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Author: Aleksandra Zdeb

Grim reality after a colourful revolution

The left-wing government that came to power in North Macedonia after the 2016 mass protests is facing new challenges. Symbolic politics is significant for showing that the new North Macedonia is indeed a country for all, but it may not be enough. What the citizens want, first and foremost, is a functioning state.

When you use a water pistol filled with paint as a weapon against the government no one takes you seriously. The situation changes, however, when tens of thousands of enraged fellow citizens join you in this fight. This is exactly what happened when Macedonian citizens succeeded in overthrowing the nationalist government that had been in power for a decade. They wanted to put a stop to corruption and the mafia connections but also set up extremely high demands for the Social Democrats who have gained power. The new government brought along a change in the name of the country – now called North Macedonia – and long-awaited freedom, but also many disappointments.

April 6, 2020 - Aleksandra Zdeb

When the state turns against its own citizens, resistance becomes duty?

In 2018 civic resistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina acquired a new symbol – the raised fist of Davor Dragičević who, in quiet desperation, demanded justice for his dead son, David. The situation triggered a significant public outrage and the politicisation of David’s death. Since March 2018, mass protests were organised demanding justice. By the end of the year, the authorities started to violently block them and, eventually, banned any further gatherings.

As Thomas Jefferson once said: “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”. Even in “stabilocracies” like Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia, whenever any form of government becomes destructive, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. It was visible in 2014 when first the workers and later regular citizens paralyzed a number of Bosnian cities during events titled the “Bosnian spring”. Yet despite few governmental alterations, nothing has really changed – Bosnia and Herzegovina remains a captured state that protects its elites while citizens’ rights and control over the authorities are limited.

August 26, 2019 - Aleksandra Zdeb

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