Monday, 21 August 2017



Such an Easy Metaphor



Balkan Travellers   
In the centre of Skopje, there is a clock which shows the correct time only twice in the course of 24 hours: shortly before dawn and at dusk. This mode of operation has been in place since 5:17am on July 26, 1963, when the Macedonian capital was half-destroyed by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 on the Richter Scale.
The clock of the old Skopje train station has since then remained frozen on the precise instant of the disaster, becoming a melancholic monument to the tragedy which resulted in the death of more than 1,000 people and the injury of 3,000. Besides human lives, the earthquake cost Macedonia 15 per cent of its gross domestic product.

Since the 1960s almost two generations have come to pass and many of Skopje’s citizens no longer recall the tragedy which shook all of Europe and provoked Jean-Paul Sartre to write that “Skopje is not a film, not a thriller where we guess the chief event. It is a concentration of man’s struggle for freedom, with a result which inspires further struggles and no acceptance of defeat.”

Despite that, the capital’s citizens still continue to view the clock as an important symbol of the city, maybe even to an extent as an epitome of all of Macedonia’s unhappy history. As the Anglo-Indian writer Keki N. Daruwalla notes in his spot-on commentary, it is “such an easy metaphor”: “And a clock that stopped at 0517 / people find something quite profound / in frozen clock hands, such an easy metaphor / for time and the seasons, things that circle and go round.”

 

 

Useful Reads


Balkans
Through Another Europe (2009) | Edited by Andrew Hammond

When Henry Blount journeyed through Bosnia in the 1630s, two things struck him: the purity of the water and the great height of the Bosnians, which, he noted, “made me suppose them the offspring of those old Germans noted by Tacitus and Caesar for their huge size.”
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Music


Macedonia
Toshe Proeski’s Posthumous Album Released in Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia

27 January 2008 | The debut English album of Toshe Proseki, Macedonia’s beloved pop singer, was released posthumously on Sunday in order to mark 28 years from his birth.
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