The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) is deeply concerned over alleged abuses of power by Macedonian government leaders from all sides of the political spectrum. UMD is also very troubled by recent violence that has taken place in a number of areas in Macedonia.
Specifically, in the past four months, Macedonian society has been rocked by a wiretapping scandal, a terrorist attack in Kumanovo resulting in the death of eight police officers and, most recently, resignations by several high-level government officials. In response, many Macedonian citizens have stated that they will exercise their right to petition the Macedonian government to address these matters. To that end, opposition-led protests are planned for Sunday, May 17, followed by government-led protest on Monday, May 18, in each case in Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje.
UMD calls on all Macedonian leaders and activists to urge that these protests be held in a peaceful, non-violent fashion, and that they not be allowed to deteriorate into lawlessness. Macedonian citizens must put country first, and make any disagreements over party affiliations a secondary issue. Being able to publicly articulate differing views on how a country should operate is the essence of a democratic society.
UMD calls upon Macedonia’s judicial authorities to immediately investigate, with due process and without intimidation, the alleged abuses of power and the actions of those responsible for fomenting and carrying out activities that are in direct violation of the law. UMD believes that Macedonia’s elected leaders must account for their actions and be fully transparent in the execution of their duties. UMD unequivocally believes that the rule of law is an absolute standard that must be upheld in order for a healthy and prosperous democratic society to exist and thrive.
UMD stresses the need for Macedonia to be fully integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions — as a full-fledged member of both NATO and the European Union. The U.S. and the EU (including its member-states Greece and Bulgaria), must put aside nationalistic agendas and agree to Macedonia joining both NATO and the EU without further delay. Macedonia’s political and socio-economic security and stability are in the best interest of all national, regional and international actors.
In a recent speech, Congressman Eliot Engel of New York said, “Don’t ever think for a moment that your voice doesn’t count. Your presence makes a difference.”
Macedonian citizens are the ultimate decision makers in Macedonia and must put Macedonia’s future first in order to garner the fruits of a just and democratic 21st century society. UMD will continue to support Macedonia, promote its rich culture and traditions, and encourage Diaspora engagement in all aspects of Macedonian society.
UMD reiterates its call for statesmanship and peaceful protests in Macedonia, and again asks all of Macedonia’s leaders to prioritize good faith dialogue in order to unite for a positive path forward for Macedonia.