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Turnabout - Serbia in Europe, Europe in Serbia

November, 2011

Signatories (15kb) >>>

Citizens of Serbia,

We are bound to be brave when Serbia is disheartened. We are bound to speak the truth in a Serbia in which it is easier to lie to others and to ourselves. We are bound to defend our right to Serbia in Europe and Europe in Serbia.

All of us, citizens of good will, who struggled for a European Serbia from March 9, 1991 to October 5, 2000, are embittered because of all the numerous lost opportunities.

We are especially dismayed with the unnecessary and dangerous succumbing of a pro-European government to the anti-European hysteria and strategy that log barricades at two border crossings in northern Kosovo can become the barrier to granting the status of candidate and the date for the beginning of negotiations for Serbia's accession to the European Union.

In a country where time means nothing, losing the status of candidate or being a candidate without a date for negotiations, will only mean yet another loss of opportunity for a normal future, yet another decline of all that has managed to survive in Serbia, yet more isolation on the margins of Europe of all those who have not already escaped from Serbia.

The responsibility for the confusion in which we find ourselves lies in the policy of the current government. It's calculating and hesitation has seriously endangered the pro-European orientation of society and the country's vital interests which depend upon it. No one should therefore expect of us to be silent on-lookers in the battle that is being waged against a European Serbia. Today we cannot do the work which only the government can do. The present leaders of Serbia must assume the responsibility for its European future. If they choose to see the truth, they will see us, who can wait no longer, clearing the minefields for the European path of Serbia of which they are in charge.

It is a sad country which perpetually condemns itself to the suffering that stems from its resistance to its own European future. Terrible is the price of lies by all who belittle the weight of December 9. Serbia does not understand the significance of that date, just as it failed to understand the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall or the consequences of its acquiescence to the policy of war and crime of the 1990s. Therefore it should be known that we will all - unless we respond with truth and democratic mobilization - be devastated in a way worse than during the 1990s by the ruthless idea that Serbia can do without Europe.

In Serbia that December day is felt both as a threat and an opportunity. It reflects our past and our future, the positive and negative energy of Serbia. The successes and failures, the happiness and disappointments, the joys and fears of our generation. Therefore, by taking a clear stand about the future of our country we must stand up against the political hypnosis which belittles the real significance of Europe for Serbia. We will disappear in the self-isolation which is being offered to us as an honorable response to the alleged dishonor of Europe.

We must not withdraw before the lies which hide the black statistics of Serbia. We are the poorest of European societies, with the lowest wages and pensions, the largest unemployment rate, the smallest investments, the largest growth of debt, the most dysfunctional education system and the largest brain-drain in Europe. This is not a picture of our abilities and aptitudes, but the price of a misguided and erroneous policy. That price will keep increasing until we abandon this policy.

It is frightening that a part of our political, religious, economic and cultural elite recognizes its interest in that deepest of historical holes in which we will find ourselves if we lose our European future. We have a government, but not a state. In a country which is an onlooker in European integrations there is no employment unless provided by the "government", there is no sport unless the "government" presides over it, there is no culture without the stamp of "government", nor media which has been spared of "government" editorial policy.

The good thing is that we are aware of this reality, and that we are prepared through a struggle for a European Serbia to clearly state in what kind of world we wish to live in. We see meaning only in a Serbia with changed priorities, a country of free citizens that has finally found peace with itself and its neighbors, a society ruled by law and efficient institutions, a community which values and incites knowledge, work and success, develops competition and strives towards an open economy, modernizing all that is backward. Only this idea can be confirmed by time as a positive vision of a society which knows what to do with itself in the 21st century.

Today, as a mature society, capable of rational judgment regarding its own interests, we should rally around the idea of a turnabout which would lead Serbia into Europe. We must force official Serbian policy to take the necessary decisions, change the course of its Kosovo policy, and seize the opportunity to fulfill the greatest obligation of this generation.

Our response to the threat of destruction by the united anti-European front must be clear, decisive and strong. This is why we seek to unite all those who are in favor of Serbia in Europe as the only ideology that today can represent the choice of this country. We should subordinate all our differences, all our disappointments to the struggle of Serbia joining the European Union. Now is the time to mobilize all our strength against poverty and backwardness.

We refuse to withdraw or make compromises with the anti-European usurpers of our future. We must not, nor do we have the right, to withdraw before the same ideas which during the 1990s pushed us into a bloody adventure, ending in the historically greatest defeat of Serbia and the Serbian nation. We ended up in columns of refugees, waiting in cues before embassies of countries to which our dearest family members fled, while Serbia was left disgraced by the crimes committed in its name towards other nations and towards itself. These forces have now united around a common goal, to raise barricades on all roads leading to Europe. Hiding behind the slogans of the Kosovo tragedy, which they perpetrated, they proclaim Europe the enemy of Serbia and all Serbs worldwide, evoking yet another tragedy in Kosovo and Serbia, fanning the flames of hatred towards our neighbors and threatening that we will be the leaders of a new chaos.

Europe is our primary national interest, among other things because hundreds of thousands of Serbian citizens live and work in Europe, and because 80 percent of all Serbian exports end up on that great market, and because of the investments and the funds, and because Europe is also a system of values to which we aspire. The European Union is in our anti-fascist history, in our politics, our economy and technology, culture and education, in our sports, in everything.

Ignoring the truth and reality of Kosovo does not change that truth or that reality. Kosovo has not been under Serbian sovereignty since the war of 1999 and the Kumanovo capitulation, after which Serbia withdrew from Kosovo. Hence the strategy "both EU and Kosovo" really means "neither EU nor Kosovo". Between European states there are no borders or customs barriers, while our government, claiming it is leading Serbia into Europe, is risking that that very same Europe closes its doors to Serbia because of four customs officers at two border crossings. No one can comprehend this. Just as no reasonable person in Serbia can understand Serbs who fill Kosovo Serbs with hatred against their Albanian neighbors, inciting them, over and over, to draw blood in Kosovo yet again.

Serbia must change its policy if it wants to join Europe. Instead of old Kosovo slogans, we need new political courage. Society is moved by valuable ideas, just as it is destroyed by forgeries - which are what the current government's Kosovo policy has turned into. We need a vision of Serbia that will hold-up, not fail, the test of time. An idea that should make clear the horizon that is in front of us. We cannot reach such a vision or idea if we are left outside of Europe, in perpetual conflict and misunderstanding with the leading, democratic countries of the world.

This is why we believe that the struggle for Serbia in Europe and Europe in Serbia is the only correct and honest policy.

This is why Serbia needs a turnabout!



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