Encyclopedia wars

Macedonia and Albania do battle over book’s claims

Macedonia and Albania are embroiled in a war of words. At issue: those published in an encyclopedia by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The book, which espouses the views of the country’s Slavic ethnic majority, has raised the hackles of the Albanian minority for making some hotly contested claims about the history of the region. The encyclopedia asserts that Albanians are relative newcomers to the region, arriving only in the 16th century, and refers to them as “highlanders,” which is considered an insult. In addition, the book calls the Ali Ahmeti, the leader of the ethnic Albanian insurgency in 2001, a war-crimes suspect despite the fact that he has never been indicted and now heads the junior party in the country’s coalition government. Albania’s prime minister, Sali Berisha, denounced the encyclopedia as “absurd and unacceptable,” complaining about “identity based on the forgery of history.”

The Economist

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