We received the message below this morning (April 21, 2016) and we share it verbatim ahead of today’s protests and the pro-regime counter-protests hosted by the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE.
“This afternoon I will be at the protests. This same afternoon, there is an announcement of large counter-protests. I decided to make this address because I feel that the divisions between the people (the two “groups” of people – pro-democracy protests and pro-regime counter-protests) are big enough. I would like to reach out to my friends with whom I discuss less and less due to differences in political positions.
First, I want to let you know what my position is. #iProtest. #iProtest because this situation cannot be tolerated any longer; the criminal activities, the divide between people, the mocking of common sense and reason. #iProtest because I want RADICAL change, not only change of the government, I want my country – mine, yours, our Macedonia to move forward! At the moment, Macedonia is a country burdened with huge poverty levels and largest inequality in Europe, whose debt is rising and flowing in the private pockets of the politicians. Me and the others with me on the streets protesting, we are particularly angry about the pardon given by the president Ivanov to all criminals-politicians.
Some of you think that we are paid to protest. However, I have not taken any funding from any Macedonian or foreign foundation to #protest. Nor I protest because someone ordered me to do so. This is a protest aiming to open a new page. Enough with 25 years of transition, it is about time for the people to come and take what is theirs. #iProtest is not a political party. #iProtest is not an NGO. #iProtest is personal and singular. There is no leaders, no spokespersons. In fact, we are all leaders, everyone’s voice matters.
#iProtest every day with people that I know, and with those I have not met before; we get to know each other every day. We do not agree on everything. But while protesting on the streets, we can talk about everything, we can argue, debate, get angry at each other and make up again. #iProtest because I want this feeling of freedom to govern this country, I want you to feel it too, you the people that I know and care deeply for in my heart.
We have been growing up together, we had been friends with each other, and when this is all over, we would need to live together again. Do not allow that we watch each other across the police barricades, and treat each other as enemies. I know that some of you may not want to participate at the counter-protest and feel as if they have no choice. There is always choice. To start with – stay at home. Or, join us! Let’s build the future together, let’s build the new society together. Without Gruevski and his fellows, or Zaev and his, without Menduh, or Ali and their fellows; Without foreign diplomats and dishonest agreements – it is up to us, the citizens of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, men and women – to act together in solidarity and piece.
I do not hate you, I do not think you are stupid, nor I think you are less valuable than I am. I see you as my co-citizens with whom I want to build a new society together. I believe this is possible despite all, and that’s why #iProtest.