From your own correspondent: time for change

Dear All,

Thank you very much for have followed my (mis)adventures linked to the research for my MA Thesis.

As Abruzzo traditions impose, I have celebrated properly the successful defense of the thesis, which granted me the highest mark: 110/110 cum laude.

This would not have been possible without the support of many professionals, professors and friends who supported me morally. academically, financially and emotionally until the moment I walked the stairs of Gorizia University’s aula magna.

Apart from drinking and eating and dancing, I have also continued my personal researches, trying to follow the possible future outcome of next Serbian elections. My opinion will be out in few days.

Overall, I can confirm that writing my MA thesis resulted in the most satisfying experience I’ve ever had. I said “confirm” because I had the same impression while writing my BA thesis on Montenegro independence. Thus, after attentive scientific experiments, I can corroborate my previous theory with fresh, brand new findings.

Some of you might be interested in the non-emotional, less introversive findings of my MA thesis. Fair. Let me thank you in advance for such curiosity.
As a matter of fact, the outcome of my research might be published soon by a Serbian institution. I will keep you posted. However, from time to time, I will make sure that a selection of arguments exposed in my thesis will be published on this blog, in a brand new section.

So, what’s next?

My eagerness to keep researching will not be stopped by the lack of perspective in the academia, nor for the objective difficulties our generation has to face when it comes to “finding a job”.

It is clear though (as demonstrate by my recent inactivity… I beg your pardon), that the time I will be able to devote to such research can be effected by the weight/mass of my wallet, by the emptiness of my fridge and related emptiness of my stomach. I am not trying to touch you, to make you feel pity for me: personally I don’t like easy challenges. What I really mean is: unite we stand, divided we fall. The Bridge opens its doors to any international relations expert, anthropology aficionado, international law student, European law critics willing to share clever discussions, sleepless writing nights and vivid debates on the topics of this website. The objective is simple: as a very good friend of mine uses to say: “life’s too short to read bad books or stupid news!”, ergo  the goal is to provide impartial, alternative, high-quality commentaries on issues afflicting the Balkans, Europe and their relationship. Honestly, many write about these topics, but very few provide something more than a placid re-interpretation of facts. Apart from “imaginative” ultra-nationalists, of course…

For this reason, I am announcing you that The Bridge is changing. both graphically and content-wise.

I hope that you will keep staying connected to us.
I also hope that many more  of you will actively join, walking a mile with us, on The Bridge.

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Notes for a Manifesto of an apostate of politics

I am reading about medieval history in Europe.

One conclusion and one only rises from those lectures: if you have to devote your life to a religion or to an ideology, most probably the only one that makes sense nowadays is environmentalism. Peoples and their leaders tried many times to take power, and power seems to be the only real pattern in human history. Up to now: if the prospect is not to have a planet to rule anymore, I guess that any power-led ideology (including religions) is pretty useless…

Of course, we are going to show our "best" before environmentalism becomes the new order... (Image taken from "The Economist")

This should sound pretty banal. But if you reconnect the concept of “power” to Carl Schmitt writings, I guess that the whole affirmation becomes more interesting.

Medieval torture

In the name of God, let's see if the wheel of fortune turns on your side today...

Moreover, bearing in mind European Christendom history (from the creation of the papacy, thought the schism, the crusades, up to the birth of protestantism, to finish with the continuos interference of the Vatican in secular power till in recent times) or Communism, you may get an amazing picture of what in the end hierarchies, principles and values of those religious/ideological bodies exist for: manage power on Earth.

Ergo, if you want to be a real progressive intellectual, disembed the discussion around power from the classical arena – made of armies and troops, geopolitics and economical strength, ethnical clashes and historical disputes -and embed it in a new field: ecology.

I am afraid that this might indeed be the future. I say I am afraid because it would be a lifelong exalting experience being involved, as a youth interested in politics, in a new wave of self-assuring, holistic, self-referential, calming and reassuring big political ideologies and/or religious revival. But I think this is not going to happen, at least in Western countries.

So, in order to tackle the issue we are indeed facing (socio-economical on top), a brand new approach has to be found. At this point a bell rings in my mind: Serge Latouche‘s degrowth theory. Too easy-breeezy to be even considered as an feasible option…
We’d better sit down and find a better solution.

On the Arab Spring

Since Middle East is not my first field of interest, I quote a paragraph from the first chapter of Bernard Lewis’ The Political Language of Islam, a collection of lessons held by Lewis (Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University), whose opinion I endorse fully:

When we in the Western world, nurtured in the Western tradition, use the words “Islam” and “Islamic”, we tend to make a natural error and assume that religion means the same for Muslims as it has meant in the Western world, even in medieval times; that is to say, a section or compartment of life reserved for certain matters, and separate, or at least separable, from other compartments of life designed to hold other matters. That is not so in the Islamic world. It was never so in the past, and the attempt in modern time to make it so may perhaps be seen, in the longer perspective of history, as an unnatural aberration which in Iran has ended and in some other Islamic countries may also be nearing its end.
Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam, pg. University of Chicago Press, 1988, Chicago.

Link this with Hilary Clinton’s last speech on “the right side of history“:

“We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history.”

It is obvious that US Secretary of State lacks of basic knowledge on Islamic culture. Or simply she does not care at all about it. Apparently, looking back on history books, this is a “chronic illness” of every US Secretary of State…

Under this perspective, the Arab Spring represents US highest international politics success since 1975 CSCE negotiations. The United States, backed by the rest of Western countries, managed to drum laicism of state into a (revolting) portion of the umma.

I have the feeling that ignorance is leading this unrest, more then famine and true commitment to human rights. Ignorance on both sides: the backing-the-unrest Western countries, as well as from the rebels’ leaders.

However there is something that can be predict from now: Western commitments in terms of missiles and political support will be payed by those “rebelling” communities very soon. At that time, I am sure that other conflict among those who are rebelling now will take place.

Before that time, please enjoy last Ahmadinejad interview: this person does not lack of a wide knowledge of the (religious, philosophical, historical) roots of what we call Iran. No matter how brutal the Islamic rule can be, this man knows what he is talking about. I wish our politicians would be as well-read as Ahmadinejad.

I am aware that those arguments are worth of a more detailed analysis, which will be provided soon. In the meanwhile, feel free to write flaming comments to the busy, confused and ignorant writer of this blog.
But bear in mind that it is impossible to erase culture and values from people’s mind, no matter how harsh a conflict might be.

“Improved situation”: Serbia

Along with the International Crisis Group monthly report “Crisis Watch” (the same bulletin which caused an immense warning over Bosnian referendum situation a month ago, without taking in consideration the fact that the referendum was simply a new phenomenon of a situation that thew Dayton Agreements didn’t managed to resolve in 15 years…), after the capture of Gen. Mladic, the situation in Serbia has improved.

What does “improved” means?
ICG monitors the situation in several world countries afflicted by any kind of conflict, both at the military or political level. To cut it short, the good part of this analysis is that it provides a quick an up-to-date panorama of the last events and also a (very) general history of the whole crisis.
However, the analysis is focused on merely political/economical/military aspects, lacking of any social analysis, thus mis-interprets the actual situation in Serbia, which, by my modest point of view, it is not so clearly and incontrovertibly “increased”.

As demonstrated by the protest against Mladic extradition, a huge portion of Serbia’s public opinion it is still linked to the idea of nationalism carried by the former political elite, of which Mladic was, in the end, the “armed arm”. This idea of nation, as carried by Karadzic, Milosevic and some well known Serbian literates, it is still strong and hard to eradicate. Most of Western actors refers to this nationalism as “sick”, against history flow, or simply fake. Although the products of such nationalism could be surely condemned as violent, the same nationalism, as a genuine believe of part of the population, can’t be referred as sick by foreign actors. The judgement over those matters remains an exclusive of Serbians.

The reactions after the capture of Gen. Mladic were extremely strong by every international actor, especially by the European Union. DG Enlargement’s Commissioner Fuele welcomed the capture far before the President of the Commission Barroso. The strong engagement demonstrated towards the Balkans in the last month by Ashton also resulted in a very welcoming reaction towards Serbia. Such a warm welcome is “The Welcome” Serbia is waiting since years? I don’t think so.

Goran Hadzic is still absconder. Along with the last reports made public by the Commission, Serbian juridical system has several systemical problems that has to be solved before joining the EU. The path seems to be longer then expected. However the political pressure put on Serbian public opinion by the international reactions to Mladic capture may lead to a “huge misunderstanding”: Serbia seems not to be ready yet, but the EU is “welcoming” every step made by the actual government towards Brussels.

Brammertz’s last words on Serbian collaboration with the UN established tribunal were highly critical. Days ago the UNSC discussed, together with Brammertz, how Serbian authorities collaborated with the UN Chief prosecutor. Despite the capture of Mladic, Brammertz analysis won’t be of any good for Serbia…

Is the EU is satisfied?
Also days ago, UN News service reported that the war crimes tribunal are facing stuffing crisis as the end of their mandate is approaching. Along with this information, the two tribunals does not have enough personnel in order to decently continue their work untill their mandate is supposed to expire, in 2014, fulfilling UNSC Resolutions. The same tribunal is demanding direct and immediate support from member states, in order to stop this institutional crisis. But why this situation is taking place? Will this represent an obstacle for the prosecution of further suspected war criminals? Would this situation lead to a slow, never ending trial against the old Mladic? Is the UNSC trying to disengage from the tribunal, since the most of the job has been done?

Those amount of question arose also thinking at the last reports made by the EU towards Serbian accession to the Union. Will the European Union be satisfied with the “mere” capture of Mladic or it will take a look also the outcome of the trial (and the further collaboration of Serbian authorities with the tribunal)? Taking in consideration the news about the current crisis within the ICTY, the second scenario looks like the nth frustration factor the Serbian government will be forced to face in order to comply with its international duties…

Linkage theory – Serbian style
A Kosovar Albanian political analyst smartly affirmed that after Mladic capture Tadic will likely put more pressure on Kosovo, pushing for a solution of the controversy in favor of Serbia. Moreover, certain international campaigns and independent researches (like Carla Del Ponte attempt to organize an independent task force investigating the possible traficking of organs and people in Kosovo) are creating a general mistrust towards Kosovo leadership. Yesterday EU established its own task force with purposes similar to the Del Ponte’s proposition, thus investigating on possible organ trafficking, which could involve also Thaci.
More pressure on Pristina means by definition a more active and aggressive role of Belgrade.

How this can be referred as an “increased” situation by the ICG remains unclear.