Traumas as a cause for conflict and potential threat to human rights and freedom

War and transition as contributory factors to socio-pathological effects and other psychological phenomena in Macedonia.

Human history has always been shaped by disagreements, oppositions and other types of selection. All these phenomena, throughout human history, were ignited and developed in different forms and ways. It is well known that all misunderstandings and disagreements in the process of the development of one society are called conflicts. In the context of modification we can take the form and type of conflict and violence, which, of course, represents the main subject of our sociological and psychological analysis, as for example the field of politics as well as law and science etc. In order to have a conflict, we need two opposite sides, and regardless of the conflict parties, the conflict can exist in a form of inter-personal level (between persons), as well as between groups and inside groups.

This text will talk about traumas and psychological phenomena, as a consequence of the conflict, that pose a deterrence to the development of human rights and freedom.

When talking about traumas, psychological phenomena, conflicts and human rights, it is necessary to keep in mind the experience of humanitarian workers and fighters for human rights and the need of respect for their recommendations about tolerance and prevention of conflicts and violence. In this context of violence and absence of tolerance, I will cite Vaclav Havel, president of the Czech Republic who said: ” Violence means injustice for every human being”.

It is illogical to have started conflicts that will destroy human welfare, regardless of the interests that we are talking about, because people are more valuable than any other interests. If wealth, democracy and peace go together, so if there are fewer reasons for conflicts, war will never be an option and military-police or repressive forces will become meaningless.

Today, when we talk about freedom, hate and violence, we should not forget the recommendations of Martin Luther King, who said: “Hate hurts the ones who hate as much as those who suffer from hatred”.

When conducting research about trauma, psychological phenomena, and violation of human rights as a consequence of the conflict in Macedonia in 2001, it becomes apparent, that the end of this conflict does not entail total elimination of the conflict itself, or the end of the problems that the war conflict has provoked, including many problems that citizens suffered from before, especially the ones from the war activities in the region.

Today, in the Republic of Macedonia, society is divided into groups and this separation continues into the post-conflict phase, even under changed political conditions. The changes and differences that occur under unstable circumstances are often understood as a pre-condition for permanent and intolerant behaviour. Many analytical experts in the field of political, economic and social relations in Macedonia think that the “normal” behaviour of its citizens in the period of stabilization and implementation of the “Framework -Agreement” will create a challenge to make a distinction between values and non-values (which may be categorized as a socio-pathological behaviours).

Unfortunately, prior to- and during the conflict and also in the post-conflict period including now with its destabilization circumstances, the absence of values still prevail in our society.

– Presence of corruption in leading managing structures on state and local level.
– Disregard of human rights and freedom by the managing structures in the state.

– Immoral behaviour by the parties “leaders”.

– Corruption of state service members inside their ethnic communities (Macedonian, Albanian), manipulation of the people’s national and patriotic feelings, using them as masks in order to cover the failure of realization of all the obligations to them, in the name of their own personal interests.

– Abuse of the social situation of the youth for the purpose of political interests.

– Abuses against certain religious denominations.

– Sociopathological phenomena, drugs, prostitution, organized crime, embezzlement etc.

These negative circumstances have contributed to certain society groups falling into a state of moral crisis, followed by traumas and sociopathological as well as psychological phenomena. It is self-evident that all these circumstances influence the citizens, if we take into consideration many factors like the low-level of security for families, low-level of education, absence of perspective, cultural traditions etc. Since the number of unstable families within the last few years is on the increase (especially in the regions affected by the war conflict), unemployment has also increased while the state- and local political authorities that change their positions annually, use their means of manipulation and immoral behaviour. All this of course contributes to a sense of moral crisis for the everyday citizens of society. Moreover, there is also a group of people that get rich quick without any effort by using the help of -state and legal structures.

Throughout the last ten years and before, different individuals and groups, often existed by the help of government structures, which in turns lead to different crises, de-stabilization, traumas, disregard of human rights and freedom. As a result, a large number of citizens are left to their own devices by their government. These citizens revolt by displaying negative forms of behaviour and one day they will be the ones changing this system. Members of the Macedonian and Albanian community, along with others too, aside from the traumas caused by the war, are at the mercy of ruthless “bosses”.

At present, the relatively stable circumstances, which are still questioned with scepticism point to the following questions: What do we need to do to get closer as people? Whom should we be sorry for? Should we face the fact that traumas and suffering belong into the lives of our citizens? It is a fact that these people have lost something dear in their families, their bodies and souls; something bigger than the meaning of state, these people are traumatized. They have lost all of their ambitions, maybe they are not in pain and they are not full of hatred, but they are people who have suffered. And yet their silence and suffering is also a message that things such as organized crime (tolerated by certain states, government structures), prostitution, drug addiction, alcoholism should be stopped.

In accordance with the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement which promotes the framework for tolerance, total respect for human rights and freedom and allows for differences between all people, the existence of legal mechanisms in the country will stand for:

-Ways toward mutual understanding between people, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or sex.
-Readiness for a future dialogue.

-Regulation of relationships between people and communities.

-Conditions that prevent immoral behaviour or socio-pathological behaviour.

– Conditions that affirm the of values and reconcile those who participated in the war on opposing sides.

– Promotion of values that give meaning to tolerance and create conditions for respect between people, since this is the only way to keep peace and stability in the country and outside.

So as to solve the problems of the people that are still affected by the traumas and sociological phenomena that are the result of this conflict, this problem should become a priority for non-governmental organizations too.

Hope remains that through different forms, discussions and debates on seminars that will be organized for such matters of concern it will become apparent how such a society and the state can be organized, in order to help citizens whose human rights and freedom are under threat.

Published 10 November 2003
Original in Albanian
Translated by Goran Masevski

Contributed by Roots © Roots Eurozine

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