Mapping Macedonia: Idea and Identity

Mapping Macedonia: Idea and Identity

Mapping Macedonia: Idea and Identity

Mapping Macedonia: Idea and Identity

Synopsis

Ever since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made remarkable progress towards building a pluralistic, multi-ethnic civil society. Yet if the international community supports the legitimacy of Macedonia as a state it has direct responsibility to anchor its future. No matter what view one subscribes to, one stubborn truth remains: Macedonia cannot achieve success on its own. This book provides observations that offer valuable lessons on this little known but remarkable part of Europe.

Excerpt

In 1996, the first U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia toured a household appliance factory soon after his arrival in country. Five years after the nation's independence from the former Yugoslavia, the factory's director asked the ambassador, “Do you think we will make it?” the factory, located in the poorest of the former Yugoslav republics, was a decrepit monstrosity designed to service the now lost Yugoslav market and was one of at least a dozen in Macedonia that the World Bank had insisted be either closed permanently or sold. As the ambassador stepped into the courtyard, he responded gently, “Well, if you get that electrical motor contract in Turkey….” the factory director interrupted to correct the misunderstanding: “No, ” he said, “I mean the country. Do you think Macedonia will make it?”

In some ways, the more perverse response would still have been, however, “Well, if you get that electrical motor contract in Turkey….” To be sure, Macedonia's precarious existence ever since its declaration of independence in 1991 has been based on conditions—political, ethnic, social, economic—that extend from outside its borders as much as internal dynamics. While Macedonia is seemingly well understood as a precarious example of potential

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