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To be or not to be...Macedonia



Biljana Vankovska

May 15, 2008

For days and weeks the Hamlet-like dilemma has become a usual refrain in the Macedonia’s public discourse – to be or not to become a NATO member. It has been used in an uncritical and even hysterical way equaling it with Macedonia’s survival versus to – well, not exist.
It seems as if the developments have reached the point of no return and the final decision. The maneuvering space is limited: we judge ourselves, who is on the right or the wrong side, ready to label traitors and patriots. The media keep the tension high; the pressure is almost palpable!
The differentiation process frightens me, and it is not because of my personal safety but because of the imposed public, collectiveized discipline. I fear the false dilemmas, such as “if you challenge the righteousness of the NATO Alliance, then you must be an irresponsible and shortsighted intellectual”.
We have come to the point where being supportive of NATO membership equals a highly patriotic and brave behavior! But, I ask, what courage is needed to bow your  head and enter the mightiest military alliance the world has ever known, to give in to pressures? Isn’t it rather some kind of cowardice or lack of civil courage?
On the eve of the NATO Summit held in Bucharest, I felt it the right moment to publicly define my personal position on the issue. If I find out that I am completely alone on the public front, I can still remind your of Gandhi’s saying that “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth”.
One may ask why I have to write this column. Why do I have to expose publicly my whole “radicalism” (because in this theatre of absurd, the greatest radicals are those who advocate peace, non-violence, disarmament)?
It is the only way I can show that I am not impressed or silenced by the chorus of quazi-statesmen and ‘responsible intellectuals’, and the rest of alleged 95% of the population who are for NATO membership. This is a moment for a making a decision - not a collective one, historic or for the sake of the state; I am fed up with collectivistic ideologies, mentality of the crowd and single-mindedness.
This is time to look at the inner mirror and to reconsider who you really are: personally and spiritually, and what you want to do and to be for the sake of humanity. Instead of the false Shakespearean dilemma (“to be or not to be a NATO member state”) I would rather think over Montesquieu’s position: “If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident”.
All around I feel the monster of nationalism, which demands for the sake of my state and its historic interest to condemn all world criminals (especially if they are ‘terrorists’). But God seemingly forbids that we find them among our allies from NATO or the EU. That’s why Solana is untouchable, but also Tony Blair who is seen as the possible future President of the EU.
They want me to believe in “accidental mistakes” and “collateral damages” made by those who wanted to help us by bombardment with depleted uranium and cluster bombs? To believe in the inherent goodness for all of military bases like Bondsteel in Kosovo and an intelligence fortress in Skopje?
Perfidiously the elites awake a fear that without NATO membership we won’t survive, while NATO membership in their interpretation is all about economic investments (i.e. direct foreign investments), stability and open gates on our way to the EU. All of a sudden, NATO membership is not about meeting some criteria and joining the “club of Western democracies,” no, it’s suddenly a matter of survival – to be Macedonia or not to be Macedonia.
When a political issue is intentionally translated and transferred into the security sphere, we talk about securitization process. The trick is done by the securitizing agents (i.e. those who hold power for political and propaganda purposes): they can create an atmosphere of urgency, of Hamlet’s dilemma and horse-trading such as selling Macedonia’s constitutional name to obtain NATO membership!
To put it simply, when the security is a speech act and when somebody determines how (in)secure you are and where the threats come from, then it is nothing but a manipulation of well-known mechanisms of fear and general paranoia. Only till yesterday, the so-called international community celebrated and greeted the newborn Kosovo - and see a surprise, today the Kosovo problem is the main motivation for Macedonia to ask for security guarantees within NATO!

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Frankly, I feel sorry for all those 95% of the NATO fans in Macedonia! They must be confused and face heavy choices! We, irresponsible ones, are relieved because it does not call for any to-be-or-not-to-be dilemma. To be at the same time a human being and Macedonian we don’t need NATO membership.
Macedonia was brought on the verge of collapse by NATO contries conflict mismanagement in the region – sanctions and bombings - and because of the unprincipled US involvement in the conflict dynamics.
For the sake of NATO membership, Macedonia agrees to violation of international law at any occasion, be it by signing the bilateral agreement with the US for exemption of the American citizens from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, or by taking part in the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And, no less important, Macedonia will be co-responsible for nuclear-use doctrines and NATO’s so-called right to “first use” of nuclear weapons even against a conventional attack and on someone who isn’t a nuclear-weapons power!
Following the ostrich tactics, Macedonia closes the eyes and hopes for an entry into the nice world of the Western democracies and fails to read the new NATO Grand Strategy. If by any chance Macedonia gets NATO membership, probably I’ll find  consolation in the fact that I will be able to be even harsher critic of the Alliance.
And of course, there will be many more than 5% of people who don’t close their eyes before the inconvenient truths...   


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