling point. Government officials and other politicians are startled by Macedonian citizens' nonstop demonstrations in front of parliament and ministry buildings but have brushed aside the 1,000+ demonstrations as harmless. As the protests have been occurring since 2015. As many politicians the world over do, the current Prime Minister and other ministers are going against the people 's calls to investigate and bring transparency into Macedonian government. The former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski was forced to resign after massive protests in early January 2016. Some observers are comparing Macedonian protests to Ukraine's now infamous Midan revolution. Or are the current protest another coloured revolution in the making complements of NATO? The protests led to the resignation of several ministers and businesspeople.

Skopje Protesters storm the Macedonian President's office in wake of the scandal April 13, 2016

While the protests continue up in Skopje, on the Macedonian and Greek border, migrants from Syria, Eritrea, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are clashing with Macedonian police to pass through the country and the closure of the Macedonian Railways. Summer is coming. Another impending summer rush of migrants into Europe will be happening. The war in Syria has not ebbed and many Syrian cities remain destroyed, bombed out skeletons such as Aleppo, Homs, Kobani and many others.

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