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NO 103-104

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Helsinki Charter No. 103-104

January - February 2007


Kosovo Finals


By Teofil Pancic

Serbia in early 2007: the more serious situation becomes the less sense "a serious discourse" makes. How can that be possible? Well, it is. See, all major actors at domestic political scene are making gloomy faces and pompously crying at the top of their lungs. But if you take a closer look, you'll see those people are staging some vaudeville or operetta rather than taking things seriously. True, some (take that they) think with seriousness. Our "technical" Premier does. But that's nothing but a serious proof that they are not serious. That's almost incomprehensible, isn't it? So let's start from the beginning.

A month after parliamentary elections Serbia has not even contoured a new government, The Hague story is staunch as usual, and Vienna is the scene of negotiations "on Kosovo" in which negotiators cannot agree on what it is they are actually negotiating, let alone on some tangible and essential matters. Namely, the official Belgrade alone takes "the issue of status" is on the agenda, i.e. a decision on whether or not Kosovo "remains in Serbia." But all that small talk in Vienna provides Kostunica with a perfect excuse for prolonging the talks on a new government till the end of time - for, on that memorable day, the Premier's fauteuil that has become so close and dear to him will anyway be in his possession. A sure bet, this way or other. Therefore, clowning and affectation are pouring in from all sides, while the entire political caste - its ruling part in particular - chokes with all forms of kitsch make-believe. The "Mladic case" has almost become a sick joke. Wasting words on it is of no avail - the official "cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die-I-don't have a faintest idea about his whereabouts" doctrine still dominates, accompanied by discrete winks and twinkles. Even should we know we wouldn't tell you, they almost say. But, let's wait and see whether the International Court of Justice's verdict that convincingly places the Srebrenica genocide beyond any reasonable doubt while accusing Serbia for her failure to extradite Mladic & Co. would make a change.

Then there is the issue of forming a new government. We have two major aspirants for the post of a mandatary for forming a government of "a democratic bloc" (whatever that means). Wagging tongues say one of them looks and behaves like Mickey Mouse but it's actually the other who pursues a Mickey Mouse policy. One cannot but feel embarrassed and ashamed at the look at him unable even to hide that keeping the fauteuil No. 1 is all he cares for in spite of the fact that barely one out of ten voters cast a ballot for his party this January. Grotesque tricks, pranks and cheap shots devised by Kostunica's company just to hush up the gigantically barred and grossly compromising discrepancy between their electoral results and their hunger for power are of such poor quality and bad taste that not even Donald Duck's nephews (speaking of Disney's menagerie) would buy them. All those post-electoral whims of a defeated ruling party/coalition smell of thorough flippancy. We shall still see whether their rivals from the party led by the President of the Republic are more serious players. If they throw in the towel to Kostunica's usurping blatancy they will be the ones with the title of Mickey Mouse Emeritus in this political season. Anyway, is there a third option at all? Yes, new elections. But that enforced (quasi)solution would only once again lay bare offhandedness and flippancy of main currents and parties that make up our political class.

The soap opera titled "Tracing down Ratko Mladic," the monkey business called "forming a new government".Can it be that nothing serious goes on? Well, there is Kosovo, "the costliest Serbian word." They wouldn't fool with it, would they? However, in reality this is exactly the focus of our elites' (political, academic, media, etc.) irresponsible attitude towards an arch-serious problem the solution of which affect hundreds of thousands of human beings. The only change that took place since my last reference to Kosovo in this column is that the official discourse has further distanced itself from the realities and is now freely floating in the endless universe of Pure Nebulousness. Some latest highlights of the offhanded attitude towards the serious and difficult problem of Kosovo are unforgettable indeed. Take, for instance, Kostunica's famous "hiding away" from Maarti Ahtisaari (along with the hilarious explanation of this infantile act), Sanda Raskovic-Ivic's philosophizing, let alone the reasoning by that incredible Aleksandar Simic, a nominee for the title of Kostunica's Brana Crncevic, etcetera, etcetera.

The last traces of seriousness, realism or elementary common sense have been systematically expelled from the "appropriate" political discourse vis-à-vis Kosovo. The more desperate official Belgrade situation is in terms of its last-minute aspirations, the more rigid, "patriotic" phrases are in circulation. As if some fine day, by some magic, all they say would turn into reality - a reality that will have its tail down when faced with the spiritual beauty of those phrases. You cannot but feel sometimes that this country is actually ruled by Ivana Zigon or some similar, strikingly eccentric by-product of our branchy political scene, just successfully disguised into a nondescript jurist from Belgrade's Dorcol area.

In the environment where people talk nonsense with so much enthusiasm and inspiration, and where top policymakers are the epicenter of the production and distribution of notion-value confusion, no wonder that other institutions as well follow such unfortunate "model." However, my favorite this month is the release the Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church issued vis-à-vis Ahtisaari's plan. In the sea of empty words the Church's release brims with I've detected a genuine pearl - the passage in which the Evil Finlander is bitterly reprimanded for planning to snatch "Serbia's most precious part of territory." No mention to "one of," no mention of "fifteen percent" but exactly - the most precious. If you have raised your eyebrow at this and wondered what the hell this part could be, than something terribly must be wrong with your patriotism. And yet, all this inspires me to plunge into a small-scale research: is Serbia really composed of precious and less precious parts? Who and by what criteria determines preciousness? If Kosovo is truly "Serbia's most precious part," does that imply a possibility to reach a compromise by which the Kosovo Albanians would be offered some less precious part of Serbia instead of Kosovo that is so precious to us that any hope that we would ever give it up would be inhuman indeed? Take, for instance, Belgrade and its neighboring areas. True, that's somewhat smaller than Kosovo but can easily accommodate some two million people.In brief, a simple bargain, a square meter for a square meter so to speak, a ready-to-wear deal: citizens from Vozdovac go to Ulpijana, citizens from Obrenovac to Lipljani.If all this sounds to you 50 percent crazy and 50 percent nonsensical, that's because it actually is crazy and nonsensical. But don't you blame me for it; I'm just following the iron logics of the Release. And what is it the Release itself follows? Well, it follows after the obsolete, wooden language of the second-rate phraseology devoid of any sense and any touch with the reality long ago. Only such language and such "school of thought" could possibly take that a real Serbia with her real people might be less "precious" than the Serbia that has way back moved to epic poems. And when you take all this into account you cannot but see that Mickey Mouse has been unjustly slandered: if he had his say, he would have never behaved so irresponsibly.


Teofil Pancic


NO 103-104

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