The emergence of the new political party “ZNAМ” on the Macedonian political stage is greatly welcomed by us, the “Faction for This and Revitalization of VMRO-DPMNE.” Every appearance of new political entities signify a refreshing and enriching contribution to the political spectrum of ideas. The Macedonian political stage is populated by worn-out figures who, aside from demagoguery, have nothing else to offer. The state has been led into a dead-end, “up high, down deep.” The increased “supply” of ideas and potential solutions is the very foundation of pluralism and democracy. The struggle through intraparty factional activities to change the political paradigm and party stereotypes is a challenging and arduous task. Due to this, some members of SDS, who disagree with the foolish and detrimental policies of the SDS leadership, have decided to take the easier path by forming a new political entity. The Faction wishes them success! Good luck to them!

However, what saddens me is the appearance of Venko Andonovski, the “Golden-Tongued Macedonian” from “The Domestication of the Bitch,” as a member of this party. The first association that came to my mind was some statements made by Pejo Javorov.

In 1911, the National Theatre in Sofia announced a competition for the purchase of a drama, with the poet Pejo Javorov, a close friend of Todor Alexandrov, who was serving as the president of the commission for the selection of theatrical work. Todor Alexandrov also competed in the competition with his drama “Bozhik.” The commission, at Javorov’s insistence, decided to purchase three works, and “Bozhik” by Todor Alexandrov was ranked fourth. So, “Bozhik” was forgotten, but Javorov’s words remained in memory: “Alexandrov’s work was convincingly the best, which brought me into great perplexity. I had to choose. This meant I would undoubtedly commit a sin, whether to give a new Shakespeare to world civilization and take away from the Macedonian revolutionary movement the uncompromising and courageous leader. I decided that world civilization would miss the new Shakespeare less than the uncompromising and brave leader of VMRO.”

In the context of this, I have no doubt that the “Golden-Tongued Macedonian” will be the best writer among the politicians and the greatest politician among the writers. But who needs that? We, the Macedonian people, Macedonian culture, need the “bard” of contemporary Macedonian literature, Venko Andonovski. Somehow, I feel a lump in my throat that I can’t swallow, like that “Wild Flesh” by Goran Stefanovski. All of this reminds me of “The Betrayal of the Intellectuals,” as Julien Benda would say. It’s not for nothing that I mention Julien Benda. His creative path bears a striking resemblance to Venko Andonovski. Always the best, with four nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature and a nomination for the French Academy Award, yet never receiving a single one. And so, Venko “Zlatoousti Macedonian,” despite his magnificent writings, never received societal gratitude. His election as an “Associate Member” of the “Society of Dead Poets” and “false friends” seems more like a satire from his “Kitsch Mythologies.” Do you remember his “Pre-Holiday Telegram to the Fatherland of False Friends” (Nova Makedonija, 27.07.2021)? On this occasion I wrote the column “The Trials of Identity.” I believe and I hope, that “Zlatoousti Macedonian” will not join “The Betrayal of the Intellectuals.” Not for anything else but because there are almost no intellectuals in Macedonia, and a state without intellectuals is like a body without a spirit. There isn’t enough space here to provide a broader elaboration, but let me briefly clarify. An intellectual is not a person with completed degrees, master’s, and doctorates. The greatest recognized intellectual in Croatia, Miroslav Krleža, never obtained a university diploma, and Nikola Tesla never completed the university studies he began.

The intellectual does not enjoy the conformity of ordinary mortals. What for others is a laborious thought process often seen as something to avoid, the intellectual sees as “normal work”. A true intellectual is the conscience of a nation; a thinker who acts publicly as a moral and humane force in society. Just think about the impact of  Emile Zola and his “J’accuse” on societal events in France. What is of vital importance for the state is the power of intellectuals. Yet, as fantastical as it may sound, it is the intellectuals who can, with their patience and intellectual breadth of views, resist fanaticism and persecution, whether political or religious. The only remedy for the madness in this state is the intellectual’s love for truth, justice, and nobility. Their dedication of mind, conscience, heart, and soul without the temptation to do unto others, what they wouldn’t want to be done unto them, are divine attributes that are much needed in the Macedonian state.Like rain on dry soil.

Did the “Golden-Mouthed Macedonian” announce to us that he found the answer to the ontological question – “To have or to be”? I apologize for the egotistical tone. I know it might sound egoistic, but to him, “Golden-Mouthed Macedonian,” is not given. In order “to have,” “he must “be.” We, the Macedonian people, must “have” him. For without him, Macedonian culture loses much more than it gains on the Macedonian political “scene.” What would French, German, or Russian culture be without Sartre, Zola, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Tolstoy, or Dostoevsky? In fact, “The Pope of Light” is a masterpiece that any “normal” country would promote in all world languages. This work by Venko, “Golden-Mouthed Macedonian,” allows us, the Macedonians, to contribute something to the “well of wisdom” of world civilization. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I placed this work shoulder to shoulder with Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov.” In Macedonian literature, in my humble opinion, Venko’s work is on the same level as “Pirej” by Petre M. Andreevski. I can’t even imagine what Macedonian literature would be without Jan Ludwig, who, after “The Pope of the World” and “The Pope of Light,” I expected to conclude his journey through Macedonian literature with the final part of the trilogy, “The Pope of…” Just as Nietzsche and Dostoevsky enriched the German and Russian languages, respectively, Venko, the “Golden-Mouthed Macedonian,” enriches the Macedonian language through his works. The chain of contemporary Macedonian language initiated by Blaže and continued by Gane will be broken if Venko enters the “crazy, sprawling semiotic machine that prints, speaks, and emits lies,” as Venko defined Macedonian politics in one of his writings.

I can’t believe that the “Golden-Mouthed Macedonian” made this move for political gain. He is undoubtedly familiar with Nietzsche’s words, “. . .in the end, utility is just like anything else, a game of our imagination, and it could be a fatal snake that will one day tear us apart.” He wouldn’t do that!

I believe in the noble intention of the “Golden-Mouthed Macedonian” to try to infuse his “magical gift of euphoric eloquence” into politics. Maybe he will succeed in implementing his proposal and rename the Assembly to the “Outssembly.” However, previous examples of noble ideas from intellectuals in politics have ended poorly, and the hypocritical politicians managed to erode their social credibility. Ante Popovski, Gane Todorovski, or Ferid Muhić are prominent examples. It’s true that many intellectuals in politics have faced challenges when trying to maintain their noble ideals while conforming to the often partisan nature of the political arena. It’s a difficult balance to strike, and examples like Ferid Muhić illustrate the challenges faced when trying to enrich Macedonian politics. This is precisely why I believe that conventional party frameworks may not be broad enough for an ordinary intellectual to fit in, let alone someone like Venko Andonovski with his substantial intellectual stature.

“Orpheus, however, could not expect the wild Beasts to be, to the end of the world, intoxicated by his music. In any case, there may be hope that Orpheus himself will not become a beast.” This quote from Nietzsche, in its second part, fills my mind with fear, lest the “Goldilocks Macedonian” turn into a beast, also known as a politician.

In the short story “People Without Heads”, from “Kitsch Mythologies”, Mr. Venko Andonovski was asked a naive child’s question. I am very curious if you have answered or are still coming up with an answer to this seemingly childish question – “Why don’t these aunts and uncles have heads?”. The old wisdom, “every head does not have to have a hat, but at least every hat has a head”, given as an answer to the question, does not pass!


Oliver Andonov


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *