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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ohrid or the Butterfly Effect

View from Hotel Goritsa.

Sveti Joan Kaneo at night.

Last week I spent two days in Ohrid, Macedonia. I love this place very much because of its natural beauty, the cosy atmosphere in its small streets and the secret views of the lake. Everyone can compose an own view and it would be unique.

However, this time I was thinking that my affection comes from the strange mixed feeling that it stirs in me: being a Bulgarian, Ohrid (and Macedonia as a whole, of course) feels at the same time home but also a little bit 'altered' (maybe the French word 'decale' is a bit better). This shouldn't be viewed as a kind of romantic nationalism, it's just a comment on the small distance between us (Macedonians and Bulgarians).

In this connection I remembered the 'Butterfly Effect' explained so well in Ray Bradbury's 'A Sound of Thunder'. For those who don't know about the 'Butterfly Effect' it says that small causes (like the flappings of the wings of a butterfly) could lead to big effects somewhere in the future. In 'A Sound of Thunder' a guy travels to the past and accidentally crashes a butterfly. When he comes back to the present the English alphabet has been altered, another candidate wins the presidential elections, etc. (If this is true, imagine the burden each of us carries when killing a fly or let alone smiling inadvertently at a stranger)

Of course, to me Macedonia seems like an altered Bulgaria but I fully realise that the opposite is also true. We can both smile at some strange version of a familiar word. We both think that ours is the original and the other - altered.....Most probably we are both wrong and the original is in another time and space dimension.

In general, it seems as if some kind of strange political butterflies were crashed everywhere in the Balkans altering the pace of history.

However, on a more serious note, I think Gellner's theory of nationalism in 'Nations and Nationalism' is more applicable here. We can go back in time, see when and how the borders were drawn, how the nationalistic feelings mixed with the political agenda of the day, how languages interfered with this political agenda and how they were codified, etc.

Coming back to Ohrid, my favourite place there is definately the church Sveti Joan Kaneo (St. John Kaneo), the rock beneath it (resembling an crocodile) and the little chapel and beach beneath it. I don't have pictures now but later I will upload some of Ellen's beautiful pictures from October (if she gives me the copyright).

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