The authoritative Canadian newspaper National Post of Toronto published in its Internet version a travel article entitled Yours to Conquer: Macedonia Is in the Midst of an Alexander The Great Rebranding, written by Bert Archer, on FYROM’s efforts to appropriate names and symbols of ancient Macedonia.
Archer begins his article by stressing: “And that’s the first thing you need to know about Macedonia: It’s not Macedonia. The Macedonia that most of us grew up with (…) that Macedonia is in Greece, a couple of hundred kilometers south of the border of what is now officially and painstakingly known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of its official recognition on April 8.”
“It’s called antiquitization, and it’s one of the most entertaining aspects of this particular Balkan state. Based on the claim that ancient Macedonians were not Greek, and despite the fact that whether they were or not, they didn’t live here, the current nationalist government is looking to build popular support, and a tourism market, on the backs of Philip & Son, putting up statues of them all over the country, and making them the center of what they’re calling Skopje 2014 (it’s got its own Wikipedia page), which is nothing less than a rebuilding of the city’s core (much of which was destroyed in a Yugoslav-era earthquake),” he added.
Archer also mentions that despite the fact that Mother Teresa was born and raised in Skopje that her museum, the Memorial House of Mother Teresa in Skopje, was empty when he visited it. This was not the case when he visited her tomb in Calcutta and found it packed.
Finally, he wrote that FYROM’s identity is still undefined. “The current government likes the Alexander approach. The next one may prefer Mother Teresa, or its history as part of the Ottoman Empire or, who knows, the role it played in Yugoslavia,” he said.