Sunday, November 24, 2013

Boza and Kebabs in Sarajevo

Compared to the boza from Skopje (from Apče as benchmark), the boza in Sarajevo is of lighter colour, with a hue approaching yellowish. The taste is a bit sour ans sharp, but does not go in the direction of corny aftertaste as the Bulgarian boza. The texture is similar to Skopje boza, but not as thick. Price of a glass which can be labeled as medium is 1,5 marks - around EUR 0.75.

Glass of boza on a table in the old town in Sarajevo with people passing by.
Boza in Baščaršija
Kebabs in Sarajevo are pretty similar to the ones in Skopje. Most famous kebab place (bos. ćevabdžilnica) in the Baščaršija (the Old Bazaar) is called Željo. According to area people it is also most expensive. Numerous others in the neighborhood are allegedly pretty OK too, however, the kebabs a bit smaller in them.

Outside of the center, the most recommendable kebab place is Zmaj (Dragon), next to the Train Station. The price of a portion of ten kebabs in a characteristic bread with onions and yogurt is 7 marks, or EUR 3.5.

Two plates with bread containing kebabs and onions, and a glass of yogurt in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Kebabs in bread with onions and yogurt at "The Dragon"

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quasi-history: As if Aristotle Taught Alexander about Democracy

 This article is also available in Macedonian | Овој напис е достапен и на македонски
- на Блогерај: Квазиисторија: Аристотел демек го учел Александар за демократија
- на Блогспот: Квазиисторија: Аристотел демек го учел Александар за демократија

In the city of Skopje, by the Vardar River, under the lion of the type called “Cringer” which is nearest to the Kale fortress, there’s a relief which seems to portray the philosopher Aristotle holding a lecture for the young prince Alexander. Aristotle holds a scroll with the inscription “ΔEMO КРАТИYАТА Е ОСНОVA НА СΛОBOΔATA” which can be translated as “The Democracy is the foundation of freedom.”

An ancient student who looks like the future king Alexander II and
an ancient teacher who resembles philosopher Aristotle on a Skopje 2014 relief.
Nine muses in the background.
I found out that the author of this propagandistic work from the Skopje 2014 project is the artist Koki Janev. However the messages of the relief are totally out of sync with the historical data. Based on my general knowledge, it seemed illogical to attribute teachings about freedom and democracy to the king Alexander of Macedon, whose whole career consisted in establishing and maintaining absolutist rule. On top of his perception that he is the absolute earthly ruler, he also considered himself to be a god. Or, in his more modest mood, he only thought of himself as a son of a god.

To obtain more information on Aristotle I addressed prof. Katerina Kolozova, PhD from the Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities in Skopje, considering that her academic work also covered analysis of that historical period. For instance, in 2000 she had published the book “Hellenes and Death” („Хелените и смртта“). She responded:

“If the teacher on this relief indeed represents Aristotle, then I would advise the author to read anything by Aristotle, or at least to make an internet search. Aristotle based his political thought on critique of democracy and defended the idea of aristocratic/monarchist rule.”
Macedonian kings, who later become Persian shahs, practiced their power in totally undemocratic manner. Alexander and his father openly acted in despotic and tyrannical fashion, and their kingdom of Macedon lacked any tradition of rudimentary slaveholding democracy as some Greek city-states or Rome. For instance, while freedom of speech ranked among the basic values of ancient democracies (part of the Roman concept of libertas), on one occasion Alexander murdered one of his closest friends, Cleitus, for daring to talk back to him.

We should believe that in ancient times the people spoke the modern Macedonian language but used a combination of contemporary and future scripts to write in it? Cyrillic alphabet was invented over 1000 years later.
In addition, even more illogical is the representation of the “educational” inscription with a mix of three scripts: Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek. The relief also presents a Sun resembling the ancient symbol used in Macedon which featured 16 rays. This one, only has 8 rays.

View of the front side of the basis of the lion statue.

Relief on the opposite side, with a view from the Goce Delchev Boulevard.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Brian K. Sullivan: Design Like Da Vinci

Brian K. Sullivan gave this intriguing and enlightening presentation at SXSW 2013. He wrote:
In this talk, you will learn about five sketching secrets of Leonardo Da Vinci, four rules for generating ideas, and four rules for refining ideas. I call these lessons from Leonardo. You might find a few stories about Leonardo Da Vinci that you did not know. 
Here's the presentation and the recorded audio embedded together in one package, in the style pioneered at conference website back in 2007, so you can listen to the talk and browse/follow up through the slides simultaneously.

Remark: The reproduction of "The Last Supper" in the presentation does not look like the photo...

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
"The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. Photo by Wikipedia.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Anti-Fascist Poster from Serbia

AFA - Anti-Fascist Action Novi Sad published the following photo collage [sr] on their Facebook page in the form of a medicine commercial (Wikipedia links added). In a few hours it received hundreds of shares.

  • No girlfriend?
  • No job?
  • You were beaten by father (/a cop)?
  • You are not handsome, smart, witty?
  • In general, your life sucks?
Looking for someone to blame for your personal failures?

Try! neoFascism
(Available to former "lower races" too!)

Our satisfied users:
[Logos of 7 Serbian right-wing organizations]

neoFascism  has all the characteristics of Fascismtm but is additionally adapted to 21st century losers. Specially designed for the uneducated, angry young man, capable of redirecting his anger towards stupidities and helping perpetuate the system forever. neoFascism  differs from classic Fascismtm by its allowance of even greater mental acrobatics. Connecting Hitler, Jesus, Russia, Germany, Emperor Dušan, Karadjordje, Battle of Kosovo, SS Divisions, Hip-hop, use of drugs and fight against drugs. It offers unlimited opportunities for lifelong navel-gazing and removes all chances for personal and spiritual development.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Macedonian Anti-Fascists Protest Harrasment

February March, Anti-Fascist Protest in Skopje, Macedonia
Anti-Fascist Protesters “Proud of the past that actually happened.”
Photo by V. Dzambaski (CC NC-SA)

Vanco Dzambaski published a photo-gallery from the gathering that took place February 16th in the center of Skopje, commemorating the February Campaign of 1944, when partisans from Macedonia, Greece and Kosovo marched through the snowy mountains to strike decisive blow to fascist forces in Macedonia and Northern Greece. World War II veterans and their supporters [mk] protested forced neglect of Allied achievements (including the founding of Macedonian state), and continuous harassment of the veteran organization by the current government at all levels.

In December 2012, the veteran organization [mk] was thrown out of their premises through a controversial court order, with help from out-of-town security agency [mk], after a local one failed [mk] to deal with the old fighters.

City government tried to stop the February protest [mk] by denying permission for use of the public square. They claimed other events were scheduled in the area at the designated time, but could not reveal what. The protesters decided to do it anyway, continuing the tradition of the original February march, commenced against the will of the then-authorities.

On the day of the protest, it was the only event there. Instead of covering the protest [mk] major pro-government media propagated Government's communique [mk] that they respect the heritage of the Second World War.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why Nobody Uses the Expression "European Proverb"? But "African" is OK to Some.

Photo of three dark-skinned women holding hands and walking a dirt road in the tropics, with the words "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African proverb" from the Facebook page Being Liberal.
Photo of three dark-skinned women holding hands and walking a dirt road in the tropics, with the words "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African proverb" from the Facebook page Being Liberal.
The above saying sounds nice, but "African proverb" sounds a bit broad. In Europe and Asia we use more precise designations based on language or ethnicity such as "Macedonian proverb" or "Chinese proverb" etc. I've never heard of anyone saying that a proverb is European or Asian. And Africa has much greater diversity of genes, peoples, cultures, and languages than both these continents. Hard to generalize, unless the proverb is generally used by all cultures across the whole continent.

Otherwise, this sounds like colonial mentality. Maybe this is a Fulani or Xhosa proverb, and by taking that part of its identity methinks we go into direction of reinforcing the opinions such as "all Africans are the same," and there's no need to concern ourselves with acknowledging their cultural diversity. 

If you know of a more precise source of this much-quoted inspirational saying, feel free to share it, so we can start correcting all instances of its appearance - together, cause it's a long road.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia: UK Must Fulfill Conditions to Exit the EU, the Serbian equivalent to The Onion, relayed the following faux news [sr]:

Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, BiH: UK Must Fulfill Conditions to Exit the EU

Great Britain is impaitently awaiting the decision of the "Great Five"
Skopje, January 24, 2013, (Njuz) – The Council of Ministers of the countries of the Un-European Union stated today in Skopje that a long road lies ahead of United Kingdom in order for it to join this international organisation.

By way of reminder, the United Kingdom of Great Britain expressed its intent to step out of the European Union (EU) yesterday. However in order to do that it shall have to fulfill a range of preconditions. "Great Britain will first have to sign a Stabilization and Association Pact, and then start a comprehensive process of harmonization of its legislature with the regulations of all countries that are not European Union members. Key priority areas are the regulations on freedom of the media, judiciary, human rights protection and corruption. Only afterwards we shall be able to talk about getting a candidate status, while it is too early to talk about the date for the start of negotiations," said Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of Macedonia, the country that currently chairs the Un-European Union.

According to unofficial allegations, significant discord exists among the "Great Five" about whether the time is right to enlarge this organization.

"Some members, like Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina for example, consider it too risky to accept a former European Union member-state as a member, due to concerns that the wave of unemployment and poverty could spill over from the EU to the Balkans. However, majority agrees that Great Britain deserves a chance, considering that this country was not a dedicated European Union member, anyway. Supporting this argument is the fact that Britain never abandoned its national currency, which would ease its entry to the Non-Euro Zone," stated a high official from Skopje, on condition of anonymity.

British Prime Minister David Cameron stated today that he feels encouraged by the positions of official Skopje, and that his country will do everything possible to fulfill the conditions as soon as possible.
Bojan Ljubenović