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
  • Wednesday, 2 January 2008

    2008 has come to us!!!

    Yep, it's here. And I hope this new year 2008 will be a better year for all the peoples of the Balkans!

    Looking back at last year though, a lot of things were moving forward and getting better. And last year was quite a good year for Serbia. Not completely, but it was definitely better than many others in recent history.

    In the Serbian general elections in January last year, the Serbian Radical Party, regardless of winning the largest number of votes - REGARDLESS OF THAT!!!! - did NOT win enough votes (only 28% thereof) to be allowed to form a government. Instead, it is the pro-Western democratic parties that today form the government of Serbia, while the Radicals, whose leader is in the Hague on trial now, are in parliament today but only as an opposition party.

    In February, Serbia was found not guilty of Genocide against Bosnia & Herzegovina, avoiding crushing compensation to that country. Nevertheless, Serbia was found guilty for not preventing Genocide from happening, and for not handing over indicted war criminals wanted for Genocide.

    Also in February, Martti Ahtisaari revealed his recommendations for Kosovo's status to the UN, which basically proposed "supervised independence" to Serbia's southern province.
    Serbia won the Eurovision Song Contest in May, something I commented about here, and will thus host this year's Eurovision in its capital Belgrade.

    Serbia's president Boris Tadić used his position in an interview in June to apologize to all Croats who were in some victimised by members of his people.

    So, this year we'll see whether the Kosovo Albanians will declare independance for their homeland. We hope that more people victimised by the recent conflicts will receive justice, and hope that relations between Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia will keep improving. And since Eurovision is such a big deal for many European countries, let's hope that this year's host country will present a Eurovision song contest to remember - for all the right reasons!

    Oh I forgot! Serbia will have presidential elections this month. And judging by last year's general elections, I predict that Boris Tadić will win a second term in office. Not that I'm voting; I'm an Anarchist!

    Once again I wish that all Balkanians, be they Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish or any other religion, or no religion, or even no faith (!), live easier with more money in their pockets and accounts :-) and spend this year near their families and friends. And I also want to wish all those Balkanians who have been displaced by recent conflicts and haven't visited their homelands since the wars to visit their hometowns and villages and that God be with them to give them strength in emotion, and finances too, to make that trip.