Between the Myth of Sisyphus and the European dream
By Bardhyl ZAIMI
Citizens’ disappointment of politics in North Macedonia is now an undeniable fact, served uninterruptedly in the public space. Political reruns and over-the-top concepts of government for over 20 years have created a mountain of despair, which has already begun to turn into civil mistrust over all that is happening as a way of thinking and practicing power.
For a long time, the political elites in North Macedonia have been fed with a kind of self-centered self-esteem that has kept them away from the increasingly difficult realities in people’s daily lives. This seems to be the peak of the theater of the absurd that is played on the backs of the citizens. Politics here is best illustrated by the myth of Sisyphus, this hero of the absurd, whom the gods condemned to repeat forever the same meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again.
In fact, this rolling remains a form of people’s destiny, always returning to a zero point where hope crumbles and can hardly recover. Only irresponsible policies create such despair that they have previously “racketed up” the will of the citizens.
At the top of the absurd mountain there are usually political pre-election promises, which then roll like a stone of despair at the dark reality of the people, those people who cannot make ends meet. How many times has paradise been promised while governments have offered only clientelism and other substandards in policy making? The last period may be the peak of civil mistrust, as all previous hopes, expectations and disappointments have passed in the last despair.
Within this decade of political absurdity is a state of not moving that crushes any optimism for better days. Unfortunately, political elites seem to have exhausted the whole arsenal of promises for a change while continuing the same management practices. The heavy stone of the absurd, in fact, continued to climb on top of the people who, without their fault, became the protagonists of this theater of the absurd.
Silent, patient and with stubborn hope they kept hoping and believing that one day they would finally emerge in another space, in that desired hemisphere that guarantees greater dignity and development for all. But the road from the top of the absurd to the European space seems so difficult with a contentious, snobbish political elite and in the least sense of transcribing civic will that is sinking into bumps of visa-free politics day after day.
Of course, not everything sounds so pessimistic. In fact, we all have two sets of developments of events, two views that have created two completely opposite situations. Infertile domestic policies have created only opposition, and the international community’s efforts have provided continued support for establishing a different perspective from clientelistic concepts of political parties.
It’s true, this vision promoted by the international community that relies on modern policies and good governance remains the only hope for the citizens, remains the light at the end of the tunnel, in this dark tunnel where they have brought sensitivity to people’s progress from self-designed policies to a group of people only.
At the height of the absurd, political elites fail to overcome and agree on key issues that enable a more positive movement to start EU accession negotiations. At a time when the EU officials’ absurd political clashes are continuing, they are giving positive signals for a possible start of negotiations.
This seems like a glimmer of hope in the dark tunnel of the political arm, which despite this positive momentum, which is more attributed to the engagement of international officials, fails to create the necessary synergy outside party molds to meet the difficult challenge of the negotiation process.
Despite these grim realities that are suffocating citizens, Macedonia has a chance to be rewarded for the wider context of reflections noted by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk during his visit to Skopje.
“I continue to take the position I had in June that your country has done everything the EU expected of you in the last two years to start negotiations, in line with the European Commission’s recommendations. This is still my conviction, your country has done everything. Skopje is the best place to appeal to the EU leaders, now you have to do your part because North Macedonia has already done its part”, Tusk pointed out .
Only a few weeks left of the possible decision to open negotiations, any internal political turbulence could complicate the situation. Undoubtedly, the potential launch of negotiations remains vital, although European diplomats have stressed that the priority is to establish a judicial system that has recently suffered a major blow. However, there is a hope that North Macedonia will eventually receive a date for the start of negotiations in October, which will be another phase of affirming European values and standards.
It has already been said that just opening negotiations will mean nothing if this moment is not followed by a new course of systemic reform that will enable institutional life to incorporate European best practices. Taking the date might throw away the stone of absurdity, the stone of contention and clientelistic politics.
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