June Books 9) The New Macedonian Question

9) The New Macedonian Question, ed. James Pettifer

A collection of essays on Macedonia, first published in 1999 though this is a 2001 reprint, whose relevance was therefore immediately superseded by the conflict that took place in the latter year. Many of the essays had been published elsewhere before, including one as early as 1950. As well as a number of dull articles by Macedonian writers explaining how wonderful their policies are, I found some really good pieces. In the first section, I found the analyses of the competing claims to Macedonian identity by Kyril Drezov, and Stefan Troebst’s essay on Macedonian nationalism, particularly lucid, and there’s a lovely piece on the Vlach minority by Tom Winnifrith. Particularly revealing also is a piece by Evangelos Kofos on Greece’s approach to the name issue, in which he exposes the domestic political machinations behind this particularly counter-productive policy, yet remarkably without really challenging the foolish assumptions on which the policy was based. Pettifer includes two pieces by himself, which combine his almost unmatched ability to penetrate and explain what is going on with the Albanians with his unfortunate tendency to perceive geopolitical conspiracy behind the motivations of most other actors. Sophia Clement finishes with a decent but too brief description of the international community’s approach. Not really a classic collection – apart from anything else, the separate essays simply don’t cohere particularly well – but useful to have on the shelf.

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