A NEW NEIGHBOR IN THE SOUTH
By Miroslav Filipovic
Kosovo finally left on its path to independence and common sense,
following the example of six ex-republics of the big Yugoslavia. Serbia became a rump, an
incomplete state or, as the Guardian put it, "a beaten up, offended loser of the
European history." That was a logical consequence of the crazed policy of Belgrade's
clerical-nationalists that had inflicted pain to small Balkan states but most of all hurt,
ashamed and terrorized Serbs themselves.
Well, it's been a week now that Serbia is left without Kosovo. Seven
days have passed since they've snatched away our heart and soul. Now Serbs - like Isis
looking for Osiris' bodily parts - wonder around, headless and without its soul, looking
for a new sense of life. However and contrary to expectations, Serbia did not become
Mordor, sulphur rain did not cover it and it was not a target of a cometh that had
allegedly, long ago, devastated the Earth and caused weird phenomena and massacre of
people, plants and animals. Moreover, the weather was worm, and we had real spring
sunshine. Spring is drawing near, nut trees are budding, people are smiling, the wedding
season begins in Sumadija...
Yet another historical enterprise of Belgrade's clerical-nationalists
faced fiasco at open scene. Despite huge funds and thousands of people trying to prevent
it, Kosovo has gone. Following in the footsteps of Slovenians, Croats, Bosniaks,
Macedonians and Montenegrins, Albanians have run away from us too: they turned their backs
and went away.
Serbs were left alone.Why? Who had switched off the light and plunged my
country into darkness and cold that make any normal human being take to his heels?
As of 1990s the Serb nationalism has lost not only all its battles but
also most of its potential for promotion of the Greater Serbia. No one any longer takes
seriously some Serb Krajinas, the Serb Dalmatia, the Serb Kumanovo, the Serb Slavonija and
all those "Serb" regions. The Greater Serbia is lost and gone forever, but Serb
nationalists have not. As they no longer can present us with the Greater Serbia they will
try to make this small one into an Eastern Orthodox monarchy that will for long, like a
vampire bat, frighten people and scare children. Neighboring countries need not worry or
worry less than in the past 20 years, but citizens of Serbia have much reason for panic.
Having installed primitivism, anti-Western sentiments, anti-Semitism, xenophobia,
revanchism and denial of war crimes as benchmarks of today's Serb nationalism, the
Belgrade regime turned Serbia into a bogeyman from the bedside stories grannies are
telling to naughty children.
Even the wisest among us can hardly understand what's going on and why.
How come that losers and outsiders come to power in Serbia as a rule, how come that in
major dilemmas we are regularly opposite to the civilized part of the world and always at
odds with our neighbors, the people we should closest to and live side by side with? What
kind of people are we when we vote for the worst among us in fair elections and why is it
that we act so? Doctors say that after long suffering a man turns evil, spontaneously and
destructively evil. The same happens to nations. When a nation is exposed to longstanding
suffering it becomes evil and votes leaders who are evil - rather than kind, clever and
successful - believing that only a bigger evil could defeat evil. We would hardly entrust
our families and property to the people ruling Serbia today. And yet, they hold sway and
present us all to the world in the worst light. And not all of us are that bad, not even
The story of Kosovo needn't have ended the way it ended. World governors
have been patiently waiting for year for Serb politicians to come to their sense, sending
them benevolent signals for years and telling them what was and what was not negotiable.
The wiser part of Serbia was sparing no effort to message politicians how Serbia could
maintain and subjugate Kosovo, and in a decade or two regain power over "the holy
Serb land." It was of no avail. All Serb hopes were finally dispelled the moment the
people in the West realized they were dealing with truly sick ones. The moment I saw
Western politicians tapping their heads while referring to Serb politicians I realized it
was over with "Serb Kosovo."
"Never go for your opponent if you are not sure you can defeat
him," writer Mesa Selimovic said in his novels. The loudest politician of all,
Kostunica, hardly impressed the West with his tone. Many a wise politician from the West
must have ascribed his high-pitched discourse to bad manners, and most probably to lack of
argumentation or impotent fury.
And so, while Kosovo sets itself on its thorny but irreversible path
towards the rule of law, the official Belgrade keeps fantasizing that Kosovo is Serb and
that it would - in some manner known to it alone - manage to return it under its power.
Belgrade nationalists are thus depriving themselves of the last chance to partake in the
resolution of the issues on the agenda. Now that Kosovo has declared independence,
Belgrade is abroad and will be soon in no position to influence anything related to
Kosovo. It will have to turn to Prishtina for everything, via its ambassador in this town.
That will be so despite all promises by Serb politicians.
Instead of solving real-life problems of the people who live in Kosovo,
Belgrade nationalists need new fodder for the myth of a heavenly people. Belgrade's
clerical-nationalists have drawn no lessons from history. Encouraged by the blessing of
the guardian of the myth of the heavenly people that profits only from permanent warfare,
they pursue their lunatic policy of backbiting the international community, the policy
that will make Kosovo Serbs take their tractors and set themselves in pitiful columns
towards the North unless they free themselves from the frenzied Belgrade.
We shall never recognize Kosovo's independence, says the most frequent
slogan by Serb politicians. They are lying because they will. And what happens if they
don't? Serbia may never recognize Kosovo's independence. It may never sign an act
testifying of it. No one cares about it in the world, for that's not the bottom line.
Intelligence is the bottom line, the intelligence that differentiates human beings and
other living forms on the Earth. The bottom line is in the leaders supposed to chart the
course of a nation on behalf of people and citizens. If that course is a good one, if it
leads the nation towards happiness and well-being, those leaders are the right ones. But
what happens if the things stand differently? What happens if the leaders persistently
take the nation into darkness, chaos, isolation, blood and war? It is time for the people
to recognize the defeat of the idea and the ideology that had led Serbia into conflict -
firstly with its neighbors and then with the entire world?
"The biggest tragedy for the Serb people would be that someone
recognizes /Kosovo's/ independence and puts his signature under it. I hope there would be
no such person," said Bishop Artemije. Is it time for the Serbs to ask themselves
whether that's the biggest tragedy of all or there might be some bigger and worse than
that? And, aren't the people leading them today - politically, spiritually and religiously
- that biggest and worst tragedy of all?