About the Albanian language

Naser Selmani

One of the biggest shortcomings of the new government is the lack of management in organizing a public debate about the most important reforms, which democracies and the well-being of the citizens depend on. And then, when there was a debate about this issue, it was a pro forma, just to get it over with. In the worst case scenario, such as the debate on media reforms, to push out atypical solutions in democratic countries.

It is expected that the law on languages was passed without debate, which gave the public an impression that the government was hiding something, as if it wanted to ‘smuggle’ the law. SDSM was at least supposed to allow the adoption of the law to be presented as something extorted by the Albanian MPs in Parliament and the international factor.

Such a distorted public image of the law was supplemented by the irresponsible conduct of DUI, which presented its adoption as their greatest victory. In essence, this law shows the kind of dilatants they are in politics. There was no provision for a constitutional provision on the use of the Albanian language, which was supposed to be closed in 2016, and it was prolonged for 11 years.
That the government has screwed up on how to pass the law on languages is clear as day, but it’s even sadder that such a bad public perception of the law has ruined the views of some professors and academics.
Their performances did not help us understand the story about the law of languages, but brought even greater confusion, fear and hatred. Atypical for academic citizens.

They consciously caused unnecessary anxiety and returned the false patriotism of the regime of Gruevski to the scene, who was using the danger of an Albanian attack to retain power.
They tried to unskillfully sell us their political stance on language law as an expert opinion. None of them is a constitutional law expert.

The key question that was to be clarified was whether the law is in accordance with the Constitution and the best European practices, where Macedonia declaratively strives to belong?
Unfortunately, we have not heard such arguments. They talked about anything and everything, but not about amendment 5 of the Constitution of Macedonia, which regulates the issue of the use of languages. They ignore it because there are clear and unambiguous formulations that confirm that the adopted law is within the constitution.

For instance, the second paragraph of this amendment states that another official language in Macedonia other than Macedonian can be one that is spoken by at least 20 percent of the population. Couldn’t be clearer!

Even more important to clarify the dilemma about the constitutionality of the law is paragraph 5 of this amendment which says: “In the organs of state power in the Republic of Macedonia an official language other than the Macedonian language can be used in accordance with the law.” Bodies of state power, for all uninformed those are the organs of the central government, the president, the government, the ministries, as well as all agencies and institutions,

The two constitutional preconditions have been met in order for another official language to be used, other than the Macedonian one. There is a language spoken by 20 percent of the population and has adopted a law that regulates its use in state organs. I do not know why, apart from these clear constitutional provisions, someone with the power tries to act uninformed!

In the absence of serious arguments to dispute the law, the professors tied to use the feelings of ordinary people, misleading them that something terrible is happening. Such political, not to say political arguments, were covered by creating general hysteria in the public.

The most illogical argument against the law of languages is the claim that it endangered the Macedonian language. They have taken it too far. According to this strange logic, it means that if I eat an apple, the professors should be the ones with toothaches. It’s not my fault for enjoying the taste of the apple, someone else should check their teeth at the dentist!

The other also unsubstantiated argument, which has elements of hate speech against Albanians, is that this law has favored the Albanian language. Is the Albanian one guilty that at the national level only the Albanians are over 20 percent?! What do we need to do, according to you, in order not to make the Albanian only official language besides the Macedonian? Do you have a solution? You don’t!

I am going to offer you at least three possible solutions. The first solution is to ask to change the Constitution, where the percentage of 20%, which is a requirement for another language other than Macedonian to be used as official, should be reduced to three percent. By doing so, you will help the Albanian language not to be the only official language other than Macedonian, but such a status should have at least two languages, Romany and Turkish.

The second solution in order for Albanian not to be the only official language besides Macedonian is to import some 300 to 400 thousand Turks or Roma in order for their languages to be also official languages.
Third, the most radical solution is to reduce the number of Albanians by one hundred thousand people so that their percentage drops below 20 percent of the total population, and your dream will come true, the Albanian will not be official. Do you understand how frivolous attitudes you represent?!
Fortunately, in Macedonia, there are not only people who act as experts in constitutional law, but also rational people. Among them are my respected colleagues, who wrote the most arguable and most rational analysis of the law on languages.
One of my esteemed colleagues wrote a nice analysis the other day, in which the problem with the law on languages was not located in the constitution, but in our heads, the lack of mutual trust. Accurate diagnosis!

We are all less guilty about the mistrust between the Macedonians and the Albanians, but the most responsible are the political actors. The parties of the Albanians, wanting to conceal their cowardice and incompetence to deal with politics, represent the exercise of the rights of the Albanians as their victory at the expense of the Macedonians.

Even if I were an ethnic Macedonian, I too would be frustrated by such childish behavior of the Albanian parties. Why? Because I cannot endure someone who acts like a spoiled child, who constantly asks for a new toy, and when they need to take responsibility for running the country, they simply shrug their shoulders and say, I don’t know! Except for the Albanian language and the Albanian flag, these people don’t have anything else to say! They are embarrassing!

Therefore, Albanians from Macedonia must wake up and contribute to the creation of a more serious policy of the elite, which will be more democratic, more European and more competent. By doing so, we will show responsibility to ourselves, towards our fellow Macedonians, and finally towards the common state.

MP Branko Manojlovski on one occasion in the Parliament told the deputies of VMRO-DPMNE that they dispute the Albanian language because they hate the Albanians! That claim hides a great truth about the debate over the law of languages!
In the end, I want to say that as a Macedonian citizen I can accept that Albanians do not belong to the executive, because the kind of Albanians have become ministers and directors, I am sick of the idea of political representation of Albanians in the government.
I can accept, not at all costs 20 percent of the employees in the administration to be Albanians because a good part of those party soldiers in the Albanian prisons do not deserve a place there.

But, as a human being, I cannot accept two things. Macedonia not to be a free, democratic and European country and someone to dispute my right to officially use my mother tongue! The one who argues the Albanian, disputes me as Naser.