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C:F PenPals#2: Your Mind Matters (Our countries)

by Stefan & Udoka on 3rd May, 2015 at 5:50 PM CEST

Stefan Alijevikj from Macedonia and Udoka Chiefe from Nigeria continue to share their thoughts through digital pen-friending. In issue two of C:F's new editorial blast "C:F Pen Pals: Your Mind Matter" they contemplate on current issues they identify in their countries. Issue #1 is available HERE. If you want to join C:F PenPals, just drop a message to C:F team. 

Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 10:16 PM

Hi Udoka,

Spring has finally come here. Four days of Easter (we follow the orthodox calendar) have brought me some peace and I have sit to read some fiction finally today - Thomas Mann. Fiction is my oxygen. How are things at your place? Whilst it was Easter and there was noone to react, they have cut more trees in the city. I really can't help thinking that this looks like some sort of deal with the devil.. to cut trees for no valid reason


Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 2:09 AM

Hey Stefan,

I'm glad to hear that Easter was peaceful for you - it was for me also, relatively speaking. Didn't Thomas Mann write Death in Venice? I recall seeing the film once on TCM. It's a provocative classic.

Right now I'm in the thick of studies and politics in Nigeria. The most talked about incident in Lagos was when the Oba of Lagos (an traditional leader) basically told Igbos (an ethnic group to which I belong to) that if they don't vote for a certain candidate that we would "perish in the water". That's code for "die in the Lagoon". I don't know about you, but the last time I checked, I could vote for whomever I wanted as a Nigerian. Here's an article that Chimamanda Adicie wrote about the incident:

Just goes to show how deep the river of disregard and disrespect flows between ethnic groups here sometimes.

I think the people cutting down the trees have a reason. The reason might not make sense. But really, do the best reasons for negative actions like these make sense to those who care?

Hope to here from you soon.


Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Dear Udoka,

There is a recent scandal going on in Macedonia where the oposition party aired wire-taps about the position party. These are called the "bombs" as they appear to be documentations of all the "deeds" and "abuse of power" that the position party has done in the country in recent year. This also include sabotage of elections and yes there are ongoing conversations about how people are made to vote for the position party. The thing is, like everything else in Macedonia, this created BOOM in the first few weeks and now it stagnated a bit though new "bombs" are being realised every week. When you hear the wire-taps you actually think: hey, you don't need fiction to wonder whether something is real or not, just take a look at your reality. Reality looks, lurks as if it's the biggest fiction on this amazing planet.

Life in Macedonia feels like you are somewhere trapped in between, on the border of reality and fiction.

Wonder what would be the scandals that would be revelaed in your country if your politicans were wire-taped?


Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 12:32 AM

Dear Stefan,

How are you? Aren't wire taps supposed to be illegal? I've been looking forward to wire taps of quite a few politicians in my country, especially of the Ministers and Governors from the Northern part of the country and Lagos. It's not just about the potential political scandals that wewould discover (there would be too many, I expect), but also the more social aspects of their lives. To make the public realise that they're just ordinary men and women in elected positions.

Like every sensational news with potential repercussions when exposed to the public, there would be a general outcry and self-righteous indignation at the crimes committed (supposedly). But if no action I taken to "fix" it, then would anything really come out of such exposure except as reference to past failures and acts of ineptitude?

When are the elections in Macedonia and how are the campaigns done there? Lots of promises no candidate can really keep, I expect.

Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Dear Udoka,

Yes, wire taps are supposed to be illegal, however this is all justified once you have really a verification of the crimes being done. The thing is, there have been so many sensational news in the past few years that also as I have mentioned the verges of the people's perceptions feel like slided. Nothing is sensational enough anymore. We have heard all sort of news. But, I think that this is the deal with all world, all countries. In our fast pace, we are bombarded with the news and then only bombarded with more news and more.. this is where we get lost in the sea of information and it's hard for us to navigate, therefor for many it's just easier to step out of this zone and not follow recent developments.

There should be elections soon this year or next year in Macedonia, I am not really sure. Whoever comes next would have to deal with amazing set of challenges I think. Lots of promises always. Promises mutated then. When I do reflect on this, I always come to the same question: what is reality and what is fantasy in all of this political climate? Have these two realms switched so the "fantasy" is now the new reality and what was supposed to be reality has now become a "fantasy"?


Sat, Apr 18, 2015 at 2:45 AM

Dear Stefan,

Reality is what you make it, I believed. The only reality I concern myself with is that which would affect not just me, but would result in the greater good of as many people as possible: The Collective. You can't please everyone, you know.

I've been trying to learn more about the wire tapping scandal in Macedonia. On one some consider that the EU would intervene and require your Prime Minister to resign (can they do that?) and on the other hand some consider their the EU's response slow and out of touch with reality. These are independent opinions of "experts" of the European Union and Macedonia.

I hope Macedonians can reach the best decision for themselves. When you make your leaders know that they won't be allowed to get away with bad leadership, amongst other things, then they'll become more aware.

Take care,

Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 3:25 PM

Dear Udoka,

One would easily get lost in translation when it comes to Macedonian politics, but would double that for global politics. Now, as it's today Earth Day I could only think we have so many more things to care about, for our planet, so many challenges we must channelize our energy to that everything else should come secondary.

If we do not focus our energy on doing the best for our planet here and now, we would really really be sorry for the next generations. Did you check this video that Hayley shared.

I do believe however that the truth will not hide for all times and that those who will need to pay their debt for the loss of democractic society will do that, not only politicians here, but also globally.


Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 10:57 PM

Dear Stefan.

I hope you're doing well. I apologise for not getting back to you sooner.

I liked the video you sent me. I know that as much as I try to do the right thing, sometimes it can get a little difficult.

These days, I find myself asking friends and relative strangers about what they think their paths in life lead. From the looks I've been getting, I've concluded that either I'm not asking the right question or that a lot of people really haven't taken the time to give that a thought.

I personally don't believe that a person can only do that "One Thing" on Earth that makes their lives worth meaning.

Do you?


Tue, Apr 28, 2015 at 9:19 AM

I do not think that we only have one life path, it's intermingled, it's multiple roads we take, it's continual battle to get on the right tracks. It's difficult however to "world-bridge" various pathways. Personal life can be utterly different from work life for instance, it could mean literary two different identities for yourself you need to adopt. That's my impression from life until now.

It's the same when you speak your native language, your native dialect, then English or another foreign language. Each language requires from you certain type of behavior, your own accommodation in the universe of that language. You are whole different person when you talk your dialect, another person when you talk your native language standard, and a third person when you speak English. In this sense, I also think one is totally different persons when they are off on the road towards several life missions at the same time. This can feel as a multiple personality disorder sometimes... does it need to feel like that necessarly? How do you feel about all this?


Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 4:06 PM

Hey Stefan,

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about being different persons in different situations. I myself have always felt that way, especially when I meet new people or go to a different place from the usual. For instance, when I'm out in Lagos or working in my field, my close friends and family wouldn't know who I am - apparently I transform myself to a different person. But not entirely though. I believe that Udoka is still there, but she's more in her element, and sometimes not.

From this I've learned that I can be anybody I choose...I can script myself into a situation and make it work - so long as I'm not trying to deceive anybody, of course.

You never know what you're capable of till you take risks and push beyond your comfort zone. As the Dalai Lama said:

“Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”

Now that's something I constantly have to remind myself every day.

Hope to hear from you soon...


Take care

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Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

its amazing..............
i have fallen in love with this Pen Pals!!! :)

25th May, 2015 @ 5:42 PM CEST

Stefan Alievikj

Stefan Alievikj | C:F staff

Hey Muhammad, find your penpal with CF and feel free to contribute to the issue!! :)))

1st June, 2015 @ 11:03 PM CEST

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