Shortly after the signing of the NATO accession protocol, former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski published the second part of his remarks calling for a paradigm change in the name issue and the battle for Macedonian statehood and national identity. In it Gruevski expands on the first part of his remarks, and calls for speedy accession to NATO and EU as the best way to reduce the pressures Macedonia will be exposed to.
The key here is to join EU and NATO, and if we are forced to join with an amended Constitution and after signing harmful treaties, we should at least join them with a clear, strong and unbreakable national consciousness as Macedonians, with an unshaken sense of Macedonian identity. To join as a country which only temporarily, and against the will of it citizens, was forced to accept a treaty to amend its name, identity, and to rewrite its history under foreign diktat. The task of every future Macedonian Government must be to keep the Macedonian issue open, by clearly stating that it will not live with the status quo, and to eventually close the issue when the injustice is removed and the damage has been corrected. To gain allies along the way and to determine which legal and political steps will be best at the given time, Gruevski writes in his remarks.
According to the former VMRO leader, who now lives as political emigre in Hungary, much of the support which the “puppet Government” in Skopje received from abroad was due to the insistence in international circles to push Macedonia into NATO, and, to a lesser extent, the EU.
Once this process is accomplished, even if it is done with a forcibly imposed Government, forcibly amended Constitution, illegally held votes in the Parliament and illegally published decisions in the Official Gazette, the interest of the international community into what we are named or into what some other country thinks of us, will be reduces. This is when a future Government, or future Governments, will be obliged to act. The Culture Ministry will be our Defense Ministry after the puppet Government is gone, no less important than the actual Defense Ministry, Gruevski adds.
He warns that, in the meantime, until it can be expected that the international pressure to redefine Macedonia is reduced, the country will continue to face extensive pressure to alter its national identity, and to isolate and silence the proponents of maintaining the Macedonian national identity. The twin agreements which Zoran Zaev signed with Bulgaria and Greece give these countries the right to dictate the narrative in Macedonian school books and history books, but also to police the public conversation.
Not only the young generations, through schools and school-books. We can expect that even the elderly will be subjected to a subtle, or even a brutal, permanent campaign and to well funded propaganda. The number of people who life off of propagandizing foreign interests will continue to grow. We’ve seen this before throughout our history, 100 or 120 years ago, when the propaganda was pushed through the churches, the clerics, the teachers, later through newspapers. The influence of the elites over the society, which can often act in conformist ways and lean toward where it feels safe, and not where the justice lies, will be important. We will continue to see this influence through media outlets, the social media networks, even some new propaganda techniques, through bribed and blackmailed irresponsible politicians, historians, professors and other scholars and quasi scholars. They will insist that we lose nothing by altering our consciousness, that we are better off now, that it was good that we eventually gave up n the dispute and that we used to be fooled, retrograde, misled, captives, but now we are modern, free, progressive, loved and appreciated around the world. We may be all those things, but we will be defeated. Defeated on the issue of our identity, name, history, culture, self-determination, our FREEDOM! Defeated and the Macedonian issue closed to our detriment. It is up to the Macedonians to decide whether they will accept this in the long term. In the short term it is already being imposed on us, Gruevski writes, predicting that NGO groups and “philantropists”, civic associations and organizations will try to recruit the best and the brightest, offering them well paid international jobs if they agree to work for the indoctrination of the public and help shape it to foreign will.
“I believe that is the right word – indoctrination”, Gruevski adds, pointing out to the numerous media outlets who clearly don’t work on a financial basis and are paid from the outside, just like a number of opinion makers who push for the dilution of the Macedonian national spirit. “All those who promote the Macedonian national cause will be portrayed as marginal, retrograde, deluded, criminals, violent thugs, unrealistic, gauche, aggressive, problematic backwards looking persons. Just like today”.
Nikola Gruevski calls on the parents to make sure they educate their children to resist the multiple propaganda drives and to actively explain historic and other events, no matter what the new school books will say. He evokes the spirit of resistance during the Ottoman, Serbian and Bulgarian rule, when the national idea was kept alive primarily in the families.
He warns all who will stand up in support of the Macedonian national identity that they will likely face an extensive period of persecution.
It was never easy for us, throughout our history. We definitely make a large step backwards with the Prespa agreement, but we have no other choice but to move forward. It is not by accident that I fought and undertook huge personal risks and consequences in an attempt to avoid us landing in this situation, that we would suffer an immense loss forcing us start making up the damage from way behind, with all the uncertainty, difficulties, obstacles, risks and sacrifices which are coming. The propaganda will be focused on dividing and ruling us, to weaken the right and to isolate any national minded circles in the left. The strong and powerful always use this tactic among the weaker and smaller ones, Gruevski adds.
He warns against the siren song of identifying as “citizens of the world”, saying that the national identity must come first, and that, following this idea, Macedonians will find themselves as “citizens of the world” living surrounded by Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs and Albanians.
There is no problem if the majority of the citizens of a nation see themselves as citizens of the world if they see themselves primarily as members of a nation and a country, and only then as citizens of the world. It is a problem if all other nations in Europe, and especially in the Balkans, nurture a strong national sense of belonging, and only then develop their cosmopolitan views, but only we do the opposite, Gruevski writes.
The exiled Macedonian leader says he will support reforms that would make Macedonia a more efficient state, and will develop the economy, primarily in the purpose of reducing the emigration which has intensified in the difficult political situation and the persecution perpetrated by the SDSM party.
Emigration has at least tripled in the past year or two, and we will not stop it, but we can create conditions to reduce it, Gruevski writes, pointing to the need to restore pro-family measures endedby SDSM and to continue opening jobs across the country. He calls the politicians to reject all calls for division and creating a federal state reminding them on the fate suffered by federal Yugoslavia.
In the end, Gruevski warns the Zaev Government that it will ultimately face the anger of the people it lied to and manipulated. “I found temporary refuge in Hungary and received a political asylum due to the political persecution I faced, as an obstacle to the clear aims the puppet Government had with regard to our name and identity. Their fate will be more difficult. You can find shelter from a puppet Government more easily than from the enraged and betrayed people. Some of them will flee, and some will remain to live in the country, with bowed heads, no matter what awards and foreign recognitions they receive in the meantime”.
Excerpts from the first part of his remarks are available here –