The East is not signing us out – the West is not signing us in
Even now, when unity is most needed, when the prospects offered to us by the compromises of the Prespa Agreement are within reach, when we are in front of the integrative doors, we are again in an anti-state condition. Again in deep divisions with our cannibalistic manners.
Politics has made the citizens become fan groups. At the expense of the state, it encourages supporters and opponents of the party elites.
By Zoran Ivanov
The oldest citizens still remember 1948. The time of the Informbiro, the Stalinist blockade of the then new state when, in those totalitarian circumstances, due to the division, especially because of the dilemma of where to turn to, which side of the bait to catch, people feared the fate of the day. Deep life or death division.
70 years have passed since then. The world, and we with it, has overturned ten times. We have humanized ourselves and democratized a bit. They happened to us or we initiated events in 1991, then in 2001, one constitution, second constitution, a referendum, a second, a third, a political crisis, a second, a third. In each of them defeats and victories. Defeats and victories here in this little space of 25,000 square kilometers and in this small and complex, very complex state union Macedonia. Deeply divided on some unimportant historical attributes, due to political adjectives or geographical additions. Divisions ideological and historical and interethnic, and national, international, quarrels and cheers for this Macedonia for that Macedonia.
The country has entered the new digital time with still unresolved old analog problems and constantly producing new ones. With smaller and bigger conflicts. With fears, xenophobia, antagonisms. The world is moving fast, and we continue on the stands, on the periphery, on the roadsides. Aside from important international developments. Happy new 1948 is long gone. New stages, new global strategic positioning. Macedonia has set off for three decades and it wants intensely, but also intensively does a little on its pro-Western path. It is too slow in the persistence of new, more valuable conditions. The East and the West have found a place here to measure their strength. The former, because of our inability to step on the desired paths in time, is not signing us out. The latter, patiently waiting for our maturity that has long been fermenting on the way of the values there.
In this condition of the country neither here nor there, our kicking continues. As some kind of damned congenital flaw, mainly due to the weak capacities of the party leadership, we are constantly producing new and new conditions of defeatism, divisions, dilemmas, fears. Political inoperability and daily partial egoistic interests reflect stagnation, produce divisions. They have become our unique social feature. The effects are quarrels, impatience, antagonisms. Also poverty, unemployment, expatriates. The political parties, promoters of these states are exhausted in mutual calculations. They are measured on trivial, lucrative daily political topics. They produce pamphlets, create labels. They create patriots and traitors. Vocabulary of intolerance has become the basic communication tool for inter-party calculations, but also for inter-civic communication.
We have all embarked in the games of divisions. Intellectuals, professors, academics, artists, journalists, even athletes. All of us together create conditions of divisions that have been pushing the country in stagnation for a long time. Since 1991, since the first euphoria for our own country, we practically do not remember one thing around which we have been unique. From time to time only some success in culture and sport injects us into a collective unity. Politics has made the citizens become fan groups. At the expense of the state, it encourages supporters and opponents of the party elites. It has created an ambient for a trench battle of freaks and patriots and has produced an unbearable mental nebula. A social cataract that hides the pathways to the country’s most important perspective goals.
During all this time the region has also been in conflicts, in politics or in deeper crises. International political competition breaks the East West line. We, despite our defined interests in international positioning, have not yet managed to stop on the road that we have chosen. We peer through the open door of the West. We do not enter it. We still fail to grab the rudder of our own boat left on the turbulent regional and global waves. Even now when unity is most needed. When the prospects are offered to us with compromises, when we are in front of the integrative doors. This time also battles for forward and battles for backwards. One “patriotic” obscured in the past, the other “treacherous” vigorously open to the future.
In disunity we are a unique nation. With a mentality and a character that is distinguished by incredible ability to blame each other, insult, and devour. To produce traitors, spies, snitches. At the same time, we promote ourselves for patriots, defenders. And we are especially adept at mining activities that, from the most real and most possible patriotic motives create rational policies in an attempt to move the country out of place. To push into a more certain future. To find solutions to blockages, to take it out from security hazards. To get out of our 10-year mental, economic, social, environmental and cultural province. To move from this state of intertwined values.
With the Prespa Agreement, eliminating the obstacle to the integration perspectives, the constitutional interventions, the new name, the new UN registration, with admission to the Alliance, the closure of the Framework, the agreement with Bulgaria, and finally the accession of the country to NATO, we have the guarantees for an integrated, safer, unitary Macedonia. For an irreversible time of unwanted decades of Macedonian affairs.
Of course, all these are just assumptions for a more harmonious society. For institutional security without deep divisions, without cruel antagonisms. For knightly inter-party struggles with real offers for justice and equality, for economics and social affairs, for a richer and more humane community.
The historic chance is here. Now it depends on us whether due to selfish political calculations we will continue to stand on the threshold of the entrance integration and security gate, or we will let them take us in. This is a time when with a less emotional division and with a bold rational step we can do it. Let’s reject our xenophobic mental states and decently and without fear face the challenges that pro-European civilization values offer us.
This is the moment when we can finally allow the East to sign us out it and let the West sign us in.
For some other time like this – we will wait for a while.
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