by | 20 August, 2021

How is it possible for the MPs of the parliamentary majority to go on holiday and not give a damn that 40,000 people were left without ID cards?

1 Children lost an entire school year because of the pandemic. It’s not like 6,000 people died just to Covid-19. Thousands of people without Covid suffered, some of them even died because they couldn’t get timely medical treatment since the hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients. However, that’s not nearly as dramatically tragic as the inability to go to a pub or a betting shop.

In other countries, the authorities devise lotteries and prize games to motivate people to get vaccinated, they award vouchers and offer money to both the vaccinated and the ones vaccinating, they set conditions on the state aid for the private companies according to the number of vaccinated employees… Over here, in accordance to the habits and the ability of the state to enforce laws, what’s worked the best so far is the measure “no vaccine – no pub. No vaccine – no mall. No vaccine – no betting shop.” Those are the three most terrifying things that can happen to you in Macedonia during the pandemic. That’s why, people rushed to get vaccinated. So the worst wouldn’t befall them. First get a jab at “Bucharest” Polyclinic, then straight to “City Mall,” so you won’t miss the discounts at the end of the summer season.
The measures are just fine. In fact, the measures are adapted to the social environment and the policies of the Government led by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, which gives priority to pubs and pub owners.

The first reform of this Government in 2017 was to legalize the usurpation of pavements with covered seating areas for smokers. Why? So that the law banning smoking wouldn’t be enforced. Because pub owners complained that by obeying the law, their turnover decreased.

At the beginning of his mandate, the mayor of Skopje, Petre Shilegov, first prohibited going to Vodno by car, but quickly withdrew the prohibition. Why? Because pub owners complained that their businesses suffered.

The late mayor of Ohrid, Jovan Stojanoski, announced that pub owners would be charged more for placing tables and chairs on pavements and the lakeshore. Since it’s a UNESCO town it should cost more to use the public areas. But then, pub owners complained that they wouldn’t make enough profit and – the mayor gave up. Not only did he give up, but he immediately sent teams to assess the damage when in 2018 waves destroyed the illegal platforms of pub owners from Ohrid, which unfortunately hadn’t been insured because no one insures illegal constructions.

That’s why I’m not surprised that after the latest Covid measures, the Independent Catering Chamber threatened Zaev and the Government “not to forget or underestimate the power and the importance of caterers and the catering industry” and that the local elections are coming up soon.

Well, the Government get what they deserve. Since they’ve made pub owners the most important factor, let SDSM deal with the threats that they won’t vote for them.

2 “I’m vaccinated, but…” But? But what?

As always, there are all those who seem to be living on another planet, condescending, like they have a bird’s eye view on the situation, and moralize that: “This division between vaccinated and unvaccinated isn’t ok.”

Sure it’s not. It’s not ok to divide people. But it’s also not ok for people to die from Covid, when there are available and free vaccines. And it’s even less ok for people to die from non-Covid because there’s no room in the hospitals, and all the other patients won’t be able to schedule an appointment for a check-up. Is it ok that you mustn’t get a toothache tomorrow? Is it ok if tomorrow, God forbid, your appendix bursts or you break your arm and there’s no one to take care of you because doctors are busy with Covid patients? Is it ok not to be able to go for a check-up and eventually die of advanced cancer, because those who were supposed to detect it were busy with Covid patients?

After all, is it ok that after a year and a half spent in the pandemic and after 6,000 deaths just from Covid-19 we’re still debating whether to wear masks and whether to get vaccinated?

It’s easy to blame the “system” for being broken and no good. As if the “system” is something that we are not. But, it’s even easier to hide personal irresponsibility behind the broken system.

3 In that system 30,000 Macedonian citizens haven’t been registered because they got vaccinated in Serbia when we didn’t have vaccines. But hey, they were lucky, because they’re at least registered in some system. I wonder, what are we to do with 40,000 people who haven’t been registered with their ID cards? They go to the bank with sheets of paper. “A slip of paper” – system.
Minister of Internal Affairs Oliver Spasovski says that “there is no lack of forms for ID cards, the system is good, the only thing that needs to be done is to pass the Law on ID cards.”

Then, why don’t you pass the law? Who has the majority in the Assembly? Two opposition MPs from Levica who submitted 1,500 amendments, or SDSM and DUI? How is it possible for the MPs of the parliamentary majority to go on holiday and not give a damn that 40,000 people were left without ID cards?

According to which law did the old one cease to be valid so the Ministry of Interior stopped issuing ID cards with the old forms? Would it be that bad if these 40,000 people also received ID cards with the Republic of Macedonia instead of the constitutional name the Republic of North Macedonia, as indicated by the deadlines in the Prespa Agreement? Not only did the Government show that they are bad at planning, they’ve also gone too far with their submissive behaviour, trying to please foreigners at any cost, while our citizens are carrying the slips of paper in their pockets to prove banks that they’ve had their picture taken in the Ministry of Interior.

So what if we’re late with entering the constitutional name of the country in the ID cards? Will Mitsotakis ignore the wildfires in Athens and ask that we get expelled from NATO? The expected refugees from Afghanistan won’t come? Why wouldn’t foreigners wait a little as well? Don’t we wait for things? The elections in France, the elections in Bulgaria, the revision of the methodology, the EU Summit in June, the Western Balkans Conference in October, the EU Summit in December… We’ll change the ID cards when there’s political will for the Assembly to convene. If we can wait for the Bulgarian Assembly to convene, then why not wait for the Macedonian one.

4 The leader of VMRO-DPMNE Hristijan Mickovski says it’s unacceptable for Macedonia, which is poor, to take in more Afghan refugees than rich countries.

It’s not a matter of being poor or rich. It’s a matter of being humane or inhumane. And I don’t know why Mickoski is getting involved with that matter, unless he wants to maintain the continuity of his policies of opposing everything all the time. If Zaev had said that we wouldn’t take in refugees, he would have certainly asked him to do so.

Mickoski calls on the rich to take in more refugees than us, just a week after he was bringing water in the Maleshevo region while said rich countries were putting out our wildfires. He brings up the matter of solidarity depending on the wealth in Skopje, which proudly bears the name “city of solidarity” after the help that came from all over the world after the earthquake in 1963. He preaches at the rich who have been pouring billions of euros and dollars for 30 years to clean our country, to fix our education system, our judiciary, to build our water supply and sewage systems, to buy ambulances and fire trucks, to renovate our churches and mosques and to restore our archeological sites. The donations of the rich taught political parties democracy. How much foreign money by the rich has been invested in the trainings for VMRO-DPMNE to become a modern conservative party?

Mickoski brings up the matter of solidarity in a country that still cherishes the memory of the refugee children from the civil war in Greece in 1948. What about the refugees after the suppressed revolution in Hungary in 1956? What about the refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992? What about the refugees from Kosovo in 1999?
At the end of the day, the rich America asked the poor Macedonia for help, to temporarily house refugees from Afghanistan who used to work for the US administration and their allies. And they will pay for it. And what does the opposition leader say to America? Take your Afghans to the rich.

Indeed, Zaev is a lucky man. He gets to be in power with an opposition leader like Mickoski.

Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski