2012: will it be the end?

Along with the Mayan calendar, it seems that this world’s going to end the 21st December 2012. In order not to find themselves unprepared, however, Kosovars and the international community supporting Kosovo independence are deciding, as reported by Balkan Insight, to raise the anchor of the Serbian province independence more or less by the same period (I guess that Mayan didn’t predicted that!). The news emerged after the though riots of this week, due to the “customs war” between Pristina and Belgrade.

The author is not really sure about the end of the world, though. Nevertheless he has a strong feeling that  it is quite early for Kosovo to make this step.

Durer, “The Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Every culture has its own way to imagine the end of the world. Unfortunately it seems that there’s just one world to be ended…

Even if a huge amount of critics can be directed to the most influential international actors engaged in supporting Kosovo’s independence, it is the humble opinion of the author that any sudden and rough-and-ready withdrawal of the aforementioned support is far more noxious to the regional stability than the support itself.

Unless European Union engagement towards the region is increasing, the nature of this “European interest” seems not solid and effective enough to keep the parties set at the negotiation table, nor to keep the Kosovar “border” safe.

Solution? The author believes that journalists can lack of ideas and solutions. Since the author is not a journalist, however, it is his duty to try to give his contribution to the issue.
Without a long term strategy (the Athisaari plan is everything but a long term strategy…) for the reconciliation between Serbia and Kosovo, any further unilateral decision made by the international community/Kosovo will be perceived as a threat by Serbians.
The fact that a huge part of Serbian voters perceives Kosovo as a continuous threat represents a far bigger problem, not taken in the due consideration by European diplomatic bodies.

To cut it short, the role of Balkan political leaders in relatively young democracies like Serbia and Montenegro might lead to straining speculation of the EU Enlargement policy. The political arena, lacking the participation of a mighty civil society, are still too sensitive to historically critical issues like Kosovo status. The wish to abandon the field by the international community represents the nth example of lack of serious engagement in supporting neighborhood countries, but for their own internal interests.

Somebody would say: “Fair enough”.

I think that I am disgusted by the vocab I’ve used in this article: a cultural issue should not be addressed in political terms.
However mutual understanding is by definition a compromise.
I made my part.

Log on the idiot nationalist


F.: Younger i suppose

J.: Yes
He’s very positive, very sunny person
And I was talking to him and my aunt
They’re going on sea vacation for the first time in 20 years alone, without the kids 

F.: Sounds like a revolution

J.: Yes, the moment when the kids fly out of the family

F.: Check this out!
That’s what I am doing while talking with you 😛
Check the comments 

J.: Saw them
Thats what I call online debate
Ma bravo dear

F.: The guy is an *****

J.: He is

F.: But is nice to talk with those guys from time to time

J.: Typical ignorant nationalist

F.: And you know what? There is really a lot of people thinking like this!
And their beliefs are no less “real” then others
Which makes people like him a “factor”, to be studied and took in consideration
Can you understand now the huge damage made by people like Karadzic, Milosevic, Cosic and other “theoreticians”?
It’s something that will last generations, and influence far too many Serbians for long…

J.: Oh yes, the memories are too fresh and too vivid yet
And very painful, even
So, extreme positions are frequent

F.: It’s not just about memories
This guy most probably is a 30-something
For how vivid his memories can be, he can’t have been a protagonist of the war
Which makes him exactly the example of the situation I am talking about: you don’t need to have lived under Milosevic or Karadzic to be a nationalist.
Their constructions are so rooted in people that the rotten fruits are still growing

J.: Yes, because its transmitted and multiplied in family, school, neighborhood, in books etc etc etc
You cant cut it at once

F.: Exactly
But even worst, you can’t de-legitimize the beliefs of people following the nationalist path, since it is sincere, in a way…
The only way to undermine their legitimacy is by condemning the creators of the fake believes.
But condemn them AT HOME…

J.: Exactly! You can tell them they feel something wrong….
You as an outsider

F.: By so the Serbian society would be forced to entertain a serious analysis of its past.

Corruption and organized crimes: Füle addresses the Balkans

Yesterday, Commissioner Füle, in occasion of the Western Balkan Forum held in Luxembourg, addressed the former Jugoslavian republics on their accession to the EU, defining priorities and welcoming the measures already taken. The complete speech made by DG Enlargment Commissioner can be found here.

The most important pattern noticed by the author of this post is the ease and confidence demonstrated by Commissioner Füle in vaguely defining “corruption and organized crime” as two of the fundamental areas where Montenegro, Serbia and Albania have to show their committment.

It would be of no interest trying to understand whether or not corruption and organized crime exist in those countries and if those two phenomenons are effective or not. A political debate on such bases would lead to a never ending sophistic ping-pong.

Without a more cultural intensive approach, EU will keep on playing with Serbia for long…

A far more interesting approach would be the one encompassing the social and cultural consequences of the way Serbia, Montenegro and Albania intend to “fight” corruption and organized crimes. Avoiding unfruitful diplomatic discourse, is it out of any reasonable doubt that several members of the former governments of those states were somehow related to organized crime and/or were directly involved in pernicious corruptions practices.  It is also indubitably  true that those practices seems to be somehow accepted in Serbia, Montenegro and Albania. Nothing new till now.

A new approach would be the one trying to define in which cultural environment corruption and organized crime prevailed, managing to become the “rule”, the social value upon which individuals and groups based their actions in order to achieve a variety of objectives, from protection to political power, from economic revenues to cultural rights. Along with this new approach, evidently aimed ad analyze the past, there should be a parallel action the objective of which is to define the cultural elements residing in the Balkans societies which could be used as a leverage for the construction (or better to say the reaffirmation) of more democratic and transparent behaviors.

The easiness by which Commissione Füle addresses the Balkan countries is disturbing, although the aim and the audience to which those recommendations were addressed are clearly noticeable: governments. From a mere political point of view, his message could be also evaluated as an encouraging outstretched hand towards Western Balkans governments (please notice, for instance, the deep understanding of Serbian political contingency regarding elections).
The question arose is whether the social reactions to those affirmations are taken in consideration or not: what the EU is planning to do in order to support those governments to make the EU itself more appealing? Probably nothing, since it is in Balkan governments’ duty. From my small experience, however, statements like the Luxembourg one are surely not welcomed by the majority of Serbians, Montenegrins and Albanian electors.

I am not that sure that Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and even Croatia can cope with the issue of “EU’s popularity” in a reasonable timeframe. The clash of values between the Balkans and the EU may be not so strong as, for example, the one between Turkey and the rest of Europe. History taught us, however, that in Balkans “grey zones” several subtle cultural questions are hidden, the consequences of which are not totally unpredictable, but not even taken in consideration by major international players.
Time could not be “ripe” for a discussion on the differences between EU cultural values and Balkan ones. But time will never be “ripe” without a serious commitment by both parties on the matter.