Monday, July 11, 2011

FYROM Statues: From ethno-cultural nationalism to National Chauvinism

With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the ruling ideology of Marxism-Leninism was replaced by different ideological forces. One of them was nationalism. In FYROM, gradually and with the "withdrawal" of the Socialists in the various state power positions, the far right through the VMRO began to take their places. So we have from the late 90's a gradual transformation of rampant ethno-cultural nationalism, into an explosion of national chauvinism (see Andrew Heynwood, political ideologies, 2007).

The extreme nationalist hysteria that exists on these days between the Slavmacedonians, because of the erection of two statues (one is giant) at the center of Skopje is a typical example. The far-right Prime Minister Gruevski, continuing the "antiquisation policy" of the Slavic population, made the next step and the Slavmacedonism enfold the "national chauvinism".

National chauvinism breeds from a feeling of intense, even hysterical nationalist enthusiasm. The individual as a separate, rational being is swept away on a tide of patriotic emotion, expressed in the desire for aggression, expansion and war. The right-wing French nationalist Charles Maurras (1868-1952) called such intense patriotism “integral nationalism”: individuals and independent groups lose their identity within an all-powerful 'nation', which has an existence and meaning beyond the life of any single individual. (Heynwood:165) Such militant nationalism is often accompanied by...

militarism. Military glory and conquest are the ultimate evidence of national greatness and have been capable of generating intense feelings of nationalist commitment.

So therefore, with the “statues project”, Gruevski regime is trying to admonish the Slavic population, by the martial values of absolute loyalty, complete dedication and willing self-sacrifice. When the honour or integrity of the nation is in question, the life of ordinary citizens become unimportant is one of the main points of the national chauvinism. (Heynwood:165)

National chauvinism has a particularly strong appeal for the isolated and powerless, for which nationalism offers the prospect of security, self-respect and pride. Militant or integral nationalism requires a heightened sense of belonging to a distinct national group. Such intense nationalist feeling is often stimulated by 'negative integration', the portrayal of another nation or race as a threat or an enemy.(Heynwood:165

In the face of the enemy, the nation draws together and experiences an intensified sense of its own identity and importance. Slavmacedonian national chauvinism arise with a clear distinction between "them" (Bulgarians and Greeks) and "Us”. National chauvinism therefore breeds from a clear distinction between 'them' and 'us'. There has to be a 'them' to deride or hate in order to forge a sense of 'us'. In politics, national chauvinism has commonly been reflected in racialist ideologies, which divide the world into an 'in group' and an 'out group', in which the 'out group' becomes a scapegoat for all the misfortunes and frustrations suffered by the 'in group'. It is therefore no coincidence that chauvinistic political creeds are a breeding ground for racialist ideas. (Heynwood:166) Far right-wing VMRO party of Gruevski builds on this national chauvinism. For the Slavmacedonians, are the Greeks who steal theirs “ancient” history and the Bulgarians theirs language.

All forms of nationalism address the issue of identity. Whatever political causes nationalism may be associated with, it advances these on the basis of a sense of collective identity, usually understood as patriotism. For the political nationalist, 'objective' considerations such as territory, religion and language are no more important than 'subjective' ones such as will, memory and patriotic loyalty. Nationalism, therefore, not only advances political causes but also tells people who they are: it gives people a history, forges social bonds and a collective spirit, and creates a sense of destiny larger than individual existence. (Heynwood:154)

Certain forms of nationalism, however, are less closely related to overtly political demands than others. This particularly applies in the case of Slavmacedonian ethno-cultural nationalism. Cultural nationalism is a form of nationalism that emphasises the strengthening or defence of cultural identity over overt political demands. Slavmacedonian ethno-cultural nationalists view the state as a peripheral if not an alien entity. So the statue of the Great Alexander in the center of capital, in an direct way, it provides attractive elements to propagate, shamelessly, their territorial fantasies over the Greek northern regions. Also it aims at expanding the boundaries of the historical “taktovina” (fatherland) of the “Makedonci” to include wide regions of Greece and Bulgaria. It is well known, that for decades the classrooms and school textbooks of history in FYROM have been adorned with maps portraying Macedonia’s “geographic and ethnic”, i.e. Slavic boundaries extending all the way to Mount Olympus and Chalkidiki, in Greek Macedonia as well as to the Pirin district of Bulgaria. ( see : Macedonianism, FYROM'S Expansionist Designs against Greece, 1944-2006, Society for Macedonian Studies, 2007 ) Now, by claiming the patrimony of the Ancient Macedonians via the statue of a Greek historical person,, the boundaries of “Greater Macedonia” assume a much wider historical and cultural dimension in time.

Unfortunately, Slavmacedonian national chauvinism is obvious that it is a road without return. Wherever you look in history, where he was a national chauvinism, we have explosions similar movements such as Pan-Slavism, anti-Semitism and Pan-Germanism. It is therefore obvious, that the FYROM Slavmacedonism from an ethno-cultural nationalism has transform to the dangerous of the regional peace, national chauvinism.

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