Sunday, May 19, 2024

ELECTIONS ALWAYS BRING FALSE PATRIOTISM AND PUBLIC SCENE ‘GASTARBATERS’

Author: Xhelal Neziri

Elections in North Macedonia always bring two things that somewhat surprise the citizen: patriotism or false nationalism, and seasonal “workers” (gastarbaters) on the public scene.

Instead of love for ethnicity or nationality, patriotism comes as hatred of the other, which is in fact, chauvinism. This kind of “love” encompasses a wide range of deceptive excuses that is passed from one election to the next. Thus the country remains constantly in a historical fog that does not allow a clear view, does not allow new practices of social, political, economic and cultural functioning.

It is an early dense fog covering strangely histories that produce permanent conflict and destabilization. Within this fog, the metanarratives of the country ethnicities arose so as not to come to a normal plane of perception and development. With these irreconcilable historical metanarrations are constructed metastases of corruption and all power abuses.

It seems like a deliberate numbness that defocuses and essentially feeds on historical hyperbole to actually envelop the grim reality created through a transition over 25 years. Any abuse, crime, thievery and corruption are easily wrapped up in this historical fog that is then sold to the electorate with much “glory”. Historically this has been the case. A clash of historical metanarrations that come at this time with the magnitude of the same trick.

So all the conflicts and disputes in North Macedonia, as well as in the Balkans, have historical genesis. If you read the histories of the people of this geographical part of Europe, not only are there different interpretations of major historical events, but glorifications of inexistent events can also be found. The Balkans have long been entangled in the history labyrinth and it still produces histories and myths. Or, as Winston Churchill has said, the Balkans produces more history than it can consume. What it fails to do is build a present and a future, just as the Germans and the French built it within the European Union (EU), overcoming the strained differences of the three bloody wars. The problem lies in the lack of courage to deal with oneself, the crimes committed throughout history, and the apology for reconciliation.

The return to destructive nationalism (since nationalism, as a love towards its own ethnicity or state, can also be constructive) warns that politicians will continue to attempt to hold the North Macedonian citizen and his prospects as a hostage. Going back to the past is ignoring the present. Lamentations of past failures and attempts to improve them in the present are the virtues of a weak and cowardly individual or society. Past lessons only make sense if you build the present and the future without the mistakes of the past. The present and the future are the chance to write a better history than the existing one. Individuals or nations who consume only history are destined to belong to the past.

Politicians return to (destructive) nationalization before each election cycle, saying that only like this they can mobilize measures. That is right: nationalism is the most successful way to mobilize crowds around a project. The greatest dictators that history has recorded are the offspring of aggressive nationalism. Conquering neighboring territories, annihilating or at least hating one another is the safest way to mobilize and lead people. Einstein called nationalism an “infantile disease of mankind”, Orwell a “power based on self-deception”, while Chomsky saw it as “a way to oppress others”.

Nationalism, however, has proved useful in some areas. According to World Bank research, countries with pronounced nationalism have lower levels of corruption and a developed economy. While most examples show that nationalism has created a powerful leader and millions of sacrificed people for it. Norway’s example illustrates the opposite. In this Scandinavian state, the level of corruption is zero and economic development is very high. Their nationalism does not make them terrible for others, but sensitive to any harm to the people they belong to and who are proud of it.

Without constructive nationalism, that is, without the love for the society, it belongs to, an ordinary citizen would not respond to even the most egalitarian cases of corruption. In countries where nationalism is destructive, that is, hatred of the other, the citizen is largely selfish – he rather enjoys corruption or regression to the other than promoting and eradicating corruption among the people he belongs to. It is precisely this kind of nationalism that has caused the most inhumane tragedies that humanity knows.

Finally, also about the phenomenon of seasonal “workers”. They are people who make a public appearance when they learn of the election date. When there are no elections they do not bother about anything, they even have their profiles “off” on social networks. In fact, these are the “viruses” of the public scene that contaminate the public space with low party strikes, accusing others of supporting the agendas of opposing parties. Their mission ends when the elections are over. Until then we will endure them. CPD

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