By John Murray
Macedonians and Greeks have responded to the news that Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary, above right, is traveling to Struga, Macedonia, this summer, to cement a sister city agreement between Struga and Waterbury.
The Balkan Peninsula has long been mired in border disputes and ethnic tension, and O'Leary's strong relationship with the local Albanian community in Waterbury led to the sister city relationship. Struga's mayor, Ziadin Sela, above left, is an ethnic Albanian, and 60 years ago Struga was officially a part of Albania. As borders shifted, Struga is now a part of Macedonia, a country that didn't exist decades ago. Greece opposed the use of Macedonia as a name for the new country (which declared independence as Yugoslavia broke apart) and has opposed Macedonia's efforts to join the European Union entirely based on the name dispute.
To say the situation is complicated is as understated as saying New England has had a tough winter.