Crushing the Colorful

Zdravko Saveski

As if it wasn’t damaged enough, the so-called Colorful Revolution is finally finished off, crushed, destroyed!
A month ago, we first witnessed the charades when participants in the 2016 protests, and explicit supporters of SDSM, through the initiative called “Na megdan (Duel)”, were reactivated to give wind in Stevo Pendarovski’s back after his disappointing result in the first round of the presidential elections. They were not party workers, they simply wanted, just in a neutral way, to hear the views of the two presidential candidates. Their acting was so desperately bad (although one of the initiators works in theater) that even the politically most illiterate citizen in the country realized that they were working for SDSM.

If it was “only” tragicomic, the case with Pavle Bogoevski is simply the peak and final act of trampling on the principles of the Colorful Revolution! By one of its most prominent representatives. Responsibility from public office holders. This is what Bogoevski was constantly looking for in the streets. And now, when he is the one that needs to take responsibility, through a personal example, to prove that it was not just empty rhetoric for attacking political opponents, but a principle in which he believes – if the official does not give up his/her post, resignation should be forced out of him/her. Just like in the cases of Nikola Gruevski, Gordana Jankuloska, Mile Janakieski. In which company did you get, Bogoevski?

And it’s not just that Bogoevski should resign over this case, even as an act of moral responsibility. He was supposed to resign a long time ago due to cheating on the principles he fought for. How did he contribute to Parliament, by not being an extended hand of the executive power? By voting for each and every government proposal in Parliament? How did he fight for the advancement of the rule of law? By voting for amendments to the Criminal Code in order for certain individuals not to be punished in the manner prescribed? Did he ask for responsibility from the executive power for Gruevski’s escape? Some holders of public office or were either incompetent or accomplices. There is no third option.
And no one took responsibility in both cases, and Bogoevski continued to keep quiet. He was silent when Marija Konopova, activist for legalization of cannabis, was arrested. She was held in detention for an impermissible long time before she was taken to court. Not during Gruevski’s rule, but during Zaev’s rule. Bogoevski had a close relative who had health problems, for which he had to illegally procure cannabis oil? Well, if not for the sake of Marija Konopova, if not for the people who rot in prisons for helping people with health problems, then because of that close relative Bogoevski could have initiated legal changes that would eventually legalize cannabis.

But Bogoevski stayed silent. He reduced himself to an extra in Parliament, to a person who presses the button to vote when it is asked of him. From the vocal leader of the protests, he turned into a voiceless official that does not protest at all, and receives a nice amount of monthly income for his silence.

Therefore, not just now, Pavle Bogoevski was supposed to resign a long time ago. Along with Ivana Tufekcic and Irena Stefoska, who also on the back of the protesters, became MPs and since then they have not once protested against, nor uttered a word of criticism against the authorities. Because now the government belongs to SDSM, not VMRO-DPMNE. The same thing that applies to Bogoevski applies to them as well! I know that moral responsibility is something unknown for them, but I will still stress: it is high time, because of the violation of principles and expectations, you too should resign! If you do not have the will or courage to criticize the government for its abuses, the only honorable option is – resignation!

What remains of the Colorful Revolution after all this? Whether Bogoevski will resign, whether Tufekcic and Stefoska will do so, the Colorful has long been damaged. I avoid calling it a revolution, because it wasn’t one. It could be called a pitiful revolution, but not a revolution. A significant part of its participants were party soldiers of SDSM, with one thought in mind: to get a state job, or at least some kind of compensation after the change of power. And what really bothered them about the abuse of power was that others were benefiting from this, and not themselves. The rest of the participants, either naively believed that SDSM had changed and that after the change of power, at least some step forward would be made, or, just as naively, they thought that there was a chance that the protest would not be manipulated by SDSM and that, evidently controlled by SDSM, to get something more than just replacing one official with another. In such a constellation, with such proclaimed and realistic goals, to call it a revolution is an insult to the very concept of revolution!

But despite the modest goals of the protests, after the change of power, both SDSM’s party soldiers and those who joined the new government structure for “changing thing from the inside” – managed to completely disappoint in a record short period of time. Those loud fighters against injustices were swallowed and silenced by the authorities. They became just ordinary executioners, who may have made some minor corrections to the system, but they were simply not enough. And they paid a high price for it, by staying silent about all the abuse of power to which the public reacted, and for those they knew from the inside. They have defiled their own image, but also the image of Colorful. More importantly, they were damaging the perspectives of an authentic protest organization in the future.

I don’t care about Pavle Bogoevski’s image! If they don’t care about him, why should I, or any other participant in the protest, care? But the problem is that he, and all the colorful functionaries who occupied public offices, with their silence and complicity in the abuse of power, with their fixation to gain personal benefit, stained the Colorful. And they created a bitter feeling of frustration among those protesters who joined the protests with pure intentions. Some of them have suffered personal consequences. And harmful consequences do not end there. Any new disappointment from the Colorful functionaries not only inevitably damages the Colorful, but also additionally complicates any new protest organization. And that is the greatest and real harm! How do we participate in a new protest when we fear that those who are loudest will protest for personal benefit, and not because of an authentic aspiration for change? But why should someone invest in organizing and leading protests if the “reward” for their engagement is suspected that he/she is doing it for personal interest? That’s the greatest damage the Colorful officials have inflicted, and continue to inflict!

The VMRO-DPMNE, but also the SDSM and the DUI leadership are pleased! They managed to destroy and maim any protest that would not be controlled by them. They raised Pavle Bogoevski in the hero of the “revolution”, gave him a position, made him keep silent and just push the button to vote as he was ordered to, and now, after they used him up, will they leave him face the consequences alone or allow him to keep his position, it’s least important. Their goal has been accomplished. Through the colorful officials, they delegitimized the authentic protest organizers in the future.

The Colorful has been crushed, destroyed, finished off. The authentic protest organization has been knocked down. It will be difficult to recover it. But in the process of its renewal, lessons of the Colorful’s failure will inevitably be drawn. And the first lesson of it is: the united front with the clientelist and business parties (SDSM, VMRO-DPMNE, DUI, etc.) waters down the demands of the protests and inevitably leads to their abuse for replacing some of the officials with others.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik