At yesterday’s conference “Between Hopes and Reality”, on the occasion of marking 20 years of CIVIL’s founding, university professor and political analyst Saso Ordanoski outlined the role of the organization in the Macedonian society and spoke about the challenges and perspectives of the civil sector in Macedonia.
“The civil sector in Macedonia in the last twenty years has showed extraordinary tenacity, persistence and development, which when compared to the neighborhood, and even with the Balkan countries, I would say, is at a higher level. Especially in the last ten years, during the previous government, the civil sector in Macedonia was unique. It really did grow, without being anyone’s initiative. Yes, it was financed by foreigners from USAID, from Switzerland, from Soros and so on… However, it showed unusual resilience to tackle problems and to endure pressures that not so long ago were very aggressive.
That work is not finished. Activities of the civil sector in democracy never end. We see what is happening even today. We see that the need of making it clear to politicians that they can no longer lead the state by ignoring civic initiatives has reached a level in our country when it really is happening. Even a prime minister cannot allow himself to undertake an initiative without previously hearing the civil sector, or consulting and closely cooperating to produce such solutions.
Today’s suffocations of democracy, where the civil sector exists and practically functions, are suffocations in silk gloves. Today it is done with discrediting, with eliminating opponents, with spreading hate speech and so on… Here the civil sector, everything it includes, even the media, are the key part that has to be that public balance, reasonable voice that will establish a real context, real balance of what is an overwhelming industry of discrediting democracy itself through discrediting and denigrating people, activists and so forth.
In that sense, I would like to commend CIVIL, because in Macedonia, the civil sector shows expert heights, though it still lacks power to mobilize at a lower civic level. That is why CIVIL is a valuable organization. That is why Xhabir’s well-known saying “the citizens”, which we hear in all of his addresses, is practically where the civil sector has to develop in the following years, that type of mobilization, real mobilization of people who should participate in democracy. The system exists for the people, and not vice versa. This is what I think makes CIVIL, with all its efforts in the last twenty years, to mobilize at a broader level, to broaden awareness that the system is here to produce services for the people, and not the other way around, a special organization.
In that sense, I congratulate you on the 20 years of existence, I am very pleased that Pendarovski found time to jointly mark this event because CIVIL and such organizations try to mobilize and spread this capacity among citizens. Because democracy issues are never closed. When even in the most elaborated democratic countries such as the US, such as Britain and others, even now, today, the concepts of justice, populism, violence, hate speech are discussed, it shows that not a single problem is closed forever. Every morning is the same struggle. Good morning, let’s see what the struggle is about today. We discussed it yesterday, and we will discuss it tomorrow. Every day the same. I congratulate you and all the best!”.
Text editing: М. Ivanovska
camera: Atanas Petrovski
editing: Arian Mehmeti
photography: Aleksandar Kondev
translation: Natasa Cvetkovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian