Praise of Folly

Orient Express

Macedonians in Greece were pleased with the agreement. They knew it was good, without even reading it!? They say, it must be more than good since Greeks are so infuriated. In Macedonia, the Macedonians who shout at the top of their lungs – The country is finished, this is a disaster, betrayal, capitulation, suicide… they also have not read the agreement, but they are unhappy and complaining because what they see as the end of the world, others see as a way out of poverty, misery and isolation from the Balkan chaos. It is the best sign that even without reading and analyzing the agreement you can be sure that Macedonia has come out of the labyrinth in which it has been wandering for more than a decade and is now on the right track.

Once the opposition in both countries organizes and leads protests that are not harmless, although they lacked attendance, you can be sure that it is only a battle for power and an excuse for not finishing a task when they had power to do it. They did not do anything for a well-known reason, because they stayed in power just by spreading hatred between the two peoples. Protesters, party leaders who seek any chance of returning to power, are in fact very pleased that political opponents have completed this difficult, risky and unpopular task. Now they intimidate and incite people with predictions of catastrophe, from which they can be saved only if the opposition returns to govern the state.

You will see evidence of this as soon as it is completed as agreed between the Prime ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev and their UN-mediated teams. Their successors in the government, whoever they are, will not annul the agreement, nor will they make the slightest attempt in that direction. Experiences both at home and abroad clearly show that sustainable contracts work, the unsustainable fail, become unfeasible. The agreement signed by Macedonia and Greece is sustainable in the long term, since it is accepted by both sides, both Greece and Macedonia, but also by the UN and the EU and its most influential members that have played a crucial role together with America to reach an acceptable compromise, because only this can be a long-term contrac, and be the foundation for building friendly relations between the two countries.

However, it is best to carefully read the provisions of the document accepted by the governments of Greece and Macedonia. Then you can create your own judgment whether it is a capitulation and disaster, or a good solution for achieving the future of Macedonia. Here are some facts that no one denies, but are often misused.
It has never been disputed that Macedonia is being wronged by setting a condition for membership in NATO and the EU. It is indisputable that the Republic of Macedonia has both legal and moral right to self-name and self-determination as its citizens prefer. Nobody forces us to change the constitutional name, it is a requirement for us to join the EU, NATO, and with that name to join as a member of the UN instead of the previous FYROM. Nobody forces us to become members of the EU and NATO, but that’s what we want. NATO and EU membership is a strategic goal for both the state and all governments and parliaments and all relevant political parties as the only alternative to the country’s future. The majority of citizens in Macedonia, over 70 percent, support the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
The national identity and citizenship of the Macedonians does not change in any way, nor is endangered in any way. It was a basic precondition in all of the talks and negotiations in order to come to a delimitation of the geographical area. That has so far failed, but those who have not found a solution and their followers are now greatly bidding on who gave and what they offered to the other side. In addition to the national identity and Macedonian citizenship, the agreement confirms that the Macedonian language, as it is so far, remains duly recorded in the UN documents without any changes. Linguistic science worldwide has never challenged it, so the agreement does not dispute it either. The national, linguistic and religious determinations remain untouched.
The cultural heritage on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia remains as before according to the international laws and rules that Macedonia has accepted and signed. All that has been discovered from prehistory to date, and what will be revealed in the future of its territory, remains as a cultural heritage owned by Macedonia, with the obligation to care for it and keep it, and make it accessible to the world public and science.
Not knowing these facts, or of some of them, can be understandable when it comes to ordinary citizens who are confronted with the most difficult problem of getting through the day and feeding the family, or how to find work. Even the noise that the opposition makes is understandable in order to win some points. Three really dangerous and dirty things are incomprehensible. First, why violent protests and hatred towards other ethnic communities, if there is a referendum on free expression. Second, the role of some scholars, people, well-known public figures, university professors and academics is incomprehensible. Not because they do not support the agreement and consider it harmful for Macedonia, but because they lie and manipulate the public by falsely presenting and interpreting parts of the agreement.
I hear an academician saying that if the EU wants us to join there are a hundred ways to do it. The journalist stares at him ignorantly, and he does not say: Sir, the EU is not the one that wants us, we are the ones that want to join. The academician knows that MANU has prepared a book of 413 pages entitled “National Strategy for Economic Development of the Republic of Macedonia”, which includes the social development of the country, published in 1997 with validity until 2020. The academician knows that all developmental economic, political and social reforms, prepared by more than 100 domestic and foreign scholars, according to the example of Slovenia, rely exclusively on membership in the European Union, which is clearly emphasized many times in the MANU Strategy. The academician knows that so far Macedonia has accepted and signed hundreds of laws and international agreements and declarations that are in accordance with the EU rules, and that Macedonia has been a candidate for EU membership for 13 years with fulfilled preconditions.
The academician knows that the entire legal system, the cultural values, the geographical and political affiliation of Macedonia is related to the European Union. Despite all this, this man speaks and intimidates people that this is a disaster, as if he is writing fables for children.
And thirdly, the most confusing is the President of the State Gjorge Ivanov. He started his mandate ten years ago with a simple, meaningless sentence: a reasonable compromise is a reasonable compromise. And it ends with the clarification that a compromise is not a compromise.
If you do not want to read the agreement, but you want to understand what it is about without being annoyed, I recommend reading Erasmus of Rotterdam and his “Praise of Folly”. “There is nothing more senseless, than serious things said in a meaningless way. Also, there is nothing more fun than saying meaningless things as if they were serious,” says Erasmus.

Erol Rizaov