Ramush Muarem – Cirkoin a conversation with CIVIL Media says that, unfortunately, nationalism is again being revamped. He says that the “mocking” of Technical Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski, who made an address in the Romani language on the occasion of Roma Day on April 8, is actually classic nationalism, as it mocks and humiliates the Romani language and Roma people.

CIVIL Media: Is there or isn’t there nationalism in our country?

Muarem: Nationalism is a type of collective paranoia, there is collective and individual paranoia, and collective implies that there is envy, fear from someone else who is different from you. Collective paranoia is created by the individual fear of others.

Often the notions nationalism and patriotism are confused, it’s known that love for your country and for your people comes first for patriotism, while with nationalism its vice versa, hatred towards other nations, another country, another tribe come first…

It’s one thing to be a patriot, and another to be a nationalist, and unfortunately here on our soil nationalism flourishes and will further flourish. Nationalism is one big obstacle and regression in a country, because nationalists don’t make progress to their country and their people, they backslide it, they worsen the situation… and this is primarily out of fear that they will lose their comfortable situation, that is, envy from the other nationality or from the other people that they will take their priority place, function, job…

CIVIL Media: How do you see nationalism through the prism of social justice?

Muarem outlined an example of social injustice and nationalism, when the social media and social networks posted that ignorant citizens were leaving garbage and plastic bottles on the Ohrid beaches during the night, to which there were comments that such activity by Macedonian tourists in Ohrid was a “gypsy thing”.

I don’t know how that can be a “gypsy thing” if someone throws plastic bottles, when we know it’s precisely the “gypsies” who collect plastic bottles and make a living from them.

I find this appalling and sad, for my soul to be geographically controlled. That fluid of nationalism is instilled in a person from the earliest age by listening to his elders, parents, neighbours, friends… a child cannot learn that notion if it hasn’t heard it from someone.

There is great social injustice, not only with the example in Ohrid with those collecting recyclables, but wherever they go it will be the same, for instance with the Roma who call out “I buy old stuff”, the expression “sit still or I will give you to those buying old stuff” is still used.

Grey economy is more present among the Roma, most Roma woman clean the houses and apartments of those who are not Roma, and imagine that “stinking Gypsy woman”, as they call her, cleans the apartment of those who insult her that she stinks, that she is unclean, dirty… if the Roma women really are as such, then why are they entrusted with the keys to their apartments and clean and maintain them?

Ramush Muarem – Cirko

CIVIL Media: During the political campaign, they were often “joking” with the address that Technical Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski made in the Romani language. Is that actually mocking of the Roma people and the Romani language?

Muarem also spoke about the fact that in the election campaign, some citizens “mocked” Technical Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski, but that this “mocking” was not directed atSpasovski, but rather was mocking of the Roma people, especially of the Romani language.

Spasovski tried to speak in the Romani language and showed respect for the Roma, and instead of this being a good example, some citizens decided to make fun of the Romani language. I translated to several people that Spasovski only congratulated International Roma Day – April 8 in the Romani language, and I don’t know what was so funny. It’s normal for the person not to pronounce the words with the right accent, with the right diction, it’s the same as if I spoke in English, everybody would be laughing.

They are “mocking” the Roma people and Romani language because they have found a small unprotected nation that has no one to protect it, except for several individuals who, as Don Quixote, are fighting with the windmills.

Muarem adds that nationalism once didn’t go well, when fifty year ago Hitler had an idea for a pure white race, one nation, just them and no one else… and we know what happened.

Unfortunately, nationalism is revamping, and it wouldn’t be good at all if nationalism was met with nationalism. The sense for respect for others needs to emerge, namely, for people to learn more about the other, about their culture, language, tradition, religion and son on, and only in this case will nationalism be diminished.

Text and editing: Dehran Muratov
camera: Atanas Petrovski
photography: Biljana Jordanovska

translation: Natasa Cvetkovska

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