We will remember the Victory Day, or the Europe Day, as well as a day when Kumanovo was shaken with a 48-hour war in the settlement of Divo Naselje, a fierce clash with an armed criminal-terrorist group. Eight police officers were killed in the heavy exchange of fire… Days later, the combat zone was covered with bullet cases, ashes and debris from the gunfire and detonations. Three years later, deep scars from the trauma remained with the people of this settlement, but also of Kumanovo and entire Macedonia.
The gunfight has gone along with media battles. Maksim Dimitrievski, President of the Council of the Municipality then, and Mayor of Kumanovo now, was rudely interrupted in the news of Kanal 5, while giving a statement upon the invitation of the television station. He obviously said more that the editor of the news of Kanal 5 could hear and and take, on May 10, 2015, during the hours when the bloody battle was coming to its end. We will remember those difficult hours also by the emotional statements of random citizens, who, like their fellow citizen Maksim, pointed their finger to Gruevski’ criminal rule of terror and his coalition pal Ahmeti.
And while the President of the country, whose name is often associated with plants, was attending a parade in Moscow, and the media under the control of the Family were trying to manipulate the public, the citizens of Kumanovo and Republic of Macedonia showed unparalleled maturity and wisdom. United, they showed that they are good neighbors, strongly determined to multiculturalism and coexistence. The people of Kumanovo showed solidity and resilience to the attempts for discord and ethnic hatred, which can serve also as an example for Europe, whose face, actually, is crumpled with inconsistencies in terms of its own values.
A week after Divo Naselje, one hundred thousand protestors demanded resignations, justice, freedom and equality in Macedonia. Not even the darkest ethnic-religious hued media campaign, nor the pressures and threats, nor traffic controls could prevent the giant display of civic defiance to the regime.
To this day, this dark and tragic event is followed by many uncertainties and mysteries. Even though there are many speculations, but also relevant information on the involvement of political elites, there are still no final answers. There is no clear resolution of the court of justice. Who are the real organizers of the attack? What are, or were, their motives? How much money did this operation cost? How did it come for so many policemen to lose their lives, and is there any truth in accusations that they were merely a cannon fodder?
Three years later, the people who live in Divo Naselje are reserved, they are not willing to talk in front of the cameras of my colleagues. The trauma, nevertheless, has had an impact. Behind the new facades and houses that have risen after destruction with bombs and grenades, there is a silent warning that something that has been built for decades can be destroyed in just a few hours. And not only houses, but also the lives of people and the trust between them. They were mature and wise on that critical day, it remains for us to follow their example to this day and in future.