Thursday, August 25, 2016


Macedonian Ad To 'Reintroduce' Religious Tolerance Wins Big In Cannes

A screen grab from the "10 Meters Apart" video encouraging religious tolerance, winner of the Cannes Lion's "Titanium Lion" 2013 award.
A screen grab from the "10 Meters Apart" video encouraging religious tolerance, winner of the Cannes Lion's "Titanium Lion" 2013 award.
A Macedonian commercial promoting religious tolerance has become the first spot from the Balkans to win the Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lions, the largest advertising festival in the world.

The award-winning clip, called "Ten Meters Apart," shows the first-ever joint prayer by members of the country's Christian and Muslim communities.

It is part of a broader campaign, initiated by Macedonia's government, to encourage coexistence and "to try and reintroduce religious tolerance."

The joint prayer is led by Miftar Islami, an official representative of Macedonia's Islamic community, and Father Mihail, an official representative of the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

It highlights efforts by the Christian and Muslim communities in the war-torn region to come closer together.

Local media in Macedonia have praised the commercial's treatment of a sensitive topic.

"The message of this campaign is powerful, this is our contribution towards tolerance in our country," Dusan Drakalski, the film's creative director, told local media on June 23. "People made a step towards peace, understanding, and mutual respect."

The two-minute clip opens with recitals of Orthodox and Islamic prayers in archival footage from the 2001 conflict between ethnic Albanian rebels from the National Liberation Army (UCK) and Macedonia's security forces.

"Once a crossroad of cultures is now a country divided between two ethnic groups" flashes across the screen against a background of prayers, gunshots, and coffins.

The commercial eventually goes to a remote village in which a single temple is used by both Christians and Muslims.

The most sensitive section of the clip is the joint prayer by Miftar Islami and Father Mihail at the 1:20 mark:

It ends with the words "Peace is a never ending process."

The film's directors advocate for an initiative in front of the Macedonian parliament to recognize October 18, the day of the joint prayer, as National Day of Prayer.

The annual Cannes Lions Festival of International Creativity, which ended on June 22, is attended by around 11,000 people from the international communications community and showcases more than 34,000 entries from all over the world.

Macedonia's short-lived but violent conflict ended with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement in August 2001, giving ethnic Albanians more rights in the country and reintegrating former rebels into the government.

Last month, a survey by the Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights concluded that authorities in Macedonia are downplaying a rise in the number of hate crimes driven by ethnic and religious motives. Political parties in the March local elections traded accusations of incitement and exploitation of ethnic tensions to score political points.

-- Deana Kjuka
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: US
June 24, 2013 16:26
US government encouraged tolerance by bombing and killing Christians and instigating Sunni Muslims to more violence in Bosnia and Kosovo. US government does the same in Syria now
In Response

by: John Harduny from: Reston, VA, USA
June 25, 2013 03:27
I am afraid you are right.
In Response

by: brian from: TX
June 25, 2013 07:51
yeah the US hates Christians in the Balkans... but it loves the muslims and encourages them to kill every Christian on behalf of NATO ally Ottoman Turkey... how unchristian can you get! poor serbs, Macedonians, and other Balkan Christian.. how about really supporting EQUALITY for all in Balkan, USA??
In Response

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Kings Beach, CA USA
June 25, 2013 13:26
You need to change the quality and the purpose of your comments if you do not wish to be labeled as miss informed by most Americans.
In Response

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Kings Beach, CA
June 25, 2013 13:19
Your comments are to the extreme. You need to tone it down if you want to be heard.
In Response

by: Ryszard from: UK
June 29, 2013 10:37
Two things

a) Could I have some proof of this that does not emanate from some rightwing wingnut website ?

b) What possible gain would the American government have from this ?

by: Robert from: Skopje
June 25, 2013 06:07
Too bad that this "Commerical" was produced only for entry into a film festival - it certainly has not received any air-time in Macedonia!

by: Macedonia is Greek from: Canada
June 30, 2013 17:12
Greece should seriously start considering exiting Nato and offer the Chinese or Russia a place to park their nuclear subs. Some of our former NATO "allies" are unprincipled and pretend not to notice the former Yugoslavians transformation into ancient Macedonians and threats against our country.

Much like Chamberlain they are prepared to sacrifice other countries (for a sake of peace they will not gett. Conflict is enivitable given the behavior of the former Yugoslavians). Our alleged "allies" are effectively in the role the ethnic engineers of the Comintern once played. With backstabbing dishonerable NATO "allies" like this who needs enemies.

"This (US) government considers talk of Macedonian "nation", Macedonian "Fatherland", or Macedonia "national consciousness" to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece" - US State Department Dec, 1944 (Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram - 868.014/26)

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