VMRO continuously deceives its own people

Robert Nesimi

A number of international polls that measure happiness constantly rate Macedonian as most unhappy and pessimistic in Europe. This cannot merely be a result of poor economic or social conditions; poorer countries such as Kosovo consistently rank as more happy and optimistic about the future. More likely this is a classical case of mismatch between perception and reality, a big part of which is the mistaken view of the role of Albanians in the country, which often continue to be seen as guests in the country. Albanians have persistently been underestimated, demonized and seen as a threat, and then each and every advancement of their collective rights is accompanied with irrational rancor and dissapointment. And there is no party that has abused this theme more than VMRO has done and continues to do. It initially deceives and creates a skewed picture about Albanians, to then gain politically by exploiting and manipulating the anger and dissapointment that it has itself created.

  1. Government without Albanians. The first big thesis of VMRO after independence was that of a government without Albanians. It repeated this thesis after elections in 2008 and 2014, but not very seriously. The thesis holds that Macedonians as majority have no need to respect the will of other citizens and may freely disregard the 35% non-Macedonian population, of course mainly aiming at Albanians.

In theory this is really possible, but VMRO never took pain to explain what the consequences of such a step may be or how the government can function with this kind of disregard for 35% of the population. Even Macedonia of Yugoslav times did not make such a mistake, and thankfully it practically fell apart immediately in 1990. Itself conscious that it would be a grave mistake, and that it is a theme with empty words for day to day politics, even VMRO did not try it when it was in power. But the very act of stating such a thesis has already done enough damage with a part of Macedonian people, that to this day cannot accept the fact that any government will always have Albanians in it.

  1. Tetovo University. After the breakup of Yugoslavia lost their only door to higher education in their native language, University of Prishtina. The opening of a university in Albanian thus became an urgent need, where Albanian could at least train teachers to educate their future generations. Tetovo University was created precisely driven by this need.

Unfortunately even SDSM of the time did not take this need seriously, and its government intervened forcefully when first lecture began. It then tried to allay the problem by opening a Pedagogical Faculty in Albanian in 1997, but then completely changed its position after 2002. VMRO did much worse.It exploited the opening of Pedagogical Faculty by organizing massive anti-Albanian protests against it. It also politicized and abused the formal recognition of Tetovo University in 2004. Although it acted much more moderately when in power, its positions against education in Albanian left deep marks among the Macedonian population. Education in Albanian continues to be seen as a “concession” to Albanians and a “defeat” for Macedonians. Meanwhile the main exponents of VMRO such as Miloshoski, Gjorcev, Petrovski and others made rich political careers by leading and participating in those anti-Albanian protests from 1997.

  1. Territorial organization. A new territorial organization of municipalities in Macedonia was done in 2004. In reality it wasn’t something new, as much as it was a return to old borders; factually it was an annulment of the organization from 1996. Up until 1996 Kichevo had exactly the same borders it has today, as does Struga with the exception of Vevchani, whose population did not want to rejoin Struga anyway. Up until 1996 Skopje also contatined Arachinovo municipality, while Lipkovo was a part of Kumanovo.

If anyone was harmed by the partition of 2004, it was the Albanians. Skopje and Kumanovo now had less Albanians, while a quicky look at the map of borders between Tearce and Jegunovce is enough to understand the ridiculous maneuvers to make one municipality in Polog majority-Macedonian. The seat of Brvenica municipality was chosen to be the majority-Macedonian village Brvenica, even though by far the biggest settlement there is Chelopek.

Yet VMRO keeps treating the territorial partition as treason for Macedonians. It continues to call Kichevo and Struga victims of concessions toward Albanians, even though they are in their historic borders. It is yet another example of creating a false reality and then capitalizing of the fake nationalistic anger for political purposes, just because the mayors of Kichevo and Struga are Albanians.

  1. Language law. The official use of the Albanian language has been a political demand of Albaians for the past 30 years. It was an important of peace talks and the Ohrid Agreement, one of the main conditions to end the conflict of 2001. It should have been officialized by 2006. Unable to do this at once and in time DUI accepted that the officialization would be done in parts, until new political subjects Alliance and Besa pressured it to come to the point where we are today with the current law. In essence VMRO now refuses “to pay” the penultimate installment (the last one is the recognition of Albanian language with its own name), for something that should have been done in one go 10-15 years ago.

By opposing the current language law, VMRO again deceives its own people. It ignores the fact that the law is the result of something agreed upon in 2001 and that it was one of the conditions to end the conflict. And it again creates anger and manipulates it for its own political benefit.

  1. Census. As a child I remember constantly hearing in the news that with these birthrates Albanians will become a majority in 20 years. Even though it was said with alarm and clear political background, it is true that demographic trends have been more positive for Albanians than Macedonians. Thus the percentage of Albanians in the country continues to grow, reaching 25% in 2002, and likely between 27% and 30% now. This is easily proven mathematically, by analysing data and trends from the past few decades.

VMRO however keeps insisting that Albanians are not even 20%, and it is possible it stopped the last census to hide the true number of Macedonians and Albanians in the country. According to this idiotic idea, there is a conspiracy going back to Rankovic’s time to fictitiously show a higher number of Albanians in Macedonia! So the State Statistical Office of Yugoslavia, and then Macedonia, rigged all demographic parameters to show Albanians as more than 20%, so they could qualify for official use of their language in 2017!

This thesis is so moronic that even exponents of VMRO probably do not believe it. It is worisome however that it is accepted by a considerable number of Macedonians, even outside VMRO. This population is thus faced with another false view, that will come crashing down with a new round of anger and dissapointment after the next census. Of course VMRO will be there, ready to abuse it for political gain.

Finally it should be noted that VMRO behaves differently when it is in power and when in opposition. The damaging repercussions of creating fake realities in opposition leave indelible marks among people in the long term. The sooner VMRO abandons these kinds of political tactics, the greater the service it will do to the Macedonian people, and finally to itself, since sooner or later it will have to rule together with Albanians again.