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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

MACEDONIA - ELECTION & POLITICAL LABELS

How would you label or classify Levica activist Zdravko Saveski, one of the leaders of Macedonia’s Colour Revolution?

December 11, 2016 - The Macedonian elections - western labels and templates

By Sasha Uzunov


Reuters wire service can't make up its mind - the governing VMRO-DPMNE is called a Macedonian "nationalist party" but in another report by the same Reuters correspondent, Ivana Sekularac, it's a "centre right party."

Western political classifications such as Left wing or Right wing in Macedonia virtually have no meaning… they are redundant…as for "nationalist" tag, even those who claim to be "internationalist" in Macedonia end up, oddly and paradoxically, supporting a neighbouring or foreign nationalism.

Left wing, Right wing, nationalist, internationalist are "interpreted" differently in Macedonia than in other parts of the World !

Both the “nationalist” VMRO-DPMNE has a right wing Serbian nationalist coalition partner in the form of Ivan Stoijlkovic and a left wing Titoist-Yugoslavist in the form of Slobodan Ugrinovski whilst SDSM, the “Social Democrats” and “internationalists” have a hard right wing Serb nationalist Dragisa Miletic as a coalition partner, who in 1994 at Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic’s bidding tried to destabilise Macedonia. see link. 

Hilarious ! Comedy Gold !




NO LAUGHING MATTER

No matters who comes to power - and it is looking like either VMRO-DPMNE or SDSM can form government  -- one thing is for certain and that is the issue of federalisation of Macedonia is well and truly out of the bottle….with the Albanian political bloc the big winner…. whose nationalism as well as Serbian nationalism seem to both get a free pass or at least a turning of a blind eye to or the subject of some muted or “cute” mild criticism on Twitter by those claiming to be “internationalists,” in Macedonia.

This time round without launching a second uprising, the Albanian bloc is in a better position politically as the kingmaker. Federalisation, should it be implemented, will simply mean the end of Macedonia as a unitary and independent state.

Which brings me to my next point, political labelling in Macedonia.


My understanding of “internationalism” which comes from two tours of peacekeeping duty as an Australian soldier in East Timor (1999 and 2001) is that the headquarters of internationalism is the United Nations in New York. If you are an internationalist, that means you can’t be selective in your internationalism. If something is “nationalistic” it needs to be called out.

In Macedonia, “internationalism” is interpreted in a different and unusual way. It’s sometimes confused with Serbian Cultural Hegemony or with Yugoslavism. We’ve talked about this subject before. You can see the links here and here to save going over old ground.

Take for instance Zdravko Saveski, who leads a new leftist group in Macedonia, called Levica, the Left, which is opposed to “nationalism” and so on. Saveski has been at the forefront of protests against the Nikola Gruevski government over claims of corruption and authoritarianism. We’ve discussed Levica before and spoke to one of its other leaders Branimir Jovanovic. See the link here.

- Should Saveski be called an “internationalist” or even a “ leftist” in the western tradition of “internationalism” and “leftism”? Or is he something else? 

Levica only got about 12,000 votes at the recent Macedonian election and no parliamentary seats after all the hype, including a gushing and uncritical write up from Balkan Insight’s Sinisa Jakov Marusic… whose cultural role models include two Serb nationalist icons Dositej Obradovic and Gavrilo Princip, but I digress !

The headline to the story reads: “Zdravko Saveski not your usual Macedonian politician.”

And goes on - link :

"A front man in the recently formed far-left Levica party, social rights activist and currently unemployed political science professor prefers causal clothes to suits and shiny shoes. It’s a look, he says, that fits his ideological standpoint”

Saveski says the proposed non-party, non-partisan candidates would be prominent professionals and proven “anti-regime fighters” but not members of parties. - 

He believes NATO membership cannot guarantee Macedonia’s stability, as the military alliance is only obliged to protect its members from an attack from abroad - and Macedonia does not face an external threat, he says.

“The greatest security risk [for Macedonia] comes from a civil war and NATO cannot interfere in internal affairs,” he adds.

“To prevent this risk, we need an improvement to inter-ethnic relations, not NATO membership. The solution lies in the fight against nationalism, not in militarism,” he explains.

Saveski also dismisses parallels drawn with the old Communist Party of the Yugoslav era.

“There were some positive aspects in the past system, especially in the field of social policies. The living standard of a large part of the population was much higher back then … but there were also many faults, especially concerning democracy,” he recalls. 

“We are not only more democratic than the Communist party in the past system but are more democratic than all of today’s parties,” he insists. “We want further democratisation.”
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But the name Levica itself has been taken from the Serb-Yugoslavist movement set up by the wife of Slobodan Milosevic, Mirjana Markovic (see below), now living in exile in Russia. Levica’s fist symbol has been copied from Serbian “internationalist” NGO Canvas / Otpor. The Yugoslavist Levica advocated democratic socialism, “moderate” Serb nationalism (hard to tell it from the the extreme variety !) and of course Yugoslavism.



It does not really sound like any fresh or new thinking. TEAM UZUNOV is wondering if Levica is a front organisation set up by Macedonian pundit and Belgradist Borjan Jovanovski, who has called for Macedonia to return to defacto Serb-Yugoslavist control whilst publicly supporting Albanian rights? It’s a deliberate contradiction. See links here and here and here 

Levica’s collaboration with Serb activists from Canvas raises some serious questions about interference in Macedonia’s independence. Srdja Popovic, the founder of Canvas and its predecessor Otpor has a history of working with ultra Serb nationalist figures such as ex Serb President Vojislav Kostunica and the highly reactionary Serbian Orthodox Church, which refuses to recognise the existence of Macedonia. Popovic, as an “internationalist” has rarely if ever taken his own Serb government over its haughty treatment of Macedonia. And sending Serb activists to Skopje to vandalise monuments during anti government demonstrations shows a lack of cultural sensitivity and is no different to the burning of the US Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, in 1999 by Serb nationalists. 

As yet no Croat or Macedonian activists of any kind or ilk have made the journey to Belgrade to target Serb monuments. So Popovic’s behaviour remains enigmatic so to speak.

1999


2016

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First and foremost, if you understand Serbian cultural hegemony and its historical influence in Macedonia, then you discover Saveski is not unusual nor does he offer anything fresh or new. If anything Saveski’s behaviour is utterly predictable.

SAVESKI’S TEMPLATE? Cookie Cutter? Anticipating his moves…

To prove this we conducted a simple experiment on Facebook, bare in mind Melbourne, Australian time is 8 to 9 hours ahead of Skopje, Macedonia time. May 7, 2016.

Team Uzunov predicted that Croatian Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir visiting Macedonia would be the subject of a protest, which proved correct. We based this on understanding the psychology of “activists” such as Saveski, as well two hardcore Macedonian Belgradists Borjan Jovanovski and Branko Geroski, a suspicion and hatred of Croats, a legacy of Serbian cultural hegemony, dressed up or hiding behind the pretext of a protest against the Gruevski government, for we will show that this isn’t blatantly true. If anything, there was a hidden agenda in the attack on Petir, who has been a thorn in the side of Greece and Serbia.


In her role as a Member of the European Parliament, Petir has been active in raising questions about Macedonia and putting Greece’s nose out of joint. see link. Serbia is Greece’s traditional ally.

You will notice that the same level of scrutiny is never applied to say Serbia or for that matter Greece nor even Albanian nationalists by Macedonian ‘activists.”

According to a 2015 Serbian Helsinki Watch Committee report, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic backed Macedonia Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski over the controversial Kumanovo shootout. see link here.

Yet, there were no protests outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, by the likes of Saveski, Jovanovski, Geroski over the strong endorsement of Gruevski.

Likewise, Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic has been very close to Gruevski. There has been a joint embassy agreement deal signed between Serbia and Macedonia in 2014. Again, no protest from Saveski, ,Jovanovski to this move, which could be perceived as being “anti Albanian.”



Robert “Bob” Spasenoski is a former Australian Federal Police officer and a staunch critic of Nikola Gruevski. He supports the Colour Revolution movement in Macedonia. see link here.

He was born and raised in Macedonia, then under Yugoslavist rule before emigrating to Australia. He now spends his time retirement living in Australia and Macedonia.

His view is that the Petir demonstration has racist overtones:

“It is very easy to stir up anti-Croat feeling in Macedonia; against Serbia it is almost impossible. Macedonians are, in the large, so close to the Serbs. As to why, indoctrinated over the years. No one thus far, at least officially, has ever spoken or said anything negative about Serbia.

As an “anti-nationalist” Saveski hasn’t touched Albanian nationalism nor Greek extremism nor even Bulgarian interference in Macedonia. It’s the strangest form of internationalism that goes no where near the Serbian or Greek Embassies to protest… see link


Tahir Veliu, an ultra Albanian nationalist politician, was in Skopje, Macedonia in August to deliver a lecture on a Greater Albania which would include a large slice of Macedonia. Oddly, Saveski did not protest at this manifestation of “nationalism.”

THE SHORT AND TALL 

Saveski and Levica’s record of “anti-nationalism” includes going after a petite Croat woman who endorsed the Macedonian government. But ignoring the two metre tall Serb Prime Minister Alexander Vucic as well as his equally tall mentor and Serb President Nikolic who was in Macedonia some months ago to attend to a Serb nationalist event. It’s a strange record, to say the least.



The political crisis in Macedonia has brought to the surface a number of hatreds, biases long suppressed within ethnic Macedonians since Macedonia’s independence in 1991. Not as well known as the Albanian North-South cultural divide of Ghegs and Tosks. These Macedonian divisions go beyond simple political party allegiances.


They are the PAPAPPSY ! Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue !

The prolonged political crisis in Macedonia has given rise to a new political class, which broke off sometime ago from an original archetype (see below for an historical rundown) and has now fully evolved into its own distinguishable class - embracing new characteristics…and keeping old habits - and with a contradictory mishmash of an ideology.

PAPAPPSY - Pro American, Pro Albanian, Paradoxically Pro Serb-Yugoslavist. They are a class of Macedonians, ex Yugoslavists who have aligned with the United States; acknowledged the political power of Albanian Kosovar and the ethnic Albanian political bloc in Macedonia. But paradoxically hold Yugoslavist views (see link here), which the Albanian bloc opposes in principle but doesn’t seem to mind too loudly as the Albanian nationalist agenda is advanced.

THE ORIGINS OF THE PAPPASY:

One group, the traditional pro Serbian or Yugoslavist archetype, is in a stage now of morphing and branching into separate subcategories. Some have loyalties to Belgrade, others to Brussels and Washington, and some are without loyalties, they’re some kind of nihilists or distorted internationalists with no identity striking out at phantom Macedonian “nationalism” as an act of revenge or over some grievance. What unites them is a belief that Serb culture, either left wing or right wing, is superior and sophisticated to Macedonian. You will rarely, if ever, find them protesting against Serbian nationalism outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, but will tell you they are “anti-nationalists.” The extent of their “anti-nationalism” is usually a Tweet in Macedonian thrown in with some Serbian words “condemning” Serbian nationalism but nothing more. Instead it is easier to target a Croat woman, such as Marijana Petir, or an Alexander the Great statue in the Macedonian capital !

Since the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, some have cleverly reinvented themselves by claiming to be pro American, pro West. see links here and here and have toned down the blatant Serb nationalism or cultural hegemony by cloaking themselves in internationalism and saying what the West wants to hear. 


One pundit has even woven an incredible and extravagant self-hagiography about being a “dissident” in Yugoslavia yet no such hard proof exists, other than his own contradictory claims. There are many like him in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia etc. 

A DISCUSSION ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT NATIONALISM AND ALEXANDER THE GREAT IN MACEDONIA:


A bizarre example is a young Macedonian woman, Ivana Dragsic who claims to be an “anti-nationalist” and internationalist so much so that to prove it she spells her Serbian sounding surname in Albanian style, Dragsiqi, on Facebook. She hates Alexander the Great statues and Macedonian “antiquisation" but when asked about Serbian nationalism, she became aggressive and defensive. Calling such criticism as deranged. Others in the conversation attack criticism of Serb nationalism in particular the atrocities in Bosnia by posting a “Monte Python” clip. I don’t know about you but the massacre of Muslim Bosnians at Srebrenica is no laughing matter.











Most of these people don’t feel a cultural connection to Macedonians outside their milieu including ethnic Macedonians in Greece, Bulgaria, Albanian and in the diaspora in Australia or the United States. They feel more of an affinity to Serb intellectuals in Belgrade, such as Srdja Popovic of Canvas / Otpor fame. see link here

In modern day Macedonia, once taboo issues such as drug abuse, children born out of wedlock, political corruption, gay rights, can be talked about by young people but Serbian cultural hegemony still remains a taboo or touchy subject to discuss or even debate. In comparison, Indian and British scholars can now sit down over a civilised cup of tea and discuss the impact of British colonialism and Imperialism; American academics such as Noam Chomsky can critique US “cultural imperialism” etc. The same can’t be said of Macedonia’s elite and its need for “validation” and status as a consequence of Yugoslavist influences.

VALIDATION AND JUXTAPOSTION:

Two Macedonian journalists epitomise the strange symbioses and juxtaposition: you have pro government mouthpiece Milenko Nedelkovski and his arch rival and anti-government activist Borjan Jovanovski. They are on opposing sides of the political fence - yet they share a common thread:

Nedelkovski has appeared in a number of “seminars” and “conferences” alongside Serb nationalists, including those from Milorad Dodik’s Republika Srpska in Bosnia in Belgrade, which rage against the West. “Pro-West” Jovanovski, half Macedonian and half Serb and scion of a Yugoslavist “aristocratic” family,” paradoxically supports Albanian rights in Macedonia but wants to return Macedonia to defacto Serb-Yugoslavist rule, a move that would spark certain civil war and engulf the whole Balkans. see link for more - here

Both have expressed little or no interest in the affairs of the Macedonian minorities in Greece or Bulgaria. When a documentary film by Polish Macedonian film maker, Petro Aleksowski, about the status of Macedonians in Greece, where they are denied civil rights, was broadcast in the European Parliament in April 2016, neither Nedelkovski nor Jovanovski showed any interest but were more preoccupied with events in Belgrade, the Serb capital.


The Macedonian - a film by Petro Aleksowski - link here


PUPIN PLAQUE: another international inconsistency?

Mihajlo I. Pupin (1858-1935) - link here

A memorial plaque to the famous Serb-American inventor Mihajlo Pupin was unveiled in Ohrid, the historic lakeside town in Macedonia recently. Yet no one from Macedonia’s Colour Revolution or any “internationalists” threw any paintballs at the plaque.

Pupin once donated a church bell and offered some scholarships in Macedonia then under Serbian colonial rule. English colonialists also built schools, churches in Africa too.

The plaque to Pupin is odd - he was one of the architects of Serbia’s establishment of a mini-empire in the Balkans in the guise of Yugoslavia, where Macedonians were simply regarded as South Serb and banned from using their language. In fact, a kind of apartheid existed in Serbian colonial ruled Macedonia (1912-41). Respected American historian Keith Brown writes of an armed camp that you would picture in some kind of African colony.


Pupin was instrumental in raising funds in the US for Serbia’s imperial ambitions beginning in 1912 with the Balkan Wars which saw Macedonia partioned amongst Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and a tiny scrap given to Albania later in 1919. In all parts of Macedonia, the Macedonian people were subjected to brutality and denationalisation: surnames changes; language banned; repression and so on.

Pupin never once spoke out about the Serbian colonial regime in Macedonia unlike British writer George Orwell who spoke out against British imperialism in Asia; having served as a colonial policeman in Burma before World War II. Pupin never agitated for Macedonian rights.

Frenchman Henri Pozzi was damning of Serbian colonial rule in Macedonia, yet Pupin remained silent:


Pupin was very close to US President Woodrow Wilson and the Serbian King and acted as his representative at the Paris Peace Treaty in 1919 never once raising the issue of Macedonian independence or autonomy. He was a staunch supporter of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which to this day denies the existence of the Macedonians.

link here

A British diplomat R.A. Gallop perceptively observed a kind of apartheid in Skopje in 1926.

- 1926 report by British diplomat R.A. Gallop who spent a week in Macedonia (then under Serbian occupation), including the City of Skopje.

This is R.A. Gallop, third secretary of the Legation at Belgrade, spent a week in April 1926 in Vardar Macedonia; his report after the tour is most revealing:

“The most striking thing to one familiar with North Serbia [Serbia proper], who has been accustomed to hear Macedonia described as Southern Serbia and its inhabitants as Serbs, was the complete difference of atmosphere which was noticeable almost as soon as we had crossed the pre-1913 frontier some miles south of Vranje.

"One felt as though one had entered a foreign country. Officials and officers from North Serbia seemed to feel this too, and I noticed especially in the cafes and hotels of Skopje that they formed groups by themselves and mixed little with the Macedo-Slavs.

"Those of the latter that I met were equally insistent on calling themselves neither Serbs nor Bulgars, but Macedonians....There seemed to be no love lost for the Bulgars in most places. Their brutality during the war had lost them the affection even of those who before the Balkan War had been their friends..."

Sited by Canadian historian Andrew Rossos - original source - British Foreign Office, FO371/11405, Kennard (Belgrade) to A. Chamberlain, 21 April 1926, Enclosure, R.A. Gallop, "Conditions in Macedonia," 19 April 1926,.
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So the unveiling of a plaque in Ohrid in 2016 remains a strange event, considering Pupin regarded Macedonians as South Serbs and was one of the supporters of brutal colonial rule in Macedonia. It’s also puzzling that Macedonian internationalists should be alarmed by an Alexander the Great statue in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, when Alexander has been dead for over 2,000 years and Macedonia has never invaded anyone since and nor is likely to do so, when Serbian nationalism is still alive and kicking and only as recently in the 1990s led to massacres in Bosnia. In 2001 Albanian nationalism started a war in Macedonia.


Here Macedonian “Yugoslavist” or “Belgradist,” Branko Geroski, who now cynically supports Albanian rights in Macedonia and attacks alleged Macedonian nationalism makes an interesting revelation:

In 2001 Geroski said the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA /UCK) were after territory not human rights for Albanians in Macedonia …. and no one in Macedonia should accept terrorist blackmail….

quote:

“It is clear to all that the terrorist attacks have nothing to do with human and minority rights for Albanians. They have to do with something else - a blatant attempt to try to divide the country; to first attain military objectives, and only then to establish some kind of "political platform".

“No politician or party in this country should accept terrorist blackmail, even when it has the support of the world’s strongmen.” see link here.


2001 EXIT PLAN ! Borjan Jovanovski sitting on two chairs ? 

Interesting comment from fellow Yugoslavist Borjan Jovanovski about the 2001 war - the escape hatch - exit.

It's an interesting admission. Perhaps it’s why he keeps the door open to Belgrade and Brussels whilst pretending to be pro West and pro Albanian "rights" in Macedonia. Perhaps another reason why Jovanovski never demonstrates against Serbian nationalism or cultural hegemony…

I mean why would you flee Macedonia if you believe that Albanians should be given rights? Why would you be so afraid of the Albanians?

On Twitter In 2015 - Borjan called for defacto Serbian-Yugoslavist rule in Macedonia. It’s an odd statement to make if you support Albanian rights in Macedonia, considering the Albanian nationalist movement spent over 40 years agitating to leave Yugoslavia. Such a move would cause civil war in Macedonia.

Quote: from the New York Times - over the 2001 war in Macedonia - link here

"Virtually everyone has prepared an exit plan in case they have to flee the city and even the country, said a local journalist, Borjan Jovanovski. ''I think there could be a big mess here,'' he said. ''People are planning to move out.''
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There is a kind of moral perversity in such deliberate selectivity and picking on a “soft target” or red herring such as Alexander the Great and avoiding real threats to the Balkans, such as Albanian separatism, Serbian, Greek and Bulgarian nationalisms as well the rising influence of ISIS.  Macedonia has never invaded anyone in over 2,000 years; Serbian nationalist were committing atrocities in Bosnia up till recently, as in the mid 1990s;  and Albanian separatists from Kosovo launched an invasion of Macedonia in 2001. Yet Macedonian “nationalism” poses a danger? It strongly suggests a hidden political agenda…polarisation of Macedonia…hence the silence on Serbian cultural hegemony, Albanian separatism and Bulgarian and Greek interference in Macedonia.


An Albanian double headed eagle statue unveiled in Cair, a suburb of Skopje, Macedonia “celebrating” the KLA / NLA’s uprising in Macedonia in 2001. No paintballs were thrown at it in protest by the “anti nationalists” from Macedonia’s Colour Revolution nor were any thrown at the Mihailo Pupin plaque. Odd…
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UPDATE - 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic’s recent nasty comments and previous racist comments about Macedonia and Macedonians - see here and here and here and here 

LIKE CLOCK WORK - anticipating Macedonia’s strange “internationalists and their reactions. 

TEAM UZUNOV was close in its prediction:

One group, the traditional pro Serbian or Yugoslavist archetype, is in a stage now of morphing and branching into separate subcategories. Some have loyalties to Belgrade, others to Brussels and Washington, and some are without loyalties, they’re some kind of nihilists or distorted internationalists with no identity striking out at phantom Macedonian “nationalism” as an act of revenge or over some grievance. What unites them is a belief that Serb culture, either left wing or right wing, is superior and sophisticated to Macedonian. You will rarely, if ever, find them protesting against Serbian nationalism outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, Macedonia, but will tell you they are “anti-nationalists.” The extent of their “anti-nationalism” is usually a Tweet in Macedonian thrown in with some Serbian words “condemning” Serbian nationalism but nothing more. Instead it is easier to target a Croat woman, such as Marijana Petir, or an Alexander the Great statue in the Macedonian capital !
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Ever since TEAM UZUNOV began monitoring two years ago Borjan Jovanovski’s strange brand of “internationalism” which tickles Serbian nationalism with a feather of criticism we have noticed that the vile sexist swear words aimed at Macedonian critics have been toned down and the deferential and polite manner towards Serbian extremists who incite hatred in Macedonia has also disappeared. Long overdue in our view…

You’ll notice Jovanovski’s refusal to condemn Dacic’s racist comments about Macedonians and Papua New Guineans, despite playing the “progressive leftist” (which he isn’t)…this is December 2015. see link here





But by January 2017, and more than a week after Dacic’s recent nasty comments on 2 January about Macedonia and Macedonians, in particular defending Serbia’s brutal colonialisation of Macedonia (1912-41), came a bleated “blistering” response from Borjan Jovanovski. Perhaps his western handlers may have pointed out to him that he needed to say something, albeit over a week later. TEAM UZUNOV contacted the US Ambassador Jess Baily some time ago over Jovanovski’s strange call for an independent Macedonia to return to de facto Serb-Yugoslavist rule. see link here and here  and here

Once again, this time like many times before, there is no call for a protest outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje, the Macedonian capital. Jovanovski only calls for protests against Hungarian diplomatic stations and his followers attack a Croat MEP, Marijana Petir (see above).

It’s simply play acting for western consumption…

What gives the game away, is despite the Tweet condemning Dacic, which is over a week late, Borjan Jovanovski has previously called for Macedonia to return to de facto Serb-Yugoslavist rule.  Why you would want to plunge Macedonia into a certain civil war is bizarre. Why you would want to live in the same “joint state” with the likes of extremists such as Dacic is crazier. Dacic was born and raised in Tito’s Yugoslavia - yet he was not available to free himself of such chauvinistic anti Macedonian views… That tells you of the failure of Tito’s utopia to tackle Serbian chauvinism. There are many like him, like Dacic… and there are many like Borjan Jovanovski in Macedonia who have a strange interpretation of “internationalism…which regards alleged “Macedonian nationalism” more frightening than Serb nationalism or for that matter Bulgaria, Greek and Albanian… Macedonia hasn’t started a war in nearly 2,000 years…!

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