by | 5 November, 2021

Who cares that there are no pediatricians in Ohrid when the new mayor has promised to return the beach bars, which were polluting the lake. What matters is to keep building.

1 NATO – check. Census – check. Congratulations, people! A billboard with this text stood right across the Government as part of SDSM’s local elections campaign, which went so badly that Zoran Zaev has decided to resign both as Prime Minister and as party leader.

Well, congratulations, people. It was that very “people” bit which was the last of a series of harbingers of SDSM’s defeat. The voters which brought victory to that same party 4 years ago don’t buy those populist “people” tricks. SDSM were delusional to even try to compete with VMRO-DPMNE on their ground. The voters who put SDSM into power were only asking for competent ruling.

People are impatient. It’s great that this country has become a NATO member. We were so proud when we saw the Macedonian flag flying between the American one and the British one, it made our heart sing. However, it wouldn’t hurt to clean up the mess at home. Both literally and figuratively. Ranging from incompetent directors hired by the party all the way to corruption. And “what matters is to keep building”.

They’ve underestimated VMRO-DPMNE, which, even in opposition, dictates the political topics in the state. They’ve underestimated Skopje mayoral candidate, Danela Arsovska, who asked Zaev to resign in her campaign, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if next time she runs for president of the state. But, most of all, they’ve underestimated the people’s disappointment.

Well people, congratulations on your new political crisis. We haven’t had one for a while, so we kind of missed it. Enough worrying about Bulgaria’s elections, now let’s worry about our own. We have to have elections every year. As if we are The Netherlands, where parties cannot agree on a new government for half a year, yet their country is experiencing economic growth. We don’t even collect the garbage until we get a new director of the communal enterprise. Because all of our elections are an agony. Death or freedom. Patriots and traitors. This time upgraded in the spirit of the Prespa Agreement – the “northerners” and the “VMROvians”.

2 We’ve forgotten that up until 2006, when Gruevski became the Prime Minister, we used to have parliamentary elections every four years. He’s the one who introduced the two-year elections practice. “They’ll hold hands and they’ll vote, one by one.” Along with “screaming and crying.” We’ve forgotten that it’s not normal for the central government to leave because they had poor results at the local elections, as VMRO-DPMNE had during Ljubcho Georgievski’s time in 2000. Perhaps, we’ve also forgotten that Zaev’s greatest promise that he’d bring back freedom and democracy – was actually kept. Let’s just hope that as a NATO member, this country will probably have the capacity to come out of the political crisis caused by his resignation.

It’s not that we didn’t have much choice. At least now there were a number of independent lists with names known only in their environments and professions, but not in politics, at least so far. The thing is, people know there’s nothing in it for them. Hence, a lot of people decided that “they couldn’t be bothered with politics,” “what, are you really going to vote!?”, “There’s no one to vote for,” “they’re all the same…” Thus, yet again they left it to the parties to share the spoils amongst themselves. The only difference being that now Levica too will have a few managing positions.

Precisely because of this, I find the social crisis far scarier than the political crisis. That combination of exhaustion from waiting and disappointment makes us feel miserable. That clientelism and servility are reaching even more frightening proportions. We’re wasting our lives in the company of fellow citizens who glorify the weenie of the politician who won at the local elections. It’s so sad not to have another choice, so you vote for someone who’s mindfucking you out of spite. And they’re not ashamed to say that out loud.

3 The exhaustion from waiting was further enhanced by how resigned we felt by the attitude of the European Union. A day after Zaev’s resignation, the European Commission stated that “it is highly important for the country to continue implementing the reforms in relation to the EU” and asked “the new mayors and municipal councillors to contribute to improving EU’s reform agenda”.

Is there in Macedonia who still cares about what the European Commission of Brussels has to say, when the European Union cares more about what Bulgaria has to say, and that is that Macedonians don’t exist and that Macedonian language is Bulgarian. On 27 April, 2017, we faced a risk of starting a civil war, we changed the name of the country, and they have yet to start EU accession talks. Talks. Not a membership. Talks. Start of accession talks. Why? Because they still haven’t decided who Goce Delcev belongs to, as it’s still not his turn. We’ve been stopped on our way to EU at Samuil.

Now, after 16 years of having a candidate status and three unconditional recommendations for the start of EU accession talks, the European Commission is asking the politicians who won the local elections to continue on their way towards the EU. Why would they? So they’d end up like Zaev?

Yes. It’s important for the reform processes to continue on a local level, too. Although, I don’t know what the work of the mayors and the municipal councils has to do with the European Union. But, what I do know is that Bulgaria’s veto has a large contribution to the crisis in Macedonia which the European Commission and other EU-member states are so concerned about. A crisis which is not theirs to solve. We know who shall solve it.

4The Department of Pediatrics at the Ohrid Hospital is closing down because there are only two pediatricians left. In Ohrid. In the postcard town of Macedonia. The Balkan Jerusalem. The tourist pearl of the Balkans. The town protected by UNESCO, which has given the state two years to sort it out in order not to put it on the list of endangered cultural and natural world heritage. In this very Ohrid, which is also one of the wealthiest towns in the country, there’s no interest for someone to become a specialist doctor. A pediatrician. To be respected by the whole town, including the tourists who, God forbid, may need medical attention for their children.

But, who cares that there are no pediatricians in Ohrid when the new mayor has promised to return the beach bars, which were polluting the lake. What matters is to keep building.

Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski