Deeply concerned about the state of interethnic relations in Macedonia and tensions escalated in recent days with yesterday's brawl between crowds of ethnic Macedonians and Albanians at Skopje’s Kale, Civil – Center for freedom appeals to the government, to political parties and civil society to take immediate and decisive steps to overcome this situation! We appeal:
TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
When the government or its institution secretly sneaks at night to “work on a project”, and senior officials from the coalition partner go out of institutions and "solve" problems that are not solved in the cabinets – something is definitely wrong there.
The government has to start doing its job, not to play a role of a helpless observer and commentator on events. A huge portion of responsibility for the deterioration of interethnic relations lies precisely in the practices of this government. This particularly applies to the adoption and implementation of projects that have nothing to do with the needs and realities of this country.
Stop projects that do not reflect the reality
The government must immediately stop all of its projects that were not a subject of broad public debate or those debates are not yet completed, and consider their full suspension and removal from the program. This is especially regarding projects that are contrary to the multiethnic, multi-confessional, and multicultural character of the country.
You cannot claim that the majority of voters, who elected you to govern the state, give you the right to run just any project that you have in mind. The minority of voters that did not vote for you in the last electoral cycle has to live in this country, as well, and should be consulted on how many monuments they have to get on their way daily. Especially because they are tax payers, too. Moreover, the desperate economic situation in the country brings these projects to a level of absurdity!
Transparency must finally become one of the most important characteristics of planning and implementing projects in the country. Expensive ads to which we all got accustomed to seeing in recent years, about the achievements of the government can hardly be called transparency and accountability. No need for extra lessons on transparency, it is sufficient to follow the laws and promises made before domestic and international public.
Broad consensus on projects that have the slightest connection to cultures, traditions, desires and needs of all ethnic communities, must be reached.
Also, it is time to consider the citizens that are interested in life, education, culture and spiritual development outside ethnic, religious and traditional norms, i.e. the cosmopolitan oriented ones.
Generally speaking, the society lacks cosmopolitan spirit. Localism, ethnocentrism, populism and dogmatism is forced instead, strongly spiced up with kitsch. Take the world and universal human values into consideration when you adopt and implement your projects.
TO THE POLITICAL PARTIES
We demand from all political parties, irrespective of their positioning, size or orientation, to immediately issue unambiguous statements in which they will call on their members to reason, tolerance and respect for human rights and freedoms.
This is no time for collection of political points through cheap nationalist speeches. All you can get is a few seconds or minutes in the TV news. You can also get it with some positive and wise approach to events.
Finally, it is not important only to be remembered, but also by what you want to be remembered.
TO THE CIVIL SOCIETY
Dear colleagues from the civil society sector in Macedonia: this is not a project! This is the starting point of our and your organization and the basis of our and your personal engagement in civil society in the broadest sense. Today, now, in the moment this will reach you, express your commitment as an organization and as individuals.
Spread the message of peace, tolerance and respect for human rights. Everyone’s positive word and each act that leads to peaceful resolution of conflicts are immensely important and effective.
TO ALL CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
Do not let obsession and madness take hold of you. This situation is not conducive to good for you; neither is for generations to come. A war has inflicted much harm. Another one would mean disaster for this country. What political figures say, sometimes may sound good, but is mostly motivated by their thirst for power and popularity. And personal gain.
The walls are raised high above our heads. Division is our reality. Further divisions can also mean setting new, physical frontiers between people. All of us know that it involves war and bloodshed. And that brings good only for criminals and thugs.
Make the first step; tear down the walls that stand between you and your fellow citizens with different backgrounds or beliefs. It will not jeopardize your identity, on the contrary, that will enrich you.
Stop nationalism and religious hatred!
For Macedonia without divisions and violence!
Xhabir Memedi Deralla
President of Civil – Center for Freedom