Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bringing Down the Presevo Monument

source: novosti.rs
The Preševo monument has been removed over the weekend, after Ivica Dačić came back from the meeting with Hashim Thaci in Brussels. Serbs should be happy, but this Serb is far from it.
This is not a matter of Serbs never being satisfied, an argument and a sentiment used to suppress any negative public response to the move, but a matter of this Serb not being willing to buy the dilettantism and cheap populism, especially when it is sold while ignoring Serbian law.

Today, Zoran Stanković, chief of the Coordinating Body for Serbia's South, which includes the Preševo area, said that the removed monument will not be destroyed, but its fate will be discussed further, with relocation to a more suitable place as an option. Stanković also said the whole monument issue was a base for political manipulation and "an attempt to secure better negotiating positions, to use the moment in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, because some would like to draw parallels between that area and northern Kosovo."A bargaining chip, then? If it was a chip indeed, whose chip was it?

Stanković, the man in charge of the security crisis-fertile area, appointed specifically to deal with these kinds of problems, hasn't been a player in the process, if we can even call the pissing contest and the Gendarmerie action a process. While I wholeheartedly support Serbia's resolve to protect people's sensibilities and defend itself against provocations from its hostile minority, I didn't see the removal of the monument through such a prism, as it was unclear which law was broken by its placement, who filed charges and at which court, how the legal decision to remove it was arrived to and who made it. Serbia's dealing with sensitive issue must be grounded in its law and when it is not, there must a question: to whose benefit?

The people of Serbia are happy in their fervor and oblivious to the implications of the removal and the total disregard of the law by the Dačić government. Dačić's populist maneuver worked. The rule of law failed and the Albanian provocation succeeded.

The OVPBM, the terrorist group whose fallen members the monument honored, has been amnestied by the government of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 2002, and the argument that the monument honored enemies of the state does not hold water, unless the amnesty excluded the killed members of the group. Anyway, since there hasn't been a legal process in which such distinctions can be defined, the public will remain in the dark as to what the hell just happened.

source: radiokim.net
To make things even more confusing, Serbia's Prime Minister didn't order a removal of the museum honoring the killed commander of OVPBM in the village of Veliki Trnovac. Wouldn't that be expected if any logic was followed? The monument to Aćif-efendi in Novi Pazar is still standing as well, even though Albanian fascists from the World War II have never been amnestied. In my mind, all three stand to offend Serbia's people equally, so why remove only one and outside of the legal process at that. The inconsistency in upholding Serbia's laws cast more doubt about patriotism of Serbia's Prime Minister and the government he heads. 

If the monument was a problem only because it was built outside of the mandated construction process, as Stanković's inexplicable offer to the Albanians to reapply for a permit seemed to imply, then why would the Prime Minister get involved? Why wasn't it resolved by appropriate construction officials? Why was their such a national attention generated by Dačić's threats and Preševo Albanians' warmongering if this just ended up being a construction permit issue?

While the Preševo Albanians, including their deputies in Serbia's National Assembly, screamed that there can be no peaceful solution to the monument crisis, across Kosovo, their brethren went on a violent rampage against Serbian cemeteries, monasteries, homes, even tearing down a monument to the fallen World War II anti-fascist fighters in the village of Vitina. So, while Serbia fails to enforce its own laws in tearing down a monument to the Albanian fascist in Novi Pazar, Kosovo Albanians go ahead and lawlessly derelict Serbia's fight against fascism, not to mentioned the continued attack on the lives and homes of Serbs. It is confusing, right? Anything that goes against logic is confusing like this. It is easy to see why the Albanians would destroy a Serbian anti-fascist symbol, attack a monastery in Đakovica and reportedly desecrate about 140 grave sites in a matter of two days; Albanians are still waging a war against Serbia, even if defenseless monuments and graves are the target, and their fascist legacies are still very much alive. Serbia, on the other hand, is not easily understood. Why would you leave a monument to a convicted fascist standing, but temporarily remove one of the monuments to the terrorists you have amnestied? Why would you amnesty terrorists is a million dollar question, asked 11 years too late...

source: vesti-online.com
Outside of populism so characteristic of Dačić, the manipulations, as Stanković called them, around the Preševo monument, served as a false show of Serbia's strength and a pretext for the Albanian leaders to mobilize popular support against Serbia, both in Priština and in Preševo. Dačić and Thaci reportedly agreed to freeze negotiations on customs levies at the North Kosovo crossings for a period of one year and, more importantly, to open the North Kosovo status as a mandatory bargaining subject of sorts. In President Nikolić's weird Platform for Kosovo, or at least in one of its versions, North Kosovo is treated as an autonomous subject under the autonomous province of Kosovo within Serbia. Unreal, ain't it? Under the recent parliamentary Resolution on Kosovo and Metohija, Kosovo is reaffirmed as a province of Serbia, but the key commitment was made to the EU path, which is contradictory in itself. Now, Thaci couldn't be expected to relinquish the hardline position regarding the North without receiving a "just" compensation. He can't sell it to his own warmongering public without a promise of getting something in return. Or is Dačić just putting fear into the Serbian public that the insistence on North Kosovo could cost Serbia the Preševo area, especially in the light of his repeated intention to dismantle Serbia's state institutions protecting Serbs in the North Kosovo municipalities? If this was a bargaining chip that Serbia bet with, how exactly will this resolution benefit Serbia?

I myself fear that the Preševo monument issue may serve to galvanize the Preševo area Albanians in asserting more of the existing desire for a unification with Kosovo, inching closer towards the goals of the Greater Albania project. The Preševo area was not an open issue until the monument charade and it will be Serbia's defeat if it does become an issue parallel with North Kosovo.

Dačić, sowing confusion, populism and inconsistency in statements and in deeds, stand to be blamed by the Serbian public for not dealing with the Kosovo - and increasingly - the Preševo problem with a higher degree of responsibility, but instead operating outside the constitutional framework and keeping the public unaware of the details of the process and its implications, while doing it all under the watchful eye and directions of Brussels imperialist bureaucrats that aided the Albanian expansion. And apparently, Serbian lives and property in Kosovo remain unprotected and exposed to all kinds of Albanian violent extremism and ethnic cleansing policies.

No comments: