If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas

My father, may he rest in peace, is on the other side for quite some time and this bey, deprived from riches overnight, was the epitome of kindness and wisdom, well mannered, it was all he had left after the revolutionary laws, when there came times to have and to have not. His favorite thing to do was telling proverbs and folk words of wisdom. He spoke without an ounce of bitterness, laconic, taking his time, quietly and comprehensively, word by word, each worth a golden coin. Whenever I would complain about something, that I’ve been wronged, he would say – My son, you should first see how much of it is your fault, and then how much the others are at fault. Had you though that through, you could have avoided this unpleasantly. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. You mess with the bull you get the horns. He that would eat the fruit, must climb the tree… He was an extract of wisdom and personal experiences that are easy to learn, difficult to put in practice, which you learn the hard way. When you’re screaming it’s already too late, how could I’ve been such a fool, what was I thinking?

If it’s any consolation, they say it can happen to anyone. Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me three times, five times, a hundred, let’s say that all is forgiven until a thousand times. Alright, I will concur that the fools are the last to learn. But, if every day, for years, you are a fool and an easily fooled halfwit, there is no hope for you. That’s it, there’s no remedy, but what happens when things that occur to us, also occur to most of the citizens, almost everybody, when years after years we are easily fooled and wronged, robbed and humiliated by people that are not even worth the spit, when we are manipulated by thieves, criminals, bandits, thugs, does that mean that all of us tolerating and glorifying these leeches, are in reality incurable madmen and idiots, or the whole system as some kind of factory is inherently flawed and produces genetically flawed goods that is sold underpriced in bulk where one can not see the defects and the flaws.

In times like that, my father, taught by his father, my grandfather, who participated in the The Young Turk Revolution, would say, this is the time when everybody is saying “Long live freedom”, and that powerful rumpus makes people go crazy, and they expect for miracles to start happening the very next day.

I am more and more convinced that we are now in one such situation when everybody is chanting “Long live freedom”, and the people, as the patriots would say, is really crazed, ready like a risen dough, ready to be kneaded and baked.

That is exactly how they used to prepare the dough for kneading, covering it with cloth and putting it near heat. For this there is daily evidence in a million cases in these two or so years spent in anarchic freedom and a stabile racketeering parade of the criminal gang that operates freely, whether it’s in power or in the opposition.

Let’s simplify things a bit so that we can see how being of sound mind and fully conscious, knowing we are being lied to , we become puppets and unprecedented buffoons. The government says, a hundred times a day, it is standing for the rule of law, but justice must be the same for all citizens.

No one can be spared if they broke the law, if they stole, were corrupted or bribed, committed wrongdoing, regardless of which party they belong to, what nation and religion they are, and what is their position in the hierarchy of the political and business power. To simplify further, anyone who has committed a felony, embezzlement or any law-abusing crime will go to prison, of course, if proven in court. This is what the government has been saying persistently and repeatedly day and night, since it has taken responsibility for the overall situation in the country, encouraging the judiciary to deliver justice according to law, not by personal favorization. Now that the “Reket” affair has exploded, the government is even louder in demanding justice for anyone involved in the affair, you reap what you sow, they say. It’s all nicely said, but never executed.

But you see, the opposition is saying the very same thing, a thousand times a day they scream hysterically: rule of law, rule of law, “catch the thief”, we want the organized crime tackled and non-selective persecution for corruption. Anyone who broke the law will be held accountable, “no justice, no peace”, SPO should go home, we will bring public prosecutors that this country and this party need.

And the victims, that is the people, with almost no exception, scream: rule of law, thugs should go to prison. And the whole world, from Brussels, and Washington, and London, and Paris, and Hague and the neighbors, they all say rule of law and then negotiations with Europe. What a “Rashomon”, man, everybody is seeking justice, and yet, there is no justice. Either everybody is lying, or we all want to be fooled again and again because we still believe, after all the lies, that justice will be served.

Nobody was stopping the government in the past two and a half years to work towards bringing trust in justice back, to create an ambience that it must be achievable and suited to the laws. Why this government has not enacted an urgent strict punishment law for obstruction of justice when the SPO was unanimously accepted by all relevant political parties and the Parliament, a SPO that was obstructed from day one by the previous government of Nikola Gruevski and himself personally, by the previous PPO headed by Marko Zvrlevski, by the Judicial Council, by the president of state Gjorgje Ivanov with his ridiculous abolition

Those who obstructed justice the most from a position of power and force were never put on trial, and the few that have and were convicted, have managed to escape and are not serving their punishment, nor are they facing trials for other crimes they allegedly committed.

Had it been Gruevski sweating on that bench, or president Ivanov, or Public Prosecutor Zvrlevski, or the judges from the Judicial Council, or anyone who ever obstructed the investigation in the greatest breaches of human rights and freedoms after the World War Two in Macedonia, or the investigation on the biggest robbery and reckless spending of money that belong to the citizens and future generations, we would have been living today in a country where the rule of law is on a much higher level than it is now  – 56th place among 122 countries.

Without a strict law on punishment for obstructing justice, there is no successful fight against crime and no confidence in the judiciary.

And what did the opposition do? Instead of punishment, they demanded amnesty and release of their own criminals. Nobody was stopping the opposition to came up with a stance on expanding the powers of the Special Prosecutor’s Office to prosecute both the prevous and the new government. Opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski never distanced himself from the criminal leadership of VMRO-DPMNE, but, on the contrary, gave ready-made party acquittals, saying that they were innocent people who were victims of political persecution. That all the accusations are staged and orchestrated from the outside and inside only to overthrow the very successful government in order to make Macedonia nameless and faceless. The same lie as the one about all being cut, glued, manipulated, only now put in a new packaging, riding on the “Reket” affair to come to power. Now Mickoski is prosecuting the crimes of the SPO and the government demanding freedom for his robbers.

Those who ruled Macedonia for 11 years without control and robbed the citizens and the state can not remain without power, not even for a day. Those who came to power and liberated the captive state have captured their minds and do not know what to do with freedom. One would even thing it’s better to call for Gruevski to come back home and show them how a rule of law looks like. What can I tell you – they laid with dogs and unless they get some repellent, the will wake up with flees. I do not feel sorry for them when they are inadequate to deal with criminals, although they have all the mechanisms of power and strong public support for the rule of law. It will be a great historical injustice for everything they have achieved with an incomprehensible ease to be brought down by charlatans and bring the country back to where it was two and a half years ago, and 20 years ago.

Erol Rizaov