Xenophobic manipulation: MP Dimkov “exclusively” saw millions of Africans in Macedonia!
Dimkov’s statement about the migration of millions of Africans to Macedonia is not a benign “pearl” and deserves attention not only because of its absurdity and untruth but more so because of the spread of xenophobia. Dimkov’s speech delivered directly in the Parliament is the most egregious manifestation of chauvinism, ethnic and religious prejudice and racism.
Author: Olivera Vojnovska
VMRO DPMNE MP Trajčo Dimkov made a nonsensical statement at the parliamentary session on the Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office (14 February 2020):
I wish to share some information, to tell you exclusively that SDSM wants to bring one million Africans to Macedonia…
Macedonia will then be called Macedonia Ethiopia. It is agreed to be done by 2030. I want to warn the Macedonian public and to leave a trace for this.
The statement by VMRO-DPMNE’s MP Trajčo Dimkov that “SDSM will bring in millions of Africans and Macedonia will be called Macedonia-Ethiopia” is striking. To say such a thing, even from the parliamentary rostrum, is, to put it mildly, irresponsible and funny (the qualification could be different if we used a slightly rougher vocabulary). Dimkov’s “exclusive information” is, in fact, misinformation, a sheer untruth to which the MPs in the assembly all laughed, and was ridiculed in the public and on social media.
However, although his claim was treated as stupidity, it did not elicit any other reaction. Dimkov’s statement, however, is not so benign a “pearl” and deserves attention not only for its absurdity and untruth but more for its spread of xenophobia. His statement is directed by anti-immigrant rhetoric, chauvinism, and incites racial intolerance. Dimkov’s speech, unfortunately, expressed directly in Parliament, is the most egregious manifestation of ethnic and religious prejudice and racism. Especially towards the people of Ethiopia, who, only he knows how and why found themselves in his “exclusive” African-immigrant story.
Undoubtedly, his statement is not naive. And, although stated about twenty days before the events on the Turkish-Greek border escalate, it does cause fear and anxiety over a possible influx of refugees. Especially in the current context, regardless of the fact that it is not about migrants from Africa, but refugees mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan that, in fact, do not come close to the figure mentioned by Dimkov – one million!
These days, however, varying numbers are reported of how many migrants have crossed or are trying to cross the Turkish-Greek border after Turkey threatened to open the door to the EU for refugees this weekend (29 February 2020). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 18,000 migrants had fled his country to Europe:
What we did yesterday … We opened the door. We will not close that door … Why? Because the European Union has to fulfill its promises.
The following day (1 March 2020), Turkish Minister of Interior, Suleyman Soylu, wrote on Twitter that more than 76,000 migrants had crossed the Turkish border into the EU.
The same day (1 March 2020) The United Nations stated that at least 13,000 people have been gathered at Turkey’s border with Greece at the official border crossings of Pazrarkule and Ipsala.
Thousands of migrants trapped in a buffer zone have thrown objects at police, to which Greek but earlier Turkish authorities responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Conflicts also broke out near the border village of Castanes, along the fence on the border with Turkey, which follows the land line to the Evros River.
Greece has put down the ramp, and the number of incidents has risen, with the situation escalating. Migrants tried to get on the island of Lesbos after receiving a text message that ships were arriving for them. They stayed at the port itself because locals did not allow them to go to Camp Moria in Lesbos, whose capacity of 3,000 people has long been exceeded and has accommodated more than 20,000 migrants. The local population also prevented those who, by boats, wanted to come out on the coast. (Telma)
Regarding these developments, the technical Prime Minister, Oliver Spasovski, stated that the events in the region are constantly monitored and that there are currently no migrants moving from Greece to Macedonia.
Since yesterday the level of security at the northern and southern borders has increased, we are fully committed and ready to respond to a new refugee wave. So far there are no migrants moving towards our country – said Spasovski.
He assures that the system for good management of eventual migration crisis is functioning continuously and all the competent institutions – MoI, the Ministries of Labor and Social Policy and Defense, and the Army, are maximally committed to dealing with an increased number of migrants.
You know the Government’s attitude and policy towards migrants. We are a transit country, we have two transit centers, Vinojug and Tabanovce, and if any route is opened, i.e. there is an increase of refugees throughout the Republic of North Macedonia, they can only transit or stay temporarily up to 72 hours, said Spasovski.
According to police reports these previous days, a total of 135 migrants have been caught in the last eight days. And on 4 March 2020 near Štip, police captured 17 migrants and took them to the shelter center in Gevgelija, and on 1 March, in the Tri Česmi neighbourhood in Štip, the police captured 78 migrants, and earlier on 27 February, 40 people were captured in the village of Lakavica near Štip.
Having all this in mind, including the position of technical Prime Minister Spasovski, that “if any route is opened, i.e. there is an increase of refugees throughout the Republic of North Macedonia, they can only transit or stay temporarily up to 72 hours” there is no room for suspicion that the ruling SDSM party allegedly had a plan to “flood” the country with refugees. Thus, in that sense, MP Trajčo Dimkov’s statement “that SDSM will bring millions of Africans and Macedonia will be called Macedonia – Ethiopia” is manipulative, teasing, aimed at causing fear of a migrant wave, and “Truthemeter” assesses it as false.
- Libertas (14 March 2020): (ВИДЕО) Димков од ВМРО-ДПМНЕ: Да ви кажам ексклузивно дека СДСМ ќе донесе милион Африканци [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
- Plusinfo (14 Februart 2020): Димков: СДСМ ќе донесе милион Африканци и Македонија ќе се вика Македонија – Етиопија [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
- Grid (29 February 2020): Ердоган: 18.000 сириски бегалци преминаа во Европа [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
- Makfax (29 Spetember 2020): Ердоган: 18.000 сириски бегалци преминаа во Европа [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
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- Time.mk (2 March 2020): Ердоган: „милиони“ мигранти наскоро ќе тргнат кон ЕУ [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
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- MKD (2 March 2020): Спасовски не очекува зголeмен мигрантски бран, а мигрантите може само да транзитираат [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
- Plusinfo (3 March 2020): Спасовски: Нема мигранти кои се движат кон нашата граница [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
- Time.mk (4 March 2020): Во Брисел почна вонреден состанок поради мигрантскатската криза [Accessed on 5 March 2020]
- Telma (4 March 2020): Нови судири меѓу мигрантите и полицијата на грчко-турската граница [Accessed on 5 March 2020]