Projects » The Culture Lobby » Leonard Qylafi, Armand Habazaj

Leonard Qylafi, Armand Habazaj

Often the ideas we have about a country appear naive when we finally visit it. It is difficult to create a detailed opinion of a country over the course of two weeks. We traveled almost the entire Macedonian territory (beyond the location list our hosts prepared for us) but there are still many things about the country that we did not manage to learn or truly understand.

At the beginning of our journey the language encumbered our communication. A translator traveled with us all the time, translating constantly except when we met with Albanians, and we found them everywhere.

The economic and political situation in Macedonia seemed as transitory as it is in Albania, but different from Albania – less enthusiasm and progress. The further you move away from large administrative centers of the country the more you hear about insecurity, corruption, unemployment, lack of equal opportunities for employment and participation, and even discrimination. Internal problems between communities were evident everywhere even within political classes. People face these problems with strong nationalism and megalomania, with which not everyone agrees. All accept the fact that multi-ethnicity, which could be considered an asset that fosters human development, under the influence of religion could become an obstacle to the country's European progress.

Macedonians do not see entry in the European Union as a means of leaving their country. Their hope was that being part of EU would instead impose a value system that will fight corruption, unemployment, discrimination and political irresponsibility.