The text deals with the essential issue of the perspective of a nation and ethical identities on the Via Egnatia Line. On this line are practically the fiercest culture and identity debates and confrontations today in Europe. The negative connotation of the term ‘Balkanization’ is also related to this zone.
The context is set in the post-conflict periods (i.e., post-Dayton and post-Kosovo), and even in the still open issues (less conflicting), issues on interpretation of historical myths and traditions of peoples in this part of Europe. This has been shown to be the very foundations of any project of ‘Europeanization’ of the region. Namely, the distinctiveness and significance of the term ‘European values’ is focused in this text on the ability of the European countries to process debates and agree on common points of departure, interpretations of controversial histories of every one of them that interweave in space and time. This seems to be very difficult task of the countries in transition, and even of traditional European democracies. (For example, France and Germany, just three years ago, managed to issue jointly-produced history text books.)
The main thesis in the text is that there is need for the cultural identities of nations and minorities to be stabilized in the debating process on common historical myths and events. While preserving own viewpoint about them and the function of these personalities/events for own identity and collective memory, nations and minorities nevertheless should keep an open door so that such personalities and events could have meaning for ‘the Others’ as well. This attitude towards ‘the Others’ is of fundamental importance in stabilization of democracies in the multicultural map of these societies on this line.
This described relation should go below the Karl Schmitt level of conflicity in the ‘friend-enemy’ binomial and should develop so an opportunity for overlapping amalgamative interpretations and identities.
Such process can be significantly facilitated if countries take the road of more comprehensive political and value-related integration processes, such as NATO and EU.
On the other hand, these countries must finish their own part of ‘the homework’; in other words, they should open a debate on building their own identity by coming face to face with the overlapping history.
The author attempts to make the topic concrete by means of the present and living disputes: the Macedonian-Greek ‘debate’ on ancient history; the Macedonian-Bulgarian-Serbian ‘debate’ on identities of the conditionally Slavic cultural discourse; the Macedonian-Albanian debate on creation of political superstructure of the Macedonian nation in the new Macedonian state; and, the traces of the Ottoman cultural line in the region through the various Balkan identities.
The author tries to point out certain exit strategies that, in the region, might represent the harder, and yet more sensible way forward, bringing thus perspectives.