A capital M

by | 22 July, 2022

If we were proper citizens, we’d flood our “contact point” – the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with at least a million complaints about Bulgaria’s hate speech towards the Macedonian language.

1 We, “the anti-Europeans”, “the hysterical” and “the self-proclaimed experts”, whom they consider stupid and unable to understand the historical dimension of the protocol we’ve signed with Bulgaria in the negotiating framework for the EU accession talks, were taken for a ride by our government when they insisted that “our identity is set in concrete, our language is set in concrete”, “pure Macedonian language”, ”our language is recognized by all of Europe”, “Macedonian will boom in Europe”, “Macedonian resounded in Brussels”… and eventually – Macedonian did just that. It boomed with a badly written unilateral statement in the report after the meeting in Brussels, against the unilateral statement by Bulgaria that the Macedonian language doesn’t exist.

“Our pure Macedonian language” – which apparently doesn’t need proofreading.

We’re not talking about the fact whether when writing the key political statement the Government consulted with specialists in Macedonian language or Slavic languages or historians… We’re talking about the simple act of having the text politicians devised proofread. It’s not like they don’t have proofreaders in the Government. It’s a legal obligation. Although, truth be told, they didn’t really need a proofreader since anyone who’s finished the second grade would be literate enough to tell them that Macedonian is written with a capital “M”, and that the phrases Macedonian language and Macedonian people are written with a lowercase “m”. They might say – wow, you’re such complainers, nothing’s good enough for you, even the capital “M” bothers you, although we’re already headed towards the EU. Well, yes, it bothers us, because even in this case politics showed disdain for expertise and competence. Just as when Nikola Gruevski reduced all his disdain for experts and competent people to the legendary “Mile, I’ve got an idea” by turning himself into an architect and historian.

The VMRO members from Gruevski’s time used to say: What the hell did they teach you at those communist universities? SDSM members say: Don’t waste your time with them, VMRO hired them. That capital “M” in the unilateral statement about the Macedonian language at the beginning of the EU accession talks is the essence of the disunity among our parties – illiterate, yet self-absorbed, they don’t respect the law, yet they disregard the experts.

2 The second of August is just around the corner; we’ll be celebrating the double “Ilinden” holiday – commemorating both the uprising of 1903 and the anti-fascist assembly of 1944. Imagine if the national broadcasters dare to broadcast some old documentaries about the Ilinden insurgents, or even worse, records from the Second World War, for instance, the deportation of the Jews to Treblinka. Teodora Genchovska will start taking notes for the next intergovernmental meeting and Bujar Osmani will have to hide the text of the third bilateral Protocol.

Let’s not make Bulgarians mad and let’s not upset Ursula von der Leyen, Olivér Várhelyi and the rest of the Brussels bureaucrats. They’re already upset because of the war in Ukraine. The same day when the government was assuring us that it had triumphed in Brussels, the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the Macedonian language doesn’t exist. The whole world is horrified by the war Putin started by claiming that Ukraine is a made-up country, that Ukrainians are Russians, and that the Ukrainian language doesn’t exist because it’s a dialect of Russian. However, when Bulgaria says the same thing about the Macedonian people and the Macedonian language, it becomes an official document accepted by the European Union.  As for our guys, they’re over the moon, hugging each other in ecstasy.

3 Once we’ve updated our Constitution by including Bulgarians in the Preamble, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next veto by official Sofia is related to a request for us to change our national anthem as well. A song about Goce Delchev, Dame Gruev, Jane Sandanski – nonsense. Don’t even think about keeping the verse “Macedonians fight for their rights”. Have we overdone the fight? They’ll consider even our anthem as hate speech.

4 In the second bilateral Protocol between Macedonia and Bulgaria, which was signed by Ministers Osmani and Genchovska in Sofia, there’s a point that refers to hate speech. Both states confirm the obligation to take measures against any type of hate speech and oblige the Ministries of Foreign Affairs to contact and inform the competent institutions to work closely on identifying such speech, on inscriptions on public buildings and monuments, in texts in textbooks and curricula, as well as in the public space.

A day later, on 18 July, Bulgaria confirmed they don’t recognize the Macedonian language with a special declaration in the EU.

If we were proper citizens, we’d flood our “contact point” – the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with at least a million complaints about Bulgaria’s hate speech towards the Macedonian language. Not on Facebook, but in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A bunch of professors of Macedonian language created a petition on Facebook, they shared it, signed it, liked the post. Big deal. You’re a serious institution, you have PhDs, you’re professors, your names matter. Submit the petition to the Government, to the Assembly, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs… institutions interact with institutions, not on Facebook.

As for all of us who speak Macedonian, write in Macedonian, sing in Macedonian, make films in Macedonian, act in plays in Macedonian, create science in Macedonian, we should all complain to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that we’re subjected to hate speech coming for the state representatives of an EU member state.

It’s a European document, we act in a European manner. Sorry, Bujar, but that’s in line with the Protocol.

5 How come our elite convicts like Orce Kamchev and Sasho Mijalkov, who’ve made up their mind that they’ll go to prison in Struga, decided to move to Ohrid when they could have just taken an ID card from Struga? That way they wouldn’t have to travel as much every day, plus petrol is expensive and restaurants in Struga are cheaper that the ones in Ohrid.

Changing your address just before you go to prison and choosing the prison where you want to serve your sentence is done according to the same principle as the crimes they were sentenced for – “Everything’s according to the law, boss”. The wheel has come full circle. They legally robbed the budget, they legally tapped our phones, they legally kidnapped our country and in the end they legally picked where and in what prison they’d serve their sentence.  Law in Macedonia is merciless.

6 The parliamentary session on the negotiating framework reminded us what it was like when VMRO-DPMNE was in power and showed us what it will be like when it returns to power. When the MPs from VMRO-DPMNE spoke from the parliamentary rostrum, everyone listened. When the MPs from SDSM spoke from the rostrum, no one could hear them because the guys from VMRO were making noise with vuvuzelas. If they’re not letting different opinions be heard in the Assembly, now, when they’re in the opposition, what will things be like when they come to power?

What will it be like? We know what it will be like, we’ve seen it. With all the curses, the insults, the threats and the undisguised hatred they poured from the rostrum aimed at the different-minded, things will be the same as they used to – the fratricide Kjoseto and the party will be judge, jury and executioner.

7 The railway to Bulgaria will be built again. The government signed contracts with two companies for the construction of the first and the second phase of the railway.

According to the archives of “Sakam da kazam”, the first records about the railway to Bulgaria appear on 15 October 1994, when I wrote that “we finally cut the ribbon for the construction of the railway to Bulgaria”. After that, the records about the railway are cyclically repeated every three to four years, depending on the election cycles.

If there had been a need for a railway, during the past thirty years, they would’ve built one. It’s not like the construction of the railway waited for the official Bulgarian declaration in the EU that the Macedonian language doesn’t exist.

Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski