by | 8 September, 2023

Patients without medicine, students without textbooks, politicians without shame, citizens without integrity, the state without justice, nature without society… Happy holiday, Macedonia. I love you so much. But, I’m growing weary of you.

1 We’re celebrating our Independence Day. A nice long weekend. Then why such disappointment? It’s not that horrible that by changing the Criminal Law, the Parliament voted for reduced sentences for officials who steal money from the budget. Look at it as a pro-European move. We’ll improve our statistics in successfully combating corruption. Regardless of whether it’s a chapter or a cluster, whatever it is – it’s been successfully completed. Even before the EU accession talks begin.

With this inventive solution, passed in a hurry, fast-tracked under the European flag so we’d catch the fast lane leading to the EU, the fastest lane of the multi-speed EU, we find ourselves adapting our laws to the criminals, instead of criminals adapting to our laws. Instead of punishing the corrupt judges who were experts in dragging out trials against politicians under the old law, we’ve now adapted a new law that facilitates the expiration of statutes of limitations.

In our country, it’s easier to change the law than to secure a final verdict against a politician. And we’ll change our Constitution faster than the officials who stole our money will go to prison.

Does impunity bother you? Well, from now on, impunity will be legal. At last we’re offering the EU a unique solution that will contribute to the perception of honest governance. No verdict, no crime. No convicted politicians, no corruption.

2 Another positive thing about these changes to the law is that until now there were only whispers that the government stole a lot – starting from the lowest public servant protected by the party, all the way to the highest-ranking officials. Now, all doubts have been dispelled. Considering the fact that SDSM and DUI did their best to pass the law in three days, to publish the decision in the Official Gazette on a holiday, so that we’d forget faster, since there’ll be another scandal come Monday, it means they don’t intend to stop stealing. To be frank, they’re willing to face trial, but they count on the inefficient judiciary and the fast expiration of statutes of limitations.

At the same time, the most interesting thing is the theatrics put on by VMRO-DPMNE, who want to convince us that the government is to blame for the new law that will primarily benefit their current and former officials. How come they don’t have an active blockade? How come they aren’t standing in front of the door? How come they aren’t blocking the parliamentary rostrum with banners, whistles, saucepans? It’s puzzling that the MPs of VMRO-DPMNE didn’t enter the hall to vote for the limitation of interest rates, for the measures against covid, for the Law on the Macedonian language, but decided to enter the hall for this specific law and ensured a quorum.

VMRO-DPMNE initially called for these changes back in 2018. Only then SDSM couldn’t foresee that they too would steal. Not even in their wildest dreams did they think they’d be able to achieve the successes of Nikola Gruevski and his associates. If they could see the future, if they had been visionaries five years ago, if they had seen where and how much they could steal during their term, they would have passed the law even then.

It’s high time we dispelled the misconception that our society is deeply divided because of the insurmountable differences between the government and the opposition. That’s not the case. Everyone can see how easily they can find common ground when it comes to saving officials from criminal prosecution.

3 The third positive thing is that maybe this situation will open our eyes, and it will be a solid foundation for us to change our attitude towards the sultan-parties that govern by turning citizens into clients.

When Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski, in reference to the case with the crime at the Oncology Clinic, says that “the Government won’t intervene to protect anyone”, you know that the Government usually does intervene to cover up the crimes of people appointed by the party in power. That it’s normal for the Government not to intervene when the State Audit Office presents information pointing to serious criminal activity, as it did two years ago concerning  the Oncology Clinic, but it’s expected to intervene to protect crime committed by the party.

So far, not a single professional association has raised its voice in protest when political parties encroached on their respective fields – not healthcare workers, not engineers, not journalists, nor people working in the domains of culture, education, science, sports, art… Maybe this is a turning point when citizens will realise that they need to reclaim their integrity. That they no longer need to take the line of least resistance and still be dissatisfied. Maybe this is the time to wake up. To think things through. To press the “reset” button on the computer and start over. You can’t create a country by complaining, whining and being a hero on Facebook.

The party trolls even dare patronise us – don’t politicise crime with cytostatics. How can we not do that, when all directors of public health institutions are appointed politically? Isn’t it absurd for hospital directors to be appointed based on a coalition agreement? And not only according to which hospital belongs to which party, but also according to the director’s ethnicity. The party decides who gets appointed, who gets replaced and whether they’ll face prosecution if they commit a crime.

Isn’t it degrading for any profession that in order to progress, a professional must kneel before some illiterate bootlicker in the party leadership. Hell, parties appoint even the directors of folk dance clubs. Students need personal connections within the party just to secure a bed in a dormitory.

Isn’t it high time for competitions where candidates will compete with a plan, programme, budget, expertise, experience, management skills, and their reputation among peers and the public? Is that so difficult and unattainable?

The time has come. It’s time to tell parties: I refuse to be your client.

And, if after all that’s happened to us, we let parties encroach on our professions and complicate our lives, then we deserve to be sold the embezzlement of our money not only as a European value, but a as supreme civilizational achievement.

4 The crime at the Oncology Clinic and the tragic fates of thousands of cancer patients and their families serve as a stark reminder of the solemnly laid foundations for three additional radiotherapy accelerators back in 2023. Ten years later, this medical equipment still doesn’t work.

And we’re still talking about the road to Ohrid. Our parties, united in crime, had 10 years to put the equipment for cancer patients into operation but failed, and we expect them to fix our road. The road is one thing, but it’s another that they’re not capable of cleaning the rubbish at Straza on the current road, which was built in the time of Yugoslavia, because they don’t know which party and which state institution and which municipality and which municipal enterprise and which director of which party should clean it. Even if that director doesn’t clean it, and it hasn’t been cleaned for decades, he won’t be held responsible because he’s responsible only before the court of his party. And the party doesn’t put him on trial.

Forget about the rubbish. Forget about the road. There are no textbooks. The Ministry of Education says that printing textbooks is a very complex process. Indeed, it is. It must be very complicated to rig a tender so it’s won by someone who’s capable of both providing textbooks and distributing and stealing the money justly. Usually it’s not easy to balance these two things.

Patients without medicine, students without textbooks, politicians without shame, citizens without integrity, the state without justice, nature without society…

Happy holiday, Macedonia. I love you so much. But, I’m growing weary of you.


Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski