Tribal Patients on a Rampage

Many nations base their mythology on battles, lost or won. It will be interesting to see, how 28 March 2009 will be seen in the future of Macedonian national mythology. For me it will be remembered as the day of national defloration. The young nation has lost its virginity, a taboo has been broken.

On this sunny Saturday, a group of young urbanites was prevented from expressing two of their fundamental rights: the one to gather in peaceful protest, the other to freely express their opinion. And to make it worse – they were “prevented” by blank violence, exercised by a bunch of hooded hooligans – in the name of the church, in the name of Christianity.

All they did was to call a protest against the government’s plan to build a church on the main square. The organisers, students of architecture and an independent group of concerned urbanites, managed to gather some 100 people to the protest, under the slogan: “Don’t rape Skopje!” The manifestation was registered with the relevant authorities. 

The protest was countered by a mass of up to 1500 church goers, mobilized from all over the country, who gathered to stop the protest from happening. The “spontaneous” and thus not registered counter-protest featured church flags, printed banners, a priest and a lot of people, who have no connection whatsoever to urban Skopje, but who were bussed in from rural areas to fight the Anti-Christ. A large number of expensively produced flyers flooded the city centre – clear indications of a logistically well organized movement. They were in majority, so the actual manifestation remained marginal and actually was about to retreat, when a group of violent hooligans appeared out of nowhere. They started shouting racist slogans, calling the demonstrators traitors and – worse in their little fascist universe – Albanians. It was very obvious that the bunch of young men, displaying a behaviour denoting the average IQ of a lamp-post was lead by a few elder men. These were clearly directing the event, steering the aggression and channelling it. Interestingly enough, some of them were bold enough to wear orange shirts, the colour of the ruling party. Honi soit qui mal y pense… The heated up hooligans attacked individual participants in the protest, using the only intellectual arguments accessible to them – fists and legs. It is almost a miracle that there were only few injuries. 

All this was happening under the eyes of a stunningly passive police force, which was obviously not able to cope with the events. So they did the obvious – they turned against the protesters. These are now under investigation for not having provided adequate security to their manifestation. No, this is not some sick joke. It is true.

The so-called Christians watched the event passively and at the best insulted the protesters. Not a single voice was heard against the violence. Not one. 

Macedonia has not been poor in violent conflicts since its slipping into independence in 1991. Power groups staged all kinds of conflicts, whether inter-ethnic or social, keeping the country in a state of limbo, in a permanent transition. But there always was a consensus that peaceful protest can take place, sometimes really bending the concept – like for road-blocks, a technique often used by laid-off workers. Breaking this consensus and using white trash scum as a militia to fight off protest from the upcoming intellectual elite of this society is a bad signal, to say the least. And political parties trying to capitalise on this event for their election campaigns is equally disgusting.

Building a church on the planned location is an idea, which has provoked a lot of discussion. From an aesthetic point of view it is sheer nonsense. But the need of legitimizing the current stream of consciousness dominating Macedonian society is producing temple after temple,

Winning proposal for the constitutional court/archaeological museum

Winning proposal for the constitutional court/archaeological museum. courtesy http://www.build.com.mk

in a hurry, like there’s no tomorrow. The spirit of the collective bears its totalitarian dangers as it does elsewhere – suppression of individual opinion, of alternative concepts, polarisation into US and THEM, streamlining information and the access to it, etc. In a society as small as the Macedonian one, this should provoke more than one raised eyebrow. As for Skopje, the attempt to silence the urban, individualist, liberal stream of consciousness, as small as it may be, will not pay off in the long run. It has resisted all kinds of totalitarian challenges, and will hopefully continue to do so. And it deserves our support. Unconditionally.

Don't rape Skopje

Don't rape Skopje

Vision? Yet another endangered species…

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19 comments
  1. Biljana said:

    Don’t underestimate the IQ of lamp posts and flag posts..probably the only entities with upright dignity that day on the square..

    Sarcasm aside, great text, powerful insights.

    • Harald Schenker said:

      my deepest of apologies to the lamp posts – no offence intended. although the design of those on the main square… a penov relic, if i remember right…

  2. Annette said:

    What a sad day for Macedonia. The right to dissent, peacefully, is critical to the success of a democracy. The abuse of those who would dare to so express themselves is retrograde and revives an era of thought we had all hoped was forever gone.

  3. In the spirit of democracy ist that majority make decisions. And Orthodox Christian believers in Macedonia are majority more than a millenia.
    Macedonian Christhians believe that small groups manipuliative groups with manipulation and spekulations want to suppres the public will.
    Like in this situation not more than 50 (not 100) people wants to play a “theater” of victims in front of the world.
    These 50 people are confirmed from George Soros NGO’s and medias which with a lot of money are playing very speculative games in many countries.

    • Harald Schenker said:

      There we have the Jewish-Communist conspirancy again? Is that what you are trying to say? Get a life and speak for yourself, not in the name of an amorph mass.
      And for your information – it is in the spirit of democracy that every single one person – even you – has a right to express himself freely, without getting beaten up. Does that ring a bell? How about a word or two about thinking that violence is a sin, how about a word or two about how shocked you are that your faith has been misused by hooligans? How about propagating love and understanding as you should instead of seeding racist legends?
      Maybe you should start reading the book you claim to act by – the Bible.

      • Well in this situation conspiracy is real. Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzgWf2NMHj8 on 0:42 you will see white long haired man with black glases called Vladimir Milchin. The man is leader of George Soros foundation in Macedonia.

        Yes I condemn agression, but these antichurch protestants have very agressive werbal approach on blog media and in real, so I think that you are against something that you doesn’t know well.
        Everything what I say is that majority have the right on decisions. Even we don’t like something a social person will express his opposite opinions but also will express it in cultural manner. And this antichurch protestants who are well known on blog media like left wing to anarchists very often use words like: “peasants”, “stupid sheeps”, “fools”, “calfs” “nonwashed”, “leprous” etc, etc and unfortunatelly create resignation for very few people of several thousands that support the building the church. And also the begining of the violence was when one person of smaller group agresivelly enters in the major group.
        See at the video at the botom of this link http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/main/news/17763
        If you claim for yourself that you are democrat than you should verifies the will of the majority that wants to rebuild a previous church.
        The project pass all process from public debate to confirmation of the court, and was very close to start.

        @Jovan believe or not, the antichurch protestants a descendant of rich Titoistic fathers so like their elders they doesn’t believe in God.
        And also Stalinist were never majority even in Soviet Union, everything was false, that is why thay need the theory of “Dictature of proleteriat”.

    • Jovan said:

      @Pravoslavna Makedonija

      you are obviously a descendant of stalinist groups that wanted to tear apart Macedonia between Bulgaria and Greece 50-60 years ago, using special war techniques so you keep the same mental scheme in place – a pure stalinist definition of democracy – “majority is orthodox, so this is the democratic will of the people” – same as “majority is stalinist proletariat”.

      Fascistic and stalinistic anti-european groups will be crushed the moment when the sun rises again in Macedonia. Same as what happened in Serbia. A glory day of silent night when only police sirens will be heard – and everyone will feel safe.

  4. srdjan dvornik said:

    primitives are primitives, but what is really irritating is the conduct of the police, which clearly shows that the violence is approved by the authorities. I saw such things in Croatia (e.g. at the demonstrations to restore the name of the Square of Victims of Fascism in Zagreb 10 years ago) and read about similar things in Belgrade (e.g. when the first attempt of a Gay Pride Parade was prevented by the same kind of thugs) so I’m pretty sure that the extremist organisations, the churches and the governments are all to blame

  5. Macedonian said:

    First of all you have to look at the situation from not only two angles but 360, the problem is that the whole situation (even though they were told not to protest in between elections because it will be pined on the political parties and not on the stupidity of the students that have now idea what they want in there lives) was staged by Anti-Macedonians (in other words SDSM). The problems started when they came to the protests… before that everything was nice and quiet, so liek I said you have to look at the situation not like only one person says it but from different angles.

  6. Nikola said:

    I was there.. And I hate SDSM and VMRO (the two biggest opponents in politics in our country).. I went there as architect, and I dont care who was from witch side.. My very close friends are the architects of the church, some of them were from the other side.. The point is we were beaten just because we have different opinion..
    And for all the BIG GRAND MACEDONIANS, I am not against the church i am against the church on that place.. The square is big, and there are other places where the church can stand there. Just because the prime-minister came up with a stupid place to put the church I have to say its: SUPER?!?!?
    The second problem that is not connected with urban problems:
    More then 25% in the country are Muslims, some of them ethnically Macedonian Muslims (fact that every Macedonian has to have on its mind). The 15-20% Atheists, Protestants, Catholics.. So why with the money the government takes from the people to build church for 55% of the people when we need new good standard HOSPITALS, SCHOOLS, GYMS, LIBRARIES…
    SO MACEDONIANS?!?!?
    I came out because I wanted finally somebody to listen what I have to say.. The people like Vladimir Milcin maybe came to use the protest for personal causes. But also YOU MACEDONIANS, used innocent Orthodox Christians for your political causes.. Now nobody says party people were beating students, but the Church was beating the people..
    You have to take the blame, and live with that, because that is how it was and that is how the world will see it.. On 28.03.2009 Democracy didnt existed, the police was standing and doing nothing!!

  7. Nikola you were there as arhitect but you forget to mention that the most of smaller group was not students of arhitecture like you were declared.
    Also it is not good to blame the Church becuase of the behave of 5-6 person between thousands and where thanks God was not ended with a single scratch. That too fast blaming on a very important institution of Macedonian identity shows your atheistic view not that you are right.
    All this media covering this incident is large exaggeration used for election political need.
    I hate the parties and politics also but see how unfortunatelly, we both, like Macedonians are involved in this shame situation to justify in front of the foreigners, which is also a shamefull political game. So for good of the Macedonia is much better if we talk normal about this issue, not to use it for prooving the right religious beliefs.
    And also whatever you don’t like the Prime Minister he is elected with fuge majority, and also he still has fuge majority among them like no other politician in Europe. That obligates you, becuase of the rescpect of your people to show concern about Prime Minister suggestions even you doesn’t agree with them. Becuase who knows, maybe you are not right!?

    • Nikola said:

      Even if I am minority doest give the right to majority to terrorize me if I dont agree with them.
      NO as minority I have the right to my opinion. Specially in a situation when as professional in my field i see something is not right. Specially when i see that my Prime Minister who is economist doesn’t consult experts in the field of urban planning making decisions. And if he had consulted them, we have the right to know who are they?
      And maybe in the group were more or less students nobody counted, specially not you.. BUT, in the very beginning they organized this protest, and they asked for support from all Macedonian citizens.. And the problem of every sensible person in this world is not who was protesting?!?! or why was protesting?!?! or was it political, student, church organized protest?!?! But that the right to express opinion was broken, the police didnt stop the vandals, and later on the Prime Minister accused the students, but he didn’t accused the people that beat us.
      He is not my Prime Minister even if the low says so, he will not be until the day he decides to act according to the Constitution of Republic of Macedonia.
      Nobody voted him to do whatever he wants to do!!

      • Building the church on central Macedonian place is act of declaration, that why it is very important. So you should ask yourself do you want Macedonia to declare like Orthodox Christian culture or not? You can choose NOT, but I think that YES is the choice of most of Macedonians, that you like Macedonian should respect. I think you can find supporters in Europe like you did, you can find supporters in muslim and other Macedonian populations, but not too many amongst Macedonians, which was obvious in 28 March?
        Like I said you can express your oppinions but on cultural manner, not using agressive werbal denying of other people ideas and beliefs and again with respect of alltogether made decisions.
        Mistakes are possible. Police made a mistake by the wheak reaction. Maybe Prime Minister was subjective in his judgement. But this was normal mistakes that can be understood in policital behavior especially in preellection moments. Try to compare this with some events in other European countries. For example, Greece, Baltic states, France etc. So aggresive media atacks for minor incident is talking about orcestrated antigoverment and antichristian campaign that some people a delighted that was provocated.

        • Harald Schenker said:

          Easy, easy – there are no “normal” mistakes, when you are in government. The state has the monopoly of power, that is it. Who breaks that rule, will be punished, that is it. If you make a political mistake or misjudgement, you bear the consequences, that is it.
          Allowing a gang of hooligans to do what they did is a breach of those rules, which means that those committing these breaches need to be brought to justice, and those in charge of this extremely poor performance of police need to bear the responsibility. Not more, not less.
          The atmosphere of a lynch mob on the square is another issue, religious intolerance is another issue…
          But the rule of law has to be imposed, regardless of your political views.

          • I agree, only the punishment should be equal to a mistake. In this situation I believe the judge and blame is far too big and too spreaded not delimited only to hooligans, but to a thousands of others who didn’t made any fault. And the main reason for that is inside media political war. From 7 daily newspaper 3 are property of german VAC media groupation which chief was one of opposition candidates for President. Other 2 are sponsored by one person (muslim Macedonian) who suddenly lately receive 8 mil of Euros by guess who – George Soros. And rest 2 newspapers are under goverment control.
            Situation in TV media is similar. The grow of the power of conservative party, became risk for later changes in existing balance of media powers. That is why now they hit with maximum what ever it can be used and I think even can be caused.
            Picture of view from out and inside could be very different.

  8. Dejan said:

    Even though I am an orthodox christian, and tend to agree with a lot of the reforms that this government is trying to implement, I think that building a church on a main city square is a bad idea. Building another church is fine, just not at that particular location. First of all, there is a church right across the bridge (Sv. Dimitrija) and one of the biggest churches in Macedonia is just 5-10 min. walk away. Second, the main square is used for all kinds of manifestations, and building a church right there would significantly reduce the space for that (I personally like the large empty space there). Last, but not least, knowing how long the process of building anything in Macedonia takes, it is safe to say that it would probably take a decade in order to finish it. In the meantime, the square will look like a dump-yard, and all the previous investment into pavement etc will be ruined. Therefore, I completely agree that having a church THERE is a bad idea.
    Still, I can not escape thinking that this was a kind of a staged process, for one simple fact: This idea is not that new. Why have protests right now, in the middle of the elections? Why not a month before or after? Where were these aesthetes when previous crimes against the beauty (and practicality) of the city were made?
    Again, the response from the police was inappropriate: They should have been physically protected, and then VERBALLY reciprocated. I will not even comment about the mob that attacked them: hurting someone in the name of Christianity? It is not how you do it. Anyways, democracy functions by the rule of majority (and majority does not necessarily mean smartest, just most). And, if the majority wants the church in the city square, then so it shall be, regardless of 100 people who protest. It’s a shame that this incident happened, and both sides are to blame (the organizers for terrible timing, and the police (government) for inappropriate reaction), but in the end it is Macedonia who lost the most.

  9. robi said:

    We have fascism in Macedonia.

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