IBNA Special Report
Skopje, December 8, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
Political and ethnic tones have aggravated in FYR Macedonia, because during the weekend, the government has adopted a bill for the change of state insignia. The new insignia contains a red lion over a golden shield with a mural crown in the form of a castle in the upper part.
This symbol has also been backed by the Albanian party in power, BDI (Democratic Union for Integration), while on the other hand, opposition parties and Albanian historians are against this, as there are no Albanian elements.
According to the government, the new design of the red lion is based on historical insignias, Verland’s illustrations from 1481 and Baroad’s insignia from 1581. The government has also stressed that the new insignia contains Albanian elements, as the lion has also been used in the past by Albanian landlords.
The yellow golden crown which has been embellished with pearls and rubies, is supposed to symbolize the republican order in a state and the unification of all ethnic groups in FYROM.
Minister of Justice, Adnan Jashari, who has been one of the ministers who have backed the new insignia offers his version as to why this insignia should be supported.
“The image of the new insignia combines the joint past of all people and cultures of our country and the idea of European democratic orientation. We encounter these symbols from antiquity to the big Albanian feudal families. The castle’s crown with its five elements symbolizes the cohabitation of cultures and Ilirian-Dardan civilizations. But there will be a public debate for all dilemmas, where insights will be given by historians and other personalities”, says minister Jashari.
Albanian Democratic Party (PDSH) in opposition has stressed that the new insignia is a party symbol and entirely mono ethnic, prepared by the party in power, VMRO-DPMNE.
“A humiliation against Albanians has taken place in the last government meeting, where VMRO and BDI have voted the new constitutional changes that propose the new state insignia with the lion on it. This insignia not only doesn’t help in making state symbols non ethnic, but the opposite happens, a party symbol and entirely mono ethnic is proposed as a state symbol!”, reacted PDSH lawmaker, Imer Aliu.
The largest opposition party, Macedonian Social Democratic Union (LSDM), says that with the new proposed insignia, the government is aiming to divert the attention from the real problems of the citizens.
“At a time when the political crisis continues along with the absence of the opposition in parliament, the government opens the debate about the state symbol, with the only aim of diverting the attention from the big affairs and scandals where it’s been involved”, reads the press statement of the Macedonian opposition.
Albanian historians have appealed for the new insignia to contain a new Albanian element, as the lion cannot be considered as a symbol of Albanians.
“As historians, we propose a change for the new insignia approved by the government. We demand an Albanian element or a historical symbol, such as Skanderbeg’s helmet near the lion, as Skanderbeg has defended all the Balkan people. With this proposal, we’re convinced that this symbol will be accepted by all the ethnic groups that live in our country”, says historian and university professor, Vebi Xhemaili.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian media have written that the new insignia is a stolen copy of the state insignia of Bulgaria. “Nobody in Macedonia says that this is a symbol of the second Bulgarian kingdom, from which stems today’s Bulgarian insignia”, writes Bulgarian newspaper “Telegraf”.
There have also been reactions by citizens who have accused the party in power, VMRO-DPMNE that it has used the lion, which is a symbol of its party logo.
In spite of reactions, current coalition parties have the necessary votes in parliament to pass the new insignia. But a debate has been proposed with the involvement of different factors, before the insignia is voted. /ibna/