After graffiti “Shu praish” (What’s up), “Hello Gorde” and “Alo nachalniche” (Hello boss) inspired from the wiretapped conversations, also began to appear a series with nationalistic content and clear hate speech.
In much of the graffiti, negative labeling of a particular ethnic community is crossed and is replaced by another word. For example, the second word in “Death to Shqiptare” is replaced with the word “hate”, after which, the graffiti became “Death to hate.”
Yesterday, however, leader of VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski, at the gathering in Shtip, accused opposition leader Zoran Zaev of planning to stage interethnic tension.
– Let’s not allow them to carry out the final for which their operation is invented. Let’s not allow them to make us fight on a political, religious or ethnic line. Let’s not to allow them to succeed in the script they constructed – said Gruevski.
Experts say that if the graffiti appeared overnight, they were probably commissioned by political centers of power, with a clear intention to defocus the current sharp criticism of the government and focus on interethnic hatred.
– That such actions are organized and have a chilling effect, is nothing new. For example, several years ago, “Brother Ljube” overnight became “Ljube traitor” on Skopje streets and in the media. What is new and satisfactory is that, in recent years, there is the appearance of anti-nationalist interventions on graffiti which spread hatred – they are re-written in “Death of nationalism” or “Death to chauvinism.” These interventions, as far as I know, are organized by groups associated with the new Macedonian left, which has a multi-ethnic character. Which graffiti would “win” is difficult to predict – says Slobodan Jakoski, communications analyst.
Graffiti depending on the content can be used as an indicator of the situation in a society – says Bardil Jashari, Director of the Foundation for Internet and Society “Metamorphosis”.
– They are often the reflection of actual events and such are, for example, graffiti containing fragments from the Zaev’s “bombs”. Of course that graffiti can also be used for public conveyance of messages that cause hatred and I think the graffiti that appeared lately against Albanians are used for manipulation and defocusing of the real problems by encouraging hatred and fear by “reminding of the constant threat” to Macedonia and Macedonians. Such graffiti regularly appeared with more or less intensity depending on the political context and regular additional “decor” on every elections, so I think perhaps it is part of the party campaign and election preparations. However, the reaction of such graffiti by deleting elements of hatred inspires and gives hope that perhaps such manipulations in the future will have smaller effect – said Jashari.
This action to defocus the public from the current political crisis also includes the sharp comments regarding the documentary of “Al Xhezaira”, “People and power: Macedonia – behind the facade”, shown immediately after the interview of Zoran Zaev, as well as the similar comments regarding the proposal an Albanian to be prime minister of Macedonia, which appeared in the weekly poll of “Fokus”.