On one of my trips, an Egyptian asked me where I was from. I proudly said that I was from Macedonia, and he immediately asked how many of us there were, to which I replied that there were two million of us, and he semi-seriously said through a smile – that as many as my family or the street I live in Cairo. In Brazil I learned what distance and number actually mean while asking a Brazilian where he was from and he answered – I live near Sao Paulo, just 2,000 kilometers away, in a small town that has barely two million inhabitants.
In Kenya, a man I met called Elvis asked me where I was from and I pointlessly told him that I was from Macedonia, and unsuccessfully explained who our neighbors were, so that next day he brought a world map and kept asking me to show him where Macedonia was, he just could not find it on the map. I smiled and asked him to remove his thumb with which he held the map because he was covering the entire country.
The first country is a land of the past, the pharaohs, the pyramids, the largest library in the world, a land of three deserts, a country that has preserved its past and lives from it, selling it expensively as a tourist attraction. The second country is a land of the future, a country that does not have American capital, it has the Amazon and rain forests, it has natural treasures in the form of all kinds of precious and semi-precious stones.
The third is a country of the present in which the past is rich and painful, covered in blood and slavery, the future is still foggy and uncertain, but with the largest port in Africa, natural resources, with the preserved Serengeti, Tsavo and Masai Mara reserves, the future seems bright. Muslims, Christians, and Hindus live in all three countries, but when you ask them, they will say they are Egyptians, Brazilians and Kenyans, and they will never emphasize their religious or tribal affiliation.
All three nations live on a very small part of the territory of the country due to deserts, rainforests and savannas, but are proud of themselves and their country and believe in themselves and in their people, even though a small part of them has three meals a day or regular schooling.
My country Macedonia could have been a land of the past with Cyril and Methodius and with the literacy they have given to mankind. Macedonia could have been a land of the past with Stobi, Heraclea, Skupi and many other archaeological sites in which artifacts from the prehistoric period to the Roman period have been discovered. It could have been a land of the past with the heroic struggle against the fascists in the not so distant past.
Instead, Macedonia became a quasi-baroque cardboard fair exposed to the ridicule of tourists, and a smile on the faces of those who loaded up their bank accounts. Macedonia could have been a country of the present in which multi-ethnicity and diverse religious views merge and are considered the country’s treasure, and not an obstacle that pulls us deeply into the uncertainty, to the satisfaction of the few feudal leaders seating on the party thrones.
Macedonia could be a country of the future that would make us proud, only if we had an honest special prosecutor, a public prosecutor that is up to the task, and politicians that put the country’s interest over the party’s minor interests and personal benefit. Macedonia could have been an example of coexistence and an oasis of peace, as it was once called, if only touts, dealers, mafia tender exploiters and oil profiteers did not govern the country. Macedonia could have been many things that would have been a bright example, and something that would have made every Macedonian proud.
Instead, Macedonia is a country with a dark history and a dark present, a country in which only promises and lies are eternal. Macedonia is a country of semi-literate politicians and rich criminals who are united and above law even in business. Macedonia is a country where the special public prosecutor has no experience, with a suspicious vocabulary capacity and remarkable tennis potential.
It is normal that the racket is more important to Djokovic or Nadal, but not to Katica. Actually, the award for playing with the racket at Wimbledon is several times smaller than the match here in Macedonia, which goes up to millions of dollars by paying in three sets or installments. Macedonia is a country of wiretapped conversations that are not used for prosecuting crime crime, but for personal wealth or party business discredit.
Macedonia is a country of prosecutors who are asleep, and only wake up when ordered and who, instead of the garbage in their own backyard, only stare at the garbage in their neighbor’s yard. We are a land of “sunflower judges” that do not turn towards the sun, but towards power. Macedonia is a cradle of literacy in which more than half of children are functionally illiterate, and the quality of knowledge and education is far below Albania. We are a country of political lies and promises without fulfillment, we are a country of reform without reform, a country of corruption and political prostitution.
Macedonia is a country of churches, but no one believes in God, except when they whisper a prayer for a positive result in sports betting. Macedonia is a country of general amnesia and selective amnesty, deeply divided in party colors and people above the law and those for whom the law applies. We are a country of unhappy parents and emigrant children, a country of everyday scandals and nonsense, a country where irresponsibility, hypocrisy, and provincialism reign.
We are a country in which no one says what they think, a country with many faces and masks, where lies reign, and truth is a luxury that no one has because of their past or their future. We are a people with a quiet sad look in our eyes, gullible because of the desire and the need to believe in something, and tricked many times so far whenever they did believe, with a glance over all the disgrace of our leaders and their insincerity or lack of honor. We are a country where there are no typhoons and tornadoes or volcanoes and tsunamis, but the earth is shaking every day under our feet, and are flooded and covered by a wave of endless stupidity, hypocrisy and crime precisely from those we trusted.
We will never be great because of the square kilometers of the country, because of the size of the population or natural resources, but we will be great if we respect ourselves and our true roots, if we respect our neighbors and their diversity, and if we come together and unite, in order to tell the decades-long political business gang – Enough, you went too far.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik