by | 21 June, 2024

The Americans want to save our Ohrid Lake. We don’t actually need saving. We don’t mind corruption

1  The European Union will start accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova on June 25.

Good for them. They don’t have such big problems with good neighbours like we do with Bulgaria.

2 VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski stated in a TV interview for Sitel that when he takes the oath as the new prime minister, he will swear in “North Macedonia.” With that act, hopefully, the topics about “northerners” will be toned down. It would be stupid for his supporters to continue insulting along the “northerners” route. They’d also have to insult him.

Unlike previous occasions when Mickoski had no clear opinion and you don’t know what he said, this time he was mathematically precise.  He said: “I will take the oath as the new prime minister with the constitutional name of the state, that’s clear.”

And immediately after that, he followed up with an explanation, and the old Mickoski resurfaced: “In my appearances abroad, I will use the constitutional name of the state with the adjective. We can’t behave with double standards, we can’t expect our citizens to abide by the laws and the Constitution if we don’t. However, in my appearances back home and in making statements, I will use the name of my country, and that’s Macedonia.”

In other words, when Mickoski’s abroad, he’ll speak in the name of North Macedonia. And when he’s at home, he’ll refer to it as just Macedonia because that’s his human right. Abroad, he’ll be Mickoski – the Prime Minister, whereas at home, he’ll be Mickoski – the citizen. Prime Minister Mickoski will abide by the Constitution and the laws of his country when he’s abroad, whereas the citizen Mickoski will do as he pleases at home. At the same time, he says he can’t ask citizens to abide by the laws if he as prime minister behaves with double standards.

I can’t wait for the new Government’s oath to be over so they’ll stop the incessant explanations both abroad and at home. They’ll just end up getting even more mixed up.

To be frank, when it comes to traditional VMRO voters, who are the ones Mickoski cares about the most, they don’t need any further explanations. If the leader says that what was black yesterday is white today, then it really is white. That was the case with the support they received from DUI to pass the law increasing the number of ministries. It will also be the case with the new Government’s oath. Since the party convinces them that black has turned into white, but for their own good, then there’s no need to ask questions. The leader said: Everyone has to abide by the laws and the Constitution.

Now that’s out of the way, we can turn our attention to enjoying last year’s holidays and beginning the new ones. Where? In Greece? No. At our “southern neighbour.”

3 Mickoski, in fact, will behave according to the mindset of an average Macedonian citizen. He abides by the laws when he’s abroad. When he’s back home, he breaks them. At home, he parks wherever he wants, on pavements, in disabled parking lots, in pedestrian areas, in parks, while abroad, he’ll go back three times to the traffic sign to check how much he has to pay and make sure he didn’t step on the line. At home, he fights with police officers, yet abroad, he’ll humbly whisper to them. At home, he’ll throw rubbish without hesitation while driving, yet abroad, he’ll smoke discreetly and keep the cigarette butts in his pocket.

For instance, I’ve always wondered why passengers of the same category, when they land with “Wizz Air” in Skopje, they tend to get up from their seats while the plane is still moving on the runway, elbow their way towards the exit, fight with the crew, and play dumb about where they should sit, whereas when they fly with another foreign airline, they stay calm, keep their seatbelts fastened, and behave until the doors open.

And I solved the puzzle. It’s all about the language. On “Wizz Air” planes stationed at the Skopje base, the crews are Macedonian. The moment fellow citizens hears the Macedonian language, they immediately overstep their bounds. There’s no need to respect the state where the Macedonian language is spoken. If flight attendants address them in a foreign language – they won’t dare ask for water, even if they were dying of thirst. This way, their instinct kicks in. Heyy, these guys are one of us. We can do whatever we want and we won’t get punished.

Welcome to the country where breaking the law goes unpunished. Where no one follows the instructions officials give, even when they tell you that following the rules is for your own safety.

Welcome to the country where the Prime Minister abides by the Constitution abroad because he’s at risk of being punished there. Back home, he doesn’t have to abide by it because it’s his human right.

4 When our people move abroad, they abide by the laws, pay taxes, dispose of their rubbish as scheduled, walk their dogs on a leash, and pick up their shit on the street, drive within regulations, if they’re fined, they pay the fines… It’s not like we don’t have the same laws. So why is it that when some of them return home for holiday, they go crazy with their cars, throw rubbish wherever they want, ask what a fiscal receipt is, talk about cash…?

Or, we go abroad on holiday and we’re impressed by how tidy it is, how clean it is, that it’s not noisy, that there are fixed working hours, that parking is regulated, than no one encroaches on the pedestrian zones… and then we come back home and we idolise local thugs who encroach on public space and hijack the country.

This is a typical Macedonian scene: A group of people sitting at a café table in an encroached public space designated for pedestrians, with their cars parked just a few steps away, left in the middle of a pavement or a cycling track. People smoke in makeshift outdoor seating areas turned into illegal living rooms and shout over the loud music. They complain that no one respects the laws in our country. But then, if a police officer dares to fine them for parking incorrectly, they’ll call half the government to get their ticket dismissed. Meanwhile, the other half of the government will be pestered by the café’s big-shot owners, complaining that the police have destroyed their earnings.

5 The Americans have sent water experts to save our Ohrid Lake.

It’s great that they’ve sent them. The experts are welcome here. However, they’ve sent the wrong kind of experts. The pollution of this lake is not a natural phenomenon. Ohrid does need water experts, but what it needs more are experts in tackling corruption.

A couple of days ago, I came across an article about a beach bar on the Greek island of Rhodes that was permanently closed, and the owner was arrested because, despite being banned from working, he tore up the tape placed by the inspectors and set up sunbeds again.

We’ll truly be able to say that we’ve become a serious country when we see an owner being arrested for continuing to work after an imposed ban. Although, you’d think to yourself, we don’t necessarily view Greece as a serious example of a legal state compared to other EU counties.

Over here we have a case when two people had the bright idea to start charging for parking in front of the Court in Veles. Can you imagine that? Right in front of the Court! Unidentified individuals charge for parking at the Bitpazar Polyclinic. Just across the road there’s a police station! There’s one guy charging for parking on the street across the American Embassy in Skopje. Yet another place swarming with police.

It doesn’t look like the country wants to protect its assets, does it? So there’d be more for the municipality, the central government, and the citizens.

It’s great that the Americans want to save our Ohrid Lake. It’s also great that the Swiss and the Dutch are saving our Prespa Lake. The truth is, they can’t save us from corruption. We don’t actually need saving, since we don’t mind corruption.

Translated by Nikola Gjelincheski