Wednesday, 31 December 2008

My Favourite Celebrities - Balkanian Celebs!!!


This blog post is full of fascinating details and personal opinions of famous people from all over the Former Yugoslavia and the wider Balkan peninsula, who have impressed me with their talents and/or are an inspiration to me.

Here is a list of celebrities, with various levels of fame, whom I admire and/or adore from various parts of South-Eastern Europe, including singers, artists, presidents - hang on, ain't I an Anarchist? - activists, and so on.

  • Balkanian Celebs:


Svetozar Marković

  • Svetozar Marković, political activist and advocate of social change in 19th century Serbia
  • Svetozar was an extensive writer and journalist, whose writings influenced democratic and socialist trends in Serbia. He courted controversy with the Serbian establishment for his radical socialist ideas, and was even imprisioned for a time. And during that century of national liberation from the Ottoman Turks, he feared that Serbia's expansion could lead to a strengthening of bureaucracy in the country. Therefore, in order to avoid such a scenario, he recommended “democratic federalism”, i.e. a decentralised state made up of municipalities functioning in a similar way to the traditional Balkanian zadruga with the state merely as an arbiter, as an alternative.

    Dimitrije Tucović

  • Dimitrije Tucović, socialist leader in 19th and early 20th century Serbia
  • Dimitrije was an advocate for workers' and human rights, gender equality, universal suffrage, social justice and civil liberties in the Kingdom of Serbia. He was also a vocal critic of the nationalistic policies of the “Serbian Bourgeoisie” and denounced the brutality meted out against Albanian civilians in Kosovo and Macedonia, when these two regions were liberated from centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule and incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbia.

    Josip Broz Tito, a.k.a. Marshall Tito

  • Josip Broz Tito, a.k.a. Marshall Tito, President of Yugoslavia and Revolutionary
  • Regardless of any faults or errors on on his part, Tito was a great leader. None of his sucessors from the smaller modern-day republics that were part of his Yugoslavia have so far been able to match his greatness, or ever will match it. I neither say in vain nor pretentiously that, for the former Yugoslavia, he is its Alexander the Great (in both good ways and not so good ways, just to be fair)! He is still an icon and a legend, and in my opinion at least, he was the greatest Croat, the greatest Slovene, and the greatest Yugoslav who ever lived all in one!

    Zoran Đinđić

  • Zoran Đinđić, Democratic Serbian prime minister and one of the leaders of the opposition that toppled Milošević's régime
  • Zoran was a true visionary; he was a man who wanted Serbia to be a better country for everyone to live in. He criticised those who found it easier to just blame everyone else, but not do anything to actually make things better for themselves and those around them. And his speeches were inspirational, encouraging positive thinking and promoting social responsibility among a population otherwise disillusioned with politics and demoralised by years of war, sanctions and isolation.

    Boris Tadić

  • Boris Tadić, Democratic president of Serbia
  • Born in Sarajevo to a Montenegrin father and a mother partly from Bosnia and partly from Lika (like me), I admire Boris as a man of integrity and sound reason. He is the leader of the Democratic Party and follows in the footsteps of the late Zoran Đinđić (above). And compared to the disgraceful politicians of the '90s and those who continue to follow in their footsteps, I think he is a brilliant politician and shows it off for the rest of the Balkans and the wider world to see!

    Ivo Josipović

  • Ivo Josipović, Social-Democratic president of Croatia
  • Born in Zagreb to Dalmatian parents, Ivo is an advocate of equality, human rights and social justice, who has already contributed greatly towards reconciliation in the region. He is a very popular politician in Croatia, and in my opinion, he's an all-round nice guy. His politics is one that promotes tolerance and empathy in Croatian society, and I admire Ivo for his noble efforts towards that goal.

    Čedomir 'Čeda' Jovanović,

  • Čedomir 'Čeda' Jovanović, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Serbia
  • A former vocal member of Democratic Party, Čeda is the founder and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in Serbia, which also follows in the footsteps of the late Zoran Đinđić (above). I admire his liberal thinking and realistic opinions. But I haven't always agreed with the things he's said; I used to find some of his remarks and opinions in the past a little too extreme for my liking, perhaps too nihilistic. Nevertheless, not only have I come to understand the logic of his uncompromising liberal views, but I have actually come to admire them! He's a very good leader for his party, and I definitely like what his party strives for.

    Nenad Čanak

  • Nenad Čanak, founder and leader of the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina
  • Nenad's Čanak family comes from Lika, specifically from the Zrmanja area at the very south. During the '90s, he was an active opponent to Milošević's régime: he was vocal in his support for Vojvodina's autonomy, which Sloba revoked the decade before. This got him labelled a “separatist” by the régime's proponents and media. I admire him for his firmly principled political stances, his logical and analytical manner of explanation, his clear and unbiased knowledge of the region's history, and his sarcastic yet witty humour he employs to lighten up the mood. His reasoned approach to politics and other issues often gets overlooked by those, who'd rather let their disdain for his part in Serbia's opposition to Sloba paint their view of him.

    Rastko Pocesta

  • Rastko Pocesta, teenage Serbian liberal human rights activist
  • I first heard of Rastko while listening to BBC World Radio on my satellite. It was a report about how a young Serbian boy was receiving numerous messages of hostility — and even death-threats — due to his very liberal views from those who are old enough to know better! Among his views, which have incensed many nationalists in Serbia, is his recognition of Kosovo's self-declared independence, his support for Gay rights and his support for Serbia's EU and NATO membership. Although he is caught up in the midst of nationalistic intolerance, the young Rastko is a relentless advocate for a more liberal and pluralistic society for Serbia. I believe his liberalism is an inspiration for the rest of the Balkans, and I wish him all the best in his efforts! (By the way, he's also one of my Facebook friends!)

    Dositej Obradović

  • Dositej Obradović, Serbian author, philosopher, linguist, polyglot and the first minister of education of Serbia
  • Born in Čakovo, a village now in Romania, Dositej was a leading Serbian linguist before the time of Vuk Karadžić, who later became Serbia's first education minister. He travelled throughout the Balkans to encounter Serbs living in different regions, and all over Europe in order to return to Serbia with knowledge and enlightenment. He spent over a year in London, where he fell in love with the English and English culture. Apart from that, Dositej introduced the potato to Serbia in response to recurrent famines suffered by its people, and provided financial support to the First Serbian Uprising against Ottoman Empire in 1804, during which wrote the beautiful hymn 'Vostani Serbije' (“Arise, Serbia”).

    Igor Mandić

  • Igor Mandić, Croatian writer, literary critic, columnist and essayist
  • Born in Šibenik at the start of World War Two, Igor has been a part of the literary scene in Yugoslavia for decades, and continues to be so now since the break-up of the country. In my opinion, he is one of those public speakers in the former Yugoslavia today, who represent the voice of reason in its post-war era. Through the darkness of nationalist rhetoric and hostility between Croats and Serbs, shines a light of conciliatory wit and humour providing heartening relief to both nations. And that's why I always enjoy listening to him on TV and reading his writing. One of my favourite quotes by him is „Put ka boljoj prošlosti!“ (“The way to a better past!”), which ironically refers to the idealised ways people from the war-torn nations prefer to see their nation's history!

    Dušan 'Duško' Radović, Serbian children's writer, poet, journalist, aphorist and TV editor

  • Dušan 'Duško' Radović, renowned Serbian children's writer, poet, journalist, aphorist and TV editor in Communist Yugoslavia
  • Born in the Serbian city of Niš, Duško was a prolific writer, producing a wealth of literature in the form of children's poems and comics filled with realist aphorisms, which express sarcasm and honesty. He was also a critic of many things, and was even at one point expelled from the Communist Party of Yugoslavia! Here is a few of his aphorism: „Samo deca koja ne slušaju mogu postati bolja od svojih roditelja.“ (“Only children who don't listen can become better than their parents!”) „Svaki novi dan je ili nagrada ili kazna za ono što smo juče uradili.“ (“Everyday is either a reward or a punishment for that which we did last night!”) And, „Kad znamo, svi znamo isto, a kad ne znamo, svako ne zna drugačije.“ (“When we know [something], we know the same [thing]; but when we don't know [anything], [no]body knows any different!”)

    Nikola Tesla

  • Nikola Tesla, great Serbian scientist and inventor, and the greatest Serb who ever existed
  • He came from humble beginnings and achieved so much for human kind. He was the son of an Orthodox priest, and although his mother was illiterate, she was very wise and intelligent. He came from the mountainous region of Lika, just like myself; although born in the village of Smiljan near Gospić, his father came from Raduč on the road between Gospić and Gračac, and his mother came from Tomingaj just north of Gračac! He discovered so much regarding electricity and invented so many things using it, and yet he died penniless and broke. Unfortunately, he is still not so well known to many people in the West, but that is slowly changing already. Vječna mu Slava!

    Vlade Divac

  • Vlade Divac, Serbian basketball player and humanitarian

  • Serbia's tennis players, Ana Ivanović, Jelena Janković and Novak Đoković
  • For being such positive people and making Serbia look good in the world! And let's not forget Janko Tipsarević and Nenad Zimonjić! Though whatever happened to Jelena Dokić?

    The Beautiful Esma Redžepova
  • Esma Redžepova, Macedonian Romani singer and humanitarian
  • A fantastic singer of traditional Gypsy music, Esma has for decades blessed the Balkans with the beauty of her voice and soul. Some of her hits include 'Chaje Shukarije', 'Romano Oro' and my favourite 'Ciganka je malena'. Apart from music, she has also been heavily involved in charity work, and has even fostered dozens of children with her late husband and manager Stevo Teodosievski! Esma is a truely wonderful woman and an inspiration to us all.

    Jašar Ahmedovski

  • Jašar Ahmedovski, Macedonian Turbo-folk singer
  • I love the strength and elegance of his voice and the oriental melody of his songs. He also betrays such handsome vulnerability in his singing too, and he betrays a certian innocence in his manner! He sings with heart and soul, and I feel I can actually identify/connect with his voice and his songs!

    Sinan Sakić

  • Sinan Sakić, Serbian Romani singer
  • I love Sinan's music: I love melodies of his songs, be it traditional Balkanian or a mix of traditional and modern styles; I love the lyrics of his songs expressing love, loss and misfortune in life; and of course, I love his way of singing in the traditional Gypsy style.

    Mile Kitić

  • Mile Kitić, Bosnian Serb Turbo-folk singer
  • This man from Derventa in Bosnia is, I tell you, the Robbie Williams of Turbo-folk music! The lyrics of his songs actually tell the listener great stories. And when you listen to his voice, it sounds like the voice of a wise man.

    DJ Krmak, aka. Goran Žižak

  • DJ Krmak, aka. Goran Žižak, Bosnian Serb Tecno-folk singer
  • He is a great entertainer, I love his wacky style! I love the beat and melody of his songs, and he sings in that true folk-music way.

  • Saša & Dejan Matić, Bosnian Serb singers and musicians
  • From the ethnic-Serb town of Drvar in Western Bosnia, these twin brothers, both born blind, have made great careers for themselves with their music and songs, particularly Saša. Their songs are great for relaxing to or for dancing to, and are bound to put you in a good mood.


  • Azis, aka. Vasil Troyanov Boyanov, Bulgarian Romani Chalga (pop-folk) singer
  • I love his songs (I can sing a few!), and I love his flamboyant personality. He is beautiful, and he's the Gay icon for the whole of the Balkans (no pun intended!).

    Sofi Marinova

  • Sofi Marinova, Bulgarian Romani Chalga (pop-folk) singer

  • Ivan Plavšić

  • Ivan Plavšić, disabled Serbian singer and humanitarian

  • Nick Vujičić
  • Nick Vujičić, disabled Austalian public speaker of Serbian descent
  • What an inspirational man! I first heard of Nick by watching this deeply humbling YouTube video a cousin sent me by e-mail. He's a man who defies his severe physical disabilities to promote a positive outlook on life through motivational speeches he's been giving all around the world. These are two of his quotes: “Motivation gets you through the day, but inspiration lasts a lifetime” (very true, indeed); and “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!”. See his websites: Life without Limbs - From no limbs, to no limits and Attitude is Altitude.

    (Wasn't sure whether to place Nick on this list or the list dedicated to Celebs from the rest of the world!!! (Not yet set up) But I decided since he is of Serb descent to place him here.)

    Srđan 'Srđo' Aleksić

  • Srđan 'Srđo' Aleksić, Bosnian Serb soldier
  • Born in the Herzegovinian town of Trebinje, Srđo found his hometown plunged into a bloody inter-ethnic conflict, that turned his fellow Serbs against their Muslim neighbours. However, in the midst of this chaos, he saw a Muslim man called Alen Glavović being physically attacked by a mob of Serb soldiers. Srđo confronted those harrassers ordering them to leave Alen alone. By doing so, he saved Alen's life, but unfortunately lost his own to his fellow Serbs. His story is one of many during that cursed war in Bosnia, in which brutality prevailed over decency, and everything that was beautiful and cherished was crushed and destroyed by hate and violence.



    See also:

  • Who am I?
  • Thursday, 25 December 2008

    Britić, The British Serb Quarterly

    I received a lovely pre-Chirstmas present today! It's only the first ever edition of a new British Serb quarterly magazine called Britić! A magazine, catering for the Serbian diaspora in Britain, hence the quaint and yet so appropriate name! And as one of its editors writes on page 3, "Britić aims to provide connections between and a forum for all Serbs in the UK". Just what the doctor ordered!

    The first letter of its name is actually written like a Cyrillic Б, but with a round loop as that of the small Roman letter b, thus demonstrating a blend of both Cyrillic and Roman alphabets, which is an appropriate depiction of the integration of Serbs in Britain into British life. (See the website)

    Again on page 3 of this Božić (i.e. Christmas) 2008 edition, where on the top of the page you see the Serbian coat of arms with the Serbian crown atop, but supported by the British heraldic lion on the lefthand-side and the royal unicorn on the righthand-side above blank mottos, this magazine claims to be an "extraordinary social experiment", as the reader is informed that they will only receive future publications of this fledgling magazine if they subscribe to it, constituting a real test to see how much of a community we British Serbs really are.

    The two main editors of this magazine, Stan Smiljanić and Aleks Simić, are also the owners of Britic Media Limited in Bedford, an English town with a significant Serbian population, while the printing of this magazine is done 18 miles south in Luton of all places! (That's where I live, by the way!) And they also state that they have "no political affiliations that are relevant to Serb issues and will tolerate a variety of views being expressed in these pages", which is excellent, so long as they're not "gratuitously offensive, libellous or just boring".

    Britić is "produced by Serbs for Serbs", and is aimed at British born Serbs, descendants of Serbian immigrants from the 1940s and later, whom it claims are the "largest demographic Serb group" in Britain. Because of which - unless you haven't already guessed it - the magazine is written primarily in English. Nevertheless, it is hoped that this edition "will be the start of a long and interesting relationship with British Serbs", which will also "lead to a stronger and better defined community".

    As for the contents of the magazine, Britić explores a number of Serb-related issues, be they concerning the Serbian diaspora here in Britain or concerning our people back home in the Balkans. It looks at Culture, Media, Politics, Sport, Property and other current events. It informs the reader with up-coming events such as Church Services in different towns round Britain along with a compact Church Calendar to help remind us of fasting rules, and also includes announcements from friends and family from all over the place wishing their kith and kin wherever they are a Sretna Slava, a Happy Birthday, or congratulating them on some enterprise (such as the very launch of Britić for its editors Aleks and Stan!). There are numerous advertisements advertising services such as lawyers, food products like kobasice & ćevape, and a professional icongrapher with contact details. And towards the end, it has a Kitchen Corner with "Recipes from home", along with a few puzzles such as one wordsearch to find towns and cities in Serbia and a matching puzzle, in which you match Serbian towns to their population size. Precisely what every diaspora magazine should have!

    Britić has also made an exclusive interview with Serbian tennis player Nenad Zimonjić by editor Stan Smiljanić, who is now a champion at Wimbledon and an expectant father. It examines Novi Sad's famous EXIT festival, which receives 160,000 visitors and 600 artists performing on 25 stages! Believe it or not, Bob Marley now has a statue of himself in Serbia's Banat region fashioned by a Croatian sculptor! And there is even a review of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, with its hero/anti-hero the fictional Serbian war veteran Niko Bellic!

    Subscription is free of charge as is delivery, and if you fill out and send the subscription form on page 30, you might also win a free iPod!

    Just to finish this post. When asked what message he would like to give Britić readers in its exclusive interview with him, Nenad Zimonjić answered with the following:

    "It is really nice to see our people all around the world when I travel. They stay connected in societies, through Church and like you're doing now with the magazine trying to keep our people together. I think that is important, even if some of them do not live in Serbia. For us athletes like tennis players or other artists it is always nice when we hear support from our own people so please keep it up and try not to forget your backgorund, where you come from."

    [My Emphasis in bold]

    So you can be sure that I for one will subscribe to this new British Serb magazine, Britić!

    Visit the website by clicking here, where you can also subscribe online.

    Wednesday, 17 December 2008

    In Memory, STEVO JAKŠIĆ (1938 - 2008)

    Stevo Jakšić, my father


    1.10.1938 - 29.6.2008

    This blog post is dedicated to my father who passed away this year in June. He was 69 years old and had been suffering from heart problems before he left us. He was a seller of antique watches and was exceptionally skillful at repairing them.

    He was born a year before the Second World War began in Europe. He, like his two brothers and two sisters, was born on a hill called Šibulja near the village of Malovan in the Gračac municipality located in southern Lika. During that great war, his father took him and his family many kilometres north to take refuge in a little village in western Bosnia called Mišljenovac in the Cazinska Krajina, and there they managed to avoid the gruesome atrocities committed by the fascist Ustaše that took the lives of many of his fellow Serbs throughout Lika and the wider Independent State of Croatia. Had he and his family not survived that aweful annihilation, I would never have been born! And not just me, but many others!

    After the war was over and the Partisans had won, his family returned to Šibulja, and life was tough living there surrounded by wild untamed nature and far from any sign of civilization! The Winters were ice cold with snow a metre to two metres high, and the Summers were scorching hot. My dad went to school in another nearby village called Vučipolje and later finished 8-year school in Gračac, following which he did his conscription service for the Yugoslav people's Army ('Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija') in his early twenties. And for four to five years after that, he was a postman serving Gračac and the wider municipality. Even now he is known to many from the Gračac area as Stevo Poštar ('Postman Steve')!

    My dad in the sixties
    He left Lika for England in 1965, settling in Bedford, where there were quite a few Serbs who settled there following WW2 and others who came in the 50s and 60s like himself. He lived with his brother Adam and his wife Vida, and worked in the brick factory there.

    In 1968, Adam died aged only 44, while later in the year my father married his first wife Persida, a woman from Niš in Serbia. They moved to London and later settled in Acton, where they had three daughters, my half-sisters. He spent many a Saturday on the world-famous Portobello Road Market in Kensington, London, selling antique watches and mingling with other antique dealers. He met many people there from all over the world and he himself was known to many people. While at home, he would mend, repair and even paint the dials of the many pocket watches he sold through the years, that themselves travelled the length and breadth of the world with their buyers!

    Unfortunately, his marriage to Persida did not last and they divorced in 1985. After the divorce, my father went back to Gračac, where he met my mother Milica from the nearby village of Štikada. They married in November of the same year, and in February 1986 I was born in Zagreb, the capital of the then Socialist Republic of Croatia ('Socijalistička Republika Hrvatska') in the Yugoslav federation.

    When I was five months old, they moved into a flat in Greencroft Gardens, London, and stayed there for two years, eventually buying a house in a town called Luton, 31 miles north of the city of London and 18 miles south of Bedford. My father continued to travel to London every Saturday to sell antique pocket watches to the passers-by of Portobello Market, until 2001 when he switched to ebay, and continued his profession on the internet super-highway! And the pocket watches he sold on ebay were packaged and sent to all the four corners of the world. Some of them are even in museums.

    I grew up living with both my parents in Luton for twenty years. I and my mum also travelled far and wide with my dad across Europe in a number of Volvo estate cars! But he used to have two Vauxhall Senators many years ago before the Volvos.

    Religiously speaking, my dad was an atheist, because he hated the religious conflicts that caused so much suffering to humanity, especially religious division that created deep hostilities between nations that are culturally and linguistically the same, such as the Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. And politically speaking, he was a left-wing socialist, supportive of workers' rights and dignity and resentful of wealthy, selfish Western capitalists. And just so you know, Marshall Josip Broz Tito was definitely one of his heroes!


    On the 29th of June of this year 2008, my father Stevo Jakšić departed this world following a deterioration of health, which made his daily life very difficult to live. He is sorely missed by many of his closest relatives, and fondly missed by many more who knew him from Portobello market and back home by his fellow countrymen and extended family.

    Počivaj u miru tata - Neka ti je vječna slava i fala od sina svoga!

    Edited 28th December, 2008; 10th May, 2011

    Saturday, 24 May 2008

    Elections, Elections, EUROVISION!!!!!!

    I haven't been writing much recently. I know.

    Of course, there was another election in Serbia recently. It has been said that voting has become a national pasttime in Serbia! Boris Tadić's Democratic Party did very well, but the pro-Europe parties, among which are parties representing Serbia's various ethnic minorities, did not win enough seats in the national parliament to form a majority in government!

    But I'm much more interested in the Eurovision Song Contest that Serbia is presenting this year! As you remember from only a year ago when I started this blog, Serbia won last year's Eurovision in Helsinki with Marija Šerifović's song Molitva! This year, Serbia's entry will be Oro sung by the lovely Jelena Tomašević along with flutist Bora Dugić, and who knows, we might win it again!

    I am already impressed with what Serbia is offering for this year's Eurovision! I'm really happy for Serbia, and other media have noticed how the Serbs are doing a great job of showing themselves in a good light. I like the presenters of this year's show Željko Joksimović and Jovana Janković (see her Chickipedia page). Both are glamorous, pristine and buzzing with confidence and positivity! In fact, this year's entries are full of glamorous women, like Greece's American-born Kalomoira with Secret Combination, and the Ukraine's Ani Lorak, who's singing Shady Lady! Yikes!

    But I do like Britain's song Even if sung by ex-binman and X-Factor contestant Andy Abrahams! And I like Israel's song Ke'ilo Kan (The Fire in your eyes) by Boaz Mauda.

    Unfortunately, three songs I liked didn't make it pass the semi-finals. Specifically, Malta's entry Vodka sung by the hot and fabulous Morena (who is known as a "mediterranean volcano"!), Estonia's Leto Svet by Kreisiraadio (which has a bit of Serbian, German and Finnish!), and who wouldn't like Ireland's Dustin the Turkey with Irelande Douze Pointe (that Eurodance beat in that song sounds a bit Serbian to me, don't you think?)!

    But here's the song I think will win!

    Wednesday, 30 April 2008

    Serbia has signed the SAA!

    YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!! But Koštunica and co. can't help themselves!

    Serbian deputy prime minister Božidar Đelić signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union yesterday. The signing was attended by Serbian president Boris Tadić and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić. Both Božidar and Boris spoke in Serbian to show that the language is part of Europe.

    I think it's brilliant that Serbia is officially on its way to joining the European Union. Getting closer to the EU will help Serbia economically and politically, and so it can only be a good thing for the country. Of course, the EU itself is not some kind of "Garden of Eden", but Serbia is not a big country and neither is it a very rich one. So joining the EU is indeed the best option for Serbia.

    But there are people like Serbian prime minister Vojislav Koštunica and coalition partner Velimir Ilić that have been speaking out against the upcoming - now completed - signing of the agreement, saying things like it will only be signed in Boris Tadić's name not in Serbia's, and since there will be an election next month, how when they get into govenment they will abolish it. And now that it has been signed, Velimir Ilić has yesterday in front of a rally attended by Koštunica himself, openly branded President Tadić a "traitor". That's just outrageous and so reminiscent of Radical rhetoric!

    Their problem lies in the fact that in the agreement itself, it does write that, "This agreement does not apply to Kosovo". And because of this, they claim that the agreement that Serbia would sign - and now has - would recognise the Kosovo Albanians' unilateral declaration independence.

    And so Koštunica and co. have been speaking out against an agreement that will only lead the way to improve Serbia's economy and position in the world. What fools!

    Anyway, there will be elections in May in Serbia, a general election and a mayoral election for Belgrade. And guess which party I'm strongly supporting? I'm strongly inclined towards the Liberal Democrat Party of Čedomir Jovanović, and for Belgrade Biljana Srbljanović, believe it or not! I like their party's liberal ideology, their appreciation of reality which includes acceptance of the past and their all-round positivity. Čedomir has impressed me with his speeches, while Biljana would make a great mayoress for the capital! Definitely like them.

    Edited: 1st May 2008

    Friday, 18 April 2008

    Another catch-up!

    Sorry for not writing in over a month!

    I'm spending much of my internet time on the Gračac forum (link on the left) and have only been checking my Sitemeter profile to check the number of visits to this blog and page views. I have done some editing on the Who am I? page, though.

    Also, I've noticed that my eyes are hurting more the longer I'm on the computer. Me and my dad have changed the position of my computer at least a couple of times. But, nevertheless, if I stay for too long, they hurt. Therefore, I need to spend much less time on the comp!!!

    Still, back to the Balkans. Kosovo Albanian politician and former KLA fighter Ramush Haradinaj was found not guilty of crimes against humanity by the Hague Tribunal this month. This news was not taken well in Serbia, as was Naser Orić's acquittal of many charges a couple of years ago (Orić was nevertheless convicted of failing to prevent the murder and inhumane treatment of Serb prisoners).

    Also, a few famous Ex-Yu people died recently: Janez Drnovšek, Slovenian president, died aged 57 in February; Boris Dvornik, Croatian actor from Split, starred in famous series like Velo Misto and films, died aged 68 in March; Staniša Stošić, Serbian singer from the Vranje region, famous for singing many beautiful Serbian songs from his home region, died aged 63 this month.

    Next month, Serbia will go through another general election! AAAAAARRRGGHHH!!!

    See ya!

    Saturday, 1 March 2008

    Serious points about Kosovo's self declared independence hardly mentioned by others

    Kosovo's Albanian leaders have declared independence from Serbia. But what has happened since?

    Albanians in the province-turned-self-declared-state celebrated it, along with fellow ethnics in Europe and America. Serbs in Kosovo, on the other hand, have demonstrated against it, along with their fellow ethnics in Serbia, Bosnia and elsewhere. Both reactions were to be expected, just not some of the actions we've seen, such as the burning of other countries' embassies in Belgrade.

    Many countries in Europe - read, in the European Union (EU) - were keen to recognise Kosovo's independence from Serbia, convinced that it is the best solution for the province, as does America. (The EU, of course, has recently sent in EULEX to help form a new legislative infrastructure in Kosovo.) Russia opposes it, convinced that it could set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the world, and Spain within the EU opposes it, along with a few other EU countries, due to internal problems with separatists of their own.

    Serbia doesn't want to recognise the self-declared republic of Kosovo; a large body of Serbs don't want to recognise it. And you know what? They don't have to. It's their right not to recognise it, just like it is the right of other countries like Albania and other private individuals around the world to do the opposite.

    There are many problems with the unilateral declaration of independence, however peaceful and dignified the ceremony in Priština was. However, I want to share other reasons that I have never heard specifically mentioned by any one else. Maybe alluded to by others, but not explicitly and not with great focus.

    But first of all, let me tell you what I think isn't the problem, or isn't just the problem. It's:

    1. NOT Koštunica, and I have to say this, because there are people who are actually blaming him for the way Serbs in Kosovo and Belgrade have reacted to the declaration! At the recent rally in Belgrade, he gave a very patriotic, even nationalistic, speech against Kosovo's independence and separation from Serbia. But I can't take such an accusation seriously. You see, what these people are forgetting is that Vojislav Koštunica represents what many Serbs already think and feel about Kosovo and other issues without him having to mention anything openly. Those young men who attacked the embassies in Belgrade might have felt encouraged to do so by the rally, which was attended by hundreds of thousands of people, if not a million, and many famous people from Serbia and neighbouring countries spoke there - not just Koštunica. But Vojislav himself can't be held personally responsible for such vandalism. (By the way, I don't agree with many of Dr. Vojislav Koštunica's views; some of them are just not impractical and thus, not helpful/beneficial for Serbia.) Also it's

    2. NOT JUST Milošević, who, as we know, caused a lot of the modern-day problems that the people of Kosovo face, both Serbian and Albanian though in different ways and for the other minorities. And of course,

    3. it's NOT about "Greater Albania", even if some Albanians want it! (Actually, Kosovo Albanians prefer the independent state option and no doubt Albanians in Albania do as well, presumeably seeing such a state as a "natural ally" in the region.)

    This issue is, of course, a statist issue: specifically, a region within a state has declared independence from the mother state, which in turn doesn't recognise its declaration nor its new-found existence. Being an anarchist, I don't believe in the concept of states. In fact, because of what is happening with Kosovo, my belief in the anti-state principles of Anarchism is that much justified.

    For me, the problems in Kosovo between Serbs and Albanians, which I hardly hear anyone mention are these three things:

    1. Lack of TRUST;

    And hence,


    Kosovo Albanians have wanted independence for a long time, and no doubt with even greater determination since the Kosovo war that ended almost ten years ago in 1999. Because of the recent events in history, and also before, they don't want to be part of Serbia any more. Kosovo Albanians don't trust Serbia, which is, considering the history, understandable. But what doesn't seem to occur to many of them and even other people (!) - or at least I haven't seen that it substantially has - is that Kosovo Serbs don't trust them, i.e. Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo governmental institutions.

    The distrust that Kosovo Serbs have for Kosovo Albanians has existed for a very long time. Even during Tito's Yugoslavia, there was, let's just say, nowhere near as much social cohesion - read, "Brotherhood & Unity" (Bratstvo i Jedinstvo) - between them as there was between Serbs, Croats and Muslims in Bosnia, where there were plenty of mixed marriages.

    And just to set the record staright, it wasn't Milošević who created this distrust that Kosovo Serbs feel for Kosovo Albanians; he infamously utilised it! (Remember "Niko ne sme da vas bije" and the revocation of Kosovo's autonomy? There you go.) And neither did Koštunica create it; he just doesn't have either the ability or the will or both of which to remedy such sentiment.

    And so, Kosovo Albanians have declared independence for Kosovo without truly and meaningfully securing the trust of Kosovo Serbs. That is really amazing. I don't know whether they know how to encourage Kosovo Serbs to trust them or whether they even want to. But it's amazing how even now that Kosovo Albanians have declared independence, Kosovo Serbs still look to Belgrade. And although it is true that Dr. Vojislav Koštunica and others have discouraged Serbs in the region from participating in Kosovo institutions lest they tacitly recognise its independence and separation from Serbia, I repeat that he is NOT to blame for the distrust that Kosovo Serbs feel and have felt for a very long time for Kosovo Albanians and institutions run by them. Period.

    And this is where the second problem I mentioned above has prolonged this problem.

    A major problem that no-one seems to have considered (!) is the utter lack of inter-ethnic dialogue between Serbs and Albanians. Sure, Kosovo Albanian leaders and Serbian leaders from Belgrade have done many rounds of negotiation regarding the future status of Kosovo over the past few years. It's good that there was even that kind of dialogue! But what about dialogue between ordinary Kosovo Serbs and Albanians, the civilian populaton? Hmm?

    Even in Israel/Palestine, further southeast of the Balkans, there is some form of interethnic relations between Jews and Arabs in the heart of the Middle East, while virtually nothing - NOTHING - of the sort can be said for Serbs and Albanians in southern Europe! Indeed, for many Serbs and Albanians, Serbo-Albanian relations don't even exist.

    And so I ask myself, are Serbs and Albanians not ashamed of themselves? Israelis and Palestinians who live on the centuries disputed Holy Land have better relations with one another than Serbs and Albanians who live in the heart of southeastern Europe! Israelis and Palestinians get on much better with one another than Serbs and Albanians!!!

    Many Serbs view the Albanians of Kosovo as a completely "alien" group of people, no better than "interlopers", even though the overwhelming majority of them have ancestors who lived in the region going back hundreds of years. On the other hand, Albanians look at Serbs from Kosovo as somehow eternally "influenced by Belgrade", even when they are expressing deeply rooted fears that they have felt throughout their lives living there.

    (Oh, it's easy to blame Serbian leaders from Belgrade for such sentiments Kosovo Serbs harbor! But actually, dear readers, such attitude is highly short-sighted and grossly ignorant.)

    As you've seen on the news, Kosovo Serbs wave Serbian flags, proclaiming "Kosovo is Serbia!", and most importantly, they wholeheartedly reject the independence of Kosovo that other countries perhaps blindly recognise, and make it clear that Kosovo is still territorially part of Serbia and that they recognise no separation from Serbia. Kosovo Albanians wave Albanian flags and flags of other countries, proudly proclaiming "Kosova is free!", and no longer consider their towns and villages to be part of Serbia (of course, they haven't done so for a long time).

    I saw the rally in Belgrade, Serbia, attended by hundreds of thousands of Serbs, maybe even a million, voicing loudly their great opposition to Kosovo independence. In Priština, Albanians were dancing and singing on the streets and scribbling on the newly erected "New Born" sculpture.

    These two people just don't talk to one another! And when they do, they're just rude and abusive to one another, and such dialogue can never be described as "civilised". Serbs relate the things they know, heard of, believe and feel about Kosovo, and are bewildered by what Albanians recount to them; and Albanians are likewise bewildered at what Serbs tell them, and share with them what they know, heard of, believe and feel. Rudeness, abuse, inconsideration and ignorance abound, and they are seen on and come from both sides. There is therefore a lack of basic understanding between the two, or like I mentioned above, lack of inter-communal understanding.

    Kosovo Serbs don't understand why Kosovo Albanians don't feel safe under Belgrade and Serbia; while Kosovo Albanians, and perhaps other countries, don't understand why Kosovo Serbs feel that only under Serbian sovereignty and Belgrade can they feel safe.

    And yet, should you try to explain to the other side what they other side thinks, there is sheer dismissal from both sides; the other side is either deluded or just tells lies. No compassion and no understanding. Appalling.

    So along with distrust, there is a lot of contempt as well: Albanians have a lot of contempt for Serbs, based on their own historical experience; and likewise, Serbs have contempt for Albanians, but not based on the same historical experience.

    I'm not going to beat around the bush. I have never supported Kosovo independence before, and now that its Albanian leaders have declared it, not to mention unilaterally (which means without either the consent of or based on any agreement with Belgrade), I can truly see how it is in no way the solution to the above-mentioned problems.

    In my opinion, only one country can give the self-declared republic any legitimacy, and that's Serbia. Not America or the EU, and certainly not Albania or the Turkish Republic of Cyprus! It's Serbia's inherent right as a state to either accept or reject the secession of a region within its sovereign territory, without being pressured either way.

    The only true solution to the Kosovo issue is not for Priština or Brussels to force Kosovo Serbs and Belgrade to accept the self-declared independence, or God forbid another war, but inter-ethnic dialogue between the Serbian and Albanian people, through which the two people can raise their concerns to one another in a civilised and non-abusive manner. Everything that could be helpful and prove beneficial for both peoples, will come from that.

    Of course, it would be better if there were NO states on the planet and hence no borders. But even I acknowledge that we don't live in such a world.

    We are dealing with people's emotions here, you know. I have seen so many times how national pride is something so strongly linked - inextricably so - to one's own sense of personal dignity. So let us bear that in mind when dealing with Kosovo and other issues throughout the war-torn Western Balkans, the former Yugoslavia.

    Friday, 22 February 2008

    Problem solved!

    The guy I mentioned last post who made that profile on France 24's the Observers though I didn't say I wanted it, has deleted it for me!

    Now I feel better, and of course, I sent him my thanks.


    Recently, someone from the France 24's the Observers site wanted to interview me about my recent post about Kosovo (whose comment can be read at the bottom of all the comments). He sent me an email inviting me to be a member of the site.

    I don't really want another profile on the net, 'cause I'm happy with what I've got. That's why I replied to him telling him I wanted an interview without mentioning the other proposition, hoping he would understand that I just wanted an interview.

    However, I did get a profile I did not ask for. See here (you can tell me whether you think I should keep it). I realise now that I should have explicitly told him that I did not want a profile; I was naïve enough to think he would understand what I was implying when I did not mention that I wanted him to make a profile for me.

    Not only that, much of my recent blog post got transcribed here, under the title "We've earned our independence". Not only that, the person who transcribed my blog post there interpreted some of my words in a way I did not suggest or imply:

    Alan Jakšić, a Serbo-Croatian now living in London, recognises that preventing the region's autonomy is impossible but wonders what will happen to the Serbian minority in Kosovo and worries that their situation may be similar to that of Palestine.

    I believe the writer was interpreting these words I wrote: "there's really nothing I can do to stop them". When I wrote that, I meant that I can't oppose the the will of the Kosovo Albanians. I never suggested that it's imposible to prevent the region's "autonomy" (hasn't the writer been watching the news lately? "Independence" is the buzz word, Duh…).

    Obviously, I am alarmed that someone has made a profile for me I didn't ask for (in fact, I couldn't find where to log in to that "account"!). Uncomfortable that someone added an interpretation of my words that I never suggested nor implied. And bothered that my blog post got transcribed onto a page titled "We've earned our independence".

    I left two comments under that article and sent an angry email to the man who made the profile

    One more day, one more year.

    Birthday today. 22 already. Gosh…

    (For more coverage see my MySpace blog)

    Sunday, 17 February 2008

    It looks like it's coming

    Well, we've been holding out for so long (a good old Serbian tactic!), avoiding Kosovo independence. But from what we're hearing and seeing on the news, it looks like it will be coming this time, and very soon. Kosovo Albanians from the diaspora have come in large numbers to their homeland, and don't want to be disappointed!

    Of course, Kosovo raises many issues for us Serbs and represents many things. It is a major part of our national identity, considering our history. I also consider Kosovo as having played an important part in our history, in that a number of events in our history either occurred there, or were in some way linked to that small plot of land. Particularly the famous 1389 Battle of Kosovo between Prince Lazar (known in folklore as Emperor Lazar) and Sultan Murat, which represented on the one hand the cause of the Serbian people's centuries-long suffering under Ottoman rule, and on the other hand our determination to free ourselves from such bondage.

    Also in terms of geneology, or rodoslovlje in our language, many of my people's ancestors, perhaps my ancestors among them, were born, lived and died in Kosovo, not to mention left their land for a number of historical reasons, considering the major migrations my people have undergone. And being a Croatian Serb, I can be sure that my ancestors lived in many different parts of the Western Balkans further south and east from where my more recent ancestors lived.

    However, the reality of the past often differs sharply from the reality of the present. Things change, many things and dramatically. Not to mention how history itself is quite often not so straightforward!

    I mentioned in "My opinion on Kosovo", that the Kosovo issue may remain "for many years to come an unresolved conflict, like Cyprus or Palestine". Now, it looks like it might resolve itself sooner. But who knows? Maybe Kosovo could find itself in the same position as Taiwan; recognised by some, not by others.

    Serbia, unless you already know, has already declared in advance null and void any declaration of independence coming from Priština. And I don't think Serbia's government will change its position anytime soon, and I don't think Serbia should be compelled to either. And dare I remind you that partitioning the province has likewise been swiftly rejected by Serbia.

    With regards to the seemingly upcoming declaration of independence by Kosovo's Albanian leaders, there's really nothing I can do to stop them, and not just because I am located thousands of miles away. These Albanian leaders represent over 1.6 million Albanians in the province, the vast, over-whelming majority of whom want the land they live on to become its own state separate from Serbia, and have wanted it since 1999 and even before.

    Personally, I'm mostly worried about the Kosovo Serbs, my fellow ethnics in the province who live as a beleaguered minority. I hope that they will stay in the province and maintain links with the perhaps soon-to-be reduced Serbia, and not leave in great number from their homes and villages. However, I have seen on the news that the UN is already prepared to offer aid to these could-be future refugees in the north of the province.

    One idea I heard the Serbian president Boris Tadić mention is a possible Kosovo Serb parliament to represent all the Serbs in the province. I think this could be a good idea, as such an institution could make the province's Serbs feel represented by a major institution whose members they would be able to elect. And as such, it could provide Serbs with the reassurance they need to stay in Kosovo. Whatever the relationship this possible institution might have with Priština's government, if it even gets established, waits to be seen.

    Ethnic composition of Kosovo (2005) (Image from Wikipedia)
    I also wonder what the other minorities in Kosovo will do; what their position is and how they will react to a unilateral declaration by Albanians. What is the position of the province's Roma population, many of whom still live internally displaced in the province's refugee camps? What about the Muslim Goranis, Turks and Bosniaks, Albanian-speaking Ashkalis & Egyptians, and what will the small number of the ethnic Croat Janjevci still left in the province do? And will these groups look to Serbia for support like the Kosovo Serbs, or will they readily accept living in an independent Kosovo separate from Serbia and become self-declared citizens thereof and active participants of its society?

    God knows what will happen…


    Monday, 4 February 2008

    Presidential elections in Serbia - Results

    Here I am again.

    The voting finished a few hours ago. The results have come in.

    And one word: Phew!

    From Centar za slobodne izbore i demokratiju (CeSID) with number of votes and percentage:

    1. Tomislav Nikolić 2177872 47.9%
    2. Boris Tadić 2294605 50.5%

    From Republička Izborna Komisija (RIK) with percentage only:

    1. Tomislav Nikolić 47.18%
    2. Boris Tadić 51.16%

    Although in an ideal world there would be no states and borders, no governments and politicians, and hence no need for elections, this is a good result.

    And one more word: Hooray!!!

    Presidential elections in Serbia!!!

    The first round of elections has past (20th January), the second one is today.

    Tomislav Nikolić of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) of course won the first round with 39.4%, Boris Tadić of the Democratic Party (DS) with 35.4%. (See CeSID)

    For the Radicals, taking first place in the first round is nothing new. It happened in 2004. (Again CeSID) On the one hand, they are populists who use Patriotism and Nationalism to woo and inspire the populace, and have done so for for nearly two decades. On the other hand, that the SRS scores so well in elections is often interpreted as a protest vote against the perception of the pro-Western Democratic government having done "nothing" to improve people's lives and the economy, which many people in Serbia do hold. Fortunately, Boris Tadić (Once more, CeSID) won in the second round, and looking back, it was no doubt the best choice.

    Boris Tadić has proven himself more than capable of running a country in Serbia's position, bearing in mind its recent past. Under him, Serbia has slowly improved its reputation in the world. And whenever Serbia gets a good word said for her, it's that much better for us Serbs in the Diaspora and fellow Serbs in neighbouring countries like Croatia, where I come from. Of course, good energy spreads!

    Also, following last year's general elections, Serbia gained a stable government after years of political instability under a minority government, that depended on the SRS and Milošević's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). Therefore, one would expect that there will be enough voters in Serbia itself, who will vote for Boris Tadić in this second round, and thus not jeopardize this new found political stability that Serbia has attained. Indeed, Tadić has described these elections as having a "referendum character", between a European future, i.e. as an EU member state, and political instability and possible isolation from the world.

    Back to the Diaspora, according to Serbia's very own Diaspora Minister Milica Čubrilo, Diaspora Serbs usually vote for the Democratic option. Diaspora Serbs don't want their country Serbia to go through the instability of the 90s again, and they also don't want the lives of their relatives back home to again be destabilized.

    Returning to these elections, three major parties, Vojislav Koštunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), Čedomir Jovanović's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the SPS under Milutin Mrkonjić have chosen not to support either candidate in this stage of the elections. Mrkonjić's Socialists won't support either Tadić or Nikolić for ideological reasons. Koštunica's DSS has chosen not to support Tadić, because they oppose Serbia signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union as a form of "compensation" for the loss of the breakaway southern province of Kosovo. While Jovanović's LDP has chosen not to support Tadić, because their parties didn't reach an agreement on cooperation. The LDP at least believes their voters will be on the "right side, the side of Democracy and a European Serbia", therefore not discouraging voters from voting in the second round. While the reason the DSS has given is very impractical.

    I have felt nervous today. Wasn't so nervous the previous days, but now that it's the "day of reckoning", I do feel that bit more! I really don't want Nikolić to win. I can understand why many people may vote for him, but they should really think about us in the Diaspora.

    Read results:
    Presidential elections in Serbia - Results

    Friday, 1 February 2008

    God bless you, Jeremy!

    Comedy genius Jeremy Beadle


    Jeremy Beadle died yesterday, only 59 years old of Pneumonia. He suffered from Leukemia, but you'd never expect this. And once again, he was only 59 years old!

    He was a famous British TV presenter, writer and producer. I used to watch his programme "You've been framed" as a child growing up in England and other entertaining programmes he presented.

    Indeed, news of his death came as a surprise to me. I entered my dad's room, they were showing some old TV clip from the 80s, my mum mentioned that the presenter of "You've been framed" died, and yet I was wondering while watching the TV screen, "Could it be" or "it can't be Jeremy Beadle!"

    Not only was he a comedy genius, he raised lots of money to help children suffering from Leukemia, millions and over many, many years. Many people, now adults, survived the illness as children thanks to him.

    So here's to you, Jeremy Beadle!

    Friday, 25 January 2008

    Someone got their facts wrong!

    UPDATE: 3rd February

    Recently, I wrote about how George Clooney and Sharon Stone were going to organise a protest against Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Well, it turns out that it's not true.

    This comes from George Clooney - Clooney Studio:

    January 22 2008

    George Clooney Kosovo independence rumours: FALSE (see Jan. 20 news) George Clooney's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, today confirmed to that George "neither made those statements nor did he authorize anyone to make it on his behalf."

    And this is the news dated January 20 2008 again from George Clooney's site:

    George Clooney Kosovo independence protest reports There are internet reports claiming George Clooney issued a statement to Frankfurt Daily News saying that, together with Sharon Stone, he'll organise a protest against attempts to grant independence to Kosovo. A Serbian TV news clip* being the source. contacted publicist Stan Rosenfield, who replied "I do not believe it is accurate but haven't spoken with George in last couple of days."

    * That is the same news clip from RTS I linked to in my own blog post dealing with this alleged future protest.

    I thought that it might be true. But then again, I was suspicious as to why famous people like George Clooney would want to protest against Kosovo's independence on behalf of Serbia. Considering which, if you look at the title of my post "Clooney & Hollywood for Kosovo in Serbia?", you will notice that I deliberately added a question mark at the end! ;-)

    Thursday, 24 January 2008


    War crimes prosecutor for Serbia Vladimir VukčevićNews has come that Serbia's war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević (read here on B92 (in English)) has received a death threat from fellow Serbs in the diapora, specifically from America, the city of Illinois.

    Not only does the threatening letter brand Vladimir a "traitor", it also disparagingly denies the atrocity that happened in Srebrenica in July 1995 and includes a picture of him with a swastika on his forehead, along with insults at his family's expense.

    I'm writing this post, because this death threat came from my fellow Serbs in the diaspora. And as a diapora Serb, I wish to write this post deliberately to voice stance, that I stand by Vladimir Vukčević, who is doing an important job dealing with crimes of such gravity that occurred during the terrible wars that destroyed so many lives throughout Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo during the nineties, and that I don't agree with the likes of those who have sent such a cheap, offensive and yet clearly uninformed letter to someone of such stature and responsibility.

    Therefore, as a Serb living in the diaspora, I wish to state loudly and clearly:


    Tuesday, 22 January 2008

    Clooney & Hollywood for Kosovo in Serbia?

    UPDATED: 22nd, 24th January, 3rd February

    PLEASE READ: Someone got their facts wrong!

    Well not just him, Sharon Stone too.

    Hollywood is Serbia! :DAs heard on RTS and as reported by this Serbian blog, George Clooney and Sharon Stone intend to lead a protest "against the unilateral declaration of independence of Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija". Sharon Stone has lifelong friends who are Serbian-Americans, while George Clooney uses his fame promote certain causes.

    In fact a few other celebrities have surprisingly voiced their opinions as written on the same Serbian blog, including Robert De Niro with fond memories of Serbia and Serbs, Tom Hanks who converted to Greek Orthodoxy (he has a Greek-American wife), and Sean Connery who is Scottish! (He supports Scottish independence.) But interestingly, Richard Gere, who campaigns for Tibet's independence from China and presumably thus inclined towards Kosovo's, will also join the protest since he became "extremely suspicions of the intentions of Western powers, due to their overwhelming pressure and stubborn insistence to sever the province from the rest of Serbia".

    However, this is my opinion. On the one hand I'm delighted that so many famous people like Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro have such respect for my people. After all the terrible coverage on the news from the last decade, even the odd Hollywood movie that depicted Serbs in some way as negative protagonists, I do appreciate the appreciation such famous people have for my people. But on the other hand I'm worried about whether this could harm their reputations, as I fear that supporters of Kosovo independence could criticise these people too heavily, and even worse defame them for it.

    For instance, Sean Connery wonders why his country Scotland, which he wants to secede from the United Kingdom, has less rights to independence than Kosovo:

    “During its history, Scotland has had far more grounds to be granted independence, but it was not allowed to secede. What could possibly be the difference between my homeland and Kosovo, to create such a precedent now?!”

    Well yes, Scotland used to be an actual independent country in the past, while in all of history there was never an Albanian Kosovo state. But one familiar with the recent history of the region will answer the first part of Sean's question, "What could possibly be the difference between my homeland and Kosovo…", with the fact that the Albanians of Kosovo, who as we all already know comprise the vast majority of that region's population, have experienced a lot of oppression under Slobodan Milošević since he revoked their province's autonomy within Serbia, which ended in an immense catastrophe in 1999. And sure, the Scottish people have been oppressed by the English Crown during the Middle Ages, and yes, there was the suppressed uprising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 18th century. But this happened long before modern-day memory, and yet the actions of Serbian state forces against the Kosovo Albanians and the NATO bombing of Serbia waged in response to those actions didn't even happen ten years ago! Not yet NINE, but nearly!

    Nevertheless, "…to create such a precedent now" as seen in Connery's question above merely proves the point that, even though not every separatist movement will receive international support let alone be successful in its aims, the Kosovo issue could easily be used by many separatist movements the world over, and neither Washington nor Brussels can stop that and arrogantly deny them the right to use the Kosovo issue to at least help their cause. Sure Kosovo is unique in its own way, but there are other similar movements around the world with similar experiences of oppression and/or disenfranchisement that have affected the peoples these movements represent and act on behalf of.

    Therefore, I'm of the opinion that the Kosovo issue could set a precedent. As such, it may not always be applied to every similar situation around the world today. But nevertheless, it doesn't stop other separatist movements or even recognised states using the Kosovo issue, however that will be resolved, to strengthen their own causes/positions.

    And so, I will end this post by saying that I do indeed appreciate the concern such famous people have for the Kosovo issue in terms of it not unilaterally spliting from Serbia. Nevertheless, I hope they will take into account the opinion of the pro-independence side, so as not to have their credibility heavily questioned or even harmed.

    Read also:
  • There will be NO protest! Read Someone got their facts wrong!

  • My opinion on Kosovo
  • Wednesday, 16 January 2008

    Happy New Year again!!!

    Yep, according to the Old Julian calendar, yesterday was the beginning of the new year! So once again,


    PS: And as we Serbs have our "Slavas", 14th January (or 1st January!) is also Saint Basil The Great's day (Vasiljevdan), which is the patron saint of many Serbian families, among whom us Jakšići from Glogovo near Gračac in southern Lika!

    Wednesday, 9 January 2008

    Who am I?

    This blog post is fundamentally about me: about my beliefs, my likes, my dislikes, and other wonderful things you'll find interesting about me!

    In the early days of my blog, I did write a bit about my political beliefs. However, it didn't tell my readers much about ME (Afterall, we live in a "me-me-me" world! Hehe!)! Hence this blog post.

    Here you will find a number of relevant lists listing a number of interesting points, each revealing a different aspect of me. Some of the points have accompanying points immediately below them, some points contain links to other blog posts of mine on this blog, while others will have pictures next to them to help illustrate my point!

    Hope you enjoy learning about me. And do come back to this page often, as I hope to enhance it regularly! ;-)


    1. ME; I AM

    2. NOT ME; I'M NOT

    3. BELIEVE

    4. SUPPORT

    5. OPPOSE

    6. LIKE

    7. DISLIKE


    ME; I AM

    This is the "who and what" about me.

  • My name's Alan Jakšić
    • …I'm an ethnic Serb from Croatia!
      • …because I live in Britain!
        • Therefore, Croatian Serb + British Serb =
        • British-Croatian Serb!
          • And because I come from the mountainous region of Lika,
          • …I consider myself a Ličanin!

  • I'm an Anarchist:
    • I believe that states, borders and central governments shouldn't exist;
      • I believe that all humans should live in freedom, without unfair and unnecessary restriction, and certainly without imposition or coercion by others.

  • I'm left-wing/liberal/libertarian;
    • I'm very left wing, open-minded and flexible in my opinions;
      • I believe in the freedom of the individual to run his/her own life how he/she sees fit;
        • and I'd rather there were no governments at all — except for say local councils genuinely run by the people in an Anarchic society, i.e. in free municipalities!

  • I'm an egalitarian:
    • I believe that everyone, regardless of gender, skin-colour, religious conviction, social background, physical ability or sexual orientation, is of equal value and worthy of life,
      • and likewise, everyone has the right to live a decent life, and the right to access and enjoy the same opportunities this life has to offer.

  • I'm a pacifist:
    • I believe in peace and I appreciate living my life in peace and security;
      • I don't believe in armed conflict, i.e. war,
        • and certainly do not agree with war being used to resolve national or international disputes.

  • I'm an honest man (I'm telling the truth!),
    • Honesty's the best policy!
  • I'm conscientious;
    • I am sensitive to other people's feelings;
      • I am sympathetic;
        • I have empathy;
          • I'm compassionate;
            • I'm an all-round caring person in my heart,
              • …even if I don't do anything to show it!

  • I'm a non-smoker,
    • and I rarely drink.
  • I'm inclined towards a minimalism;
    • over-indulgence bothers me!
  • I'm quite a shy person;
    • I'm not highly confident,
      • I'm quite modest and humble;
        • and I don't boast that much about my virtues, except behind this computer screen and on this blog!!! :-D

  • I'm moderate in many ways:
    • Moderate - even "light" - Anarchist;
      • I don't believe in throwing Molotov cocktails at banking institutions, McDonald's restaurants and the like,
        • and I don't advocate class war — even though I sympathise with the concept — as I'm a pacifist (as stated above).



    These are all the things I'm not!

  • Say NO to Fascism!Racist;
    • I don't believe that human beings belong to separate "races"; all human beings, however they look like, belong to one single species. Genetics has proven so.

  • Xenophobe;
    • I have nothing against foreigners in this country (the UK). I should know; I am one!

  • One example of many depicting the results of NationalismNationalist,
    • Nationalism is based on illusions and delusions: illusions based on questionable interpretations of history; and delusions of grandure based on beliefs surrounding those interpretations of history.
      • Nationalism often revolves around an irrational sense of justice, i.e. unrestrained vengeance, in regards to certain events in history.

  • Nuff sed.Homophobe,
    • I don't agree with homophobic views, as I consider homosexuality to be a completely natural phenomenon;
      • If so many creatures in the Animal Kingdom engage in some kind of homosexual antics, how then can homosexuality amongst humans be unnatural?

  • Extremist;
    • I don't agree with extreme or irrational views on life, religion and politics;
      • instead, I believe that moderation and rationality should influence one's views on life, religion and politics.

  • Totalitarian/Authoritarian:
    • I don't agree with repression or suppression of one's freedoms; I abhor it.
  • Fascist:
    • I don't believe that order should be pursued at the expense of freedom,
      • and I don't believe that the nation is above the individual.

  • Treacherous or disloyal:
    • I don't agree with betraying your values for some short-term goal;
      • I don't agree with selling your soul for thirty coins of silver!

  • Instead of the usual dirty talk…Atheist,
    • I'm not entirely sure that there is absolutely no God or God-like energy out there,
      • and I deeply question whether there is no life after death; that after death there is absolutely nothing.



    I truly or sort of believe in

  • Ahh… :-)LOVE
    • I believe that love is the most beautiful and amazing force and energy that we human beings can feel for ourselves, other humans, other living creatures and other things on Earth, and I believe that we should share as much of it around as possible!
      • "I believe in a thing called love; Just listen to the rhythm of my heart!"
      • I believe that we need to be more caring towards each other and also to ourselves, and also have more respect for everone and everything around us.
    • I strongly believe that we shouldn't be judgmental towards other people and neither should we judge ourselves too harshly, even though we've probably all done the latter, not to mention the former!
        • little by little though, especially with regards to the people of Bosnia and other war-affected regions of Yugoslavia, where I'm from.

  • How humble and compassionate, don't you think?GRATITUDE
    • I truly think we should grateful for our lives, for the people who care about us, foremost our parents -
      • But not everyone is as lucky as I am!
    • I believe we should present ourselves and behave in a gentle manner towards other people (see COMPASSION above);
      • I don't believe in behaving arrogantly and with no respect to other people.
    • Do unto others, how you would want done unto you!
        • Do not do unto others, how you would not want done unto you!

  • Soul to soulPANTHEISTIC GOD
    • I like to think there is a life-giving force in this universe, particularly present on this planet of ours.
    • I like to believe we all have souls, including animals.
      • However, as far as I'm aware, there is no concrete evidence for its existence.
    • I think this point ties in with the point regarding "Pantheistic God" and the other regarding "Soul/Spirit", and it could also refer to what many call "Chi".
  • A lovely picture of Heaven!HEAVEN
    • I like to think there could be a number heavenly bodies in the universe to which our souls might travel to after this life,
      • assuming something within us really does travel to some place outside this planet.

    • "What goes around, goes around, goes around; Comes all the way back around! Yeah!"

  • So, what will you be in your next life?REINCARNATION!!!
    • I like the idea that our souls may have lived through many lifetimes before this one.
      • Nevertheless, there is still no evidence that proves this really happens.
    • Us humans have gone a long way since our earliest ancestor!I believe there is both physical and spiritual/intellectual evolution that affects us human beings and other creatures in this world.
      • I believe that each person's life is a story of evolution; a process of development and discovery, and of self-development and self-discovery.



    I am 100% or some percentage behind:

    • the political philosophy that advocates a world without states, imposed by governments and enforced along borders, as the ideal society.
      • A possible alternative to the nation state could be "free municipalities", inhabited by free and equal individuals who practice "direct/participatory democracy".
    • Freedom of Speach;
      • Freedom of Choice.
    • Civil Rights and Social Justice.
    • Equal right to life, equal before the law and equal opportunities to all people;
      • There should be no discrimination on the basis of gender, skin-colour, religious conviction, social background, physical ability or sexual orientation.
    • Representing workers' rights to a decent wage and living, as opposed to letting the corporate capitalists, i.e. the minority, get their selfish and greedy ways at the expense of the majority.
    • Offering a co-operative and mutually-benificial alternative to the despotic and parasitic nature of Capitalism.
    • I believe we should treat the earth we live on with care,
      • …and that we shouldn't deplete the world of its natural resources.

  • Community:
    • I believe we should be living in close-knit communities, in which we know everybody. But also,
      • Individuality:
        • I believe that the individual should have control over his/her own life, choosing how he/she wishes to live it.
  • Dialogue/Debate:
    • Between various social groups, including different religious communities, ethnic groups, tribes and nations worldwide, in order to find common ground and arrive at mutually-beneficial solutions.

  • Societies improving themselves:
    • Serbia becoming a better country for all her people,
    • Croatia becoming a better country for all her people;
      • Particularly for my people, but equally for all other ethnic groups, including Croats,
    • Bosnia and all countries in the Balkans improving in the spheres of economics AND society.

  • Justice for all victimised people from the wars during the Break-up of my ex-country, Yugoslavia. And,
    • Individualising guilt over war crimes committed in the Former Yugoslavia.
  • Refugee Return,
    • including the return of all property to their pre-war owners who either fled from their hometowns and villages or were expelled thence,
      • Except if they choose to renounce it (I don't encourage or recommend that).

  • Improvement in relations between Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and Albanians;
    • Restore respect and trust between communities;
    • Encourage cooperation between communities.
  • Humanitarianism; Philanthropy; Charity;
    • Helping people who are in political/economic/health crises.
  • The Unity of the language of the Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and Montenegrins, whether they identify themselves as Serbs or not, and
    • "SERBO-CROAT" as a neutral and international name for our common language —
      • However, I also support the right of all the above-named peoples to call their language whatever they want to call it. I'm a pluralist about these things, you know!
  • I support the dissolution of the two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) recognised by the Dayton agreement, in favour of establishing a new system of administrative divisions and internal governance that will be fairer to all of Bosnia's people and prove to be more effctive for that country's economy.
    • Preferably, I wish that the people of Bosnia — and the rest of the Balkans — could live in complete freedom without any central governments and politicians interfering in their lives. I am an Anarchist, afterall!



    I am totally or somehow against:

  • Homophobia;
  • Intolerance;
    • Religious intolerance;
      • Islamic and Christian extremism/militancy alike.
  • Human rights violations,
  • Slavery.

  • Totalitarianism;
    • Tyrrany/oppressive rule brings naught but misery.
  • Revenge:
    • An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind!
  • Death Penalty
    • I value human life too highly, even if many other individuals out there don't.

  • Extreme Nationalism;
    • Croatian Nationalism, Serbian Nationalism. (I think Serbian and Croatian nationalists should be friends. Yeah, seriously! They shouldn't be hurling abuse at one another; they should be laughing and joking together instead!)
  • Expansionism + Irredentism =
    • Expansionistic Irredentism:
      • Greater Serbia,
      • Greater Croatia,
      • Greater Albania,
        • and all other "Greater" countries that disrespect the human rights and wishes of other religious and/or ethnic groups.
  • Ethnic cleansing;
    • Expelling populations from certain areas/regions just because they belong to different cultural and/or religious groups.
  • Collectivising guilt over war crimes committed in the Former Yugoslavia.
    • There's no point in doing that: it won't make the accused open up or confess, because that will only allow them to hide behind the nation being accused, and thus enjoy protection;
      • And it won't make the accusers feel any better: all they will be doing is nursing their sense of victimhood by voicing their hatred and desire for revenge, but that will not bring them any justice either.
  • Self-serving national histories:
    • Pseudo-historic national narratives based on tendentious and questionable interpretations of history, with a tendency to emphasise the favourable aspects of history and a corresponding tendency to either overlook - or just minimise the importance of - those unfavourable aspects of history.
  • Imperialism/Colonialism:
    • Misappropriating/usurping other people's homelands for political/economic gainAn unjust economic formula by which one state invades and establishes its rule over another people's homeland for that state's financial gain.
      • It is also immoral because it leads to officials and even ordinary people living in such imperial states to develop a sense of supremacy over the conquered peoples of their state's empire.
  • Pyramid of Capitalism: Hierarchy/Feudalism:
    • Class systems, as depicted by the picture on the left, inherently embody, regularly fuel and constantly breed inequality and injustice.
      • I believe they are fundamentally undemocratic and in the words of the French Anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, "…repugnant to a free, democratic society".



    This is what I like:

  • I fundamentally like the simple things in life:
    • Feeling good,
      • I like to feel good about myself!
    • Relaxing,
      • I don't like to pressure myself too much, but if it comes to it, then I like to alleviate myself from the stress caused as soon as possible!
    • Good food
      • I have a great appreciation for food, i.e. I have a very good appetite!

  • Moderation:
    • I aim to strike a balance in my life, but it can be hard!
  • Minimalism:
    • I'm not keen on excessiveness.

  • Conscientiousness:
    • Treating certain things sensitively;
      • Showing other people you care.
  • Dignity,

  • Kindness,

  • Honesty,

  • Optimism,

  • Wisdom;
    • Intelligence.
  • I appreciate personal privacy.

  • I like learning new things,

  • Watching films on YouTube.

  • MAGIC!!!

  • Open and frank conversation between individuals, families and communities.

  • The idea and philosophy around Vegetarianism.
    • However, I am not a vegetarian - well, not for now, at least!
  • Geneology:
    • I'm interested in who my ancestors were, and would like to trace my ancestry as far back as possible!

  • Lika
    • Gračac, a small town and its surrounding villages in southern Lika, where my parents came from;
      • The village of Štikada just outside Gračac, particularly the hamlet of Podkosa, where my mother was born.
  • Kistanje, a small town in the north Dalmatian region of Bukovica, where my paternal aunt lives.

  • Languages/Linguistics;
    • Minority languages or languages with fewer speakers, like Welsh or Quechua for instance!
      • Also languages that aren't minority languages or have many speakers like English and Chinese!
    • Dialectual variety in a language;
    • Constructed languages!
  • Music:
    • Popular,
    • Dance/Trance,
    • There used to be a picture of American Rapper Fifty Cent playing the piano accordian here (with Cyrillic writing an' all)! Some Grand Production pic.Folk,
      • I love traditional songs from Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and even Bulgaria.
    • I like a mixture of Pop and Folk music, and…
      • (I LOVE that ORIENTAL sound; I actually LIKE that mix of Turkish, Gipsy, Serbian and even Greek music!!!)
      • Oh, and Bulgarian CHALGA!
  • Writing songs;
    • Singing songs,
      • My ones and other people's songs!



    What I don't like:

  • Pessimism,
    • and Cynicism — which is different, of course.
  • Excess;
    • Over-indulgence.
  • Double standards;
    • Hypocrisy
  • Having a cold;
    • Sore throat, and
      • bad smell from the throat!
    • Incessant dry, tickly coughs,
      • followed by chesty coughs!
    • Blocked nose, then runny nose,
      • and nose bleeding as a result of blowing your nose too much!
  • Toothpaste, whether watered down or not, falling on your shirt or jumper!
  • Scraping my skin,
    • and scraping the skin underneath my fingernails, as I try to take something out of tight trouser pockets!
  • Going to work with a shirt that has no pockets to slip in a pen or notepad to be at hand!
    • Thus, having to rely on those tight trouser pockets instead! Ouch!

  • Divorce:
    • the negative effects it has on families, especially children of divorcing parents;
      • how it generally undermines both the institution of marriage and family after the official separation.

  • Corporate-capitalist greed,
    • Insuring that the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.
  • Extremism in politics,
    • Extremism in other aspects of life.
  • Self-gratifying sense of victimhood filled with ignorance:
    • Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and others all claiming to be victims of other nations, but never admitting/acknowledging/genuinely renouncing any wrong-doing from their own side:
      • And how can people from any Balkan nation think that their nation is made up purely of innocent victims? Every family, clan, tribe, community and nation on earth has arseholes, c*nts and other obnoxious folk who wouldn't think twice about hurting their fellow man if it suited them!
  • Anti-Serb sentiment; people who hate Serbs,
    • Not fond of fellow Serbs who hate other people either.
  • Croatian nationalists encouraging hatred or distrust, particularly of Serbs;
    • Serbian nationalists encouraging hatred or distrust of other Balkan nations.
  • Croatian nationalists claiming "Serbo-Croat" was a "communist invention".
    • What a load of b*ll*cks!

  • Serbian Radical Party using populism to convince people in Serbia to vote for them.
    • Fortunately, it looks like they're becoming ever-more marginalised!

  • Self-styled "true" Serbs branding liberal Serbs as "traitors" or "cowards".

  • Demonizing Turbo-folk.
    • Come on, it's ENTERTAINING to watch and listen to!


    See also:

  • My Favourite Celebrities