Against the culture of oblivion
By Trifun Kostovski
I would like to turn your attention to something essential to our existence. To the things that define our individuality, uniqueness, specificity. These things can be seen only and exclusively through culture and cultural heritage. It is time to realize that daily politics is instantaneous and moving forward. Through it we cannot perceive our duration, our continuity, nor our future. Daily political developments are not the ones that establish our value vertical. Rather, they insert fragmentation into the necessary, inherited continuity of our existence.
Therefore, we need to emphasize things that last. Things that are moving and anchoring for our past, but also for our present and our future. It seems, in this time of entropy and devastation of all values, that it is time to turn to the re self-discovery and the essential, enduring values that can only reflect the harbor of what defines us as a community in continuum. Who I am, what my specifics are, what distinguishes me and what brings me closer to other cultures – cultural heritage is our identity card through which we identify ourselves both individually and collectively.
The last Montenegrin king, Nicholas, says: “Did you lose the battle? Don’t be afraid, you’ll get the next one. You lost the war, don’t be afraid, you will win the next one. But if you lose your language, then you lose everything”. It is this wisdom that has prompted me to dedicate this text to our great cultural fathers, who have made our language valuable, creating, upgrading, enriching, and incorporating it into all cultural and identity values.
Gjorgji Pulevski, Krste Petkov Misirkov, the Miladinov Brothers, Marko Cepenkov, Blaze Koneski, Slavko Janevski, Petre M. Andreevski, Radovan Pavlovski, Goran Stefanovski and many more who contributed to build our uniqueness, our sense of continuity of our heritage. They created worlds that have been a source of memory for our culture since ancient times.
From history we read that our people were the most frequent targets of assimilation: Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks…I have no prejudices or pretensions to any neighbor about the injustice done to our people. We overcame the ordeals over the Balkans, and managed to create an internationally recognized identity. I am sure you will ask yourself why I am raising these questions at this moment.
It may seem strange to you why I am stressing this out at this moment. Everyday life in our society is very disturbing. It is precisely because of this day-to-day struggle for existential survival that we forget those who painstakingly and devotedly shaped our cultural identity. These are the people that created our being. We have forgotten them in this political spectacle. And that is a great injustice. We must fight against the culture of oblivion.
We have an obligation to fight against the oblivion of all those who have entrusted us with their contribution to building our cultural heritage and identity. But unfortunately, we do not fulfill our obligation. Today, in no time of day their contribution is mentioned to who we are and to our entire culture based on the language. We must respect those who gave us the content of our existence through the language.
They are the real “builders” of modern codified Macedonian language but also guardians of dialects and archaisms.
With these thoughts of mine I aim to appeal to this government, especially the line ministry of culture, that in its key activities, it must necessarily strategically emphasize the protection of movable and immovable cultural heritage in all its segments, and especially in the segment of literary heritage and language.
Struga Poetry Evenings have been taking place for five decades. I wonder how many of our citizens attend this magnificent event of extremely international importance. In the alley of the Greats, in Struga, many monuments are missing or destroyed. I wonder why it is so. And whether efforts are made to repair the damage done. We cannot build our own future and build our language and our culture without the fundamentals set by these rebirths.
A lot has been written about Jane Sandanski, Goce Delchev, Dame Gruev, who are revolutionaries of respect and important to our history. But I insist on equating with the abovementioned when it is about our cultural and identity uniqueness on this hot Balkans. That is why I recommend in native language curricula, whether Macedonian, Albanian, Turkish, Serbian, the work of people born on this piece of land to be more present in.
That is all I want to say. I cannot but insist that we mobilize and persuade our wise and unique creators of our cultural identity, through their various creative impulses, and most of all through the language.
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