Ana Pavlovska-Daneva

It’s good to have faith. Whether it is faith in God, in some inexplicable energy, in one’s own intuition, in one’s loved ones, in an idea, in science, in reason, in a political party maybe… in something that makes us creative, humane and keeps us standing tall when life is tense, makes us strong when injustice strikes, makes us humble when we sin.

I believe that such faith exists in each of us. In both religious people and atheists. Both those who believe in God and those who believe only in themselves. And every belief is justified and acceptable. As long as it is sincere. And sincere things are usually intimate. We keep them for ourselves or our loved ones. That is why it bothers me, it really bothers me, and it makes me want to yell at public office holders when they publicly express their faith in their God in a pathetic and a populist manner, when they emphasize their religion, they fall into a religious trance at every religious holiday (and, we have many of them in our country) from the previous government turned into a non-working day and equal to a public holiday. First, because the citizens are not (or should not be) interested in the religious affiliation of the head of state, the first or last minister, the chief of police, the parliament, the court, etc. Their faith should be theirs alone, it will not make them better, nor worse presidents, MPs, ministers, judges. Second, because all the constitutions of the state, from its very existence to this day, determine its secularity, which means that the President of the Republic, like any other citizen, can practice his/her religion in whichever God’s temple he/she wants, whenever he/she wishes as a believer, but as head of state, he/she has no obligation or authority to formally address the citizens with messages of unity, humanity, compassion, love, care, and similar expressions that are sung, uttered, preached in churches and mosques. It’s simply not the statesmen’s job. They should strive to turn all of these prayers, aspirations, and desires into reality. There are people whose job is to preach! Third, it has been reportedly a cheap and extremely abused means of attracting voters – congratulating religious holidays on Facebook by politicians who are not even the most confident of how the holiday is being pronounced and who have previously complained about the rising number of religious holidays declared as non-working days.

In spite of this “getting closer” to the masses, which is, in a way, fake and transparent, I still expect certain holders of state office to apply some of the sociological theories to the elites. Especially those big thinkers’ ideas that elites exist, but we should strive to differentiate elites who are the product of personal abilities from those of the institutions. I call the latter “fake elites”. We have seen many of those in these past few years. Gruevski was unmatched in creating them and keeping them at the helm of those institutions. Therefore, any attempt to compete with him is futile. Some of the tools of the creation of institutional elites who, instead of leading and enlightening the masses, did everything to falsely identify with them – they included religious greetings, pathetic statements, prayers, and the state’s merge with the church. Enough of that, what the citizens need is faith in the institutions, in the deeds and actions of the holders of state office, not in their gods.

And when it comes to faith, it necessarily implies stability and consistency, not breaking it, not abandoning it. Hence, I feel the need to remind our religious politicians, the Christian Democrats of the Parliamentary Opposition in the Assembly, of a couple of facts: they were MPs from the ruling majority when they changed the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly almost ten years ago (the highest legal act for MPs, the “Constitution of the Assembly”) without consultation, without consent, without a vote by opposition MPs. Fact Two: The Lustration Law was adopted (after which dead people were lustrated, ministers were lustrated only because they were ministers in the government of a political opponent, people were lustrated just for revenge, due to party revenge, families were racketeered with lustration threats on their living or deceased members) without consultation with the expert public, the international community and with absolute and reasoned opposition from opposition parliamentary groups. None of today’s opposition lawmakers who voted the law in this way cared at the time. Fact number three: today’s opposition, then-lawmakers of the ruling majority have proposed and adopted the Law on Amnesty of The Hague cases, unconstitutional, against the provisions of international law and against the arguments and opposition of the then-opposition. As a consequence, today a government minister would become a person who, if not for that violently enacted law, could have served a sentence for a crime. Fact number four: Today’s fighters for democracy and political consensus have passed a census cancellation law that has not just begun, but was in its infancy and cost tens of millions of euros from the state budget. No reason, no occasion, no arguments. Because of politics and the desire for self-preservation of power. No, no, no, then it was impossible to even sit down with the coordinators and representatives of the opposition caucuses and hear their opinion, let alone negotiate or reach a political consensus. At that time, it was up to the elite, the institutional, artificially created, rather than the one based on personal abilities. Therefore, when those same MPs talk about today’s government’s non-cooperation with the opposition, the failed consensus on key laws, the undemocratic capacity of government… there is nothing left except to turn off the TV set. Or the Internet, whatever.

That’s why I say faith is a good thing. If it is sincere. If it’s positive. If it is consistent. If it is expressed in deeds, not in posts and statements. Otherwise, it turns from faith in God into devil’s work. From faith in democracy, it turns into demagogy.

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