Friday, January 27, 2012

Love the Croats, Hate the Croats: A Crazy Gene Perspective


Amid the uproar over the incidents involving Croat and Serb sports fans in and around Novi Sad in recent days, one development stuck out more than others.
A little background first… Fights between these fans, in this case related to the European Championships in team handball, held in Serbia, are a common thing and historically, the Croat fans have been way more hostile and aggressive towards Serb fans than the other way around. This time, the incidents happened in Serbia and the Croat hooligans were on the receiving end of the aggression that they provoked. After the reception Serbian fans are met with regularly in Croatia, this outburst of violence didn’t surprise me one bit, especially in lieu of the incitement to violence these Croat fans charged the already strained relationship with. Singing Thompson’s songs in Serbia, especially at a sports event, is not advised, to say the least, and it calls for either for legal repercussions or a beating. To be clear, I’m not talking about American baseball fans that come to the games for hot dogs and coke. European sports fans, especially in the Balkans, are an entirely different animal and violence among them is widespread, inside and outside stadiums. I wouldn’t make the trip to see Serbia play Croatia in Croatia, not only because I don’t particularly care about being in Croatia, but because for a Serb, it is still very dangerous and I’m not the type of person who invites danger for no good reason. In Serbia, on the contrary, Serbs haven’t given Croat fans much of a reason to feel threatened, unless, of course, they made offensive remarks and sang Thompson’s neo-Nazi songs. It does, however, takes a special kind of a Serb to travel to cheer for his team in Zagreb and it takes a special kind of a Croat to sing neo-Nazi songs in Novi Sad. That kind looks for danger and welcomes danger, unfortunately. Anyway, my point was that incidents of this nature and with these participants are nothing unusual, just less usual in Serbia than in Croatia.
The thing that stang me the most, though, was the controversy over a graphic montage circulating on social networks, showing Serbian and Croatian flags blended into one, apparently symbolizing some form of unity between our two nations. Ivan Ivanovic, a talk show host on Prva Srpska TV station took offense to this, as did many other Serbs expressing their views on social networks, and called out the author, on Twitter, to come to his show and eat shit on live TV. Something along those lines... the author, a columnist evidently associated with Kurir newspaper, whose pseudonym is Milan Strongman, responded by accepting the challenge, promising to come to the show and eat the “proverbial” Serbian shit on camera. I am not in a habit of saying a condescending “Wow…” but this absurdity warrants it. Ivanovic was against the connecting of the flags, even as a sign of sports fan solidarity, because he thought it to be offensive to the Serbian flag, a national and state symbol. He also likes to bring attention to his very popular talk show, modeled after Leno’s and Letterman’s late night charades, in controversial ways. I guess Strongman felt the same way about bringing the attention to himself, but to accept the challenge to eat shit on the most watched late night talk show is beyond comprehension. This lunacy is just an example of sickness saturating the Serbian society. Imagine Jay Leno calling out Sean Penn like that and Sean Penn taking the bait.
At the same time, the Croatian government is ordering RTL TV station to subtitle Serbian movies it shows. While Croatian public overwhelmingly supported this ludicrous move, the Serbs are tying their flag to the Croatian flag in solidarity with Croat sports hooligans. If this is not a manifestation of “the crazy gene,” I don’t know what is. And this “Serbian crazy gene” is present in both the Croats, who subtitle the language they speak, and in the Serbs, who have a sick tendency to admire these Croats, extending the reconciliation hand time and time again. If you’d believe Croatian news media, there was a letter written by an anonymous lady from Novi Sad, who apologized to everybody and their mother for the attack by Serb hooligans against the Croat hooligans. As if anybody cared, this lady listed all the Croats she wanted to apologize to, apparently all her Croat friends, certainly afraid they will start looking at her as a Gypsy barbarian after the incidents. I wonder if they have ever apologized to her for Jasenovac and Jadovno, Korita and Prebilovci, or Maslenica and Lora, most recently, not to mention the expulsion of 250,000 Krajina Serbs.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t understand this need in some Serbs to be friends with their enemies. Croats, since Starcevic and Pavelic, have never shown an inkling of brotherly sentiment towards Serbs. Far from it, all the Serbs ever received from the Croat nation was aggression, pain and suffering – if the Croats where in a dominant position, that is. Croats, many of which descend directly from Serbs, have not done anything in their history as an independent nation that could downgrade their relationship towards the Serbs to anything but extremely hostile. Every chance they’ve got, they tried to exterminate us, plain and simple. What Serb, in his or her right mind, can ever warm up towards the Croat nation?
I’m not calling for any kind of violence against Croats, I’m calling for common sense. Suffice to say, individuals are individuals; people can be friends on an individual level, regardless of the ethnic background. Some Serbs have Croat family members. We speak the same language (at least Serbs say so), we’ve lived in the same countries for centuries, we are of one ethnic ancestry, after all (again, according to Serbs). But it was the Croatian national policy that killed over a million Serbs in the last century alone, on several occasions, in the most gruesome way. It’s the Croatian public that doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Serbs, their pathetic brotherly feelings and their nostalgia. It’s the Croats that still use every opportunity to show hostility towards us. And it’s the Serbs that always find ways to forget this, to sweep it under a rug, to turn a blind eye or the other cheek. It’s the philosophy of the slaughtered and we do get slaughtered at every turn following this philosophy of forgiveness and unawareness of our own interests.  
Have your Croat friends. Have your Croat family. But don’t confuse that allegiance with the allegiance to the Serbian organic national interests. Don’t equate your Croat cousin with a Croat hooligan singing neo-Nazi songs in Serbia. Your Croat cousin and your Croat friend may be good people, good to you or good in general, but that doesn’t make them friends to all the Serbs, nor does that require other Serbs to be friendly to them. Don’t be embarrassed of the actions of other Serbs towards Croat hooligans and neo-Nazis and if you want to apologize, be my guest, but out of self-respect, wait for your Croat friend’s apologies for Lora and Maslenica, at least, since they most likely haven’t consented to Jasenovac.
When it comes to the incidents in Novi Sad, I’ll just say this: whoever sang neo-Nazi songs in the arena and made other expressions offensive to the host country should have been arrested on the spot for neo-fascism, anti-Serb speech and inciting ethnic hatred. Then the police should have arrested those Serb hooligans that attacked the rest of the Croat fans, who left the arena without committing any crimes. If Serbia was a self-respecting nation, there would be laws against fascist manifestations and those laws would have been enforced in the SPENS Arena. Since there were no laws that protect Serbian human and cultural sensitivities in Serbia, or they weren’t enforced, the offended had to take the matter into their own hands against the offenders. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Angelina Jolie in the Land of Lies and Lippmann

Since the release of Angelina Jolie's anti-Serb propaganda movie, new moments in her relationship with the Serbs, with politics and with the truth occurred. I wasn't the only one that called for a boycott of the movie and while I still think a boycott is a valuable public relations tool and an effective pressure tactic, this movie and its author came to be seen as much more than offensive Hollywood creatures deserving of a boycott. The movie bombed, deservedly, since it sucked, according to most reviews. It made $175,000 in four weeks and it played in 18 theaters. To give you an idea of how horribly it really fared with American audiences, Pina, a German documentary about a dance choreographer, released in 10 American theaters, made $645,000 in the same time period, plus $11 million internationally. Hell, someone named a movie We Bought a Zoo and it made $67 million domestically, in the four weeks it's been out. Now, I'd like to claim just a little bit of credit with my call for a boycott, but I'm afraid the movie tanking had nothing do with me or with any other Serbian pundit or an activist condemning the movie - it was all Angelina. 
While I do not think she ventured into directing her debut planning to lose millions of dollars, looking at her post-release behavior, I began to believe that she didn't make the movie to make money, to break even or to gain foothold in the directorial world. Angelina Jolie is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the pre-eminent American foreign policy designer organization whose large membership is a who's who of the American political establishment, including Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Wesley Clark, William Cohen, Madeleine  Albright and other names familiar to the Serbs. While the CFR membership doesn't disqualify her from making a good movie, we have to wonder about her role and purpose within the think-tank. I mean, the CFR has been decisively directing the course of American foreign policy since 1919 and its founders, namely Walter Lippman, had espoused all the ideals that could be summarized into a tendency to advocate for centralized global governance. In other words, the political globalization that is in full swing was a brain child of, among others, the CFR founders. 
How does Angelina Jolie fit the picture? She's a UN Good Will Ambassador and that's about as much politics as she's dipped her toes in. But you don't become a member of the CFR for shits and giggles. Just look at the list I linked to above. Yes, you pay to get in, but you'd expect a Hollywood actress to pay for an entry into an exclusive country club, to buy an island in the Caribbean or to sip martinis on Roman Abramovich's yacht. Jolie said recently that her heart and her interests are on foreign policy issues. In the same article in San Jose Mercury News she said that "among the experts she consulted while making the film were Richard C. Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton accords that ended the conflict in December 1995; Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander; and foreign correspondent Tom Gjelten, who covered the Balkan wars for National Public Radio." She missed to mention Christianne Amanpour in this breath, but why nitpick? Need she say more, though? 
So, yes, forget the $13 million spent, it's peanuts. No money has been made? Oh, well. With this movie, the CFR and Angelina Jolie launched a PR campaign against the Serbs, without profit considerations, without artistic merit, without regard for the truth... Walter Lippmann, the founder of the CFR, was infamous for his stoic disregard and disdain for truth and accuracy in public discourse, and the organization has never betrayed those founding principles. Jolie is faithful to them as well, as she puts herself into the overt service of anti-Serb propaganda. 
We can conclude that this movie is neither a random nor an isolated attempt at reminding the world that the Serbs are maniacal rapists and murderers. It is safe to say that the forces that declared us "murderous assholes" are still heavily engaged in defamation of the Serb nation. To what specific purpose, does it make a difference? Maybe to shut Milorad Dodik up, maybe just to please their Islamic friends by currying a small favor, who knows? The truth is, if this propaganda campaign is an overture into a larger anti-Serb assault, we are already few steps behind. Serbs should have prepared for this about 15 years ago, when the first movie unjustifiably showing us as terrorists came out. (By the way, George Clooney is a CFR member as well.) If we have, we might have been ready and able to try and counter the lies now. Since we haven't begun establishing counter balance 15 years ago, we get Angelina Jolie strutting her "blood and honey" in front of our faces. It is hardly ever too late to start countering propaganda, but, honestly, it is getting later and later with every vitriolic attack that passes as an effort at defending human rights. And the Serbs haven't progressed beyond the Milorad Vucelic information era.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Loss of Self: A Crazy Gene or An Identity Crisis?


A friend of mine claims that Serbs possess “a crazy gene” that makes us impossible to reason with, to generate a rational worldview, to pursue a collectivist engagement with the world for our own benefit… I have heard Dejan Lucic, a well-known Serbian author, say that a Serbian brain does not operate on the same frequency with brains of Western European nations’members – and he didn’t mean it in a derogatory way. Professor Smilja Avramov has used the term “judiciousness” to describe what we lack in our social and political behavior as individual members of the collective, thus as a collective itself.
Indeed, one Serb vis-à-vis another Serb most often turns into a row of missed points, one-sided, hard-to-contextualize information, unnecessary nitpicking, outlandish and far-fetched claims, straying into mystification, historical misinterpretations, misclassifications, disqualifications, unfounded accusations and straight-up smear and malice. No, I didn’t just describe a political argument between two Serbs on opposite ends of a political spectrum; most often, two self-declared Serb nationalists would end up “debating” in this manner. I can’t say I’m not guilty of having been a party to such discussions, but I’ve always tried to stay away from discussions that had the potential to turn into unreasonable.
Now, I’m not going to slam my own people with malevolent mental health diagnoses nor am I going to pretend I have the necessary expertise and intellectual faculties to psycho- or socio-analyze the Serb nation and its various parts, limbs and appendices. However, it is painfully obvious that our past, filled with bloody conflicts and horrible human losses and sacrifices, religious and ideological impositions and brainwashing, alternating and substituting of identities, mutilations, dismemberment, physical and mental traumas of the sort history has inflicted on almost no other nation, created an utter confusion in the Serbian collective mind. This confusion, disorientation,overlapping and flip-flopping of paradigms mostly superimposed by forces foreign to a Serbian organic nature, does not allow the organic nature, suppressed and obliterated, to be recognized as such, let alone accepted by the body of people, even if it manages to sporadically rear its head through the piles of cunning ideologues with their aggressive dogmas that tore the Serb national spirit into distortion. Leaderless and decapitated, because its organic elites fell victim to their superficial aspirations and associated dogmas, Serbdom allowed foreign and cunningly hostile agencies to infiltrate us under the guise of revolutionary dynamics, modernization or globalism and replace our organic, authentic ambition, nurtured and strengthened for centuries. The reference point of Serbian collective navigation and aspiration has been moved outside the realm of Serbdom, to foreign locations, with coordinates foreign in origin and in character. We have been confused by a dotted spectrum of misleading and fleeting foreign ideas that gradually stripped us of identity and ambitions organically our own. Others told us what we were, what we’ve become, what we wanted and what we needed. We began searching for our own course by following stars painted on our sky by others.
The physical and psychological torture Serbdom has endured at various historical points, most significantly throughout the 20thcentury, left us with the lost or uncertain sense of self. Newly imposed identities, like Yugoslavism and Communism, partially or completely replaced Serbdom as the identity realm of the Serbs. Preceding this, forced and voluntary conversions to Islam and Catholicism paved the way for a possibility of alternative identities, based on economic or political convenience, to become a legitimate option. This chipping away at the Serb national identity and the mutating shape of Serbdom made us increasingly vulnerable to furthered and intensified collaborative efforts at confusing and disorienting for the purpose of dismembering. One can’t defend that which one is not aware of as needing protection. The self is the highest individual and collective prerogative and losing the awareness of it and the judiciousness about protecting, nurturing and growing it is a slippery slope in the consciousness of every individual and a collective, bound to end in an own demise.
Repeated blows to the head are bound to leave physical wounds and psychological consequences. With individuals as well as with collectives, such actions cause disorientation and the disoriented grope in the space for any hand that offers itself as a lead. The Serbs are such a collective today. An extended hand can lead them anywhere, forward or astray – their own being the only hand they won’t grasp. Like a modern buyer who doesn’t know what she needs, but buys what’s being sold and packaged in the flashiest commercial.
The Serbs must start looking inwards, re-learn who they are,what they came out of, where they are fit to be. We must identify our belongings, gather them and take them home. The first step towards re-orienting oneself is to become aware of the disorientation and to subsequently stop groping about. We must start filtering, vetting and channeling the myriad ideas and influences thrown at us to disorient us, to divide us, to make us lose the self. Only by being judicious and making rational choices based on the collective sense of self and driven by collective selfishness, instinctive and intuitive, the Serbs can re-orient themselves towards their organic identity and the internal guiding light. It’s a therapy, a rehab we must put ourselves through, a catharsis without which – I’m afraid – the revitalization of the Serb national spirit necessary for the very survival will border on a mission impossible.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beast of the Balkans: Guess Who?

I'm not aware of Alan Griffiths or Andrew Neil being married to Serbian women or having gotten drunk at the Guca Trumpet Festival. I haven't even heard of these two men before tonight. Griffiths and Neil are the executives of World Media Rights, a UK-based production house that authored the "Nazi Collaborators" series and sold it to Discovery's Military Channel last year. One of the 13 half-hour-long parts of the series is the most surprising and refreshing documentary piece I've seen in recent years, titled "Beast of the Balkans." When I saw the title within the context of the series, a pleasant thought occurred to me: there was no Serb Nazi collaborators that this title could apply to - it had to be about someone other than the Serbs! Understandably, any production that comes from the Western hemisphere causes a knee-jerk rejection in a Serb who, based on overwhelming experience, expects another bashing. I have to admit that, for a second, I feared that Western media stooped to a new low in their vilification of Serbs and spun a new paradigm around the Serbian participation in the war. I couldn't fathom an approach that would produce a spin vilifying the Serbian anti-fascist struggle in the Second World War, but in lieu of the anti-Serb propaganda that marked the reporting on the Wars of Yugoslav Succession and their fallout, I could let nothing surprise me. With the increasingly aggressive attempts to distort historical facts of the Second World War and sneak the false notions of Croat and Bosnian Muslim anti-fascism into historical generalizations, this title alarmed me a bit. However, messieurs Griffiths and Neil made sure my fear was alleviated in the most pleasant fashion.
"Beast of the Balkans" inexplicably - in the light of Western media's MO in treating the Serbs - reverts to the documented historical facts which place the Croat fascist regime at the forefront of the Nazi genocidal policies, oftentimes exceeding its mentor's expectations in brutality and gravity of its actions' historical consequences. Abundant in archival footage, the documentary brings forth the faces of evil in Ante Pavelic, Maks Luburic and especially Dinko Sakic, who had the honor of being the actual subject of the movie's title. The authors effectively captured the genocide committed against Serbs, and Jews and Gypsies to a lesser degree, complete with the murderous sentiments behind the extermination program, the policy of thirds, and the gruesome execution of the plan with the focus on the Jasenovac death camp, which connects the narrative to Dinko Sakic, its "director." Dinko Sakic, in turn, with his wartime role, his escape, arrest, trial and eventual death, serves as the motivation for making the movie, the main protagonist and the recent testament that the Croat fascist legacy lives on in the reincarnated Croat state of the present. 
Sakic was the living connection between the Pavelic regime and the Tudjman regime. Found in hiding in Argentina by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, this fascist came home to Croatia for trial, and got a hero's welcome, despite the dog and pony show of the official treatment. His interment, in a full Ustasha uniform and officiated by a Catholic priest, was accompanied by eulogies becoming of a national hero, not a mass murderer. The unrepentant attitude of Dinko Sakic and the compassion it found in Croatia of the present, clearly indicated the continuity of fascist sentiments from Pavelic's Croats to Mesic's and Kosor's Croats. Of course, Serbs knew this, but to see it on an American cable channel was quite extraordinary.
Perhaps the most far-reaching effect "Beast of the Balkans" intended to make on its audience is the solidifying of the historical truth that the Catholic Church and its highest priest in Croatia, Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, wholeheartedly supported the mass murders of non-Croats, blessed the extermination enterprise and even actively participated. Pope John Paul II, however, beatified Stepinac, confirming not only the impenitence over the mass murder committed and complicity in it, but also revealing the continuity of the active and deliberate role the highest echelons of the Roman Catholic establishment played in the Croat genocidal politics.
As I said at the top, I'm not aware of World Media Rights' Serbian connection, and I'm still puzzled as to why they would stand out and decide to tell the truth. And in 30 minutes, they've said everything that could have fit. Yes, there was a couple of omissions - not fallacies, but useful facts fallen through cracks - I'm willing to live with and blame it on the tight rundown. Now, I haven't done the research yet on how World Media Rights' other works treat the historical facts, but this one piece was well done and I have to commend it as a history buff and especially as a Serb hungry for the truth to make its way into the Western mainstream.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jihad in Florida: America and Her Proteges

Another day, another terrorist attack on the United States by an Albanian thwarted.
From the media reports, one would think that the United States haven't recognized Serbia's occupied province of Kosovo as an independent state. Sami Osmakac, the arrested suspect, is a Kosovo Albanian, yet the American media neglect this fact in the light of the man supposedly attempting to commit a terrorist act on the American soil. As in many other cases involving Albanian and Bosniac enemies of the United States, the American media used outdated, misguided, irrelevant identifiers such as "former Yugoslavia." In the case of Mevlid Jasarevic, a Bosniac Wahhabi Muslim who attacked the US Embassy in Sarajevo in October, the Western media outdid themselves and used an oxymoron of sorts to spin the facts and identified the terrorist as a "Serbian Muslim." 
To be clear, this is not a matter of lack of research and knowledge or of a plain confusion amidst the "balkanized" political and ethnic nomenclature of Southeast Europe. This practice of mistaking terrorists' ethnic affiliations is a smoke screen, an aversion from the facts, from the true identities of radical Muslims who walk around looking for any thing American to blow up. Of course, the American mainstream media are not independent, they are owned by larger entities, conglomerates who depend on strong ties with the government, especially if their major investments are in military industrial complex. As for the government, it created the monster, so it has to put up with it. American citizens, like those five in a Utah mall killed by a Bosnian Muslim in 2007, or those that could've been killed in the New York City subway terror plot by another Bosnian Muslim, Adis Medunjanin, and his crew, in January of 2010, are just a collateral to the appetites of American corporate and governmental imperialism. The two GIs killed by an Albanian Arid Uka in Frankfurt were at least soldiers, well-trained and on foreign soil, but it was an attack on America by her Albanian proteges nevertheless.
Al-Qaeda that CIA created to invent reasons for conquest of the Muslim Middle East is nothing compared to the forces of Islamic radicalism whose feelings are simmering under the surface to rise against America only in sporadic outbursts. Their hatred for everything non-Muslim - and America is the supreme meddler in the affairs of Islam and the No. 2 enemy of Islam, right behind Israel - is much more serious than the sentiments that allegedly motivated the attacks on the World Trade Center. The proof of this lies in the very identity of these new-wave terrorists: Arid Uka, Mevlid Jasarevic, Adis Medunjanin, Sami Osmakac, Sulejman Talovic, Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka. The non-Middle Eastern names - Bosniac and Albanian - of the men who committed or plotted to commit the majority of terrorist attacks against America in America reveal a trend. Namely, the very peoples that have been American proteges in the wars of Yugoslav secession and which the United States militarily sided with against the Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia gave birth to the rise of radical Islam that now pits their sons against America. And Bosniacs and Albanians are of white race, almost indistinguishable from the French or Italians. (Well, a Serb can distinguish them, but an American can't.)
Yet, with all this being said, the American media won't tell the truth to the American people. The truth is that the American people are being exposed to the active danger of radical Islam brought about by the same groups American tax dollars were used on arming and fighting for. There should be no such a thing as identifying someone as a "former Yugoslav," when the person has a clear national identity. I, as a Serb, do not recognize the independence of Kosovo, but the American media shouldn't have a problem identifying Sami Osmakac as a Kosovo Albanian since their country does recognize Kosovo. The suspected Muslim terrorist from Florida is no former Yugoslav; he is a Kosovo Albanian, and the American public should know him as such.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Republika Srpska!


Republika Srpska celebrates its birthday and the patron saint day on January 9. 
Twenty years ago, on Saint Stephen's feast day, the Assembly of Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared the Serb-dominated regions of Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina independent of the designs of the Republic's non-Serb leadership to secede from Yugoslavia. Bosnian Serbs created a separate entity, Republic of Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina, later to be renamed Republika Srpska, and decided it was to remain a part of Yugoslavia. This move was a response to "Memorandum on Sovereignty" adopted by Bosnian Parliament in spite of the Bosnian Serb deputies' opposition
Alarmed by the warmongering rhetoric of Bosnia's Islamist leadership, Bosnian Serbs, led by Radovan Karadzic, moved to organize and protect themselves against the possibilities of Muslim domination, forceful removal or genocide they faced in the World War II at the hands of Croatian fascists and Muslim Nazi collaborators. Alija Izetbegovic, Muslim president of Bosnia and Herzegovina was known for his Islamic fundamentalist views and calls for a creation of an Islamic society and an Islamic state in Bosnia. In the bloody war that ensued, Srpska consolidated its territory against the Muslim-Croat alliance during 1992-1993, but was forced to accede some of it towards the end of the war after it was attacked by NATO forces and the regular army of the Republic of Croatia. The peace signed in Dayton, Ohio, on November 21, 1995, left Srpska with 49 percent of territory of Bosnia, but recognized it as a separate and equal entity within the reformed Bosnian state.
This outcome fell short of the Bosnian Serb ambition to remain part of Yugoslavia, but considering the military odds Srpska faced in 1994 and 1995, its very survival and international recognition was a victory of sorts. The Dayton-established political order ensured not only the survival of Srpska, but the continued political existence and relevance of Serbian people west of Drina. Srpska managed to avoid the fate of its sister state of Serb Republic of Krajina, which was militarily overrun and ethnically cleansed by Croatia in 1995.
Although its Dayton-guaranteed statehood experienced partial attrition via openly anti-Serb policies of the Office of High Representative, which forced Srpska leadership to give up several key jurisdictions, Srpska still functions as an entity autonomous from Sarajevo's dysfunctional central government. Bosniac ruling establishment, both secular and religious, have persisted in calling for the abolition of Srpska, accusing it of being a "genocidal" creation, although Srpska was created before the war broke out and the claims of a genocide have not been substantiated by evidence. Srpska's leadership have responded with threats of a self-determination referendum and a secession from Bosnia. President Milorad Dodik have been openly defying Sarajevo's ambition to subdue Srpska and centralize the state under Muslim domination. He has claimed that 98 percent of Srpska's population are in favor of a secession. 
Regardless of the political gamesmanship and bickering, the irreconcilable political differences between Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims dominate Bosnia's internal affairs and threaten to break the country up. Only the presence of foreign political and military factors prevent a steep decline into instability.
Republika Srpska continued to mark St. Stephen as its Statehood Day after its inclusion in the Dayton-reformed Bosnian state in 1995. 

Christmases in Montenegro: From Bishop Danilo to Milo Djukanovic


When the Drobnjak Battalion of Montenegrin Army’s Sandzak Division ripped through the Austro-Hungarian barbed wire with bayonets and wrestled trench after trench away to finally capture Bojina Njiva above Mojkovac on the Christmas Day of 1916, these heroes couldn’t know that their feat was destined to be the last of the glorious victories of Montenegrin armies, but that it would ensure the survival of the army of Kingdom of Serbia.
The Montenegrin opponents of the de facto annexation by Serbia, the Greens, rebelled against the decision on Christmas of 1919, citing loyalty to the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty, opposing the decision of the Podgorica Assembly and demanding that Montenegro and Serbia unite into a common Serb state as equals. Led by Brigadier Krsto Popovic, a hero of the Mojkovac battle, the rebel militia was active with fluctuating intensity until 1929, but never posed a serious threat to the structure established by the Podgorica Assembly.
The Montenegrin state had its roots in a Christmas Day as well. In 1711, Bishop Danilo Petrovic, the founder of the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty, led an uprising against the Ottoman rule, supported by a Russian Cossack of Serb Herzegovinian ancestry, Colonel Mikhail Miloradovich. Bishop Petar II, sitting on Danilo’s throne, mused about Christmas of 1711 when Danilo rose against and defeated his Islamized brethren, cleansing the small tribal area around Cetinje from Turkish presence and initiated what his successors would develop into the first free Serb state. 

On Christmas Day of 2011, Serbs in Montenegro, descendants of heroes of Mojkovac, Vucji Do, Grahovac, Martinici, Carev Laz, once the vanguard of Serb nationalism and the standard-bearers of Serb statehood, lit up two badnjaks (yule log) in Cetinje, side by side, not as brothers, but divided, even hostile to one another. One group adheres to the Serbian Orthodox Church’s tradition, present in these parts under this label since Saint Sava and in practice even before him, and the other, opposed to it, adheres to the renegade, so-called Montenegrin Orthodox Church. The rise of the Montenegrin Orthodox Church somewhat corresponds to the political rift between Montenegro and Serbia that began in 1996. It’s not ecumenically recognized as it is a pure political creation aiming to give a religious context to the notions of separate ethnic identity of Montenegrin Serbs.
Christmas played a part in Montenegro’s political beginnings and in its end. Today’s Montenegro does not continue the political tradition of the state founded and run by the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty that spearheaded the Serb liberation process. Montenegrin Christmases in the 21st century are no more symbolic of Serbian righteousness, resistance and religiousness, but symptomatic of our disunity, disintegration and disorientation and indicative of the processes undertaken by the foreign forces to dismember Serbdom.
Montenegro used to be the Sparta of Serbdom and Cetinje had been pointing the way to the rest of Serbdom for centuries prior to 1918. If one wanted to pick the place where modern Serbdom was born, Cetinje would win hands down.  Nowadays, it’s dangerous to publicly declare yourself a Serb in Cetinje. No, Serbs didn’t move out, but a new, very dangerous ideology has infiltrated the minds and hearts of a large number of Montenegrin Serbs, disorienting them to a level on which they refused to ethnically be the only thing they are: the Serbs. Sometime in the early nineties, an idea that Montenegrins were somehow distinct from Serbs was given a rise, first as a political stand against a perceived oppression coming from Belgrade, then forming into a notion that the historical distinctiveness of the state of Montenegro was the proof that the Montenegrins have always been ethnically different from the Serbs. In spite of there being no ethnological proof, no foundation in historiography or linguistics, this dogma, with the necessary assistance from the state that needed a new paradigm in its relationship with Serbia, took hold. Incredibly, some Serbs of Montenegro, whose immediate relatives were Serbs of Belgrade and Novi Sad in many cases, whose language was the purest Serbian, whose tribal affiliations were the same as those of Karadjordje, Milos Obrenovic, Arsenije Carnojevic, Slobodan Milosevic, Vuk and Radovan Karadzic and countless others, began rejecting Serbdom. No Montenegrin ruler of the Petrovic-Njegos dynasty has ever failed to establish the free and united Serbdom as the motivational matrix for their national liberation agenda. From Bishop Danilo to King Nikola, if you had to look for the most tangible manifestations of the Serbian national spirit, you’d have to look towards Cetinje. From the current perspective, one falls into a trap of feeling an urge to search for the evidence of Serbdom in Montenegro, when historically, Montenegro has been the embodiment of Serbdom. If Montenegrin bishops Danilo, Sava, Vasilije, Petar I and Petar II all said they were Serbs, what other proof do we need? No one in Belgrade of the time was more of a Serb patriot than Prince Danilo, Vojvoda Mirko or King Nikola – at least no one would dare to challenge them for that honor.
Today’s problem is not that Montenegro as a state wants to lead a separate political existence from the rest of Serbdom – if that’s the political will of Montenegrins, so be it. No, the problem is in the fact that the ruling political establishment, unopposed by the people, has embarked on a route of de-serbianizing the oldest Serbian state and the pride of Serbdom. How is this possible? Wasn’t Milo Djukanovic himself a Serb earlier in his life? Didn’t he encourage attacks on Dubrovnik in the name of Serb nationalism, using a very explicit nationalist language? Well, Milo Djukanovic is still a Serb, simply because there is nothing else he could be, but for his political, and more importantly, ”economic” goals, it is more convenient to be an anti-Serb and to encourage the ethnic, linguistic and cultural de-serbianization.
If we forget the ethnonyms for a second and observe the inhabitants of today’s Montenegro against the people that live to the east, in Herzegovina, or to the north, in Serbia, we will notice no difference between a person from Cetinje and a person from Trebinje, or between someone from Pljevlja and someone from Prijepolje. Let’s go even further. Historically, regional migrations have taken inhabitants of the poor, mountainous Dinaric regions of Montenegro, Herzegovina and the Highlands to the north, to the more fertile areas of central Serbia, Bosnia and further, every time political circumstances allowed for it. All of northern Bosnia’s and western Serbia’s population descend from Herzegovina and Montenegro. How are a person from Ivanjica, Valjevo or Cacak and a person from Bijelo Polje, Kolasin or Berane ethnically different if they descended from the same man only a few generations back? These migrations have never ceased or subsided. Again, without naming these groups, can’t we establish that they are not ethnically different? They all speak the same language, they look the same, they have the same names, the same history and the same religion. What is different then? If we have to assign a name to this homogenous national group, we have to assign it a name that historically dominated and that is an ethnonym. The term Montenegro stems from the 15th century and was designated to a small region inhabited by a people that had to belong to an ethnic group even before this regional term came into use. If we have to pick between the Serb of the Montenegrin designation, history and geography both command that the above described people are Serbs.
What about the parts of today’s Montenegrin population that were included in the state of Montenegro gradually, in the liberation process, and whose habitats are geographically distinct regions from the original nahis of Montenegro. What about Niksic or Piva? Historically, before these parts have been included in Montenegro in the process of Serb liberation, they were part of the Herzegovina region.  Vuk Karadzic said his family descended from the Drobnjak tribe in Herzegovina. Drobnjak is in Montenegro today. There was no ethnic Herzegovinians, so what were the inhabitants of Niksic area or the Drobnjaci before King Nikola liberated it and included it in Montenegro? The only reason Pljevlja is in Montenegro and Prijepolje is in Serbia is the fact that the armies of Serbia and Montenegro met one another between these two towns in 1912, while pushing the Turks out. Serbs lived on both sides of the new border, but there was no problem with that because both states were Serbian and it was understood that the unification was at hand anyway. What are we going to with Boka Kotorska? Boka hadn’t been a part of Montenegro before 1945. In 1918, Boka united directly with Serbia. In 1804, Boka’s merchants literally bankrolled Karadjordje’s First Serbian uprising as Serb patriots. Is the population of Boka ethnically Montenegrin and since when, 1945?
Some trace the roots of this newly created dogma of Montenegrin distinctiveness back to the very Christmas uprising of 1919 and Krsto Zrnov Popovic. But Krsto Popovic was a Serb. The Greens were all Serbs who wanted to unite with Serbia, but to do so on equal terms, not to be annexed and lose Montenegro’s territoriality. They had a problem with the Podgorica Assembly and the reckless way King Alexander went about bringing Montenegro into the fold. They were opposed to Alexander’s treatment of King Nikola. But Nikola was Alexander’s grandfather and it was purely a political matter of one dynasty deposing another. We can argue that Alexander had to be more sensitive and I’d even go as far to defend King Nikola’s rights to the point of claiming that, in the light of the liberation process, the Karadjordjevic dynasty had no more right to lead the united Serbdom than the Petrovic dynasty.  Men of honor and loyalty like Krsto Popovic had to feel aggrieved and their decision to rise up was right, but it wasn’t anti-Serbian just because they rose against a political decision. Popovic, after he saw the futility of the continued revolt and after King Nikola, whom he was under oath to, died, asked Alexander for a pardon and received it, along with the state pension.
I can go on and on and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t, but the compounded evidence would be illusory because proving that I am the only thing I can possibly be is a Sisyphus’ job: it is self-evident that Montenegrins are Serb like Austrians are German. The very sad thing is that we came to the point of needing to prove the self-evident.  This Christmas, the happiest Christian holiday, reminded me of some not so happy things. Montenegro is sadder than Kosovo, more gruesome than Jasenovac, more dangerous than Vojvodina.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dveri: For the Young and the Patriotic, the Time to Act Is Now

The fact that the parliamentary election in Serbia hasn’t been called yet can’t stop political parties from campaigning aggressively, jockeying for a run and testing their coalition potential. The political scene mired in a lack of ideological constancy, feebleness of partnerships, outlandish coalition proposals and even more preposterous policy proposals, has been thrown into disarray with the December rejection of Serbia’s candidacy to the European Union. The ruling party was immediately seen doing a frantic footwork of backtracking and lurching forward at once, expressing disappointment at the decision, badly acting out the surprise by new demands and brazenly reaffirming strong hope that it will all remedy itself in February. Please don’t ask me to elaborate on this frenzy of illusory mumbo-jumbo…
I don’t want to talk about Boris Tadic and his grasping for a straw and gasping for air. He can hide his physical deterioration behind the already grey hair, but the gaunt, pale, wrinkled face tells the truth about his state of mind. I want to talk about the new phenomenon on Serbia’s political horizon: Dveri Srpske.
Dveri are not a registered political party, they are a civic group that, under Serbia’s electoral law, can run in an election, but doesn’t fall under the same campaign finance regulations as political parties. They often call themselves “a patriotic movement of free people.” Dveri (plural) is an Old Slavic word meaning “doors” or “gate.” They are a hot commodity on Serbia’s electoral market mainly due to their unorthodox campaigning style and even less orthodox ideology. When I say unorthodox, I mean that they do not fit the description of your everyday Serbian political organization, in structure and in ideas. From the beginning of Serbia’s political pluralism, all the parties have been modeled on the League of Communists, with rigid hierarchies, charismatic or Machiavellian leaders at helm and both opportunistic and fanatical following. Dveri are a real pluralistic movement, without a strict hierarchical structure, relying on organic cells growing around the country out of their ideological adherents’ urge to organize and mobilize into “the movement for the life of Serbia,” as they officially dubbed themselves.  At least it appears to be so. Their local activist cells have spread to about 60 towns and their ideologue leaders have traversed the country and the Serbian Diaspora talking the points of the New National Agreement they have fashioned out of their grievances. And it’s not a one-sided nonsense either. Bosko Obradovic, one of the founders, when asked of reasons Dveri decided to enter electoral politics, responded: “Because it’s become dishonest to stand by and watch Serbia decline.” And the New National Agreement is grounded in identifying and addressing the reasons for this decline as Dverjani – members of Dveri - see them, and offering comprehensive solutions.
Dveri grew out of the editorial board of the namesake Orthodox youth magazine, founded by students in the late 1990s. They are a nationalist organization with somewhat clericalist perspectives that calls for a return of the Serbian society to patriarchal guiding principles that have given the Serbs the particularity and sustainability of their national character. The return to family values is of paramount importance to Dverjani. Their designs for higher birth rate among Serbs are supported by the proposed governmental and institutional encouragement of larger nuclear families. The brain drain, high abortion rate and poverty have to be minimized if Serbs want to continue to biologically exist, Dveri argue. Dveri are not the only ones that recognize these problems, but they are the only ones that, in their relatively unrefined, idealistic way, find it obligatory to raise the alarm about the consequential fatality of not acting to stop these trends and to run on the platform tied into such theme. Others on Serbia’s political spectrum are too busy jabbing at one another, trading barbs, pointing fingers, bickering about non-essentials and backstabbing their way to an agency or corporate appointment, a donation, or a cheap political point or two, when they are not swearing loyalty or skepticism towards the EU and tearfully chest-bumping or lamenting about Kosovo. If these so-called leaders, politicians, apparatchiks and professional demagogues and parasites are lined up, a gun put to their head and offers of real, pragmatic and sensible solutions solicited in exchange for sparing their lives, there wouldn’t be enough bullets to go around. In the muddy habitat of parasitic subsistence that is Serbian politics, the energetic and deliberate drive of Dveri is at least refreshing and as such, worth Serbia’s attention.
I don’t want to come off as an advocate for Dveri, although I wouldn’t be ashamed if I did, and I won’t go into details of their political program. What should be noted is that they do have a comprehensive economic recovery and social reform plan and even though its viability can be debated in the light of a broader political dynamics in and around Serbia, it’s still a plan that a group of relatively young, concerned and proactive nationalists thought out, which brings about my next point.
The leadership of Dveri is on average much younger than your regular political party clique in Serbia. Bosko Obradovic is 35, Vladan Glisic is 41, Branimir Nesic is 37, Radovan Tvrdisic is 40, and so on.  This is both a plus and a minus for Dveri, but in the long run it brings the movement a rather positive outlook. These are people from outside the establishment. Their views do not appear skewed by daily politicking and party lines. While they could have entered politics in a conventional way, by buying a party membership and elbowing their way up, they chose to stick to their own guns, follow their ideals and use their energies to beam an uncommonly brave agenda onto the murky Serbian sky. Due to their youth and inexperience in political arena, they are brushed aside as a non-viable political option that would struggle to win a seat in the Parliament. Due to their relative youth and the perceived infeasibility of their program, they are easily ridiculed and dismissed by the political mainstays, be it for their proposed economic reliance on agriculture or for their national self-subsistence agenda. A lot of pundits – and most pundits in Serbia work for a political group in power or in opposition, directly and indirectly – smirk at or gloat over their perceived lack of governing expertise. I can only laugh at this and notice that if the standards for governing expertise are set by the ruling establishment, Dveri are doing just fine being what they are. Expertise without patriotism and good intentions is the picture of Serbia today, sold out, disenfranchised and depraved.  On the other hand, a lot of Serbs, completely dispirited by the failures of the ruling “experts,” would be inclined to support Dveri for their biggest perceived shortcoming: their youth. Young and independent of party politics, for many people in Serbia, translates into untainted and this could be the biggest argument in favor of Dveri if we have the upcoming election in mind. If we look at the long run, the youth of Dveri leadership guarantees their longevity in Serbia’s political life.
This longevity issue is tightly connected with another important and generally unexplored aspect of the Dveri phenomenon: their finances. If we presume that money in Serbia is tight and that to rely on individual donations outside of party fundraising machineries is, to say the least, infeasible, we must look deeper into the statement of Dveri that they are funded by “the people.” People in Serbia have no money or, at least, no serious political organization can afford to rely on such funding long-term. Those who do have money to donate to political organizations already have their favorites they picked based on the potential for return on investment. Dveri could subsist to a degree on people’s donations, especially if those people live abroad and a lot of Dveri supporters do. However, to stand that up against the funds available to, say, Dragan Djilas or Cedomir Jovanovic , puts things into a different, quite discouraging perspective. But, Dveri are a reality, and unless they are betting all of their chips on this one round, which I doubt, they are here to stay. There is a possibility that their electoral success would launch political careers of some of their leaders who may capitalize on their newly acquired stature and slide off into a lap of a more powerful political organization. My instincts and the methodical attribute of their political platform tell me otherwise: they plan to grow. In Serbia, of course, an offer of a steady government job can make one abandon one’s entire belief system, but this analysis would be pointless if it decided to take into account such far-fetched possibilities. Notwithstanding the uniqueness of their political views, the point that I keep delaying to get to is my assumption that Dveri have a more serious backer than just “the people.” I have mentioned their somewhat clericalist perspectives before and yes, you guess right: I’m driving at the Serbian Orthodox Church being that backer. This is not some “eureka” moment - this connection has been floated about - it’s just a natural conclusion, a reasonable expectation stemming from the fact that it is impossible to run a political or any other organization without steady and substantial funding and the ideology of Dveri is closest to that of the Church, in the political sense. I see it as encouraging, if it's true. While Dveri have been accused of being a decoy for some other powerful political factions in Serbia, like Kostunica's DSS or even Dragan Djilas, I, in my narrow-mindedness, can only believe what I see and what's around the corner, or maybe, what I’d hope for in my naïveté.
The Church is the oldest and the only Serbian national organization; it encompasses all of Serbdom, and while a lot could be said about its failure to guide its flock in dire times of dismemberment and disorientation, it shouldn’t be underestimated as a political force whose history and experience transcends the present tribulations. Saint Sava’s Church is an entity integral to Serbdom, but stands alone in many aspects. Its survival is interminably connected to the survival of its flock, the Serbian people that adhere to it. If we make a mistake and think that such an organization will cease believing in itself and in its own continuing existence, we give up the only hope for Serbdom. Serbdom has no other guides, unfortunately. Serbdom has no agencies that are entirely its own, except for the Church, and that Church has no followers other than Serbs. To survive through the oncoming tsunami of globalization that brought us CNN, NATO bombs, Mujahedeen and Wahhabis, Diocleanism, KLA, the Hague, Otpor, the Latin Serbian, reality shows, brain drain and other plagues, the Church would have to reconnect with its wandering flock and I expected it to enter politics in a conventional way much earlier. The Church simply couldn’t afford to stay on the sidelines of electoral politics any longer. Dveri are its response to the must of getting involved in a decisive way and that is why I believe Dveri are here to stay. Dveri have started as an Orthodox youth publication, building up a significant and comprehensive volume of work delving into the ills of Serbdom and ways to cure them. Armed with the well hashed out program, they matured into a group that is seemingly staunch in ideology and confident in its assertions. Even if their coming out party could be deemed premature, the political momentum called for a reaction of some sort. If Dveri are a child of the Church and a part of a larger plan, this moment is not only as good as any to come out, but the time to waste has lapsed.
Let’s not take this further that it has to go. Dveri are not a clericalist organization; they are organic nationalists of a pastoral, patriarchal leaning, they call for the overthrow of influences that turned Serbia and Serbdom into a puppet state. They call for a greater independence of Serbia as a state and as a society, and of a Serb as an individual reliant on family tradition characteristic of our past and symptomatic of our national strength. It's premature to even talk about Dveri getting in a position to materialize their reformist ideals, but even the strength of their voice, their message and their methods are welcome and refreshing in the sea of illusory promises, parasitism, lethargy and apathy.