While the TV emits the Ilinden 2019 celebration , I get a holiday greeting in a message, followed by a link. I open the link on my phone, and hear: “Somewhere you will not be spoken of, somewhere you will be hidden, a grave will cover another. Only you are immortal, a vivid underground water, where you sink, you also spring. Centuries of hell we will endure together, oh ancient Macedonian land, it was written that nothing will become of us, you without me, me without you…”
At the same time, on another medium, I already had Giuseppe Verdi’s “Nabucco” and the beginning of ” Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” is heard: „Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate, va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli, ove olezzano tepide e molli l’aure dolci del suolo natal…“ (or Go, thought, on wings of gold; go settle upon the slopes and the hills, where, soft and mild, the sweet airs/of our native land smell fragrant!“)
In that moment, when on the TV screen in front of me somewhere out there at Meckin Kamen the dancers from “Tanec” are rising in slow, painful movements, these sounds captured me… A cacophony of intertwining music, but also feelings of fear, helplessness and uncertainty.
I think about the Hebrew slaves in the Babylon exile, who in “Nabucco” are presented longing for their homeland of Jerusalem… In the 19th century when this opera as written, in a time when the Italian patriots are trying to unite their country and set it free from foreign rule, the audience experiences it with a nationalistic exaltation. I think, this piece from “Nabucco” is a symbol of the love and longing for your country.
Why is it, that on a day that is a national pride, I have that same feeling of longing and loss?! Am I losing my homeland?! No, a homeland I have, I can not lose it. For a homeland is the birthplace, the feeling of belonging I being on your land. I remembered that the Kurds, a people of 30 million, the Yorùbá people in West Africa (over 40 million), the Uyghurs who are displaced in various countries throughout Central and Eastern Asia, as well as the Palestinians, the Scotts, the Catalans, the Andalusians, the Basques and more than 90 other ethnic groups have a homeland, but don’t have a country.
I remembered that, in fact, this fear is not about my homeland, but for the Macedonian state. Will my state endure and how much more “rape” can it handle?!
Set on August 2nd 1944 at ASNOM, as a result of not only 25.000 victims of the World War Two in the Vardar region of Macedonia, but also the idea of our own state and the organized and less organized resistance of the Macedonian people and the victims all over the geographic Macedonian territory. Of victims we know and celebrate, but also of unknown and unpraised victims, hidden under the dark cape of history.
“Today, on the second famous Ilinden, the last Ilinden in an unfree Macedonia, we put the basis of the Macedonian state, where our people will unite and start living the happy life it deserves after enduring slavish agony and five centuries of struggle”, said Panko Brashnarov at the occasion of opening the Assembly in front of delegates gathered from all over Macedonia, but also in front of US and British military dignitaries. That is how the state was formed, and on September 8th 1991 the will of the majority of Macedonia citizens to love in their own state was confirmed.
I conclude that the state is a result of struggle and diplomacy. The struggle and the victims are, in fact, in order to create own institutions that have the power to create rules that govern the people of a society and to secure internal and external sovereignty over a defined territory that will be accepted by other states as equal in international relations. What have we been doing in these 75 years with our own state?!
We build a system, we break it down, we build institutions, we break them down … There are rules, but they are selectively implemented or not applicable at all. There is no institution or system that is not full of anomalies. So I think, all those who addressed the celebration of the big holiday, those in the audience and those who stayed home, don’t they know that and do they really think that beautified sentences on the “day” were enough to celebrate statehood, and before and after it, we can shamelessly resume playing state and Fata- Morgana-style populist dramatics.
This was the goal of the struggle for our own institutions, so we can today rape them and by doing so, become our own worst enemies and adversaries?! Many of our countrymen leave because they do not feel worthy here, and those who remain are drowned in hatred and buried in their own trench of illusions, spitting poison in the “opposing trench” and believing that if they choose the other, they will themselves become smarter and better. There is much evidence of spiritual, moral and intellectual crippling of individuals, and the latter becomes a general characteristic of the people. Some remain out of the process because they do not share the values of the previous ones, nor do they believe in political elites or politics. They are silent, although some of them have knowledge and integrity.
The wrinkled faces and tearful eyes of the people here say that we carry the burden of our own country with hardship. I wonder, do we love this country today at all?!
If we do, we must enforce laws, rule of law, and make the institutions work. Anyone who loves their state must understand that this is its basis and sincerely and responsibly stand for these values, without “Itar Pejo style” ingenuity and street tricks. Regardless of who may be the “victim” of the law, the justice system must function, and to regain its trust it must first be reformed. Every individual must refuse to be complicit in acts that are contrary to the law and lead from the stage of admiration and the tacit approval of criminal acts that, on average, create “gods”, towards the stage of condemnation and contempt for them.
Any and all civic activism in these conditions will only remain a decor, and the key is always in the political parties, as they are contenders for power. It is therefore necessary to reform the political parties in order to allow, within the system, for the most capable to come on top. Reforms in the electoral process are necessary as well as enabling the existence of open lists so that people who sit in the Assembly, will get legitimacy not only from the political parties, but also directly from the citizens. Trust must be given to those who know and can manage, they must be the driving force in society.
Did I overdo it?! I think I’m being pathetic … But the feeling is that only we can bury Macedonia and it up to us alone whether it will be a state with all the attributes or remain the darkest Balkan vilayet.
The state of the Macedonian people is still alive, of course, shared with members of other nations, but for the Macedonians this is the only state.
„Oh, mia patria sì bella e perduta! Oh, membranza sì cara e fatal!“, or “Oh, my homeland, so beautiful and lost! Oh, memories, so dear and so fatal! “…
Then I hear “Testament” again.