The Ohrid Framework Agreement at 20

Artan Grubi — a man plucked from the ranks of football hooligans and groomed for his current powerful position in the Macedonian Government — calls it the “Ohrid Peace Agreement.” He knows full-well the official name and yet deliberately refers to it as something else for purposes of his own political public relations.

Or take Ziadin Sela, for example. One needs only look at his twitter feed to understand that he is a bit bigoted. He never notes anything about Macedonians — or any other ethnic groups in Macedonia — and only lauds praise on Albanians from Macedonia, from Albania, from Kosovo, from wherever. He is committed to creating a type of Greater Albania one way or another.

The list of people like this continues.

The Ohrid Framework Agreement was signed 20 years ago. It was supposed to be the end-all-be-all for Macedonia’s minority ethnic Albanians. And yet, 20 years later, a lot of ethnic Albanian leaders in Macedonia — and a lot of Western officials — will tell you it has not been fully implemented. I will bet you very good money that 20 years from now they will say the very same thing. And that is because it is a project designed to paint Albanians as victims — in the past, today, and always into the future. It is a project designed to paint Macedonians as oppressors in the past, today, and always into the future. In that regard, the Ohrid Framework Agreement is neo-Marxian — dividing people into groups and then labeling them oppressor and oppressed.

Ali Ahmeti knows something about Marx. And Lenin. That’s because he studied Marx and Lenin, and was, at least at one point, a committed Marxist. He was also a committed terrorist. Consider the following: In an interview entitled “A Troubled Dream” with David Binder in Newsweek on March 22, 2001, Ali Ahmeti, the-then leader of the NLA and now leader of the ethnic-Albanian political party the Democratic Union for Integration, said “Our aim is solely to remove Slav forces from territory which is historically Albanian.”

Granted, Ahmeti’s tune changed when he found he could not win the war out-right, despite being condemned, at the time, by Western international officials. So he then said he was fighting for rights. An odd thing considering that ethnic Albanians were in the Macedonian parliament at the time, and always had been, duly elected by their constituencies.

So perhaps we should look at this next: Three years after that above statement, Ahmeti’s uncle, Fazli Veliu, a member of parliament from DUI and founding ideologue of the NLA and DUI stated on August 13, 2004 in Raduša, Macedonia, “NLA’s vision has begun with Kosovo and will end with the Albanians’ unification in the future Greater Albania, which includes Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and eastern Kosovo…The manifestation in Radusa should celebrate a new victory of the Albanians’ unification next year.”

Again, in a democracy — even an imperfect one as Macedonia was at the time and still is — you don’t fight for rights by picking up guns and killing people. Ali Ahmet’s idea of fighting for right was to kill, wound, sexually abuse, kidnap, torture and generally inflict mayhem on a peaceful society and people. And he has never paid for his crimes. One day he will.

So as we reflect on these past 20 years and think about what has happened — certainly “peace and harmony” have not blossomed as was the promise from so many — we should also think about what yet might happen still as time passes on and that same chorus of voices says “we still need to do more to implement the Ohrid Framework Agreement because it is not yet implemented and then we will be have peace and harmony.”

Granted, these issues over identity and “rights” have plagued Macedonia, the region, and any country that has minorities (of varying size) for all of time. And the same thing is happening in my country as the United States is driven apart by certain people who want to divide Americans into various groups while claiming special privileges for each group, and bonus privileges if you belong to several groups at the same time, all while blaming “white supremacy,” a “history of racism going back 400 years,” “the patriarch,” “religion and faith,” “traditional families,” and much, much more. None of it will end well. Because ultimately it is all about the pursuit of power, instead of the pursuit of creating a framework for the proper ordering of society that allows for the flourishing of society — for all people — to the greatest extent possible, through the rule of law.

I see the same thing happening in Macedonia, and elsewhere, with a continuing demand for more “rights,” a continuing complaint about being “oppressed,” and a continuing blaming of, in Macedonia’s case, the Macedonians, or traditional society. In their minds, certain ethnic Albanian leaders (I am making a distinction here between leaders and their constituency) will never, ever, have enough “rights.” Nor will they pay their taxes and electricity bills. And that is not a recipe for a happy, healthy, prosperous community.

Granted, the so-called “Prespa agreement” with Greece, and the so-called treaty on “good-neighborliness and friendship” with Bulgaria are designed to do the same thing — they will never be fully implemented, the Greeks and Bulgarians will always demand just one more thing, and the Macedonians will forever be to blame.

It does not have to be this way. But changing it is up to the Macedonians.

Proud American & Arizonan w/Hungarian ethnicity & passion for Macedonia, Hungary & Estonia. Traveler, PR man, history buff & wine, craft beer & cigar enthusiast