Who's on the wrong side of history

Who's on the wrong side of history
Ljupco Popovski

In July this summer, at the annual conference of the Union of Young Forces of VMRO-DPMNE in Ohrid, leader Nikola Gruevski announced the party's future plan after losing power after 11 years: "We will strengthen and consolidate our ranks, we will recount and clean out our membership, we will analyze our work, our mistakes and errors, but also our good policies and correct decisions that should continue. " On Sunday's protest march, and the protests a few days earlier, this "recount and purification" was very clear. On Sunday, besides Gruevski, among the people who carried the disorderly and hastily scribbled banner "For Justice - for our motherland", was his current protégé, the Secretary General Hristijan Mickovski, as well as the deputy Krsto Jovanovski, the former mayor of Skopje, Koce Trajanovski, the former government spokesman Alexander Gjorgiev, and one row behind them with three fingers raised, the unassigned ambassador to the EU, Aleksandar Nikoloski.

Two and a half months earlier, on September 22, when the slogan "New Era begins" that was announced from the ‘Boris Trajkovski Hall’, the "count and purification" was still not completed - the first row was full of deputies, former ministers, important party people, and leaders of the coalition. There was a semi-optimistic atmosphere, in which the attempt to quantum leap of the party in the civil right was announced. Today, there is almost nothing of all that. The party has only returned to their famous slogans of patriotism. The media, by habit, followed anything related to VMRO-DPMNE, even though their only real political activity was in the Parliament.

Wanting to determine a dramatic attribute, greater than the one when the former opposition described the power of Gruevski as a regime, the remaining VMRO spin-doctors called the present government a puppet junta. In a political vocabulary, the determination of a government as ‘junta’ (with a clear association of military dictatorships in South America) should indicate that these government structures are outspoken and controlled by the repressive apparatus - the military and the police. The word ‘junta’ in its basic meaning implies a civil administrative council, as is now called autonomous authorities in the Spanish provinces of Andalusia and Asturias. But the determination of military dictatorships with the term junta is best known in the world. It is most common for the junta to rule after military coups of senior officers from the three army lines, and their boss to become the supreme commander of the army. The estimates for the installation of the junta in Macedonia should sound motivational for VMRO's echelons, but the problem with their constant and uncontrolled use is that the Supreme Commander of the Army is the President of the country, who is a member of VMRO-DPMNE, and did not issue an order to the soldiers to leave their premises.

This obsessive idea by finding a narrative that throws the darkest of all possible colors to the current power of SDSM dramatically distances VMRO-DPMNE from the country’s reality. It’s not only a matter related to the key strategic directions for the future of the state, but it is a question of inability or unwillingness to see the Macedonian, as well as and the greater regional image. Things in politics are often known to be cruel. As it was that Sunday. While Nikola Gruevski was preparing for the march in the cold weather, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev hosted 30 people with disabilities and their families in the government. Along with a well-known humanitarian group of enthusiasts from "Retweet a Meal", he packed food for the homeless and the poor. The difference in the methods of the previous government is very visible. It's not a question of whether it's better or worse, if it’s propagandistic more or less successful - it's a fact that both policies are different. The red carpets that citizens could previously go to, in the Jupiter's temple of power, on some sort of worship and ask ministers about their own troubles, while the exhibition in the government halls and empathy for persons with disabilities is another matter. To some it may seem like transparent empathy, but this is any politician’s agenda, both in the White House and in the Elysee Palace.

In the search for the party's direction, VMRO-DPMNE's deputy, Ilija Dimovski, said that they changed their attitude to support the government reforms from plan 3-6-9 after the deprivation of the immunity of six MPs. Dimovski should be more honest and say that this is not a change of attitude, but even deeper digging in the trench in which they are in, from the moment his party failed to form the new government. Was something different in the Assembly in the past few months? The deprivation of immunity of MPs is used only as an alibi to pursue the same policy. It is fascinating how VMRO-DPMNE does not know on which rails to climb the party’s train at a time when the circumstances, priorities, and the regional situation have irreversibly changed. If they only bothered to read the reports from the visit of Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov to Washington and a number of remarkably important meetings (the one with Rex Tillerson is at the level of a Macedonian political spectacle) and Prime Minister Zaev’s talks in Brussels in the past two days, the people in VMRO-DPMNE could easily conclude that Macedonia, after many years, is preparing for its meeting with history. And that, at this meeting with history, they could have their own role, and would later capitalize on it.

At first glance, they don’t want to have anything with this "treacherous" policy, where all praise should go to Zaev, which is an instinctive reaction and not a strategic decision. Zaev behaves like Buster Keaton of the legendary film "General" when he drives the locomotive at the time of the American Civil War by overcoming obstacle after obstacle, and VMRO officers are trying to stop him on his way. This is an emerging perception. Basically, the reasons for this chaotic strategy of the opposition are elsewhere. "VMRO-DPMNE proposed a law on amnesty for the participants of the incident on April 27 and the start of a period of national reconciliation. Because this revanchism does not lead us anywhere, "Gruevski said on Sunday evening before the government.

According to Gruevski, the biggest drama in democratic Macedonia was an "incident". If the organized reversal succeeded, then it would have been judged as a triumph of the will of the people. Now the amnesty should cover all traces that would lead to the commissioners and creators of this coup attempt. It would be good to know what was the essence of the midnight talks with President Gjorge Ivanov in wider composition, beyond the available stories that they discussed "solutions to the current tension in the country, which is causing concern among the citizens." And what solutions were offered at the table. And how should this national reconciliation look like if no one has any sin or responsibility for the "incident" on April 27th. Or, as Gruevski says: "On April 27, a parliamentary speaker was illegally appointed ... obviously with the intention of setting a trap for the revolted people. And then unfortunate things happened. Now many innocent people are suffering, and tension in society is escalating."

Tension is really growing after those so-called "unfortunate things", but mostly with those who know what role they played in the bloody drama. So now, one political act of amnesty should be offered to the society as a syrup sweetened with saccharin for VMRO’s top officials to justify its story. The problem with the confusion in the VMRO-DPMNE is not the possible fragmentation and marginalization of the party, but the danger that may arise from this - the current government loses its coordinates in their ruling and in its own way to seize the state. Trusting politicians should always be up to a certain level, not turning into obedience, because they can easily cross the shore of the Rubicon, thinking they have the best intentions. Therefore, VMRO-DPMNE should face its moment of truth, not so much for the good of the party, as for the democratic condition of society.

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