Thursday, May 30, 2024

AMBASSADOR AGGELER DIDN’T INVENT CORRUPTION, SHE FOUND IT SITTING CROSS-LEGD AMONG US

However, the recent statements of Ambassador Aggeler, supported by the entire diplomatic corps in the country, I do not believe that they target “low level corruption”, but they are likely directed at actors at high levels, to first install the concept of responsibility for everyone that abuses official office and undermines democratic processes. The sanctions team has already left the country and I believe that soon some specific names will be added to the American blacklist. In addition, perhaps one of the ways to reinforce and send additional messages will be indirect statements to certain officials and processes that will in some way distance these persons from interacting with the US Embassy and the other diplomats in the country.

Author: Sefer Selimi Jr.

On November 8 of this year, Ambassador Angela Aggeler presented her credentials to President Pendarovski. Almost immediately, upon starting her three-year term as US ambassador to the Republic of North Macedonia, she managed to forcefully impose the main theme of her term – the fight against corruption. Based on the decree of President Biden signed on June 8, 2021 through which corruption is treated as a threat to the national security of the USA and its allies, it seems clear that this topic will not only dominate public discourse but will also dictate US relations with political actors in the country. Ambassador Aggeler’s public statements were joined almost immediately by all ambassadors in the country, echoing and reinforcing them. To show the seriousness of this commitment, on December 6, through a tweet, Ambassador Aggeler announced the opinion that “A sanctions team from Washington has arrived in the country for a more aggressive look at corrupt actors, current and past officials, and for considered all possible responses to them. The justice sector in North Macedonia needs more investigations and prosecutions to show that no one is above the law. Following this statement, public opinion erupted in reactions and social networks were filled with posts ranging from those expressing utter delight to posts showing utter despair at the failure of our system to deal with corruption on its own. , all of which almost increase the expectations of the citizens that this battle against corruption will win in effectiveness and speed. But what can happen next?

It is not the first time that the citizens of North Macedonia, but also of the Western Balkans, have heard the phrase “War against crime and corruption”. In fact, this maxim has been misused, misused and turned into political rhetoric and demagoguery by the main corrupt actors, public officials and political parties. They have built a favorable and acceptable system for corrupt activity, which turns corruption into a modus operandi for interaction with public institutions by installing a culture of impunity. Ambassador Aggeler did not discover the corruption in North Macedonia, she found it sitting cross-legged among us.

Ordinary citizens often have no choice but to become participants in crime because in many cases they are faced with life dilemmas that literally mean life or death. So for example, if you have a loved one such as your parents, children, spouse or someone else close who needs to be operated and every minute can be vital, while the doctor who has to perform the operation finds bureaucratic loopholes and deliberate delays until you get the big bribe – what would your choice be? Or, if someone unfairly wants to alienate your private property through a lawsuit, and the decision depends on who pays more or who has stronger ties to the court – how would you do it? These are real cases that happen in the corridors of public institutions, and they happen because either no one is punished for these actions, or cases of punishment are extremely rare. There are other cases when citizens intervene to remove various penalties, to receive a public service that does not belong to them, and meanwhile it is a public secret that the 10% bribe is paid by businesses that receive tenders and provide services to public institutions. In fact, North Macedonia is such a small country that everyone knows who doesn’t talk, not to mention who got rich, but it is the cooperation with the criminals of the institutions that should fight corruption that enables the same to advocate for justice.

However, the recent statements of Ambassador Aggeler, supported by the entire diplomatic corps in the country, I do not believe that they target “low level corruption”, but they are likely directed at actors at high levels, to first install the concept of responsibility for everyone that abuses official office and undermines democratic processes. The sanctions team has already left the country and I believe that soon some specific names will be added to the American blacklist. In addition, perhaps one of the ways to reinforce and send additional messages will be indirect statements to certain officials and processes that will in some way distance these persons from interacting with the US Embassy and the other diplomats in the country.

In this new public effort of our allies under the leadership of the USA, no one should remain indifferent. If the latter will fight corruption at high levels by installing a culture of impunity, we, the rest of society, are left to join together by fighting low-level corruption. And how do we do this when we are in positions like in the case of doctors or in any other case? Even if you are forced to bribe: Document and report the case. I know it’s difficult, but we have an obligation to ourselves and our children not to remain hostage to thieves and profiteers who get rich on welfare and with our money!

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