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Thursday, January 25, 2007

They've got it wrong again

Here's my article on the western reaction to Serbia's general election, from today's Guardian.,,1997898,00.html

Are you a true democrat or a Henry Ford democrat? True democrats accept the right of people to vote for any party they choose, be it socialist, nationalist or Islamist - and accept the results with magnanimity. Henry Ford democrats accept the right of people to vote for any party they choose, so long as it's pro-western.

The leaders of the "international community" take their cue from the famous automobile manufacturer. For having the temerity to vote for Hamas, Palestinians were punished with suspension of aid. For re-electing the unreconstructed statist Alexander Lukashenko, Belarussians were hit by fresh sanctions. And Fordian democracy has again been illustrated in EU and US reaction to elections in Serbia. Despite European and US exhortations, the Serbs voted the wrong way at the weekend, making the anti-Nato, Eurosceptic Radicals the largest party in the new parliament.

The Radicals, with 28.3% of the vote, could reasonably be expected to form a government with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica's DSS party and the Serbian Socialist party. Except that this coalition - the best representation of the people's will - has been ruled strictly verboten by the self-appointed apostles of democracy. As soon as the results were announced, the EU's (unelected) foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, called for the "speedy" formation of a pro-western government "in line with the EU" - ie one without the largest party in the country. The US ambassador claimed "the majority of Serbia's citizens have spoken out in favour of a secure, prosperous future inside the Euro-Atlantic community", conveniently forgetting that more than 50% had voted for parties opposed to Nato membership or not voted at all.

Although the Radicals' leader, Vojislav Seselj, currently on trial for war crimes at the Hague, is an anti-Yugoslavia Serb nationalist with a history of ugly chauvinist rhetoric, it would be a mistake to see the vote for the Radicals as a sign that Serbs are enthusiastic for an "ultra-nationalist" agenda. Those quick to condemn the opposition to Nato membership as "hardline" should ask themselves if they would be keen to join a military alliance that bombed their country, without UN approval, for 78 days and nights less than a decade ago. The Radicals' line on the EU - that Serbia should join only when the time is right and on its own terms - is also shared by increasing numbers.

Then there is the economy. The "official" version is that Serbia, since the fall of Milosevic's Socialists in 2000, has boomed with the move to a free-market economy. The reality is different. GDP is still only 60% of the 1989 level. Unemployment is 31.6%. About 40% live at or below the poverty line. Like Hamas, the Radicals offer a social programme that the "reform" parties, desperate to adhere to the dictates of the IMF and global capital, lack. The Democratic party, likely to lead the next coalition, will accelerate privatisation - adding to unemployment and increasing popular discontent.

If these problems weren't enough, there's the question of Kosovo. The Radicals' strong stance against its independence is shared by most Serbs. The UN mediator's proposals - conveniently postponed until after the elections - are expected to recommend limited independence, which will only boost the party's support. Giving up Kosovo would be seen as the surrender of the cradle of Serbian civilisation.

For the west's Fordian democrats, financial inducements, cajolery and threats of isolation are usually enough to get the election results they desire. But the problem of what to do when the natives - be they in Palestine, Belarus, Iran or Serbia - insist on a car in a colour other than black, remains.


David Lindsay said...

Congratulations to the people of Serbia on voting to stay out of NATO and the EU, even despite contrary letters to their Press from Tony Blair, whose business it was not. Javier Solana, the wholly unelected and unaccountable Foreign Minister of the EU, has sent a message of congratulation to the pro-Empire losers!

But he, the US State Department and everyone else should keep in mind that even those losers do not recognise the fanciful concept that simply because most people in Kosovo do not appear to like the Serbian Government, then that somehow makes Kosovo a country, with the right to become "independent" by joining, Montenegro-like, NATO, the EU, the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank.

The Western-backed exercise of this right was both questionable and unfortunate on the part of Slovenia and Croatia (the latter under the Holocaust-denying Fascist, Franjo Tudjman). It was utterly baseless on the part of the never-independent "Bosnia-Herzegovina" (under the vile Wahhabi bigot and former SS recruitment sergeant, Alija Izetbegovic). It was at best regrettable on the part of Montenegro.

And it would be laughable on the part of Kosovo, were that not a victory for the black-shirted, heroin-smuggling Wahhabis of the Kosovo "Liberation" Army, whom the UN has already allowed to turn Kosovo into a Mafia fiefdom. But Belgrade can now prepare to be bombed into precisely that victory.

Anonymous said...

We have more rights than Montenegro to leave Serbia. Our autonomy was removed twice, and the Serb government never protected our rights as citizens of Yugoslavia.

Serbs even today are arrogant, racist against us and defend war criminals. In any forum online they still say that we have to "go away". That means that they still support ethnic cleasing. They are a nation of murderers.

Even if they were saintly and angelic, we still would want to separate from them because we don't share the same culture, language, and moral values.

What we decide on our future, our freedom is up to us and not up to you!

If Montenegrins, Serbia's cousins, with the same language, want to leave, why shouldn't we who have been historically persectued by Serbs? What you think that we are foolish?

"And it would be laughable on the part of Kosovo"
Of course, you are pro-Serb, to you our situation is "funny". But Serbs are not loyal. One day they will massacre your family to pieces and throw the meat in a ditch. Then we talk.

"black-shirted, heroin-smuggling Wahhabis of the Kosovo "Liberation" Army, whom the UN has already allowed to turn Kosovo into a Mafia fiefdom"
Talking about bias, and anti-Albanian vocabulary.
If you were so interested in the Balkans you should have kept yourself up to date, that 2 weeks ago the greatest drug smuggling org was caught in Macedonia and they were Serbs.

Albanians have made progress this year. Albania per se is not at the top spots of the org crime list anymore. To improve the situation in Kosovo too we need our independence. The greatest mafia orgs today in Europe are the Russians, Serbs' best buddies.

Anonymous said...

To Mr Clark,

The "cradle of Serbian civilization" is not in ethnic Albania. Pick any book, at any library of the world, even in Russia, titled "Barbarians" or Slavs, and you will read about the Slavic Invasions of the Balkans.
Their "cradle of civilization" is in Russia, Ukraine..etc..
Kosovo was under Serbian domination 800 hundred years ago, for a brief period. It was a failed colonization attempt.
Mass graves and massacres caused by Slavs are not new to Albanians. They have been going on for more than a millenium when slavs were still pagans, Albanians still catholic. Conversion under Turkey started only in the 17th century. Serbs still support agressive plans against Albanians, still support war criminals who have the coziest corners in Hague. To me even this generation of Serbs is lost. The are a nation of murderers who hide begind the church. They have no Christian values.

Serbs are insatiable. In 1999, they not only attacked Albanians in Kosovo, but they were advancing inside the border of Albania itself.

Keep defending them. It seems like British media is becoming corrupted by the money the Serb gov issued this summer for propaganda. How much did you get?

Neil Clark said...

arlinda, I think your analysis is very one-sided and I'm sure there will be other commenters who wish to challenge some of the points you have made.
I do not defend violent Serb nationalism, or any other kind of violent Balkan nationalism: I am not 'pro-Serb', or 'pro-Croat', or 'pro-Bosnian' but pro-Yugoslavia. I made my views on Sesejl and his anti-Yugoslav stance quite obvious in the piece.
I can assure you that I have never received a penny from the Serb government! On the contrary, I'm pretty sure I'd be much richer if I had taken a different line on the Balkans!

David Lindsay said...

Arlinda, you don't believe that there is a country called Kosovo. Nobody does. You believe that there is a country called Albania, and that Kosovo is rightfully an integral part of it. Whereas I believed in a country called Yugoslavia, and I am prepared, reluctantly, to accept the ciurrent Republic of Serbia as its last remaining continuation.

The difference is that your Albania is ethinically exclusive in its self-definition, whereas Yugoslavia was ethnically inclusive, as Serbia remains for so long as it includes Kosovo (and Vojvodyna, which I'm sure that I've mis-spelt). Which should the United Kingdom, or the United States, really support.

As to who does, and who does not, have a meaningful right of self-determination, Montenegro at least had a history of independence. Bosnia and Herzegovina had none, and not only does Kosovo have none, but I say again that you yourselves do not in fact believe that there is any such country Kosovo. Rather, you believe in Great Albania. Greater Albania is a real project, whereas there was never any real "Greater Serbia" project, but rather only an attempt to save multi-ethnic Yugoslavia.

Did the KLA, or did they not, wear black shirts in deference to the fathers and grandfathers? Did they, or did they not, smuggle the Taliban's heroin into Europe via Italy? Arising out of that, have they, or have they not, turned Kosovo into a Mafia fiefdom under the noses of the UN instead of the rightful Serbian Government there? And are they, or are they not, Wahhabis, just as Izetbegovic was?

1defender said...

to Arlinda "Even if they were saintly and angelic, we still would want to separate from them because we don't share the same culture, language, and moral values."

This statement says it all. You do not want to live with other peoples you want an ethnically clean state for Albanians only. But, how will you live with NATO and EU troops when you have driven all the other people out of Kosovo and Metohija? Will NATO and the EU be able to keep a lid on the ethnic cleansing of their people from the world?

As for drug smuggling and prostitution. Albanian activities are not limited to Kosovo and Metohija and Eastern Europe. A prostitution righ was broken up in Italy recently. All the pimps were Albanian!

Interesting but not pleasent times ahead for you all.

Witch-king of Angmar said...

The notion that albanians are the descendants of Ilyrians has never been disproven by many an independent historian. It is a fantasy promoted by Albanian chauvinists, not entirely unlike Hitler's fantasy of Germans as Aryans. Albanian historian Kaplan Resuli has offered evidence that most ethnic Albanians of today came from Caucasus along with Ottoman Turks. Albanian language bears no resemblence to Latin or any other romanic language since Ilyrians were assimilated into Roman culture .