May is a month of celebrations. Beginning on May 1 as International Labor Day, 9 May, which is celebrated as the Day of Victory over Fascism, and at the same time as the Day of Europe and for us one of the most important May 24th – Day of Slavic Enlighteners Sts. Cyril and Methodius. But today, the reasons why these days are work-free are fading, and the whole discussion about the holiday has only one direction – whether or not there is a possibility to merge these work-free days with the weekend.
The day after the celebration of St. Cyril and Methodius, May 25, in the time of SFRY, was celebrated as Youth Day. We can not afford to celebrate Youth Day because Macedonia is on the European bottom in terms of opportunities for young people’s progress. The index that measures the quality of life of young people, calculated using 60 social indicators, places us 35th out of 40 selected countries in Europe.
However, for us in “newer” Macedonia, the most important date was supposed to be May 5, 2015, when after listening to one of the „bombs“, the people spontaneously flooded the streets and gathered in front of the Governemnt building, demanding justice for the murder of Martin Neshkoski. The next year we were still on the streets, protesting. The ideals were freedom and justice, and the motto “No justice, no peace”.
Today’s peace is actually a silence of omissions. Some kind of waiting whose end is not known. The government (the building) is still „ugly“ (“ružna”), but at least it was tweeted that inside, the chicken soup for “a fifty” is phenomenal. This information did not help students from the student dormitories, where not only the food did not improve, but also received a director who said that he would do a survey among tenant students to gather information about the conditions and the state the dormitories are in.
The other director related to the youth sector – that of the Agency for Youth and Sports, who got infamously famous editing a collection of poetry – went unnoticed as he strolled through the Book Fair, which this year was held in a sports hall. Actually, this year’s Fair could be best described with a short scene that Ilina Jakimovska shared on Twitter, involving a child on one of the stands, about ten years old, cheeks flushed, and with a heavy backpack on its back.
“Good afternoon, where are the writers?”, the child asked.
“Which writers, dear?”
“Any writer, I want to see someone,” the child replied.
When I read this, I thought about how easy it was for Goran Stefanovski, when once, on his way to the University complex, stopped by MANU and at the check in, as he writes, he asked to see, „no more or less“ but Blaze Koneski. Koneski came down and they talked for about ten minutes. In his book “Tales from the Wild East”, Stefanovski writes: “For some reason, I thought that I had the right to that man. That he is sitting there, representing my interests and that I can call on him. These were times when I thought that what I was doing had some common sense and importance. ”
For a long time, I have a feeling that young people absolutely have no one to call upon. And what they do for a common sense and of real importance can not be presented. This is because different authorities not only decide who has the right to perform on stage, but also the auditorium seats are filled with an audience that has an agenda for applause and cheers.
Starting today, May 28, until June 2 in Kocani there will be performances within the programme of the Drama Amateur Festival of Macedonia. This 55th edition of the festival will feature 16 ensembles, and one professional performance, the hit comedy “Ciao, all the best“ (Cao, prijatno).
The festival was initially planned to be opened by the (outgoing) Minister of culture Robert Alagjozovski. But what was distinctively noticeable in the programme, besides the official part containing the plays, are two book promotions. One of them is „Macedonian Rock Encyclopaedia“ (Makedonska rok enciklopedija) by Tosho Filipovski, a native of Kocani – the town where the festival is held, and the second is by the Slovenian writer Tomaž Kosmač, the book „Punk is Dead“.
And if we skip the part where there is no promotion of a theater book at the theater festival, we come to the part why and how these two books were chosen. We will even justify the promotion of the “Macedonian Rock Encyclopedia”. It is at an event like this that a capital work such as this one can be brought closer to more people, and at the same time the author deserves support after all the windmills he fought in the process of his preparation and publication. However, the second promotion is problematic on many grounds.
First, because the publisher of “Punk is Dead” is the publishing house “Goten”, whose owner and founder is precisely Minister Alagjozovski, and second, because the translator of the book is the new president of the festival, Darko Spasov.
Spasov as president of the festival was elected on February 17 this year. In addition to the election of the President and a new Managing Board, the preparations for this 55th edition of the festival started at the same session. If we go further back, the professional performance of „Ciao“ chosen for closing the festival, is played on the repertoire of Theater Comedy, where Spasov is employed as a dramatist from 2015.
The selection of the performances in the competition program of the festival was decided by actress Jasmina Bilalovic, while the jury for the awards will be decided by the husband of Bilalovic, the actor Goran Stojanoski.
Did we fight for such nepotism? For this liberated culture? For these fair opportunities? For this transparency? So it is totally unimportant which plays will be put on stage if the foundation on which the Kocani festival is set is corrupt. The theater was and could have been an antidote to all the madness so far, but by these actions, the cultural madness continues.
It turns out that the projects approved by the Annual Program and the so far selection of acting directors, presidents and members of the executive and executive boards are only an accelerator to the ruin that is foretold for what remained of the culture in our country. Instead of being determined to put culture back on its feet, with full review and establishing of criteria, everyone hurried to make their own clan and occupy territory. And, what is a cultural territory worth without preserved integrity?
(The author works in the field of theater)