When free press is not so free

When free press is not so free

Journalists in Macedonia face an ethical fork in the road living in a corrupt media system. By Leah Sarnoff The hum of the morning’s local news broadcast plays behind the bar of a time-honored café outside the center of Skopje, Macedonia. Glancing to the television, only between dry bits of morning chatter, patrons watch the static image of their country’s progression and hear simple dialog on local matters. As the midday sun begins to shine…

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Macedonia’s battle over Alexander the Great

Macedonia’s battle over Alexander the Great

Hidden beneath the layers of the Greek-Macedonian name dispute is a larger disconnect that haunts both sides of the same coin – people’s words fall short from their actions. By Hannah Kaplan The view from above must be nice. Piercing the early morning layer of fog, the statue of Alexander the Great rises above the residents of Skopje, Macedonia, reminding them of their connection to a gloried past and the tension over who owns the right to…

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Somewhere over the rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow

In a country where the potential for LGBTI visibility and acceptance is slowly but surely growing, the legislation surrounding the rights of these individuals is lagging behind. By Isobel Shaddock When Kocho Andonovski, one of Macedonia’s most prominent activists, decided to ‘come out’ on national television it was a significant turning point in his life both personally and professionally. In a country like Macedonia where hate speech and violence against those who identify as LGBTI…

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Fighting art with art: the battle for Skopje

Fighting art with art: the battle for Skopje

In the tug of war for Skopje’s identity, protest art is biting back.  By Yanita Georgieva When a giant orange pill appeared on one of Skopje’s biggest central boulevards last month, people were not shocked. The makeshift sculpture of the anti-depressant “Diazepam” was installed anonymously as a reminder that the country had a growing dependency on pills. The monument came with an explanation for people to pause and read: In case of urgent need, bite a…

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Fighting turmoil with laundry

Fighting turmoil with laundry

Macedonia’s political and economic chaos have left its capital with two labels: kitsch and depressed. But amidst the turmoil, one sector has boomed. Skopje’s business women have challenged the stereotype and made way for themselves as leading figures in the region. Olivera Kostovska has broken out of the bubble in her own way – through laundry. By Yanita Georgieva  

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Sharing identity through music

Sharing identity through music

Days of Macedonian Music is an annual festival in the capitol of Skopje which, over the course of sixteen days, hosts local and worldwide musicians and composers in venues across the city. The festival is an opportunity for locals and those from abroad to share and promote Macedonian music, highlighting its importance to their cultural identity. By Isobel Shaddock  

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Macedonia’s future through integration

Macedonia’s future through integration

The Interethnic Integration in Education Project has jump started a dialogue for Macedonia’s youth, encouraging involvement on a local level for generations to come. The project is a five year, $6.2 million initiative that has extended its helping hand to 395 partnered schools throughout the region. Their aim is to promote awareness of interethnic tension permeating the past and present of the richly diverse Republic of Macedonia. Their success is achieved by using education, as well as a wide range of interactive activities…

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On the doorstep of a global tragedy

On the doorstep of a global tragedy

How citizens of Gevgelija, the border town in the Republic of Macedonia to Greece, are living through being a focal point of the refugee crisis. By Leah Sarnoff The town of Gevgelija has only one set of streetlights. The dusty roads of this Southeastern border town in the Republic of Macedonia are lined with countless yellow taxicabs. Chatting drivers lean against the sides of worn cars, chain-smoking cigarettes, while waiting in line for customers that…

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A heritage lined with silk

A heritage lined with silk

Despite years of historical tension between Macedonians and Albanians, Diamont Nagavci keeps his Albanian heritage alive through his quilt shop. By Hannah Kaplan “This shop is all I own, it’s all I have,” Diamont Nagavci said as he cautiously took a sip from his steaming cup of coffee. The damp cobblestone streets echoed with the weight of footsteps as merchants slowly started to crawl out from their rustic front doors. The smell of fresh Turkish coffee…

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‘Everyone I know talks about leaving’, unemployment forcing youth to emigrate

‘Everyone I know talks about leaving’, unemployment forcing youth to emigrate

There is nothing for young people in Macedonia. Their home country struggles to provide a stable future for them and without a strong connection to it; many see no option but to leave. By Isobel Shaddock Many say that the only way to secure a stable well-paying job is to align yourself with a political party which gives young people little motivation to stay. ‘I took an extra semester actually because I don’t really want…

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