The historical structure of the city of Tirana – notes from the fieldwork

Text: Agata Rogos

Architecture never creates a neutral and harmless unity, but rather, produces an integral structure of political symbols, which were used in Albania as mechanisms for the de-Ottomanization of urban space, which in turn, were focused on the process of state-building and symbolic space. In the time of Ahmet Zogu, one might discuss the existence of two parallel city centers, which reflected symbolic changes in the Ottoman city structure. One marker of this iconographic transformation was the oriental clock-tower (Sahaat Kulla) and its surroundings, which in fascist urban planning had been marginalized, as Italian architects focused on new, modern, European city planning. In the successive communist narration another element of the “old” city structure disappeared – the old market place, which along with the clock tower and Et’hem Bey mosque constituted the most important elements of the oriental city structure. With modern city planning, the main emphasis was placed on the city’s main axis and Skënderbeg Square, which became a place for political rituals during the communist period.

The crucial changes of the urban structure came along with the proclamation of Albanian capital that was initiated in 1920, as provisional, and reasserted in 1925 as official decision of National Assembly. Even though other towns such as Shkodra, Durrës, Vlora or Korça were argued by some groups to be more appropriate for the capital, according to their historic, cultural or economic significance, it was Tirana that was eventually chosen as a main center. The choice was made according to two reasons: geographical position of the city – close to the port of Durrës and not immediately on the border and besides it was one of the few Albanian cities without foreign armies stationed there. Another advantage of choosing Tirana, as capital was its open plain surrounding that could meet the needs of new administrative and governmental buildings and common civic space serving for power rituals, manifestations and gatherings.

As in other south-eastern European post-Ottoman cities and capitals, also Tirana in the early 20th century was being transformed from the oriental city into modern and Europeanized city, which was a parallel process to the national movements of the late 19th and beginning of the 20th century and establishment of national states.

A significant change in the urban structure of Tirana was implemented with a development of the master plan by noted Italian architect Armando Brasini (1925) that expected the construction of a new center with administrative institutions, the parliament and the state government and foremost with a major open with a boulevard in a north-south direction dividing the new town from its other historical and spatial layers. Nevertheless Brasini’s plan was ambitious and most of it was never realized, but the north-south axis has remained central to all urban plans of the city.

The main urban development of Tirana came along with the proclamation of Albania as a ‘democratic, constitutional and heritable monarchy’ in 1928. Since the early 1930s the biggest effort of constructing Tirana’s urban structure was on creating the representative space including institutional edifices as it was designed in the project proposed by Brasini with the main north-south axis crowned with a monumental square that was named for Gjergj Katriot Skënderbeg. The references to symbolic continuation of power of Ahmet Zog I, who claimed to be a relative of Albanian prince suggested legitimacy of the Albanian nation-state. However project proposed by Brasini seemed to be far more monumental and failed to accommodate the old (oriental) city structure with Et’hem-bey mosque and the Clock Tower.

The regulatory plan dated on 1929-1930 revised the previous master plan by increasing the north-south boulevard up to the future stadium was expected to be built north of the old bazaar. The northern part of the boulevard up to Skënderbeg Square was named after King Zog I and was 40 meters wide, whereas the southern part was called the New Boulevard (later renamed as after Stalin).

Yet in 1942 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Albania’s independence, a new Freedom monument with a characteristic fascist style was erected in the main city square. In photographs discovered by Valter Gjoni (2012), one can see from a banner slogan “Rroftë Shqipnija e madhe. Rroftë populli” (Long live Great Albania. Long live the nation) that this monument was based on the idea of Great Albania. As a consequence, this image proves that the fascist regime in Albania was supportive of the act of liberation of Albania performed by Ismail Qemaili in Vlora (1912) and the incorporation of the Albanian territories along with Kosovo and Çamëria. Aesthetic transformations, in this case under the pressure of political and ideological changes, included marking characteristics of identity in the context of national ideology, which will be shown based on the example of a statue of Stalin, which stood on the main square of Tirana in 1951–1968.

In a manner parallel to every Soviet city, the capital of Albania and other smaller cities and towns in the country were constructed as artifacts of socialism based on the concentric structure of the main open public space with a symbol of/monument to the leader in its central position. This type of construction was intended to provide a location for political performances and rituals – actions that would consolidate the Party’s or leader’s authority. The space was defined by two important elements: constative (official) and performative (enacted), which in turn led to a distinction between the masses and the political elites.

General features of the new representation system implemented by Socialist-Realist aesthetics will be crucial also in Albanian context and will enable the overall understanding of the construction of New Space. It is essential to say that these systems of representation have reshaped the very nature of the planning profession. The new form of architecture and art was about to transmit or translate states ideas and prioritize the image of the leader and state apparatus. In a way Stalin, as a creator of the New Order, had begun to extend a homogenous structure over all cities, firstly in Soviet Union and later in other socialist republics of the Communist Block, which were being designed in a more or less parallel way. This kind of ideological and aesthetic constructs creating specified system of representation transposed Soviet Union and its fraternal states as a single land, characterized by the spatial unity, defined by aesthetic references and continuity over boundless territory. Thus, the new style clearly served to represent certain ideological model of power that used the landscape as a stage of projection of ideological constructs.

By analyzing different spatial structures of Socialist Realism it might be observed that cities were adopting the same functional model that was based on different societal units defined as residential quarters. Each one of them was designed to provide access for every resident to necessary services of social living. In the central part of the spatial structures – city center was created a kind of administrative, social and political hierarchy embodied with the most important institutions and with a very important element of the political discourse, which was the symbolic component constituted as an artifact (monument).

Another important feature in the new urban planning is openness and exposition to wide-angled light, creating the space for monumental design, with broad streets and a transparent communication system. That kind of planning imposed the images of the bright future that filled the everyday with a sense of socialism.

As can be seen two different city-planning models adjusted in Tirana – Fascist and Soviet – are very similar according to exposition of space and creation of a representative space. The new structure and new indicators of city planning and the perception of public space in general were implemented according to the Stalinist iconographic vision.

The Stalinist city that emerged on Albanian soil was built upon socio-material and political forces and was totally controlled by political actors, both internal and external. This could be easily referred to as a theatrical construct consisting of stage and audience, with state architects and state artists performing the function of deaf script-writers, caught between two different translations: the visuality of the text that was transmitted through the artifacts of socialism and the Soviet narrative of socialism – the constative and performative aspects of the space.

Outdoor partisan Albania environmental museum – researching border monuments

Text: Agata Rogos

“Wherever you cast your glance in Albania you see a stone, marble, bronze landscape. It is the new landscape of the homeland that has a glorious history, which counts hundreds and thousands of exploit feats for freedom, for the people’s power, for their defence. In this landscape there have been engraved names and events which we honour, we recall them with respect because they increase our forces, they add to our pride. And we continue on the road of the monuments. We read in them about the Albanian insurgents who answered in the language of arms to every invader. These commemorative symbols recall us in Albania conventions where oath was taken and decisions were adopted for the good of Albania. We have before us commemorative tablets, busts and lapidaries, which raise high the names and activity of our fighters for National Revival and of their predecessors. Partisan Albania is entirely an environmental museum. We have erected and shall continue to erect such memorials because they promote the revolutionary education of our youth, army and of all our labouring masses”. (From Përmendore të heroizmit shqiptar, photographic album)

The few existing monuments and statues in Albania entering the communist era were either connected with Ottoman tradition or to the Italian influence period that with no doubt played a very important role in the visuality of the public space, also in modern Albania. The significant changes of the city scapes were not only on the aesthetic level or the choice of particular language and forms chosen to represent the new state and power, but most of all it was about constructing the inexistent national narratives that would be ‘ours’ not implemented through invaders, to use the rhetoric of the socialist and nationally-driven Albanian discourse. And it was obvious that the New Albania was to be created from absolutely different tradition, thus it was about to replace not only the model of representation but to replace religious cult objects with secular elements that were about to retrieve the role of the first ones. The process couldn’t be implemented immediately but successively the whole landscape was enriched with new sculptural monuments, architectonic-sculptural ensambles (like national martyrs cemeteries), lapidaries and museums of National Liberation War (Lufta Nacional Çlirimtare) and art galleries in Tirana and other districts. 

I made my fieldwork in Albania mapping some border monuments – remnants of the WW2 partisan movement. The first impression was a feeling of abandonment or to say – unwanted heritage. However  in the collective memory of Albanians as I was told many times during my interviews – these memorials/monuments were referred to as a commemoration of the partisans’ struggle and not as such as socialist monuments in contradiction to non-exiting nowadays monuments of Enver Hoxha – the main figure of communist Albania. I made my fieldwork in the chosen locations where high in the mountains or in the outskirts of the cities are located these artifacts. 

The lapidars (post-war monuments of partisans and heroes of the WW2) present in Albanian landscapes became cultural systems of communication that create a significant part of the post-communist collective memory and elements of common knowledge, common memory, and foremost of a common Albanian identity. Lapidars and other socialist monuments, together with the cultural landscapes they shape, are part of Albania’s cultural memory. Therefore, all cultural landscape-shaping elements from the socialist period automatically become elements of historic cultural landscapes in a post-socialist environment. A historic cultural landscape that mainly consists of or is dominated by a high density of socialist cultural landscape elements might then be called a historic socialist (cultural) landscape[1]. The historic socialist landscape in Albania comprises far more than bunkers, the ruins left by socialist economic policy, such as industrial complexes (kombinati), agricultural cooperatives (kooperativa), socialist urban design and its functional correlations and architecture, or propaganda elements like slogans on factory chimneys, walls, and mountains, are some of its most visible and significant elements. At least equally striking and omnipresent elements in those landscapes are the widely visible socialist monuments such as the lapidars. Thus, lapidars were, for socialist Albania, serving as an instrument to define its territory and to border off its ideology from other dictatorships of the communist block. As an example one might refer to the no-man’s land between the Albanian–Greek border at Kakavij or the Albanian–Kosovo (former Yugoslavian) border at Qafë Prush.

 As my interviews with the artists of the socialist period in Albania show the biggest explosion of the new monuments and in consequence the construction of the new system of national symbols happened from the beginning of 70’s which might be linked to the separation from Soviet Union and a need to strengthen the national narrative. That is also the moment when Enver Hoxha and his circles started to reconstruct the memories of the partisan movement, reinforcing local impact of the communist system.

A very important component of this new symbolic construct was performativity of celebration in the outdoor partisan Albania environmental museum. During the newly established national holidays these monuments have been successively transformed into the pilgrimage places, where school children, students, soldiers and peasants of state-owned kooperativa have been coming for the commemorative ceremonies. 


[1]M. Bickert, Lapidars and Socialist Monuments as Elements of Albania’s Historic Cultural Landscapes, in Lapidari I, Punctum Books 2015, p. 105-114.

Research on war monuments in Kosovo

Text: Agata Rogos

I visited Mitrovica (north part of Kosovo, border with Serbia) relatively late – in 2017, five years after my first study visit to Kosovo. The fieldwork started with a contact with the Museum of Mitrovica located on the South part of the city. My main interest primarily was connected with the war monuments of 1999, as I was developing my research on the last war in Kosovo as it is called in the general Kosovo-Albanians discourse. However my attention was attracted by a concrete, uncanny structure that can be visible from all parts of this hybrid city. The first confusion about this object comes with the naming problem that appears in both parts of the city – Albanian and Serbian. Whenever I tried to talk about this monument among the citizens of Mitrovica I have been faced with different terms defining its symbolic function and meaning. And precisely this naming problem made it so strongly appealing to me. This is how through multi-layered perception of one monument one can unleash the whole history of a city abundant in inter-ethnic and inter-cultural components. It shows the process of divisions as well between native populations and dynamics of particular and common values that have transformed during different periods and power systems. This is also how the imagined sense of ethno-national identity has been communicated on both sides of the river.

Bogdan Bogdanović when referring to his monument in Mitrovica built between 1960 and 1973 claimed:

This was one of my most complicated projects. It took some ten or twelve years from the first sketches to realization. The monument is dedicated to the Partisans. The two pylons were often interpreted as a Serb and an Albanian figure. In my interactions with the local clients, Serbs and Albanians seemed to work well together; later, I found it very painful when the trouble in Kosovo began. I wanted to symbolize a gateway or entrance. The main generator for the form was space – the enormous open space with fantastic depth overlooking the city. I explored many different directions before I came up with this version, which stands its own ground against the vast empty space. As it turns out, it now sits precisely on the border between the Serb and Albanian parts of the city (Kulić & Thaler, 2018, p. 60).

The Shrine to the Fallen Serb and Albanian Partisans (1960–1973) designed for Mitrovica (Kosovo) in the oral narratives among the citizens of the city is nowadays most of the times referred to as a Miners’ Monument, a monument on the hill or Partisans’ Hill. In the guidebook promoting Kosovo published in 1982 it is described as memorial site of Partisans, while sometimes it is merged being named the monument of Miners-Partisans. However, in contemporary identity discourses the original name given by the author of the monument barely appears. According to data gathered by Vladimir Kulić (Kulić & Stierli, 2018) and published on the occasion of the exhibition in MoMA in New York (Toward a concrete utopia: Architecture in Yugoslavia 19481980, 2018–2019) the monument of Mitrovica is dedicated to the fallen ethnic Albanian and Serb Partisans, members of a miners’ platoon. As the author explains: “They successfully sabotaged the extraction of zinc and lead ore from the Trepča mines, which the occupying German forces needed for weapons production” (Kulić & Stierli, 2018, p. 58).

This oral disparity of the seemingly not important Mitrovica monument’s name shifts is presenting a widespread phenomenon of denying the heritage of Yugoslavia (mostly among Albanians) and strengthening particularisms above the commons. Moreover, it is followed by more radical acts of toppling down the unwanted heritage of Yugoslavia and its main slogan brotherhood and unity, as a consequence of traumatic war experiences in Kosovo, which is exemplified in monuments’ displacement in recent years in the public space of Kosovo.

The reason for introducing the monument in Mitrovica lays in complementing the knowledge of the semantics of “the border space”. Its complexity and symbolic contextualization going far beyond the remembrance of World War II, as referred by the artist Bogdan Bogdanović, was to indicate interactions between Serbian and Albanian communities in a form of a gate, or entrance. Thus this particular monument, more than any other can be perceived an example of verification of ideological and, aesthetic transformation of the system of representations of war and analysis of the mechanisms of their promotion in the collective memory.

The example that I would like particularly refer to in my analysis of performances of patriotic tourism crowned by the slogan of brotherhood and unity is the story of two partisans: Boro Vukmirović (Serbian of Montenegrin origin) – the Regional Committee Secretary of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in Kosovo and Ramiz Sadiku (ethnic Albanian) – member of the Bureau of the same Committee, both captured and executed in Landovica by the Italian Fascists on April 10, 1943, while they were on their way from Gjakova to Prizren to meet Belgrade’s envoy Svetovar (Tempo) Vukmanović. During socialist Yugoslavia they became a symbol of Albanian and Serbian brotherhood and their story was explored in many ways in material and non-material culture in both languages Serbian and Albanian (oral history, poems, novels, busts, monuments, buildings, etc.).

Figures of Boro and Ramiz as an example of brotherhood and unity ideology have been present in a big number of patriotic poems; two of them are worth mentioning: one by Adem Gejtani “Boro and Ramiz[1]” mostly accessible in Serbian language and the other one by Esad Mekuli “Ramiz, Comrade[2]” popularized in school books until late 1980s in Albanian language. Most interestingly during the fieldwork I made in Kosovo when researching cultural presence of Boro and Ramiz most of my informants still remembered the lines of the poem that was obligatory to learn by heart in primary school in the 1980s. Moreover, despite the negative approach towards Yugoslav heritage in today’s Kosovo still the myth of Boro and Ramiz is bringing in rather positive memories.

In November 1963, as stated before with an atmosphere of recurrence of official narrative of Liberation Struggle, on the 20th anniversary of the death of Boro and Ramiz Yugoslav authorities, thanks to the lobbying of local government and veterans’ associations, decided to erect a monument – along with memorial[3] site at the entrance to the village of Landovica (fig. 3.). Monument has been created by 3 authors: Miodrag Pecić, Svetomira Arsić Basara and Hilmija Qatoviqi. The monument was officially unveiled to the public on November 30th, 1963, an event which was attended by Josip Broz Tito and included a reading by Albanian poet Adem Gajtani of his work dedicated to the two comrades “Boro and Ramiz.” The altar-like memorial, with its ten meters tall concrete sculpture, a stylized two-headed figure, suggests a religious devotion, in this case the civil religion of the “active victimhood” of the partisans, in the words of Miranda Jakiša (2015, p. 17).

Certain sources (mostly oral and photographic)[4] recount that while this monument stood in its original condition, it bore an inscription that was engraved directly onto its concrete façade:

[while] holding high their flag of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPJ) in combat against occupiers and domestic traitors for national and social liberation, for brotherhood and unity of our peoples, here, in April of 1943, national heroes Boro Vukmirović, [KPJ] secretary, and Ramiz Sadiku, member of the KPJ District Committee for Kosovo and Metohija, gave their lives.

In greeting postcards from Prizren, the Landovica memorial comes to be also a signpost for the city as much as other older, or more urban sites (fig. 4.). The memorial also appears with the post-war motels and restaurants Vllazrimi, Liria, and Sputnik, modern but modest buildings in style and size, in harmony with Prizren’s small scale (Return to Sender)

As one of the most spectacular performances that it worth mentioning as example of the official narrative of brotherhood and unity in practice was a march organized in May 1986, to commemorate the remembrance of Josip Broz Tito, by Youth of Yugoslavia. This explicit example combing the idea of secular pilgrimage and patriotic tourism took a way from Belgrade to Landovica and Vitromirica in Kosovo. It was associated with 26th meeting of pioneers of Yugoslavia in Landovica with official rituals characteristic for socialist states – with fanfares of victory and raising the flags of the organization, big scale images of Josip Broz Tito and in a gesture of unity creating a circle crowning the monument of Boro and Ramiz Public commemoration transformed the public from passive audience to the active participants. Memorialization or commemoration is different than performativity (the intent to effect, to make something happen or going further – events that attempt to cause social change). The omnipresence of the slogan of brotherhood and unity in the Yugoslav public space have been intensified, as I showed in this paper, not just by material culture (monuments and memorials) that is in the today Kosovo vanishing from a public gaze or is being covered with the representations of the last war (1999) but also by oral manifestations and collective memory, mostly in the generations that grew up in Yugoslavia.


[1] Jedno smo nebo / dva lista s iste grane / dva kamička iz iste rijeke / čiste Bistrice / dva tijela iz iste krvi / prečiste krvi Dukađina / prsti sa iste ruke / jedna smo lasta / ja desno krilo njeno / ti njeno lijevo krilo / oči moje tvoje trepavice / tvoji nabori moje čelo / pričaju o putevima u budućnost / pričaju o putevima ka slobodi / Pušketaše nas / od istog smo metka pali — / jer šta sam ja bez tebe / šta je jedno krilo / bez drugog krila. (Adem Gajtani). Literal translation made by the author: We are one sky / two leaves from the same branch / two little stones from the same river / the clear Bistrica River / two bodies of same blood / pure clean blood of the Dukadjins / fingers from the same hand / together we are a bird (swallow) / I am its right wing / you are its left / my eyes, your eyelashes / your crinkle, my forehead / they speak of roads to the future / they speak of roads to freedom / They gunned us down / we fell from the same bullet / because, what am I without you / what is one wing / without another wing.

[2] Landovicë, a i pe dy trima? / Landovicë, a të rroki shungullima? / A pe, oj, në pritë – / në luftën që s’e ndanë, / nën plumbat e tradhëtarit / Boro e Ramizi kur ranë? / Me ty lulzoi vllaznimi, / dora dorës iu shtri… (fragment, Esad Mekuli). Literal translation made by the author: Landovica, have you seen those two heroes? / Landovica, have you been strucked by a thunder? / o have you seen them in ambush – / the fight that they didn’t leave apart / under the bullets of a traitor / Boro and Ramiz when did they die / With you brotherhood is in blossom / they lied down hand in hand…

[3] In 1999 memorial of Boro and Ramiz was demolished and replaced with the Martyrs’ Cemetery (Varrezat e Dëshmorëve), a burial place where the remains of Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) soldiers who died during the Battle of Jeshkova are buried.

[4] Photographic collections from the Archive of the Republic of Kosovo (Arkivi i Republikës së Kosovës) and oral sources based on unstructured interviews I conducted during my fieldwork in Kosovo in 2018–2019. See also: Niebyl, 2018.

Turkish Cultural Diplomacy in Montenegro

Turkish Cultural Diplomacy in Montenegro

Thomas Schad

We, the participants of the workshop “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Muslims in the Balkans” (9.-11.7.2018), have undertaken an excursion to the nearby coastal town Ulcinj/Ulqin on the second day of our workshop (in the following Ulcinj). In Ulcinj we talked to representatives of the local administration, the Islamic community, the media sector and non-governmental organisations, we looked around the Montenegrin media and made our own observations during our walks through the city. Since my dissertation deals with cultural diplomacy between Bosnia and Turkey, I paid special attention to how Turkish cultural policy is represented in the townscape of Ulcinj and in the wider public.

Ulcinj is the southernmost coastal city of Montenegro and is only separated from the Albanian border by the “big beach” – the longest sandy beach of Montenegro. On the other hand, Ulcinj is also considered the “most Albanian” city in Montenegro: not only the majority of the population is Albanian, but also most tourists come from Kosovo and Macedonia and speak Albanian. The majority of Albanian Ulcinjs are Muslim again, which makes the city an attractive place for Turkish cultural diplomats who mainly maintain and renovate Muslim-Ottoman cultural assets. Reception in the Skupština OpštineHowever, at first we had the honour of being received in the building of the “Skupština Opštine”. The majority of Albanian Ulcinjs are Muslim, which makes the city an attractive place for Turkish cultural diplomats who focus on Muslim-Ottoman cultural assets.

Reception in the Skupština Opštine

But first we had the honour to be received in the building of “Skupština Opštine”. The “Skupština Opštine” means “Parliament of the Municipality” in German, but is also the central administrative seat and thus comparable with a Berlin citizens’ office; like all other public inscriptions, the “Opština” is bilingual – in Jezik* with “Opština” and in Albanian with “Komuna”. The polyglot president of Komuna/Opština, Ilir Çapuni, greeted us there in person – in English, which he was able to perfect during his study visit to the American East Coast. Next to him are the Chairman of the Albanian Forum and the local Mufti, as well as a translator. Due to a misunderstanding, the translator – translation into English was planned – was, however, a translator from Albanian into German. Since most of the Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin participants of our workshop could not understand German, the extremely smart and diplomatic, perfectly trilingual president also courteously stepped in as translator for our excursion.

According to Ilir Çapuni, a big problem for Ulcinj, together with the low birth rate and high unemployment, is the emigration of young people. When asked about their migration destinations, everyone agrees that the USA ranks first, followed by Western European countries such as Germany, Austria, France and Italy. However, according to Ilir Çapuni, there has been a new trend in migration for study purposes in recent years: more and more students are choosing Turkish universities for their education. Among them were above all prestigious universities such as the Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTÜ, Ankara) or Yıldız Teknik (YTÜ, Istanbul). These universities are among the country’s elite universities (ODTÜ in particular) and, together with the state Bosporus University (Boğaziçi), the French-speaking Galatasaray University and newer private universities such as Koç, Sabancı or Bilgi (among others), belong to the category of English-speaking (or French-speaking) elite universities. The number of private universities named in Turkey Vakıf Üniversiteleri (“Foundation Universities”) has grown rapidly in the last two decades, but they are not automatically among the most prestigious universities with high quality standards.

As I have seen again and again elsewhere in the Balkans (especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina), increased academic mobility is an important aspect of Turkish cultural diplomacy: with its mobility programmes such as Türkiye Bursları, Mevlana and others, Turkey has created a counterpart to the European Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+ programmes, through which it attracts students and researchers primarily from the “post-Ottoman” sphere of influence, while at the same time promoting the learning of the Turkish language. One of the participants of our workshop was also a scholarship holder of such a programme at the time of our excursion. During her three-year stay in Turkey she learnt the Turkish language, so that she is now preparing to write her dissertation in Turkish.

It has to be added that very few of the Balkan students I know of have landed at one of the above mentioned English speaking lighthouse universities where they do not necessarily have to learn Turkish. The Turkish higher education landscape, which since 2016 has been subject to strong state intervention and reconstruction measures, is characterised by extreme inequality. At most state universities, the teaching language is Turkish, which from a German perspective is anything but surprising, but contrasts with the traditional English and French language skills of the elite. I was able to gain a detailed picture of these differences through my own one-year stay at the Istanbul State University in 2006/7, through numerous further visits and research stays at private elite universities such as Sabancı and Bilgi, as well as through my previous work as a lecturer at a Berlin university and my work in the field of German-Turkish academic relations.

Examples of Ottoman space enhancement in Ulcinj

Looking at the activities of Turkish cultural diplomats from the perspective of the production of space or spatial production (following Henri Lefebvres’s Production de l’espace), one could describe both structural and narrative-media activities. In this respect, Turkey’s cultural influence can be observed particularly in the media, such as in the widespread and extremely popular Turkish TV series, about which a great deal has already been written. The serial affinity of Balkan mothers-in-law, children, grandparents, even husbands, who now think they are well informed about the Ottoman past through series such as Suleyman the Magnificent (Sulejman Veličanstveni / Muhteşem Yüzyıl), has meanwhile become a widespread cliché between Zagreb and Skopje. Not mentioned here are the numerous other series that take place either in the Ottoman period or in contemporary middle-class contexts in Istanbul. The Internet portals Monteislam and Crnagoraturska, which stand here as examples for the numerous and powerful Online Social Networks (OSN) and new media, will still be talked about. A stroll through Ulcinj shows that many of Ulcinj’s cultural monuments date from the Ottoman period, such as the building of the city museum in the old town, which has a castle-like fortification (Kalaja e Ulqinit / Stari Grad Ulcinj). The minaret of the building, damaged by an earthquake, testifies that it was previously a mosque, which in turn was a church, as can easily be seen from the architecture and Christian symbolism and inscriptions. Turkish cultural diplomats also refer to these and similar Ottoman cultural monuments in Ulcinj by rehabilitating and reconstructing them. With the exception of a factory for the production of olive oil, Turkish cultural diplomacy in Ulcinj is mainly active in the cultural field.

As early as 2014, the online portal Ul.Info reports that several Islamic cultural monuments in Ulcinj have been renovated with the help of TİKA One is the mausoleum (Turbe) of the Pulti/Pultić family, which we already visited on our way to Komuna/Opština. A massive marble slab with trilingual lettering in Turkish, Albanian and Montenegrin on the tomb reminds us that TİKA and thus Turkey is behind the renovation. According to the inscription on the plate TİKA is subordinate to the Turkish Prime Minister’s Office; after the recent swearing-in of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the President of the Republic of Turkey the Prime Minister’s Office was abolished, it is certainly questionable whether this marble plate will be in this form of existence or will be exchanged.

All these monuments refer directly to the divided Ottoman past of Turkey and Ulcinjs, so that these “aid measures” for the city of Ulcinj also represent at the same time a work on the revaluation of the “own” past. Work on the Ottoman past is often presented by Turkish cultural diplomats in two ways: on the one hand as help, but on the other hand also as work on “one’s own” – when, for example, the TİKA renovations are reported, but these are described as an expression of the “ownership of the gun” (sahip çıkmak). Thus TİKA writes on the own homepage: Türkiye Balkanlar’daki Osmanlı Yadigârı Eserlere Sahip Çıkıyor – Turkey takes over the ownership (protection) of the Ottoman memorial works in the Balkans.

In the immediate vicinity of the Pultić/Pulti mausoleum, TİKA, together with Polish Aid, has inscribed itself in the multilingual sign forest Ulcinjs through another relief action: the Centar za djecu sa smetnjama (Centre for Children with Disabilities) was “adapted” and equipped by TİKA Furthermore, the media reports about the renovation of the Namazđah mosque by TİKA, which we did not visit. In addition TİKA took care of the renovation of the hammam and other building objects in the area of the old town.

Islam, kinship and civilization work between Montenegro and Anatolia

These examples from Ulcinj illustrate that the Balkan-Turkish cultural diplomacy is based on three main factors, as I will characterize here by some further examples and background information. First, the topic of the common religion, Sunni Islam, is quite clearly the “basic substrate” of Turkish cultural policy abroad and the repudiation of Balkan Muslims. The numerous renovations and new buildings of mosques, medresses and dervish monasteries, which are often completed in large and high-profile ceremonies in the presence of high-ranking Turkish and local politicians and clergy, such as the completion of the reconstruction of the Ferhadija mosque in the Bosnian Banja Luka in 2016, which was destroyed by Serbian war criminals during the war, bear witness to this. Also in speeches, especially by Turkish cultural diplomats, religious and/or Islamist references are almost always made – for example when Sarajevo is compared with Cairo, Jerusalem or Gaza, when the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan beckons his followers with the four-fing R4bia greeting, or when he compares himself with the prophet Muhammad, who, like himself, was persecuted in the failed coup night of 15 July 2016.

Religiously colored topics are reported in detail in the Balkans, with the media often resorting to the state Turkish news agency Anadolu Ajansı with its local branches, as in Sarajevo, as a source of news. On the other hand, there are newspapers like Stav and Faktor in Bosnia, which are financed by the opaque Turkish-Bosnian media group Simurg, and which meticulously report on Turkey and the Bosniac-Balkan-Turkish solidarity in the spirit of the Turkish government. There are also a large number of Internet portals, such as crnagoraturska.com in the Montenegrin case, which reports on numerous and more frequent popular events with religious costumes.

In Ramadan, the month of fasting, for example, public and free Iftar dinners for breaking the fast every evening have expanded into a mass phenomenon in recent years. This year, crnagoraturska.com reported on such an Iftar in the Mehmed Fatih Medresse, where one of the participants of our workshop works as a Jezik* teacher. These joint dinners will be hosted by Turkish actors from the direct environment of the AKP and, as in Rožaje (Sandžak) in northern Montenegro, can assume such proportions that the whole city seems to come together on the streets. The pictures of another report on crnagoraturska.com show the only main road of Rožajes, which is closed to traffic in a narrow valley, where a large crowd sits and eats dinner together.

Under the motto “Brotherhood knows no borders”, the AKP-dominated Istanbul district Bayrampaşa has stood out since 2005 with these growing Iftar events between Thrace and Croatia and is likely to have contributed significantly to the establishment of this new tradition: Every year, a truck convoy, the so-called “Bereket Convoyu” (Bereket or Arabic Baraka means “blessing”), sets off from Istanbul with white plastic chairs, folding tables, crockery and mobile kitchen at great logistical expense and drives to Muslim-populated villages along the way, where people are invited to break their fast together. Montenegrin and Turkish media report on this in equal measure, as well as in great detail on the state Turkish TRT subsidiary TRT Avaz with a length of 18 minutes in an article about an open air Iftar in the small Montenegrin town of Gusinje.

Furthermore, it has become a new and meanwhile established fashion for Turkish actors from the government environment to hold mass and cost-effective circumcision ceremonies. For example, the news portal monteislam.com reports that TİKA, the Turkish presidium for international cooperation and coordination, together with the Islamic Community of Montenegro (Islamska Zajednica u Crnoj Gori) is organizing a collective circumcision in the Medresse Mehmed Fatih in Podgorica, which has also been set up by TİKA.Secondly, both the Balkan and the Turkish actors of cultural diplomacy refer to figurative and bodily kinship in their back and forth speech, whereby the latter is owed to the existing kinship networks that have arisen through earlier expulsions and emigrations from the Balkans to Turkey. In the case of Montenegro, emigration to Turkey lasted until the 1970s, as the Montenegrin historian and workshop participant Šerbo Rastoder stressed several times during the workshop. The figurative trope of kinship as fraternity (kardeşlik/bratstvo), which has been tried again and again, already appeared in the title of the Iftar action, and the circumcisions and the role of the circumciser for the circumcised also have a place in family cosmology – even if there is no uniform understanding of the role of the Balkan and Anatolia, especially in the area of kinship, as I have addressed in other contributions.

Thirdly – and related to this – in Balkan-Turkish cultural diplomacy the cultural-civilizational heritage of the common Ottoman past is explicitly valued and the low prestige of everything “Ottoman” or “Turkish” in the preceding decades is contrasted. In the Ottoman epoch, the territories between present-day Turkey and present-day Bosnia-Herzegovina (including Montenegro) belonged to a common state, which is why numerous similarities can be traced back to the cultural legacies. Turkish actors in politics, the cultural sector and the media have invoked this Ottoman “heritage” – again the family trumpet emerges here – since the opening of the country towards the end of the 1980s, but especially since the geopolitical turn of the early 1990s and the AKP’s accession to power in 2002. Especially Turkish cultural workers from institutions such as TİKA or the newly founded Yunus Emre Cultural Institutes are active in this field, setting up institutes in all capital cities of the Balkans such as Podgorica, but also in other cities such as the Bosnian Fojnica and Mostar Yunus Emre Institutes, where free Ottoman and above all Turkish courses are often offered. The Yunus Emre Institutes also organise successful campaigns such as “I choose Turkish” (Moj izbor je Turski / Tercihim Türkçe), which have established Turkish as a subject in the school curricula of Muslim-populated areas. In addition, there are numerous other institutions and organisations, all of which were newly founded for the purpose of cultural diplomacy, such as the Presidium for Foreign Turks and Related Communities (Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Topluluklar Başkanlığı), in whose name we once again encounter the omnipresent relatives’ trumpet.

The cultural work expresses itself however not only by cultural practices such as language instruction, but also in writing over culture. The purpose of these text productions of Turkish cultural diplomats, in which also local and international scientists participate, is sometimes very explicitly named, as in the case of the voluminous and multilingual “Prestige Werke” under the titles Islam on the Balkans (Balkanlarda İslam) under the editorship of Muhammet Savaş Kafkasyalı (four volumes) and Architectural Heritage of Ulcinj (Graditeljsko nasljeđe Ulcinja) by the author Igbala Šabović-Kerović. These and numerous other prestige works can be downloaded under the category Prestij Eserler from the homepage of TİKA, often multilingual, and are intended to enhance the once devalued Ottoman civilization.

As our workshop participant Marija Mandić from Berlin/Belgrade demonstrated in her contribution, the negative image of the “Turkish” and “Ottoman” in everyday language has become established in the form of idioms, commonplaces and clichés. These cultural diplomats speak against idioms like proći pored turskog groblja – literally: passing by a Turkish grave. Passing by a Turkish grave is on the one hand a reference to the Islamic cult of the dead, which in contrast to the Orthodox and Catholic Christians of the Balkans is weakly pronounced, as the simple, white Muslim gravestones symbolize on meadows left to themselves without flowers and without the photographs of the deceased so frequent on Christian graves; in the figurative sense passing by a Turkish grave means to devalue a certain thing or a topic as “absolutely irrelevant” and “not worth mentioning”. From the point of view of Christian-dominated nationalists, but also in the socialist period, the Ottoman period was almost exclusively depicted as a time of darkness and “Turkish yoke”. Who passes today a Turkish grave, as in Ulcinj, in addition, at numerous other places, where one knows and uses this idiom, is today reminded by a prestige plate of TİKA or other Restaurateuren of the fact that it concerns with the tomb a valued cultural property.

With regard to the cult of the dead, it should be noted that it is not easy to establish – as the museum director in the Old Town told us – that the Islamic idea of the deceased’s move from Dunjaluk to Ahiret always results in Muslim graves being left to their own devices, and that, unlike Christianity, there is no cult of the dead at all. Although it is true that the cult of the dead is much more pronounced among many Orthodox Christians and of a different kind – for example, when beans and schnapps are eaten at the grave on the day of remembrance of the deceased, and there can even be regular celebrations; the numerous turbs (in Turkish Türbe), whether in the Balkans or in the Istanbul district of Eyüp, where graves are visited for intercessions, however, bear witness to the fact that among Muslims of the Balkans and Turkey there is still a cult of the dead. With regard to the Turbe, it depends on the social status and achievements of the honoured person – such as the conquest of an area, the foundation of a city, or the like. Moreover, the cult of the dead has undergone a substantial change on a broader level, especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina due to the Bosnian war and the many murdered Muslim civilians. Even the šehitluks and large war graves of Bosnia, such as the city of Sarajevo, which has been besieged for years, or the site of the Srebrenica genocide in Potočari, are hard to ignore today without remembering the reason for their existence in unusual places.

As these last examples already make clear, the cultural diplomatic revaluation work in former Yugoslavia is not possible without a deeper understanding of the wars of the 1990s and early 2000s, and in this respect the context is specific. That the earlier, exclusively negative interpretation of the Ottoman period was (and still is) not limited to the former Yugoslavia was also demonstrated by our workshop participant Rumjana Slodička from Berlin, who in her master thesis dealt with the so-called Batak scandal – a decidedly anti-Ottoman founding myth of the Bulgarian nation. Of course, there were numerous other examples and evidence to be found.

The logic of space appreciation in the discursive race  between Turkey and the Balkans

As the excursion to Ulcinj and the workshop “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Muslims in the Balkans” in Podgorica were able to make clear once again, the question of the positionality of Muslims in the public discourse on the so-called “Western Balkans” is a complex, multi-layered and ambivalent topic. It is important to note that this field of discourse can be limited less than ever to the “actual” geographical space of the Balkans. Actors such as TİKA show that actors from Turkey and other countries must be included in such a consideration.

The TİKA renovations, which contribute to a more than only symbolic revaluation of the Ottoman past, are welcomed by large parts of the Muslim public, which also expressed itself in the reaction of a workshop participant to my own lecture on cultural diplomacy: although I did not present the activities in an evaluative way, the topic alone was already perceived as a kind of scandalization, in order to immediately draw the attention of the “Western researcher” to it.

The TİKA renovations, which contribute to a more than only symbolic revaluation of the Ottoman past, are welcomed by large parts of the Muslim public, which also expressed itself in the reaction of a workshop participant to my own lecture on cultural diplomacy: although I did not present the activities in an evaluative way, the topic alone was already felt as a kind of scandal, in order to immediately draw the attention of the “Western researcher” to how justified and historically justified the Turkish engagement in the Balkans was. One understands better this “appreciation of revaluation” when one considers how deeply the trauma of destruction, expulsion and sheer experience of violence and insecurity sits among Muslims of the Balkans: in the concluding keynote lecture by Šerbo Rastoder the extent of the destruction of cultural assets from the Ottoman period became visible once again.

However, these destructions were not limited to buildings, but were often accompanied by massacres and expulsions, as in the case of the Montenegrin community Šahovići in 1924, when large massacres and expulsions of the entire Muslim population took place. The aforementioned wars of the 1990s and 2000s, and in particular the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, represent an update on the demographic engineering of the nationalist era. “Demographic engineering” should by no means be misunderstood here as a euphemism: this means both forms of extreme violence such as genocide and so-called “ethnic cleansing”, which mostly took place in the state of emergency of the war, and more indirect and subtle forms of violence such as discriminatory and assimilatory measures. The negative stereotypes and commonplaces about “Turks” and Muslims (meaning Turks often by means of Poturice, the “Turkised”, converted slawophones and other “autochthons”) must be deciphered in this context, as my teacher Holm Sundhaussen did – also against great resistance, especially in Serbia.

On the other hand, Turkish engagement is also controversial, and not only among non-Muslims. Sometimes, though rarely, the rejection of Turkish engagement even manifests itself in symbolic violence, as in the case of Serbian nationalist damage to a Turkish prestige tablet. The picture below shows one of the TİKA commemorative plaques in Podgorica, which is intended to create prestige, as they are now found in large numbers throughout the Balkans. It reminds the public that TİKA has renovated the Bećir-beg Osmanagić square and the clock tower (Sahat Kula) in the small remaining part of the old town in Podgorica. The Clock Tower, along with a few mosques and the old buildings of the Stara Varoš and Drač districts, is one of the few remaining Ottoman buildings after the destruction of the Second World War and earthquake damage. According to a news report on Radio Slobodna Evropa, a controversy broke out last year after the iron cross, which had been on the top of the clock tower for a long time, was temporarily removed for restoration purposes during the renovation work. Some absurdly wanted to recognize in the dismantled cross an “iron element” that was not a cross at all; from the point of view of representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Islamic Community, however, it was clearly a cross, as the historian Miloš Vukanović is quoted in the accession. While the Islamic Community argued against a restoration of the cross on the Ottoman clock tower, the Orthodox side argued for it. In the context of discursive and symbolic violence presented above – although not exhaustively explained here – the attempts to damage the Turkish flag on the glorious plaque and the engraving of the four Cyrillic letters S (as emblematic abbreviation of the guiding principle of Serbian nationalism Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava) divided by a cross should be interpreted.

 

 

Note: The text was previously published on the author’s Dunyalook homepage. Thomas Schad’s dissertation deals with Bosniak-Turkish cultural diplomacy, which is being developed at the Chair of Southeast European History of the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS).

Türkische Kulturdiplomatie in Montenegro

Türkische Kulturdiplomatie in Montenegro:

Wir, die Teilnehmer des Workshops “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Muslims in the Balkans” (9.-11.7.2018), haben am zweiten Tag unseres Workshops eine Exkursion in die nahegelegene Küstenstadt Ulcinj/Ulqin unternommen (im folgenden Ulcinj). In Ulcinj haben wir mit Vertretern der lokalen Verwaltung, der Islamischen Gemeinschaft, des Mediensektors und von Nichtregierungsorganisationen gesprochen, wir haben uns in den montenegrinischen Medien umgesehen und eigene Beobachtungen bei unseren Spaziergängen durch die Stadt gemacht. Da ich mich in meiner Dissertation mit Kulturdiplomatie zwischen Bosnien und der Türkei beschäftige, habe ich für diesen Beitrag besonders darauf geachtet, wie die türkische Kulturpolitik im Stadtbild Ulcinjs und in der weiteren Öffentlichkeit repräsentiert ist.

Ulcinj ist die südlichste Küstenstadt Montenegros und wird nur durch den „großen Strand“ — den längsten Sandstrand Montenegros — von der albanischen Grenze getrennt. So ist die Stadt einerseits bekannt als regionaler und überregionaler Tourismusmagnet, was auch im Stadtzentrum mit seinem überfüllten „kleinen Strand“ zu spüren ist. Andererseits gilt Ulcinj auch als die „albanischste“ Stadt Montenegros: nicht nur die Bevölkerungsmehrheit ist albanisch, sondern auch die meisten Touristen kommen aus Kosovo und Makedonien und sprechen albanisch. Die Mehrheit der Albaner Ulcinjs ist wiederum muslimisch, was die Stadt zu einem attraktiven Ort für türkische Kulturdiplomaten macht, die schwerpunktmäßig muslimisch-osmanische Kulturgüter pflegen und renovieren.

Empfang in der Skupština Opštine

Doch zunächst hatten wir die Ehre, im Gebäude der „Skupština Opštine“ empfangen zu werden. Die „Skupština Opštine“ bedeutet auf Deutsch „Parlament der Gemeinde“, ist aber gleichzeitig der zentrale Verwaltungssitz und damit auch mit einem Berliner Bürgeramt vergleichbar; wie alle anderen öffentlichen Beschriftungen ist auch die „Opština“ zweisprachig beschriftet — auf Jezik* mit „Opština“ und auf Albanisch mit „Komuna“. Der polyglotte Präsident der Komuna/Opština, Ilir Çapuni, hat uns dort höchstpersönlich begrüßt – und zwar auf Englisch, das er während seines Studienaufenthalts an der amerikanischen Ostküste perfektionieren konnte. Neben ihm sind der Vorsitzende des albanischen Forums und der lokale Mufti anwesend, sowie ein Übersetzer. Durch ein Missverständnis war der Übersetzer — vorgesehen war Übersetzung ins Englische — allerdings ein Übersetzer aus dem Albanischen ins Deutsche. Da die meisten bosnischen, serbischen und montenegrinischen TeilnehmerInnen unseres Workshops Deutsch nicht verstehen konnten, sprang der ausgesprochen smarte und diplomatische, perfekt dreisprachige Präsident zuvorkommenderweise auch noch als Übersetzer für unsere Exkursion ein.

Ein großes Problem für Ulcinj, so Ilir Çapuni, stelle zusammen mit der geringen Geburtenrate und der hohen Arbeitslosigkeit die Abwanderung von jungen Menschen dar. Gefragt nach den Wanderzielen sind sich alle einig, dass die USA auf Platz eins rangieren — gefolgt von westeuropäischen Staaten wie Deutschland, Österreich, Frankreich und Italien. Allerdings, so Ilir Çapuni, gebe es seit einigen Jahren einen neuen Trend in der Migration zu Studienzwecken: immer mehr Studierende wählten türkische Universitäten zur Ausbildung. Darunter befänden sich vor allem angesehene Universitäten wie die Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTÜ, Ankara) oder Yıldız Teknik (YTÜ, Istanbul). Diese Universitäten gehören zu den Kaderschmieden des Landes (insbesondere ODTÜ) und reihen sich zusammen mit der staatlichen Bosporus-Universität (Boğaziçi), der französischsprachigen Galatasaray-Universität, sowie neueren privaten Universitäten wie Koç, Sabancı oder Bilgi (u.a.) in die Kategorie der englischsprachigen (bzw. französischsprachigen) Eliteuniversitäten ein. Die Zahl der privaten Universitäten, die in der Türkei Vakıf Üniversiteleri (“Stiftungsuniversitäten”) genannt werden, hat in den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten einen rasanten Wachstum erlebt, allerdings gehören diese nicht automatisch zu den angesehenen Universitäten mit hohen Qualitätsstandards.

Wie ich auch anderswo auf dem Balkan immer wieder feststellen konnte (besonders in Bosnien-Herzegowina), ist die erhöhte akademische Mobilität ein wichtiger Aspekt türkischer Kulturdiplomatie: mit ihren Mobilitätsprogrammen wie Türkiye Bursları, Mevlana und anderen hat die Türkei ein Pendant zu den europäischen Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus und Erasmus+ Programmen geschaffen, über die sie Studierende und Forscher vornehmlich aus der „postosmanischen“ Einflussphäre anzieht, und dabei gleichzeitig das Erlernen der türkischen Sprache fördert. Auch eine der Teilnehmerinnen unseres Workshops war zum Zeitpunkt unserer Exkursion Stipendiatin eines solchen Programmes. Während ihres dreijährigen Türkeiaufenthalts hat sie die türkische Sprache erlernt, so dass sie sich inzwischen auf das Verfassen ihrer Dissertation auf Türkisch vorbereitet. Es muss hinzugefügt werden, dass die wenigsten der mir bekannten Studierenden vom Balkan an einer der oben genannten, englischsprachigen Leuchtturmuniversitäten gelandet sind, wo sie nicht zwingend Türkisch lernen müssten. Die türkische Hochschullandschaft, die seit 2016 staatlicherseits starken Eingriffen und Umbaumaßnahmen ausgesetzt ist, ist von extremer Ungleichheit charakterisiert. An den meisten staatlichen Universitäten ist die Lehrsprache Türkisch, was aus deutscher Perspektive alles andere als verwundern kann, aber mit der traditionellen Englisch- und Französischsprachigkeit der Kaderschmieden kontrastiert. Ich konnte mir durch meinen eigenen einjährigen Aufenthalt an der staatlichen Istanbul-Universität 2006/7, durch zahlreiche weitere Besuche und Forschungsaufenthalte an privaten Eliteuniversitäten wie Sabancı und Bilgi, sowie durch meine frühere Arbeit als Referent einer Berliner Universität und meine Tätigkeit im Bereich deutsch-türkische Wissenschaftsbeziehungen ein ausführliches Bild von diesen Unterschieden machen.

Beispiele osmanischer Raumaufwertung in Ulcinj

Betrachtet man die Tätigkeit türkischer Kulturdiplomaten unter dem Aspekt der Herstellung von Raum oder Raumproduktion (in Anlehnung an Henri Lefebvres Production de l’espace), so könnte man sowohl bauliche als auch narrativ-mediale Tätigkeiten beschreiben. In dieser Hinsicht ist der kulturelle Einfluss der Türkei besonders in den Medien zu beobachten, wie etwa in den weit verbreiteten und ausgesprochen beliebten türkischen TV-Serien, über die schon sehr viel geschrieben worden ist. Die Serienaffinität balkanischer Schwiegermütter, Kinder, Großeltern, ja Ehemänner, die sich durch Serien wie Suleyman der Prächtige (Sulejman Veličanstveni / Muhteşem Yüzyıl) nun genauestens über die osmanische Vergangenheit informiert wähnen, ist inzwischen zu einem allgemein verbreiteten Klischee zwischen Zagreb und Skopje geworden. Unerwähnt bleiben hier die zahlreichen weiteren Serien, die entweder in der osmanischen Zeit oder in zeitgenössischen Mittelklassekontexten in Istanbul spielen. Von den Internetportalen Monteislam und Crnagoraturska, die hier beispielhalft für die zahlreichen und wirkmächtigen Online Social Networks (OSN) und neuen Medien stehen, wird noch die Rede sein. (Weiter nach den Bildbeispielen)

Ein Spaziergang durch Ulcinj zeigt, dass viele der Kulturdenkmäler Ulcinjs aus der osmanischen Zeit datieren, wie etwa das Gebäude des Stadtmuseums in der burgähnlich bewehrten Altstadt (Kalaja e Ulqinit / Stari Grad Ulcinj). Das von einem Erdbeben beschädigte Minarett des Gebäudes bezeugt, dass es zuvor eine Moschee war, die wiederum zuvor eine Kirche war, wie unschwer an der Architektur und der christlichen Symbolik und den Inschriften zu erkennen ist. Auf diese und ähnliche osmanischen Kulturdenkmäler beziehen sich türkische Kulturdiplomaten auch in Ulcinj, indem sie sanierend und wiederaufbauend an ihnen tätig werden. Mit Ausnahme einer Fabrik zur Herstellung von Olivenöl ist die türkische Kulturdiplomatie in Ulcinj hauptsächlich im kulturellen Bereich aktiv.

Bereits 2014 berichtet das Online-Portal Ul.Info, dass mit Hilfe von TİKA mehrere islamische Kulturdenkmäler in Ulcinj renoviert wurden. Zum einen geht es um das Mausoleum (Turbe) der Familie Pulti/Pultić, das wir bereits auf unserem Weg zur Komuna/Opština besichtigen konnten. Eine dreisprachig Türkisch, Albanisch und Montenegrinisch beschriftete, massive Marmorplatte am Grabmal erinnert daran, dass TİKA und damit die Türkei hinter der Renovierung steht. Laut Beschriftung auf der Platte untersteht TİKA dem türkischen Ministerpräsidialamt; nachdem durch die jüngste Vereidigung des türkischen Präsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdoğan zum Präsidenten der Republik Türkei das Ministerpräsidialamt abgeschafft worden ist, ist es freilich fraglich, ob diese Marmorplatte in dieser Form von Bestand sein wird oder ausgewechselt werden wird.

All diese Denkmäler nehmen direkten Bezug auf die geteilte osmanische Vergangenheit der Türkei und Ulcinjs, so dass diese „Hilfsmaßnahmen“ für die Stadt Ulcinj auch gleichzeitig eine Arbeit an der Aufwertung der „eigenen“ Vergangenheit darstellen. Arbeit an der osmanischen Vergangenheit wird von türkischen Kulturdiplomaten oft zweierlei dargestellt: einerseits als Hilfe, andererseits aber auch als Arbeit am „Eigenen“ — wenn zum Beispiel über die TİKA-Renovierungen berichtet wird, diese aber als Ausdruck des „Besitz antretenden Schützens“ (sahip çıkmak) bezeichnet werden. So schreibt TİKA auf der eigenen Homepage: Türkiye Balkanlar’daki Osmanlı Yadigârı Eserlere Sahip Çıkıyor – Die Türkei tritt den Besitz (beschützt) der osmanischen Erinnerungswerke auf dem Balkan an.

In unmittelbarer Nachbarschaft des Pultić/Pulti-Mausoleums hat sich TİKA, zusammen mit Polish Aid, durch eine weitere Hilfsaktion in den mehrsprachigen Schilderwald Ulcinjs eingeschrieben: das Centar za djecu sa smetnjama (Zentrum für Kinder mit Handicaps) wurde durch TİKA „adaptiert“ und ausgestattet. Weiterhin wird in den Medien über die Renovierung der Namazđah-Moschee durch TİKA berichtet, die wir nicht besucht haben. Außerdem hat sich TİKA der Renovierung des Hammams und weiterer Bauobjekte im Bereich der Altstadt angenommen.

Islam, Verwandtschaft und Zivilisationsarbeit zwischen Montenegro und Anatolien

Diese Beispiele aus Ulcinj illustrieren, dass die balkanisch-türkische Kuturdiplomatie auf drei Hauptfaktoren fußt, wie ich hier durch einige weitere Beispiele und Hintergrundinformationen genauer charakterisieren will.

Erstens bildet das Thema der gemeinsamen Religion, des sunnitischen Islams, ganz klar das „Grundsubstrat“ der türkischen Kulturpolitik im Ausland und des Zurücksprechens balkanischer Muslime. Davon zeugen die zahlreichen Renovierungen und Neubauten von Moscheen, Medressen und Derwischklöster, die häufig in großen und öffentlichkeitswirksamen Zeremonien unter Anwesenheit hochrangiger türkischer und einheimischer Politiker und Geistlicher abgeschlossen werden, wie etwa bei der Vollendung des Wiederaufbaus der im Krieg von serbischen Kriegsverbrechern zerstörten Ferhadija-Moschee im bosnischen Banja Luka im Jahr 2016. Auch in Reden insbesondere türkischer Kulturdiplomaten werden fast immer religiöse und/oder islamistische Bezüge hergestellt — wenn etwa Sarajevo mit Kairo, Jerusalem oder Gaza verglichen wird, wenn der türkische Präsident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seiner Anhängerschaft mit dem vierfingrigen R4bia-Gruß winkt, oder wenn er sich selbst mit dem Propheten Muhammad vergleicht, der ebenso wie er selbst in der misslungenen Putschnacht am 15.7.2016 verfolgt worden sei.

Über religiös eingefärbte Themen wird auf dem Balkan in aller Ausführlichkeit berichtet, wobei die Medien häufig auf die staatliche türkische Nachrichtenagentur Anadolu Ajansı mit ihren lokalen Niederlassungen wie in Sarajevo als Nachrichtenquelle zurückgreifen. Andererseits gibt es Zeitungen wie Stav und Faktor in Bosnien, die durch die undurchsichtige, türkisch-bosnische Mediengruppe Simurg finanziert werden, und minutiös und im Sinne der türkischen Regierung über die Türkei und die bosniakisch-balkanisch-türkische Zusammengehörigkeit berichten. Daneben gibt es in großer Zahl Internetportale, etwa im montenegrinischen Fall crnagoraturska.com, wo über zahlreiche und häufiger werdende, religiös verbrämte populäre Veranstaltungen berichtet wird.

Im Fastenmonat Ramadan haben sich in den letzten Jahren beispielsweise die öffentlichen und kostenlosen Iftar-Abendessen zum allabendlichen Fastenbrechen zu einem Massenphänomen ausgeweitet. Über ein solches Iftar in der Mehmed Fatih Medresse, wo eine der Teilnehmerinnen unseres Workshops als Jezik*-Lehrerin arbeitet, hat crnagoraturska.com dieses Jahr berichtet. Diese gemeinsamen Abendessen werden von türkischen Akteuren aus dem direkten Umfeld der AKP spendiert und können, wie im nordmontenegrinischen Rožaje (im Sandžak), solche Ausmaße annehmen, dass die ganze Stadt auf den Straßen zusammenzukommen scheint. Die Bilder eines weiteren Berichts auf crnagoraturska.com zeigen die für den Verkehr gesperrte einzige Hauptstraße des in einem engen Tal gelegenen Rožajes, wo eine große Menschenmenge sitzt und gemeinsam zu Abend isst.

Unter dem Motto „Bruderschaft kennt keine Grenzen“ hat sich der AKP-dominierte Istanbuler Bezirk Bayrampaşa seit 2005 mit diesen wachsenden Iftar-Veranstaltungen zwischen Thrakien und Kroatien besonders hervorgetan und dürfte zur Etablierung dieser neuen Tradition erheblich beigtragen haben: unter großem logistischen Aufwand bricht jährlich ein LKW-Konvoi, der sogenannte „Bereket Konvoyu“ (Bereket oder arabisch Baraka bedeutet in etwa „Segen“), von Istanbul aus mit weißen Plastikstühlen, Klapptischen, Geschirr und mobiler Küche auf und fährt unterwegs muslimisch besiedelte Ortschaften an, wo zum gemeinsamen Fastenbrechen eingeladen wird. Darüber berichten montenegrinische und türkische Medien gleichermaßen, wie in aller Ausführlichkeit auf dem staatlichen türkischen TRT-Ableger TRT Avaz mit 18 Minuten Länge in einem Beitrag über ein Open Air Iftar in der montenegrinischen Kleinstadt Gusinje.

Weiterhin ist es zu einer neuen und inzwischen etablierten Mode geworden, dass türkische Akteure aus dem Regierungsumfeld massenhafte und kostengünstige Beschneidungszeremonien ausrichten. So berichtet das Nachrichtenportal monteislam.com darüber, dass TİKA, das türkische Präsidium für Internationale Kooperation und Koordination, zusammen mit der Islamischen Gemeinschaft Montenegros (Islamska Zajednica u Crnoj Gori) eine kollektive Beschneidung in der ebenso von TİKA aufgebauten Medresse Mehmed Fatih in Podgorica ausrichtet.

Zweitens berufen sich sowohl die balkanischen als auch die türkischen Akteure der Kulturdiplomatie in ihrem Hin- und Hersprechen auf figurative und leibliche Verwandtschaft, wobei sich letztere den bestehenden Verwandtschaftsnetzwerken verdankt, die durch frühere Vertreibungen und Auswanderungen vom Balkan in die Türkei entstanden sind. Im Fall Montenegros dauerten die Auswanderungen in die Türkei bis in die 1970er Jahre an, wie der montenegrinische Historiker und Workshopteilnehmer Šerbo Rastoder im Laufe des Workshops mehrfach betont hat. Die immer wieder bemühte figurative Trope der Verwandtschaft als Bruderschaft (kardeşlik/bratstvo) tauchte bereits im Titel der Iftar-Aktion auf, und auch den Beschneidungen und der Rolle des Beschneiders für den Beschnittenen kommt ein Platz in der Familienkosmologie zu — auch wenn es gerade im Bereich der Verwandtschaft kein einheitliches Rollenverständnis zwischen dem Balkan und Anatolien gibt, wie ich in anderen Beiträgen thematisiert habe.

Drittens — und damit zusammenhängend — wird in der balkanisch-türkischen Kulturdiplomatie das kulturell-zivilisatorische Erbe der gemeinsamen osmanischen Vergangenheit explizit gewertschätzt und der geringen Prestigeträchtigkeit alles „Osmanischen“ oder „Türkischen“ in den vorangegangenen Jahrzehnten gegenüber gestellt. In der osmanischen Epoche gehörten die Gebiete zwischen der heutigen Türkei und dem heutigen Bosnien-Herzegowina (einschließlich Montenegros) einem gemeinsamen Staat an, wodurch zahlreiche Ähnlichkeiten in den kulturellen Hinterlassenschaften zurückzuführen sind. Auf dieses osmanische „Erbe“ — erneut taucht hier die Verwandtschaftstrope auf — berufen sich türkische Akteure in der Politik, im Kulturbetrieb und in den Medien seit der Öffnung des Landes gegen Ende der 1980er Jahre, aber inbesondere seit der geopolitischen Wende der frühen 1990er Jahre und dem Regierungsantritt der AKP im Jahr 2002. Besonders türkische Kulturarbeiter von Institutionen wie TİKA oder der neu gegründeten Yunus Emre Kulturinstitute sind in diesem Bereich tätig, indem sie in allen Hauptstädten des Balkans wie Podgorica, aber auch in weiteren Städten wie dem bosnischen Fojnica und Mostar Yunus Emre Institute errichten, wo oft kostenlose Osmanisch- und vor allem Türkischkurse angeboten werden. Die Yunus Emre Institute organisieren aber auch erfolgreiche Kampagnen wie „Ich wähle Türkisch“ (Moj izbor je Turski / Tercihim Türkçe), die Türkisch als Unterrichtsfach in den Schulkurrikula muslimisch besiedelter Gebiete etablieren konnten. Daneben gibt es zahlreiche weitere Institutionen und Organisationen, die zum Zweck der Kulturdiplomatie allesamt neu gegründet wurden, wie das Präsidium für Auslandstürken und verwandte Gemeinschaften (Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Topluluklar Başkanlığı), in dessen Namen wir erneut der omnipräsenten Verwandtschaftstrope begegnen.

Die Kulturarbeit drückt sich aber nicht nur durch kulturelle Praktiken wie Sprachunterricht, sondern auch im Schreiben über Kultur aus. Der Zweck dieser Textproduktionen türkischer Kulturdiplomaten, an der sich auch lokale und internationale Wissenschaftler beteiligen, wird manchmal sehr explizit benannt, wie im Fall der voluminösen und mehrsprachigen „Prestige Werke“ unter den Titeln Islam auf dem Balkan (Balkanlarda İslam) unter der Herausgeberschaft von Muhammet Savaş Kafkasyalı (vierbändig) und Architectural Heritage of Ulcinj (Graditeljsko nasljeđe Ulcinja) von der Autorin Igbala Šabović-Kerović. Diese und zahlreiche weitere Prestige-Werke sind unter der Kategorie Prestij Eserler auf der Homepage von TİKA herunterladbar, oft mehrsprachig und sollen die einst abgewertete osmanische Zivilisation aufwerten.

Wie unsere Workshopteilnehmerin Marija Mandić aus Berlin/Belgrad in ihrem Beitrag demonstriert hat, hat sich das negative Image des „Türkischen“ und „Osmanischen“ in der Alltagssprache in Form von Redewendungen, Allgemeinplätzen und Klischees festgesetzt. Gegen Redewendungen wie proći pored turskog groblja — wörtlich: an einem türkischen Grab vorbei gehen — sprechen diese Kulturdiplomaten an. An einem türkischen Grab vorbei gehen ist einerseits eine Bezugnahme auf den im Gegensatz zu den orthodoxen und katholischen Christen des Balkans schwach ausgeprägten islamischen Totenkult, wie ihn die einfachen, weißen muslimischen Grabsteine auf sich weitestgehend selbst überlassenen Wiesen ohne Blumenschmuck und ohne die auf christlichen Gräbern so häufigen Fotografien der Verstorbenen symbolisieren; im übertragenen Sinn bedeutet an einem türkischen Grab vorbei gehen, eine bestimmte Sache oder ein Thema als “absolut irrelevant” und “nicht weiter der Rede wert” abzuwerten. Aus Sicht christlich dominierter Nationalisten, aber auch in der sozialistischen Periode, wurde die osmanische Periode fast ausschließlich als eine Zeit der Finsternis und des „türkischen Jochs“ dargestellt. Wer heute an einem türkischen Grab vorbeigeht, so wie in Ulcinj, aber auch an zahlreichen anderen Orten, wo man diese Redewendung kennt und verwendet, wird heute von einer Prestigetafel von TİKA oder anderen Restaurateuren daran erinnert, dass es sich bei dem Grabmal um ein wertgeschätztes Kulturgut handelt.

Hinsichtlich des Totenkults wäre noch festzustellen, dass man gar nicht ohne weiteres allgemeingültig feststellen kann – wie es uns der Museumsleiter in der Altstadt erzählt hat – dass die islamische Vorstellung des Umzugs der oder des Verstorbenen vom Dunjaluk ins Ahiret immer zur Folge hat, dass muslimische Gräber sich selbst überlassen blieben, und dass es im Gegensatz zum Christentum gar keinen Totenkult gäbe. Zwar ist es richtig, dass der Totenkult bei vielen orthodoxen Christen weit ausgeprägter und anderer Art ist – wenn etwa am Gedenktag des Verstorbenen Bohnen und Schnaps am Grab verzehrt werden, und es sogar zu regelrechten Feiern kommen kann; Die zahlreichen Turbe (auf Türkisch Türbe), ob auf dem Balkan oder etwa im Istanbuler Stadtteil Eyüp, wo Gräber zu Fürbitten aufgesucht werden, zeugen allerdings davon, dass es unter Muslimen des Balkans und der Türkei dennoch einen Totenkult gibt. Hinsichtlich der Turbe hängt er vom sozialen Status und den Leistungen des Geehrten ab – wie etwa die Eroberung eines Gebietes, die Gründung einer Stadt o.ä. Zudem hat der Totenkult auf einer breiteren Ebene, vor allem in Bosnien-Herzegowina durch den Bosnienkrieg und die vielen ermordeten muslimischen Zivilisten, eine substantielle Veränderung erfahren. Auch an den šehitluks und großen Kriegsgräbern Bosniens, wie etwa in der jahrelang belagerten Stadt Sarajevo oder am Ort des Srebrenica-Genozids in Potočari, wird man heute kaum mehr vorbei gehen, ohne sich des Grunds ihrer Existenz an ungewöhnlichen Orten zu entsinnen.

Wie durch diese letzten Beispiele schon klar wird, ist die kulturdiplomatische Aufwertungsarbeit im ehemaligen Jugoslawien ohne ein tieferes Verständnis der Kriege der 1990er und frühen 2000er Jahre nicht möglich, und insofern ist der Kontext spezifisch. Dass die frühere, ausschließlich negative Interpretation der osmanischen Zeit aber nicht auf das ehemalige Jugoslawien beschränkt war 8und teilweise immer noch ist), demonstrierte auch unsere Workshopteilnehmerin Rumjana Slodička aus Berlin, die sich in ihrer Masterarbeit mit dem sogenannten Batak-Skandal beschäftigt hat — einem ausgesprochen antiosmanischen Gründungsmythos der bulgarischen Nation. Es ließen sich freilich zahlreiche weitere Belege und Beispiele finden.

Die Logik der Raumaufwertung im diskursiven Hin- und Herrennen zwischen der Türkei und dem Balkan

Wie die Exkursion nach Ulcinj und der Workshop “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Muslims in the Balkans” in Podgorica noch einmal verdeutlichen konnten, ist die Frage der Positionalität von Muslimen im öffentlichen Diskurs auf dem sogenannten „Westlichen Balkan“ ein komplexes, vielschichtiges und ambivalentes Thema. Dabei ist es wichtig zu beachten, dass sich dieses Diskursfeld in der Gegenwart weniger denn je auf den „eigentlichen“ geographischen Raum des Balkans begrenzen lässt. Akteure wie TİKA zeigen, dass Akteure aus der Türkei und aus anderen Ländern in eine solche Betrachtung mit einbezogen werden müssen.

Die TİKA-Sanierungen und Renovierungen, die zu einer mehr als nur symbolischen Aufwertung der osmanischen Vergangenheit beitragen, werden von weiten Teilen der muslimischen Öffentlichkeit begrüßt, was sich auch in der Reaktion eines Workshopteilnehmers auf meinen eigenen Vortrag über Kulturdiplomatie geäußert hat: obwohl ich die Tätigkeiten nicht bewertend dargestellt habe, wurde allein die Thematisierung bereits als eine Art Skandalisierung empfunden, um den „westlichen Forscher“ sogleich darauf aufmerksam zu machen, wie berechtigt und historisch begründet das türkische Engagement auf dem Balkan sei. Man versteht diese “Wertschätzung der Aufwertung” besser, wenn man bedenkt, wie tief das Trauma der Zerstörungen, Vertreibungen und schieren Gewalt- und Unsicherheitserfahrung unter Muslimen des Balkans sitzt: in der abschließenden Keynote lecture von Šerbo Rastoder wurden noch einmal die Ausmaße der Zerstörungen von Kulturgütern aus der osmanischen Zeit sichtbar.

Diese Zerstörungen beschränken sich jedoch nicht auf Bauwerke, sondern gingen oft mit Massakern und Vertreibungen einher, wie im Fall der montenegrinischen Gemeinde Šahovići 1924, als es zu großen Massakern und Vertreibungen der kompletten muslimischen Bevölkerung gekommen war. Die bereits genannten Kriege der 1990er und 2000er Jahre, und insbesondere der Krieg in Bosnien-Herzegowina, stellen eine Aktualisierung des “demographic engineering” der nationalistischen Ära dar. “Demographic Engineering” sollte hier keinesfalls als Euphemismus missverstanden werden: damit gemeint sind sowohl Formen extremer Gewalt wie Genozid und sogenannte “ethnische Säuberungen”, die meistens im Ausnahmezustand des Krieges stattfanden, als auch indirektere und subtilere Gewaltformen wie diskriminierende und assimilatorische Maßnahmen. Die negativen Stereotype und Gemeinplätze über “Türken” und Muslime (gemeint sind mit Türken oft vermittels Poturice, den “Vertürkten”, konvertierte slawophone und andere “Autochthone”) müssen in diesem Kontext dechiffriert werden, wie es etwa mein Lehrer Holm Sundhaussen – auch gegen große Widerstände, insbesondere in Serbien – getan hat.

Andererseits ist das türkische Engagement aber auch umstritten, und zwar nicht nur unter Nichtmuslimen. Teilweise, wenn auch selten, äußert sich die Ablehnung des türkischen Engagements sogar in symbolischer Gewalt, wie im Fall serbisch-nationalistischer Beschädigungen einer türkischen Prestigetafel. Das untere Bild zeigt eine der Prestige erzeugen wollenden TİKA — Gedenktafeln in Podgorica, wie sie sich inzwischen zahlreich auf dem ganzen Balkan finden. Sie erinnert die Öffentlichkeit daran, dass TİKA den Bećir-beg Osmanagić-Platz und den Uhrturm (Sahat Kula) im kleinen Restbestand von Altstadt in Podgorica renoviert hat. Der Uhrturm ist neben wenigen Moscheen und den alten Gebäuden der Stadtteile Stara Varoš und Drač nach den Zerstörungen des Zweiten Weltkrieges und Erbebenschäden eines der wenigen verbliebenen Bauzeugnisse aus der osmanischen Zeit. Wie in einem Nachrichtenbeitrag auf Radio Slobodna Evropa nachzulesen ist, war im vergangenen Jahr eine Kontroverse ausgebrochen, nachdem das eiserne Kreuz, das sich seit langem auf der Spitze des Uhrturms befand, im Rahmen der Renovierungsarbeiten zu Restaurierungszwecken vorübergehend abgenommen worden war. Die einen wollten im demontierten Kreuz absurderweise ein „eisernes Element“ erkennen, das gar kein Kreuz sei; aus Sicht von Vertretern der serbisch-orthodoxen Kirche und der Islamischen Gemeinschaft handelte es sich dabei aber klar um ein Kreuz, wie in dem Beitritt auch der Historiker Miloš Vukanović zitiert wird. Während die Islamische Gemeinschaft gegen eine Wiederherstellung des Kreuzes auf dem osmanischen Uhrturm argumentiert hat, sprach sich die orthodoxe Seite dafür aus. Im oben dargestellten Kontext diskursiver und symbolischer Gewalt – hier freilich nicht erschöpfend ausgeführt – sollten die Versuche, die türkische Flagge auf der Ruhmestafel zu beschädigen und die Einritzung der vier kyrillischen Buchstaben S (als emblematische Abkürzung des Leitsatzes des serbischen Nationalismus Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava), geteilt durch ein Kreuz, interpretiert werden.

Anmerkung: Der Text wurde zuvor auf der Homepage Dunyalook des Autors veröffentlicht. Thomas Schad beschäftigt sich in seiner Dissertation mit bosniakisch-türkischer Kulturdiplomatie, die am Lehrstuhl für Südosteuropäische Geschichte der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin sowie der Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS) entsteht.

Besuch der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Sarajevo

Besuch der Jüdischen Gemeinde in Sarajevo

Text: Ivana Vučina Simović, Igor Lakić, Jonna Rock, Julijana Vučo

An einem angenehmen frühen Herbstmorgen kamen wir[vier Wissenschaftler aus Deutschland, Montenegro und Serbien] zur Jüdischen Gemeinde in Sarajevo, die sich in 59, Hamdije Kreševljakovića Straße, am Fluss Miljacka befindet. Die jüdische Gemeinde hat eine lange Tradition, die bis in die Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts zurückreicht, als die ersten sephardischen Juden nach Sarajevo kamen. Die damalige jüdische Bevölkerung von Sarajevo sprach Judäo-Spanisch. Mit der österreichisch-ungarischen Besetzung Sarajevos im Jahr 1878 kam eine bedeutende Anzahl aschkenasischer Juden aus verschiedenen Teilen des Reiches nach Bosnien und Herzegowina. Sie brachten verschiedene Traditionen und Sprachen mit. Bis dahin waren die beiden jüdischen Gruppen – die Aschkenasim und die Sephardim – bis zur Zeit nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg getrennte Gemeinschaften, obwohl sie durch die zionistische Ideologie vereint waren. In der kommunistischen Ära nach 1945 wurde die ehemalige aschkenasische Synagoge in Hamdije Kreševljakovića Straße zum sozialen, aber auch religiösen Epizentrum aller verbliebenen Juden in Sarajevo. Diese Synagoge ist bis heute das Zentrum der jüdischen Kultur und Zugehörigkeit in Sarajevo. Aus diesem Grund waren die Mitglieder der Gemeinschaft, die wir an diesem Tag im September 2018 trafen, sowohl sephardischer als auch aschkenasischer Herkunft.

Wir begannen unser Gespräch mit der Auseinandersetzung mit ihren Gedanken zum Antisemitismus. Unter den Mitgliedern der Gemeinschaft befand sich auch die Generalsekretärin der Gemeinschaft, Elma Softić-Kaunitz, die uns ihre allgemein positiven Ansichten zu diesem Thema mitteilte und von einer erheblichen Toleranz gegenüber Juden sprach. Gleichzeitig gab sie zu, dass die überwiegend muslimische Bevölkerung in Sarajevo in der Regel antiisraelische politische Einstellungen hat.

Eine junge Frau, die nicht genannt oder fotografiert werden wollte, sagte uns das: Sie fügt hinzu, dass sie in den Kommentaren oft das Wort čifut findet, das aus dem Türkischen stammt und für einen Juden in Serbokroatisch abwertend ist. Der 29-jährige Vladimir Andrle hatte eine optimistischere Wahrnehmung des Antisemitismus in Sarajevo. Sie fügt hinzu, dass sie in den Kommentaren oft das Wort čifut findet, das aus dem Türkischen kommt und für einen Juden im Serbokroatischen abwertend ist.

Der 29-jährige Vladimir Andrle hatte in Sarajevo eine optimistischere Wahrnehmung des Antisemitismus. Er denkt über die Situation so nach:
Heute sind wir die einzige jüdische Gemeinde in Europa ohne Sicherheit[Wachen und Einrichtungen]! Bedenken Sie, dass niemand die Synagoge und die Jüdische Gemeinde angegriffen hat. Wir haben nicht den gleichen Grad an Antisemitismus wie in anderen europäischen Ländern. Das meiste davon findet im Internet statt, wo Menschen das jüdische Volk beleidigen, aber das passiert nicht im “wirklichen Leben”. Nicht in Sarajevo.

Der 49-jährige Yehuda Kolonomos konnte nicht in die Gemeinschaft kommen, um uns zu treffen, aber er kam am nächsten Tag in unser Hotel. Er erklärt: Die Menschen machen keinen Unterschied zwischen Juden aus Israel und Juden aus anderen Ländern. Das erklärt er:
Die Menschen machen keinen Unterschied zwischen Juden aus Israel und Juden aus anderen Ländern. Für sie ist es das Gleiche und damit eine komplizierte Situation für die sarajewanischen Juden, die aus gemischten jüdisch-muslimischen Familien stammen. Sie wagen es nicht zu sagen, dass sie Juden sind, denn dann werden sie von den bosnischen Muslimen für die Politik in Israel verantwortlich gemacht. Auch auf persönlicher Ebene habe ich schlechte Erfahrungen gemacht: Muslimische Kinder näherten sich meiner Tochter in der Schule und fragten sie, warum sie ihr Volk tötet[muslimische Palästinenser in Israel]. Auch wenn ich darauf bestehe, meine Kippah zu tragen, während ich durch die Straßen von Sarajevo gehe; ohne die Tatsache zu verschleiern, dass ich Jude bin, bin ich auch viel vorsichtiger als vor einem Jahr. Ich denke, dass andere Juden in Sarajevo noch mehr Angst haben als ich, offen zu zeigen oder zu sagen, dass sie Juden sind.

Zusammenfassend fasst Vladimir die Überlegungen zum Antisemitismus in Sarajevo zusammen: Sarajevo hat in Bezug auf Antisemitismus eine bessere Bilanz als andere Orte in Europa, die eher antisemitisch sind. Gleichzeitig zeigt die Erfahrung, die die junge Frau mit uns geteilt hat, dass Antisemitismus unerlässlich ist, zumindest im Cyberspace. Darüber hinaus sagte Yehuda, dass Antisraelismus Antisemitismus in einem solchen Maße verursacht, dass es antisemitisches Mobbing an der Schule seiner Kinder gibt. Die Juden in Sarajevo haben laut ihm sogar Angst, offen zu zeigen, dass sie Juden sind.

Wir waren auch neugierig zu erfahren, wie die einst wohlhabende jüdische Gemeinde in Sarajevo heute mit der Erhaltung jüdischer Bräuche und Identitäten umgeht. Wenn sie ihre alten Traditionen und Sprachen beibehalten. Elma erklärte uns, dass die heutige Gemeinschaft viel weniger Mitglieder hat als vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg und dass sie hart um den Erhalt der jüdischen Kultur Sarajevos kämpft. In Sarajevo hat die Kultivierung des Judentums, wie in anderen Städten des ehemaligen Jugoslawiens, eher einen kulturellen und sozialen als einen religiösen Charakter. Dies entspricht der atheistischen Ideologie und Einstellung der kommunistischen Gesellschaft in Jugoslawien. Auch die Synagoge war und ist in zwei Hälften geteilt. Der obere Teil des Gebäudes ist eine Synagoge (wie wir auf dem Foto unten sehen können), während der untere Teil ein Veranstaltungsort ist.

In jugoslawischen Zeiten engagierten sich Jung und Alt aktiv in der jüdischen Gemeinschaftsarbeit durch verschiedene Clubs und kulturelle Aktivitäten. Noch heute findet jede Woche eine Sonntagsschule statt, die den Kindern Konzepte des Judentums näher bringt. Außerdem betreibt die Gemeinschaft einen Studentenclub, einen Frauenclub namens Bohoreta und es gibt einen religiösen Teil der Gemeinschaft, aber keinen Rabbiner. Es gibt auch einen “Sozialbereich” der Gemeindeorganisation, der sich zusammen mit der jüdischen NGO Benevolencija um die Mitglieder kümmert, die materielle Unterstützung benötigen.

Die hebräischen Sprachkurse in der Gemeinschaft erloschen aufgrund des sinkenden Interesses ihrer Mitglieder. Es gibt eine beträchtliche Anzahl junger Erwachsener, die die Sprache sprechen, weil sie während des Krieges in Bosnien und Herzegowina in den 90er Jahren in Israel lebten. Nur wenige ältere Mitglieder haben noch Kenntnisse in Judäo-Spanisch. Es gibt jedoch eine positive Einstellung zum modernen Spanisch heute, da einige der Mitglieder der Gemeinschaft an der Möglichkeit interessiert sind, die spanische sephardische Staatsbürgerschaft zu nutzen, und daher modernes Spanisch lernen müssen.

Visiting the Jewish Community in Sarajevo

Visiting the Jewish Community in Sarajevo

On a pleasant early autumn Tuesday morning, we [four scholars from Germany, Montenegro and Serbia] came to the Jewish Community in Sarajevo situated in 59, Hamdije Kreševljakovića Street, by the Miljacka river. The Jewish Community inherits a long tradition that dates back to the mid-16th century, when the first Sephardic Jews came to Ottoman Sarajevo. The Jewish population of Sarajevo at that time spoke Judeo-Spanish. With the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Sarajevo in 1878, a significant number of Ashkenazi Jews came to Bosnia and Herzegovina from different parts of the Empire. They brought different traditions and languages with them. By then, the two Jewish groups – the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim –  were separate communities until the period after World War II, although they were united by the Zionist ideology. In the post-1945 Communist era, the former Ashkenazi synagogue in Hamdije Kreševljakovića Street became the social, but also religious epicenter of all remaining Jews in Sarajevo. This synagogue continues to be the hub of Jewish culture and belonging in Sarajevo until present day. For this the reason, the Community members that we met on this particular day in September 2018 were of both Sephardic and Ashkenazi origin.

We started off our conversation with addressing their thoughts regarding anti-Semitism. Among the Community members was the secretary general of the Community, Elma Softić-Kaunitz, who shared with us her generally positive views on this matter and spoke of significant tolerance towards Jews. At the same time, she admitted that the predominantly Muslim population in Sarajevo usually have anti-Israeli political attitudes.

A young woman, who did not wish to be named or photographed, told us that: “No one here would tell you something [anti-Jewish] face-to-face but the comments online are really, really bad.” She adds that she often finds the word čifut in the comments, which comes from Turkish and is pejorative for a Jew in Serbo-Croat.

29-year old Vladimir Andrle had a more optimistic perception of anti-Semitism in Sarajevo. He reflects upon the situation like this:

Today, we’re the only Jewish Community in Europe with no security [guards and installations]! Consider the fact that nobody ever attacked the synagogue and the Jewish Community. We don’t have the same degree of anti-Semitism as in other European countries. Most of it takes place on the Internet where people insult the Jewish people, but it doesn’t occur in ‘real life.’ Not in Sarajevo.

49-year old Yehuda Kolonomos could not come to the Community to meet us, but he came to our hotel the following day. He told us that all Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina are seen as Israelis and thus held responsible for the politics of Israel. He explains:

People don’t make a difference between Jews from Israel and Jews from anywhere else. It’s the same to them, and therefore a complicated situation for those Sarajevan Jews coming from mixed Jewish-Muslim families. They don’t dare say that they are Jews because then they will be blamed by the Bosnian Muslims for the politics in Israel. On a personal level I have had bad experiences as well: Muslim kids approached my daughter in school, asking her, why she’s killing their people [Muslim Palestinians in Israel]. Even though I insist on wearing my kippah [a cap worn by Jewish religious men] while walking the streets of Sarajevo; not hiding the fact that I’m Jewish, I’m also much more careful than I was a year ago. I think other Jews in Sarajevo are even more afraid than me to show or say openly that they are Jews.

Summing up the reflections on anti-Semitism in Sarajevo, according to Vladimir, Sarajevo has a better record regarding anti-Semitism than other places in Europe, which are more anti-Semitic. At the same time, the experience that the young woman shared with us shows that anti-Semitism is vital, at least in the cyber space. Moreover, Yehuda said that anti-Israelism causes anti-Semitism to such extent that there is anti-Semitic bullying at his children’s school. Jews in Sarajevo are, according to him, even afraid to show openly that they are Jewish.

We were also curious to know how the once prosperous Jewish community in Sarajevo deals with preservation of Jewish customs and identity today. If they keep their old traditions and languages. Elma explained to us that the Community of today has much less members than before the Second World War and that they are struggling hard to maintain the Sarajevo Jewish culture. In Sarajevo, just like in other former Yugoslav cities, the cultivation of Judaism has a cultural and social character rather than a religious one. This corresponds with the atheist ideology and attitudes of the communist society in Yugoslavia. Even the synagogue was and still is divided in two halves. The upper part of the building is a synagogue (as we can see on the photo below), while the lower part is a place where people meet and have social gatherings.

In Yugoslav times, the young and old were engaged actively in Jewish communal work through different clubs and cultural activities. Still today, there is a Sunday school taking place every week that is introducing concepts of Judaism to the children. Moreover the Community runs a student club, a women club called Bohoreta and there is a religious section of the Community but no residential rabbi. There is also a ‘social section’ of the Community organization which, together with the Jewish NGO Benevolencija, take care of the members that are in a need of material support.

The Hebrew language courses in the Community ceased to exist owing to the decrease in interest of its members. There is a significant number of young adults who speak the language because they lived in Israel during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s. Only a few elderly members still have some knowledge of Judeo-Spanish. There is a positive attitude towards modern Spanish today however, as some of the Community members are interested in the opportunity to take the Spanish Sephardic citizenship, and therefore, will have to learn modern Spanish.

Bohoreta Women’s Club

Bohoreta Women’s Club

The Bohoreta Club was founded as a women’s section in 1965, the community itself immediately after the return of the Jews to Sarajevo with the support of JOINT. Since there are many mixed families, there are no traditions, these were interrupted, holidays were not held or only passed on in the family. The president has taken over her task from her mother and grandmother. Today the women’s section sees it as its duty to prepare the festive holidays for the whole community (500), e.g. Passover (a description of the traditions follows), Succot, etc. Since the last rabbi died in 1954, there are no more trained church representatives. Igor, the son of the chairman, leads the church services and wants to become a rabbi himself.

Among the women, the eldest is an Auschwitz survivor who is 94 years old, a once-known architect who has not been able to come for two years. The youngest ladies are mostly over 70, and from time to time there are still two younger ones.

Many come from mixed families or whose children are married and in-laws to Serbs, Croats or Muslims. The women’s club is therefore also very open, there is also a Muslim woman (Kassima) present, whose husband is Jewish. According to Jonna Rock, another lady who calls herself a Yugoslavian is not a Jew, but a friend of one of the women. So the group is very open, maybe this is also true for the whole community, where there are hardly any or no Jews of strict faith.

The chairwoman has a non-Jewish mother, she did not meet her father Isaak, because he was deported to Jasenovac in April, she herself was born in June. She and her sister had blue eyes, went to her mother’s village, hid there and survived the war. When she went to the women’s meetings with her mother and grandmother as a young woman, she was asked what she wanted there as a young woman. But she was not employed anywhere, so she had time and the task was gradually handed over to her.

Her husband comes from Macedonia and is the only one of 62 family members who survived there. The others were deported from Skopje to Treblinka in 1943.

At home only the grandparents spoke to each other Ladino, the father still could. The ladies present still understand some things, but don’t speak them anymore. They cultivate their heritage through songs, in some families proverbs from the Ladino have survived.

60,000 inhabitants of Sarajevo were warned of the war by a fifth of Jews. 9,000 were murdered. The middle generation has almost completely broken away due to emigration in the last war.

Bohoreta Women’s Club

Bohoreta Women’s Club

Der Bohoreta-Klub wurde als Frauensektion 1965 gegründet, die Gemeinde selbst sofort nach der Rückkehr der Juden nach Sarajevo mit Unterstützung des JOINT. Da es viele gemischte Familien gibt, sind keine Traditionen vorhanden, diese wurden unterbrochen, Feiertage wurden nicht gehalten oder nur in der Familie weitergegeben. Die Vorsitzende hat ihre Aufgabe von der Mutter und Großmutter übernommen. Heute sieht es die Frauensektion als ihre Pflicht an, für die ganze Gemeinde (500) die Feiertage festlich vorzubereiten, z.B. Pessach (es folgt eine Beschreibung der Traditionen), Sukkot usw. Da 1954 der letzte Rabbiner starb, gibt es keine ausgebildeten Gemeinderepräsentanten mehr. Igor, der Sohn der Vorsitzenden, leitet die Gottesdienste und möchte selbst Rabbiner werden.

Unter den Frauen ist die Älteste eine Auschwitz-Überlebende, die 94 Jahre alt ist, eine einst bekannte Architektin, die seit zwei Jahren aber nicht mehr kommen kann. Die jüngsten Damen sind meist über 70, es kommen noch ab und zu zwei deutlich Jüngere dazu.

Viele Mitglieder stammen entweder selbst bereits vielfach aus gemischten Familien oder deren Kinder sind mit Serben, Kroaten oder Muslimen verheiratet und verschwägert. Der Frauenclub ist deshalb auch sehr offen, es ist auch eine Muslimin (Kassima) anwesend, deren Mann Jude ist. Auch eine weitere Dame, die sich selbst als Jugoslawin bezeichnet, ist nach Auskunft von Jonna Rock keine Jüdin, sondern mit einer der Frauen befreundet. Die Gruppe ist also sehr offen, evtl. gilt das auch für die ganze Gemeinde, in der es kaum oder gar keine strenggläubigen Juden gibt.

Die Vorsitzende hat eine nichtjüdische Mutter, ihren Vater Isaak hat sie nicht kennengelernt, da er im April nach Jasenovac deportiert wurde, sie selbst ist im Juni geboren. Sie und ihre Schwester hatten blaue Augen, sind in das Dorf der Mutter gegangen, haben sich dort versteckt gehalten und haben so den Krieg überlebt. Als sie als junge Frau zu den Treffen der Frauen mit der Mutter und Großmutter mitging, wurde sie gefragt, was sie als junge Frau dort wolle. Sie war aber nirgendwo angestellt, hatte also Zeit und so ist die Aufgabe allmählich an sie übergeben worden. Ihr Mann kommt aus Makedonien und hat dort als einziger von 62 Familienmitgliedern überlebt. Die anderen wurden 1943 aus Skopje nach Treblinka deportiert.

Zu Hause haben nur die Großeltern untereinander Ladino gesprochen, der Vater konnte es immerhin noch. Die anwesenden Damen verstehen noch einiges, sprechen es aber nicht mehr. Sie pflegen ihr Erbe durch Lieder, in manchen Familien haben sich noch Sprichwörter aus dem Ladino erhalten.

Vor dem Krieg warnen von 60.000 Einwohnern Sarajevos ein Fünftel Juden. 9.000 wurden ermordet. Die mittlere Generation ist durch Auswanderung im letzten Krieg fast ganz weggebrochen. 

Visit to the Historical Archive Sarajevo (HAS)

Visit to the Historical Archive Sarajevo (HAS)

Text: Goranka Ćejvanović / Photographs: Aleksandar Jakir, Goranka Ćejvanović

The Foundation and Activities of the Archives in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BuH)

The first official and legally established archival activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina began at the end of 1947 with the founding of the State Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Then the municipal archives in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Mostar etc. are formed. In pre-war Yugoslavia, the archival institutions established a structured scientific network, which was consequently destroyed at the beginning of the war in 1992. This not only resulted in the damage and partial destruction of the archives and libraries, but also in the loss of the financial resources and experts needed to build up the cultural legacy that remained after the war. During the war, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian archives remained mainly under regional ethnic military and paramilitary control.

In today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, the archives are subject to either state, entity or cantonal legislation, depending on their affiliation. The technological and spatial conditions for the use of these archives can also vary, although it should be noted that the archive material is generally available to national and international researchers as well as private individuals.

The Historical Archive Sarajevo – Historijski Arhiv Sarajevo (HAS)

The HAS, which today is located in Alipašina 19 and belongs to the Sarajevo canton, was able to preserve the entire pre-war collection. It is also presented to the public in exhibitions according to various thematic focuses.

Within the framework of the workshop “Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Jews in the Balkans” which took place in Sarajevo from 03-09.-05.09.2018, the HAS was visited by some participants, students and professors: Besides the general information about the archive and its treasures, it was also important for us to receive some information about the Sephardic life in Sarajevo.

In quite a small space we were received by the director of the Fuad Archive Ohranović and his archivist Atif Mušinović and Admir Nezirović

But even if it seems to be furnished in a minimalist way, this archive houses an impressive archive that dates from the foundation of the city of Sarajevo (here only fragments), thus from the pre-Ottoman period until today. It thus shows the cultural, sociological, political and historical development of the city itself, as well as that of its inhabitants.

Here it should be particularly important that the University and National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Gazi-Husrev Library (which has a large digital collection), with which the HAS cooperates closely, keep complementary collections.

In addition to the extensive Oriental Collection in Turkish and Arabic, including the transcript of Isa-Begs Vakufnama dating from 1461, documents of inestimable value are kept in the archive. These also include private and family collections, such as those of the historian Hamdija Kreševljaković.

Various archives from the Austro-Hungarian period, such as maps, magazines, decrees, etc., as well as the 1910 census are available to users. In this census not only the religious affiliations were recorded, but also the ownership conditions within the area between Vijećnica and Zemaljski muzej were documented. The HAS also houses the statistics of the 1925 population census and all the administrative documents of the NDH era.

The Sarajevo Sephardi and Laura Papo Bohoreta Manuscripts

The above-mentioned Census are of particular importance as it examines the demographic development, growth and decline of the Jewish community (Sephardi and Ashkenazzi) in various historical, economic and political contexts. But the HAS also preserves other diverse documents about the Sephardic Jews who settled here after the expulsion from Spain in the mid-16th century.

The manuscripts of the Sephardin, Laura Papo Bohoreta, who was born in Sarajevo in 1891, should be mentioned in particular, as the special feature of this manuscript lies on the one hand in its content and on the other in the language used. Laura Papo Bohoreta wrote her various documents in the Judeo-Spanish (Sephardic or Ladino) language, which is threatened by language death in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, the author and feminist includes the way of life and tradition of the Sephardic Jews in her literary works. One of her most important manuscripts is the monograph “”La mužer sef”.

One of her important manuscripts is the monograph “La mužer sefardi de Bosna”, which has also been translated into Bosnian (“Sefardska žena u Bosni”) thanks to the Romanist Muhamed Nezirović

On the occasion of the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Sephardic community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the HAS and the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo, in cooperation with the local Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain, will publish the trilogy of Bohorea’s digitized manuscripts between 2015 and 2017.
In addition to the already mentioned monograph, the three volumes also publish poems, essays, dramas, including the famous drama “Esterka”, premiered in Sarajevo.

This three-volume publication “Laura Papo Bohoreta – rukopisi”, which is also increasingly important for scientific circles, not only bears witness to the traditional values of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Sephardi, but also to a multicultural society in the region that has existed for centuries. Multiculturalism, as well as interreligious tolerance – especially in the city of Sarajevo – are also shown by other artifacts, especially the famous Sarajevo Haggadah with its unique history of survival, and (according to Andrić) “usnuli lavovi” (the sleeping lions) – the gravestones of the Jewish cemetery founded in 1630.

Posjeta Historijskom arhivu Sarajevo

Posjeta Historijskom arhivu Sarajevo

Tekst: Goranka Ćejvanović / Fotografije: Aleksandar Jakir, Goranka Ćejvanović

O djelatnosti arhiva u BiH

Prva zvanična i zakonom zaštićena djelatnost arhiva u Bosni i Hercegovini je uspostavljena krajem 1947. godine, kada je osnovan Državni Arhiv Bosne i Hercegovine, kojem slijede i osnivanja gradskih arhiva, kao što su sarajevski, banjalučki, tuzlanski, mostarski itd.

Arhivske ustanove, kao kulturološke institucije, na području SFRJ-a etabliraju međusobnu strukturiranu suradnju, koja početkom rata 1992. godine biva razarana. Dolazi ne samo do stradanja arhivske kao i bibliotetske građe[1], već i do nestanka financijskih sredstava i kompetentnih stručnjaka za obnavljanje preostale postratne kulturne baštine.

Tokom rata, na području BiH, arhivi opstaju uglavnom pod regionalno-etničkom kontrolom vojnih ali i paravojnih formacijama.

Danas postoje na nivou države, entiteta i kantona legislativna uređenja o arhivima u kojima vladaju različiti tehnološki i prostorijski uslovi za korisnike. Korištenje arhivske građe je u suštini dostupno nacionalnim kao i internacionalnim istraživačima i privatnim osobama.

Historijski arhiv Sarajevo (HAS)

U HAS-u, koji se danas nalazi u Alipašinoj ulici br. 19 i koji je pripada Kantonu Sarajevo, je sačuvana cjelokupna arhivska građa, koja publici po različitim tematskim težištima biva izložena/prezentirana.

U sklopu radionice „Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Jews in the Balkans”, održane od 03.09.-05.09.2018. u Sarajevu, jedan dio učesnika iz regije i Njemačke, studenata i profesora, posjetio je Historijski Arhiv Sarajevo. Pored opštih informacija o samom arhivu i njegovoj građi, željeli smo saznati šta HAS u odnosu na sefardsku zajednicu posjeduje.

U prilično maloj prostoriji, koja istovremeno služi kao čitaonica, nas je dočekao direktor arhiva Fuad Ohranović, kao i viši arhivisti Atif Mušinović i Admir Nezirović.

Iako minimalistički uređen, ovaj arhiv posjeduje značajnu građu od osnivanja grada Sarajeva (fragmenti), iz predosmanske dobi pa sve do danas, koja uglavnom pokazuje razvoj Sarajeva i njegovog stanovništva u kulturološkom, sociološkom, političkom i historijskom kontekstu.

Mimo toga se treba istaknuti i bliska suradnja sa Nacionalnom i univerzitetskom bibliotekom Bosne i Hercegovine, ali i sa Gazi-Husrev-Begovom bilbliotekom, u kojoj je mnoštvo bosansko-hecegovačke arhivske baštine digitalizirano, ali i čija je građa  jedna drugu dopunjavajuća.

Pored bogate orijentalne zbirke na turskom i arpskom jeziku, kao što je npr. prepis Gazi Isabegove vakufname koja datira iz 1461. godine, u arhivu se čuva neprocjenjiva vrijednost dokumenata. U te također spadaju porodični i lični fondovi, kao što je npr. fond historičara Hamdije Kreševljakovića.

Korisnicima je dostupna i građa iz austrougraske dobi: karte, časopisi, ili popis stanovništva iz 1910. godine, sa dodatnom oznakom porijekla, vjeroispovijesti, ali i dokumentacijom o vlasništvu – od Vijećnice do Zemaljskog muzeja. Pored navedenog popisa arhiv sadrži i podatke popisa iz 1925. godine, kao i cjelokupnu upravnu dokumentaciju iz dobi NDH.

Sarajevski Sefardi i lični fond Laure Papo Bohorete

Napomenuti popisi sarajevskog stanovništva su posebnog značaja, ukoliko se istražuje demografski razvoj, rast i pad jevrejske zajednice (Sefarda i Aškenaza) u različitim historijskim, ekonomskim i političkim kontekstima.  No, u Historijskom arhivu se čuvaju i raznovrsni drugi dokumenti o sarajevskim Sefardima, koji se, prognani iz Španije, sredinom 16. stoljeća naseljavaju u ovaj grad.

Naročito bi se trebali istaknuti rukopisi 1891. godine u Sarajevu rođene Sefardkinje Laure Papo Bohorete. Posebnost njenih rukopisa je sadržajnog i jezičnog tipa. Služeći se judeo-španskim (sefardskim ili ladino) jezikom, kojem danas na prostorima BiH prijeti jezikoumorstvo, ova autorica, ali i feministica u svoja književna i dramska djela implicira život i tradiciju sarajevskih Sefarda.  Jedno od znamenitih djela Bohorete je monografija „La mužer sefardi de Bosna“, koja je, zahvaljujući romanisti dr.  Muhamedu Neziroviću, prevedena i na bosanski jezik („Sefardska žena u Bosni“).

U razdoblju između 2015 i 2017, a povodom obilježavanja 450. godišnjice dolaska Sefarda u BiH, u saradnji sa ambasadom Kraljevine Španije, HAS i Filozofski fakultet Univerziteta u Sarajevu objavljuju trilogiju Bohoretinih digitaliziratih rukopisa. Mimo već spomenute monografije, u ova tri toma su publicirane i pjesme, eseji, dramska djela, kao što je poznata i u Sarajevu izvođena Esterka.

Ovo trodjelno izdanje “Laura Papo Bohoreta – rukopisi“, sve više značajno i za naučno-istraživačke krugove, svjedoči ne samo o tradicionalnim vrijednostima bosansko-hercegovačkih Sefarda, već i o vjekovima postojećoj multikulturalnoj društvenoj sredini na ovim prostorima.  Pogotovo u gradu Sarajevu multikulturalitet, kao i međureligijsku toleranciju pokazuju i drugi artefakti, među kojima su npr. poznata sarajveska Hagada sa svojom jedinstvenom pričom opstanka, ali i, posebno za istaknuti, već stoljećima (po Andriću) „usnuli lavovovi“ – jevrejsko groblje, osnovano oko 1630. godine.

[1] Tokom rata (1992-1995) je po Ademu Kožaru stradalo oko 81.000 metara dužnih arhivske građe.

Besuch im Historischen Archiv Sarajevo (HAS)

Besuch im Historischen Archiv Sarajevo (HAS)

Text: Goranka Ćejvanović / Photographien: Aleksandar Jakir, Goranka Ćejvanović

Zur Gründung und Tätigkeiten der Archive in Bosnien und Herzegowina (BuH)

Die ersten offiziellen und gesetzlich verankerten archivarischen Aktivitäten in Bosnien und Herzegowina beginnen Ende 1947 mit der Gründung des Staatsarchivs Bosnien und Herzegowinas. Danach werden die städtischen Archive in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla, Mostar usw. formiert. Im Vorkriegs-Jugoslawien bauen die archivarischen Einrichtungen ein strukturiertes wissenschaftliches Netzwerk auf, dass mit dem Beginn des Krieges im Jahr 1992 folglich zerstört wird. Hierbei kommt es nicht nur zur Schädigung und anteiligen Zerstörung des Archivs – und Bibliotheksguts, sondern auch zum Schwund der finanziellen Mittel als auch der Fachexperten, die für den Aufbau der nach dem Krieg verbliebenen kulturellen Vermächtnisses notwendig sind. Während des Krieges bleiben die bosnisch-herzegowinischen Archive hauptsächlich unter der regional-ethnisch geführten militärischen und paramilitärischen Kontrolle.

Im heutigen Bosnien und Herzegowina unterliegen die Archive je nach Zugehörigkeit entweder der staatlichen, der entitäten oder der kantonalen Gesetzgebungen. Auch die technologischen und räumlichen Nutzungsbedingung dieser können unterschiedlich sein, wobei anzubringen ist, dass das Archivmaterial grundsätzlich nationalen und internationalen Forschern als auch Privatpersonen zur Verfügung steht.

Das Historische Archiv Sarajevo – Historijski Arhiv Sarajevo (HAS)

Das HAS, das sich heute in der Alipašina 19 befindet und dem Kanton Sarajevo zugehört, konnte den gesamten Vorkriegsbestand aufbewahren. Dieser wird zudem nach verschiedenen thematischen Schwerpunkten in Ausstellungen dem Publikum präsentiert.

Im Rahmen des in Sarajevo veranstalten Workshops „Discursive inclusion and exclusion of Jews in the Balkans”, das vom 03-09.-05.09.2018 stattgefunden hat, wurde das HAS von einigen Teilnehmenden, Studierenden und Professor_innen, besucht: Neben den allgemeinen Informationen über das Archiv und seine Schätze, war uns wichtig auch welche in Bezug auf das sephardische Leben in Sarajevo zu erhalten.

In recht kleinem Raum sind wir von dem Direktor des Archivs Fuad Ohranović sowie seinen Archivisten Atif Mušinović i Admir Nezirović empfangen worden.

Doch auch wenn scheinbar minimalistisch eingerichtet, dieses Archiv beherbergt ein beeindruckendes Archivgut, das von der Gründung der Stadt Sarajevo (hier nur Fragmente), also aus der vorosmanischen Zeit bis heute datiert. Dieses lässt somit die kulturelle, soziologische, politische und historische Entwicklung der Stadt selbst, als auch die seiner Bewohner aufzeigen.

Hier sollte insbesondere angebracht werden, dass die Universitäts- und Nationalbibliothek Bosnien und Herzegowinas, als auch die Gazi-Husrev-Bibliothek (verfügt über großen digitalisierten Bestand), mit denen das HAS in enger Zusammenarbeit steht, hierzu sich ergänzende Bestände innehalten.

Neben der umfangreichen Orientalischen Sammlung in türkischer und arabischer Sprache, unter die auch die Abschrift Isa-Begs Vakufnama die aus dem Jahr 1461 datiert, werden im Archiv Dokumente von unschätzbarem Wert aufbewahrt.  Zu diesen zählen auch private und Familiensammlungen, wie beispielsweise die des Historikers Hamdija Kreševljaković.

Aus der österreich-ungarischen Zeit stehen den Nutzern verschiedene Archivalien, wie Karten, Zeitschriften, Erlasse usw. aber auch die Volkszählung aus dem Jahre 1910 zur Verfügung. In dieser wurden nicht nur die Religionszugehörigkeiten vermerkt, sondern ebenso die Besitzverhältnisse, innerhalb des Areals zwischen der Vijećnica und dem Zemaljski muzej, dokumentiert. Zudem beherbergt das HAS die Statistiken der Bevölkerungszählung aus dem Jahr 1925 sowie die gesamten Verwaltungsdokumente der NDH-Ära.

Die Sepharden Sarajevos und die Handschriften Laura Papo Bohoretas

Die oben erwähnten Censuus sind von besonderer Bedeutung, insofern die demographische Entwicklung, der Wachstum und der Rückgang, der jüdischen Gemeinschaft (Sepharden und Aschkenasen) in verschiedenen historischen, wirtschaftlichen und politischen Gegebenheiten untersucht wird. Doch im HAS werden auch andere vielfältige Dokumente über die sephardischen Juden, die sich nach der Vertreibung aus Spanien hier Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts ansiedeln, bewahrt.

Die Handschriften der 1891 in Sarajevo geborenen Sephardin, Laura Papo Bohoreta, sollten insbesondere erwähnt werden, denn das Besondere dieser liegt zum einen in dem Inhalt und zum anderen in der verwendeten Sprache. Ihre diversen Schriftstücke verfasste Laura Papo Bohoreta in der judeo-spanischen (sephardischen oder ladino) Sprache, die im heutigen Bosnien und Herzegowina vom Sprachtod bedroht ist. Zudem schließt die Autorin und Feministin in ihre literarischen Werke die Lebensweise und die Tradition der sephardischen Juden ein. Eine ihrer bedeutsamen Handschriften ist die Monografie „„La mužer sefardi de Bosna“, die dank dem Romanisten Muhamed Nezirović auch in das Bosnische übersetzt worden ist („Sefardska žena u Bosni“).

Anlässlich der Feierlichkeiten des 450-jährigen Bestehens der sephardischen Gemeinschaft in Bosnien und Herzegowina veröffentlichen das HAS und die Philosophische Fakultät der Universität Sarajevo in Zusammenarbeit mit der hiesigen Botschaft des Königreichs Spanien im Zeitraum von 2015 bis 2017 die Trilogie der digitalisierten Handschriften Bohoretas publiziert.

Neben der bereits erwähnten Monographie werden in den drei Bänden auch Gedichte, Essais, Dramen, u. a das in Sarajevo uraufgeführte bekannte Drama „Esterka“, veröffentlicht.

Diese dreibändige Publikation “Laura Papo Bohoreta – rukopisi, das zunehmend auch für wissenschaftliche Kreise von Bedeutung, zeugt nicht nur von den traditionellen Werten der bosnisch-herzegowinischen Sepharden, sondern ebenso von einer über Jahrhunderte bestehenden  multikulturellen Gesellschaft in der Region. Die Multikulturalität, als auch die interreligiöse Toleranz – vor allem in der Stadt Sarajevo – bezeigen aber auch andere Artefakte; insbesondere die berühmte Sarajevo Haggadah mit ihrer einzigartigen Überlebensgeschichte, sowie (nach Andrić) „usnuli lavovi“ (die schlafenden Löwen) – die Grabsteine des im Jahre 1630 gegründeten jüdischen Friedhofs.

Linguistic landscape of Ulcinj

Linguistic landscape of Ulcinj

Marija Mandić (Institute for Slavic Studies, Humboldt University in Berlin), Jelena Lončar (Faculty of Political Sciences, University Belgrade), Rebekka Zeinzinger (Philosophical Faculty, University of Sarajevo)

Ulcinj is a city in Montenegro well known for language pluralism and peaceful co-existence of numerous ethnic groups. In the total population of 19.921 of the Ulcinj municipality, Albanians have the majority of 70.66%. According to the 2011 Population census, Montenegrins make 12.44% of the population, followed by Serbs (5,75%), Muslims (3,86%), Bosniaks (2,25%), Roma and Egyptians (1,17%). In Montenegro, Albanians live also in significant numbers in the municipalities of Podgorica, Bar, Gusinje, Rožaje, Plav, but the municipality of Ulcinj seems to be the center of the Albanian community in Montenegro. It is after all the only municipality in Montenegro where the Albanian minority forms the majority of population.

The Serbian, Montenegrin and Bosnian language speakers seem to be more concentrated in the town than in wider municipality. Almost one third of the population in town speaks these varieties as „mother tongue“ (Census 2011 data – Municipalities). The language is named in the school curriculum Montenegrin-Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian (Crnogorsko-srpski, bosanski, hrvatski; further in text Montenegrin-SBC), aiming thereby to reflect both the language unity and ethnic (political) differences.[1]

The same is visible in the organization of the school system in Ulcinj. There are four elementary schools in Ulcinj. All of them are bilingual, that is in Montenegrin and Albanian language. When it comes to high schools, there is a private school „Gjimnazi Drita“ in Albanian language, and a state-owned secondary mixed school „Bratstvo i jedinstvo“, which is bilingual. In addition, there is also a bilingual primary music school „Ulcinj“.[2] In terms of education, “bilingual” means that students may choose whether they want to be tought in Albanian or Montenegrin. Yet, it is not possible to opt for classes in both languages, i.e. following some content classes in Albanian and other in Montenegrin, which results in the lack of bilingualism among the younger population.

In our short presentation we focus on linguistic landscape which can be defined as „the visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs in a given territory or region“ (Landry, Bourhis 1997: 23). Linguistic landscape in fact highlights the interrelatedness of language and space and how they affect each other in the meaning-making process (Scollon, Scollon 2003). We differ between official, public and semi-public domains. However, our observations are very limited, due to the short term field work, and can be treated only as a preliminary insight into linguistic complexity and diversity of Ulcinj.

In terms of official signs like municipality plates or plates in the town museum, we can see that all signs are in both Montenegrin and Albanian. Montenegrin, as the official language of the state, is the first language, visually positioned on the top, whereas the Albanian name or information comes below.

Opština Ulcinj in Latin alphabet (above)
Komuna e Ulqinit

The second example (2) comes from the town museum. In the museum plate we see that Montenegrin comes as the first language, positioned on the top, also in Latin alphabet, then Albanian, and the third is English:

Originalni djelovi cibonijuma IX vijek
Pjesë originale të cibarijumit, Shek. IX
Original parts from the 9th century

The third photo (3) shows a hybrid, multifunctional sign which is also an official one. Its linguistic visual design shows a reverse situation: Albanian comes first, then Montenegrin. The sign refers to: Islamic community of Montenegro, Board of Islamic community of Ulcinj, Place for parking, and to the Vakif of the mosque Donja Meraja. All these references, as mentioned, are given in Albanian first, and then below in Montenegrin. PARKING however, as a borrowing from English, has only one form as it is the same in English, Montenegrin and Albanian.

Bashkësia Islame në Malin e Zi
Islamska zajednica u Crnoj Gori
Këshili i Bashkësisë Islame – Ulcinj
Odbor islamske zajednice Ulcinj
PARKING
Vakfi i xhamisë së Merasë së Poshtime
Vakuf džamije Donja Meraja.

In the photo (4) we can see two obituaries obviously referring to an Albanian. However, the above positioned obituary is in Albanian, whereas the below positioned obituary, visually identical to the first one, is in Montenegrin (obviously Bosnian variant). Both texts in Albanian and Montenegrin are identical. What is interesting here is that in the Montenegrin version personal names are adapted to the standard Montenegrin alphabet and, moreover, they are montenegrinised by adding to the Albanian family name Lamoja the suffix –. Thus, in Montenegrin version Lamoja is transformed into Ljamović.

Shefki-Keko Lamoja
Šefki-Keko Ljamović

The linguistic signs relevant for tourism are all bilingual or multilingual. The tables in front of restaurants are mostly given parallel in two native languages, visually and linguistically identical.

In the photos (5) and (6) one side of the advertising table with menu is given in Albanian and the other in Montenegrin, (5), (6).

The photo (7) shows, however, that Albanian is more dominant even among the touristic advertisements, due to the predominantly Albanian tourist guests in the municipality.

In the photo (8) the sign advertising free rooms is given in four languages. One may assume that the language order is in accordance with numerical presence of the guests and/or with a preference for certain guests: Albanian comes first, then German, followed by English, whereas Montenegrin is the last one in this discursive order.

Dhoma
Zimmer
Rooms
Sobe

In the photo (9), there is also a similar situation. It shows a stand where pancakes are sold, with five languages used: Montenegrin, Albanian, English, German, and French.

Palačinke
Krepé
Crepes
Pfannkuchen

Finally, the last photo (10) shows cups sold to tourists, with inscriptions: „To the best mum / dad / granny / granddad / uncle, etc. in the world“. Languages used are Albanian, English and Montenegrin (Bosnian variant).

This short presentation reveals that the linguistic landscape of Ulcinj is predominantly Albanian-Montenegrin bilingual, but very often multilingual including world languages such as English and German, due to the municipality touristic profile. The Latin alphabet dominates, whereas the Cyrillic alphabet is hardly visible in the town’s linguistic landscape. The hierarchical order of Montenegrin vs. Albanian is not so fixed, but rather shifts depending on the domain of language use: the official signs superimpose Montenegrin, whereas public and touristic signs give advantage to Albanian.

Literature

Census 2011 data – Municipalities. Statistical Office of Montenegro. Available at: https://www.monstat.org/eng/page.php?id=394&pageid=57; last time approached 18.07.2018.

Landry, Rodrigue,. Bourhis, Richard Y. 1997. Linguistic Landscape and Ethnolinguistic Vitality: An Empirical Study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16 (1), 23-49.

Scollon, Ron, Scollon, Suzie Wong 2003. Discourses in place: Language in the material world. London: Routledge.

[1] Cf. Nezavisne: https://www.nezavisne.com/novosti/ex-yu/Rijesenjem-o-nazivu-jezika-u-Crnoj-Gori-uglavnom-svi-zadovoljni/105294; last time visited 20.07.2018.

[2] Cf. Opština Ulcinj: including world languages such as English and German is predominantly bilingual, but very often also multilingual, due to its  http://www.opstinaulcinj.com/Opstina-Ulcinj/1164/Skolske-ustanove.shtml; last time visited 20.07.2018.

Dulcinea of Ulcinj: The hometown of Don Quixote’s Love

Dulcinea of Ulcinj: The hometown of Don Quixote’s Love

Aleksandar Pavlović

The statue of Miguel de Cervantes, father of Don Quixote and modern European novel, seems an odd ornament at the Ulcinj’s old town.

True, its ancient, originally Illyrian and Greek walls preserved quite a few surprises, curiously blending Muslim and Christian traditions through the centuries; Venetian palace and Turkish bay’s house standing together side by side; former Renaissance church turned into a mosque ad hoc, without removing the Latin inscription in the footsteps clearly testifying to its Christian past, now serving as the city’s archaeological museum; former Venetian customs office used as an infamous pirate’s house during their factual rein over the city from the late 16th to the late 18th century.

Renaissance Church turned into a mosque, nowadays Ulcinj’s Archeological Museum

Still, these old testimonies of the city’s hybrid and diverse nature arguably raise less eyebrows than Cervantes’ sculpture at the Restaurant Dulcinea in the middle of all this. The explanation, given by the locals, is an irresistibly romantic one. After being captured at the battle of Lepanto in 1571 and taken as a slave to Ulcinj by infamous local pirates, Miguel de Cervantes served there for several years before being taken to Algeria and eventually returning to Spain after five years of captivity. Now, in the tales told by traditionally tolerant locals, there is no space for brutality and domination – according to them, Cervantes enjoyed certain freedom and could walk through the Old Town, where his Spanish songs and charms attracted local women; Miguel fell in love in one of them, taking her with him to Algeria and later immortalizing her as Dulcinea, the Lady and inspiration of his hero Don Quixote. As a proof for their claims, the locals offer her name – De Ulicini i.e. from Ulcinj. They also stress Dulcinea’s common peasant origin in the book, as well as Don Quixote’s famous obsession with windmills that once stood in Ulcinj.

Don Quixote’s statue at the Ulcinj Old Town

Cervantes’ Spanish biographers might be inclined to label Ulcinj’s romance as a rather apocryphal; that there is no actual proof for his captivity in Ulcinj, as well as that Dulcinea comes from the Latin adjective “dulce” meaning “pleasant, sweet”. But, so what if Ulcinjers are perhaps imagining things? Don Quixote himself was doing just so, and yet his delusions provided us a glimpse into a better, nobler and more righteous world than the one we live in. Hence, let us embrace this legend in the name of Ulcinj and its inhabitants’ strivings in overcoming historical memories of slavery, captivity, piracy, wars and conflicts with a love story about a beloved Ulcinjian beauty immortalized by the writer in the following way:

Former Venice customs, later infamous pirate’s house, featuring Christoph, the last pirate of the Adriatic

she is my queen and lady, and her beauty superhuman, since all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her; for her hair is gold, her forehead Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her fairness snow, and what modesty conceals from sight such, I think and imagine, as rational reflection can only extol, not compare.

Restaurant Dulcinea at the top of the Ulcinj Old Town, with Venice Palace behind it

Die Linguistic Landscape Ulcinjs

Die Linguistic Landscape Ulcinjs

Marija Mandić (Institute for Slavic Studies, Humboldt University in Berlin), Jelena Lončar (Faculty of Political Sciences, University Belgrade), Rebekka Zeinzinger (Philosophical Faculty, University of Sarajevo)

Ulcinj ist eine Stadt in Montenegro, die besonders für ihre sprachliche Vielfalt und die friedliche Koexistenz mehrerer ethnischer Gruppen bekannt ist. In der Gesamtbevölkerung von 19.921 der Gemeinde Ulcinj bilden die Albaner mit 70.66% die Mehrheit. Gemäß dem Zensus von 2011 machen Montenegriner 12.44% der Bevölkerung aus, gefolgt von Serben (5.75%), Muslimen (3.86%), Bosniaken (2.25%), Roma und Ägyptern (1.17%). In größerer Zahl leben Albaner in Montenegro auch noch in den Gemeinden von Podgorica, Bar, Gusinje, Rožaje und Plav, aber die Gemeinde Ulcinj scheint das Zentrum der albanischen Gemeinschaft in Montenegro zu sein. Sie ist jedenfalls die einzige Gemeinde Montenegros, in der die Albaner die Mehrheit der Bevölkerung bilden.

Die Sprecher der serbischen, montenegrinischen und bosnischen Sprache sind häufiger in der Stadt als im Rest der Gemeinde zu finden. Fast ein Drittel der Stadtbevölkerung spricht diese Varietäten als „Muttersprache“ (vgl. Daten des Zensus 2011). Im Lehrplan in den Schulen wird diese Sprache als Montenegrinisch-Serbisch, Bosnisch, Kroatisch bezeichnet (Crnogorsko-srpski, bosanski, hrvatski), was einerseits die sprachliche Einheit, andererseits die ethnisch-politischen Unterschiede verdeutlicht. [1]

Das gleiche wird auch bei der Organisation des Schulsystems in Ulcinj sichtbar. Es gibt vier Grundschulen in Ulcinj. Alle vier sind zweisprachig, das heißt auf Montenegrinisch und Albanisch. Bei den höheren Schulen gibt es eine Privatschule in albanischer Sprache („Gjimnazi Drita“) sowie eine staatliche Sekundarschule „Bratstvo i jedinstvo“, die zweisprachig ist. Zusätzlich gibt es auch eine zweisprachige Musik-Grundschule „Ulcinj“. In Bezug auf das Schulsystem bedeutet zweisprachig, dass die Schüler entscheiden können, ob sie auf Albanisch oder Montenegrinisch unterrichtet werden möchten. Es ist jedoch nicht möglich, in beiden Sprachen unterrichtet zu werden, oder z. B. manche Fächer auf Albanisch und andere auf Montenegrinisch zu lernen, was dazu führt, dass die Zweisprachigkeit unter der jungen Bevölkerung nur sehr gering ist.

Unsere Präsentation beschäftigte sich mit der „Linguistic Landscape“, d.h. mit der Sichtbarkeit und Auffälligkeit von Sprachen auf öffentlichen und kommerziellen Schildern in einem bestimmten Gebiet oder einer Region. Linguistic Landscape macht die Wechselbeziehungen von Sprache und Raum sichtbar, und zeigt, wie sie einander beeinflussen, wenn Bedeutungen konstruiert werden. Grundsätzlich kann man zwischen dem offiziellen, öffentlichen und halb-öffentlichen Bereich unterscheiden. Da wir während unseres kurzen Feldausflugs nicht viel Zeit hatten, können wir hier nur einen kurzen Einblick in unsere Beobachtungen über die sprachliche Komplexität und Vielfalt Ulcinjs geben.

Was die offiziellen Schilder, wie die Tafeln am Rathaus oder im Stadtmuseum betrifft, konnten wir sehen, dass alle Schilder sowohl auf Montenegrinisch als auch auf Albanisch sind. Montenegrinisch, als offizielle Landessprache, ist die erste Sprache, die auch sichtbar an oberster Stelle positioniert ist, während die albanische Bezeichnung bzw. Information darunter zu sehen ist.

Das zweite Beispiel (2) ist aus dem Stadtmuseum. Auf dem Schild kann man sehen, dass Montenegrinisch als erste Sprache aufscheint, oben positioniert, ebenfalls im lateinischen Alphabet, dann kommt Albanisch, und die dritte Sprache ist Englisch.

Originalni djelovi cibonijuma IX vijek;
Pjesë originale të cibarijumit, Shek. IX;
Original parts from the 9th century

Auf dem dritten Foto (3) ist ein hybrides, multifunktionelles Schild zu sehen, das auch ein offizielles ist. Seine sprachliche und visuelle Gestaltung zeigt eine umgekehrte Situation: Albanisch kommt zuerst, dann Montenegrinisch. Das Schild verweist auf die Islamische Gemeinschaft Montenegros, den Ausschuss der Islamischen Gemeinschaft Ulcinjs bzw. deren Parkplatz, sowie auf den Vakuf der Moschee Donja Meraja. All diese Verweise werden, wie erwähnt, zuerst auf Albanisch, und dann darunter auf Montenegrinisch angegeben. Das Wort PARKING hat als Fremdwort jedoch nur eine Form, da es auf Englisch, Montenegrinisch und Albanisch das gleiche ist.

Bashkësia Islame në Malin e Zi
Islamska zajednica u Crnoj Gori;

Këshili i Bashkësisë Islame – Ulcinj
Odbor islamske zajednice Ulcinj

PARKING

Vakfi i xhamisë së Merasë së Poshtime
Vakuf džamije Donja Meraja.

Auf dem Foto (4) sieht man zwei Todesanzeigen, offensichtlich eines Albaners. Die obige ist auf Albanisch, während die darunter – optisch identisch zur ersten – auf Montenegrinisch (bzw. einer bosnischen Variante) verfasst ist. Beide Texte auf Montenegrinisch und Albanisch haben identischen Inhalt. Was besonders interessant ist, dass in der montenegrinischen Version auch der Name an den montenegrinischen Standard angepasst ist, und dieser sogar „montenegrisiert“ wurde, indem an den albanischen Familiennamen Lamoja das Suffix –ić gehängt wurde. So wurde in der montenegrinischen Version der Name Lamoja zu Ljamović.

Shefki-Keko Lamoja
Šefki-Keko Ljamović

Die für den Tourismus relevanten Schilder sind alle zwei- oder mehrsprachig. Tafeln vor Restaurants findet man meistens in paralleler Ausführung in den beiden Hauptsprachen, sprachlich und optisch identisch.

Auf den Bildern (5) und (6) sieht man, dass eine Seite der Tafel auf Albanisch und die andere auf Montenegrinisch ist.

Das Foto (7) zeigt jedoch, dass Albanisch auch unter den tourismusbezogenen Aufschriften dominant ist, was durch die hauptsächlich albanischsprachigen Touristen in der Gemeinde zu erklären ist.

Auf dem Foto (8) sieht man ein Schild, das freie Zimmer in vier Sprachen bewirbt. Wir nehmen an, dass die Anordnung der Sprachen mit der zahlenmäßigen Präsenz der Gäste bzw. mit der Präferenz bestimmter Gäste zusammenhängt: Albanisch kommt zuerst, dann Deutsch, gefolgt von Englisch, während Montenegrinisch als letztes in dieser diskursiven Ordnung aufscheint.

(8) Dhoma / Zimmer / Rooms / Sobe

Auf dem Foto (9) haben wir eine ähnliche Situation. Es zeigt einen Pfannkuchen-Stand, auf dem fünf Sprachen zu finden sind: Montenegrinisch, Albanisch, Englisch, Deutsch und Französisch.

(9) Palačinke / Krepé / Crepes / Pfannkuchen

Schließlich zeigt unser letztes Foto (10) Tassen, die an Touristen verkauft werden, mit unterschiedlichen Aufschriften: „An die beste Mama / den besten Papa / Opa / Onkel / … auf der Welt“. Die verwendeten Sprachen sind hier Albanisch, Englisch und Montenegrinisch (bosnische Variante).

Diese kurze Präsentation macht deutlich, dass die Linguistic Landscape Ulcinjs vorrangig albanisch-montenegrinisch zweisprachig ist, aber sehr oft auch mehrsprachig – einschließlich Weltsprachen wie Englisch und Deutsch – aufgrund des touristischen Profils der Stadt. Das lateinische Alphabet herrscht vor, während das kyrillische Alphabet in der Linguistic Landscape der Stadt kaum sichtbar ist. Die hierarchische Ordnung von Montenegrinisch vs. Albanisch ist nicht so starr, sondern hängt vom Bereich ab: die offiziellen Schilder weisen Montenegrinisch zuerst auf, während bei öffentlichen und touristischen Aufschriften Albanisch bevorzugt wird.

[1] Vgl. Nezavisne: https://www.nezavisne.com/novosti/ex-yu/Rijesenjem-o-nazivu-jezika-u-Crnoj-Gori-uglavnom-svi-zadovoljni/105294; zuletzt abgerufen am 20.07.2018.

Literatur

Daten des Zensus 2011. Amt für Statistik von Montenegro. Verfügbar unter: https://www.monstat.org/eng/page.php?id=394&pageid=57; zuletzt abgerufen am 18.07.2018.

Landry, Rodrigue,. Bourhis, Richard Y. 1997. Linguistic Landscape and Ethnolinguistic Vitality: An Empirical Study. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16 (1), 23-49.

Scollon, Ron, Scollon, Suzie Wong 2003. Discourses in place: Language in the material world. London: Routledge.

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

Luca Paggiaro

How does Macedonia want to introduce itself to their visitors? What does the Southeast European country want them to show and to hide? A personal account of my journey(s) around Macedonia

That’s (allegedly) Macedonia, and nothing else

An “model trip” to Macedonia has to start from the magnificent palaces and monuments of Skopje, the capital city. Macedonia Square (see picture 1), the very town centre, tells the tourists the whole national history with a bunch of statues: the ancient Alexander the Great – located in the middle – dominates over all, while the modern Macedonian independence heroes Dame Gruev and Gotse Delchev overlook the entrance of the Stone Bridge over the central river Vardar and the medieval Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria marks the begin of Macedonia Street, the main city pedestrian zone. Philipp II faces his son Alexander from the other side of the Vardar, whose bank is characterized by shiny neoclassical buildings: the biggest among them is the Museum of Archaeology (see picture 2), surrounded by other museums, government palaces and the massive National Theatre. The monumental downtown includes also Skanderbeg Square (see picture 3), a vast place dedicated to the hero of all Albanians, who represent a significant ethnic minority in Macedonia.

The ideal journey throughout the former Yugoslav republic continues to Ohrid, one of the most impressive city of the Balkan: according to the Ottoman globetrotter Evliya Çelebi, who visited it in 17th century, the town used to have 365 churches, one for each day of the year. Not all survived up to the present, but the remaining are still well worth seeing: above all the marvellous Church of Saint John at Kaneo (see picture 4), built on a cliff which offers the tourists a breath-taking view over the lake. Ohrid has been known for its literary school besides,  established in 886 by Saint Clement – a student of Cyril and Methodius – and renowned for having preserved the Glagolitic script until the 12th century.

As already seen on Skanderbeg Square, in Macedonia do not live only Macedonian-speaking Christians, but also Albanian-speaking Muslims. The trip has therefore to include their cultural centre, the city of Tetovo: visitors are here welcomed by the impressive 15th century Šarena Džamija (Macedonian for “Painted Mosque”) (see picture 5), at the same time a symbol of the former Ottoman rule in Macedonia.

The ideal journey could end here, having portrayed by the way an “ideal image” of the small Balkan republic: a shiny capital city adorned with modern Neoclassical palaces, an ancient town displaying the glorious past of the nation and, at last, a symbolic centre for the main ethnic minority of the country. An ideal portrait maybe suitable for a reductive flyer of the National Tourist Board, or for a simplifying Wikipedia article, but definitely not for a research paper, and even not for this modest article. Hence, the ideal journey has to stop, and a real one has to begin.

That is Macedonia (too)

Let’s return to Skopje and follow the same route through the colossal monuments of the city centre, although this time guided by a representative of the NGO “Ploštad Sloboda” (Macedonian for “Freedom Square”). Let’s discover therefore that this gigantic project called “Skopje 2014” has been a scandalous waste of money: over 670 million euros for having redecorated an area of just 1 km2, participation neither of the citizens nor of the national parliament in all decision-making processes, money laundering in the construction works and use of lowest-quality building materials (some facades are even flammable). That should be enough to boycott the entire showy complex and to take refuge in the truly magnificent Old Bazaar (see picture 6) admiring the numerous mosques, hammams and caravanserais, precious legacy of the Ottoman rule.

Then let’s return again to Tetovo, the capital of the Albanians in Macedonia, and reach the western periphery of the town: the very well conserved Arabati Baba Teḱe (see picture 7) would be rarely mentioned in a city’s guidebook, which rather prefers to direct the few tourists to the Painted Mosque. And it is really a pity considering that Dervish Muttalib – the only one serving in this 18th century compound for spiritual retreat –  would like to show the visitors the beautiful flowered lawns and wooden pavilions. The reason for this is the burning dispute over the property of the tekke between the Bektashi order, which founded it 500 years ago, and the Islamic Community of Macedonia, which regards the Bektashis as “heretics”: in August 2002 the situation escalated since a group of armed Wahhabi Muslims seized control of a large part of the complex, reclaiming it as a mosque – although it has never functioned as a such – and harassing its visitors.

Let’s finally abandon any touristic route and get acquainted with the third-largest ethnic minority of Macedonia: the Turks. Actually some Turkish flags have already been visible in Skopje’s Old Bazaar and also in the Baba Teḱe of Tetovo, but in Centar Župa – a small village situated near the city of Debar – Turks constitute a sweeping 80 percent majority: no surprise then that a majestic statue to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (see picture 8) towers on the central square and that the neighbouring village of Kodžadžik is known for having been the birthplace of Atatürk’s parents. And even though the official languages are Turkish, Macedonian and Albanian – all three taught at school – it’s not unusual to hear local people speaking fluently German or Italian, as much of the population emigrated to Western Europe and return only during the summer holidays.

The real journey could still continue, since this small country includes even more ethnic, linguistic and religious communities, disregarding its innumerable natural and cultural treasures. Macedonia is in the heart of the Balkans and reflects in its own territory all the contradictions of the Balkans, but primarily two: the rich ethnic variety and the poor nationalistic temptations. All in a wonderful landscape.

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

Luca Paggiaro

How does Macedonia want to introduce itself to their visitors? What does the Southeast European country want them to show and to hide? A personal account of my journey(s) around Macedonia

That’s (allegedly) Macedonia, and nothing else

An “model trip” to Macedonia has to start from the magnificent palaces and monuments of Skopje, the capital city. Macedonia Square (see picture 1), the very town centre, tells the tourists the whole national history with a bunch of statues: the ancient Alexander the Great – located in the middle – dominates over all, while the modern Macedonian independence heroes Dame Gruev and Gotse Delchev overlook the entrance of the Stone Bridge over the central river Vardar and the medieval Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria marks the begin of Macedonia Street, the main city pedestrian zone. Philipp II faces his son Alexander from the other side of the Vardar, whose bank is characterized by shiny neoclassical buildings: the biggest among them is the Museum of Archaeology (see picture 2), surrounded by other museums, government palaces and the massive National Theatre. The monumental downtown includes also Skanderbeg Square (see picture 3), a vast place dedicated to the hero of all Albanians, who represent a significant ethnic minority in Macedonia.

The ideal journey throughout the former Yugoslav republic continues to Ohrid, one of the most impressive city of the Balkan: according to the Ottoman globetrotter Evliya Çelebi, who visited it in 17th century, the town used to have 365 churches, one for each day of the year. Not all survived up to the present, but the remaining are still well worth seeing: above all the marvellous Church of Saint John at Kaneo (see picture 4), built on a cliff which offers the tourists a breath-taking view over the lake. Ohrid has been known for its literary school besides,  established in 886 by Saint Clement – a student of Cyril and Methodius – and renowned for having preserved the Glagolitic script until the 12th century.

As already seen on Skanderbeg Square, in Macedonia do not live only Macedonian-speaking Christians, but also Albanian-speaking Muslims. The trip has therefore to include their cultural centre, the city of Tetovo: visitors are here welcomed by the impressive 15th century Šarena Džamija (Macedonian for “Painted Mosque”) (see picture 5), at the same time a symbol of the former Ottoman rule in Macedonia.

The ideal journey could end here, having portrayed by the way an “ideal image” of the small Balkan republic: a shiny capital city adorned with modern Neoclassical palaces, an ancient town displaying the glorious past of the nation and, at last, a symbolic centre for the main ethnic minority of the country. An ideal portrait maybe suitable for a reductive flyer of the National Tourist Board, or for a simplifying Wikipedia article, but definitely not for a research paper, and even not for this modest article. Hence, the ideal journey has to stop, and a real one has to begin.

That is Macedonia (too)

Let’s return to Skopje and follow the same route through the colossal monuments of the city centre, although this time guided by a representative of the NGO “Ploštad Sloboda” (Macedonian for “Freedom Square”). Let’s discover therefore that this gigantic project called “Skopje 2014” has been a scandalous waste of money: over 670 million euros for having redecorated an area of just 1 km2, participation neither of the citizens nor of the national parliament in all decision-making processes, money laundering in the construction works and use of lowest-quality building materials (some facades are even flammable). That should be enough to boycott the entire showy complex and to take refuge in the truly magnificent Old Bazaar (see picture 6) admiring the numerous mosques, hammams and caravanserais, precious legacy of the Ottoman rule.

Then let’s return again to Tetovo, the capital of the Albanians in Macedonia, and reach the western periphery of the town: the very well conserved Arabati Baba Teḱe (see picture 7) would be rarely mentioned in a city’s guidebook, which rather prefers to direct the few tourists to the Painted Mosque. And it is really a pity considering that Dervish Muttalib – the only one serving in this 18th century compound for spiritual retreat –  would like to show the visitors the beautiful flowered lawns and wooden pavilions. The reason for this is the burning dispute over the property of the tekke between the Bektashi order, which founded it 500 years ago, and the Islamic Community of Macedonia, which regards the Bektashis as “heretics”: in August 2002 the situation escalated since a group of armed Wahhabi Muslims seized control of a large part of the complex, reclaiming it as a mosque – although it has never functioned as a such – and harassing its visitors.

Let’s finally abandon any touristic route and get acquainted with the third-largest ethnic minority of Macedonia: the Turks. Actually some Turkish flags have already been visible in Skopje’s Old Bazaar and also in the Baba Teḱe of Tetovo, but in Centar Župa – a small village situated near the city of Debar – Turks constitute a sweeping 80 percent majority: no surprise then that a majestic statue to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (see picture 8) towers on the central square and that the neighbouring village of Kodžadžik is known for having been the birthplace of Atatürk’s parents. And even though the official languages are Turkish, Macedonian and Albanian – all three taught at school – it’s not unusual to hear local people speaking fluently German or Italian, as much of the population emigrated to Western Europe and return only during the summer holidays.

The real journey could still continue, since this small country includes even more ethnic, linguistic and religious communities, disregarding its innumerable natural and cultural treasures. Macedonia is in the heart of the Balkans and reflects in its own territory all the contradictions of the Balkans, but primarily two: the rich ethnic variety and the poor nationalistic temptations. All in a wonderful landscape.

The inevitability of nationalism – The case of the Bektashi

The inevitability of nationalism – The case of the Bektashi

Slađan Rankić

Nationalism is a fickle concept, defined so many times in so many way, yet its true potential still escapes us. When one thinks of nationalism, the minds eyes conjures up images of flag waving young men, eager to seek glory in battle (or on the football stadium) for their nation. However, its manifestations are far subtler and much more widespread than what is commonly believed. To start off I will present a working definition of nationalism, from the pen of one of the greatest scholars of nationalism, Eric Hobsbawn. He defines nationalism as: “primarily a principle which holds that the political and national unit should be congruent.”[1] He continues on: “I would add that this principle also implies the political duty of Ruritanians to the polity which encompasses and represents the Ruritanian nation, overrides all other public obligations, and in extreme cases (such as wars) all other obligations of whatever kind.”[2] Now we should define the nation itself. For this I will utilize two complementary visions of the nation, from his book Imagined communities. Firstly, “the nation is an imagined political community and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.”[3] Secondly, “the nation is a solid community moving up (down) history.”[4] Both these definitions were extremely important for me to better comprehend the profound experience of our journey and reflect on the implications of intercommunal dynamics in Macedonia and Albania. Lastly, I must add a few more observations by Iver B Neumann. He claimed that every single ethnic group maintains itself by maintaining its boundaries with other neighboring groups.[5] The neighbors will do the same and thus, through discourse boundaries are maintained and the groups become “solid”. It is critical that the Other acknowledges the narrative of the collective Self, if the Other doesn’t acknowledge the Self, then the cohesiveness of the community is jeopardized. To put it bluntly, using the example from our research, the negotiations between Greece and Macedonia, with Greece being the Macedonian Other, are endangering the “solidity” of the Macedonian nation by not acknowledging its national narrative. The Other is necessary for Us, so that we can define Ourselves against it, yet it is also necessary for the Other to acknowledge Us as being different from it. The case of Germans and Austrians comes to mind vividly.

Even though both nations acknowledge that they both speak the same German language, nevertheless, Austrians fight tooth and nail to maintain their boundary with Germans symbolically(linguistically).  When Austria joined the EU it produced a list of 23 words which are different in High German and Austrian German. Thus, when an EU document regulating, say the trade of potatoes, is drafted, in its German version it must contain two words which mean the same, potato: Kartoffel (High German) and Erdapfel (Austrian). This may seem petty, but this list of 23 words serves a basic function. It acknowledges that there are two distinct political communities within the EU who use the German language. Symbolically and linguistically, Austria has entered into a union with other European nations, while protecting its boundaries with them, particularly with the most similar Other, Germany. Furthermore, Germany and Germans have accepted this symbolical border. This little story serves to illustrate that the logic of maintaining petty differences isn’t endemic to the Balkans. Rather it is necessary succor for any and all social groups which seek to endure and to move up (down history). Now, onto the meat of the matter.

During our trip we have visited many locations which piqued my interest, but for the interest of time I will focus on the most fascinating part of our journey, the visit to the Tekija in Tetovo and the seat of Baba Mondi in Tirana. When we entered the Tekija I was shocked by the stark contrast of this Muslim place of worship from the one in Tetovo proper. The Sunni mosque in the city was beautiful in an ascetic and austere way. The patterns on the walls were intricate and riveting, yet typical of any mosque. When we entered the Tekija however, we were greeted with the pictures of Mohamed and Ali, a taboo for mainstream Islam. Furthermore, although this may be an entirely subjective observation, the Prophets were painted in an effeminate way, with lush red lips and deep dark eyes, adding insult to injury for any adherent of Sunni Islam, let alone Wahhabism. The Tekija was modest, reminiscent of orthodox monasteries of my homeland, however on its outer walls lay flags of many nations, with the flags of: Kosovo, Albania and USA in the most prominent place. The Dervish greeted us and proceeded to tell us the story of his community, going up(down) history, all the while drawing bridges and borders with Catholics, Sunnis and Orthodox. Thus, a solid Sufi community emerged in our minds, distinct from Christians and Muslims, yet similar to both. The Dervish defined his community as being a bridge between radical Christianity and radical Islam. The metaphor of the bridge is omnipresent in the Balkans and I will get to it in a moment. During our talk the Dervish put forward his own hierarchy of collective Selves: 1. Nation, 2. Family, 3. Faith. His thought mirrors the words of one of the creators of Albanian nationalism Pashko Vasa: “The religion of Albanians is albanianism.”

However, it seemed that the Dervish was torn between his Sufi and Albanian Self. He told us that the greatest problem of Sufism is that it doesn’t have a state. Orthodoxy has Russia, Sunni Islam has Saudi Arabia and Sufis have no state to call their own. The Dervish said: “Kad imaš svoju državu možeš da imaš I svoju religiju.” Which I will loosely translate into: “You cannot have a religion without a nation state.” Later on, while the group was slowly entering the bus I stayed behind to speak some more with the Dervish, despite Kristoff’s strong protests. It is here that I learned about the conflict with the local Sunni Albanian population and it is here that I found out that the bullet holes in the Tekija Walls were not from some distant war. There was a constant threat that the Tekija might be stormed and it was shot at multiple times. The Dervish seamed happy to lay down his life as a martyr for his faith, as a true believer always is. He claimed that the Sufis were not men of violence and that no killer can ever be a Sufi. He placed his fate in the will of God, as a true ascetic believer.

The visit to the seat of Baba Mondi was a wake-up call. The humble lodgings of the Dervish and an ascetic spiritual environment was supplanted by an opulent seat of power and a plump religious head garbed in fine silk robes. The Sufi community, like any other human group couldn’t escape a hierarchical structuring of its members. We were escorted to the museum where we could see the history of the Sufi community visualized and presented to onlookers in all its glory. The picture of the prophet Ali, weeping after the battle of Karbala and washing his bloody hands in a river, caught my eye. The picture was breathtaking and inscribed with a poem in his name, written by one of the Frasheri brothers. Our guide was espousing the merits of multiculturalism, claiming that Sufism doesn’t distinguish between nations and that his religion abhors violence. He reiterated the metaphor of the bridge, which the Dervish used before. When I confronted him with the issue of how can a religious community which does not distinguish between nations and holds pacifism in high regard give birth to a nationalist movement and prominent intellectuals who crafted the concept of Greater Albania, the fell silent for a moment. He than answered: “There is no religion without a nation-state.”, and he shifted the topic down history, to the Ottoman era. Our guide proudly claimed that most of the Janissaries were Sufi. I asked: “Isn’t it contradictory that a pacifist religion is dominant within an elite military unit, made up of forced Christian converts to Islam?” Our guide fell silent again. I was challenging the basic premises of his collective Self, challenging the narrative of his community and he became defensive, as I would have in his place.

Now we return to the metaphor of the bridge. Samuel Huntington succinctly defined the problem of the bridge. “A bridge, however, is an artificial creation connecting two solid entities but is a part of neither.”[6] A bridge eases the transition from one shore to another, from one solid entity to another, it is not meant to be a place where one settles. We did hear as much from the Sufis themselves. Christian converts were more agreeable to converting to Sufi Islam than Sunni Islam, since it was not so radically different from their world view. However, we learned later on, from our trip in Skadar that the bridge is now fostering movement in a different direction. Many Sufis are converting to Protestantism, since they are already on the margins of mainstream Islam, they are more receptive to the evangelizing protestant missionaries.

Our guide in Skadar was an Albanian Catholic, who acknowledged that Islam was the delineating factor which helped the Albanian nation to form, juxtaposed to orthodox Serbs and Greeks. Our guide took us on a tour of the catholic churches and Venetian monuments, proud of the mark which Catholicism left on his country. He did not take us to the local mosque, despite the insistences of some of the members of our group. Here I saw yet another display of the inescapable realities of ingroup bias, or quite simply nationalism, and the need to maintain boundaries with Others. In brief, outwardly Albanians do seem like one nation, however the divides between their religious communities run deep. What I saw was, to be melodramatic, a battle for the soul of Albania. To use Huntington again: “the destiny of each linguistically and unified community depends ultimately upon the survival of primary structuring ideas, around which successive generations have coalesced, and which symbolize the society’s continuity.”[7]These primary structuring ideas then become a basis for institutionalization and the competition between these basis produces conflict. There is no religion without a nation state. The Sufi religious heads told us. They wish to enshrine their own principle into the institution which is the Albanian state, to ensure their community ensure its survival. Other religious/ideological communities will do the same, creating further ground for conflict. How would this dynamic play out could be an interesting question to ponder and I would love to discuss it further with all you.

[1] Eric Hosbabwm Nations and Nationalism since 1780- second edition, Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016 (23d print), p. 9

[2] ibid

[3] Benedict Anderson Imagined Communities, Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London UK: Verso 2016, p. 6

[4] Ibid p. 26

[5] Iver B Nojman, Upotreba drugog: Istok u formiranju evrpskog identiteta, Beograd: Službeni glasnik, 2011, pp 24-25

[6] Samuel P. Huntington Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order, New York US: Free Press, 2002, p. 149

[7] Samuel P. Huntington Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order, New York US: Free Press, 2002, pp 43-44

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania – a view from 2017

Marko Kovačević

Context and many questions: political scientist as amateur anthropologist

The Balkans is usually represented as being in-between, one has just to pick a certain end point or two coordinates, and will usually get a perspective that speaks about continuous and seemingly unending travelling. This voyage is different for its states, countries, and societies. Its histories are relative and are interpreted to offer a sort of stability in the narrative, but this “stability” speaks a lot more about the lack of continuity and disruptions that have been felt strongly in the everyday lives of its people. Spanning across borders, people stay, move and leave, trying to get their different individual ways in this uncertain and often unpredictable collective voyage.

But let’s first determine some “posts” and “goals” before moving to the understanding of those in the field, and among the people and cultures. I have had a chance to be part of the study trip to Albania and Macedonia together with the colleagues from Berlin in summer 2017. We have had a chance to talk to people in those countries and see how they see life and the world around them in person. This has helped me to inform my theoretical observations and connect some concepts with the views of the people in the field. I have got a chance to be an amateur anthropologist who gets into discussion political science and his philosophical worldviews to the table. What has come from this is interesting – at the same time confirming some theoretical positions, while potentially offering new insights and testifying about the enduring and puzzling resilience of the Balkans and its peoples.

What seemed as a challenge worth taking for me is trying to understand how political scientist can get his observations from the level of institutions and processes to the level of communities and representations of various theoretical concepts in daily life. How, for example, we can understand socioeconomic transition through observation of concrete materiality and ideas among people who tell us their life stories? But let’s first expose some concepts and related puzzles. This shall enable us to reconnect the many impressions from the field again into a more coherent larger picture. I am not sure if it can be enough to generalize, probably not – but I am interested in how this process works. So, let’s start, and be prepared to answer some of the questions at least tentatively, for I don’t have all the answers myself (caveat lector: it is a complex endeavor, we are in this together)

Problematic identities or problematic frames?

The frames of reference can be individual, collective, national, regional, global. Geography and time are intertwined. Spaces and places are mixed and many. And in global terms, post- (pick your adjective) ‘transition’ is the process that marks this socio-economic and political transition in a region that is filled with its continuous way of life as a creativity and struggle with the challenges of its semiperipherial status in Europe.

This difficult process has lasted for two decades, and it has no end. The questions is, what is the relevance of this divergence between the similar processes outside this region and its peculiarities and lack of true and efficient transformation that we now have to understand and deal with as “reality”. In other words, how is this transitional, and post-Yugoslav reality understood quarter century after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, and after the legacy of conflict and authoritarianism, that has left its visible imprint in the lives of its people. Alas, the questions are many, and the ways to address them are complicated. This short reflection is, firstly, an attempt to use the everyday and the position of an outsider to these communities to get a sort of a snapshot into how some of these multinational and multireligious communities understand their past experiences of life in a different country of where they are now.

Living in the field

Questions

Theory tells us that identity is based on the difference, on the notions of self and other. It is about the perception of the other, as well as of trying to understand their ability to communicate and live with the other. It is not impossible as the dominant nationalist discourses would like us to think. And now we get to more questions.

To what extent are the emotions important for their understanding of their present state and life. How are those emotions connected to the notions of Yugoslavia, and what it means today? Is it a sheer nostalgia that has some emotional content and meaning, or it forms a meaning that is productive for the life and progress of those communities in a manner that fosters intercultural and transcultural cooperation that overcomes the imposed top-down rhetoric of divides and nationalism? These are some of the questions that I try to address here and provide a brief illustration by offering some examples and impressions from the field and encounter with some people and communities.

Some impressions

The impressions are very favorable to counter the media framed understanding and discourse of the political elites. People are largely aware of the tremendous changes in their societies, and they remember the “good old days” when they were young and were able to live in a different and bigger country that offered them more opportunities for social and economic development. They bring up positive emotions and memories of their friends and colleagues, and speak the language that we understand each other. We are not divided by this common language, we are connected, and are able to discover the points of joint culture, references and hope for further re-establishment of the lives and stories that have been discontinued by force and conflict. We are aware of our burdensome “nationalities”, but that is not the key element in our discussions. We can laugh off any political connotations that are given by the official discourses, and understand that our common denominator and problems are the same. So, can we look for similar solutions? Can we learn from each other? We were able to agree in our perceptions of Yugoslavia as something that was in itself good for its people, and that the situation today is different, it is relatively worse off. But this is the fact of life which the present generation can reframe and we can cooperate. Using our similarities and our differences as a way to again get to know each other and build our own views of common future. Living with each other, not by each other. Building stronger societies.

Reflection and some lessons

Despite numerous challenges, impressions speak about resilient societies that speak about their potential and human strength that lives through its cultural diversity. As to the references to Yugoslav, it is mostly socio-economic, memory of good life, freedom of movement and positive outlook for the future. The question is can, and how, this can be more than a point of personal memory and nostalgia, and translated into the present moment in the lives of that and the new generation. Those people are aware of their common heritage, diversity and a history of convivial. However, the young generation yearns for more communication. Opportunities are ample, and it is easier to travel and connect with people. The question remains how the quality of that relations can be raised to a higher level. How it can be intensified and given a boost in the official discourse as well.

People take as a fact that we are similar, show greater understanding for our challenges and problems, both past and present, and seeking a point of reference where to start from. On a level of sheer impression and communication, ‘Yugoslavia’ brings us together immediately, and helps span generational divides. This positive legacy is relatively easy to get mobilized in conversations, and is the immediate ice breaker and sets the tone in reality, as well as helping open the horizon in a different, „regional“ or a broader „European“ frame today. However, people note that frames have been changed. They see ‘Europe’ as a reference for their future. They acknowledge the need to start talking, and then how people can achieve more if they can freely travel and exchange ideas and do business together. Cultures bring us together.

Returning from the field: Identities that connect the Balkans

We are as peoples and individuals much closer to each other than to some other nations. That has to be utilized. And Yugoslavia is still a big „motivational“ factor despite its state discontinuity. It is an idea and societal fact that lives through legacy, memory, and experience of life. The question is how to build on this positive experiences to initiate greater communication among people and communities – as a way of bridging the conflict-inflicted divides. The importance of the positive legacies for the future ones.

We all share understanding of the real problems in our societies. Unemployment, health, environment, sociopolitical cohesion, participation. Economic development seen as key. Importance of diasporas. Democratization and political accountability. More cooperation seen as the key aspect of progress for the region as a whole. The examples from Tetovo and Skopje speak at great length about this. Libofshe offers a kind of warm, human story of hospitality and acceptance in an unexpected multicultural environment. Zupa evokes the undertones of the Yugoslav times and some new environment and understanding of the shared challenges for the young generation in the region. A discussion in Tirana about Albanian-Serbian relations shows optimism for future dialogues.

All these communities demonstrate hope and show resilience living against the difficulties. That is how life wins, and what keeps and elevates this discourse of multicultural and tolerant societies in the Balkans – it is just a matter of priority which stories we want to tell in the public. It is a miracle of discovery through communication and going beyond the news headlines. Let’s share more of these voices and  tell stories about identities that underpin amity in ‘the region,’ and farther to our common world. As individuals we maybe cannot do much to change the world, but in our capacity as reflexive beings and zoon politikon we should at least try.

Women on the Balkans

Women on the Balkans

Nasiba Abbasova, Translation: Megan Nagel

During our DAAD field trip to Macedonia and Albania with the aim of exploring the Balkan Muslims it was also interesting to observe the women both in cities and villages. Here the question is not only about the division of the role of men and women in the family or society but also about the influence of religion on the lives of the women. In our case Islam. According to the 2002 census 30% of the Macedonian population identify as Muslim, in Albania 50% according to their last census in 2011. From 1968 until the 1990s Albania was an atheist state under communist rule.

Tirana, Albania. Source: S. Stankovic

Tirana, Albania. Source: S. Stankovic

Women in cities and villages

Muslim women are represented everywhere in cities; on the street, at the markets and in other public spaces, whether with headscarf or not. To be out on the street at midnight as a woman is not dangerous. Smoking and drinking alcohol in public is also no problem.

Skopje Old Bazaar, mainly Albanian and Muslim part

The women in the villages are very friendly but not always visible. Public squares such as cafés or teahouses are mainly frequented by men. In the villages usually old ladies live in big and beautiful villas, either alone or with their men. One of these women is Afrodita whom we met in a village. She lives alone in a two-storeyed villa throughout the whole year. Her children and grandchildren live in Germany and she visits them a few times a year. She prepares different jams made with the fruit from her own garden and other specialities which she takes along to Germany when she visits. She welcomed us like her own grandchildren and hugged and kissed us when parting, presenting us with her tasty apples.

Women of the Bektashi community

During our field trip we visited the Bektashi community in the Macedonian town of Tetovo. During the conversation with the friendly man who is going to be the Dervish the coming years it appeared that the women of this faith are well educated, mostly with university degrees. They do not have to wear a headscarf or chador. The Bektashi community in Tetovo has had a woman as the Baba, the highest position in this society.

Women as entrepreneurs

In Zogaj, a beautiful village on Lake Skadar on the Montenegrin-Albanian border a workshop was founded a few years ago by a young woman where they produce carpets and bags etc in different sizes. It is a small and friendly team of women working here.

The owner of the workshop

Zogaj, Workshop. Source: Darinka Antić

Good future perspectives abroad

During the conversation with the women it became clear that they hope for a good and safe future for their children. Many want to send their children to Western Europe, especially Germany, for a good university degree and hope for a good perspective for staying there. A saleswoman in a shopping centre in Tirana talked about how she came to Germany with her two children during the refugee wave and was deported half a year later. She wants to do her best for her children to receive good higher education in Germany. “Good studies” and a “good life” in Germany/abroad are the most important desires for these women.

Forgotten Spaces

Forgotten Spaces in border regions

Michał Piasek, Translation Megan Nagel

The DAAD field trip led the group to regions where borders have been shifted over the past centuries and new borders have been drawn. In a visible and an invisible way. The Ottoman Empire shaped the region in a special way so that not only new political borders developed but also religious. Many of these borders are invisible and four chosen locations marked on the map will be presented.

This article is a portrait of the so-called “bordercrossing” shown in four chosen locations: Debar, Dolna Gorica, Zogaj and Rreth-Libofshe. All places are located along the political border of Macedonia and Albania and Montenegro and Albania, except Rreth-Libofshe. Rreth-Libofshe represents an own special place which will be explained later. All places but Debar which is mainly Albanian speaking are located in Albania. The presented locations are all connected by the same long Ottoman history as well as many political changes in the 20th century. New political systems, migrations and regimes which had a big impact on these places. Another communality is the fact that these four places are inhabited by groups that are linguistic minorities.

Sal markja memorial park

An old graveyard on the Macedonian-Albanian border close to Debar. This place is invisible from outside but after entering the forest old Ottoman traces appear. The region was  conquered by the Ottomans in 1395 and represented an important border between the League of Lezha under Gjergi Kastrioti and the Ottomans in the 15th century. It stayed under Ottoman rule until the Balkan Wars in 1912/13. Presently more than 90% of Debar’s population is Albanian speaking. Islam has the most members due to historic reasons. The members in this region are Albanians, Torbesh and Turks.

Dolna Gorica

After Enver Hoxha changed the original Slavic toponyms to Albanian in the 1970s  the Macedonian speaking village known as Goricë e Vogel located on Lake Prespa changed its name again in 2013, like all other places in this community. Together with eight more villages Dolna Gorica forms the only officially recognised community of a Macedonian speaking group. After numerous shifts of borders it is now located on the Albanian side of Lake Prespa. It distinguishes itself through the Macedonian speaking school and the small Orthodox church and graveyard.

Ottoman gravestones next to the mosque in Zogaj at lake Prespa

The village is located about one kilometre from the Montenegrin border. Zogaj was also under Ottoman rule after the siege of Shkodër 1578/79 until the Balkan Wars 1912/13. The traces are still visible today, as this gravestone shows. Today a small group of people speaking Serbian/Montenegrin is living in this region.

Graveyard next to the monastery “Manastiri i Shën Kozmait“ close to Rreth-Libofshe

Self-declared Serbians of Muslim faith  are living in this village. They came from the region around Novi Pazar in the first third of the 20th century. This is an isolated space because the other Serbian/Bosnian speaking groups in the region Fier declare themselves as Bosniaks.

This was only a selection of the so called Forgotten Spaces along the national borders of today. There are many more churches, monasteries, graveyards etc that make the old borders from the Ottoman Era visible. These spaces (graveyards and religious buildings) also show different historic events. The questions is whether these spaces will stay forgotten or play a role in the development of these regions. At least they enrich the cultural landscape and represent material for further research.

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

Milan Krstić

This outline aims to investigated whether the ontological security theory could be used to explain the linkage between certain public architecture policies and practices in Macedonia and Albania and (foreign policy) identities of these states. Public landscapes in Macedonia and Albania have undergone significant changes since the beginning of their political transition in 1990s. The gigantic project “Skopje 2014” is probably the most important example of such fundamental architectural changes. While various theoretical approaches could serve the explanation of different urban planning policies in Macedonia and Albania, the ontological security theory has so far not been applied to these two cases (to the best of our knowledge). The aim of this outline is, therefore, to quickly test whether the application of the ontological security theory to these two cases seems justified and promising.

Ontological security theory

Ontological security could be defined as a “confidence that most human beings have in the continuity of their self-identity and in the constancy of the surrounding social and material environments of action” (Giddens 1991, 92). This originally sociological theory soon spread into the scientific field of International Relations and International Security, starting from the 2000s (see for example: Mitzen 2006). The key aspect of this theory is the claim that certain elements of states’ behavior in international relations cannot be explained neither by the mere cost-benefit logic (rational behavior/ theory of rational choice), nor by the logic of appropriateness (normative behavior/social constructivist theory), but can be instead best explained through the states’ desire to protect their self-identity. In other words, states sometimes behave opposite of their cost-benefit rational, or even opposite of the norms accepted in the international society, all with an aim to protect what they consider essential for the continuity and consistency of their identity.

However, the existing literature has been mostly focused on the behavior (habitus) of states in their contacts (communication) with foreign audience, but not on the “material environment” and the ways in which material space could be influenced by the factor of ontological security, even though the spatial dimension of ontological security has been very important in the sociology studies. This gap was, however, recently addressed by Ejdus (2017) in his study on the way in which Serbia’s search for ontological security influenced the destiny of certain buildings in Belgrade, such as the Military Chief of Staff building, which was purposefully left ruined as a symbol of causalities caused by NATO bombing in 1999.

Macedonia

At the end of the 2000s, Macedonia started the gigantic project “Skopje 2014”, aimed at constructing numerous buildings in city center of Skopje – the majority of which in antic style. While this extremely expensive project was publicly justified with the cost-benefit logic (potential profits from tourism in future etc.), it was rather obvious from the very beginning that in a state like Macedonia, whose GDP is much below the continental average, the cost-benefit calculation for such a project was more than suspicious. On the other hand, projects based on the construction of “antic” objects in the city center, like this one, do not definitely represent any kind of a norm followed by other European cities (such things are common only to certain entertaining places in the world, such as Las Vegas).

It therefore seems that both cost-benefit logic and normative logic are quite flawed in the explanation of this case, which leaves plenty of space for the application of the ontological security theory. The main ontological security argument seems very plausible and intuitive: faced with attacks on its identity which are coming from Greece, as well as with widespread perception of Macedonians as “newcomers” to these territories in comparison to Greeks and Albanians (who perceive themselves as heirs of Ilirs), Macedonians decided to spend money on a project which would symbolize their runaway from the Slavic heritage and “antic” identity, in order to prove their historical continuity in the Balkans.

However, is it actually possible to talk about “security” and continuity of the identity in this case? It seems that there are significant obstacles to such a claim. First of all, the fundaments of such (antic) identity are not solid among the majority of Macedonians since mostly perceive themselves as Slavs, not as ancient Macedonians. Therefore, it seems that we cannot talk about “security” or “continuity” of the existing identity in the case in which this identity is not firm enough.

Moreover, when we look at the consequences of the insistence on such an identity, we can see that it has done nothing but caused ontological insecurity and turbulences, instead of strengthening ontological security in Macedonia! Skopje 2014 became a point of conflict between government and opposition and between different segments of Macedonian society, causing a massive civil society reaction (such as the organization Plostad Sloboda). Eventually, the government which supported this project lost the general and local elections in 2017 from those who opposed these identity building projects.

Albania

Albania has not suffered radical changes in the public space similar to those in Skopje. On the contrary – on the very first sight there is a feeling of continuity with earlier public spaces from the communist period. Buildings from this period dominate the landscape in Tirana and other Albanian towns, while communist bunkers could be seen almost everywhere. If one takes these facts into account, he could easily assume that there is no space for the application of ontological security theory. Unlike in Skopje, in Tirana we cannot find such a project which would be hard to explain using the cost-benefit or normative logics, and which would be based on the construction of antic-Ilir-Ottoman or any other retro-style buildings.

However, similar to the case of Macedonia, where we offered two counterarguments which might lead us to a completely counterintuitive conclusion – there are certain elements which might show us that the Albanian urban planning was also to a certain extent influenced by the ontological security. First of all, the decision to preserve and adopt communist spaces (through coloring their facades with warm colors or through turning them into museums, such as BunkArt) was perhaps motivated not solely or even not primarily by material reasons, but by the desire to keep the continuity even with some aspects of the communist heritage. The most important one is secularism (which was radical in its form of state atheism during communism), whose moderate form guarantees equality of different religions and unity of the nation. Parallel revival of Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox religious spaces proves that the equal presence of different religions in public spaces is indeed very important. The second reason why communist architecture is preserved and modified might be its usefulness for the construction of the “constitutive other” in public space for modern Albanian state. A good example in this regard is the mentioned BunkArt museum, where communist facilities present its hidden and autocratic history in order to send the message that Albania should never again be as isolated as then.

Conclusion

This brief outline has shown that there are sufficient elements calling for the application of the ontological security theory in the very different cases of Macedonia and Albania. Despite the fact that arguments against the applicability of this theory seem to solid as well, the very existence of the abovementioned evidence is enough for the conclusion that further investigation in this direction would be both theoretically and empirically justified. Nevertheless, if to be conducted properly, such a challenging research needs to include extensive field work, numerous structured and semi-structured interviews with relevant actors, as well as a thorough desk analysis of the relevant documents. Even if the analysis provides strong evidences in favor of the ontological security theory   explanation of certain urban planning practices in Macedonia and Albania, all alternative explanations (not only rationalistic and constructivist approaches, but as well those focusing on leaders, corruption and their private interests which might be the actual variable) is necessary.

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

Milan Krstić

This outline aims to investigated whether the ontological security theory could be used to explain the linkage between certain public architecture policies and practices in Macedonia and Albania and (foreign policy) identities of these states. Public landscapes in Macedonia and Albania have undergone significant changes since the beginning of their political transition in 1990s. The gigantic project “Skopje 2014” is probably the most important example of such fundamental architectural changes. While various theoretical approaches could serve the explanation of different urban planning policies in Macedonia and Albania, the ontological security theory has so far not been applied to these two cases (to the best of our knowledge). The aim of this outline is, therefore, to quickly test whether the application of the ontological security theory to these two cases seems justified and promising.

Ontological security theory

Ontological security could be defined as a “confidence that most human beings have in the continuity of their self-identity and in the constancy of the surrounding social and material environments of action” (Giddens 1991, 92). This originally sociological theory soon spread into the scientific field of International Relations and International Security, starting from the 2000s (see for example: Mitzen 2006). The key aspect of this theory is the claim that certain elements of states’ behavior in international relations cannot be explained neither by the mere cost-benefit logic (rational behavior/ theory of rational choice), nor by the logic of appropriateness (normative behavior/social constructivist theory), but can be instead best explained through the states’ desire to protect their self-identity. In other words, states sometimes behave opposite of their cost-benefit rational, or even opposite of the norms accepted in the international society, all with an aim to protect what they consider essential for the continuity and consistency of their identity.

However, the existing literature has been mostly focused on the behavior (habitus) of states in their contacts (communication) with foreign audience, but not on the “material environment” and the ways in which material space could be influenced by the factor of ontological security, even though the spatial dimension of ontological security has been very important in the sociology studies. This gap was, however, recently addressed by Ejdus (2017) in his study on the way in which Serbia’s search for ontological security influenced the destiny of certain buildings in Belgrade, such as the Military Chief of Staff building, which was purposefully left ruined as a symbol of causalities caused by NATO bombing in 1999.

Macedonia

At the end of the 2000s, Macedonia started the gigantic project “Skopje 2014”, aimed at constructing numerous buildings in city center of Skopje – the majority of which in antic style. While this extremely expensive project was publicly justified with the cost-benefit logic (potential profits from tourism in future etc.), it was rather obvious from the very beginning that in a state like Macedonia, whose GDP is much below the continental average, the cost-benefit calculation for such a project was more than suspicious. On the other hand, projects based on the construction of “antic” objects in the city center, like this one, do not definitely represent any kind of a norm followed by other European cities (such things are common only to certain entertaining places in the world, such as Las Vegas).

It therefore seems that both cost-benefit logic and normative logic are quite flawed in the explanation of this case, which leaves plenty of space for the application of the ontological security theory. The main ontological security argument seems very plausible and intuitive: faced with attacks on its identity which are coming from Greece, as well as with widespread perception of Macedonians as “newcomers” to these territories in comparison to Greeks and Albanians (who perceive themselves as heirs of Ilirs), Macedonians decided to spend money on a project which would symbolize their runaway from the Slavic heritage and “antic” identity, in order to prove their historical continuity in the Balkans.

However, is it actually possible to talk about “security” and continuity of the identity in this case? It seems that there are significant obstacles to such a claim. First of all, the fundaments of such (antic) identity are not solid among the majority of Macedonians since mostly perceive themselves as Slavs, not as ancient Macedonians. Therefore, it seems that we cannot talk about “security” or “continuity” of the existing identity in the case in which this identity is not firm enough.

Moreover, when we look at the consequences of the insistence on such an identity, we can see that it has done nothing but caused ontological insecurity and turbulences, instead of strengthening ontological security in Macedonia! Skopje 2014 became a point of conflict between government and opposition and between different segments of Macedonian society, causing a massive civil society reaction (such as the organization Plostad Sloboda). Eventually, the government which supported this project lost the general and local elections in 2017 from those who opposed these identity building projects.

Albania

Albania has not suffered radical changes in the public space similar to those in Skopje. On the contrary – on the very first sight there is a feeling of continuity with earlier public spaces from the communist period. Buildings from this period dominate the landscape in Tirana and other Albanian towns, while communist bunkers could be seen almost everywhere. If one takes these facts into account, he could easily assume that there is no space for the application of ontological security theory. Unlike in Skopje, in Tirana we cannot find such a project which would be hard to explain using the cost-benefit or normative logics, and which would be based on the construction of antic-Ilir-Ottoman or any other retro-style buildings.

However, similar to the case of Macedonia, where we offered two counterarguments which might lead us to a completely counterintuitive conclusion – there are certain elements which might show us that the Albanian urban planning was also to a certain extent influenced by the ontological security. First of all, the decision to preserve and adopt communist spaces (through coloring their facades with warm colors or through turning them into museums, such as BunkArt) was perhaps motivated not solely or even not primarily by material reasons, but by the desire to keep the continuity even with some aspects of the communist heritage. The most important one is secularism (which was radical in its form of state atheism during communism), whose moderate form guarantees equality of different religions and unity of the nation. Parallel revival of Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox religious spaces proves that the equal presence of different religions in public spaces is indeed very important. The second reason why communist architecture is preserved and modified might be its usefulness for the construction of the “constitutive other” in public space for modern Albanian state. A good example in this regard is the mentioned BunkArt museum, where communist facilities present its hidden and autocratic history in order to send the message that Albania should never again be as isolated as then.

Conclusion

This brief outline has shown that there are sufficient elements calling for the application of the ontological security theory in the very different cases of Macedonia and Albania. Despite the fact that arguments against the applicability of this theory seem to solid as well, the very existence of the abovementioned evidence is enough for the conclusion that further investigation in this direction would be both theoretically and empirically justified. Nevertheless, if to be conducted properly, such a challenging research needs to include extensive field work, numerous structured and semi-structured interviews with relevant actors, as well as a thorough desk analysis of the relevant documents. Even if the analysis provides strong evidences in favor of the ontological security theory   explanation of certain urban planning practices in Macedonia and Albania, all alternative explanations (not only rationalistic and constructivist approaches, but as well those focusing on leaders, corruption and their private interests which might be the actual variable) is necessary.

Multilingualism

About multilingualism within the population of Macedonia and Albania

Darinka Antić und Luca Paggiaro, Translation: Megan Nagel

The question about national identity can be a difficult one in the Balkans. Therefore the question about language skills was less “problematic” and easier to answer. Furthermore it enabled a better access to the people and lead to insightful replies.

During the field trip to Macedonia and Albania our group was often confronted with multilingualism, initially visual through diverse linguistic landscapes and the presence of at least two languages. We encountered this especially in towns, e.g. road signs and sign postings of government buildings in Skopje. These signs from above bear both Macedonian and Albanian. To the signs from below such as the name plates of shops and restaurants, menus etc. other languages are added e.g. Turkish, English and Arabic. The presence of many different languages in a linguistic landscape can give information about the ethnic composition of a town and visualise multilingualism clearly. However, the centre of our fieldwork was made up by the protagonists of this multilingualism, that is the inhabitants of the visited villages and towns.

Luca, participant of the field trip, with construction worker Agron in a café in Centar Župa

As part of our fieldwork we were able to meet locals of different religions, ages and environments and conduct conversations, e.g. with shop vendors at the Basar in Skopje, pensioners in small Albanian villages and a Macedonian who emigrated to Western Europe of Turkish nationality. In these interviews we asked them what languages they know, in which situations they use and how they had learned them. Our group tried to define the native language(s) of the interviewees which was not always easy as some of them were only allowed to speak it/them with their closest family members. Furthermore we asked them about their biographies so as to find out more about the socio-historic background and development of multilingualism within the local population of Macedonia and Albania. This is how we learned that the language use of some interviewees had undercome special changes during their life. For example during communist times some languages were not used as much or even suppressed in public while others were acquired because of migration. The following short profiles illustrate this.

Darinka, a participant of the field trip, drinking tea with Mendur, owner of an Antique shop


Fadil

Owner of a market stand in Skopje

Language: Albanian (native language)
Acquisition: parents (father from Kosovo)
Use: family, friends, customers

Language: Macedonian (second native language)
Acquisition: school (born in Skopje)
Use: friends, customers, authorities

Language: Englisch (good proficiency)
Acquisition: TV series
Use: customers

Language: Serbo Croatian (very basic proficiency)
Acquisition: school
Use: customers

Fadil’s family planned to emigrate to Turkey in 1955 from their homeland Kosovo. Their journey first brought them to Macedonia which had only been planned as a stopover. However the family could not continue their journey and stayed in Skopje, where Fadil was born. Today he is married, has a son and dreams of the same thing his father did decades before: emigrating to Turkey with his family. He is especially worried about the economic situation which is bad for every Albanian in Macedonia, he says. Emigrating to Turkey would mean changing this and being able to lead a better life.

We talked to Fadil in English.


Mendur

Owner of an antique shop, topic Yugo-nostalgia

„Nema veze na kom jeziku govoris, svi smo naši!“

(It doesn’t matter what language you speak, we are all the same!)

Language: Albanian (native language)
Acquisition: parents (family from Kosovo)
Use: family, friends, customers

Language: Macedonian (second native language)
Acquisition: school
Use: family, customers, authorities

Language: Serbo Croatian (very good proficiency)
Acquisition: school
Use: customers

Language: Arabic
Acquisition: mosque, Koran school
Use: customers, mosque

Mendur talked less about his family’s reasons to leave their home country or why they stayed in Macedonia. But he talked about the “good old days” with enthusiasm. Back then, when he was living in Yugoslavia, in his opinion the population under Tito wasn’t lacking anything. He concludes: „Umreo Tito, umrelo sve!“ (It all came to an end when Tito died!)

Mendur is from a very faithful Muslim family. He prays five times a day and goes to the mosque regularly. He proudly talks about his brother who works as a Khawaja in Cairo. He repeats several times that origin, nationality, language and religion do not play a role as long as one is diligent, honest, educated and treats fellow human beings with respect.

We talked to Mendur in Serbo Croatian.


Adnan

Owner of a carpet shop in Skopje

„Svaki jezik je bogadstvo, nema veze koji!“

(Every language is a treasure, no matter wich!)

Language: Albanian (native language)
Acquisition: parents (he is from Peć, Kosovo)
Use: family, friends, customers

Language: Macedonian (second native language)
Acquisition: school (he came to Skopje as a child)
Use: acquaintances, customers, authorities

Language: Serbo Croatian (very good proficiency)
Acquisition: school
Use: customers

Language: Turkish (basic proficiency)
Acquisition: school (the plan was to emigrate to Turkey)
Use: customers

Adnan’s family wanted to emigrate to Turkey from their hometown Peć. When they were already on their way new laws under Ranković prohibited this and the family dismissed their plan. At school he learned Turkish for 12 years. He is not content in Macedonia but thinks that his family would be worse off in Kosovo or Albania. He notes that multilingualism is a widely spread matter of course in the Balkans.

We talked to Adnan in Serbo Croatian.


Vlade

Pensioner from Dolna Gorica, Albania

Language: Macedonian (native language)
Acquisition: school
Use: family, villagers

Language: Albanian (second native language)
Acquisition: school
Use: inhabitants from other towns such as Tirana or Korça

The Macedonian ethnic minority in the region at Prespa Lake and Golloborda was recognised officially by the communist regime after the Second World War, therefore the inhabitants were allowed to learn Macedonian at school and use it officially. Vlade used to work for an Agricultural cooperative and was able to speak Macedonian at work as well, but when a representative from Korça visited he had to switch to Albanian.

Nowadays both languages are spoken. After the fall of communism Vlade was able to travel to Macedonia and work there, furthermore he had free access to Macedonian newspapers and TV.

We talked to Vlade in Albanian and the conversation was later translated by a friend.


Agron

Construction worker from Centar Župa, Macedonia

„Ako ne znaš svoj majčin jezik, ne možes da živiš.“

(If you do not know your mother tongue you cannot live!)

Language: Turkish (native language)
Acquisition: school
Use: Turkish speaking villagers and inhabitants from neighbouring villages

Language: Macedonian
Acquisition: school
Use: Macedonian speaking villagers and inhabitants of other towns in Macedonia, family

Language: Albanian
Acquisition: parents (father lived in Albania), school
Use: villagers, inhabitants of Debar (mainly Albanian speaking population), family (some relatives live in Albania)

Language: Italian
Acquisition: work stay in Italy
Use: everyday life, family (sons and daughters were educated in Italy)

Language: German
Acquisition: short term work stay in Austria
Use: sometimes in everyday life in South Tyrol (German and Italian speaking region in Italy)

Language: Serbo Croatian and Slovenian
Acquisition: service as an officer in the Yugoslav People’s Army in Serbia and Slovenia
Use: today rarely

In socialist Yugoslavia mostly Macedonian was spoken even though it was not forbidden to teach and use Turkish and Albanian. Nevertheless many Turkish speaking villagers had to flee to Turkey during the communist regime.

After the fall of communism many former villagers of Turkish nationality were able to return to the village, therefore the number of Turkish speaking population has risen. In school lessons are mainly held in Turkish but also in Macedonian and Albanian.

We talked to Agron in Italian and Serbo Croatian..


Isuf

Pensioner from Zogaj, Albania

Language: Serbo Croatian (native language)
Acquisition: parents (of Montenegrin origin)
Use: parents, relatives from Montenegro

Language: Albanian (second native language)
Acquisition: school
Use: family (wife is Albanian), everyday life

Isuf was born in Shkodra (Albania), however his parents are from Podgorica (Montenegro) and emigrated to Albania before the Second World War. Under Hoxha’s regime it was officially forbidden to speak Serbo Croatian. Only he learned the language from his parents while his three sisters only spoke Albanian. He was also never allowed to speak Serbo Croatian with other people of Yugoslav origin in Shkodra.

After the opening of the border in 1989 Isuf was permitted to visit his relatives in Podgorica for the first time. He worked for the arms manufacturer “Yugoimport” in the Montenegrin capital in the 90s. Nowadays all inhabitants of Serbian origin are free to communicate in their native language.

We talked to Isuf in Serbo Croatian.


The biographies of the interviewees helped us to understand how the widespread multilingualism within the population came about.

In addition we heard of more details from the local inhabitants, e.g. how the use of a language changed during their life. They reported that some languages retreated into the background and lost their prestige. In consequence their use and presence also declined. This was influenced by political and historical events as well as personal decisions that were one of the main reasons for the acquisition of new languages, e.g. emigration.


MORE TOPICS

Die Bektashi in Albanien und ihre Geschichte

Die Watchdog-Organisation Eco Guerilla

Fieldwork Šipkovica: Perceptions and group dynamics

Forgotten Spaces in border regions

Interkulturalität und Mehrsprachigkeit in Albanien und Mazedonien

Mehrsprachigkeit innerhalb der einheimischen Bevölkerung Mazedoniens und Albaniens

The representation of multilingualism in the linguistic landscape of Macedonia

Skopje 2014

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

The inevitability of nationalism

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania

Women on the Balkans

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia: Ontological Security Perspective

Milan Krstić

This outline aims to investigated whether the ontological security theory could be used to explain the linkage between certain public architecture policies and practices in Macedonia and Albania and (foreign policy) identities of these states. Public landscapes in Macedonia and Albania have undergone significant changes since the beginning of their political transition in 1990s. The gigantic project “Skopje 2014” is probably the most important example of such fundamental architectural changes. While various theoretical approaches could serve the explanation of different urban planning policies in Macedonia and Albania, the ontological security theory has so far not been applied to these two cases (to the best of our knowledge). The aim of this outline is, therefore, to quickly test whether the application of the ontological security theory to these two cases seems justified and promising.

Ontological security theory

Ontological security could be defined as a “confidence that most human beings have in the continuity of their self-identity and in the constancy of the surrounding social and material environments of action” (Giddens 1991, 92). This originally sociological theory soon spread into the scientific field of International Relations and International Security, starting from the 2000s (see for example: Mitzen 2006). The key aspect of this theory is the claim that certain elements of states’ behavior in international relations cannot be explained neither by the mere cost-benefit logic (rational behavior/ theory of rational choice), nor by the logic of appropriateness (normative behavior/social constructivist theory), but can be instead best explained through the states’ desire to protect their self-identity. In other words, states sometimes behave opposite of their cost-benefit rational, or even opposite of the norms accepted in the international society, all with an aim to protect what they consider essential for the continuity and consistency of their identity.

However, the existing literature has been mostly focused on the behavior (habitus) of states in their contacts (communication) with foreign audience, but not on the “material environment” and the ways in which material space could be influenced by the factor of ontological security, even though the spatial dimension of ontological security has been very important in the sociology studies. This gap was, however, recently addressed by Ejdus (2017) in his study on the way in which Serbia’s search for ontological security influenced the destiny of certain buildings in Belgrade, such as the Military Chief of Staff building, which was purposefully left ruined as a symbol of causalities caused by NATO bombing in 1999.

Macedonia

At the end of the 2000s, Macedonia started the gigantic project “Skopje 2014”, aimed at constructing numerous buildings in city center of Skopje – the majority of which in antic style. While this extremely expensive project was publicly justified with the cost-benefit logic (potential profits from tourism in future etc.), it was rather obvious from the very beginning that in a state like Macedonia, whose GDP is much below the continental average, the cost-benefit calculation for such a project was more than suspicious. On the other hand, projects based on the construction of “antic” objects in the city center, like this one, do not definitely represent any kind of a norm followed by other European cities (such things are common only to certain entertaining places in the world, such as Las Vegas).

It therefore seems that both cost-benefit logic and normative logic are quite flawed in the explanation of this case, which leaves plenty of space for the application of the ontological security theory. The main ontological security argument seems very plausible and intuitive: faced with attacks on its identity which are coming from Greece, as well as with widespread perception of Macedonians as “newcomers” to these territories in comparison to Greeks and Albanians (who perceive themselves as heirs of Ilirs), Macedonians decided to spend money on a project which would symbolize their runaway from the Slavic heritage and “antic” identity, in order to prove their historical continuity in the Balkans.

However, is it actually possible to talk about “security” and continuity of the identity in this case? It seems that there are significant obstacles to such a claim. First of all, the fundaments of such (antic) identity are not solid among the majority of Macedonians since mostly perceive themselves as Slavs, not as ancient Macedonians. Therefore, it seems that we cannot talk about “security” or “continuity” of the existing identity in the case in which this identity is not firm enough.

Moreover, when we look at the consequences of the insistence on such an identity, we can see that it has done nothing but caused ontological insecurity and turbulences, instead of strengthening ontological security in Macedonia! Skopje 2014 became a point of conflict between government and opposition and between different segments of Macedonian society, causing a massive civil society reaction (such as the organization Plostad Sloboda). Eventually, the government which supported this project lost the general and local elections in 2017 from those who opposed these identity building projects.

Albania

Albania has not suffered radical changes in the public space similar to those in Skopje. On the contrary – on the very first sight there is a feeling of continuity with earlier public spaces from the communist period. Buildings from this period dominate the landscape in Tirana and other Albanian towns, while communist bunkers could be seen almost everywhere. If one takes these facts into account, he could easily assume that there is no space for the application of ontological security theory. Unlike in Skopje, in Tirana we cannot find such a project which would be hard to explain using the cost-benefit or normative logics, and which would be based on the construction of antic-Ilir-Ottoman or any other retro-style buildings.

However, similar to the case of Macedonia, where we offered two counterarguments which might lead us to a completely counterintuitive conclusion – there are certain elements which might show us that the Albanian urban planning was also to a certain extent influenced by the ontological security. First of all, the decision to preserve and adopt communist spaces (through coloring their facades with warm colors or through turning them into museums, such as BunkArt) was perhaps motivated not solely or even not primarily by material reasons, but by the desire to keep the continuity even with some aspects of the communist heritage. The most important one is secularism (which was radical in its form of state atheism during communism), whose moderate form guarantees equality of different religions and unity of the nation. Parallel revival of Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox religious spaces proves that the equal presence of different religions in public spaces is indeed very important. The second reason why communist architecture is preserved and modified might be its usefulness for the construction of the “constitutive other” in public space for modern Albanian state. A good example in this regard is the mentioned BunkArt museum, where communist facilities present its hidden and autocratic history in order to send the message that Albania should never again be as isolated as then.

Conclusion

This brief outline has shown that there are sufficient elements calling for the application of the ontological security theory in the very different cases of Macedonia and Albania. Despite the fact that arguments against the applicability of this theory seem to solid as well, the very existence of the abovementioned evidence is enough for the conclusion that further investigation in this direction would be both theoretically and empirically justified. Nevertheless, if to be conducted properly, such a challenging research needs to include extensive field work, numerous structured and semi-structured interviews with relevant actors, as well as a thorough desk analysis of the relevant documents. Even if the analysis provides strong evidences in favor of the ontological security theory   explanation of certain urban planning practices in Macedonia and Albania, all alternative explanations (not only rationalistic and constructivist approaches, but as well those focusing on leaders, corruption and their private interests which might be the actual variable) is necessary.

Fieldwork Sipkovica

Fieldwork Šipkovica: Perceptions and group dynamics

Sanja Vojvodić

The focus of my presentation will be on a field trip to Shar mountain’s village Šipkovica. I have chosen this trip because I believe it contributed most to the social dynamics between the Belgrade and Berlin group.  Consequently, it influenced how people perceive themselves, and how are they perceived by others, which was definetely one of the aims of the excursion. From this perspective, we can observe the elements of group behavior that apperently occurred due to the polarization emerged out of this field trip.

Let me introduce you with the retrospective of my experience:

The bus with the Belgrade licence plates enters a small mountain village, at an altitude of 1086 m, with a narrow main street, accompanied by a striking amazement and the disbelief of accidental pedestrians and women in the yards. They seemed notably uncomfortable with the curious stares and tourists. However, few of the villagers quickly gathered around where the offloading from our bus took place.  There were only men in local taverns, and there were no women on the street.

Methodologically unprepared, and even without the crucial information about the place we came to, we went out in front of them unanounced, so that we can, for the purpose of the project, try to find out how many languages do the local people speak, and maybe learn something more about their ethnic backgrounds and affiliations.

You can imagine the fascination of the population of this Albanian village with young people from Serbia, a village where many former KLA’s and eventually NLA’s fighters reside. This people have a vivid memory of rebellion against the Serbian army and police in Kosovo in 1997-99 and of insurgency in 2001 in North-Western Macedonia against Macedonian forces.

With my colleagues (Miloš and Slađan), I’ve got into a conversation with several local people who invited us to a drink in the nearest café. Interestingly, the invitation was in proper Serbian. As a political scientist, this experience was more than valuable to me; we got a first-hand insight of the mindset of Albanians in North-Western Macedonia and how rooted the agenda about the naturalness of the Albanian expansion to other countries really is. It was not a secret that they perceive North-Western Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania as their own country, nor did they try to conceal their statements with more neutral terms. We tried to monitor their speech and gesticulation with full attention, especially when they were showing us which parts of Macedonia they consider as their land.

Although we felt the slight discomfort through the entire experience, mostly because our arrival probably seemed very unnatural and could have been interpreted easily as a provocation by the locals, we managed to communicate with these people and return to the bus enriched with new important insights of the nuances in mental, political and identity boundaries in the Balkans.However, only after returning to the bus, it was noted that Šipkovica was the main stronghold of the former UČK, which the members of the Belgrade group considered to be the most important information in their later analysis of the entire event. The failure in a complete data releasing led to a sudden disruption of trust between the groups that had previously tried to overcome the dichotomy of US/ THEM, and I do not recall that something has been done in order to improve newly strained relations.Through the conversations with my colleagues I have got the impression that the resulting mistrust led to a constant analyses and observations of the behavior of Others. Even before this trip, logically, the members were referred to the people with whom they arrived, but after returning from Šipkovica such relations became regular. There was no concern to break up the suspicion that the subsequent release of information about UČK headquarters was a random failure and the hypothesis that bona fides exists in the research was doubted.A rough methodological error influenced the awareness of belonging to a particular group in the bus, which may have disturbed the real research goals.Therefore, my suggestions for overcoming such divisions in the future would be:- Do not form groups artificially (such as sitting in a bus and randomly deploying teams that are not familiar from the start of their teamwork and have no commonly established interests), but to leave a natural flow of people’s networking, which I believe, would inevitably occur – Always inform all researchers about the most important characteristics and information regarding the places of visit; openness and exchange of views on a methodology of research will surely promote mutual trust (It was not only disputed about lack of information or partial information regarding the place, but also disagreements about how the visit was supposed to be carried out)- To leave the possibility of freedom of choice – for example, if someone might feel unsafe in an environment such as Šipkovica, or maybe has some traumathic experiences, he/she should have a possibility not to go; that’s why we always have to keep in mind the sensitivity of such issues I think this trip was a great opportunity for reflection and autoreflection and analysis of group behavior. In the following discussion, I hope we could come to some common conclusions where the subject of the analysis will not be one group or another, but all together. Although finally, we all came together simply because of the physical closeness in a bus that this kind of excursion requires, in my opinion, there was no higher level of trust and cooperation, and we can correct this missed opportunity just by the anticipated discussion. This experience might be very useful for the next faculty projects. In a way,  it was a “coming of age” project experience.

Forgotten spaces

Forgotten Spaces in border regions

Michał Piasek, Translation Megan Nagel

The DAAD field trip led the group to regions where borders have been shifted over the past centuries and new borders have been drawn. In a visible and an invisible way. The Ottoman Empire shaped the region in a special way so that not only new political borders developed but also religious. Many of these borders are invisible and four chosen locations marked on the map will be presented.

This article is a portrait of the so-called “bordercrossing” shown in four chosen locations: Debar, Dolna Gorica, Zogaj and Rreth-Libofshe. All places are located along the political border of Macedonia and Albania and Montenegro and Albania, except Rreth-Libofshe. Rreth-Libofshe represents an own special place which will be explained later. All places but Debar which is mainly Albanian speaking are located in Albania. The presented locations are all connected by the same long Ottoman history as well as many political changes in the 20th century. New political systems, migrations and regimes which had a big impact on these places. Another communality is the fact that these four places are inhabited by groups that are linguistic minorities.

Sal markja memorial park

An old graveyard on the Macedonian-Albanian border close to Debar. This place is invisible from outside but after entering the forest old Ottoman traces appear. The region was  conquered by the Ottomans in 1395 and represented an important border between the League of Lezha under Gjergi Kastrioti and the Ottomans in the 15th century. It stayed under Ottoman rule until the Balkan Wars in 1912/13. Presently more than 90% of Debar’s population is Albanian speaking. Islam has the most members due to historic reasons. The members in this region are Albanians, Torbesh and Turks.

Dolna Gorica

After Enver Hoxha changed the original Slavic toponyms to Albanian in the 1970s  the Macedonian speaking village known as Goricë e Vogel located on Lake Prespa changed its name again in 2013, like all other places in this community. Together with eight more villages Dolna Gorica forms the only officially recognised community of a Macedonian speaking group. After numerous shifts of borders it is now located on the Albanian side of Lake Prespa. It distinguishes itself through the Macedonian speaking school and the small Orthodox church and graveyard.

Ottoman gravestones next to the mosque in Zogaj at lake Prespa

The village is located about one kilometre from the Montenegrin border. Zogaj was also under Ottoman rule after the siege of Shkodër 1578/79 until the Balkan Wars 1912/13. The traces are still visible today, as this gravestone shows. Today a small group of people speaking Serbian/Montenegrin is living in this region.

Graveyard next to the monastery “Manastiri i Shën Kozmait“ close to Rreth-Libofshe

Self-declared Serbians of Muslim faith  are living in this village. They came from the region around Novi Pazar in the first third of the 20th century. This is an isolated space because the other Serbian/Bosnian speaking groups in the region Fier declare themselves as Bosniaks.

This was only a selection of the so called Forgotten Spaces along the national borders of today. There are many more churches, monasteries, graveyards etc that make the old borders from the Ottoman Era visible. These spaces (graveyards and religious buildings) also show different historic events. The questions is whether these spaces will stay forgotten or play a role in the development of these regions. At least they enrich the cultural landscape and represent material for further research.

Women on the Balkans

Women on the Balkans

Nasiba Abbasova, Translation: Megan Nagel

During our DAAD field trip to Macedonia and Albania with the aim of exploring the Balkan Muslims it was also interesting to observe the women both in cities and villages. Here the question is not only about the division of the role of men and women in the family or society but also about the influence of religion on the lives of the women. In our case Islam. According to the 2002 census 30% of the Macedonian population identify as Muslim, in Albania 50% according to their last census in 2011. From 1968 until the 1990s Albania was an atheist state under communist rule.

Tirana, Albania. Source: S. Stankovic

Tirana, Albania. Source: S. Stankovic

Women in cities and villages

Muslim women are represented everywhere in cities; on the street, at the markets and in other public spaces, whether with headscarf or not. To be out on the street at midnight as a woman is not dangerous. Smoking and drinking alcohol in public is also no problem.

Skopje Old Bazaar, mainly Albanian and Muslim part

The women in the villages are very friendly but not always visible. Public squares such as cafés or teahouses are mainly frequented by men. In the villages usually old ladies live in big and beautiful villas, either alone or with their men. One of these women is Afrodita whom we met in a village. She lives alone in a two-storeyed villa throughout the whole year. Her children and grandchildren live in Germany and she visits them a few times a year. She prepares different jams made with the fruit from her own garden and other specialities which she takes along to Germany when she visits. She welcomed us like her own grandchildren and hugged and kissed us when parting, presenting us with her tasty apples.

Women of the Bektashi community

During our field trip we visited the Bektashi community in the Macedonian town of Tetovo. During the conversation with the friendly man who is going to be the Dervish the coming years it appeared that the women of this faith are well educated, mostly with university degrees. They do not have to wear a headscarf or chador. The Bektashi community in Tetovo has had a woman as the Baba, the highest position in this society.

Women as entrepreneurs

In Zogaj, a beautiful village on Lake Skadar on the Montenegrin-Albanian border a workshop was founded a few years ago by a young woman where they produce carpets and bags etc in different sizes. It is a small and friendly team of women working here.

The owner of the workshop

Zogaj, Workshop. Source: Darinka Antić

Good future perspectives abroad

During the conversation with the women it became clear that they hope for a good and safe future for their children. Many want to send their children to Western Europe, especially Germany, for a good university degree and hope for a good perspective for staying there. A saleswoman in a shopping centre in Tirana talked about how she came to Germany with her two children during the refugee wave and was deported half a year later. She wants to do her best for her children to receive good higher education in Germany. “Good studies” and a “good life” in Germany/abroad are the most important desires for these women.

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania – a view from 2017

Marko Kovačević

Context and many questions: political scientist as amateur anthropologist

The Balkans is usually represented as being in-between, one has just to pick a certain end point or two coordinates, and will usually get a perspective that speaks about continuous and seemingly unending travelling. This voyage is different for its states, countries, and societies. Its histories are relative and are interpreted to offer a sort of stability in the narrative, but this “stability” speaks a lot more about the lack of continuity and disruptions that have been felt strongly in the everyday lives of its people. Spanning across borders, people stay, move and leave, trying to get their different individual ways in this uncertain and often unpredictable collective voyage.

But let’s first determine some “posts” and “goals” before moving to the understanding of those in the field, and among the people and cultures. I have had a chance to be part of the study trip to Albania and Macedonia together with the colleagues from Berlin in summer 2017. We have had a chance to talk to people in those countries and see how they see life and the world around them in person. This has helped me to inform my theoretical observations and connect some concepts with the views of the people in the field. I have got a chance to be an amateur anthropologist who gets into discussion political science and his philosophical worldviews to the table. What has come from this is interesting – at the same time confirming some theoretical positions, while potentially offering new insights and testifying about the enduring and puzzling resilience of the Balkans and its peoples.

What seemed as a challenge worth taking for me is trying to understand how political scientist can get his observations from the level of institutions and processes to the level of communities and representations of various theoretical concepts in daily life. How, for example, we can understand socioeconomic transition through observation of concrete materiality and ideas among people who tell us their life stories? But let’s first expose some concepts and related puzzles. This shall enable us to reconnect the many impressions from the field again into a more coherent larger picture. I am not sure if it can be enough to generalize, probably not – but I am interested in how this process works. So, let’s start, and be prepared to answer some of the questions at least tentatively, for I don’t have all the answers myself (caveat lector: it is a complex endeavor, we are in this together)

Problematic identities or problematic frames?

The frames of reference can be individual, collective, national, regional, global. Geography and time are intertwined. Spaces and places are mixed and many. And in global terms, post- (pick your adjective) ‘transition’ is the process that marks this socio-economic and political transition in a region that is filled with its continuous way of life as a creativity and struggle with the challenges of its semiperipherial status in Europe.

This difficult process has lasted for two decades, and it has no end. The questions is, what is the relevance of this divergence between the similar processes outside this region and its peculiarities and lack of true and efficient transformation that we now have to understand and deal with as “reality”. In other words, how is this transitional, and post-Yugoslav reality understood quarter century after the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, and after the legacy of conflict and authoritarianism, that has left its visible imprint in the lives of its people. Alas, the questions are many, and the ways to address them are complicated. This short reflection is, firstly, an attempt to use the everyday and the position of an outsider to these communities to get a sort of a snapshot into how some of these multinational and multireligious communities understand their past experiences of life in a different country of where they are now.

Living in the field

Questions

Theory tells us that identity is based on the difference, on the notions of self and other. It is about the perception of the other, as well as of trying to understand their ability to communicate and live with the other. It is not impossible as the dominant nationalist discourses would like us to think. And now we get to more questions.

To what extent are the emotions important for their understanding of their present state and life. How are those emotions connected to the notions of Yugoslavia, and what it means today? Is it a sheer nostalgia that has some emotional content and meaning, or it forms a meaning that is productive for the life and progress of those communities in a manner that fosters intercultural and transcultural cooperation that overcomes the imposed top-down rhetoric of divides and nationalism? These are some of the questions that I try to address here and provide a brief illustration by offering some examples and impressions from the field and encounter with some people and communities.

Some impressions

The impressions are very favorable to counter the media framed understanding and discourse of the political elites. People are largely aware of the tremendous changes in their societies, and they remember the “good old days” when they were young and were able to live in a different and bigger country that offered them more opportunities for social and economic development. They bring up positive emotions and memories of their friends and colleagues, and speak the language that we understand each other. We are not divided by this common language, we are connected, and are able to discover the points of joint culture, references and hope for further re-establishment of the lives and stories that have been discontinued by force and conflict. We are aware of our burdensome “nationalities”, but that is not the key element in our discussions. We can laugh off any political connotations that are given by the official discourses, and understand that our common denominator and problems are the same. So, can we look for similar solutions? Can we learn from each other? We were able to agree in our perceptions of Yugoslavia as something that was in itself good for its people, and that the situation today is different, it is relatively worse off. But this is the fact of life which the present generation can reframe and we can cooperate. Using our similarities and our differences as a way to again get to know each other and build our own views of common future. Living with each other, not by each other. Building stronger societies.

Reflection and some lessons

Despite numerous challenges, impressions speak about resilient societies that speak about their potential and human strength that lives through its cultural diversity. As to the references to Yugoslav, it is mostly socio-economic, memory of good life, freedom of movement and positive outlook for the future. The question is can, and how, this can be more than a point of personal memory and nostalgia, and translated into the present moment in the lives of that and the new generation. Those people are aware of their common heritage, diversity and a history of convivial. However, the young generation yearns for more communication. Opportunities are ample, and it is easier to travel and connect with people. The question remains how the quality of that relations can be raised to a higher level. How it can be intensified and given a boost in the official discourse as well.

People take as a fact that we are similar, show greater understanding for our challenges and problems, both past and present, and seeking a point of reference where to start from. On a level of sheer impression and communication, ‘Yugoslavia’ brings us together immediately, and helps span generational divides. This positive legacy is relatively easy to get mobilized in conversations, and is the immediate ice breaker and sets the tone in reality, as well as helping open the horizon in a different, „regional“ or a broader „European“ frame today. However, people note that frames have been changed. They see ‘Europe’ as a reference for their future. They acknowledge the need to start talking, and then how people can achieve more if they can freely travel and exchange ideas and do business together. Cultures bring us together.

Returning from the field: Identities that connect the Balkans

We are as peoples and individuals much closer to each other than to some other nations. That has to be utilized. And Yugoslavia is still a big „motivational“ factor despite its state discontinuity. It is an idea and societal fact that lives through legacy, memory, and experience of life. The question is how to build on this positive experiences to initiate greater communication among people and communities – as a way of bridging the conflict-inflicted divides. The importance of the positive legacies for the future ones.

We all share understanding of the real problems in our societies. Unemployment, health, environment, sociopolitical cohesion, participation. Economic development seen as key. Importance of diasporas. Democratization and political accountability. More cooperation seen as the key aspect of progress for the region as a whole. The examples from Tetovo and Skopje speak at great length about this. Libofshe offers a kind of warm, human story of hospitality and acceptance in an unexpected multicultural environment. Zupa evokes the undertones of the Yugoslav times and some new environment and understanding of the shared challenges for the young generation in the region. A discussion in Tirana about Albanian-Serbian relations shows optimism for future dialogues.

All these communities demonstrate hope and show resilience living against the difficulties. That is how life wins, and what keeps and elevates this discourse of multicultural and tolerant societies in the Balkans – it is just a matter of priority which stories we want to tell in the public. It is a miracle of discovery through communication and going beyond the news headlines. Let’s share more of these voices and  tell stories about identities that underpin amity in ‘the region,’ and farther to our common world. As individuals we maybe cannot do much to change the world, but in our capacity as reflexive beings and zoon politikon we should at least try.

The inevitability of nationalism

The inevitability of nationalism – The case of the Bektashi

Slađan Rankić

Nationalism is a fickle concept, defined so many times in so many way, yet its true potential still escapes us. When one thinks of nationalism, the minds eyes conjures up images of flag waving young men, eager to seek glory in battle (or on the football stadium) for their nation. However, its manifestations are far subtler and much more widespread than what is commonly believed. To start off I will present a working definition of nationalism, from the pen of one of the greatest scholars of nationalism, Eric Hobsbawn. He defines nationalism as: “primarily a principle which holds that the political and national unit should be congruent.”[1] He continues on: “I would add that this principle also implies the political duty of Ruritanians to the polity which encompasses and represents the Ruritanian nation, overrides all other public obligations, and in extreme cases (such as wars) all other obligations of whatever kind.”[2] Now we should define the nation itself. For this I will utilize two complementary visions of the nation, from his book Imagined communities. Firstly, “the nation is an imagined political community and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign.”[3] Secondly, “the nation is a solid community moving up (down) history.”[4] Both these definitions were extremely important for me to better comprehend the profound experience of our journey and reflect on the implications of intercommunal dynamics in Macedonia and Albania. Lastly, I must add a few more observations by Iver B Neumann. He claimed that every single ethnic group maintains itself by maintaining its boundaries with other neighboring groups.[5] The neighbors will do the same and thus, through discourse boundaries are maintained and the groups become “solid”. It is critical that the Other acknowledges the narrative of the collective Self, if the Other doesn’t acknowledge the Self, then the cohesiveness of the community is jeopardized. To put it bluntly, using the example from our research, the negotiations between Greece and Macedonia, with Greece being the Macedonian Other, are endangering the “solidity” of the Macedonian nation by not acknowledging its national narrative. The Other is necessary for Us, so that we can define Ourselves against it, yet it is also necessary for the Other to acknowledge Us as being different from it. The case of Germans and Austrians comes to mind vividly.

Even though both nations acknowledge that they both speak the same German language, nevertheless, Austrians fight tooth and nail to maintain their boundary with Germans symbolically(linguistically).  When Austria joined the EU it produced a list of 23 words which are different in High German and Austrian German. Thus, when an EU document regulating, say the trade of potatoes, is drafted, in its German version it must contain two words which mean the same, potato: Kartoffel (High German) and Erdapfel (Austrian). This may seem petty, but this list of 23 words serves a basic function. It acknowledges that there are two distinct political communities within the EU who use the German language. Symbolically and linguistically, Austria has entered into a union with other European nations, while protecting its boundaries with them, particularly with the most similar Other, Germany. Furthermore, Germany and Germans have accepted this symbolical border. This little story serves to illustrate that the logic of maintaining petty differences isn’t endemic to the Balkans. Rather it is necessary succor for any and all social groups which seek to endure and to move up (down history). Now, onto the meat of the matter.

During our trip we have visited many locations which piqued my interest, but for the interest of time I will focus on the most fascinating part of our journey, the visit to the Tekija in Tetovo and the seat of Baba Mondi in Tirana. When we entered the Tekija I was shocked by the stark contrast of this Muslim place of worship from the one in Tetovo proper. The Sunni mosque in the city was beautiful in an ascetic and austere way. The patterns on the walls were intricate and riveting, yet typical of any mosque. When we entered the Tekija however, we were greeted with the pictures of Mohamed and Ali, a taboo for mainstream Islam. Furthermore, although this may be an entirely subjective observation, the Prophets were painted in an effeminate way, with lush red lips and deep dark eyes, adding insult to injury for any adherent of Sunni Islam, let alone Wahhabism. The Tekija was modest, reminiscent of orthodox monasteries of my homeland, however on its outer walls lay flags of many nations, with the flags of: Kosovo, Albania and USA in the most prominent place. The Dervish greeted us and proceeded to tell us the story of his community, going up(down) history, all the while drawing bridges and borders with Catholics, Sunnis and Orthodox. Thus, a solid Sufi community emerged in our minds, distinct from Christians and Muslims, yet similar to both. The Dervish defined his community as being a bridge between radical Christianity and radical Islam. The metaphor of the bridge is omnipresent in the Balkans and I will get to it in a moment. During our talk the Dervish put forward his own hierarchy of collective Selves: 1. Nation, 2. Family, 3. Faith. His thought mirrors the words of one of the creators of Albanian nationalism Pashko Vasa: “The religion of Albanians is albanianism.”

However, it seemed that the Dervish was torn between his Sufi and Albanian Self. He told us that the greatest problem of Sufism is that it doesn’t have a state. Orthodoxy has Russia, Sunni Islam has Saudi Arabia and Sufis have no state to call their own. The Dervish said: “Kad imaš svoju državu možeš da imaš I svoju religiju.” Which I will loosely translate into: “You cannot have a religion without a nation state.” Later on, while the group was slowly entering the bus I stayed behind to speak some more with the Dervish, despite Kristoff’s strong protests. It is here that I learned about the conflict with the local Sunni Albanian population and it is here that I found out that the bullet holes in the Tekija Walls were not from some distant war. There was a constant threat that the Tekija might be stormed and it was shot at multiple times. The Dervish seamed happy to lay down his life as a martyr for his faith, as a true believer always is. He claimed that the Sufis were not men of violence and that no killer can ever be a Sufi. He placed his fate in the will of God, as a true ascetic believer.

The visit to the seat of Baba Mondi was a wake-up call. The humble lodgings of the Dervish and an ascetic spiritual environment was supplanted by an opulent seat of power and a plump religious head garbed in fine silk robes. The Sufi community, like any other human group couldn’t escape a hierarchical structuring of its members. We were escorted to the museum where we could see the history of the Sufi community visualized and presented to onlookers in all its glory. The picture of the prophet Ali, weeping after the battle of Karbala and washing his bloody hands in a river, caught my eye. The picture was breathtaking and inscribed with a poem in his name, written by one of the Frasheri brothers. Our guide was espousing the merits of multiculturalism, claiming that Sufism doesn’t distinguish between nations and that his religion abhors violence. He reiterated the metaphor of the bridge, which the Dervish used before. When I confronted him with the issue of how can a religious community which does not distinguish between nations and holds pacifism in high regard give birth to a nationalist movement and prominent intellectuals who crafted the concept of Greater Albania, the fell silent for a moment. He than answered: “There is no religion without a nation-state.”, and he shifted the topic down history, to the Ottoman era. Our guide proudly claimed that most of the Janissaries were Sufi. I asked: “Isn’t it contradictory that a pacifist religion is dominant within an elite military unit, made up of forced Christian converts to Islam?” Our guide fell silent again. I was challenging the basic premises of his collective Self, challenging the narrative of his community and he became defensive, as I would have in his place.

Now we return to the metaphor of the bridge. Samuel Huntington succinctly defined the problem of the bridge. “A bridge, however, is an artificial creation connecting two solid entities but is a part of neither.”[6] A bridge eases the transition from one shore to another, from one solid entity to another, it is not meant to be a place where one settles. We did hear as much from the Sufis themselves. Christian converts were more agreeable to converting to Sufi Islam than Sunni Islam, since it was not so radically different from their world view. However, we learned later on, from our trip in Skadar that the bridge is now fostering movement in a different direction. Many Sufis are converting to Protestantism, since they are already on the margins of mainstream Islam, they are more receptive to the evangelizing protestant missionaries.

Our guide in Skadar was an Albanian Catholic, who acknowledged that Islam was the delineating factor which helped the Albanian nation to form, juxtaposed to orthodox Serbs and Greeks. Our guide took us on a tour of the catholic churches and Venetian monuments, proud of the mark which Catholicism left on his country. He did not take us to the local mosque, despite the insistences of some of the members of our group. Here I saw yet another display of the inescapable realities of ingroup bias, or quite simply nationalism, and the need to maintain boundaries with Others. In brief, outwardly Albanians do seem like one nation, however the divides between their religious communities run deep. What I saw was, to be melodramatic, a battle for the soul of Albania. To use Huntington again: “the destiny of each linguistically and unified community depends ultimately upon the survival of primary structuring ideas, around which successive generations have coalesced, and which symbolize the society’s continuity.”[7]These primary structuring ideas then become a basis for institutionalization and the competition between these basis produces conflict. There is no religion without a nation state. The Sufi religious heads told us. They wish to enshrine their own principle into the institution which is the Albanian state, to ensure their community ensure its survival. Other religious/ideological communities will do the same, creating further ground for conflict. How would this dynamic play out could be an interesting question to ponder and I would love to discuss it further with all you.

[1] Eric Hosbabwm Nations and Nationalism since 1780- second edition, Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2016 (23d print), p. 9

[2] ibid

[3] Benedict Anderson Imagined Communities, Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London UK: Verso 2016, p. 6

[4] Ibid p. 26

[5] Iver B Nojman, Upotreba drugog: Istok u formiranju evrpskog identiteta, Beograd: Službeni glasnik, 2011, pp 24-25

[6] Samuel P. Huntington Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order, New York US: Free Press, 2002, p. 149

[7] Samuel P. Huntington Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order, New York US: Free Press, 2002, pp 43-44

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

Luca Paggiaro

How does Macedonia want to introduce itself to their visitors? What does the Southeast European country want them to show and to hide? A personal account of my journey(s) around Macedonia

That’s (allegedly) Macedonia, and nothing else

An “model trip” to Macedonia has to start from the magnificent palaces and monuments of Skopje, the capital city. Macedonia Square (see picture 1), the very town centre, tells the tourists the whole national history with a bunch of statues: the ancient Alexander the Great – located in the middle – dominates over all, while the modern Macedonian independence heroes Dame Gruev and Gotse Delchev overlook the entrance of the Stone Bridge over the central river Vardar and the medieval Tsar Samuil of Bulgaria marks the begin of Macedonia Street, the main city pedestrian zone. Philipp II faces his son Alexander from the other side of the Vardar, whose bank is characterized by shiny neoclassical buildings: the biggest among them is the Museum of Archaeology (see picture 2), surrounded by other museums, government palaces and the massive National Theatre. The monumental downtown includes also Skanderbeg Square (see picture 3), a vast place dedicated to the hero of all Albanians, who represent a significant ethnic minority in Macedonia.

The ideal journey throughout the former Yugoslav republic continues to Ohrid, one of the most impressive city of the Balkan: according to the Ottoman globetrotter Evliya Çelebi, who visited it in 17th century, the town used to have 365 churches, one for each day of the year. Not all survived up to the present, but the remaining are still well worth seeing: above all the marvellous Church of Saint John at Kaneo (see picture 4), built on a cliff which offers the tourists a breath-taking view over the lake. Ohrid has been known for its literary school besides,  established in 886 by Saint Clement – a student of Cyril and Methodius – and renowned for having preserved the Glagolitic script until the 12th century.

As already seen on Skanderbeg Square, in Macedonia do not live only Macedonian-speaking Christians, but also Albanian-speaking Muslims. The trip has therefore to include their cultural centre, the city of Tetovo: visitors are here welcomed by the impressive 15th century Šarena Džamija (Macedonian for “Painted Mosque”) (see picture 5), at the same time a symbol of the former Ottoman rule in Macedonia.

The ideal journey could end here, having portrayed by the way an “ideal image” of the small Balkan republic: a shiny capital city adorned with modern Neoclassical palaces, an ancient town displaying the glorious past of the nation and, at last, a symbolic centre for the main ethnic minority of the country. An ideal portrait maybe suitable for a reductive flyer of the National Tourist Board, or for a simplifying Wikipedia article, but definitely not for a research paper, and even not for this modest article. Hence, the ideal journey has to stop, and a real one has to begin.

That is Macedonia (too)

Let’s return to Skopje and follow the same route through the colossal monuments of the city centre, although this time guided by a representative of the NGO “Ploštad Sloboda” (Macedonian for “Freedom Square”). Let’s discover therefore that this gigantic project called “Skopje 2014” has been a scandalous waste of money: over 670 million euros for having redecorated an area of just 1 km2, participation neither of the citizens nor of the national parliament in all decision-making processes, money laundering in the construction works and use of lowest-quality building materials (some facades are even flammable). That should be enough to boycott the entire showy complex and to take refuge in the truly magnificent Old Bazaar (see picture 6) admiring the numerous mosques, hammams and caravanserais, precious legacy of the Ottoman rule.

Then let’s return again to Tetovo, the capital of the Albanians in Macedonia, and reach the western periphery of the town: the very well conserved Arabati Baba Teḱe (see picture 7) would be rarely mentioned in a city’s guidebook, which rather prefers to direct the few tourists to the Painted Mosque. And it is really a pity considering that Dervish Muttalib – the only one serving in this 18th century compound for spiritual retreat –  would like to show the visitors the beautiful flowered lawns and wooden pavilions. The reason for this is the burning dispute over the property of the tekke between the Bektashi order, which founded it 500 years ago, and the Islamic Community of Macedonia, which regards the Bektashis as “heretics”: in August 2002 the situation escalated since a group of armed Wahhabi Muslims seized control of a large part of the complex, reclaiming it as a mosque – although it has never functioned as a such – and harassing its visitors.

Let’s finally abandon any touristic route and get acquainted with the third-largest ethnic minority of Macedonia: the Turks. Actually some Turkish flags have already been visible in Skopje’s Old Bazaar and also in the Baba Teḱe of Tetovo, but in Centar Župa – a small village situated near the city of Debar – Turks constitute a sweeping 80 percent majority: no surprise then that a majestic statue to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (see picture 8) towers on the central square and that the neighbouring village of Kodžadžik is known for having been the birthplace of Atatürk’s parents. And even though the official languages are Turkish, Macedonian and Albanian – all three taught at school – it’s not unusual to hear local people speaking fluently German or Italian, as much of the population emigrated to Western Europe and return only during the summer holidays.

The real journey could still continue, since this small country includes even more ethnic, linguistic and religious communities, disregarding its innumerable natural and cultural treasures. Macedonia is in the heart of the Balkans and reflects in its own territory all the contradictions of the Balkans, but primarily two: the rich ethnic variety and the poor nationalistic temptations. All in a wonderful landscape.

Frauen auf dem Balkan

Frauen auf dem Balkan

Nasiba Abbasova

Während unserer DAAD-Exkursion nach Mazedonien und Albanien, derer Ziel war, die Balkanmuslime zu untersuchen, war es unter anderem interessant die Frauen sowohl in Großstädten als auch in den Dörfern zu beobachten. Es geht hier nicht nur um die Aufteilung der Männer- und Frauenrolle in der Familie oder in der Gesellschaft, sondern auch um den Einfluss der Religion aufs Leben der Frauen. Im unserem Fall des Islams. Laut der letzten Volkszählung von 2002 bekennt sich in Mazedonien über 30% zum Islam. Nach der Volkszählung von 2011 sind in Albanien mehr als 50% muslimischen Glaubens. In den 1968-90er Jahren war  Albanien  ein atheistischer Staat unter kommunistischer Herrschaft.

Tirana, Albanien. Bildquelle: S. Stankovic

Tirana, Albanien. Bildquelle: S. Stankovic

Frauen in den Städten und Dörfern

Die muslimischen Frauen in Großstädten sind überall vertreten: auf den Straßen, in den Märkten und in anderen öffentlichen Räumen, sei es mit oder ohne Kopftuch. In Mitternacht alleine als Frau in der Stadt zu laufen ist nicht gefährlich. Öffentlich Rauchen oder Alkohol trinken ist hier auch kein Problem.

Skopje Old Bazar, mehrheitlich albanischer und türkischer Teil. Bildquelle: S. Stankovic

Die Frauen auf den Dörfern sind sehr nett, aber nicht immer zu sehen. Die öffentlichen Räume wie Cafés oder Teehäuser sind hauptsächlich männlich vertreten. Auf den Dörfern sind meistens Omas  zu beobachten, die in großen, wunderschönen Villas entweder alleine oder mit ihren Männern zusammenleben. Eine von diesen Frauen ist Afrodita, die wir im Dorf kennen lernten. Sie lebt das ganze Jahr alleine in einer zweistöckigen Villa. Ihre Kinder und Enkelkinder leben in Deutschland, die sie ein paar Mal im Jahr besucht. Sie bereitet für sie verschiedene Konfitüre aus ihrem eigenen Obstgarten und andere Spezialitäten vor und nimmt sie jedes Mal  bei ihrem Besuch nach Deutschland mit. Uns hat sie wie ihre eigenen Enkelkinder empfangen und beim Abschied umarmt, geküsst und mit ihren leckeren Äpfeln besorgt.

Frauen der Bektashi Community

Während unserer Exkursion besuchten wir in der mazedonischen Stadt Tetovo  die muslimische Bektashi Community. Während des Gesprächs mit dem netten Herren, der in nächsten Jahren Dervish sein wird, stellte sich heraus, dass die Frauen  Bektashi – Glaubens gut ausgebildet sind. Größtenteils universitäre Abschlüsse. Für die Frauen gibt’s kein Muss in Bezug auf Kopftuch oder Tschador.  Die Bektaschi Community Tetovos hat bis jetzt einmal eine Frau als Baba in  der leitender Position, die höchste Position innerhalb Gesellschaft ist, gehabt.

Frauen als Unternehmerinnen

In Zogaj, einem schönen Dorf am Shkodra See an der montenegrinischen-albanischen Grenze ist seit einigen Jahren von einer jungen Dame eine Werkstatt gegründet worden, wo Teppiche unterschiedlichen Größe, Taschen etc. hergestellt werden. Das ist ein kleines, nettes Team von Frauen, die hier arbeiten.

Zogaj, Inhaberin der Werkstatt. Bildquelle: Darinka Antic

Zogaj, Werkstatt. Bildquelle: Darinka Antic

Gute Zukunftsperspektiven im Ausland

In Gesprächen mit den Frauen war es deutlich klar, dass sie sich die gute und sichere Zukunft ihrer Kinder wünschen und dafür Mühe geben. Viele wollen ihre Kinder für gutes Studium nach Westeuropa und vor allem nach Deutschland schicken und hoffen damit auf gute Bleibeperspektiven. Eine Verkäuferin im Einkaufszentrum in Tirana beim Gespräch sagte, dass sie während der Flüchtlingswelle mit ihrer zwei Kindern nach Deutschland kam und nach einem halben Jahr abgeschoben wurde. Die Frau will ihr bestens tun, damit ihre Kinder gutes Studium in Deutschland bekommen. „Gute Ausbildung“ und „gutes Leben“ in Deutschland/im Ausland sind die größten Wünsche dieser Frauen.

Mehrsprachigkeit

Zur Mehrsprachigkeit innerhalb der einheimischen Bevölkerung Mazedoniens und Albaniens – Kurzprofile lokaler Bewohner

Fotos und Text: Darinka Antić und Luca Paggiaro

Die Frage nach der nationalen Zugehörigkeit kann sich auf dem Balkan als schwierig erweisen. Somit war die Frage nach den Sprachkenntnissen weniger „problematisch“ und einfacher zu beantworten. Außerdem ermöglichte sie uns einen besseren Zugang zu den Menschen und führte zu aufschlussreichen Antworten.

Während der Exkursion nach Mazedonien und Albanien ist unsere Reisegruppe oft mit dem Thema der Mehrsprachigkeit in Berührung gekommen, was zunächst visuell durch die vielfältigen Linguistic landscapes geschah und die damit verbundene Präsenz von mindestens zwei Sprachen. Dies begegnete uns vor allem in Städten, wie zum Beispiel bei Straßenschildern und Beschilderungen von Regierungsgebäuden in Skopje. Diese von oben gesetzten Zeichen tragen sowohl das mazedonische als auch das albanische Äquivalent. Bei den von unten gesetzten Zeichen, unter anderem die Namensschilder an Geschäften, Restaurantnamen, Speisekarten etc., kommen noch weitere Sprachen, wie das Türkische, Englische und Arabische hinzu. Das Vorhandensein der vielen verschiedenen Sprachen in der Linguistic landscape kann Aufschluss über die ethnische Zusammensetzung einer Stadt geben und macht die Mehrsprachigkeit deutlich sichtbar. Im Mittelpunkt unserer Feldforschung standen jedoch die „Protagonisten“ dieser visuellen Mehrsprachigkeit, d.h. die lokalen Einwohner der bereisten Dörfer und Städte.

Exkursionsteilnehmer Luca im Gespräch mit Bauarbeiter Agron in einem Cafe in Centar Župa

Im Rahmen unserer Feldforschung, konnten wir mit Einheimischen unterschiedlicher Volkszugehörigkeit und unterschiedlichen Alters und Milieus in Kontakt treten und Gespräche führen, unter anderen mit Verkäufern auf dem Basar in Skopje, Rentnern in kleinen albanischen Dörfern und einem nach Westeuropa emigrierten Mazedonier türkischer Nationalität. In diesen Interviews fragten wir die Hiesigen, welche Sprachen sie noch beherrschen, in welcher Situation diese Sprachen zum Einsatz kommen und wie der Spracherwerb erfolgte. Unsere Gruppe versuchte die Muttersprache(n) unserer Gesprächspartner zu definieren, was allerdings nicht immer leicht war, denn einige durften beispielsweise die eigene Muttersprache nur im Verborgenen, d.h. im engsten Familienkreis benutzen. Darüber hinaus erkundigten wir uns nach ihren Biografien, um die soziohistorischen Hintergründe und Entwicklungen der Mehrsprachigkeit innerhalb der lokalen Bevölkerung Mazedoniens und Albaniens zu erforschen. So konnten wir erfahren, dass der Sprachgebrauch bei einigen Interviewpartnern im Lauf ihres Lebens bedeutenden Änderungen unterlaufen ist. In der kommunistischen Zeit zum Beispiel, wurden einige Sprachen nicht so oft verwendet oder in der Öffentlichkeit sogar unterdrückt, während andere Sprachen durch die Auswanderung erworben wurden. Die nachfolgenden Kurzprofile verdeutlichen dies.

Exkursionsteilnehmerin Darinka beim Tee mit Antikshopbesitzer Mendur; Foto: S. Stankovic


Fadil

Besitzer eines Marktstandes in Skopje

Sprache: Albanisch (Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Eltern (Sein Vater ist aus dem Kosovo)
Nutzung: Familie, Freunde, Kunden

Sprache: Mazedonisch (2. Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule (Er wurde in Skopje geboren)
Nutzung: Freunde, Kunden, Behörden

Sprache: Englisch (gute Kenntnisse)
Erwerb: Über Serien
Nutzung: Kunden

Sprache: Türkisch (sehr einfache Kenntnisse)
Erwerb: Schule, Eltern (Ziel war es, in die Türkei auszuwandern)
Nutzung: keine (Daher sind keine guten Sprachkenntnisse mehr vorhanden)

Sprache: Serbokroatisch (sehr einfache Kenntnisse)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: sporadisch mit Kunden

Im Jahre 1955 plante Fadils Familie aus Ihrer Heimat, dem Kosovo, in die Türkei zu emigrieren. Ihre Reise führte sie zunächst nach Mazedonien, wo lediglich ein Zwischenstopp geplant war. Die Familie konnte ihre Reise jedoch nicht fortsetzten und blieb in Skopje, wo Fadil später geboren wurde. Heute ist er verheiratet und hat einen Sohn und hegt denselben Traum, wie ihn sein Vater Jahrzehnte zuvor hatte, eines Tages mit seiner Familie in die Türkei auszuwandern. Vor allem besorgt ihn seine wirtschaftliche Lage, die ihm zufolge für alle Albaner in Mazedonien ähnlich schlecht sei. In die Türkei auszuwandern bedeutet für ihn dies zu ändern und ein besseres Leben führen zu können.

Wir unterhielten uns mit ihm auf Englisch.


Mendur

Besitzer eines Antikshops, zum Thema Jugonostalgija

„Nema veze na kom jeziku govoris, svi smo naši!“

Sprache: Albanisch (Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Eltern (Seine Familie ist aus dem Kosovo)
Nutzung: Familie, Freunde, Kunden

Sprache: Mazedonisch (2. Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: Freunde, Kunden, Behörden

Sprache: Serbokroatisch (sehr gute Kenntnisse)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: Kunden

Sprache: Arabisch
Erwerb: Moschee/ Koranschule
Nutzung: Kunden/ Moschee

Mendur erzählte uns weniger über die Beweggründe seiner Familie ihre Heimat zu verlassen oder warum sie in Mazedonien blieben. Er erzählte jedoch mit Begeisterung von den „alten Zeiten“. Damals, als er in Jugoslawien lebte, fehlte es seiner Meinung nach, der Bevölkerung unter Tito an nichts und die Arbeiterklasse hatte ein ausreichend gutes Einkommen. Er kommt zu dem Schluss: „Umreo titio, umrelo sve!“ („Alles nahm sein Ende als Tito starb.“). Mendur kommt aus einer sehr gläubigen muslimischen Familie. Er betet 5-mal am Tag und geht sehr regelmäßig in die Moschee. Er berichtet stolz von seinem Bruder, der als Hodscha in Kairo arbeitet. Er wiederholt einige Male, dass die Herkunft, Nationalität, Sprache und der Glaube keine Rolle spiele, sondern es lediglich darum ginge fleißig, ehrlich gebildet und fair seinen Mitmenschen gegenüber zu sein.

Wir führten unsere Unterhaltung auf Serbokroatisch.


Adnan

Besitzer eines Teppichgeschäftes in Skopje

„Svaki jezik je bogadstvo, nema veze koji!“

Sprache: Albanisch (Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Eltern (Er kommt aus Peć, Kosovo)
Nutzung: Familie, Freunde, Kunden

Sprache: Mazedonisch (2. Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule (Er kam als Kind nach Skopje)
Nutzung: Bekannte, Kunden, Behörden

Sprache: Serbokroatisch (sehr gute Kenntnisse)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: Kunden

Sprache: Türkisch (einfache Kenntnisse)
Erwerb: Schule (Ziel war es in die Türkei auszuwandern)
Nutzung: Kunden (sporadisch)

Adnans Familie wollte aus ihrer Heimatstadt Peć in die Türkei auswandern. Nachdem sie sich bereits auf den Weg gemacht hatten, verhinderten neue Gesetzte unter Ranković dies und die Familie verwarf ihre Pläne. Er lernte 12 Jahre lang Türkisch in der Schule. Er ist zwar nicht zufrieden in Mazedonien, denkt aber, dass es seiner Familie und ihm im Kosovo und Albanien noch schlechter erginge. Er merkt an, dass die auf dem Balkan weit verbreitete Mehrsprachigkeit eine Selbstverständlichkeit sei.
Unser Gespräch führten wir auf Serbokroatisch.


Vlade

Rentner aus Dolna Gorica, Albanien

Sprache: Mazedonisch (Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: Familie, Dorfbewohner

Sprache: Albanisch (2.Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: Bewohner aus anderen albanischen Städten (beispielsweise Tirana oder Korça)

Die mazedonische ethnische Minderheit aus dem Gebiet am Prespasee und Golloborda wurde nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg vom kommunistischen Regime offiziell anerkannt, daher durften die Einwohner die mazedonische Sprache in der Schule lernen und öffentlich verwenden. Vlade arbeitete in einer landwirtschaftlichen Genossenschaft und konnte Mazedonisch auch auf der Arbeit nutzen, falls jedoch ein Vertreter aus Korça kam, dann mussten sie auf Albanisch sprechen.

Heutzutage werden weiterhin beide Sprachen gesprochen. Nach dem Fall des Kommunismus konnte Vlade nach Mazedonien reisen und dort arbeiten, außerdem hat er freien Zugriff auf Zeitungen und Fernsehen in mazedonischer Sprache. Mit Vlade unterhielten wir uns auf Albanisch und das Gespräch wurde später von einem Freund übersetzt.


Agron

Bauarbeiter aus Centar Župa, Mazedonien

„Ako ne znaš svoj majčin jezik, ne možes da živiš.“

Sprache: Türkisch (Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: türkischsprechende Dorfbewohner und Bewohner aus den Nachbardörfern

Sprache: Mazedonisch
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: mazedonisch sprechende Dorfbewohner und Bewohner aus anderen Städten Mazedoniens, Familie

Sprache: Albanisch
Erwerb: Eltern (der Vater von Agron lebte in Albanien), Schule
Nutzung: Dorfbewohner, Einwohner aus Debar (mehrheitlich albanisch sprechende Bevölkerung), Familie (einige Verwanden Agrons wohnen in Albanien)

Sprache: Italienisch
Erwerb: Arbeitsaufenthalt in Italien
Nutzung: Alltagsleben, Familie (Söhne und Töchter sind in Italien eingeschult worden)

Sprache: Deutsch
Erwerb: Kurzzeitige Arbeitsaufenthalt in Österreich
Nutzung: manchmal im Alltagsleben in Südtirol (deutsch- und italienischsprachige Region Italiens)

Sprache: Serbokroatisch und Slowenisch
Erwerb: Dienst als Offizier in der Jugoslawischen Volksarmee in Serbien und Slowenien
Nutzung: heute kaum noch

Im sozialistischen Jugoslawien wurde hauptsächlich Mazedonisch gesprochen, obwohl es nicht verboten war, Türkisch und Albanisch in der Schule zu lehren und im Alltagsleben zu verwenden. Nichtdestotrotz mussten unter dem kommunistischen Regime viele türkischsprechende Dorfbewohner in die Türkei fliehen. Nach dem Fall des Kommunismus, konnten viele ehemalige Einwohner türkischer Nationalität in das Dorf zurückkehren, daher ist die Anzahl der türkisch sprechenden Bevölkerung gestiegen. Außerdem konnten die albanischen Verwandten Agrons ausreisen und ihn besuchen. In der Schule wird hauptsächlich auf Türkisch gelehrt, aber weiterhin auch auf Mazedonisch und Albanisch.

Das Gespräch führten wir auf Italienisch und Serbokroatisch.


Isuf

Rentner aus Zogaj, Albanien

Sprache: Serbokroatisch (Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Eltern (montenegrinische Abstammung)
Nutzung: Eltern, Verwandte aus Montenegro

Sprache: Albanisch (2. Muttersprache)
Erwerb: Schule
Nutzung: Familie (seine Frau ist Albanerin), Alltagsleben

Isuf wurde in Shkodra (Albanien) geboren, jedoch stammten seine Eltern aus Podgorica (Montenegro) und wanderten vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg nach Albanien aus. Unter dem Regime von Hoxha war es in Albanien offiziell verboten, auf Serbokroatisch zu sprechen. Nur er lernte die Sprache von seinen Eltern, während seine drei Schwestern nur Albanisch beherrschten. Auch mit anderen Einwohnern jugoslawischer Abstammung in Shkodra durfte er niemals auf Serbokroatisch sprechen. Nach der Öffnung der Grenzen 1989 durfte Isuf zum ersten Mal seine Verwandten in Podgorica besuchen. In den 90er Jahren arbeitete er in der montenegrinischen Hauptstadt bei der Rüstungsfirma „Yugoimport“. Heutzutage dürfen alle Bewohner serbischer Nationalität in ihrer Muttersprache kommunizieren.

Das Gespräch führten wir auf Serbokroatisch.


Die Biographien der befragten Personen halfen uns zu verstehen, wie der weit verbreitete Multilingualismus innerhalb der Bevölkerung zustande kam.

Darüber hinaus erfuhren wir von den lokalen Bewohnern weitere Details, wie zum Beispiel, wie sich der Gebrauch bestimmter Sprachen im Lauf ihres Lebens änderte. Sie berichteten davon, dass einige Sprachen in den Hintergrund traten und an Prestige verloren. In Folge dessen, nahm ihr Gebrauch und ebenso ihre Präsenz ab. Beeinflusst wurde dies durch politische und historische Ereignisse und persönliche Entscheidungen wie z.B. der Auswanderung, die einen der Hautfaktoren für den Erwerb neuer Sprachen bildete.

Die Bektaschi in Albanien und ihre Geschichte

Die Bektaschi in Albanien und ihre Geschichte

Justina Matošin

Im September 2017 hatten wir, einige Studenten und Dozenten der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, der Universität Wien und der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena die Freude an einer Exkursion nach Mazedonien und Albanien teilnehmen zu dürfen um die Balkan-Muslime näher kennenzulernen.

Am 9. September 2017 haben wir zunächst die Arabati Baba Tekke in Tetovo, Mazedonien, besucht wo uns vom örtlichen Derwisch, dem Vorstehenden der Tekke, viel zu den Ritualen der Bektaschi erzählt wurde. Da sich die deutliche Mehrheit der Bektaschi aber im Nachbarland Albanien befindet machten wir uns wenige Tage später auf die Reise nach Albanien (Der Bektaschi-Orden zählt in Mazedonien etwa 50.000 Mitglieder, die vom Staat der islamischen Glaubensgemeinschaft zugeordnet werden. Deutscher Bundestag, 18. Wahlperiode, Antwort des Bundesregierung auf die menschenrechtliche Lage in Mazedonien, 4. November 2016, S.13. ).

So haben wir am 15. September das Bektashi World Center oder Kryegjyshata, östlich des Stadtzentrums von Tirana besucht. Im unteren Geschoss befindet sich ein Museum dass die Entwicklung der Bektaschi im Verlauf der Geschichte darstellt und einige Büroräume in den MitarbeiterInnen sich um die Belange der Gemeinde kümmern. Das imposante und vollständig mit Marmor verkleidete Gebäude zeichnet die Glaubenssäulen der Bektaschi ab: die Zwölfer-Schia laut derer es zwölf Imame gibt. Sie ist Teil des Schia, des Schiitentums, zu dem die Bektaschi ebenfalls gehören.

Bektashi World Center, Decke mit zwölf Sonnen und Fenstern für die zwölf Imame

Wie wir also im September erst durch die Geschichte im Inneren des World Centers bis in die Gegenwart hinaufgestiegen sind möchte ich nun mit Ihnen eine solche Reise unternehmen auf der ich auch einige Begriffe näher erklären möchte. Die Aleviten leiten ihren Namen aus ihrer Verehrung Alis (Abū l-Hasan ʿAlī ibn Abī Tālib) ab, dem Schwiegersohn und Vetter von Mohammed den sie sich nach dessen Tod anstatt Abu Bakr (Abū Bakr), dem Schwiegervater Mohammeds, als Nachfolger des Propheten wünschten. Beide Männer spalteten den Islam in zwei Glaubensgemeinschaften: Die Sunniten und die Schiiten.

Zur zweiten Gruppe gehören die Aleviten, deren Angehörige heute außer in der Türkei auch in Syrien, Iranschi-Kurdistan und Aserbaidschan siedeln, aber auch die Bektaschi.

Diese differenzieren sich von den Aleviten durch ihre Bezugnahme auf ihren hazret, ihren als heilig verehrten Haci Bektaş Veli, der im 13. Jahrhundert aus dem Nordosten Irans nach Anatolien auswanderte und dort zum Begründer eines sogenannten Sufi-Ordens wurde und maßgeblich zur Namensgebung der neuen Glaubensgemeinschaft beitrug. Ein solcher Orden zeichnet sich vor allem dadurch aus, dass er im Gegensatz zum sunnitischen Islam asketische Tendenzen und gewisse spirituelle Orientierungen aufweist. Durch verschiedene Glaubenskämpfe, unter anderem auch mit den Mongolen, nahmen die Bektaschi im Laufe der Zeit verschiedene Religionseinflüsse in ihr Gedankengut auf, wie etwa christliche, vor-islamische, buddhistische und schamanistische Elemente. Als Beispiel für christliche Einflüsse ist an dieser Stelle die alevitische Vorstellung von Ali, Mohammed und Allah als heilige Dreieinigkeit zu nennen.

Wie in vielen religiösen Gemeinden verfügt auch der Bektaschi-Orden über eine Hierarchie die aus den Talip oder Mühip als Novizen, den Derviş oder Babas und zuoberst aus den Halifen oder Dedes besteht. Das Oberhaupt der gesamten Religionsgemeinschaft ist der Dedebaba, dessen Amt zur Zeit Edmond Brahimaj innehat und auch Baba Mondi genannt wird (s. Abb.).

Edmond Brahimaj, Dedebaba seit 2011

Im Verlgeich zu den Sunniten begehen die Bektaschi keinen richtigen Ramadan – hier wird nur an drei Tagen gefastet – denn sie widmen sich dem Fasten in ihrem Trauermonat Muharrem, der nach dem islamischen Kalender unserem Januar entspricht. In diesem Monat wird an zehn bis zwölf Tagen gefastet und im Anschluss eine Süßspeise aus zwölf Zutaten, die symbolisch für die zwölf Imame der Zwölfer-Schia stehen, zu sich genommen.

Ähnlich den zwölf Geboten gibt es in der Glaubensgemeinschaft der Bektaschi Grundwerte die als Verbot von Mord, Körperverletzung, Diebstahl, übler Nachrede und nichtehelichen Beziehungen interpretiert werden können: ,,eline, beline, diline sahip ol’’ was die Bedeutung ,,Beherrsche deine Hände, deine Lenden und beherrsche deine Zunge’’ trägt und für das negative Potential steht, dass im Menschen ruht.

Die Bektaschi vertreten einen deutlich liberaleren Islam, so sollen Frauen unbedingt an Zeremonien wie dem Cem teilnehmen, gleichberechtig sein und vor allem Zugang zur Schulbildung in jeder Form erhalten. Sie tragen keine Kopfbedeckung und sind den Männern im Orden ebenbürtig. Bei dem Cem und dem Muhabet handelt es sich um gemeinschaftliche Zeremonien und gemeinsame Mähler, bei denen Raki, dem Weinbrand des Balkans, getrunken, diskutiert und getanzt wird.

Eindeutig ist zwar, woher die Bektaschi ihren Namen beziehen, doch ist man sich bis heute streitig, wer der wahre Begründer des Glaubensordens war. Inzwischen geht man jedoch davon aus, dass es sich dabei nicht um Haci Bektaş Veli, sondern vielmehr um Balim Sultan handelt, einem aus Griechenland stammenden Derwisch.

Während des 16. Jahrhunderts war das heutige albanische Territorialgebiet schon völlig in das Osmanische Reich aufgenommen, nachdem der Widerstand durch Gjergj Kastrioti, bekannt als der albanische Nationalheld Skanderbeg, und dessen Truppen entgültig niedergeschlagen wurde.

Es gibt keine verwertbaren Spuren die zeigen könnten, dass es schon vor dem 15. Jahrhundert in Albanien viele Muslime gegeben hätte und erst ab dem 17. Jahrhundert sollte die Mehrheit des albanischen Volkes beginngen, zum Islam zu konvertieren.

Die Bektaschi indess etablierten sich schon im 14. Und 15. Jahrhundert und verbreiteten sich vor allem auf dem Balkan. Eine große Rolle haben sie möglicherweise bei der Gründung des Janitscharen-Korps gespielt, da Legenden zufolge sogar der Namensgeber des Ordens Haci Bektaş Veli die ersten Truppen aufgestellt haben soll. Es ist jedoch wahrscheinlicher dass die Janitscharen, die Eliteeinheit der Armee der Osmanischen Sultane, von Murad I., der bis 1389 das Osmanische Reich regierte, gegründet wurden. Es werden ferner auch andere Bektaschi-Derwische als Gründer benannt, was die Vermutung zulässt, dass die Bektaschi eng an die Janitscharen gebunden waren. Belege für Existenz von Gemeindehäusern der Tariqa, der Sufi-Orden, existieren allerdings erst für das 17. Jahrhundert.

Als die Elitetruppe nach jahrelangen Aufständen 1826 gewaltsam aufgelöst wurde, erfuhren die Bektaschi eine Verdrängung aus der Gesellschaft durch Sultan Mahmud II der die Religionsgemeinschaft verbot. Tekken (teqe), die Zentren der Derwisch-Orden wo die Bektaschi ihre Zeremonien durchführen, wurden geschlossen und die Bektaschis gewaltsam vertrieben. Bald, in etwa ab der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts schafften sie es jedoch sich neu aufzustellen, begannen sich wieder anzusiedeln und ihre Tekken zu öffnen. Als jedoch schließlich Mustafa Kemal Atatürk 1925 die neue türkische Republik ausrief, ließ er erneut alle Tekken schließen, konfiszierte Grund und Boden der Bektaschi-Gemeinden und viele Bektaschi sahen sich gezwungen ins Exil auszuwandern. So verlegten sie sich ab diesem Zeitpunkt nach Albanien um dort ihren Hauptsitz zu eröffnen, wo sie zunächst auf religiöse Toleranz und einen weit verbreiteten Synkretismus stießen. Bis 1945 blieben sie den sunnitischen Moslems unterstellt und konnten sich erst ab dann als unabhängige Religionsgemeinschaft etablieren. Als im zweiten Weltkrieg nationalsozialistische deutsche Truppen und Teile der Armee des Mussolini-Regimes Albanien besetzten, kämpften viele Bektaschi in Widerstandsgruppen, unter anderem unter Enver Hoxha. Bis dahin befand sich Albanien in einer besondern Position: es war, bis zur späteren Unabhängigkeit Bosnien-Herzegowinas, das einzige europäische Land mit muslimischer Mehrheit. Als Enver Hoxha 1967 schließlich den Atheismus als Staatsdoktrin verkündete war Albanien der einzige Staat weltweit der jegliche Konfessionen verbot und aus dem öffentlichen Leben verbannte. Auch die Bektaschi litten unter diesem öffentlichen Verbot und trafen sich daraufhin nur noch im Untergrund oder siedelten in die Vereingten Staaten, vornehmlich nach Detroit, über.

Nachdem das Hoxha-Regime und der Kommunsimus 1991 schließlich zusammenbrach, wagten sich die Bektaschi wieder an die Öffentlichkeit und bauten ihre Glaubenszentren, die Tekken/Teqen, wieder auf. Seitdem stehen sie jedoch zwischen westlichen und östlichen Integratiosnbestrebungen, durch die Europäische Union aber auch durch die Organisation Islamischer Staaten, wie etwa den Wahhabiten, den traditionalistischen Islamisten.

Die Bektaschi besitzen heute einen Zwischenstatus aus Gemeinde und Gesellschaft und pendeln irgendwo zwischen den drei offiziellen Religionen und anderen religiösen Minderheiten. De facto erkennt der Staat die Bektaschi an, jedoch haben sie kein Recht auf einen eigenen Repräsentanten im Staatssekretariat der Religionen und sind weiterhin in der Ausübung ihres Glaubens den Sunniten unterstellt.

Heute ist die Lage der Bektaschi in Albanien relativ schwierig: auch wenn der Islam und auch die Bektaschi wesentlich zur Prägung Albaniens wie es heute ist, beigetragen haben, fehlt vielen Bürgern das Interesse an der Religion, möglicherweise auch wegen der Einflüsse von Westen und Osten. Viele Bürger wünschen sich Teil der Europäischen Union zu werden und lehnen deshalb gegebenfalls die Zugehörigkeit zum Islam ab, wenn auch die Bektaschi einen deutlich liberaleren Zweig repräsentieren.

Inzwischen ist des den Bektaschi gelungen die Mehrheit ihrer Besitztümer vom Staat zurückzuerlangen und mittlerweile werden sogar die Zeremonien der Bektaschi im öffentlichrechtlichen Fernsehen übertragen. Die Bektaschi scheinen nun optimistisch in die Zukunft zu blicken in der zu hoffen bleibt, dass sie keine Unterdrückung und Vertreibung mehr erfahren werden.

Linguistic landscape macedonia

The representation of multilingualism in the linguistic landscape of Macedonia

Julian Nitzsche, Translation Megan Nagel

The research of linguistic landscapes in a multilingual region like Macedonia is an opportunity to find out more about prestige, hierarchies and the relationship of the used languages. The relationship of the two biggest language groups in Macedonia (Macedonian and Albanian) that are also equivalent to the two ethnics groups, has been full of conflict for the last 30 years. One group – the Slavic speaking Macedonians, mainly Christians – became the titular nation of the independent state in 1991 whose autonomy has been put into question by their neighbours in Bulgaria and Serbia in the past. The other group – mainly Muslim Albanians – stays a minority, although numerically strong. At the last census in 2002 they represented a quarter of the population. This percentage will have grown in the last 15 years. Against the background of the Kosovo war and independence as well as the armed riots in 2001 in the mostly Albanian Northwest of Macedonia, the situation between the two groups stays strained.

After the Ohrid Agreement in 2001 there has been a gradual easing of tension. The Albanian ethnic group has been granted linguistic rights and institutions – amongst other things a university – and the usage of the Albanian language in public has developed in a positive way. Nevertheless, there have been public confrontations, especially in the run-up to the parliamentary election, e.g. about the building of an orthodox church at the Muslim fortress in Skopje in 2012 or about the planned effectuation of another monumental cross in the suburbs of Skopje in March 2012. The discussion about the creation of a multilingual state was initiated after the change of government in 2017 and has been led controversially. While the Albanians insist on the implementation of their granted rights, the Slavic Macedonians fear a weakening of their national state – which already deals with an identity complex. The relevant law was passed in January 2018, making Albanian the second official language.

Against this background I have busied myself with the recent status of public multilingualism in already multilingual Macedonia, on the occasion of our field trip in September 2017. I have compared my observations with the impressions I made during my first stay in summer 2008 – almost a decade earlier.

Skopje/Shkup

As the capital and seat of political and economic power Skopje enjoys a special kind of prestige, which the government under Nikolai Guresvki has been expanding in an arguable kind of way in the course of „Skopje 2014“. The national prestige for the Christian and Slavic speaking Macedonia – demonstrated by the over dimensional cross on the mountain of Vodno that towers over the town day and night – counteracts with the fact that the Ottoman old town is predominantly inhabited by (Muslim) Albanians. In 2002 they represented a fifth of the population. However, Albanian was hardly present outside of the old town in 2008.

Picture 1: Inner city sign-posting in Macedonia, English and Albanian (Skopje)

Almost a decade later the signposts attract attention: whilst driving into the capital on the motorway they don’t only show the destinations in Macedonian and English transcription, but also in Albanian – in the same type size. During a city tour it is revealed that this also applies to the inner-city touristic sign-posting of the monuments. Merely the order of languages is noteworthy: Macedonian in first place; however Albanian isn’t in second place but rather English as a „tourist language“.

Picture 2: Bilingual notice in a window display in the old town of Skopje

The old town – mostly populated by Albanian Muslims – is located in the territory of the municipality of Çair, which handles things differently. The local street signs mention the Albanian name in first place, then the Macedonian translation in the same type-size. Numerous inscriptions on shops and in display windows are also bilingual, or rarer only in Albanian. In addition you can sometimes see Turkish, especially at religious and cultural facilities as well as facilities of the Turkish minority, which represents 1,7% of the population in Skopje.

Picture 3: street sign in Çair (Skopje) with Albanian in first place

Even the LED displays of the double-decker busses which were purchased in line with the project Skopje 2014 and supposed to add a cosmopolitan flair to the city, switch between Macedonian and Albanian. Then again Albanian is absent in places where it would be expected. The information board of the also newly erected Mother Teresa Memorial Church is written in Macedonian and English, even though undoubtedly Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was a native Albanian speaker. The statue in front of the church even bears an all-Macedonian plaque.

Picture 4: Information board at the Mother Teresa Memorial Church

Albanian as the second most spoken language in the country has also found its way onto the signposting along the motorways, e.g. on the “Mother Teresa Motorway” from Skopje to Tetovo. At the tollbooths you can see Macedonian in first place, then Albanian as well as the international languages English, French and Dutch.

Picture 5: trilingual sign-posting along the “Mother Teresa Motorway” from Skopje to Tetovo

Tetova/Tetovo

In contrast to Skopje, Albanian predominates in Tetovo/Tetova located in the western part of the country, which is not surprising due to the Albanian majority of 70% in the community and its status as the “secret capital” of the Macedonian Albanians. Macedonian flags are also – in contrast to Skopje – hardly visible. The local signposting which is the community’s responsibility shows Albanian in first place, correspondent to the majority, followed by Macedonian.

Picture 6: Inner-city signpost in Tetovo with Albanian in first place

Dibra/Debar

The population of Debra which is located in the western part of the country close to the Albanian border is also mostly Albanian. Therefore Albanian is in first place on the signposting, including town sings etc.

Centar Župa

The region of Župa above Debar Lake, inhabited mainly by Muslims, sets itself apart linguistically from the Albanian regions of western Macedonia. The Muslim inhabitants call themselves either Turks or Macedonian Muslims. The question of their ethnic of national identity could not be answered.

Macedonian predominates in the linguistic landscape and is also in first place on the town sign. Turkish is also present but generally subordinate. At the Atatürk Monument, representatively located in the centre of the village, Turkish is in first place (above the Macedonian inscription), but usually underneath. Albanian is not represented in public and is – according to the inhabitants – hardly spoken despite the geographical proximity to Debar.

Picture 7: The Atatürk Monument with Turkish-Macedonian inscription in Centar Župa

The relationship of the language groups does not seem conflict-free: most of the additional Turkish and Macedonian town names of the town sign of Dolno Melničani/Asago Melnican on the way from Debar to Župa had been sprayed over.

Picture 8: Sprayed over town sign close to Centar Župa

Dolna Gorica/Gorica e Vogël

Gorica is one of the villages at the edge of Prespa Lake right behind the Macedonian-Albanian border in which Macedonian is prevalent. In contrast to all other national minorities the Macedonians of Prespa enjoyed certain linguistics rights even during the communist regime of Enver Hoxha. The nationwide known writer Sterjo Spasse was an ethnic Macedonian from the Prespa villages, but mostly wrote in Albanian.
The community of Liqenas that is home to the Macedonian villages was officially renamed “Pustec” in 2013, its Macedonian name. The coat of arms of the community showsthe Vergina Sun, the Macedonian symbol par excellence which also decorated the flag of the Republic of Macedonia in the early 1990s.

Picture 9: The coat of arms of the community Pustec (Liqenas) with the Vergina Sun

Street signs, sign posts and information boards in public facilities of the visited towns in the municipality of Pustec are bilingual, with Macedonian as the local majority language in second place after Albanian though. At the (Christian) grave yard of Dolna Gorica Macedonian-Cyrillic grave inscriptions are prevalent, however a notable number is also written in Latin script, which must be due to the influence of the Albanian official language. It seems notable that the “temporary” wooden crosses built by the church community for the recently deceased were inscribed exclusively in Cyrillic script, while the grave stones – ordered by the families – were partly in Cyrillic and partly in Latin script. Scraped inscriptions (probably by adolescents) in Latin as well as in Cyrillic script were found on a building wall close to the church.

Picture 10: Gravestone (Latin script) and grave cross (Cyrillic script) on the grave yard of Dolna Gorica

In the school of Dolna Gorica lessons are held in Albanian was well as Macedonian. Placards created by the pupils hanging in the corridors are either in Macedonian (more often) or Albanian (rarer) but not bilingual. The Albanian flag and the old flag of the Republic of Macedonia with the Vergina Sun are both standing on the headmistress’ desk.

The information board at the campaign office of E. Temelko, candidate for mayor, was almost completely written in Macedonian, except the name of his electoral alliance which probably needs an Albanian name due to legal reasons. Two electoral posters in the building’s windows were also completely bilingual with Macedonian in first place.

Picture 11: Information board at the campaign office of the candidate for mayor

Ohrid/Ohri

In Ohrid, as the almost mythically charged “cultural capital” of Macedonia and one of the most meaningful places in Macedonian and Greek history, the Macedonian language is prevalent. However, – mostly Albanian and Turkish – Muslims represent a fifth of the town’s population which is not visible in the official signposting, but on shops in the old town (Čaršija). Turkish and Albanian is also present here, the kebab stands are called “Adana” and alongside the usual churches you can buy postcards of Atatürk.

Picture 12: Multilingual window display and Kebab stand “Adana” in the old town of Ohrid

The notices with tariff information in the state-owned post office of Ohrid were entirely bilingual, Macedonian-Albanian.

Conclusion

Through the linguistic landscape of the researched places it becomes clear that Macedonia is a multilingual country – more than its neighbours Bulgaria, Greece and Albania – even though the linguistic minorities aren’t always considered and represented. The presence of Albanian as the second most spoken language has grown in comparison to 2008, especially in Skopje. It remains to be seen in what way the appreciation of Albanian as the second official language and the conversion of Macedonia to an officially bilingual state will diversify the streetscape. Especially the impact of the new regulations on the smaller language minorities, in particular the Turkish, will only be revealed in the course of the process.

Forgotten Spaces

Forgotten Spaces in border regions

Michał Piasek

Die DAAD-Reise nach Mazedonien und Albanien führte die Gruppe in Regionen, wo sich die Grenzen über Jahrhunderte verschoben haben und neue Grenzen gezogen wurden. Und das sowohl Sichtbare als auch Unsichtbare. Das Osmanische Reich prägte die Region besonders, sodass nicht nur neue politische Grenzen entstanden, sondern auch religiöse. Viele der Grenzen sind größtenteils unsichtbar, sodass hier nur vier ausgewählte Orte, die auf der folgenden Karte eingezeichnet sind, vorgestellt werden.

In diesem Beitrag soll die Erfahrung der vermeintlichen „Grenzüberschreitung“ dargestellt werden. Das geschieht anhand vier ausgewählter Orte: Debar, Dolna Gorica, Zogaj und Rreth-Libofshe (Die Orte wurden nach ihrem Besuchsdatum geordnet und können der Karte entnommen werden). Bis auf Rreth-Libofshe, liegen die Orte an den politischen Grenzen Mazedoniens/Albaniens bzw. Montenegros/Albaniens. Rreth-Libofshe hingegen bildet einen eigenen spezifischen Raum, der später erläutert wird. Bis auf Debar, das größtenteils albanischsprachig ist, liegen die anderen drei Orte im heutigen Albanien. Die vorgestellten Räume verbindet dieselbe jahrhunderte andauernde osmanische Geschichte, sowie die etlichen politischen Veränderungen im 20. Jahrhundert. Neue politische Systeme, Migrationen und Regime, die diese Räume stark prägten. Eine weitere Gemeinsamkeit ist, dass die Orte jeweils von Gruppen bewohnt werden, die in der Minderheit zur Staatssprache stehen.

Sal markja memorial park

Alter osmanischer Friedhof an der Mazedonisch-Albanischen Grenze in der Nähe von Debar. Von außen ist dieser Ort unsichtbar, doch sobald das Waldstück betreten wird, werden alte osmanische Spuren sichtbar. Im Jahre 1395 wurde die Region von den Osmanen erobert und markierte im 15. Jh. eine wichtige Grenze zwischen der Liga von Lezha unter Gjergj Kastrioti und den Osmanen. Die Region blieb bis zu den Balkankriegen 1912/13 unter osmanischer Herrschaft. Gegenwärtig wird Debar zu über 90% von Albanischsprachigen Personen bewohnt. Der Islam hat in dieser Region historisch bedingt die meisten Angehörigen. Die Angehörigen in dem Gebiet sind Albaner, Torbeschen und Türken.

Dolna Gorica

Nachdem Enver Hoxha in den 1970er Jahren die ursprünglichen slawischen Toponyme in albanisierte tauschte, wurde im Jahre 2013 die als Goricë e Vogël bekannte und mazedonischsprachige Ortschaft am Prespa See wieder umbenannt, sowie alle weiteren Orte in der Gemeinde. Der Ort bildet mit acht weiteren Ortschaften am Prespa See die einzige offiziell anerkannte Gemeinde einer mazedonischsprachigen Gruppe. Nach etlichen Grenzverschiebungen befindet sie sich nun auf albanischer Seite des Prespa Sees. Sie zeichnet sich durch die mazedonischsprachige Schule und eine kleine orthodoxe Kirche mit Friedhof aus.

Osmanische Grabsteine neben der Moschee in Zogaj am Shkodra See.

Der Ort befindet sich etwa einen Kilometer von der montenegrinischen Grenze. Nach der Belagerung von Shkodra 1478/79 war Zogaj ebenfalls bis zu den Balkankriegen 1912/13 unter Osmanischer Herrschaft. Die Reste, wie dieser Grabstein zeigt, sind heute noch sichtbar. Heute lebt in dieser Region eine kleine Gruppe von Sprechern des Serbischen/Montenegrinischen (Der letzte Zensus von 2011 wurde von nicht-Albanischsprechern größtenteils boykottiert und kann deshalb nicht als repräsentativ gelten).

Friedhof am Kloster „Manastiri i Shën Kozmait“ in der Nähe von Rreth-Libofshe.

In der Ortschaft leben sich selbst deklarierende Serben, die muslimischen Glaubens sind. Sie kamen im ersten Drittel des 20. Jahrhunderts aus der Gegend um Novi Pazar. Es handelt sich hier um einen isolierten Raum, da sich die anderen Serbisch-/Bosnischsprachigen Gruppen in der Region Fier als Bosniaken deklarieren.

Es handelt es sich nur um eine Auswahl dieser sog. „Forgotten Spaces“ entlang der heutigen Staatsgrenzen. Es existieren noch unzählige weitere Glaubenshäuser, Klöster, Friedhöfe etc., die alte Grenzen, vor allem aus der osmanischen Zeit wieder sichtbar werden lassen. Die Räume (Friedhöfe und religiöse Bauten) zeigen auch unterschiedliche geschichtliche Ereignisse. Die Frage letzten Endes bleibt, ob die Räume weiter vergessen bleiben oder sie doch eine Rolle spielen werden bei der Weiterentwicklung dieser Regionen. Sie bereichern zumindest die kulturelle Landschaft und geben Material für weitere Untersuchungen.

Linguistic landscape macedonia

Repräsentation von Mehrsprachigkeit in der Linguistic Landscape Mazedoniens

Julian Nitzsche

Die Untersuchung der Linguistic Landscape eines Gebietes ist in mehrsprachigen Gebieten, wie es Mazedonien traditionell eines ist, eine Möglichkeit, mehr über Prestige, Hierarchien und das Verhältnis der dort gebrauchten Sprachen untereinander herauszufinden.

Die Beziehung insbesondere zwischen den beiden größten Sprechergruppen in Mazedonien (Mazedonisch und Albanisch), die sich im Wesentlichen mit den beiden maßgeblichen ethnischen Gruppen decken, war – nicht nur – in den letzten drei Jahrzehnten konfliktreich. Während eine Gruppe – die slawischsprachigen Mazedonier, größtenteils Christen – die Titularnation des 1991 unabhängig gewordenen Staates stellt, deren Eigenständigkeit in der Vergangenheit von den Nachbarn insbesondere aus Bulgarien und Serbien immer wieder in Frage gestellt wurde, ist die andere, die zum großen Teil muslimischen Albaner, zwar eine Minderheit, jedoch eine zahlenmäßig relativ starke. Zur Volkszählung 2002 – der bislang letzten – stellten sie einen Anteil von immerhin einem Viertel der Bevölkerung. Dieser dürfte sich in den letzten 15 Jahren noch deutlich vergrößert haben. Vor dem Hintergrund des Krieges im benachbarten Kosovo und dessen Unabhängigkeit sowie der bewaffneten Unruhen im vorwiegend albanischen Nordwesten Mazedoniens 2001 ist die Situation zwischen den beiden großen Gruppen angespannt.

Nach 2001 wurde mit dem Ohrid-Prozess eine allmähliche Entspannung eingeleitet. Der albanischen Volksgruppe wurden gewisse sprachliche Rechte und Institutionen – darunter eine Universität – zugestanden, auch der Gebrauch des Albanischen im öffentlichen Raum entwickelte sich positiv. Dennoch kam es, insbesondere im Vorfeld von Parlamentswahlen, immer wieder zu öffentlich ausgetragenen Konfrontationen, wie z.B. 2012 um den Bau einer orthodoxen Kirche auf der osmanischen Festung Kale oder im März 2016 um die geplante Errichtung eines weiteren monumentalen Kreuzes in einem Vorort von Skopje. Die nach dem Machtwechsel 2017 eingeleitete Diskussion über die Schaffung eines offiziell mehrsprachigen Staates wird daher kontrovers geführt. Während die albanische Seite auf der Umsetzung der ihr zugesprochenen Rechte beharrt, fürchten einige slawische Mazedonier die Schwächung ihres Nationalstaates – der ohnehin mit Identitätskomplexen belastet ist. Das entsprechende Gesetz, das Albanisch zur zweiten Amtssprache erhebt, wurde schließlich im Januar 2018 verabschiedet.

Vor diesem Hintergrund habe ich mich anlässlich der Exkursion im September 2017 etwas näher mit dem aktuellen Stand der öffentlichen Mehrsprachigkeit im de facto ohnehin mehrsprachigen Mazedonien beschäftigt. Meine Beobachtungen habe ich verglichen mit den Eindrücken, die ich bei einem ersten Aufenthalt im Sommer 2008 sammeln konnte – also fast ein Jahrzehnt zuvor.

Skopje/Shkup

Als Landeshauptstadt und Sitz der politischen und wirtschaftlichen Macht hat Skopje ein besonderes Prestige, dass im Zuge der Arbeiten im Rahmen von „Skopje 2014“ unter der Regierung von Nikolai Gruevski in den letzten Jahren auf oft eher zweifelhafte Art und Weise noch ausgebaut wurde. Das nationale Prestige für das christliche, slawischsprachige Mazedonien – manifestiert durch das überdimensionierte Kreuz auf dem Berg Vodno, das Tag und Nacht über der Stadt thront – wird konterkariert durch die Tatsache, dass die osmanische Altstadt überwiegend von (muslimischen) Albanern bewohnt wird. Diese stellten 2002 in der gesamten Stadt ein Fünftel der Einwohnerschaft. Dennoch war Albanisch außerhalb der Altstadt im Jahr 2008 kaum präsent.

Knapp ein Jahrzehnt später fällt dagegen bereits bei der Einfahrt in die mazedonische Hauptstadt auf, dass die Wegweisung auf der Autobahn und an den Abfahrten nicht mehr nur Ziele in mazedonischer Sprache und englischer Transkription ausweist, sondern diese nunmehr auch auf Albanisch angeführt werden – in gleicher Schriftgröße. Bei einem Stadtrundgang zeigte sich, dass  das selbe auch für die innerstädtische touristische Wegweisung zu den Sehenswürdigkeiten gilt. Bemerkenswert ist hier lediglich die Reihenfolge der Sprachen: Mazedonisch ist als erstes angeführt; an zweiter Stelle folgt jedoch nicht Albanisch, sondern Englisch als „Touristensprache“.

Abbildung 1: Innerstädtische Beschilderung in mazedonischer, englischer und albanischer Sprache

Anders handhabt es die Stadtgemeinde Çair, auf deren Territorium sich die – größtenteils von albanischen Muslimen bewohnte – Altstadt (befindet. Die hiesigen Straßennamensschilder führen den albanischen Namen an erster Stelle an, darunter folgt (in gleicher Größe) die mazedonische Übersetzung. Auch zahlreiche Aufschriften an Geschäften und in Schaufenstern der Altstadt sind zweisprachig oder (seltener) nur in albanischer Sprache. Hinzu kommt an einigen Stellen das Türkische, insbesondere an religiösen und kulturellen Einrichtungen sowie an den Einrichtungen der türkischen Minderheit, die in Skopje etwa 1,7 % der Bevölkerung stellt.

Abbildung 2: Zweisprachiger Aushang in einem Schaufenster in der Altstadt von Skopje

Selbst an Leuchtanzeigen der im Rahmen des Großbauprojektes 2014 angeschafften roten Doppelstockbusse, die Skopje weltstädtischen Flair verleihen sollen, wechseln sich die Zielbezeichnungen in mazedonischer und albanischer Sprache ab. Andererseits fehlt das Albanische an Orten, wo man es zwingend vermutet hätte. Die Informationstafeln an der ebenfalls neu errichteten Mutter-Teresa-Gedächtniskirche im Zentrum sind auf Mazedonisch und Englisch, obwohl Anjezë Gonxha Bojaxhiu zweifelsfrei albanische Muttersprachlerin war. Die Statue vor der Kirche trägt sogar eine rein mazedonische Gedenktafel.

Abbildung 3: Straßenschild in Çair (Skopje) mit albanischer Bezeichnung an erster Stelle

Auch in die Beschilderung entlang der Autobahnen hat das Albanische als zweitgrößte Sprache im Land Einzug gehalten, so z.B. an der „Mutter-Teresa-Autobahn“ von Skopje nach Tetovo. So werden beispielsweise an Mautstationen neben Mazedonisch an erster Stelle und Albanisch an zweiter noch die internationalen Sprachen Englisch, Französisch und Deutsch angeführt.

Abbildung 4: Informationstafel an der Mutter-Teresa-Gedächtniskirche (Skopje)

Tetova/Tetovo

Im Gegensatz zu Skopje überwiegt in der westlich gelegenen Stadt Tetovo/Tetova das Albanische im Stadtbild deutlich, was angesichts der albanischen Mehrheit von 70 % in der Gemeinde und dem Status Tetovos als „heimliche Hauptstadt“ der mazedonischen Albaner kaum verwundert. Auch mazedonische Flaggen sind – ganz anders als in Skopje – kaum präsent. In der innerörtlichen Wegweisung, für die die Gemeinde verantwortlich ist, steht Albanisch entsprechend den Mehrheitsverhältnissen an erster Stelle, Mazedonisch an zweiter.

Abbildung 5: Dreisprachige Beschilderung an der “Mutter-Teresa-Autobahn” von Skopje nach Tetovo

Dibra/Debar

Auch die Bevölkerung des ganz im Westen des Landes in unmittelbarer Nähe zur albanischen Grenze gelegenen Dibra (Debar) ist überwiegend albanisch. Das albanische steht daher in der Beschilderung – auch an Ortsschildern etc. – an erster Stelle.

Centar Župa

Das überwiegend von Muslimen bewohnte Gebiet von Župa oberhalb des Debar-Stausees hebt sich sprachlich von den albanischen Gebieten Westmazedoniens ab. Die muslimischen Einwohner der Dörfer von Župa deklarieren sich entweder als Türken (laut der Aussage eines in der Gemeinde angesehen Einwohners beinahe ausschließlich) oder als mazedonische Muslime (laut der Aussage des Arztes von Župa mehrheitlich). Die Frage nach der ethnischen bzw. nationalen Identität der Bewohner von Župa scheint also nicht abschließend geklärt.

In der Linguistic Landscape dominiert das Mazedonische, welches auch am Ortsschild an erster Stelle steht. Sehr präsent, jedoch in der Regel nachrangig, ist zudem das Türkische. Am repräsentativ in der Ortsmitte platzierten Atatürk-Denkmal steht es an erster Stelle (über der mazedonischen Inschrift), ansonsten meist darunter. Albanisch ist kaum in der Öffentlichkeit vertreten und wird – wiederum gemäß der befragten Einwohner – trotz der geographischen Nähe zu Dibra/Debar wenig gesprochen.

Abbildung 6: Innerstädtische Wegweisung in Tetovo mit Albanisch an erster Stelle

Völlig konfliktfrei scheint das Verhältnis zwischen den Sprachgruppen dennoch nicht zu sein, zumindest wurden die zusätzlichen türkischen und lateinisch-mazedonischen Ortsnamen am Ortsschild von Dolno Melničani/Asago Melnican auf dem Weg von Debar nach Župa übersprüht.

Abbildung 7: Atatürk-Statue mit türkisch-mazedonischer Inschrifttafel in Centar Župa

Dolna Gorica/Gorica e Vogël

Gorica ist eines jener Dörfer am albanischen Ufer des Prespasees, direkt hinter der mazedonischalbanischen Grenze, in denen vorwiegend Mazedonisch gesprochen wird. Anders als sämtliche anderen nationalen Minderheiten genossen die Mazedonier von Prespa auch während des kommunistischen Regimes unter Enver Hoxha gewisse sprachliche Rechte. Der landesweit bekannte Schriftsteller Sterjo Spasse war ethnischer Mazedonier aus den Prespadörfern, schrieb jedoch größtenteils auf Albanisch.

2013 wurde die bisherige Gemeinde Liqenas, in der sich die mazedonischen Dörfer befinden, offiziell in „Pustec“ umbenannt, erhielt also ihren mazedonischen Namen als offizielle Bezeichnung. Das Gemeindewappen besteht aus dem Stern von Vergina, als dem mazedonischen Symbol schlechthin, das in den frühen 1990er Jahren auch die Flagge der Republik Mazedonien zierte.

Abbildung 8: Übersprühtes Ortseingangsschild nahe Centar Župa

Straßenschilder, Wegweiser und Hinweistafeln an öffentlichen Einrichtungen in den besuchten Orten der Gemeinde Pustec sind zweisprachig, wobei das Mazedonische als lokale Mehrheitssprache dennoch an zweiter Stelle hinter dem Albanischen steht. Auf dem (christlichen) Friedhof von Dolna Gorica dominieren mazedonisch-kyrillische Grabinschriften, wobei eine bemerkenswerte Anzahl auch in lateinischer Schrift gehalten ist, was sicher auf den Einfluss der albanischen Staatssprache zurückzuführen ist. Auffällig erschien, dass die von der Kirchgemeinde angefertigten „vorläufigen“ Holzkreuze für kürzlich Verstorbene ausschließlich kyrillisch beschriftet waren, während die – von den Familien in Auftrag gegebenen – Grabsteine teils kyrillisch, teils lateinisch beschriftet waren. An einer Gebäudewand in der Nähe der Kirche fanden sich eingekratzte Inschriften (vermutlich von Jugendlichen) sowohl in lateinischer als auch in kyrillischer Schrift.

Abbildung 9: Wappen der Gemeinde Pustec (Liqenas) mit dem “Stern von Vergina”

In der Schule von Dolna Gorica wird auf Albanisch und Mazedonisch unterrichtet. Von den Schülern gestaltete Aushänge in den Fluren sind entweder Mazedonisch (häufiger) oder Albanisch (seltener), jedoch nicht zweisprachig. Auf dem Schreibtisch der Direktorin stehen die albanische Staatsflagge sowie die alte Flagge der Republik Mazedonien mit dem Stern von Vergina. Die Hinweistafel am Wahlkampfbüro des Bürgermeisterkandidaten E. Temelko war beinahe komplett in mazedonischer Sprache gehalten, mit Ausnahme der Benennung seines Wahlbündnisses, das vermutlich aus rechtlichen Gründen einen albanischen Namen tragen muss. Auch zwei Wahlplakate in den Fenstern des Gebäudes waren komplett zweisprachig, mit Mazedonisch an erster Stelle.

Abbildung 10: Grabstein (lateinisch) und Grabkreuz (kyrillisch) auf dem Friedhof von Dolna Gorica

Ohrid/Ohri

In Ohrid als der beinahe mythisch aufgeladenen „kulturellen Hauptstadt“ Mazedoniens und einem der bedeutendsten Orte der mazedonischen sowie bulgarischen Geschichte überwiegt das Mazedonische im Stadtbild. Dennoch stellen – vorwiegend albanische und türkische – Muslime ein knappes Fünftel der Stadtbevölkerung, was sich zwar kaum in der offiziellen Beschilderung niederschlägt, besonders in und an den Ladengeschäften in der Altstadt (Čaršija) jedoch sicht- und hörbar wird. Hier sind auch die türkische und albanische Sprache in Schaufenstern und Tischgesprächen präsent, die Kebabstände heißen „Adana“ und es werden (neben den üblichen Klosterkirchen) auch Atatürk-Postkarten feilgeboten.

Abbildung 11: Hinweistafel am Wahlkampfbüro des Bürgermeisterkandidaten (Dolna Gorica)

Die Aushänge in der staatlichen Postfiliale von Ohrid mit Tarifinformationen waren vollständig zweisprachig Mazedonisch-Albanisch.

Fazit

Dass Mazedonien – in deutlich größerem Maße als seine Nachbarn Bulgarien, Griechenland und Albanien – ein mehrsprachiges Land ist, wird in der Linguistic Landscape der untersuchten Orte durchaus deutlich, wenngleich die sprachlichen Minderheiten nicht immer und überall in angemessenem Ausmaß berücksichtigt und repräsentiert werden. Die Präsenz des Albanischen als zweitgrößter Sprache im Land hat sich im Vergleich zu 2008 insbesondere in Skopje deutlich vergrößert. Es bleibt abzuwarten, inwiefern die Anerkennung des Albanischen als zweiter Amtssprache und der Umbau Mazedoniens zu einem offiziell mehrsprachigen Staat das Straßenbild weiter diversifizieren werden. Insbesondere die Auswirkungen der neuen Regelungen auf die kleineren Sprachminderheiten, vor allem die türkische, werden sich erst im Laufe des Prozesses zeigen.

Abbildung 12: Mehrsprachiges Schaufenster und Kebabhaus “Adana” in der Altstadt von Ohrid

Dolna Gorica

Dolna Gorica

Dolna Gorica is one of the nine Macedonian villages of the Mala Prespa, southern of the Lake Prespa. The area is the only one in Albania enjoying the status and rights of a minority. In the school, lessons are given in Macedonian and they learn Albanian as a foreign language. Some of the villages have Macedonian and some – Bulgarian consciousness. Many of the inhabitants have Macedonian passports along with their Albanian ones, but because of the deepening crisis faced by the Macedonian state, an increasing number of people in the area have become aware of their Bulgarian origins. Bulgarian passports became more attractive because with them one will be able to travel visa-free to the EU countries.

prelepo selo, najlepše od posećenih, kao da je zamrznuto u vremenu. Očekivala sam i takve međuljudske odnose, i čvrsto ustaljene porodične običaje. Zatekli smo poluprazno selo i mnogi njegovi stanovnici su emigrirali u Evropu…
Sanja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

… sehr ländlich und einfach geprägt, aber schöne Häuser und gepflgte Gärten, verlassenes Dorf

Libofshe

Libofshë

Rreth Libofshë is a village in the Municipality of Fier, located in southwest Albania, where the inhabitants declare as Serbs of Islamic faith. In the town works the Association of Serbs “Jedinstvo”, which in 2010 opened a Serbian language school.

I could see the split in generations. The grandfather was enthusiastically Serbian, being proud that he could express his identity after decades of communist rule. The father was more pragmatic it seems and generally a hot tempered man. The daughter and son didn‘t seem too enthusiastic, I couldn‘t help but feel that the Serbian language was being forced on them if not Serbian identity itself. The villagers all all Muslim, however they did try to present themselves as syncretic, honoring the orthodox saints and claiming that they pray both at the local church and mosque.
By far this seemed the most confused and incoherent identity group we have visited.
Slađan, M.A. Student U Belgrade

Since I‘d heard that it was a Serbian community living in this village I expected everyone to talk Serbian – this was not the case. Serbian people came here in the 1920s but the language is dying out with every generation, even though they are teaching it at school.
Megan, B.A. Student HU Berlin

Skopje 2014

„Skopje 2014“ und die verfehlte Identitätspolitik – eine Kritik

Sandra Türk

Als am 26. Juli 1963 die Erde in Skopje bebte und die Bahnhofsuhr um 5:17h stehen blieb, ahnte noch niemand, wie über 50 Jahre später das Zentrum der Stadt einmal aussehen würde. Ein ca. 850 Millionen Euro teures Architekturprogramm sollte der Stadt eine neue imperialistisch-klassizistische Erscheinung geben, doch offen diskutiert oder gar angekündigt wurde dieses Vorhaben nicht. Die NGO “Плоштад Слобода” (Pložtad Sloboda, dt. Platz der Freiheit) hat sich mit ihrer Kampagne „Skopje 2014 uncovered“ zum Ziel gesetzt, Licht ins Dunkel dieses absurden Vorhabens zu bringen und der Öffentlichkeit zu beweisen, dass unter dem Deckmantel eines zentral gesteuerten Konjunkturprogramms öffentliche Gelder an regierungsnahe Unternehmen flossen, die mit diesem Bauvorhaben beauftragt wurden.

Nationales Prestigebedürfnis

Die Hauptstadt Mazedoniens erlebt eine institutionell aufgezwungene Renaissance: 100 vermeintliche Helden-Skulpturen, 34 über-ladene Monumente und 27 Gebäude mit aufgehübschter Vorhangfassade im neoklassizistischen und neo-barocken Stil sollen den neuen Nationalismus und eine starke, mazedonische Identität reflektieren. Solch überdimensionierte pietätlose Architektur, die man bisher nur aus ostasiatischen Autokratien oder futuristischen Wüstenoasen kennt, findet man nun auch mitten auf dem Balkan – in drittklassiger Bauqualität, denn die Gipskartonfassaden aus leicht entzündlichen Materialien bedürfen nachweislich der brandschutztechnischen Überarbeitung. Neue Brücken mit imperialistisch anmutenden Laternen verbinden die beiden Ufer des Vardar-Flusses, der das postsozialistische – von Manuel Andrack in einem ZEIT-Artikel auch als „Post-Beben-Architektur des Japaners Kenzo Tange“ bezeichnete – orthodoxe Zentrum von der mittelalterlichen, osmanisch geprägten Altstadt trennt. Doch diese Brücken dienen nicht etwa dem Zweck, die beiden Stadtteile auf vielfache Wege zu verbinden. Es wurde nicht versäumt, am muslimischen Ufer neue Gebäude zu erschaffen – mit einer Gebäudehöhe, die jegliche Sicht auf das muslimische Erbe versperrt. Dieses Erbe, das historisch nicht dementiert werden kann, soll perspektivisch den Bewohnern und seinen Besuchern unterschlagen werden.

Ethnopolitische Spannungen

Nur knapp 65% der Bevölkerung Mazedoniens sind slawo-mazedonischer Herkunft, knapp ein Drittel ist ethnisch betrachtet albanisch. Aber Skopje besteht auf seine christliche Kultur, die mit dem überdimensionierten „Mileniumski Krst“, dem Kreuz der Jahrtausendwende, auf seinem Hausberg Vodno verdeutlicht werden soll, ein weiteres Symbol einer orthodoxenmuslimischen Segregation. Für eine ethnisch-albanische Kultur hingegen ist kein Platz. Nur die muslimische Ordensschwester und Friedensnobelpreisträgerin Mutter Teresa passt ins Bild, ihr wurde ebenfalls eine Gedenkstätte auf der Ulica Makedonija gewidmet – ein Kassenschlager und Highlight bei jeder Stadtführung. Was der Vollblutmazedonier sicher gerne verschweigt oder vielleicht gar nicht weiß: das Ohrid-Abkommen aus 2001 beinhaltet den Grundsatz der Nichtdiskriminierung, dennoch ist Albanisch immer noch nicht als zweite Amtssprache anerkannt worden und Mitspracherechte werden versagt. Die albanische Teilhabe hat zwar zugenommen, nicht aber die Integration. Die ethnische Segregation nimmt durch das westliche, italo-orientierte Mutterland Albanien zu, was nicht zuletzt auch der historischen und geografischen Lage geschuldet ist.

Die Rebellion der jungen Generation

Und als wäre das pseudo-monumentale refurbishment nicht genug, fielen auch 12 Parks und 35% der Bäume Skopjes – viele davon bis zu 70 Jahre alt – der Renovierung zum Opfer und bescherten der Stadt zugleich eine erhöhte Luftverschmutzung. All das führte dazu, dass ein Teil der vermeintlichen Nachkommenschaft des antiken Makedonien und seinem Herrscher Alexander des Großen sich nicht beeindrucken ließ und dem Bauwahn ihr eigenes Denkmal setzte: in einer Revolte beschmissen aufgebrachte Bewohner und Studenten die frisch gestrichenen Bauwerke, „Skopje 2014“ fiel den Farbbomben zum Opfer. Auch diese Spuren werden nun unvermeidbar in die Geschichte der Stadt eingehen.

Der Halbmond steht höher

Mit „Skopje 2014“ wollte sich die nationalistische Regierungspartei unter Nikola Gruevski vom Sozialismus und dem architektonischen Erbe des Osmanisches Reiches trennen, ein verunsichertes Land, das als post-jugoslawische Nation verzweifelt eine neue, eigene Identität sucht. Griechenland blockiert aufgrund des Namensstreits weiterhin den EU- und NATO-Beitritt Mazedoniens, was unter Umständen ein wichtiger Schritt in Richtung politischer Ordnung und Stabilisierung für das Land bedeuten könnte. Der verbitterte Versuch, das nationale Selbstgefühl mit Gipskarton zu untermauern kann aus eurozentrischer Sicht lächerlich wirken, es ist aber auch gefährlich. Denn solange auf dem Balkan Gebäude und Kirchen errichtet werden mit dem Ziel, jedes Minarett zu überragen, wird der seidene Faden, an dem der empfindliche Frieden auf dem Balkan hängt, länger und länger, bis er schließlich zu reißen droht. Und dennoch, eines kann die Regierung nicht verhindern und zwar die immer wiederkehrende Mondsichel, die sich hoch über dem Vodno und seinem Kreuz erhebt. Denn selbst mit der höchsten Gipskarton-Platte ließe sich dieser nicht verdecken.

Weiterführende Informationen: http://skopje2014.prizma.birn.eu.com/en


WEITERE THEMEN

BUNK’ART – entering the dark past

Die Bektashi in Albanien und ihre Geschichte

Die Watchdog-Organisation Eco Guerilla

Fieldwork Šipkovica: Perceptions and group dynamics

Forgotten Spaces in border regions

Frauen auf dem Balkan

Interkulturalität und Mehrsprachigkeit in Albanien und Mazedonien

Mehrsprachigkeit innerhalb der einheimischen Bevölkerung Mazedoniens und Albaniens

Repräsentation von Mehrsprachigkeit in der Linguistic Landscape Mazedoniens

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

The inevitability of nationalism

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania

 


MEHR ORTE

FieldTrip de Placeholder
FieldTrip de

Skopje 2014

Project Skopje 2014 and Societal Security Sector

Dunja Stojanović

Societal Security is the term characteristic for academic thought known as Copenhagen School. The term was first introduced by Barry Buzan. That is one of the five security sectors in one society beside political, military, economic and environmental sector. Another theorist within’ the School, Ole Waever defines societal security as “the ability of society to persist in its essential character under changing conditions and possible or actual threats”.[1] These conditions are “conditions for evolution of traditional patterns of language, culture, association, etc.”[2]

Possible or actual societal threats that were recognized in Macedonia can be divided into external and internal. Conditions for evolution are related to identity which, in my opinion, Macedonia is still seeking for. Nation building project named Skopje 2014 was sort of
an attempt to reconstruct or to build national identity of Macedonia. External threats were seen in Macedonian neighbors who constantly question the existence of Macedonian nation and identity. Another challenges and threats are internal and related to Albanians in that country.

In 2006 when VMRO-DPMNE came to the power, Nikola Gruevski as leader in that time suggested the process of reconstructing identity that was known as antiquisation. That was the linkage between Macedonians of that time with ancient Macedonians. The figure that was used was Alexander the Great. Also in 2006, the Skopje Airport was renamed to his airport. After their second election win in 2008, the Stadium in Skopje was renamed to National Arena Philip II. Skopje 2014 project appeared as the biggest effort by then. It included reconstruction of buildings and setting the statues of Alexander the Great, Philip II, Emperor Samuel, Cyril and Methodius and the monument dedicated to the victims of ethnic conflict in 2001.

This project tried to strengthen societal security of Macedonians, but that can provoke insecurity for the other groups. That is called societal security dilemma. External, Bulgaria and Greece understood this project as stealing their own history. Bulgaria accepts the Macedonian country, but not the nation. Greece and Macedonia have bad relations from the first years of Macedonia’s independence, because of the country’s name. In 2008, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s admission for NATO membership. This project only highlighted their conflicts. Internal, Albanian people in Macedonia looked at the project as insulting and offensive. That led to their perception of exclusion. As an answer Albanians started up the project in which Skenderbeg Square was built and schools and streets in Albanian part of the Skopje were renamed.

Now, with new government and Zaev as prime minister, a desire to settle the dispute with Greece is recognized. Airport name is withdrawn. Also, Zaev is considered the prime minister who did something for Albanians’ rights at the moment. Because of that, Macedonians see themselves endangered.

This societal security dilemma in which one has more and other less security leaves Macedonia with no continuity and with relations within the state unstable.

[1] Waever, Buzan, and Kelstrup 1993, 23.

[2] Waever, Buzan, and Kelstrup 1993, 23.

This was one of the most interesting experience during this fild trip. I had the chance to see how Skopje looks like after project Skopje 2014. Nikola, the tour guide explained the political system in Macedonia and how that affcts in everyday life of people.
Dunja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

Sehr interessante Führung und gute Hintergrundinformationen zu „Skopje 2014“. Ich bekam einen guten Eindruck, wie die „eigene ‘Geschichte“ geschrieben wird , anhand der großen Anzahl der Denkmäler, der Bauten und wie der Anspruch der VMRO-DPMNE durch dieses Vorhaben war, das „MazedonischOrthodoxe“ vom „Albanischen“ zu trennen.
Michal, M.A. Student HU Berlin

„Skopje 2014“ and failed identity politics – a critique

Sandra Türk

When the earthquake hit Skopje July 26th 1963 and the station clock stopped at 5.17am no one suspected what the town centre would look like over 50 years later. An architectural programme costing 850 million euros was supposed to give the town a new imperialistic and neo-classical look, without publicly discussing or even announcing this project. The NGO “Плоштад Слобода” (Pložtad Sloboda, engl. Freedom Square) has planned a campaign called „Skopje 2014 uncovered“ to bring light into this absurd scheme. They want to prove to the public that public money went to government-close enterprises which were commissioned for this project.

National need for prestige

The capital of Macedonia is undergoing an institutionally imposed renaissance: 100 sculptures of supposed heroes, 34 overloaded monuments and 27 buildings with pimped up facades in a neo-classical and neo-baroque style are supposed to reflect the new nationalism and a strong Macedonian identity. This kind of overdesigned and disrespectful architecture which is so far only known from eastern Asian autocracies or futuristic desert oases has now also arrived on the Balkans – with third class quality as the plasterboard facades made of flammable materials do not conform to fire safety requirements. New bridges with imperialistic lanterns connect the two banks of the Vardar River which separates the post socialist orthodox centre with the medieval Ottoman old town. But these bridges do not serve to unite the two parts of towns. The government didn’t fail to construct new buildings on the Muslim bank of the river, obstructing the view of the Muslim heritage. This heritage which cannot be denied historically is supposed to be withheld.

Ethnopolitical tension

Only 65% of Macedonia’s population are of Slavic-Macedonian origin, almost a third is ethnically Albanian. But Skopje insists on its Christian culture which is made clear by the over-dimensional Mileniumski Krst, the millennium cross on the mountain of Vodno, another symbol of Orthodox-Muslim segregation. There is no space for an ethnic Albanian culture however. Only the Muslim Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mother Teresa fits in, a memorial was dedicated to her on Ulica Makedonija – on of the highlights of every city tour. The Ohrid Agreement 2001 includes the principle of non-discrimination, however Albanian still is not recognised as a second official language. Albanian participation has grown but the integration has not. The ethnic segregation is increasing through the western Italian-oriented mother country Albania, due to the historic and geographical situation.

The rebellion of the younger generation

As if the pseudo-monumental refurbishment wasn’t enough, 12 parks and 35% of Skopje’s trees  – many up to 70 years old – were removed which has entailed a higher air pollution. All of this contributed to the fact that the assumed descendants of ancient Macedonia and its ruler Alexander the Great are not impressed and have made their own kind of memorial: in an insurgence the freshly painted buildings were attacked by enraged inhabitants and students, Skopje 2014 became the victim of colour bombs. These traces are now also an inevitable part of the town’s history.

The crescent moon stands higher

The nationalistic government party under Nikola Gruesvki wanted to part with socialism and the architectural heritage of the Ottoman Empire with the help of Skopje 2014, an insecure country that is looking for a new identity as a post-Yugoslav nation. Greece is blocking Macedonia’s joining the EU and NATO due to the naming dispute, although this could be an important step towards political order and stabilisation. The jaundiced attempt to confirm the national self-esteem with plasterboard seems ridiculous from a Eurocentric perspective, but it is also dangerous. Because as long as buildings and churches are erected with the aim of surmounting every minaret the silk thread which is holding the sensitive peace on the Balkans will become longer and longer until it threatens to tear. Nevertheless, the government cannot prevent the ever-returning crescent moon rising above Vodno Mountain and its cross. Because even the highest plasterboard panel will not be able to obscure it.

 

Eco Guerilla

Die Watchdog-Organisation Eco Guerilla

Darinka Antić

„Eco Guerilla ist eine Watchdog-Organisation, die in Tetovo gegründet wurde und jetzt auch in anderen Städte wie zum Beispiel Tirana und Skopje aktiv ist!“
Die NGO Eco Guerilla ist eine Umweltorganisation, die Druck auf die Politik ausübt, mit dem Ziel die Regierung dazu zu bewegen Umweltgesetze einzuhalten. Ihren Ursprung hat die NGO in Tetovo, eine im Nordwesten Mazedoniens gelegene Stadt, nahe der Grenze zum Kosovo. 2013 galt Tetovo als die am meisten verschmutze Stadt in ganz Europa, mit einer 20-fach höheren Feinstaubbelastung als dem von der Europäischen Union vorgegebenen Richtwert.

Hauptverursacher der Luftverschmutzung

Primär ausgelöst wurde diese Belastung durch die in dem 15km entfernten Jegunovce angesiedelte Fabrik Jugohrom, einer Ferrolegierungsanlage, die sich der Einführung von Umweltmaßnahmen zur Verringerung der Luftverschmutzung mehrfach und über mehrere Jahre hinweg widersetzte. Gegründet wurde die Fabrik im sozialistischen Jugoslawien und 2010 an ein russisches Privatunternehmen verkauft. Nachdem Mazedonien Beitrittskandidat der Europäischen Union wurde, musste die Regierung neue Umweltreformen einführen. In Folge dessen wurde Jugohrom dazu aufgefordert Luftfilter zu installieren, woraufhin das Unternehmen mehrmals Fristenverlängerungen beantragte, welche seitens der Regierung aufgrund der Bedeutung Jugohroms für die Metallindustrie und die Volkswirtschaft akzeptiert wurden.

Beweggründe der NGO

Als Grund für die Initiative von Eco Guerilla nannte Arianit Xhaferi, Gründer der NGO, den Informationsmangel innerhalb der Bevölkerung, der ihn dazu veranlasste eine große Informationskampagne zu starten und Demonstrationen zu organisieren, um auf die Luftverschmutzung der Stadt und dessen Konsequenzen hinzuweisen. Letztendlich sollte hierdurch erreicht werden, dass zunächst die Bürger wachgerüttelt werden und folglich die Regierung zum Handeln bewegt wird. Um ein möglichst großes Publikum zu erreichen und alle Bürger anzusprechen, wurden die Informationsmaterialien und Slogans auf Bannern, trotz der Dominanz des Albanischen in Tetovo, zweisprachig, d.h. auf Mazedonisch und Albanisch, gedruckt.

Reichweite der Bewegung

Das Engagement der NGO führte zu einer großen Bewegung in der Bevölkerung, was zur Folge hatte, dass tausende Bürger auf die Straßen gingen und an Massenprotesten teilnahmen. Wegen des steigenden Drucks der Bevölkerung schloss die Regierung 2016 das Unternehmen Jugohrom vorerst und forderte den Verursacher der Verschmutzung zur Installation der notwendigen Filter auf. Bis heute weigert sich das Unternehmen die benötigten Filter zur Reduzierung der Luftverschmutzung einzuführen und bleibt daher geschlossen. Nach der Schließung im November 2016, nahm die Schadstoffbelastung der Luft merklich ab und der PM10, mit dem der Wert der Feinstaubemissionen angegeben wird, sank, wie bereits bei den Messungen im Dezember 2016 zu erkennen war, um mehr als 50%.

Im Laufe der Zeit haben auch weitere Städte, wie zum Beispiel Skopje und Tirana, Eco Guerilla um Hilfe gebeten, weswegen die Reichweite der NGO stetig wächst. Auch wird hierdurch deutlich, dass die Arbeit von Nichtregierungsorganisationen in Mazedonien an Bedeutung und an Einfluss gewinnt, wodurch auch die Zivilgesellschaft sich zunehmend in wirtschaftliche und politische Prozesse einbringt.

Am 09.09.2017 empfing Eco Guerilla die Exkursionsgruppe in ihrem Sitz in Tetovo.

Weitere Informationen zur Arbeit der NGO und Informationen zur Entwicklung vor Ort können auf der folgenden Homepage eingesehen werden:
ecoguerilla.mk

BUNK’ART

BUNK’ART – entering the dark past

Megan Nagel, Goranka Ćejvanović

Der Bunker des albanischen Diktators Enver Hoxha

In den 70ern ließ Enver Hoxha am Stadtrand Tiranas eine fünfstöckige  Bunkeranlage erbauen, bestehend aus etwa 100 Räumen, zum Schutz seiner selbst gegen nukleare Angriff. Zur Anzahl der massiven Pilzköpfe in der Sozialistischen Republik Albaniens existieren lediglich Schätzungen. Nach offiellen Angaben von BUNK’ART soll es etwa 221.143 gegeben haben, die zum Schutz der Bevölkerung dienen sollten. Nach Enver Hoxhas Tod (1985) und bis zum Zerfall des Kommunismus (1990) wurde das isolierte Albanien von Ramiz Alia regiert.

I have had just a basic information about the Dervish community before the journey, and their religious plurality and inclusivity is something that can be of greater interest and relevance for the Balkans.
Marko, PhD Student U Belgrade

Bunker wird BUNK’ART

Erst 24 Jahre später wird der Bunker Hoxhas als Museum BUNK’ART eröffet. Die künstlerische Umgestaltung wird von zwei Journalisten realisiert, dem  italienischen Carlo Bollino und der albanischen Admirina Peçi, mit Unterstützung der albanischen Regierung sowie der NGO „Qendra Ura“. Aktuell sind 24 Räume, nach Themen gegliedert, für die Museumsbesucher zugänglich. Ausgehend von der Invasion der Italiener, über die Okkupation durch die Deutschen und bis zum Ende des propagandistischen Regimes, wird eine Chronologie der Geschichte und des alltäglichen Lebens der Bevölkerung  aufgezeigt. Durch diverse Gegenstände, Fotografin, Dokumente wie Briefe, Karten aber auch Videoinstallationen wird dies visualisiert.

Ovo je jedna od najzanimljivijih poseta u Albaniji. Oduševljena sam time što su bunker koji je bio značajan za vreme vladavine Envera Hodže pretvoren u muzej koji slikovito dočarava taj vremenski period.
Dunja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

Wir betreten BUNK’ART

Erst durch einen langen, kalten und dunklen Tunnel erreicht man den Eingang zum Bunker, dessen schwere Betontür schon offensteht. Eine miefende  Feuchtigkeit empfängt uns. Ratten oder Fledermäuse gibt es hier keine mehr. Von Raum zum Raum betreten wir das Labyrinth des Selbst-Experiments. Und es erklingt die Stimme des Diktators. Wir drücken auf den Knopf. Sirenen ertönen, wir stehen in einem rauchgefüllten Raum. Wir spüren die Kultur der Angst. Nur der Künstler entreißt uns mit seinem Spiel des bunten Lichts aus der gruseligen Vergangenheit.
Doch das Selbstexperiment dauert bis zum Ende. Der Nachhall der schweren, sich verselbständigenden Beton-Toilettentür hinterlässt einen bitteren Nachgeschmack. Als die Tür zuknallt, weckt sie die Angst und das Gefühl des Eingesperrtseins. BUNK’ART ist nicht nur ein Zeugnis des propagandistischen Regimes, sondern ebenso ein Dokumentationszentrum, das zur Aufarbeitung der Geschichte und der Vergangenheitsbewältigung dient.

Prijatno sam iznenađena … Nisam očekivala njihovo potpuno otvaranje najmračnijih perioda polovine 20og veka i veoma sam pozitivno iznenađena tim iskorakom (Srbija još uvek nije napravila taj iskorak prema najtežim praksama koje je sprovodila Komunističa partija Jugoslavije). Upadljiv je otvoreni odnos Bunk‘Art muzeja prema novijoj istoriji i Nacionalnog muzeja istorije u Tirani koji propagira snažan nacionalistički diskurs i revizionističku istoriju
Sanja, M.A. Student U Belgrade


 

WEITERE THEMEN

Die Bektashi in Albanien und ihre Geschichte

Die Watchdog-Organisation Eco Guerilla

Fieldwork Šipkovica: Perceptions and group dynamics

Forgotten Spaces in border regions

Frauen auf dem Balkan

Interkulturalität und Mehrsprachigkeit in Albanien und Mazedonien

Mehrsprachigkeit innerhalb der einheimischen Bevölkerung Mazedoniens und Albaniens

Repräsentation von Mehrsprachigkeit in der Linguistic Landscape Mazedoniens

Skopje 2014

State Identities and Architecture in Albania and Macedonia

The (hidden) face of Macedonia

The inevitability of nationalism

The (post)Yugoslav legacy and everyday life in Macedonia and Albania


MEHR ORTE

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BUNK’ART

BUNK’ART – entering the dark past

Megan Nagel, Goranka Ćejvanović

Albanian Dicator Enver Hoxha’s bunker

Enver Hoxha had a five-storeyed bunker built consisting of 100 rooms on the outskirts of Tirana in the 1970s for his own protection against a nuclear attack. The number of massive bunkers in the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania can only be estimated. Official statements say 221.143 bunkers were built to protect the population. After Enver Hoxhas death in 1985 and until the disintegration of communism in 1990 isolated Albania was ruled by Ramiz Alia.

I have had just a basic information about the Dervish community before the journey, and their religious plurality and inclusivity is something that can be of greater interest and relevance for the Balkans.
Marko, PhD Student U Belgrade

A bunker becomes BUNK’ART

The museum BUNK’ART was only opened 24 years later. The artistic presentation is realised by two journalists, the Italian Carlo Bollino and Albanian Admirina Peçi, with support from the Albanian government as well as the NGO Qendra Una. Currently 24 rooms are open to the public, subdivided into different topics. One part is a chronology of the history and the life of the population:  the invasion of the Italians, the occupation by the Germans and the end of the propagandistic regime. This is visualised by different kinds of objects, photos, documents such as letters and maps as well as video installations.

Ovo je jedna od najzanimljivijih poseta u Albaniji. Oduševljena sam time što su bunker koji je bio značajan za vreme vladavine Envera Hodže pretvoren u muzej koji slikovito dočarava taj vremenski period.
Dunja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

We enter BUNK’ART

The entry to the bunker is reached through a long, cold and dark tunnel, the concrete door is already open. We are greeted by an unpleasant moisture. Rats or bats no longer live here.  We walk from room to room of this labyrinth of self-experimentation. And we can hear the dictator’s voice. We push the button. Sirens ring out, we are standing in a room filled with smoke. We can feel the culture of fear. Only the artist himself can pull us out of the creepy past with his play of colourful light. But the self-experiment lasts until the end. The echo of the concrete toilet door leaves a bitter taste as it slams shut and evokes the feeling of being imprisoned.

BUNK’ART is not only a testimonial to the propagandistic regime, it’s also a documentation centre serving for the rehabilitation of history and the process of coming to terms with the past.

Prijatno sam iznenađena … Nisam očekivala njihovo potpuno otvaranje najmračnijih perioda polovine 20og veka i veoma sam pozitivno iznenađena tim iskorakom (Srbija još uvek nije napravila taj iskorak prema najtežim praksama koje je sprovodila Komunističa partija Jugoslavije). Upadljiv je otvoreni odnos Bunk‘Art muzeja prema novijoj istoriji i Nacionalnog muzeja istorije u Tirani koji propagira snažan nacionalistički diskurs i revizionističku istoriju
Sanja, M.A. Student U Belgrade

Šipkovica

Šipkovica

Šipkovica is a small village near Tetovo, situated at the border with Kosovo.  Here Ali Ahmeti, the current leader of the Albanian political party in Macedonia DUI and commander of the former Macedonian UÇK (“Ushtria Çlirimtare Kombëtare”, or National Liberation Army – NLA), which fought for equal rights for the ethnic Albanian minority during the 2001 armed insurgency in Macedonia, set up his headquarters.
The conflct began in January 2001 and Šipkovica have already been controlled since March 2001 by the UÇK. The Macedonian army soon attacked the NLA, although demonstrating a crass level of military incapacity – the fie set light to the several houses and agricultural buildings – and driving the local population to support the rebels.

Klassische Geschichte für viele Dörfer sowohl auf dem Balkan als auch im post-sowjetischen Raum: Mit den Geldern aus West Europa (hauptsächlich Deutschland) werden die Villas gebaut, wo nur die ältere Menschen leben und die Kinder/Enkelkinder zur Sommerferien kommen.
Nasiba, PhD Student HU Berlin

My interlocutor was in the end pretty frank exclaiming that: „This is Albania (pointing towards Macedonia), that is Albania (pointing to Kosovo over the hills) and that is Albania (Albania proper). How could they (The Macedonians) tell us what to do?!“
Slađan, M.A. Student U Belgrade

Centar Zhupa

Centar Župa

Centar Župa is a village situated near the city of Debar and populated mainly by Turks. According to the 2002 census, 80 percent of the 6299 inhabitants of the municipality are reported as Turks. In the 1960s much of the population left the villages to work in other parts of Yugoslavia or in West European  countries, especially to Italy, Switzerland and Germany. These families come to their home towns only once a year, mostly during the summer holidays.

The village was populated by Torbeshi and some of them claim that they are Turks. From my talks with the locals it seemed that the majority of the locals view themselves as Turks.  Once our Turkish interlocutors left, our Albanian guide promptly denied their Turkish identity claiming that they are in fact Macedonians with a turn-cloak mentality.
Slađan, M.A. Student U Belgrade

 

After talking to the other members of our fild trip it seemed like everybody had heard diffrent stories about the minority and the spoken language, that was very interesting in hindsight.
Megan, B.A. Student HU Berlin

 

 


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Arabati Baba Teke

Arabati Baba Teke

The Arabati Baba Teke of Tetovo was completed in the 18th century by the dervish Rexhep Pasha, it has been the centre for the Bektashi community in the Balkan peninsula – serving as mother house for many others tekkes in Macedonia and Kosovo – until 1912, when the Ottomans were driven out of Macedonia.

Beim Gespräch mit ihm fand ich heraus, dass die Frauen in der Dervish Gesellschaft gut ausgebildet sind und es auch weibliche Dervishs gibt. Dass die Frauen kein Kopftuch fragen, nur 2 Mal am Tag betten und 10 Tage fasten war überraschend für mich.
Nasiba, PhD Student HU Berlin

After the Second World War the tekke were confiscated by the Yugoslav government and made into a hotel, a restaurant and a disco for Party cadres in the 1960s. Only in 1995 the Bektashi order regained access to the compound and could refurbish it.

I have had just a basic information about the Dervish community before the journey, and their religious plurality and inclusivity is something that can be of greater interest and relevance for the Balkans.
Marko, PhD Student U Belgrade

In August 2002 a group of armed Wahhabi Muslims associated with the  Macedonian UÇK seized control of a large part of the complex in order to reclaim the tekke as a mosque, although it has never functioned as a such.
Dervish Muttalib is the only remaining dervish serving in the Arabati Baba Teke.

Es ist ein Ort mit einer über 500-jährigen Geschichte, jedoch war hier gerade die jüngere Geschichte sichtbar, als die Tekke 2002 von Wahhabi-Muslimen okkupiert und zum Teil zerstört wurde.
Michal, M.A. Student HU Berlin


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Borders

Demarcations and crossings of borders in and with South Eastern Europe

The field trip “Demarcations and crossings of borders in and with South Eastern Europe” lead a group of Serbian and German students to disparate settings of Turkish, Albanian and Slavic-speaking Muslims in Macedonia and Albania, and will introduce us to the specific dialectics of how people see themselves and are seen by others, as well as of integration and segregation.

Young academics are aiming to disseminate the various aspects of Balkan Islam, put this into context and present their findings  This website is supposed to help cluster our impressions, experiences and conclusions of the field trip.

Click on the map to dicover the places we visited:

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The results of the field trip have also been documented in form of an exhibition which is permamently located at the department for Slavonic studies at HU Berlin with temporal displays at the university of Belgrade. The participants of the field trip further prepared two multimedia presentations which have been presented to the public at HU Berlin on the 16th of february and at the University of Belgrade on the 26th of february.

 

This DAAD-field trip is part of an academic dialogue between Germany and South Eastern Europe, which the Southern Slavic Studies of the Humboldt University of Berlin would like to  extend to include the present-day diagnostic impact and third mission of the universities.

 


 

With financial support from the DAAD through Federal Foreign Office funds