The resigning leader in VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski, after the arrest of former Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov and six opposition MPs suspected of violent events of April 27, that the Public Prosecutor’s Office qualified as a terrorist threat to the constitutional order, came up with an idea for reconciliation.
However, neither Gruevski nor VMRO-DPMNE explained to the public exactly what they thought when seeking reconciliation. The idea may have sounded nice, but without explaining exactly what they think specifically mean with reconciliation – who should be reconciled with who and why – it could leave the public in confusion. In the worst case scenario, this idea, rather than calming passions, can lead us to even greater division and conflicts.
We often say, it’s human to sin, but it is virtuous to forgive. I believe in forgiveness, but I also know that not everyone is ready for it. Only the brave are able to overcome their pride and can forgive others if they have been injured or treated improperly. The willingness to forgive is a basic prerequisite for talking about reconciliation.
Forgiveness is an act that praised and desired by the Lord. This act is specifically preached by Christianity, but also Islam, in a specific way. In the Bible, the word forgiveness means “letting go of something,” as in ‘when someone does not ask the borrower to return the money’. By forgiving, we do not seek compensation for the injury or the loss we suffered.
Since Gruevski and his close associates throughout their rule persuaded us that they are very committed to the values of Christianity, let’s all try to analyze what the Bible says about the act of forgiveness, when it is applied and how and whether the call of VMRO- DPMNE is in the spirit of Christian values.
The first thing that I don’t understand when Gruevski talks about reconciliation who should forgive whom. In VMRO-DPMNE’s proposal, it is not clear who is the victim in the story, and who the abuser. To reconcile with someone, we need to determine who should forgive something.
In this particular case, the invasion in the Parliament, for me there is no hesitation who is the bad guy, and who is the victim. The MPs of SDSM and some Albanian MPs were victims of Gruevski’s thugs who, despite being unable to gather 61 MPs and form a government, refused to leave the government. In other words, he wanted to introduce a dictatorship, which is nothing but the will to govern a country, contrary to the will of the citizens expressed at free elections. So, there is no reconciliation if we do not know who is who in the story, and who to whom and what to forgive and for what purpose.
More importantly, in the spirit of Christianity, in order to have forgiveness for some kind of sin, the sinner must repent. The Lord does not forgive people who knowingly and maliciously are committing sins and do not repent, and do not seek forgiveness from those who were hurt.
Gruevski and his thugs not only do not repent of the coup attempt in the Parliament, but they blame the violence on the opposite side. He and his thugs were on the bumper of the state, and the traitors, Zaev, with a cracked forehead and the other bloody deputies, were traitors who wanted to sell the state.
And it doesn’t end there, they organize protests on the streets of Skopje every day in defense of the detained patriots. Well, brothers, if you are really convinced that with the invasion in the Assembly you have done some kind of patriotic act, then why do you want to reconcile with us traitors?! It’s not worth amnestying traitors, is it? If they are so convinced of their cause that they cannot mobilize more than a thousand supporters, we wish them much happiness in their efforts.
According to Christianity, forgiveness does not mean that you tolerate your sins because God punishes those who commit bad deeds. When you forgive, you should not be reckless with your sins as if they had never happened. Because the Lord forgave King David for his grave sins, but did not protect him from the consequences of his deeds.
In this case, it would mean Zaev and the other MPs should forgive the VMRO thugs who physically attacked them in the Parliament, but, for other hard acts against the state, there is no force to amnesty them. If no one is held responsible for the attempt to keep power opposed to the will of the majority of citizens, who guarantees that it will not happen again in an even more dramatic form?
Those who by force tried to prevent the constitution of the government, even though they knew Zaev had 61 MPs in the Parliament, did not defend the state, but on the contrary violently ruined its constitutional order, which clearly stipulates the establishment of the authorities.
If Gruevski seeks forgiveness for this, then such a pardon must not exist. It should be a red line that must not be crossed by anyone, even the current government, if we want to ever become a normal state.
In addition, according to the Christian teaching, which Gruevski takes to heart, forgiveness doesn’t mean that you should allow someone to exploit you and make you a fool in your right mind. Someone does not pay their debt, you can still forgive them. But that does not mean that you need to be so foolish to lend them money again.This means Gruevski and his thugs, have spent the chance for us to forgive them once again. This time they must face justice. They went too far! Everything else would be reconciliation with evil!
I know that there are such talents among us who will say ‘how is it possible to amnesty terrorists in 2001, and others who, in a patriotic frenzy, entered the Parliament and attacked physically opposition MPs, cannot be amnestied?!
The war in 2001 and the events on April 27 cannot be compared for many reasons. That war was a defeat for each of us in Macedonia. If, at that time, there was no amnesty for those 2,000 Albanians who picked up a rifle, supposedly to fight for more rights, Macedonia would have entered a bloody civil war.
But the amnesty in 2001 did not include atrocities against the civilian population. It was Gruevski who imposed the VMRO-DPMNE MPs to pass an authentic interpretation of the Amnesty Law in Parliament, thus amnestying the people of DUI suspected of killing Macedonian civilians from the Tetovo region.
And that was a big mistake, because justice was not met. Relatives of the missing Macedonians deserve justice. They need to know who picked up their loved ones from the field and took them to death. Until this happens, there can be no real reconciliation between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonia. That burden of the past will always burden our relations. Justice can heal wounds! The scars will stay, they will fade in time, let’s hope!