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OPINION April 27, the traumas still alarm

by: ARBEN ZEKIRI

A little past midnight April 26/27, 2020… April 27 has come, now in different circumstances, both good and bad. A mixture of greater freedom from a political and legal aspect, but also greater isolation due to the health challenge the whole world is facing. According to a normal logic, that event of three years ago should not have crossed our minds now. The period is not from long ago, but recent events are so difficult that they make us forget about many other good and bad events. We often forget birthdays and anniversaries and everyday obligations. But on the night of April 26, while I was preparing for suhur (meal before tomorrow’s fast), in conditions when many things at home are lacking, since we forgot to buy them on Friday (and many other troubles), I recalled on April 27.

What you have read so far, should be enough for us to understand what kind of meaning, or better said, what kind of trauma that event has left. Those traumas have become an alarm every year, and the body, the consciousness, remind us. Tomorrow is the day when every one of us who was part of that event could have not been here today.

As a witness who went through it “far better” than the others, I still cannot release myself from that trauma. And imagine the others, those who were on the frontline, politicians, journalists, cameramen and employees in the Parliament.

It’s not that I wasn’t on the frontline. I still remember the day when I was recording from the gallery together with other colleagues the election of a new Parliament President. After that, I was supposed to report directly on the news, and a colleague replaced me who remained inside together with the cameraman. The fear duplicates, the concern and conscience multiplied. Why wasn’t it me, why did my colleague remain in there, what is happening?

We followed the event through a direct communication with editors and colleagues on live streaming.

The initial fear came when, in front of the Parliament, while we were reporting, we saw how the crowd was entering the building, manipulated, instigated, and part of that crowd also well-organized and with instructions.

Then we saw recordings, how MPs were bleeding, prime minister candidate Zoran Zaev, and after several minutes we heard news that Zijadin Sela was dead. With those pictures and those news, the situation changed, we just prayed to survive. Imagine, we came to a situation to give up everything, from life in this country, from politics, from the profession, we just prayed to save our lives.

After a few minutes, some of the masked attackers who were inside had already went to the Woman Warrior Park across the Parliament, behind the media teams. They followed us as we reported, cursing us, insulting us, threatening us. All this in a cowardly manner, under masks and from a distance.

At that moment, we saw that there’s no escape from fate and that we had to face that. Here we will be build a life, we will fight, we will fix, we will punish, we will win!

We saw that no matter where we would run away, the evil would follow us until we opposed and defeated the evil.

At one point, I took the microphone and holding it strongly I started reporting, informing the citizens about what was really happening, about the responsibility that was awaiting all of us, about the danger that was threatening all of us. The danger was not just the event that day. A greater danger was what was being announced. There was information that the then president, known under the nickname Ficus, was planning to declare state of emergency, and having in consideration the kind of stance he had, the kind of fate that awaited us could be known.

The situation was extremely alarming, so we also had to alarm more. The awareness of our society reacted, we all mobilized, all of us who were not with them, and even less like them. The international community that stood aside until then and waited to see what we would do, finally reacted. The greatest evil was prevented.

The state returned to normal, a new government was formed, a new parliamentary majority.

The consequences remained, Zijadin Sela remained the longest in hospitals, and at the end managed to recover, like Zoran Zaev and other MPS. But the scars remained among all. Both the physical ones among the injured, and the psychological ones among us who were traumatized.

Today we don’t live in paradise, nor has the long-announced life arrived, but one very big goal has been achieved, the evil has been stopped.

We now live in conditions when mistakes and shortcomings are made, promises are fulfilled and not fulfilled, but at least we are not afraid. We talk, criticize, we correct ourselves, and we live without the fear of whether there are people with masks behind us.

Some criminals since that day are in prisons, and some are still free, but already with tied hands and neutralized. And today we criticize about this, we lobby, write, report, insist, but we do all of this calmly, in freedom and without praying “to save ourselves, to stay alive”.

I would really like for us to have a normal Macedonian opposition with which together we will criticize the government in order to correct it, as we did when the current government was a normal Macedonian opposition. Now, from time to time, in our criticism and opposing (to which we are doomed by profession) the Albanian opposition with the strength that (2-3) MPs have is the only one joining us.

We are not to be blamed, and nor are we naïve. In the name of democracy, we will not act is if we know nothing. As long as today’s Macedonian opposition does not distance itself really from its fellow party members who led to the bloody April 27 event, they will not be our allies in the fight for a better life and better future. As long as they defend the attackers with various alibies (manipulated citizens and similar), we will not consider them as a democratic party, much less as our allies. Only those who will say that “April 27 was a terrorist act”, who will condemn it and will demand for those who ordered and carried it out to be tried, and not those who are still defending them and are accepting them in their ranks, will be with us and like us.

Not that we don’t want to, but the traumas don’t allow us to be on the same line with those who entered to kill us, nor with those who are defending those with various excuses.

This should never happen again, luck saved us once, but if we allow it to happen again, then we deserve for April 27 to happen to us again.

Translation: N. Cvetkovska

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