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!