Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 1 in Tetovo with Jen

On 9/30 we explored Tetovo! And boy did we (accidentally) walk about 6 or 7 kilometers today! Since we had decided not to go to Ohrid, I was going to go back to Skopje today by bus or combi (van type thingys). But we got an invite to go hiking with some peace corps volunteers on Sat to this fortress up the hill with them, then to the American Corner for a GLOW meeting (Girls Leading Our World- basically a Peace Corps run organization for girls).
But back to the day at hand.

We started off by going to eat breakfast at this burektora called Midpoint. I had a yummy jelly filled croissant and Jen had a strawberry filled doughnut. We then went to this defense of a Master’s thesis on “Service Learning in English Teaching” or something like that. Basically her premise was that service learning was critical to learning real English. It was interesting, but I would have also liked to know exactly what type of service learning can you do for English speaking? She mentioned some translation work- but you really have to be pretty fluent for that to work out, so I have no clue.

Then Jen showed me her office and we stopped to talk to Vesna and see how she was doing (she got sick yesterday- we are taking vitamin c!). Then it was off to explore. We stopped for a lunch of burek (My first burek, so it gets a pic):

 We wanted to go to the Painted Mosque,

but it was closed for the Turkish Prime Minister (who incidentally also shut down the T-Mobile internet and cell phone coverage for about an hour earlier this morning- no we don’t really know why. But due to his diplomatic powers, I also got woken up by helicopter yesterday and all traffic lights in Skopje weren’t working). So I whipped out my secret picture taking skills and grabbed these:

We crossed the street and went in to this old bath that is now an art gallery and took some pictures and, of course, looked at the art!

Then we wandered downtown (after stopping at some random shoe store, but more on that later!) and tried to find this wall that just showed some of the signs of the conflict of 2001 that I had seen yesterday and was so provoking in the cool dim sun-setting light. Well, we found it. Not as cool in daylight, but still a bit haunting.

History (taken from my thesis, which I have to cite according to plagiarism rules: Cassidy *, What’s In A Name? EU Foreign Policy Through the FYROM, Boca Raton: Florida Atlantic University, 2011, 45-46):
Then later in 2001, violent conflict broke out between the two ethnicities. A group of Albanians, believing that their political parties had abandoned them began to fight for more rights and greater equality between ethnicities.[1] It became immediately clear that the FYRM’s security forces would be unable to handle the challenges they faced. Their forces were undersupplied and did not have the labor to put the rebellion down. The EU and NATO stepped in, four months later in early July, to help mediate a cease-fire between the rebels and the government forces.[2] The parties in conflict finally reached a framework agreement at Ohrid in August. The Ohrid Framework Agreement, as it was called, was a landmark agreement that was to promote the development of the FYRM and make sure that the state was acting in the best interests of all the citizens of the FYRM. There are five basic principles that were agreed upon in the framework:
1)     To reject the use of violence for political means
2)     To reject territorial solutions to ethnic issues
3)     The multiethnic character of the citizens must be reflected in public life.
4)     The constitution must meet the needs of the citizens and the highest standards of the international community (which are evolving, as the constitution must also)
5)     Local self-government is essential[3]

In addition to recognizing the essential role of local self-government, the agreement went on to state the powers of local government; they shall have power over issues relating to “public service, urban and rural planning, environmental protection, local economic development, culture, local finances, education, social welfare, and health care.”[4] The framework also stated that any laws made relating to the “culture, use of language, education, personal documentation, and use of symbols must receive a majority of votes”[5] including a majority of the minority in the legislature. The agreement also finally agreed to instruction in the native language of the minority, but required those who do not speak Macedonian to also have Macedonian language instruction.[6]  The years between 2001 and 2004 were filled with recovery and rebuilding. Eventually the legislature passed laws that allowed for the Albanian flag to fly next to the Macedonian one in 2005.[7]

[1] Pond, 172
[2] Panev, 616
[3] Ohrid Framework Agreement,, 13 Aug 2001, accessed 30 Dec 2010, 1.
[4] Ohrid Framework Agreement, 1
[5] Ohrid Framework Agreement, 2
[6] Ohrid Framework Agreement, 3
[7] RFE/RL Newsline, “Macedonian Government Takes on the Flag Question,” June 1, 2005 in Pond, 183
Then we got really delicious, and I mean SUPER best-ice-cream-I-have-ever-had-in-my-life delicious, ice cream. It was so creamy and yummy. I had blueberry and what turned out to be banana. They were even making the ice cream right there in front of us (not the kind we got, but still).We stopped off at the American Corner to see if they could give us a bit of info on this culture fest that the city was having later this night. It is a lot smaller than the one in Skopje (to be expected) but still very nice.

Then it was the long walk home. All 2.5 km of it. And boy did we feel it. We did stop to buy some food stuff to make for dinner instead of going out to get food. And buy bread, pitcher for tea, and shoes. I have been looking for some boots for fall and didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so haven’t gotten any boots. Well this store (with most stuff made and shipped from China had these size 41 (Europe size) boots for, oh about $17.78. They fit great and were a small enough heel and had some traction for wet sidewalks. So I decided to get them- if they fall apart, they fall apart, but it was only $17.78.

Once we got back, we both collapsed for a bit and then decided to make dinner:

Then more relaxing and bed for our early morning walk up the hill (and back down).

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