II. Third Macedonian Republic – from skepticism through euphoria to depression
It is a fact that our country is the only country in the world that has the brand Macedonia in its name. North but Macedonia. No other, only ours.
By Zoran Ivanov
So somehow, again through these transitional notions of the title, I could most subjectively place the current view on the Macedonian state-building stages. Since the beginning of the creation of the first Macedonian state, certainly not the historical one of two and a half millennia ago, but the present one.
The occasion for this mini-series of three sequels is the surge of controversial eight-september poems about the character of the state from creation through independence to the present day – ASNOM, independent and post-Prespa Macedonia.
Since its origins projected for the present geographical area, since AVNOJ 1943 and its first constitution on August 2, 1944 onwards, the state of Macedonia, if so to be defined amateurishly, has passed through three inevitable global evolutionary historical stages. Through the First, the Second and now it is in the Third Macedonian Republic.
The first from ASNOM 1944 to the breakup of the Yugoslav federation and independence, the second from the 1991 independence referendum to last year and now the third from the Prespa and the new constitution from January 2019 onwards. The objective reality on these subjective views is that in both the First and Second and Third Stage the country was Macedonia, the people Macedonian and the citizens have remained citizens of Macedonia, and the Macedonians Macedonians.
In the UN countries register ours is listed as the only state constitution in the world that contains the name Macedonia in its name. A republic with parliamentary arrangement and geographical extension North. A benchmark that both at home and in international relations administratively specifies the territory of our country within its internationally recognized ASNOM borders. An adjective that, in essence, practically and realistically, not emotionally and romantically, accurately points our territory to the historically geographical region of Macedonia that is spread to the north of where we are, to the south in Greece, part of the east in Bulgaria and a small ancient piece from the Macedonia region to its west in Albania.
The story of one Macedonia, our ancient Macedonia, Ancient Macedonia of the Macedonians, has always been just a story. An unrealistic and elusive longing dream for the empire of Amyntas, Philip and Alexander more than two millennia ago. A romantic fairy tale about our identity and our historical continuity from then on and with a black hole for a whole millennium. For more than ten centuries in which there is no authentic historical record of such a fictional continuity.
That is why it is undeniable that in the years of its authentic history the Macedonian people have been severely divided. At the beginning of the last century, due to various geostrategic interests of the major world and smaller Balkan countries and in the absence of our own country, our borders never before, we were literally crushed as a nation. Sad fate identical to that of many other nations throughout history. That is why it is not easy to explain the necessity of a compromise with the traditional negator of Macedonia.
The Prespa Agreement was painful but necessary. It has created new crises, frustrations, awakening from historical romantic dreams. It has produced us traumas, politicization, protests. But it had to happen. It took both human and political courage to push through and give it to the opponents. And it still took wisdom and persistence to explain it. To understand that neither a name has been changed, nor one’s identity has been lost. After all, after a year of fears driven by manipulations of narrow party interests, there’s nothing. The only thing that is true is that Prespa is a compromise. Symmetrical, asymmetrical, just, unjust, it is. So, in spite of the manipulations let’s go for the facts:
Firstly, decades later, an interstate neighborly dispute has finally been settled; Secondly, the blockades on Euro-Atlantic integration perspectives have been lifted for the country; Thirdly, we have institutionally retained our unique national Macedonian identity; Fourthly, we have finally got rid of the controversial FYROM; Fifthly, the Macedonian country has consolidated its international identity because it is the only one in the UN register as a country named Macedonia. In addition, the Macedonian people are unique in the world speaking their own authentic national language which is also designated in the UN register as Macedonian.
Sublimated, the Prespa Agreement and constitutional changes have practically done nothing to anyone, neither in identity, nor in institutional terms. On the contrary, both the country and all its citizens have benefited. Observed objectively, in terms of identity, mostly for Macedonians. Here’s the point again: The fact is that our country is the only country in the world that has the brand Macedonia in its name. North but Macedonia. No other, only ours. In addition, the Macedonian nation is the only in the world speaking their Macedonian language also in the UN notebooks it is listed as the language of the people living in that Macedonia, North but Macedonia. Hence, despite all the nebulous constraints, coercion and blackmail defined by Prespa, political manipulations to change state and national identity fall into the water. Macedonia has remained Macedonia and Macedonians have remained Macedonians both before and after Prespa. In North Macedonia but Macedonians.
It was not easy for the Greek progressive political structures to reach a compromise. And there is still a good part of the rigid political and general public being struck by the thought that, contrary to their region of the same name, north of them there is a country called Macedonia. And that there is a nation defined, institutionalized and internationally recognized as Macedonian. And this fact only confirms that the Prespa Agreement is not asymmetric and that it is in the historical interest of both neighbors.
The Balkan historical truths in the service of daily politics have already hypnotized the Balkan peoples. From too many dreams and too little reality we have brought back our homeland. We have anchored it on the last steps of European existential and cultural values. The history and interpretation of historical facts, of course, is for historians. Therefore, subjectivity in this second of the three successive thematic observations touched upon the evolutionary necessity of the Third Macedonian Republic. There will be another handful of columnist lines in the coming last Friday sequel. Mainly about the current depressing social environment created not by the Prespa, but by the decade-long incompetent politics of the Macedonian party elites.
It is nice to peep into history. To be carried by historical facts and historical myths. But from there, from the past onwards, the train drives in only one direction. With Prespa Macedonia lives its Third Republic. North but Macedonia.
The dream is over. The reality remains. Here and there, there is a bit more of the political manipulation on both sides. They have always been present and will be. So it would be wise of this good neighborly act to single out our piece of victory. It offers perspectives. Further on it all depends on us.
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