As if it were not enough to put up that horrible 13 meter high statue of Alexander the Great in the very center of Skopje, which the Macedonians from the FYROM have allegedly tuned down to “Hero on Horseback” (this is at least what they said, see Alexander the Great in Skopje), they now show up with extra reinforcements.
Believe it or not, they just brought in more of Alexander’s army! Eight bronze phalanx soldiers and eight bronze lions are presently being put into place to liven up the scene! (See the article by the Sofia News Agency). Why eight and why eight lions (kingship?), I don’t know. In any case, it makes you wonder whether this is only a first addition or if there is more to come. I fail to see why they renamed the equestrian statue “Hero on Horseback” only a few weeks ago while these bronze soldiers and animals obviously were nearly ready to roll out of the workshops. This Macedonian phalanx clearly belongs to Alexander the Great. So much for the naivety (or stupidity) of the bystanders - and of the politicians!
They just don’t seem to get it there in Skopje – or they just don’t want to. No wonder Greece is extremely unhappy with this situation and considers it as a provocation, nothing less, and they are right. The event has now even reached the EU where the Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fule, declared that if Macedonia (i.e. FYROM = Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) continues this kind of actions and fails to make progress in its reforms (the name Macedonia, even converted into FYROM, is not to Greece’s satisfaction), they will lose their EU candidate status. Will that threat be of any help? I have serious doubts.
Since their independency in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has not only “stolen” the name Macedonia but they also repeatedly “hijacked” a number of historical figures from their neighbors, Alexander is not their first. I hear that the Bulgarians have a similar complaint about the five-meter high marble monument of Tsar Samuil recently erected in Skopje, for he was Bulgaria’s greatest hero fighting against Byzantium – nothing to do with Macedonia.
You just cannot “borrow” a hero from a neighboring country simply because you want or need one. That is a basic privilege for each country individually and one that should be respected.