See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Macedonia: Interior Ministry Responds to Invitation for Debate

This post is part of our special coverage Macedonia Protests 2011.

The response of the Ministry of the Interior to an invitation for public debate on ways to bring about positive social change through civic activism and reform in Macedonia, organized by the Movement Against Police Brutality, has caused an outrage in the Macedonian social media.

The activists of the grassroots Movement Against Police Brutality organized [mk] a public debate on November 9, 2011, in Skopje,

…to analyze and publicly discuss the recent events, positive and negative aspects leading to the first more serious civic protests, demanding reform of the Macedonian police and increased respect for human rights. The way youth expressed their revolt and demands for changes in the system, are part of the issues at hand. The concept of the debate includes participation of various stakeholders and relevant experts.

Moreover, the latest European Commission Progress Report on Macedonia [.pdf] refers to the case of the murder of Martin Neshkovski, and states the following:

As regards the prevention of torture and ill-treatment and the fight against impunity, legislative provisions in this area are yet to be translated into a consistent and comprehensive practice. Systemic deficiencies remain with regard to combating impunity within the law enforcement agencies… […] The effectiveness of prosecutors and judges in taking appropriate action when there are indications of ill-treatment by the police remains a concern…

The debate was supposed to gather at one place the activists, human rights experts, representatives of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Macedonia, the Macedonian Helsinki Committee, and the Minister of the Interior, Ms. Gordana Jankulovska. The latter did not show up for the debate – according to an Alfa TV news item [mk], she chose to attend a film premiere instead.

Public debate on ways to bring about positive social change through civic activism and reform, organized by the Movement Against Police Brutality - Skopje, Nov. 9. Photo by Filip Stojanovski (CC-BY).

Public debate on ways to bring about positive social change through civic activism and reform, organized by the Movement Against Police Brutality – Skopje, Nov. 9. Photo by Filip Stojanovski (CC-BY).

Before the event, the organizers published the official response [mk] to their invitation from the Sector for Public Relations and Information of Public Character of the Ministry of the Interior:

A scanned version of the response by the Ministry of the Interior

A scanned version of the response by the Ministry of the Interior

Respected sirs/madams,

We would like to understand your letter as a retraction of the previous protests and untruthful accusations, insults and slander; because we doubt that anyone would like to sit at the same table with “murderers” or “executioners.” Still, the true retraction from the demeaning and unfounded qualifications should come at least in the form of a public apology and gratitude to all [members of the special police units] “Tigers” or “Alphas” who sacrificed themselves during “Mountain Storm” [a Nov. 2007 operation without police casualties, info in mk, en, sr], or were killed near the Faculty of Natural Sciences, and who participated in countless actions to protect our security.

The Ministry of the Interior Affairs saw the public call by [the opposition leader] Branko Crvenkovski for mobilization of all nongovernmental organizations and “independent” intellectuals against the democratically expressed will of the citizens, who for the sixth time in a row gave their support for the [political] option that is offering a better future, according to their reckoning. We are aware that the lack of ideas and the previous catastrophic results can lead to even greater despair, but this does not give us the right to become part of anyone’s scenarios.

The Ministry of the Interior Affairs will remain open and will continue to work in the service of the citizens. Within the framework of the devotion for transparency and accountability in its work, as you know, we organized for the first time an open day enabling all citizens to become informed and to provide their suggestions and opinions on the police work. We thank you for your interest regarding the “Open Day” Project, and all your suggestions and opinions will be taken into serious consideration.

Activist Martin Nanik displaying the response of the police at the public debate. Photo by Vanco Dzambaski (CC BY-NC-SA)

Activist Martin Nanik displaying the response of the police at the public debate. Photo by Vanco Dzambaski (CC BY-NC-SA)

Twitter users used the established hashtag #protestiram (“I protest”) to simultaneously link to and comment on the police officials’ response.

Irena Cvetkovik wrote [mk]:

I protest because a state institution funded by my money also, shamelessly insults and ignores me.

Jovana Tozija also expressed [mk] outrage:

I protest because announcements of state institutions are typed in a political party headquarters!!!

Natalija asked this [mk], referring to the traditional concept of life after death:

Where will your soul go, Ministry of the Interior?

Vnukot blogged [mk] that the capitalist concept of “the customer is always right” has not penetrated into the Macedonian state institutions:

By analogy, the mistakes have to be admitted and the responsible persons have to answer for them. By analogy, the citizens, who are the chief consumers of the state, should always be right, when they are right. Sadly, it seems that the import of these analogies to Macedonia will have to wait for a long time.

Linking to this post, Jovana Tozija added [mk]:

True! The state is always right, not the citizen. And when the citizen is right, he should apologize for that…

This post is part of our special coverage Macedonia Protests 2011.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site