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About the culture and the water

19 February 2010 / 13:02:56  GRReporter
3451 reads


Maria Spassova


If there was a contest for the most boring international forum then in this case the Friday meeting of the Presidents of South-Eastern Europe in Athens which was dedicated to the sea, river and lake cultural corridors would have definitely won the first prize. Seven presidents from the region, two ministers and one deputy minister gathered to have something to eat and drink and for other unknown reasons. The scope of this meeting remained secret for the journalists and respectively for the voters of these presidents, ministers and deputy ministers while its absurd title made the turgid event look like a grotesque.


Honestly I work as a journalist in Athens for 7 years now, however never in my life I had to cover a more meaningless event. The first person I saw when entering in the press center was my colleague from DPA Takis Tsafos, who is one of the most respected foreign newsman in Greece, who told me: “Maria I just heard your president saying how nice it is that the people from South-Eastern Europe have a culture and that it is even better they have a water which connects this culture. I think that after hearing this revelation, I just have nothing else to learn here.”


Then I met my colleague from the Anatolian news agency, who is also a well known journalist. He was tearing his hair and wondering exactly what to cover from the forum for the culture and water and at the end of the day he decided to give up the meeting. It’s easy for these newsman. Germany is not in South-Eastern Europe and Turkey had only sent one minister (Romania had done the best by sending only one deputy minister and he was definitely bored). The Bulgarian journalists, however we had to cover the visit of the president who had sent a sharp remark to the Prime Minister with the help of the media just before he arrived in Greece. A conflict between the president and the prime minister is a news no matter from which point of view you look at it and no matter where exactly are you situated geographically.


So we, the Bulgarian journalists were doomed to follow the madness of the seven presidents from the region until the end expecting to have the chance and talk to our president who stops to greet us on his way and announces two news. The first one was that he offered the creation of a Regional summer youth academy for protection of the cultural historical heritage. That is great however compared to the internal political grades for this same president from the previous day this news is of minimum public importance. The second one was that he received the approval by the rest of the presidents for the nomination of Irina Bokova as a secretary general of UNESCO. This is already interesting news as me personally I do not remember Irina Bokova ever standing behind any national cause and I do not see why the nation has to stand behind the personal cause of Irina Bokova now. It is not that I don’t want a Bulgarian to become the secretary general of UNESCO. I do want. However I also want to be proud of this Bulgarian.


Otherwise the same thing will happen as the president and the forum for culture and water. Of course he could have asked his colleague Karlos Papulias why he did not allow his Macedonian colleague Branko Crvenkovski to land in his airplane for the meeting in Athens and how could the Ohrid lake for example be the bridge for the settlement of the argue about the name of Macedonia. Of course he could have asked his colleague Boris Tadic and also the rest of his colleagues from the region how will the culture and the water help us find the solution of the problem regarding the statute of Kosovo. And then all the Bulgarian journalists, we would have been proud of our president.


This however didn’t happen. Between Greece and Macedonia there is a conflict and the solution to it has to be looked for in every forum including this one about the culture and water. The statute of Kosovo is also disputable and it also has to be discussed any time there is a chance for it. Turkey is at the edge of European isolation and the countries from South-Eastern Europe had to say on Friday: “Turkey is one of us and its place is in the European Union!” Yes, in South-Eastern Europe there are interesting things to talk about, however they require political foresight and courage, which obviously lacked on Friday in the Athens palace Zapio.


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