One month has passed since the climax of the civic indignation. One month has passed since the peak of police brutality. It is important to underline that these were not faceless and impersonal acts that collided on May 5th. One month ago we participated in the most intimate meeting between self-aware citizens and political androids. The intimate space and the integrity of the individual have long been penetrated by the government’s policies and police arsenal in this land. But, on May 5th the androids approached the ideal of intimacy set forth by their programmers: through violence, they smelled sweat and blood on our bodies under the fringes of their castle.
You remember how, after we tried to scratch that castle with bruised bodies and souls, they began to chase us through the streets of Styrofoam City. Our bare hands and book bags they countered with shields, batons, and water cannons. They even broke into our last refuge, the home of the books, to see from where we draw the courage to protest. But instead of books, they flipped through other tissues, the physical and emotional tissues of the students. This precedent was the signal for a new reform of the horizon: the consummation of knowledge – that toxin of submissive awareness – was declared a suspicious, almost a criminal act. Especially in the night hours when the enzymes of knowledge have a noticeably corrosive effect on the oppressive discipline. From the libraries, students were dragged, beaten, and later detained and unjustly convicted.
A month later, we gather to oppose the criminalisation of the authentic student and civic revolt. Instead of going to “carnival”, we are gathering to protest, because for us, it isn’t about dance, song, and fun. We are not Bedouins, we know where our home is. And knowing that they are preparing to chase us away from that home, we come out to defend it. Today we are here to tell the self-proclaimed Gods that Styrofoam City is not Eden and that the libraries are not trees with forbidden fruits, whose tasting is punished with expulsion from the pearly gates. If someone is afraid of free thought, of the consciousness that is developed through reading, then they shouldn’t come close to the home of the books. The public, and especially the academic space doesn’t allow for uniforms and weapons. There, no one has the right to harass and oppress the other. On May 5th, that is explicitly what happened when the police forces raided the public library “Brothers Miladinovci”. For this exact reason today’s protest ends at that common home, which is one of the last oases of free thought, and we remind the androids that they will not occupy this place without bruising the last eye with a thirst for knowledge. Finally, let us also remind those who look at us contemptuously and declare us separatists, that the citizen in and of himself is a political subject and has the right to choose the way in which he protests. To tell them that our real homes were and will remain the schools, the universities, and the libraries.
– Andrej Jovanchevski, speech given on June 5th, on the occasion of one month since the brutal attack on students by the Macedonian police at the public library “Brothers Miladinovci” in Skopje.