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The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
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Macedonia Referendum: Block the Vote
HITS: 3240 | 7-01-2005, 03:14 | Commentaire(s): (0) |
 (Votes #: 0)

Referendum on the proposed re-districting of local government units 7th November 2004

Macedonia, the missing jigsaw piece of the European superstate. A poster on display in the weeks leading up to the referendum

On 7th November 2004, fewer than 30% of eligible voters turned out in Macedonia’s referendum on local government re-organisation which required a minimum 50% participation. Hardly a subject to disturb the headline-writers, one might have thought. Yet Washington and Brussels worked overtime to achieve that level of apathy. The low turnout was hailed as a triumph for Euro-Atlantic values. Perhaps an invalid Balkan referendum on an obscure local issue tells us more about the New World Order than anyone might have expected.

Introduction

Changes in any country’s local government rarely excite much international interest but the exception must be Macedonia’s proposed re-districting which was the subject of a referendum on 7th November, 2004. Because the issue was cast in terms of increasing the influence of ethnic Albanians at the expense of ethnic Macedonians the outcome attracted not only the attention of NATO and the EU but the direct intervention of their spokesmen in the campaign. Modern Macedonia is very much a creation of the West. From the break up of Yugoslavia in 1991 until today, the West has intervened there either directly through its military, diplomatic and economic agencies or indirectly through groups like the Open Society Institute of George Soros, who personally funded the Macedonian national debt a decade ago.
Already in the 1999 war against Milosevic’s Yugoslavia Macedonia had served NATO as a key staging base and has continued to do so for the occupation of Kosovo since June, 1999. Macedonia provides the KFOR garrison with an R-n-R region. It houses many of the brothels, discos and other, largely Albanian-run entertainment facilities (with girls imported from poverty-stricken states like Moldova and Ukraine) which service the garrison of Kosovo and the many other international personnel based in the Balkans.[1]
In March, 2001, Albanian terrorist groups, using the same initials UCK as the Kosovo Liberation Army, started an insurrection against the Macedonian state. Western intervention led to the Ohrid Agreement in June, 2001, which forced the Macedonian state to make concessions to the insurgents, who in turn set up a political party, the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI). The overlap between DUI and the militant organisations, UCK (National Liberation Army) and ANA (Albanian National Army) is widely acknowledged, as is the West’s preference for the “cool” black leather-jacketed gun-toting representatives of the under-privileged but over-gunned Albanian minority.[2] Terrorism and mafia activities go hand in hand as does providing off-duty recreation for KFOR.
The Ohrid Agreement specified that if any ethnic minority (in practice Albanians) reached 20% of the population of any district then that would trigger an obligation on the local council to adopt bi-lingual procedures, signposts, etc. Since non-Albanian minorities rapidly disappear from districts in which Albanians have gained the upper hand, the Ohrid obligations are framed entirely in terms of Macedonian concessions. Ethnic Macedonians driven from their homes in 2001 remain destitute as internally-displaced members of the majority which must pay for minority rights including the right to expel. Neither the Macedonian government nor the much-vaunted international community show any inclination to waste resources on unarmed victims of the “peace process.”
Ohrid like other tourist towns on the beautiful Lake Ohrid is a natural focus of recreation in Macedonia. However, unlike the notorious brothel townships Kundovo and Velešta,[3] both Ohrid and Skopje are not under Albanian control. The town of Struga is roughly evenly split between Macedonians and Albanians (each hovering around 45% of the population) with the balance held by Macedonia’s other minorities. The town’s lakeside location makes it a classic target for a mafia takeover. It would make a very suitable Las Vegas of the Balkans if only local zoning laws and local inhabitants could be got out of the way.


[1] For instance, the Council of Europe – no mean supplier of internationals” to the region – estimates that “In Bosnia, it is estimated that internationals (such as police officers, peace-keepers and aid workers) account for about 37% of all brothel revenue. One thousand girls of 15 - 16 years are reported to be working in Macedonian brothels.” See http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/Ministerial-Conferences/2003-Equality/Women_and_war.asp,
[2] See Timothy Garton Ash, “Is there a Good Terrorist?” in New York Review of Books 48/19 (29th November, 2001) @
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14860 where Ali Ahmeti’s offer of a fifteen year-old Islay whisky to the author seems to render the question-mark superfluous,
[3] See
http://k.mihalec.tripod.com/current/arizona.htm and http://www.geocities.com/humanperil/Kingpin2.html for a map of Velešta’s whorehouses.

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