Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

17 April 2012. It Happened in Macedonia…

Editor’s Foreword:

There was a case of miraculously-renewed icons, this time in Macedonia. It even made The Economist (I post the short piece from it below). These eleven images are of the icons and the church where they’re located…

BMD

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Stir It Up

It’s a miracle! Just before Orthodox Easter this weekend, thousands of Macedonians flocked to a church in Skopje, the capital, in which, reportedly, the frescoes of saints began to gleam in a heavenly manner. Across the nearby Ottoman-era Stone Bridge, which spans the Vardar River, crowds relax in packed cafés. Albanians, who make up about a quarter of Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million, are part of the throng.

That’s another miracle of sorts. Between January and March, inter-communal violence rocked the country. A Macedonian policeman killed two Albanians in a dispute that may or may not have been ethnically-based. A village carnival that mocked Muslims and Greeks elicited angry responses from both sides. People burned flags in public, and sectarian chanting broke out at football matches. To some, these events revived unpleasant memories of 2001, when Albanian guerrillas led by Ali Ahmeti fought pitched battles with the Macedonian security services, and the country came close to civil war. Nevertheless, it stepped back from the brink… and Mr Ahmeti’s party is now in government. The cause of the recent surge in violence is a mystery. It stopped as suddenly as it started. , a local analyst, suggested that somebody wanted to “show off their capacity for destabilisation”. Some predicted that armed conflict was around the corner.

Nevertheless, a well-placed diplomat disagreed, insisting, “We aren’t going back to 2001”. The problem, he said, is that Macedonians don’t feel they’re moving towards a better future. That can change only if the country resolves its 20-year-old quarrel with Greece, which argues that Macedonia’s name implies a territorial claim to a Greek region of the same name. The row has blocked Macedonia’s accession to both NATO and the European Union. However, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki lamented that Greece’s other problems mean that the name issue “isn’t among their top thousand priorities”. In the meantime, Macedonia must deal with high unemployment. Silvana Mojsovska, an economist, stated that macroeconomic stability hasn’t led to job creation. Macedonia needs more miracles.

14 April 2012

The Economist

http://www.economist.com/node/21552606

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