Who killed the SJO?
By Denko Maleski
We have defeated America and Europe and all those at home who wanted justice in the Republic of North Macedonia. SJO is dead. Who killed the SJO? The orient, that state of the spirit that tangles and hinders everything it touches, making it ambiguous, multifaceted, and even meaningless, which kills both people and ideas, while immobilized like that drags them in a deaf nonsense. The spirit of the Orient in us has won over the clear democratic principles of the West. The resistance to those principles of the rule of law is not from yesterday. In the case of the SJO, that resistance has been lasting since its establishment when, instead after posting the “bombs” to bow their heads and apologize for the usurpation of the power entrusted to them, the VMRO DPMNE government attacked the enemy at his home. The impertinence went so far as, I remember, party emissaries penetrated the US Congress in an effort to bring proceedings to recall their ambassador to Skopje Jess Bailey. Namely, with the decisive support of the Western ambassadors, the previous government was overthrown, and even after the defeat it did not think of sitting with its arms crossed. But the then politicians thought that the engagement of the ambassadors was something personal, as in our country, so our home games of personal discredit would easily pass in the West. Little did they know that the state they ruled became a security issue for Europe and America, its corruption and non-transparency became a form of contagious disease in the international community of states, for which a cure had to be found. The cure was the party and its leader to leave, that, by capturing the state, subjugated the people to their will. The instrument was a bold Special Public Prosecutor’s Office that was not caught in the grid of power. Five years later SJO is caught in the net and now it remains to be seen whether there will be a bargain with VMRO-DPMNE to be dragged into that famous Balkan deaf nothingness.
But head up. SJO is a shining, irreplaceable experience – from its foundation, through the charges to its dreadful fall. This experience tells us the truth about us, a mirror in which we can see ourselves as individuals and as a society. The truth, they say, frees up. And if SJO does nothing more, we will never be able to say we didn’t know. Now we all know, with disgust, about Macedonian politics and the people who rise to the top from the mouths of brave prosecutors. We know politicians who have sinned justice by name and surname. And we understand why for decades public opinion polls have been speaking of citizens’ distrust of politicians. We also know that Robert Dahl, a prominent researcher on democracies, was right when he wrote that the political system of a state does not change significantly in a human century. The SJO story is the story of us, the story of a nation that seeks rule of law but has no power to touch it. SJO is a picture of our glittering rise and our dreadful fall.
I participated with my mind and heart in that, as I wrote then, “rush to heaven”. I participated with a written word not because of the belief in some definitive victory of the rule of law in Macedonia, because neither books nor our practice allowed such optimism, but because through such raids and defeats we lay its foundations and in the process we become better people and a better society. Through such ups and downs, namely, citizens’ awareness grows of the value of the rule of law and about the struggle to conquer human freedom and dignity.
Anything to topple VMRO-DPMNE? Well, of course. The first step was those who seized the state apparatus and usurped the power of the people to leave politics. Those who put the police at the service of the party eavesdropping on over 20,000 citizens. Those who said the party would stay in power for a hundred years. Stunned by the dimensions of the affair, foreign diplomats hoped that Macedonian society would rise up in protest against its politicians and quickly clear up with them. There was the surprise: the indifference of the Macedonian society. Terrible, deaf indifference. The court whose judges were mentioned in the tapes was silent. The faculties that educate the judges were silent. The then prosecution was silent. What was the reaction, our foreign friends wondered. Typically ours: nothing to do, no actions to be taken is the old tactic of the culprits who are caught in the act, obstructing until the last drop of desire for change in those who are offended by injustice and corruption. To death if needed. Everything to tangle, splinter, grip, no longer move, no longer alive, is the tactic and strategy of all usurpers of power that we know not only from politics but also from our daily lives. This is our oriental culture. All my life I have been witnessing the successes of such usurpers of entrusted power, and no one can do anything to them, from the university to the highest levels of government.
America was behind the creation of the SJO, someone said as if they had discovered America. Well, thank God. And thanks to America. When domestic usurpers produced the Kumanovo events that killed eight of our young policemen, only the power of America and the West could stand in the way of gangsters who were willing to wage an ethnic war just to save their skin. “But it’s not us and we don’t know anything…,” an insidious howl, which lasts until the last drop of desire for truth and justice in their opponents is drained. While in despair, they do not throw their hands to heaven, swearing at the day when they defended truth and justice. No one can do anything to that hideous mentality we should be ashamed of in front of our children and grandchildren. When they tried to overcome the political and legal blockade of meetings in Przino and by the establishment of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, Western diplomats worked for the benefit of the citizens of our country because, as we are, we were powerless in front of the power of our usurpers. Indeed, where is Priebe’s document now, the senior official of the German administration, who noted the weaknesses of our legal and political system? And now someone is asking at what point the US and the EU have abandoned the SJO. The “moment” is long and can only be found in the Balkans: it has been going on for years and shows that the party will destroy the state and its people faster than allowing their former leaders to be held reSJOnsible for abuses of power. As an assistant, I have read with amazement about the political systems of young African states that simply could not function without amnesty for violence and corruption. Is this our situation today? Are we not placed on a daily basis before the choice either to allow amnesty for violence and corruption or total collapse of the political and legal system of the Republic of North Macedonia? Because our parties are not joking: they will beat the state and its people faster than they can take the blame. Faced with this choice, the United States and the EU can, at least for some time, give up trying to transplant democratic institutions into our oriental political body that simply rejects them. Because the SJO is “theirs”, not “ours”. We should be ashamed.
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