IBNA Op-Ed/The main characteristic of Absurdistan is that absurdity is the main characteristic of society. On the other hand, it’s like a blessed biblical place, where towers and Babylonian monuments are built, as a massive culture without artistic values, which encourages and incarnates the people to fulfill their esthetical sentiments in spite of the great poverty and unemployment.
By Nano Ruzhin
Our opposition is bewildered because it’s facing difficulties with the classical ideology of nationalist populism, which is successful in these situations of crisis.
The main characteristic of Absurdistan is that absurdity is the main characteristic of society. On the other hand, it’s like a blessed biblical place, where towers and Babylonian monuments are built, as a massive culture without artistic values, which encourages and incarnates the people to fulfill their esthetical sentiments in spite of the great poverty and unemployment.
On the other hand, thousands of new jobs are promised, although there’s a lot growing discontent as a result of social, legal and political injustices, manipulations with the people, demagogy and corruption with voters, intimidation and control of intellectuals and media, intimidation of the voters, intimidation of intellectual, opposition and people who don’t think like the current power.
With this, an entire power is being managed through a powerful propaganda and political and judicial apparatus. A constant apology of a system which produces cruelty, trivial system of heath and education, immature ministers, concealed numbers of unemployment and this is accompanied by a nationalist populism and patriotism.
In Hungary, this is now a proved method.
Tibor is a young man with a contemporary look, unemployed, who has decided to abandon his country, Hungary and to look for his destiny in another country. Taking a cab to the airport, on his phone he looks at the photos of his friends, he remembers the wild nights and parties, the beautiful women and the nights full of drinks, rock concerts and unforgettable holidays in Balaton.
All of a sudden, he is captured by the feelings of nostalgia for his city and country, where he has spent the best days of his youth, where he had lived a very beautiful life, especially when power was taken over by Viktor Orban. Tibor changes his mind and stays. A video clip realized by Orban’s government triggered many polemics in the social media in Hungary.
The same picture also dominates in our country, where the Government of premier Nikola Gruevski is propagating its policies through manipulative populist video-clips.
Those contradicting policies followed by a government which has destroyed education and done nothing to keep in the country educated professionals.
But, the government of Nikola Gruevski, which expresses itself in an aggressive way through populist video clips, doesn’t publish such populist video-clips, like his Hungarian colleague Orban has done.
The reason for this is not to encourage and remind our citizens, where over 235 thousand educated people have immigrated abroad, because in practice, Mr. Gruevski did nothing to keep the professionals in the country, like his colleague did.
This is not the only absurdity of these two states. What is Hungary of Victor Orban in the European Union, this is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia of Nikola Gruevski in the Balkan. Like Hungary, our country has turned into a metaphor of political-nationalism, with a democracy in danger and absurdity of the 21st century, which instead of moving forward, it faces regress.
The disgraceful judicial case with the sentenced journalist Kezharovski and the political-judicial detention of the Center commune in Skopje are examples of a justice system controlled by politics.
These two examples will become part of the anthology of the politicized Macedonian judicial system, as examples of shame, entering the books of law. In Absurdistan, absurdity doesn’t stop here. One of the most flagrant ones is in the employment domain. And to think that for the fight against unemployment by the state, we have heard many commendations in the recent days.
In a magical way, of course through manipulation, the agency for employment, exploiting the law on employment which was approved in December of last year, declared that it has reduced unemployment by removing from the jobseekers’ scheme around 130 jobless people. In other words, according to this agency, the country has 130 thousand fewer unemployment people.
This would be a record for the Guiness Book of Records.
According to legal changes, the government has divided unemployed people as “active unemployed” and the others as “passive unemployed”. In order to be part of active unemployed people, it’s necessary for these people to appear every two months in the Agency of Employment. But, be ware: In case they don’t appear there for different reasons and motives, they lose the status of active unemployed person, although they are truly unemployed. To secure this status, they must wait a year.
Poor categories suffer the biggest damages from these changes.
Active jobseekers have many reasons not to appear at the agency every two months. They may be ill, they may not be in the town where they live, they may not have money to pay for the fare to the agency’s office, family reasons, etc.
Through this methodology, the number of unemployed in the country has reduced to around 92 thousand people. This way, jobless people become victims of discrimination and they are not involved in government employment projects.
The biggest absurdity consists on the fact that amongst these poor classes of society, such as Roma people in Valandova, Demir Hisar, Krusheva, Strumica and Makedonski Brod, nobody has sought employment.
In Gjevgjeli, only two Roma people have looked for a job, in Veles only 11, in Negotina only 5, in Skopje in the quarter of Shutka where 20 thousand Roma people live, only 414 of them have looked for a job. These figures speak for themselves and this phenomenon is a serious indicator of social and ethnic discrimination against the most deprived social categories.
Discrimination that rules in the political, legal and economic domain is attached to this picture of absurdity.
This country is considered a serious candidate for accession in the EU and NATO. But a question arises: How are these aspirations motivated?
By privileging the direct relations between the people and the so called “savior”, nationalist populism is a protector of the people against ‘treacherous elites’.
It’s time for this nationalist populism that conditions political evolution to come to an end.
Experiences from past elections show that poor voters with a small financial allowance are prone to be corrupted and exploited for the interests of the party in power during the electoral campaign.
The rest is manipulated through state media, lobbing circles, but also through intimidation policies. Nationalist populists are exploiting this unclear situation, by playing with poor social categories in the confusion that has been created.
Our opposition is bewildered, because it faces the ideology between classes of nationalist populism, a philosophy which is successful in situations of crisis. A philosophy with the demagogical principle “not much to the left, nut much to the right and the people in front”.
*The author is a university professor at “Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, former ambassador of FYROM in the NATO and current member of the leading board of the Liberal Democrat Party.
Note: The stances taken by the author do not represent the editorial policy of Independent Balkan News Agency