Monday, July 16, 2012

Eight months ahead of the local elections, the political battle is raging

Diary: July 9-15, 2012

Monday, July 9
The news on the failure of the Macedonian basketball team is still going on. Disappointment is widespread. I have to admit, I was rather content. I will never forget the Nazi styled parades at the beginning of the year, celebrating the successes of the basketball and handball teams. This led to a nationalistic frenzy, strongly supported, if not organized, by the party in power. Eventually, ugly interethnic incidents occurred. I posed a very obvious question then: Who Wants War in Macedonia?
That’s why I felt relieved upon the failure of the Macedonian basketball team. I’m not very much into sports, but was glad if any Macedonian team would score somewhere abroad. The nationalistic politics killed that feeling, probably forever, making me feel unwelcome in my own country.
The “Tiger” (special police unit member) Igor Spasov who killed Martin Neshkovski during the post-election celebration of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE on June 6, 2011, was convicted to 14-year long prison sentence. He appealed to the Court of Appeals, claiming he didn’t kill Neshkovski. Spasov was the only person who stood trial in this case of police brutality, despite public calls that more officials need to take responsibility, including the Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska. Spasov remains to be the only person taken responsible for this murder. “I wasn’t there to kill, but to protect the Prime Minister”, he stated before the judges. What does it mean? Protecting the Prime Minister can kill?
The heat wave in Macedonia continues. Underpaid and with no safety at work, construction workers continue working under the blazing sun. Most of the works are government’s projects. Embarrassing, to say the least. The Social Welfare Minister started acting concerned and issued a couple of recommendations.

Tuesday, July 10
The political life of the country is mostly about the local elections in 2013 and the name issue with Greece. The unofficial campaigning first started with governmental campaigns already in March. Well, the government's campaigns are ongoing for six years now. The main opposition party SDSM counter-stroke with the “working summer”, fiercely criticizing the government from the town squares across the country, while promoting mayors in the same time.
I had a coffee with a friend this morning, who disagrees with this concept of the opposition. He believes that early promotion of mayors is sort of “legitimizing the authoritarian and criminal rule of this government”. He wants to see the opposition united to turn this government down – nothing else. Period. There is some sense there.
I spoke to few people about the alliance of - once upon a time ago - fierce political opponents, Branko Crvenkovski (SDSM, Social Democratic Union of Macedonia) and Ljubco Georgievski (VMRO-NP, VMRO – People’s Party). Some of them say it will be confusing for both supporters of SDSM and the VMRO-NP. Crvenkovski said at the beginning of the month that Churchill and Stalin joined forces against Adolph Hitler. The ruling VMRO-DPMNE reacted with the ironic question that Crvenkovski didn’t clarify who is Churchill and who is Stalin in this coalition. As it seems, they don't complain about the comparison of their leader with Hitler. Not that it came to my attention.
Later on in the afternoon, I watched the alarming video of the Human Rights Watch on the xenophobic violence in Greece
Well known pattern of thinking of the nationalist idiots: “it’s poor asylum seekers who are responsible of the financial troubles of Greece or any other country; it’s not the crooked politicians and massive theft at the institutional level”.

Wednesday, July 11
Arifi on the cover
"Vice Prime Minister for
all-Albanian unification"
Teuta Arifi, the Vice Prime Minister for EU integration, got on the cover page of the daily Dnevnik (influenced by the government), calling her “Vice Prime Minister for all-Albanian unification”. The cover story accuses her of running an agenda that is completely different from the EU program of her Secretariat for European Affairs. “On the account of the people”, writes the paper, “Arifi traveled to Albania taking part in forums on issues such ethnic minorities, the Albanian question, and 100 year anniversary of the Albanian flag." 
In the evening, I watched B92 news. Here comes the statement of the day! Ivica Dacic, the future Serbian Prime Minister called the financial sector in Serbia “the main enemy of the people”, reminding me of the best times of the Russian bolshevism. Unbelievable!
These kind of ridiculous statements go hand in hand with nationalistic rhetoric on Kosovo, determination on not giving up from the holly Serbian land, etc. Since Tomislav Nikolic got elected president of Serbia, we can expect many bizarre statements and dangerous games in the coming years.
Dacic provides one more prove that stupid politicians simply fail to contribute to the development of a country, but are very successful in raising nationalism and violence.

Thursday, July 12
I contacted several people that take part in the lobbying activities at the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), trying to push for a “bulletproof” treaty that will prevent dictators from butchering their own people. I was interested in how the Macedonian delegation is doing. We (in Civil) have worked very hard on this issue in the last several months (and 11 years before). Among other things, we contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to brief the state officials on the ATT process, using the excellent materials from the Control Arms coalition. We provided the MFA with information via their e-mail, since no one has responded to our numerous phone calls. What I learned from my colleagues in New York, the MK delegation is utterly mute.  Should I be surprised?
In other e-mails (I get at least a dozen of them daily) on the ATT process, I learn about the NRA rednecks’ attacks. They are aggressively calling upon the Second Amendment’s (US Constitution) right to bear arms. Manipulators! The very essence of the ATT process doesn’t concern the Second Amendment. Moreover, this Amendment is misused by gun lovers in USA, to satisfy the primitive urges of masculinity and the bloodstained appetites of gun makers.  
In Struga, the police have shot dead an unarmed 25-year-old criminal. According to the report, police shot warning shots, but the fugitive got killed anyhow. Effortless, I can count at least four unarmed persons who got killed by police in the last couple of years only.

Friday, July 13
The National Bureau of Statistics reported that 30.4% of Macedonian citizens live below the poverty line. This already high percent of poor people was “corrected” by the World Bank’s report according to which the poverty rate in Macedonia is 42.5%, out of which 14.7% live with USD 2.5 or less! On the other hand, the government continues campaigning about its financial successes, promotes skyscrapers, raises a monument per day, shortly - beats all laws of logic.
Alexander the Great, officially 
called Warrior on a Horse
expensive and ugly
I turn to the website of the government to have some fun. There, the PM Gruevski responds to the Greek President Carolos Papoulias. The website proudly rephrases the MK PM: “if Papoulias says this in the sense of supporting Macedonian identity, nationality and language, and since a majority of the people here are Macedonians and feel as such, having a national and lingual entity tied to Macedonia and the Macedonian language, then he gladly accepts the role as leader of Makedonism.
Yes, “Makedonism” is the food that will feed the hungry. And free opera tickets that the government is offering to people. Remember Maria Antonieta? When informed that her subjects had no bread to eat, she said “Let them eat cake then.”

Saturday, July 14
The new spokesperson of the government Alexandar Georgiev, announced the government’s plan to build 76 local roads, 176 km long, worth 15 million euro. Simple math: if money used for Skopje 2014 (300 million euro; even more, most probably), this government could have built 3,520 km of roads.

Sunday, July 15
"Together, we can do more"
the party election slogan 
and Koce Trajanovski
Many examples speak of the manners and intellectual level of MK officials. The video published on Plus Info presents the brilliant way of communication of the Skopje’s mayor Koce Trajanovski who swears like a drunken sailor (sorry sailors, it’s an expression).
Meanwhile, the opposition continues rallying. Today, SDSM and coalition partners are rallying in Bogdanci, tiny and poor town in the country’s south. “People want their country back!” – is the emphasis of this rally. Eight months ahead of the elections, the political battle is raging. 

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