At least 100,000 protesters took to the streets on May 17th sporting crimson banners and flags of all nationalities. There would likely have been more had the Macedonian government not blocked buses of protesters streaming from all over the country to Skopje.

The terrorist attack that took place in Kumanovo on 9th and 10th May resembled in its intensity the incidents that occurred during the conflict of 2001, when similarly fierce battles were waged in the villages near Kumanovo, Slupcane, Matejce, Vaksince and other places. The Kumanovo region has always been inhabited by a mixture of peoples (Macedonians, Albanians, Serbs, Roma, Turks, etc), but it is also a region with a long tradition of coexistence and joint struggle over and above national divisions.

The workers of the Tuzla-based detergent factory DITA in Bosnia and Herzegovina have occupied their workplace and are refusing to recognise the authority of the trustee managing the bankruptcy, unless the interests of the workers are protected, or new investment is found to reactivate the factory.

A few days ago, I was asked to write an article about the current situation in Bosnia and the prospects for a radical change in the socio-political situation there. However, given the new developments in Bosnia and its neighbouring countries, I could not avoid writing about the situation in the Balkans as a more or less unitary whole. Given the mythology about the Balkans as a region divided by primitive tribes and pre-modern barbarians that is perpetuated in the western media, it might seem absurd to talk about the Balkans in this way. Nonetheless, for centuries, the peoples of the peninsula have shared the same plight, as victims of European imperialism.

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