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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 15:50 GMT
School Day 24: Macedonia
Composite image of Macedonian teens from Nikola Karev and Albanian teens from Zef Lush Marku school, Skopje linking up

Macedonian and Albanian students at two schools that share the same building in Skopje linked up to discuss their ethnic, historic and religious differences.

Question from the presenter Biljana

We want to talk about your similarities and differences. How close do you feel to the pupils from the other school?

Arxhina, Zef Lush Marku school: I think in 20-30 years a lot of the barriers will have been overcome. But now they really exist. There are some people without prejudices but a very small number, like a drop in a big ocean! The prejudices come first from our parents - we are brought up like... we are Albanians, and they are Macedonians, we are like this, they are like that. There is little space for us to make our own opinion.

Daniela, Nikola Karev school: Yes that is true, everything starts in the family, but the personality, the character is also important. I have a twin brother. He has picked up prejudices from our home-life, as they were passed onto him. But not me - I was not told those things but even so, I also have problems with it. I don't know how it is abroad, but here for example, mixed marriages are strongly forbidden. Macedonians would strongly condemn you if you wanted to marry an Albanian. I don't know the reason why.

Question from the presenter Biljana

Are you going to raise your children differently?

Vigilenca, Zef Lush Marku school: Yes, when we are parents and our kids go to this school, in 20 or 30 years, I'm going to try to change these attitudes of division. I'm going to raise them in a different way. I don't mind about the religion, the nationality, nothing, nothing... except for the question of whether it is a good person or a bad person.

Nenad, Nikola Karev school: It is easier for the boys, from the point of view of the parents, but for the girls it is very difficult. I know a girl who was absolutely in love with an Albanian boy, but with all the stereotypes, she fell into a deep depression, she felt very bad because the boy was from a different ethnic community and had a different religion. And that was unacceptable for her community. I wouldn't mind having a girlfriend from Zef Lush Marku - all of us are people, we live in the same town.

Fisnik, Zef Lush Marku school: I don't mind personally about having a Macedonian girlfriend if you are Albanian, but it doesn't depend only on individual wishes. Mainly it depends on the surroundings, how your friends will react, or the reaction of your parents.

Question from the presenter Biljana

You are talking about differences all the time, let us talk about similarities. What kind of music are you listening to? Are they the same popular songs like in the world charts?

Daniela, Nikola Karev school: All kinds - pop, rock, house, techno...

Nenad, Nikola Karev school: It is true that we listen to the same music when it comes from abroad, western music. But if we are talking about local singers then in my opinion Macedonians have kind of a dislike for Albanian songs. And from the other side - the Albanians - I don't think they listen to Macedonian songs all the time but they accept more of them.

The problem is that the radio-stations are divided - Macedonian and Albanian. I have never heard an Albanian song played on a popular Macedonian radio station.

Arxhina, Zef Lush Marku school: We should blame the media for this division... they are making very strong and negative influences.

Darko, Nikola Karev school: And the politicians. They are nationalist, from both sides!

Veton, Zef Lush Marku school: All of them just talk about national pride.

Question from Ilija, Nikola Karev school

If you had a chance to decide, would you choose a new, separate building for your school, or you would prefer to stay here?

Fisnik, Veton and Edon, Zef Lush Marku school Yes, we would like to move, not because we don't like you, but because it would be a new and modern building. And closer to the parts of town where Albanians live.

Question from the presenter Biljana

After this link-up, would you feel comfortable to meet up together, one evening, and go for a drink?

Fisnik, Zef Lush Marku school: Oh, yes, definitely. Such frank discussions are very useful.

Question from the presenter Biljana

Are you going to invite some of the kids that you have met during this link-up to your home sometime, or at least say hello if you see them in the future?

All: Yes.


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