Days of great uproar

Ljupco Popovski

Macedonia obviously has a problem. Quite a big problem. Aside of its poverty, isolation, lack of perspective, ignorance – the dominant emotional state has become general nihilism. Absolute belittling, underestimating and condemning all that doesn’t come from oneself. This nihilism, from general reaction, turns into a great uproar and eventually ends in hysteria. To some extent it is not dramatically different from the situation in other European societies, especially because of social media, but the poor Macedonian spirit makes it meaningless.

Did Prime Minister Zoran Zaev need the statement, which by many parameters seems impulsive? Certainly not, for with it he opened a front against himself in the back of his troops. Was it a calculated risk? Maybe. As the statement went, it seems quite impossible that mentioning “faggot” and “vain journalist” was part of some sort of affective reaction, but that it was a pre-planned strategy. Did Zaev, through his statement that two “notorious” individuals wanted to overthrow the government, show nervousness and the feeling that he is losing his ground? It seems quite logical, as is the plan to prove that Zaev is a man made out of flesh and blood and has the natural urge to defend himself. Who would have made that plan, if there had been a plan? Zaev himself or his army of advisors?

Whoever created it, and for what purpose, may not matter at all, because the consequences are slowly becoming unbearable for this government. The racketeering story which, at least through visual and audio recordings, looks more like a bribe than a typical crime drama, has shaken the foundations of the government in its final year. Now a swarm of arrows are fired from all sides toward the cabinet, though it would be more precise to say that they are directed only toward Zaev. The other ministers (with Radmila Sekerinska as a minor exception) have disappeared from sight. Vacations are a small excuse, perhaps more a matter of caution in order to avoid being dragged down along with their boss.

These are complicated times for Zoran Zaev. Because of high expectations, everything that his government has done is currently thrown into oblivion, as if nothing has happened. (Of course, the fact of North is the only thing that cannot be forgotten.) Did the government team fail to present its successes or did the citizens expect grandiose achievments in just two or three years? A little bit of both, though the most important one is the least mentioned – that Macedonia is in complete collapse: economic, justice, political, moral, educational, scientific, demographic, etc. And that problem cannot be resolved in two years, perhaps not even in eight years. Only one thing prospers in the country – robbery.

When this perception folds with each passing day, the Italian footage about the Macedonian mafia comes as a kind of final release of all passions. So far, there has not been a single statement that managed to turn everyone ‘unbloc’ – both those in the opposite political bloc and those in one’s broader political group. The problem for Zaev is that his entire statement about the investigation into the “Racket” affair was politically sound and balanced. But how can one pay attention to it after that sentence about the faggot and the vain journalist. All of a sudden, everyone felt called upon to say how much they were disgusted by the Prime Minister’s rhetoric. And take on roles that don’t belong to them. If the Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) rightfully condemns the journalist’s vanity as impermissible (then what should American journalists say, when Trump calls the totems of libertarian and professional journalism – The New York Times and The Washington Post – “fake news” every single day), what gives the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services the right to interfere, assessing that Zaev’s statement was problematic “at least on three grounds”, one of which was that the prime minister did not respect the presumption of innocence. This case with the Agency shows that many are pressured to overthrow Zaev after he himself digs a hole in the ground beneath his feet.
Macedonia has become a country where the only thing that has value is who will make a better joke on Twitter or Facebook and thus sell their ingenuity. First with the friendly racket, and now with the faggot stuff, whole armies of people are just thinking of how to appear smarter on Twitter. Unfortunately, the media structures have put all their work into this puzzle. Small editorial staff, semi-professional journalists, practical ambitions of the owners have transformed the media into spokespersons of this loud world. Who cares about anything other than the racketeering stories and the moral subjugation of special prosecutors.

Those estimates that the “faggots” should cover the investigation into the “Racket” case only seem to be correct at first glance. Because when Katica Janeva shoes up at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, these statements will be immediately forgotten. Or if the obscure Italian newspaper publishes a new scandalous video. This is how this society works – like a gladiator arena in which everyone eagerly waits to scream “death!”. And that has long forgotten normal values. Unfortunately, politicians have long been at the forefront of brigades working on these immoral standards, and are then surprised when their “own children” turn against them.

After all, citizens are terribly impatient to have the results of the investigation immediately, within two or three days if possible, so they can argue afterwards that something is fishy here and that prosecutors have not done their job properly. It will be exactly the same if the timeframe for the investigation is too long. A bad and hasty investigation can only yield bad and partial results that everyone will suspect, and only a handful of people will be satisfied.