Thursday, February 12, 2009

Serbia Anno Domini 2009

You need to be idealist in order to be disappointed. Add one to that tally. In my naivety I thought that something is decided in elections. Sure you choose people who you think best support ideas and values you have – but expecting system to change as result of elections – that is na├»ve.

Democratic Party elite choose for certainty of ideology over promise of reform. They analyzed the game and concluded that the best option for Democratic Party would be to move to the right. This way they will be able to incorporate “moderate nationalists” majority. Key question is what is purpose of existence of country like Serbia? Consensus is that purpose is to serve “national” interests. Definition of nation in this part of Europe is ethnic group with same language and religion. In some other parts of world nationality means citizenship, here it means ethnic identity. Sovereignty here means right of ethnic group to choose its leaders whereas somewhere else it might mean right of citizens to choose their government.

On symbolic level this dialectic argument is expressed though maxim “Kosovo is Serbia”. To think differently is heresy. Serbian constitution states this and to say anything else is treason. Interesting question is who has unalienable right to choose its government in Kosovo? In other words who has sovereignty over Kosovo? For uninitiated that might be citizens of Kosovo. They overwhelmingly do not want to surrender any of it to Serbia. But this debate is not to be had here. Kosovo Albanians are nonentities who do not deserve any consideration.

Sadly, you will find mirror image on other side although I can say much less about it as I did not have firsthand experience living in Kosovo.

This is where reform efforts (under maxim “joining EU”) hit the rocks. It is much easier to chase windmills then to do things that matter to citizens, for example deal with corruption in Serbia . It is much easier to draw troops for yet another confrontation with “the world” than to see how you can improve economic freedom being 109th county in the world . And how about being last country (with Ukraine) in Europe by internet usage.

Personally, I don’t have any idealism left in my tanks. I always thought the easiest way to change the country is to cross the border. I’m thinking of Canada this time.