22 June 09, Skopje Lajm
Commentary by Kim Mehmeti:
“Grandfathers and Their Grandsons”
The peoples of the Balkans have a common characteristic: if you want to compliment them and make them feel good, you must not tell those who you are talking to how good they are, but how brave and noble their late grandparents were. In this way, they will not get offended if you tell them that young generations are worthless, a crowd without a clear collective identity, and that, with the exception of their glorious past, they have no other value with which their present can be identified. But, they will get easily offended if you belittle their past, if you ridicule their roots from which they have sprouted and have become an ethnic branch. Some of the peoples of the Balkans, living in the hazy present and walking toward an uncertain future, feel most comfortable in the cave of their past where they keep repeating the tales of their grandfathers, forgetting that their every move today is a seed that will sprout plants of the future that will determine the fates of their grandsons. And thus, some of the peoples of the Balkans have remained in a hole surrounded by the banks of an uncertain present and hazy past, which is almost always a mixture of truths and myths. And so, today, too, as we read history books of some of the peoples of the Balkans, we get the impression that we are reading fairy tales in which an odd true event may have slipped in. It is as if the peoples of the Balkans feel better in the shadow of their grandfathers’ glory than in the present marching on the path that should lead them toward the future. And as such, they dedicate more efforts to embellishing and preserving the past than to the fulfillment of their dreams for the future. But, even as such, it seems that not a single people in the Balkans has gone so far as to do what those who call themselves ethnic Macedonians have been doing: to change the calendar of their past as though it were a seasonal fruit that can be uprooted and then planted back again in any other garden or as though it were a tree whose branches you can graft into any other tree you like.
The Rest of the Article can be found here