Coexistence is when we will sing "Raspukala Shar Planina" and "Shote mandolina"
Ohrid Framework Agreement is increasingly becoming a platform for a state separated with party – private enclaves, some experts believe. According to others, the treatment of the Framework Agreement is not serious and that has led to decline in the interest of the international community in its fate, which can be very worrying for the future of Macedonia
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Macedonia, 13 years after signing the Ohrid Framework Agreement – there are protests on the streets of Skopje, occurring in the heart of coexistence, the café “New Orleans” in the old bazaar was demolished for “playing Macedonian music”.
“The Framework will be implemented in phases and honestly when Ahmeti will speak Macedonian, when “Raspukala Shar Planina” will be heard in the Bazaar, but also “Shote mandolina” in the restaurants in Macedonia”, says Aleksandar Chomovski, analyst and columnist.
Isen Saliu, chief editor of “Lajm” thinks that to the business government partners it does not matter how the framework agreement is written and read as in relation to the regulation of inter-ethnic relations. Deputy speaker of the ruling VMRO-DPMNE Antonio Miloshoski says that the nouns we and they as a subject of daily political debates will not disappear from the Macedonian public space in the next 50 years.
“I think the frivolous attitude towards the Framework by those who are responsible to implement this agreement has led to decline in the interest of the international community in the fate of this agreement, which can be a very worrying momentum for the future of Macedonia”, says Saliu for Inbox7.
He points out that signing the Ohrid Agreement, with all its advantages and disadvantages, was a great opportunity Macedonia once and for all to build strong foundations of interethnic relations and to dedicate itself to real issues that affect citizens.
“As long as the framework was understood like this, it had concrete results in improving interethnic relations. This did not seem appropriate to the Macedonians and Albanians’ enemies, who mobilized to fully expose the spirit of the Framework Agreement, turning it from an agreement to create interethnic peace to an agreement of creating interethnic tensions”, points out Saliu.
Aleksandar Chomovski remembers 2001 when tense negotiations were conducted in Ohrid between political actors and foreign facilitators.
“Reporting from an event, which I find the easiest task, in Ohrid was the hardest burden for a reporter. The start of negotiations was with political and national emotions, nationalistic rhetoric, bloody incidents. For the first time I felt the burden of VMRO warrants of 2001, inscribed with graffiti all over Macedonia – “Chom Shqiptar“. The journalistic family in Ohrid was far more mature and more integrated than the participants in the talks in Villa Biljana. I think the periods before and after independence 89-92, as well as military conflicts 99-2002 are my best and brightest moments of professionalism. And why not say – then the press loved Macedonia” Chomovski is decisive.
He says that he believes Macedonia has prospects only if we create a social life for an integrated society with shared values. “I am afraid that the Ohrid Agreement is increasingly becoming a platform for a state separated with party-private enclaves”, adds Chomovski.
Ohrid Agreement will be honestly implemented when Ahmeti starts speaking Macedonian
Analysts have different views on whether the framework is implemented in full.
“The problem is that there is not an official review prepared by competent authorities about how much the Ohrid Agreement has been implemented so far, that is what has not been implemented yet. It is obvious that there is still much space for implementing the provisions of this agreement, especially in terms of equitable representation, the use of Albanian as an official language, equitable distribution of budget and other issues that were to be closed 10 years ago” says the journalist – editor of “Lajm” Isen Saliu.
“Without a single official outline by the Secretariat for implementation of the Ohrid Agreement, no thorough analysis can be done about what is implemented by this agreement, that is a strategy how to implement the remaining obligations”, points out Saliu.
Columnist Chomovski is decisive that the Ohrid Agreement will be implemented in phases and honestly when Ahmeti starts speaking Macedonian, when “Raspukala Shar Planina” will be heard in the Bazaar, but also “Shote mandolina” in restaurants in Macedonia. When one day Bedzeti will be PM, and Spirovski will be the head of Tetovo for example, as soon as the budget, personnel and political segregation stops.
“Such futurism might be abandoned in New Europe, but we are a union which has a venerable tradition of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional life. It is a more valuable product of all the artificial documents and of the current attempts by the ruling elites to transform voters to people without a social and personal identity”, says Chomovski.
Thirteen years after signing the Ohrid Agreement there are at least two readings or two interpretations to this document yet, said Vice President of the Parliament, Antonio Miloshoski recently in an interview for Inbox7.
“Everyone looks at this agreement through his own prism which I think has already been transformed into constitutional and legal norms. But some politicians from the Albanian community, I see through their way of reading the agreement, require its expansion or at least extensive interpretation. On the other hand, with Macedonian politicians prevails the standpoint that more was given regarding the agreement and rights than it was gained to ages. And it becomes clear that this issue will not disappear from the Macedonian public space in the next 50 years, we will only have to develop the capacities for its good governance with greater care and seriousness. And political and social maturity in every factor in RM that the abuse of ethnic relations in RM is not easy, but the consequences can be severe”, said Miloshoski.
At the same time Saliu thinks there is no different reading of the Framework Agreement by Albanians and Macedonians, at least not by the political entities in the government coalition.
“The so-called “different reading” is only part of the script for enthralling the public and defocusing from the essential problems of citizens and corruption scandals. I assure you that to the business government partners it does not matter how the Framework Agreement was written and read regarding the regulation of inter-ethnic relations and the regulation of ethnic rights. This agreement is now read only as inspiration for creating scenarios for films with ethnic tensions and producing false patriots“, says Saliu for Inbox7.
Why 13 years after the conflict in Macedonia, Macedonians and Albanians build and worship any monuments of their victims of the conflict? Chomovski makes a comparison with Mons – France where there is a common monument to 230,000 German and 284,000 British and Allied soldiers killed in the bloody battles of the First World War. “From such European values we can learn something applicable in post-framework Macedonia,” he says.
The Old Bazaar in Skopje is an example of coexistence
Someone has misunderstood the Framework Agreement, say shopkeepers that Inbox 7 spoke to in the Old Skopje Bazaar. One of the owners of the fur shop “Marija”, where for decades his family has had their own craft shop, says that the old bazaar is a bouquet of various roses, it is an example of coexistence.
“For me Ibro will always be Ibro, Trajko will always be Trajko. That was during the conflict, together here we were wondering what we had done wrong. Why did they do it, we live together and no one can separate us. The structure is quite mixed, Macedonians working with Albanian employers, all nationalities are employed”, he explains.
The barbecue restaurant “Destan”, which has been working since 1913, is also in the bazaar.
“Words like our and your annoy me, there are workers and non-workers. There are all nationalities among the 35 employees”, said Akif Hadzija for Inbox7.
According to him the fights in the bazaar are isolated cases caused by boys coming from rural areas who make problems in order to draw attention.
“There used to be such a rivalry between people from Vodno and Madzir Maalo. But the difference is that then we fought with bare hands, who was stronger, fights were more frequent, but with smaller consequences. Now they have weapons and therefore the consequences are tragic”, recalls Hadzija.
People who have spent much of their life in the bazaar wonder why it is easier to listen to Serbian turbo-folk, not Macedonian songs in Albanian cafés, and vice versa, Albanian songs in Macedonian bars? When will primary school children begin to learn minority languages in their environments, as Serbian was learnt here three decades ago and Turkish was spoken three centuries ago?
Editor: Stojanka Mitreska