Building A Nationalist Narrative


The Macedonian government is pushing through “a single, straightforward, and unapologetically nationalist narrative in marble and bronze”:

An explosion of recent, government-directed building in Skopje’s downtown, a project called Skopje 2014, is a heavy-handed, Vegas-esque attempt to impose both historical and aesthetic unity where there is none [since only 64 percent of Macedonia is ethnically Macedonian]. It includes dozens of statues, enormous new government buildings, and ornamented bridges, fountains, and archways. It’s a project of the ruling Macedonian Party for National Unity, which claims its origins in the late 19th century revolutionary movement against the Ottoman Turks. … Skopje 2014 wants to settle Macedonian history once and for all: to root an ethnically diverse, 21-year-old modern state in a unifying and uncomplicated vision of the past. Whether it succeeds or not, the attempt has left a deep mark on an already-dizzying cityscape.

(Photo of Skopje’s Justinian I monument by Stelios Zacharias)