Following the publication of a stamp with a map of Greater Croatia by the Macedonian Post Office, outrage spread throughout the Balkans, and especially in Croatia, where they are still not sure whether this is a provocation or a case of ultimate dilettantism.
Croatian journalist Ivan Brodic, who frequently reports on Macedonia, writes in “Energypress” that the probable cause of the scandal is the long-term DUI party rule over the Macedonian Post Office. But in a lengthy article he also draws attention to the far more realistic issue of uncontrolled Albanian nationalism, that may have played a hand in this incident.
In this state-owned company, for decades back, probably since the Ohrid treaty, the hiring policy, or rather the patronage network, has been run by the Albanian partner in the government – DUI. The party is known for being led by a former alleged terrorist and pardoned rebel Ali Ahmeti, but that is a topic for another day. The gentlemen hired through the patronage network likely searched Google for a map of Croatia and found a map of territories that are even greater than the criminal NDH state that was ran by Nazi thugs and anti-Semites in World War Two. The perpetrators of this incident will bring nothing good for Croatia, but they are also sending a message to the Macedonian public, reminding it that they still haven’t forgotten on the Greater Albanian, ballist celebrations, Brodic writes, reminding the public of the incidents and overt displays of nationalist rhetoric linked to the celebrations of Albanians in Skopje.
It’s likely that the map of Greater Croatia was found on a nationalist web site set up to actually promote Greater Albania – a number of such maps were easily found, in which Albania and Croatia are portrayed spreading across almost the entire Balkans. And while Croatian nationalism has not lead to major security challenges in a long while, Macedonia had a serious attack from Albanian nationalists as recently as 2015, with the battle in Kumanovo, and Albanian nationalist pressures are daily reshaping and redefining Macedonia with no end in sight.
The Tirana platform, adopted ahead of the last general elections in Macedonia, was the first step in the direction toward the Greater Albanian project. It marked the end of the Ohrid Agreement, adopted after the “civil war” of 2001, and led to the creation of a coalition of all Albanian parties, violating the principle the governments are formed by the parties that won the elections among the two main constituent nations. This Government imposed bilingualism across the whole of Macedonia, using the Albanian language even in places with no Albanians. It’s strongest message was seen in the performance of the Albanian anthem in the Macedonian Parliament. The Government is led by SDSM party leader and Shkendia football fan Zoran Zaev who gave it its political legitimacy, all the while supported by the Open Society Foundation and some Western embassies, Brodic writes.
The Croatian journalist reports how, under such a Government, the sovereignty and identity of the Macedonian nation is being denied, the country was renamed, as were state institutions, such as the Post Office.
After signing the Sofia treaty, in which Macedonians give up their national genesis up to 1945 in favor of Bulgaria, Zaev went as far as having to apologize after he said that the Ilinden Uprising was a Macedonian uprising. The experiment may be working, but unfortunately, the EU and NATO are not alliances that admit experimental states, but sovereign nation states, within a European system of values. That system doesn’t allow lynching your political opponents in prison, or even holding political prisoners, Brodic notes.
As a final blow to Macedonia, he writes that France, driven by islamophobia, is blocking the opening of EU accession talks even after all the compromises the Zaev Government accepted. Meanwhile, the country seemed incapable of even procuring some coronavirus aid, until the opposition leader Hristijan Mickoski turned to his political allies in Slovenia and Hungary.
Meanwhile, Zoran Zaev seemingly wants to be seen as a Balkan Nobel peace prize recipient, a new Tito, but fails to realize that the Tirana platform is a tool leading to a greater goal, one in which the territories in the Balkans are being carved up, including the territory of the experimental nation state once known as Macedonia.