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ABANDONED ALTARS Here, where the fast waters of the Crni Drim river are leaving the fields of the Struga region and are entering their gorge, taking with them the eels on their trip to the azure seas of the Atlantic Ocean, here begins the Drimkol region. A village next to the other, but only a handful of earth and naked stones that had been giving birth to hunger and economic migration. Here as everywhere else, the economic migration has its own migration altars. This is Plačikamen (The Cryingstone), the migration altar for the village of Labuništa. And this one is Plačimost (The Cryingbridge), for the village of Podgorci. This one is Plačidab (The Cryingoaktree), for the village of Borovec. And this lonely tree next by the ruins of the ancient Via Egnatia is called Plačikruša (The Cryingpeartree). The place where the emigrants from Vevčani were torned apart from their loved ones. Here we all cried. The centuries had melted us in the search for bread. In the mines of Amerika, in the taigas of Russia, on the construction platforms of Romania, on the railway tracks of the red-hot Persia and everywhere else. But in the bosom we had been keeping the amulets that we received at Plačikruša – a small branch of cornel so that we can be strong as that tree, a husk of a dry basil so that we can be loved as that flower, a handful of native soil so that we never forget about it and we return to it. Or so that they bedew our eyes in the far lands if we die there. Some of us are coming back like the eels which trough the waters of the Crni Drim river continue to the far seas back to their spawning grounds and die. For some of us instead of men these photographes were coming back or only the belt or the heat. Some were getting back home as worn-out old men to live in these villages their last days. Of this kind are these three men. This one is Jankula. He went to Paris and lived close by the Seine river. He gave up his old craft. He used to work as restorer hoping to save more money to bring home. This one is Simun. He even learned a new craft - facade maker. Here he is on one construction platform in Montevideo with a large group of people from his region. And when he left Brussels, behaind him and his group stayed this work from their hands. Later part of the group went to Austria, but there they were welcomed with soldiers' overcoats for their shoulders. This one is Boško. He has served to four tsars and kings. And not only him. He served, as he says, even to kings who's names he didn't know. They fought – the people from under this sky, they fell in wars, they were dying in the camps and the far deserts and they believed that after the war they will be able to live without going to economic migration at least. The war was over. From many of them not even photographs came back, and the life stayed more or less the same. The villages kept being villages with no men, the children kept being born always in the same month of the year and kept dying all the year long. One visit from the doctor costed as one month earnings. And that's why many of us when we finally came back, from all that we left, this is what we have assured. Then, then the war came again. This time we promised to ourselves that it will be us who win the war. We send them to battles, our only children, those that were the pupils of our eyes that we took such a care for, those that were the only ones we had to continue us after we die. And they brought us - the freedom. This field has from time immemorial been called Suvo (Dry). We plant plantation vineyards, the first in Macedonia. For the first time we felt what it really means bread and what it means to have a village full of men. The truth is that there is only one thing that is left for us now. To watch these sprouts and to be joyful with them and to wait tranquilly, first in the string of the years and the centuries, feeling free when the day comes to close our eyes. We have at last lived to see more than what we could have immagined. And now let me praise a little bit. A man needs to do that too. Before the war we had only two graduate students and two high schoolers. Now we have 80 students, 500 students in secondary schools, and our own children are already doctors, painters, artists and professors, officers and agronomists. This was once the old school. Now 3 doctors work there and about 20 people are employed as medical personel. They are all children of this village. Nowadays we also go on weekend trips, but once we were only watching the others go. We don't have the legs for these modern dances, to be truthful we don't have them even for the zurna (traditional musical instrument) anymore, but it doesn't matter, because we have our eyes and our joy to be jealous to these youtfulness. And that is part of being human as well. Boško had served to four tsars and kings, but his son serves only its own people and from the economic migration has stayed only the song. We are again leaving the village, but neither like the eels nor we are toring apart at Plačikruša. But this way. Our cooperative Drimkol has its own factories, buildinggrounds in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Skopje and in other cities. Our hand have not been surpassed yet. You can see us everywhere, even when you don't think about us. When you stair at what has been left from our hands, sometimes you might think that you don't recognise us. We know those things. Not only the sorrow is left after us, with which you have named us. Our freed hands had open themselves and reached for the light. Happiness stays nowaydays after us and will keep following those that are there to continue us. Because the story has still not reached its end. It only put a full stop to the economic migration and it abandond the altars of the migration to be able to turn itself towards the light.

Video Details

Duration: 10 minutes and 55 seconds
Country: Macedonia
Language: English
Views: 52
Posted by: bluzivs on Apr 18, 2014

An old documentary about Vevčani's economic migration and the changes after the end of the Warld War II.

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