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|Macedonia Travel Guide:
Birthday, Macedonia! by Sam Vaknin
Republic of Macedonia is 16 years old: an adolescent with the problems
and promises that characterize puberty. The country now has a young and
dynamic leadership which has succeeded, in one short year, to transform
Macedonia's image both domestically and abroad. According to repeated polls,
for the first time in two decades, people are optimistic and investors
|But there are troubling
currents afoot. Macedonia is undergoing a worrisome change of character.
If not reversed, these malignant processes will backfire and Macedonia's
hopes will be cruelly dashed. Under Nikola Gruevski, Macedonia, for the
first time, stands a chance of becoming a prosperous member of Europe and
the international community. Its history of self-destructive self-defeating
behavior can be avoided.
Macedonians would do well
to learn from the experience of the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus
described in the following article.
*The following article was
originally written about the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus.*
All the countries in the
mutilated post-Communist parts of Europe inevitably ended up poor. Yet,
as opposed to their neighbors, some polities failed to alleviate their
misery or ameliorate their dire predicament. The denizens of these states
are not only impoverished - they also feel like losers and failures.
To avoid confronting such
unpalatable truths and to fend off a tormenting self-image, the citizenry
of these places developed a host of psychological defense mechanisms.
The belief in a fantastic
world in which miracles occur, saviors materialize, one is immune to the
consequences of one's inaction, and all ends well, regardless of current
|The leaders of such countries
provide their voters with fairy tales and grandiose fantasies about multi-billion
dollar investments, which typically never materialize.
Worse still, this obsessive
preoccupation with deus-ex-machina salvation-by-outsiders detracts from
and distracts the scarce human resources at the disposal of the government.
As a result, the authorities
neglect to tackle the most pressing problems facing their nation: unemployment,
dysfunctional institutions, and venality. In the meantime, asset bubbles
- both in real estate and in the bloated and much-manipulated stock exchange
- imperil the country's financial system.
From the Caucasus to the
republics of former Yugoslavia, leaders of economically decrepit countries
in the region present themselves as either Messiah-like saviors or martyrs
to the cause, hounded by a "hate-filled and jealous" opposition, or victimized
by outside forces. Such leaders ostentatiously "dedicate themselves" to
the nation, forsaking a private life or worldly pleasures.
|Their subjects crave for
honest and hard-working leadership and so hungrily succumb to the allure
of ceaseless media campaigns, which border on a personality cult. They
suspend their disbelief and dispense with rationality. The Dear Leader
becomes the focal point of their hopes and dreams while other institutions
- parliament, the judiciary, and the media - shrink and wither.
Often, this populist worship
results in an authoritarian regime that gradually, almost imperceptibly
replaces consensus politics. The Beloved Leader keeps paying lip service
to democracy and functioning institutions, but effectively, he contemptuously
ignores them. He purges the civil service, staffing it with cronies and
relatives, and he treats the opposition as traitors and enemies of the
3. Denial of Reality
From the Caucasus, through
Central Asia, to the Balkans and Africa, unable to face the dismal condition
of their countries, people choose to simply deny it. Hype and spin and
public relations replace real action and substantive reforms.
The language itself is subverted:
corruption is redefined by the powers that be to exclude blatant nepotism;
a mere change of ownership hailed as a revolutionizing foreign investment;
promises and plans presented as facts (faits accompli); statistical methodology
altered to produce favorable results. Thus, reality is done away with and
replaced with fantasy.
4. Aggressive Assertiveness
Rather than accept the fact
that the nation's low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence are outcomes
of its failures, the leadership reverses cause and effects: the country's
repeated failures are now, officially, a RESULT of people's wavering self-esteem
and self-confidence. People who doubt the leadership's claims and doctored
data "don't believe in the future of the nation, don't believe that (insert
the name of the country) can (succeed)." Dissidents are, therefore, branded
as pusillanimous traitors.
Thus, everyone is encouraged
to adopt a loathsome variant of newfound assertiveness that borders on
narcissism and is unpleasantly aggressive. It does not reflect an inner
conviction in the real capabilities and skills of the populace. It is merely
demonstrative and hyperbolic.
About the Author: Sam
Vaknin ( http://samvak.tripod.com
) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After
the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist
for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and
Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business
Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe
categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Wedding Traditions by Rafi Michael
Galicnik which extends on
the falls of mount Bistra is found 110 km away from the capital city of
Macedonia. Each year Galicnik hosts a traditional Macedonian wedding in
the beginning of July. This traditional wedding is a remainder of the past.
When Galicnik had 1600 people living in 800 houses.
|The sound of drums and trumpets
echoes through mount Bistra and the valley of the river Radika. The people
from Galicnik and some 7.000 quests from the Republic of Macedonia and
from U.S.A, Germany, Austria, Italy, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and some other
countries. Each tradition and ritual was followed with great interest and
attention. All of this was captured on photo and film cameras.
This year the wedding started
on Saturday afternoon with the arrival of the drums, and soon after that
the mother in-low danced the (Svekrvino Oro) the Traditional Mother in-low
In the front yard of the
grooms house, girls and boys dressed in Traditional clothes which originate
from Galicnik with flowers they decorated the "Barjak" which was then put
on the house. The older people from Galicnik danced the "Hard Dance" (Teskoto)
, the symbol at the people in this region. Whale dancing, they were
reminded at the hard past, at the fortune seeking, at the weddings and
the happiness. A few tears rolled down their wrinkled cheeks in grief for
the past and happiness that Galicnik still lives.
|On the second day at the
wedding the rituals continued. On this day the groom together with his
closest relatives invite the Godfather to attend the wedding. Before the
wedding column was formed, the groom was shaved and few traditional songs
were sung: " Nejke zetot berber da go brici, tuk mi saka mlad pobratim...".
In the moment when the the in-lows were on their way to the bride they
carried out the custom "Bodinjanje" where they race who will be first to
get to the brides house.
Many customs were carried
out there too: looking through the ring, giving presents, carrying the
dowry and taking the bride. During the two days, a number of customs and
rituals could be seen on the Galicnik wedding.
This gave outside a glimpse
of the richness and atmosphere of wedding in the past. The marriage ceremony
attracted the most guests. This takes place in the church temple "St. Petar
and St. Pavle" in Galicnik. Each year the temple in filled with people.
About the Author: Babylon
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hotels in Skopje
FEATURED HOTELS, MACEDONIA
of special internet rates - continue browsing hotels in Skopje
This hotel is located in
Skopje. Skopje City Stadium is an area attraction. Another nearby attraction
is St. Kliment Church. Dining options at Hotel Mramor include a restaurant
and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. This 3.0-star
property has a business center and offers small meeting rooms, secretarial
services, and a technology helpdesk. High-speed Internet access is available
in public areas. The property offers an airport shuttle (surcharge). Business
services, translation services, and tour assistance are available. Guest
parking is complimentary. Additional property amenities include a library,
a coffee shop/café, and multilingual staff.
Holiday Inn Skopje is situated
in the heart of the city, next to the most important Government and administrative
offices, shopping centres, theatres, museums and cinemas. The hotel is
only 25 km far from the international airport Aleksandar Veliki and is
most convenient for business as well as for leisure travellers. Holiday
Inn Skopje offers 178 comfortable rooms and suites on 9 floors. Each room
is equipped with bath, air conditioning system,mini bar,direct telephone
line with voice mail system,computer sockets, internet access, satellite
and pay TV. Feel the pleasant atmosphere of the restaurant and enjoy the
tasty international dishes or try the Macedonian meals and wines at the
national restaurant. The Aperitif Bar is ideal meeting place offering a
variety of domestic and international beverages, coffees and snacks.