Here's the Texarkan Gazette's view of the Montengero referendum. Read it and then have a good laugh when you get to the last paragraph. It's almost as hilarious as a Professor of European Studies at Oxford University writing that Slobodan Milosevic was leader of Yugoslavia in 1991!
In Our View: Lessons Learned
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 http://www.texarkanagazette.com/articles/2006/05/24/
Democracy survives, thrives in wake of bloody Balkan war
The lessons of democracy and respect for our fellow humans and their right to choose their destinies sometimes come from the most surprising places.
Tuesday morning such a welcome lesson wafted our way from a place most of us would be hard pressed to locate on a globe or world map.
Serbia’s President Boris Tadic announced his country’s recognition of a vote for independence by tiny Montenegro.
“I supported the preservation of a joint state, but as a democratic president of a democratic republic, I recognize the expression of the free will of the Montenegrin citizens,” Tadic said.
Montenegro, a tiny Baltic nation of just over 600,000 souls, most of whom share a common language and Christian Orthodox religion with their Serbian neighbors, voted narrowly Sunday to separate from the larger Serbian republic.
The vote is a setback for Serbia, which has long aimed to be the major force in the Balkans. Those dreams, called “Greater Serbia,” began after the fall and breaking apart of the former Yugoslavia and led to a bloody and brutal war in the 1990s that claimed more than 200,000 lives.
Some principals in that war, including some current elected officials, are still awaiting trial, charged with war crimes.
Voter turnout in Montenegro was about 83 percent and congratulations poured in from around the world after the vote.
The European Union and NATO both have recognized the independence referendum and congratulated Montenegro for conducting free and fair elections, though it will be some time before Europe’s newest independent country can be considered for membership in either organization.
Tadic also said he wished for close cooperation between Serbia and Montenegro.
Showing such respect for the rights and wishes of the Montenegrin people is certainly the right step to ensure such cooperation.
It’s quite a turnaround in the Baltic.
Democracy, peace and respect have bloomed where there was bitter war just a few years ago.
Maybe there is hope for the rest of the world, after all.