The Balkans Appropriation of Mother Teresa
No matter what interests various countries, governments, institutions, political and religious leaders, businessmen and reporters, especially those hailing from the West, had and still have in the image and legacy of Mother Teresa, they would invariably give the impression that their admiration and adoration for the nun comes mainly from her charity work to beneﬁt the ‘throwaway’ people in India and elsewhere. While it is true that many people admired and continue to admire her for just that, many more Mother Teresa fans have declared their attachment to her, especially since her death, mainly because of what she allegedly did for them. This is particularly the case in the Balkans, where the nun’s admirers mushroomed suddenly in the wake of the global recognition she received as a result of the Nobel Prize in 1979. From that moment, the international celebrity Mother Teresa was seen by many parties in the Balkans as a god-send, especially by her fellow Albanians and the Macedonian Slavs, most of whom were blissfully unaware of her before the ﬂashing cameras of the world media embellished her with the publicity halo which in the Balkans has a magic effect. This chapter traces Mother Teresa’s reception in and the impact of her fame on the Balkans throughout her life as an international celebrity and especially since her death in 1997.