Todays Date
February 29, 2020


Identity is not what is written in the document, but what is already written in each of us

writes: Zoran Ivanov


The Prespa, the Constitution, the North ended. Elections are ahead, so it seems that the identity theme will again be pushed as a tool for votes, actually for manipulation to obtain votes. And of course, this will be new wasting time for something that has already been worn out, overcome, finally completed. Macedonia went another way. How successful it will be is neither in the name, nor in the identity.

With Greece we made a trade-off painful for us, perhaps even more painful for them. We gave them antiquity, we took their name. After all, our country is the only one in the world that owns the name Macedonia. That, like the Macedonian language that only we, Macedonians uniquely speak, are the two key internationally certified identity facts for us. And that is it. This is all regarding our identity. Everything else is pure manipulation. Because both the passport and identity card and institution names are only elements for identification, not identity.

The question of our identity is as old as our independence decades ago. Now that this is resolved forever, when, after decades, the world is recognizing us as people and a nation and as a country called Macedonia, low political passions will further manipulate the feelings of Macedonian voters. That the issue of identity is already boring to the level of obnoxiousness and that the matter on the topic should finally be closed, only a reminder that it is already too old, unattractive and futile.

In this column I will point to a few fragments through a line of a text with the same title as this one published in the already closed, then the prestigious and influential daily newspaper Dnevnik. The same author, the same topic. Only a time distance of ten years. Our Macedonian ten years lost.

…Identity is not some kind of document, a piece of paper. Identity is not what is written on the passport or credit card. They are just ordinary documents for personal or administrative identification. Identity is what is already “written” in each of us. Ethnic, national or religious identity, it does not matter, is not an object which there is a particular need to speak about. Even less, as it is now in our country for electoral purposes, in waves to be polemicized. Identity is history, tradition, culture, feeling, unity, belonging. Identity is the indelible urge that binds the individual to the group and vice versa. Therefore, identifying the identity with identification is rough manipulation that has been imposed in the Macedonian public for months. Identification and identity are terms that need to be distinguished and explained. They have nothing in common either by their form or content.

It is a status that motivates us to behave as we have never dreamt about to. Like with Goran Pandev, for example, because of him we started to be fans of “Inter”. Have we ever as a people and a nation cheered for this Apennine team? Have we had any motives, reasons for doing so as devotedly as we did in the past football season? Not at all, right? But now, in this international competition, is “our boy”. Only for that reason and only while he is there. These are the identity drives that spring from our Macedonian affiliation. They cannot come out from anywhere and cannot be guaranteed with a document, with some piece of paper.

Pursuing politics by irritating the national feelings of people, the policy of implanting doubt in the nation’s endurance, promoting theses for its alleged disappearance, populism, have replaced the slogan “we are accomplishing”. Forcing divisions, “patriots” and “traitors” is now a policy that is practiced as a substitute for all unrealizable, but loudly announced promises. Of course, the end of the manipulations, as always, is inevitable for this political cycle. This is helped neither by the global economic crisis, nor by rigid Greek attitudes. People are becoming aware of this. The consequences, unfortunately, are great, especially because of the wasted time for the Euro-Atlantic movements, which is still aimlessly and ruthlessly wasted. They are great for the entire society except for political actors who by rule, even according to their own confessions, from ordinary mortals, in only one term, have become successful businessmen. They have acquired property that guarantees them and their generations the future and that will provide them with a status anywhere with or without Macedonia. That is their patriotism.

On the Macedonian political scene identification issues are set as identity. These are terms that need to be distinguished and explained, and not promoted as the main brake for NATO and the EU. Identity has become a conjunctural political tool. It is a populist, and hence, the most coveted topic for political actors. The government manipulates the feelings and flames the fears of its alleged endangerment. For the opposition, defining the identity is still a hot chestnut. Of course, the injustice that Greece is continually doing, and not only Greece, is unacceptable. But this can no longer be an excuse for our Balkan dig.

If that condition is objectively unsurpassed, the resolution of the dispute remains to be attacked by other solutions. It is obvious, however, that the most responsible, above all President Ivanov and Prime Minister Gruevski, are either still flying in the ancient clouds or are terrified of their political skin and have no courage to step forward. And it is precisely from them, from their functions, that it is legitimate to expect that they will no longer lose their precious time and at least try to change such a situation quickly. Finally, let them point out their “reasonable compromise” from which the contents for the notebooks in the UN will be derived. That international “identification” of our country will be recorded there. No one’s identity is recorded there. For the ear the boasting of politicians, experts, columnists, journalists, artists, sounds powerful, fooling with “we do not give the name” and burning the people with that false thesis of an endangered identity.

The theme identity is a policy of further constructed public deceit, a policy of building fake patriotism, a policy of promoting heroes that “rescue” our identity. Its vulgarization is just an ordinary tool, an actual tool for distracting attention from the lack of ability to materialize the promised “reasonable compromise”. Therefore, identification issues are set as identity. A status is created that blocks the possibilities for any attempts, with concrete Macedonian offers, to counter the hard Greek positions.

From such a frozen position, the government daily and in all fields self-asserts itself as an entity without an elementary mental capacity for achieving any progress. It fails to open the gates of NATO and the EU. And there are no flowers blooming there, but there we will be set better and we will have both the state and the identity. The 21st century is there, for which Macedonia, for nothing, has already spent two decades…

A whole decade ago it was like that. Meanwhile, from that text on, several new generations entered the social scene and the manipulative policy has stolen ten years from them. And in these presidential elections, the same political structure again forces for identical identity manipulation.

But this time it will be defeated. If from nothing else, then from the maturity of the citizens.


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