by | 24 November, 2023

Was it a mistake to stay here? And are we making a mistake by trying to find a way for our children to hit the road in time?

1 I happened to meet Macedonians abroad who left home in the last decade. These are people that I know had very successful careers in Macedonia, yet chose to leave. We’re chatting: What is it like here? Are things going well? How’s your family, where do your children study, how are your parents, friends, do you keep in touch with your friends… And as a conclusion to this most ordinary conversation about the everyday things of life, one of them utters the sentence: In fact, the state drove me away.

What a simple and precise answer – the state drove me away.

I think we’re not aware of the collective setback experienced by those of us who chose to stay in Macedonia when our fellow citizens, in the prime of their life, when they can give the most to society, leave to contribute to the development of some foreign countries. They move abroad with their entire families, they seek additional training in their field or pursue different university degrees, they start their lives anew. I’m talking about people who enjoyed enviable careers and made a significant impact in their professions in Macedonia. They had good jobs, flats, a wide circle of friends, entertainment, bars, holidays, weekends, social status… One might assume they lacked nothing.

However, they lacked justice. They escaped from injustice. They weren’t willing to compromise with their principles. They got the message, and at one point in their lives, they decided to start over. When they take your peace away with injustice, you’d think to yourself, it’s better to lose a few months or years of your life than to lose all the rest. They can take everything from you, but they can’t take your mind. Even if they take one of your pencils, you’ll sharpen another one.

2 There’s a well-known folk saying in our country: The fools came, they drove away the smart.

However, that saying is not that fitting for the times we live in. Because those who drove away the smart from Macedonia aren’t fools at all. I’d rather say they’re thugs.

The thugs came, they drove away the peaceful.

The dishonest came, they drove away the honest.

The incompetent came, they drove away the competent.

The bootlickers came, they drove away those with integrity.

Slackers rise, workers fall.

The corrupt thrive, the law-abiding struggle.

Non-payers are rewarded, payers are punished.

The mediocrities admire the glamour of the bandits and glorify the wounds of the thugs. They glorify their “courage”.

Those considered smart are the ones who managed to destroy our institutions.

The state order has been ruined.

Our order is dictated by those making the disorder.

3 I find it disheartening that this country drives away those it could be proud of. It drives away those who could help it become a normal state. And when they achieve global success, the guys who are to blame for their move abroad have the audacity to brag about them – hey, they’re one of us. What will happen if they come back? They’ll quickly be trampled upon because their success bothers the incompetent.

I’ve been writing about these injustices for more than 32 years. And at this professional age, I often ask myself:  Was it a mistake to stay here? And are we making a mistake by trying to find a way for our children to hit the road in time?

Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski