The fading “Northern” project
“…because transformation process of the chapters means opening our sovereignty to give it to the European Union.” — Zoran Zaev
Hold on to that statement, above, for just a moment now.
Last month I wrote a column with the title “Why the ‘North’ project is flailing and will fail.” This week, in a second column on the subject, I changed the title of that project to “Northern.” Why? Simple: because the international community still cannot agree on what Macedonia is called even after it was forcibly renamed with a lot of external help from Western progressive elites. After all of the money spent on demanding a name change; after all of the star power of both elected and unelected officials that was poured into Macedonia; after all of the deliberate ignoring of the truth of how it was accomplished by overriding the referendum and then using a host of illegal means to ram it through parliament; after all of this they can’t even get the imposed name correct. They can’t agree on what they agreed to. Look up news reports, think-tank papers, and the statements of many talking heads and pundits on Macedonia and you will find a good number of both — “Northern Macedonia” and “North Macedonia” — often in the same article. Which points to the fading, overall, of the “Northern” project.
Zaev and his foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov, both recently stated that parts of the so-called “Prespa agreement” will have to be put on hold unless and until Macedonia gets a green light to start accession talks with the EU. Zaev was quoted as stating “Certain chapters will be frozen because they cannot be implemented,” before adding, in what has become his theatrical and excessive manner, “If the light of the stars of the European Union flag is extinguished, we will have darkness here. And we may get lost in this darkness.” Whatever.
Zaev being Zaev, of course, the next day he promptly reversed himself and stressed that the changes must be made now. It is almost as if he believes that the more he gives away and the more he abases himself — and Macedonia — before Greece and the Western progressive elites the more likely he is to get the opening of EU accession talks. That is ignorant and foolish thinking and behavior.
To this Greece’s foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, expressed the country’s disquiet and slowly growing panic over the whole “Northern” project. He said the Greek government “shall continue to closely monitor our neighbors’ full respect of their obligations,” while taking a shot at the previous government of Alexis Tsipras stating “once again taking advantage of the loopholes in the Prespes Agreement, which we knew and had warned about.”
Let me return now to the opening quote by Zaev. He said “…because transformation process of the chapters means opening our sovereignty to give it to the European Union.” Kevin Williamson, a writer with the US magazine National Review and writing on the issue of Brexit and the UK’s relationship with the EU, states, in as succinct a manner as one can about the entire EU project, “The merging of sovereignties, which necessitates the subordinating of sovereignties, is the point of the European Union, its raison d’être.” Again, I cannot say this enough: in joining the EU, you, Macedonia, will be giving away your sovereignty. As the EU project grows in scope and size, your children and grandchildren will become indentured servants. Perhaps, however, that is what you want. “Better to live on our knees than die standing up straight with our heads held high” type of stuff, eh? Before you scoff at that, however, don’t worry — this is not, yet, a stark and binary choice between living on your knees or dying while standing tall. Not yet, at least. There are a few steps between liberty and freedom for Macedonia, today, and total obedience to Big Brother in Brussels tomorrow. To paraphrase Williamson in the above referenced article ever so slightly, liberty and freedom for Macedonia should mean Macedonia and Macedonians living a under Macedonian government under Macedonian law of Macedonian making, however imperfect all of that might be.
In our current state of affairs and witnessed by, to take but two examples, the election of Donald Trump and Brexit, almost anything can happen despite what the odds makers say. Indeed, things you never thought would happen do happen. Of course the “North project” or “Northern project” can be overturned. I think it will be. But it won’t “just” happen. It will take hard work. It will take creativity. It will take perseverance. It will take legal ingenuity. And, most importantly in my opinion, it will take Macedonian heart and Macedonian soul. It will take the heart and soul of Macedonians who believe in Macedonia and what it means to be a Macedonian. It will take Macedonians from all backgrounds, including political backgrounds, to make it happen. I believe that can actually happen.
I leave you with one warning, for now, and that is the issue of time: the Macedonian government and the Western progressive elites know that such an agreement can be reversed. In international politics and global affairs, there is no such thing as “irreversible” and so what they are counting on is simply time: they are counting on and they are betting on these changes taking place (all that is in the so-called “Prespa agreement”) and Macedonians simply accepting them as part of life, over time.
Will you, Macedonians in Macedonia and around the world, accept these things, including your “new name” and “new identity,” over time? Or will you fight to not only preserve your name, identity, culture, heritage, history, language, faith and everything else that makes Macedonians unique in this world today, but also fight to reverse an illegal and unjust action?