Blue hat with a star and red scarf around the neck, symbols of the youngest in a former country that no longer exists. The youth were divided according to age and achievements in that former state and grew up healthy and step by step under the watchful eye of their parents, neighbors, teachers, society. From pioneers they became the youth and became independent again under the watchful eye of their parents, teachers, and society. They competed in knowledge, humanity, decency and virtues that were a moral code of conduct at the time. It was an honor to be chosen as the best student, it is even more important to go to a working action that you will work for free, but you will spend time with your peers and build your homeland. It was even more important to be part of the May 25 Youth Day or carry the relay across the cities of your country.
The youth in that former state had free education, free health insurance that worked for everyone equally and was the same for all. Young people wore school uniforms and resembled one another in their moral values, knowledge, and were as diverse as all young people in the world in their desires, their plans and the future. They listened to “Indeksi”, “Atomsko skloniste”, “Bijelo Dugme”, Zdravko Colic, “Azra”, “Lacni Franc”… They differed only in their place of residence and the color of their eyes and names, but not in religion, social status or nationality. They were suffering from the same diseases, got the same vaccines, learned from the same textbooks, and grew up and lived in the same way. They did not have mobile phones or computers, they did not have internet and one hundred TV channels, they did not even have color TVs, but they had each other, they had friendship and love in their hearts. They met each other, fell in love and got married, created families and educated their children with the same moral values.
Young people learned mathematics and history that was the same and equal in every school in the country, studied the same subjects from the same textbooks and took the same exams at the university. It did not matter where you were studying, because education was the same, it did not matter where you lived because you the same things were everywhere, it did not matter what nationality or religion you were, because they taught that they were the same regardless of differences. The same hide-and-seek and other childhood games was played everywhere and football goals were made out of school bags in the meadows from Gevgelija to Triglav. They went in the same army and learned that they were all equal and powerful if they were together and that they should be loved and respected in order to have a future.
This youth cheered for Vardar, Partizan, Crvena Zvezda, Dinamo, Hajduk, but they did not hate each other because of the colors of the clubs.
This youth grew up and won world championships in basketball, water polo, handball etc. They became respected people in a respected and moral society. There was crime, but in a very small percentage, because the moral values were real and not distorted, the society immediately reacted in all its segments and functions, and streets were guarded by policemen who knew everyone from their region. Murders were so rare that they were studied at the law faculties, and security was at such a high level that the doors of the citizens’ homes were never locked.
Some called this period a time of narrow-mindedness and a time of party torture of one single party, a time in which the individual was not important but the collective, while human rights were at a very low level and were suffocated by the ruling power.
Over the years, the one-party system was replaced with the multi-party system, narrow-mindedness was replaced by democracy, and human rights have risen above the collective, as some have claimed and still claim. The red scarves and the blue pioneer hats remained only a memory of the past, so that a cult about a person would never again be built, as some claimed. Whether it is so or not, I will not get involved in polemising, nor is it ultimately important, what is important and what no one can dispute is that after the narrow-mindedness, the time of madness has come.
The multi-party system has become, in fact, a two-party system, divided on a national and religious basis, in two parties for each nationality and religion. They experimented with the health system, privatized it, and stole from it, until it stopped working and from humane turned into bureaucratic, which would take lives and not save and heal. Suddenly babies started to die because of medical or systemic errors, due to incompetence and indifference. Children started dying because of cruelty, bureaucracy and insensitivity, health and the state started turning their heads and allowed young lives to fade. They allowed for Tamara to happen, who did not survive because of disinterest, greed, inhumanity and immorality. There was no punishment and accountability, except for her grandfather.
Education as a system ceased to exist and turned into a dissolved system of neighborhood businessmen who ran after money and tenders for printing textbooks, not for the content and truthfulness of textbooks. Suddenly children were no longer learning the same history or geography, but historical truths began to depend on the author, place of residence and national and religious affiliation. Instead of a uniting factor, education has become a factor of separation and a hate factor. These textbooks did not promote love, but encouraged hatred towards everything that is different or unusual. They began to glorify murderers and liquidators, and spat on the reformers and humanists. History was forged and written in the way that those in power preferred for daily political points and successes. Knowledge did not unite but divided, knowledge and education did not teach the children of love and tolerance, but of hatred and intolerance. The same hate speech from textbooks came out to the streets, party tribunes and rally speeches and sowed hatred in the children’s souls for everything that is different on any ground. What Democrats have been saying is that power and power is not in knowledge and love, but in hatred and the fist. That’s how Martin Neskoski, Angel Petkovski, the bloody Thursday, the black Monday, and all the other gray days of the week that happened to us.
Of that narrow-mindedness, the quasi-Democrats have created a party ‘un-mindedness’ rooted in every area of social life. By their actions and the partisation of the judiciary and the captured state of the youth, they showed that you are only safe if you are a member of the party and then you can do everything and nobody can do anything to you. From classrooms and textbooks, hatred has also spread to sports fields and bus stations, cafes and discos. Thus, many young people died, who just stepped along the path of life that another took away without a cause or reason. That is how Sazdo happened to us. And yet again there is silence of the institutions, silence for the culprits who have made their contribution for other young people to take their lives, silence without condemnation for education, both domestic and school.
Many young people have lost their lives because of professionalism of the people who are at the helm of the state, or rather their greed, immorality and shallow mindedness, because of the state and its institutions, and the inertia and decay of society. Even more young people left the country and their centuries-old homes for the same reasons, and because of the hopelessness and the decay of society.
How rich are we to be able to afford this, to allow such scattering of the lives of young people leaving this piece of land one way or another? How long will we keep silent and think that this happens to someone else out there? Isn’t the pain and grief of every life the same regardless of name, religion, nationality, color, education, social status? What is supposed to happen for you to wake up and raise your voice and understand that divisions do not bring anything good.
(The author is a lawyer)