Speech for Book Launch of A Girl From Neret
By Victor Bivell
Sunday, 25 March 2007
A Message From the Publisher
Guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for taking the time
to come here today to help launch this new book, A Girl From Neret,
by Lefa and Kathy. I wish I could be there to thank you but Sydney is
a long way away, and if all goes well I do hope to be in Perth for the
A Girl From Neret is the eighth Macedonian book published by Pollitecon
Publications. While I am proud of all of them, I am particularly proud
of this book because my own family, both my mother and my father, come
from Neret, and because it is the first book about our village.
I remember many years ago sitting in a park in Sydney thinking that
although up until then I had read several thousand books, I had never
read any book, indeed nothing at all, about the village where my mother
and father came from. This realization shocked me. I started to look
for books and any written material about our village, but I could not
find anything, in English or Macedonian.
I realized that while many people from other countries and other towns
and villages around the world can pick up and read any number of books
about their homeland, I could not. There was nothing about where my
parents lived, what the village was like, how they lived as children
and as adults, and what life was like.
Now, Lefa and Kathy have given us such a book. Now everyone from Neret
and the surrounding villages can read about what life was like for our
parents and grandparents who came from the village. For this I am very
grateful, and I hope that everyone from our village can appreciate what
they have done.
As we know, those cultures that write their own history are more likely
to survive and prosper, while cultures that do not create quality cultural
objects, such as books, can one day vanish without a trace.
Lefa and Kathy's book is such a high quality cultural object. It is
a valuable thing that reinforces our identity and culture, and can make
up proud to be Macedonian, proud of our history and who we are.
We should also thank Lefa for her bravery in telling her story. Because
life in the village was not easy. The war period was hard on every one
including the children. There were many child refugees from Neret, and
what Lefa experienced and how she overcame those difficulties are well
told in this book.
So thank you Lefa for telling us your story and a little bit about
the people and history of our village. And congratulations to Lefa and
Kathy for writing this excellent book. I am confident it will do very
well and make us all proud.
© Copyright, March 2007