Monday, July 23, 2012

Fabricated history and awful kitsch

Diary: July 16-22, 2012

Monday, July 16
What a blow! The Turkish investor Ibrahim Cevahir, in presence of the Prime Minister Gruevski, made strong public complaints on the business conditions imposed by the government, about the legislation mazes and slow administration. Ibrahim Cevahir is the head of Cevahir Holding which is going to build a massive residence and trade center in Skopje (over 1300 apartments, among others). He reminded the PM that he is not going to last forever, and his days in opposition are coming. This was a speech that rarely anyone (if any) dares to give so directly, to the face of the Macedonia’s strongman.
An opinion text by Ivor Mickovski (Plus Info news portal) called upon the business community in the country, strongly criticizing their cowardice to speak out about the unscrupulous ways of the government in the commercial sector. He's got a point there.
Namely, the internal debt of the government is kept as a top secret. For years, the government is not paying for the services provided by the commercial sector, the VAT is not being returned to the companies, and the business community is under constant threat of closure and prosecution by the financial police. Whether you own a kiosk or a coffee bar, or a factory – the Draconian fines are hanging in the air day in, day out. Business people talk about this all in coffee bars and sometimes in the chambers of commerce, but obviously not loud and not directly enough. Meanwhile, to become a service provider to the government – which is probably number one employer and user of commercial services in the country – one needs to be as close to the ruling party as possible. Conclusions are clear. 
This is a hangover Monday for many who attended the Prilep Beer Festival. The tiny Prilep has sold fantastic 289 tons of beers during the weekend. Another 124 tons of meet were grilled. A full plate of grilled meet was sold for as low as two euro. This country’s men and women have real good appetite. The quality of meet is not being discussed. The local government says that 400.000 tourists visited the town during the festival.
Nevertheless, not many believe the official numbers nowadays.

Tuesday, July 17
Thirty houses of the village of Patetino near Sveti Nikole (east part of the country) burned in a fire planted by an angry man in the neighboring village. He often threatened his neighbors with fire, complaining of their cattle.
Oil prices went up again. Despite the calls from the opposition to keep the price of the oil by a governmental intervention (giving up from part of the profit - let’s call it the way it is), the prices went up. New strike for the weak economy and family budgets...
The temperature in the Parliament is rising. Names of streets and institutions are being discussed, again, in a manner of mutual accusations and calling each other a traitor. Government is rewriting history and declining from reality – is the main argument of the opposition for quite some time now. they can’t be more right. The Skopje 2014 project is going to be discussed tomorrow.
I think it’s a rather smart game of the ruling majority in the Parliament. While Macedonia is sinking into poverty and isolationism, street names are being discussed in a pre-electoral manner. The opposition took the bait. Useless debates that only prove the lack of democracy in as small things as changing street names, make real big and damaging practices go on. When people see that even street names are under total control, they just feel powerless to change anything when it comes to real serious stuff.
Lustration (law on verification of facts on perpetrators of crimes committed under an earlier regime)… It’s done, the has been passed. It will include the whole period of communism all the way to 2006, when VMRO-DPMNE came to power. What is there to say? The facts speak for themselves.

Wednesday, July 18
The debate in the Parliament continues with the Skopje 2014. Fierce and unscrupulous, the MPs on both sides attack each other, visibly taking a good care to gain political scores with the voters. The opposition SDSM is well prepared and obviously in a good shape, due to its “working summer” campaign. The ruling party’s majority is rather arrogant, though nervous at times.
I remember a conversation with a self-proclaimed peace activist few months ago, before the debatable March for Peace. I could recognize his pro-ruling-party stand already from other subjects, but it became quite clear when he chanted “Imagine Skopje 2014 in 100 years! It’s going to be really beautiful, you have to admit!” Um, in 100 years it’s going to be another 100 years of shame, my friend. That’s what I’m repeatedly telling everyone for some time now, mostly getting the echoes of my voice back.
Meanwhile, the millions of euros are being poured into this expensive grotesque of fabricated history and awful kitsch. It will mark a whole generation of people and politicians who did not manage to stop this madness. Shame on all of us!
The court didn’t produce credible evidence for over two months after the arrest of suspects on the killing of five near Skopje in April, a huge case of the so-called fight of the government against Islamic terrorism. Back then the Ministry of Interior stated that they came to possession of unbeatable evidence on the involvement of the arrestees.
The opposition leader Branko Crvenkovski and the leader of the Democratic Party of the Albanians Menduh Thaci, another fierce political opponent of Crvenkovski from the past, shook hands today. Set aside all other aspects of this agreement, this is the first time in 20 years of the country’s independence that a Macedonian and an Albanian political party in the country enter a pre-electoral collaboration.

Thursday, July 19
The opposition VMRO-NP (VMRO-People’s Party) leader Ljubco Georgievski wrote to the Macedonian Orthodox Church. He called the projects of the government and the Church’s defense of it, restoration of paganism.
The Church came out with a highly political statement on the name issue, sending curses against the opposition, and defending the ruling party’s politics. By doing so, the Church violated (again) the principles and legislation that guarantee the secular character of the country, serving as a propaganda tool for the rulers.
The former PM Georgievski, known for his strong ties to the Church at the time, angrily attacked the latest public appearance of the Church, and called them to ask for forgiveness for their sins from St. Clement. 

Friday, July 20
In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, the supporters of Levsky in the match against the Bosnian Sarajevo made a grim reminder of extreme nationalism. The hooligans came out with posters and slogans that celebrate the ethnic cleansing in Srebrenica and Bosnia. “Ratko Mladic and Arkan f****d you, it our turn now” was one of the slogans waving at the stadium in Sofia yesterday.
Incidents occurred on the streets of Sarajevo today, echoing the ugly incident in Sofia. Militant messages continue coming from ultra-nationalists and hooligans, containing the slogan Nozh, zhica, Srebrenica [Knife, wire, Srebrenica] and other bloody and idiotic bullshit. I hope Bulgarian authorities will remember that their country is a member of EU and that this is the 21st century.
I don’t need to mention the thugs here. They anyhow live 2000 years ago.

Saturday, July 21
I have a story about worms today.
There was a family of worms living happily in the sewerage. One day, one of the kid-worms found a book on worms floating in the dirt of the sewerage and read it with a high interest. In the evening, when the father-worm came home from work, the kid had many questions for him.
“Father” - the kid asked - “is it true that there are worms living in an apple?”
“Yes” - the father responded.
“Also, there are worms living in the meat” - continued the child-worm.
“Right it is, my son” – the father was content by his son’s knowledge.
“Aha… And, is it true that there are many worms living in a plum, a cherry, and other sweet and beautiful fruits” – insisted the kid-worm.
“That’s all true, my son, there are many worms living in all those fruits” – said the father.
“Uh, father, why then we have to live in this stinking sewerage?” – the son was disappointed.
“Fatherland, my son, fatherland…” – said the father-worm.

Sunday, July 22
America mourns its 12 victims from the movie theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado on Friday. Grief and anger fill the news reports and social networks. Yet, the American politicians don’t dare to fight the Second Amendment in fears that the strong NRA lobby will diminish their votes. It takes courage, and strong political will and determination to tackle the gun culture in USA. And, the Second Amendment needs to be considered in its essence (I mentioned this in the previous diary) – it needs to be understood in its historical context and overcome it, once and for all.
Norway remembers the 77 victims from the lunatic and bloodthirsty attack of Breivik last year.
The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) negotiations continue at the UN. The Macedonian delegation is still silent.
Back at home, several wounded last week only from celebratory firing.
“Stop, before you kill someone!” we wrote in the press release the other day.
Thugs and idiots are thugs and idiots everywhere, at weddings, as well. 

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