Together for a better society
In an informal talk with some friends on the Roma people condition and problems in Macedonia, which has been a subject to my engagement in the last two years, I was trying to share my knowledge about the life and difficulties of a part of the Macedonian population. One of my friend's comments was: "It is not my problem, it is their problem!". Besides the fact that I ended the conversation, I started thinking about the values/criteria in our society.
The period of transition towards democracy and civil society in Macedonia has been going on for a decade now. The road to transition seemed quite difficult, painful and extremely long, asking from us as a society, as well as individuals, that is citizens to build new values and establish new social relations at all levels.
In the past period, the basic institutional frames for functioning of a democratic and civil country with a market economy have been established, including the rise and development of the NGO sector as well.
The establishment of the new values is the harder part of the road, and of course, the journey lasts longer and is almost as difficult and tiresome as it is necessary. The rejection, even the non-selective rejection of all that reminds of the previous system, was certainly the easier part of the job. Building new values and new relations is the challenge standing before the Macedonian society, besides the relative agreement regarding the basic principles and postulates of the new society.
In fact, the real challenge is to change the citizens' awareness regarding the social problems and their personal role in the society. The change that we, as citizens, will not make if we learn theories and thoughts about the civil society and democracy by heart in order to "recite" them in appropriate situations, as we did in the past with the already forgotten poems from primary school; on the contrary, we should change ourselves in a way that we will realize that freedom understands accountability: for ourselves, people around us and the wider community.
In that process of building new social values, it is extremely important to pay tribute to the positive examples of the pioneers that bravely clear the path, regardless of the social sector they are active in.
Third year in a row, some people who dedicate themselves to the support of the democratic values, the civil society and sustainable development, deserved to be awarded with the Civil Society and Democracy Award and the Sustainable development award by the MCIC. The awards come as a result of their dedication, belief in a better world and the ability to recognize "others'" problems as their own. The fact that, among the winners, there were representatives of the public, state and the private (business) sector, as well as the media, clearly demonstrates that the social changes can occur only as a result of mutual efforts of the three sectors, of all of us together. The recognitions for the efforts are of great importance, because the process of building new social values includes both, the mutual engagement and the belief in success. It was best illustrated by one female representative of an organization - the award winner, who said: "Allow me to speak as first among the equal of those women who undoubtly share my belief, a belief that has bonded us for three years. A belief that we can live differently, more beautifully and better...here in Macedonia" (Liljana Popovska from the Macedonian Women Lobby)
The promotion of a proactive approach in solving the community problems and the belief that the common goals can be accomplished is one of the main challenges of the NGOs in the future period. The civic organizations should join hands for partnerships with the state institutions, the private sector, the media, the citizen, so that we can return the optimism and the trust that we can - together.
The society is one big community where problems are interrelated as a system of joint vessels. The society that does not have a strength to deal with marginalisation and the intolerance in itself, which is not based on democratic and human values, can never become a real prosperous civil society.
Therefore, the Roma people problems, the problems of the unemployed, the redundant, the problems of people with social needs, the socially endangered families, women, farmers, people from Veles, pupils and students.... - these are all our problems. Only if we identify the real problems and needs, if we show mutual understanding and put efforts together, can we overcome the obstacles and build better and happier society, based on the personal integrity, freedom and citizens accountability.
For the well being of al of us together and each of us individually!
I hope that the conversation I mentioned in the beginning of this text will soon be continued.