Till we meet again
By Aleksandar Krzhallovski
To clarify the title immediately, not to think that I foresee something about Macedonia’s fate, it’s just that this is my last text in this experimental project I participated with Inbox7. And as for the last (45th), I would like to share my experience and impressions.
Firstly, writing these columns was the first experience for me, so that was the main reason I accepted it when I was offered. Secondly, I thought it would be a good complement to my public (mainly TV) appearances for commenting on social and political developments, mostly in terms of advocating for the organization I run – MCIC and sharing the multitude of insights and analyses we create or come to through everyday work. And it was, but not as simple as I thought. I have learned that it is a bit more complicated to write something than to say it, with greater responsibility for the publicly written than spoken word. And of course it took longer, and at times it was hard to get the text ready in the early hours of the morning, to be timely and at the same time current enough. But in any case, it was an interesting experience for me, though I didn’t get the impression that the columns were very interesting to others, i.e. for you, the readers.
I base this impression mainly on social media comments, as I have no other insight into the possible reactions to these articles. And the comments are a phenomenon and a story for itself. I am glad that the articles in almost all cases provoked some comments, though not many (except for a few). I am not glad that those I found to be more important did not cause controversy, but mainly those dealing with daily politics, or cases that were current in the week of the corresponding article. It probably points to a culture of “instant reactions” and “shortsightedness”, which unfortunately the parties are skillfully (mis)using and for which we are stuck – as per the legendary thought of even more legendary professor Marjanovic from the early 90s – (every) nation gets the government they deserve.
I am even less glad that more than half of the comments did not deal with the texts themselves or the problems they dealt with, but with me ?! Half of them were pure insults or statements (in almost all cases wrong) from people who neither know me, nor have a clue what I do, nor know how much and what I have done in my life and career. What can I say about them , such comments actually say more about themselves than about me.
The other half of comments about me personally were qualifications to “place” me in the standard template of mandatory party affiliation (or at least closeness). I am very happy to have received qualifications ranging from “a latent VMRO guy” to “hidden communist”. For me it is just recognition that my articles are neutral enough and certainly independent of the parties.
To satisfy their curiosity, let me say a few things about myself on this issue. I have never been a member of any political party (not even the Communist League (SKM), though at that time – in high school, I was the closest to joining a party). Second, ideologically, (like all of us, we can’t all agree on one ideological point of view) I’m more a leftist rather than a rightist. For example, my essential values are pacifism (as opposed to the right/republican militarism), unity/brotherhood, equality and non-discrimination (as opposed to individualism), and in some EU tests I have also turned federalist (in the sense of the EU, i.e. I stand for a closer union, like the United States, as opposed to a loose union of independent states). On the other hand, it is true that of the parties I prefer VMRO-DPMNE… for historical reasons – in the early 1990s I was young and “revolutionary” (e.g. I participated in the organization of the first student protests in front of the Greek consulate) and unequivocally FOR an independent Macedonia (although I loved it, and in recent years I still love it, our former country – Yugoslavia); and for these reasons is also the way in which VMRO (although the winner of the first plurality elections) was “exported” by the more experienced politicians of the time (from the SKM-PDP, SDSM…and other parties that emerged from them); but also because of the policies, and also the performance, which I can describe as: “With SDSM most of the time it is a status quo, and VMRO again make important changes…well, out of 300 things they change when in power, 100 may be nonsense, but most are good!”
On the third hand, I have many more personal friends in SDSM, and we meet and communicate more often. Both personally and at work. For example, I met Nikola Gruevski live only twice in his 12 years in power, both at cocktails at foreign embassies and in no more than a 3-minute conversation. I have met Zaev at least 12 times in the past two or three years, including at formal meetings in the Government, and three times he has been speaker at events organized by MCIC. However, VMRO-DPMNE is to blame for this situation and on their own recognition by some of their MPs, in a “package” with the demonization of the Soros Foundation, due to their poor understanding of the role and need of CSOs, the entire (non-governmental) sector suffers from their attacks. Hopefully that will change soon, because it actually harms the party itself!
Finally, in the end, I should and would like to express my gratitude for the honest, well-founded and constructive comments, including those that disagree with my views or arguments that have challenged my opinion or thesis. I did not comment back, firstly because I was advised so, and secondly for lack of time, but in the future I will try to send personal messages to all of them, although the topics that have been commented on may not be current. Special thanks to my friend (and he turned out to be a faithful reader) Vojkan, whom I understood to be quite like-minded, and who often defended me in correspondence with other commentators. I hope I have aroused the interest and opinions of many other readers, though they have never commented on the articles.
Cheers, till we meet again!
*The text is written exclusively for the purposes of Inbox 7. For each republishing, a consent by the editors must be obtained. Inbox 7 does not always agree with the opinions and views of the authors in the debate section.
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