“Insanity with monuments”? Strong debates for the placement of new monuments of “Skopje 2014”

“Insanity with monuments”? Strong debates for the placement of new monuments of “Skopje 2014”

IBNA Special Report

Skopje, September 8, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

In Skopje, the number of monuments which are being placed by the government and municipality, as part of the “Skopje 2014” project. In the weekend, five new monuments have been placed in the Albanian inhabited quarter. This has sparked the reaction of the citizens, non government organizations and political parties.

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In the early hours of Sunday, five monuments of several Slavo-Macedonian heroes belonging to different periods were placed: Petre Tosev, Andon Lazov Janev, general Mihajlo Apostolski, Georgi Sugarev and Nikola Petrov Rusinski.

The debate has culminated and reactions have swarmed, as these monuments of heroes on horses and with rifles in their hands, have been placed in front of the monuments of Albanian ethnics, such as the monument of Scanderbeg and that of Hasan Prishtina, which was placed last year.

The city of Skopje says that these monuments have gone through the institutional filters and debates have been held with the participation of representatives from Albanian parties.

Clashes between Albanian parties, BDI and PDSH

Albanian parties have exchanged accusations in relation to the placement of new monuments. They’re accusing each other of treason and secret cooperation with VMRO-DPMNE of Nikola Gruevski.

Artan Grubi, BDI member of parliament, says that the Albanian Democratic Party (PDSH), which is in opposition, has given the green light to these new monuments. Grubi says that this has happened in the sessions held in June at the City of Skopje Assembly.

“In June, PDSH councilors helped in the approval of the decision for the placement of these five new monuments. This  decision was passed with double the amount of votes needed and Albanian councilors could have easily overthrown it. But, PDSH councilors, who remained in the meeting until the 14th point of the order of the day, surprisingly left the meeting before the voting of point 15 which related to the monuments. This way, they enabled the approval of this decision, for which BDI councilors voted against”, says Grubi MP.

On the other hand, PDSH councilor, Idriz Orana, says that all the monuments are part of scenarios and projects of the coalition between VMRO-DPMNE and BDI.

“The issue of monuments is unacceptable for PDSH. We’re openly against. It’s a known fact that the monuments are funded by the government and the government is comprised of VMRO-BDI. For these reasons, they must ask their bosses as to why have these monuments been placed here. They cannot blame us for this!”, says Idriz Orana.

Citizens are worried about the “insanity with monuments”: They are a provocation and threat

Citizens react against what the continuation of what they call “the insanity of monuments”. “What’s happening is insanity. Instead of addressing poverty and social crisis which has engulfed the country, they’re paying attention to concrete and bronze figures. This has its limits, enough with these insanities”, says Vesna. L, a student from Skopje.

Strong reactions have also arrived from Albanian ethnics. Vebi Xhemali, a historian, says that these monuments are a provocation and threat for cohabitation.

“These are frequent provocations of a state policy which is supported by Albanian leaders. What’s happening is a clear message that the Macedonian side doesn’t consider Albanians as equal partners in government. All of this will generate negative results one day”, says historian Xhemaili.

The government and city of Skopje have not placed monuments of Albanian heroes for five years now. These monuments were also planned to be part of ‘Skopje 2014” project. /ibna/