NATIONALISM - PATRIOTISM Argirova: Nationalism is destroying the country

“I titled my column on this topic “The glimpse effect”, while my inspiration was a documentary film on astronauts who see as their home a tiny glowing blue ball. And actually the question that arose was- how much time will we need to figure out that nationalism is destroying our country? Because it is something that is destructive, it is what people take and prescribe three times a day. A teaspoon one day, and a bigger dose the next. It is what keeps certain governments in power. It is what keeps certain beliefs in force. It is what, ultimately, inhibits much greater progress, and much better ideas, which would make life better for all of us”, highlighted journalist Santa Argirova at today’s panel discussion “Patriotism-yes! Nationalism-no!” organized by CIVIL – Center for Freedom.

“For example, at the voting for Brexit, 12-13 million people did not go to vote, and when analyses were performed, it turned out that it was actually the young people, who later regretted having missed their chance to go out and say where and how they want their country to go. Afterwards they say they would like for Britain to remain in the European Union and to share these values, and to further on continue to keep the mobility and to live as they wish, and not as their government decides. But it was already too late…So if patriotism means deciding where your country goes, Great Britain failed on the topic of patriotism!

To me things seem quite the same, or very similar for a long time. When Macedonia was joining the United Nations, it entered with the reference Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It was the same, there were traitors who wanted to enter the country with a temporary name, wanted to destroy the language, the nationality, the name, the flag… and so on, everything in a row. There was also another group of patriots who strongly attacked that, saying that it should be ended, that it will be met with disapproval… And precisely today I recalled on that event and remembered that then President Kiro Gligorov stepped to the podium of the United Nations and started to speak in Macedonian, I think that at the same moment the atmosphere in this country changed. As if another wind had blown. As if another climate had arrived. People all of a sudden said to each other ‘Well, wait, Macedonian is spoken from the podium of the United Nations…”

A second example, the 1995 Interim Agreement with Greece was met with disapproval by the patriots. I do not know if that disapproval could have been any sharper. The agreement was attacked for years, as were the other ones for not being patriots. And so, we came to a situation when we lost the agreement, and then the same patriots led a lawsuit at The Hague, to bring it back into force. But many things changed. It’s all about the moment, you either catch or miss the moment….

We have countless such examples of patriots and traitors.

We are now, again, faced with a challenge.

If you yourselves destroy the right to vote for or against something, nobody else is to blame for that, it is your own fault. No one will notice tomorrow that someone boycotted! Because what does that mean? Perhaps it is an opinion. But what kind? We speak about the future of a country in which you live in, and your children, and future generations will live in. Patriotism is not whether you boycott or not. Patriotism is not whether you have an opinion. Finally, in a democratic country patriotism can be even setting the flag on fire, but what will you achieve?

We must all ask ourselves whether we should miss our chance like the young people in Britain did for Brexit, or should we approach this issue seriously, to go out and voice our opinion” said Argirova

Maja Ivanovska
Camera: Dehran Muratov
Editing: Arian Mehemeti
Photo: Biljana Jordanovska

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