Friday, October 26, 2007

A little segway into the Balkans

Over the next couple of months, a very important geopolitical event is about to take place: Kosovo - one of the more troubled of the nations in the burning Balkans plans to declare itself an independent nation. This will free it of the remote controlled dominance from Serbia and will eventually push Kosovo on the path towards becoming a self reliant nation. All is not that simple and rosy – if it were life would not be easy. Before all of this happens, there are different political constituents jockeying around trying to make sure that this historically subjugated part of what was formerly Yogoslavia remains condemned and relegated to second class status within Serbia.

The cast of actors in this Kabuki play involves:
- Serbia: The ruling political party do not want to let go of Kosovo as they feel that this will give the opposition parties more fuel in their fight for power (there is some kind of an obscure legend that Kosovo has the mythic status as the cradle of Serbian Orthodox Christian history)
- Russia: Who support Serbia position (Well, Russia has few allies in the region and Serbia is one of them. For a wannabe superpower, any flotsam is fine for now).
- America: We support the independence but can do little to affect the outcome as we are mired within the Middle East in a war with no end.
- UN: They support the independence and is the entity with the most leverage to affect the outcome, but is confused by the lobbying employed by powers like EU and Russia and is really flying by the seat of their pants.

It is definitely going to be very interesting come December 10th - the date for the formal announcement of independence by Kosovo. I for one, pray for little bloodshed and for independence - the people here have suffered enough firstly under the bloody genocides perpetrated by Serbian leaders and additionally by the cultural subjugation historically endured by the Albanian majority who reside in Kosovo. They have always reminded me of second class citizens that live in the nether fringes of society little cared for or understood but exist - sort of like the Shrek’s of our world - people take little time in understand them deeper and judge them only by word of mouth and by cursory looks...

An brilliant essay by William Finnegan "Letter from Kosovo - The Countdown" in the Oct 15th issue of New Yorker makes this abundantly clear. Unfortunately I cannot seem to get the link to the full version online.

A better understating surrounding the cultural underpinnings that haunt the denizens of this region may be obtained by reading an essay by Vladimir Arsenijevic titled "Our negroes, our enemies" on signandsight.

It is definitely worth a close read – brings to mind conflicts currently on in Sri Lanka and Iraq – just to name a couple. It also brings to my mind issues faced by untouchables in India.

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