The Sixth Ohrid P.E.N. Conference
The Sixth Ohrid P.E.N. Conference and the Meeting of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, since 2002 chaired in Macedonia and hosted by the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre, with Mrs. Kata Kulavkova as chair person took place 19th – 21st September. The once biennale conference was made annual since 2003. It is the main and most important manifestation of the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre. The Conference is attended mainly by representatives from South East Europe, but a wider range of attendants is not excluded. This year's Conference was attended by 50 writers from the world and the Macedonian P.E.N.. The theme of the Conference was titled The Berlin Wall/the Schengen Zone. The Conference was prepared by a number of thesis put up for discussion, such as: Communication as a pre-requisite for cultural development of all kinds; The mythic image of the border: "our side" as Cosmos and "the Other's" side as Chaos; a historical view: the ones on the other side as "Others", "barbarians", "blasphemous", "unclean races", "opponents of our way of life"; the borders as means for stopping the human traffic - the borders as tampons for the flow of ideas; the need of closing up as an ideological - political programme; the need of oP.E.N.ing up as a basic cultural need; the obsticals in front of the traveller - the feeling of being imprisoned etc. During the Conference in Ohrid the Meeting of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee, moderated by Mrs. Kata Kulavkova as chair person also took place.
The oP.E.N.ing discussion on the Berlin Wall/the Schengen Zone theme was held by Mr. Dimitar Bashevski, the president of the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre, followed by a fruitful conversation among the foreign and domestic representatives in support of the basic idea of oP.E.N.ness, freedom of movement and uninterrupted cultural and literary cooperation. The main event was the vote for the theme Resolution proposed by the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre. The Resolution states that the people of a number of countries (mainly in the Balkan area), among which is Macedonia, are unjustly and unagreeably discriminated in their freedom of movement and that the Shengen concept is just a deceiving idea of the idea for United Europe and it is destructive for the complete (not only literary and cultural) cooperation among people. The Resolution starts from the International P.E.N. Amendment which states the freedom of the individual and freedom in general as a basic value. The Resolution was accepted after the voting.
During the Conference, in the atrium of St. Jovan Kaneo there was an international literary reading followed by a small music act, and the poets - participants from the world, as well as poets from Macedonia performed poetry readings. An out door boat excursion to St. Naum was also organized as a part of the programme.
At the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee's Meeting the electronic edition Diversity was promoted and the Proposal - Resolution of the Kurdish P.E.N. was discussed. The Amendment for change of the International P.E.N. Standing Orders was also discussed, and the official acceptance of the Amendment took place later on at the Congress in Mexico. Other questions and aspects were also taken under discussion. (Diversity www.diversity.org.mk is a multilingual electronic collection of the T&LR Committee that presents and publishes contemporary and living authors; eminent and young authors; it represents an active translation project that publishes each author in at least three languages - the original, Macedonian and at least one of the official P.E.N. languages).
Ohrid P.E.N. Conference that took place from 19.09.2003 - 22.09.2003 and discussed the topic Berlin Wall/Schengen Zone, reached the following
Writers and intellectuals cannot be indifferent to the undergoing processes in Europe, which ultimate goal was supposed to be Europe without borders. One of the fundamental principles on which P.E.N. International insists is freedom - freedom of creativity, freedom of movement, freedom of choice, and etc.
Unfortunately, the aforementioned processes in Europe are not always and not entirely in the token of these values. The Schengen Zone, at least in this phase, for those who are outside of it and, especially, for the countries of the so-called West Balkans, represents a symbol of closeness and discrimination. With the monitoring on movement, as it is being applied at present, freedom of movement, as well as human rights are being reduced, and from P.E.N.'s viewpoint, we are bereaved from a more comprehensive literary and cultural collaboration.
When it comes to reducement of freedom of communication, writers believe, to a great extent, that future of the European project is being evaded, and they are prepared to support all the initiatives that lead to a way of overcoming the borders between the European Union and the European states and nations that are not its members, since communication is a precondition for developing all kinds of cultural and literary collaboration.