Friday, 26 March 2010

From Yugoslav to Martian - is that possible?

From a Balkanian bloke to a Martian man - what on Earth am I on about?

Quite a few times I've heard from fellow Serbs how even if a person of Serbian descent were born in a country outside of the Balkans, they'd still be Serbs no matter where they were born. Such a debate regarding identity sometimes rises when Serbs in the Diaspora are in question. Although people who hold such a sentiment are obviously patriotically inclined, that logic does make sense given genealogy and genetics. But some of them even go as far (!) as to say, "Even if I were born on Mars, I would always be a Serb [and never a Martian]!"

Now I was thinking about this the other day, and interestingly enough, I came to a contradictory conclusion: "If I were born on Mars, maybe I'd like to be a Martian", instead of an earthly national like my ancestors were. And, "If we were to send a Serb, a Croat and a Bosniak to live together on Mars, maybe it would be a good idea for all three to become Martians. So in that way, they and their children can all become one people again!"

14 comments:

Sam said...

NICE BlOG AGAIN!!...But I know what your Serbian friend is trying to say and some what I agree..I mean the Irish live in America for Decades and centuries and still call them self Irish even tho some haven't left North America!..Even here in Detroit many Polish Americans still say there poles.and so on and so on..but thats more of a trend up North Great Lakes States and New England...but there still Americans love America and watch baseball lol...but they know where there roots are from..One day my children or grandchildren want to know where there roots are from and go visit Bosnia

Alan Jakšić said...

I understand such attitudes too. Afterall, I live in the Diaspora away from my homeland, and I personally care a lot about where I come from and my "korjeni". For me, language is one way of maintaining a link with our "zavičaji", particularly if you speak it in dialect, as I do! And I hope one day if I find a woman to share my life with and have kids with her, that they will want to keep that link alive wherever they may live.

But, I'm not a "veliki Srbin" or "Srbenda". And the point of this article is to show how much of a good idea it would be for people from our part of the world migrating to another part of this world - or maybe one day to another planet like Mars! - to develop a new common identity in that new place with each other and with people from other parts of this world. Hence, the name of this article: "From Yugoslav to Martian"!

Owen said...

Alan, as usual speaking with common sense. The important thing is to be aware of how destructive unthinking nationalism can be, then to appreciate the enrichment that comes from having links to different communities and cultures that allow you to act as a bridge between them and help them make the most of all the positive aspects of diversity. We live in a globalised world, which is going to come under great stress as the full impact of climate change makes itself felt. It's important to have reminders of the common humanity that we all share that will hopefully make it easier to find cooperative solutions to the problems ahead of us.

Owen said...

Alan, I hate to disappoint you. I remembered a vaguely similar notion involving the moon. I found it quoted at the start of an NY Times article in 1997.

"This summer bosnian serbs were telling a new joke, about a group of astronauts from the former Yugoslavia. Two Serbs, two Bosnian Muslims and two Croats land on Mars. The Croats say that the barren landscape so resembles their homeland that the planet must be Croat. The Muslims say that the craters are the twins of Bosnia's mountain valleys, so the planet must be Bosnian. One of the Serbs takes out a gun, shoots the other Serb and says, ''Since Serb blood has been spilled here, this is now Serb land.'' Recently a new version of the joke has made the rounds; it has Radovan Karadzic, the indicted wartime leader, pulling the trigger on his former comrade in arms, the Bosnian Serb President, Biljana Plavsic."

http://www.nytimes.com/1997/09/14/magazine/the-enemy-of-our-enemy.html?pagewanted=all

Alan Jakšić said...

Oh my goodness! And I was hoping Martian settlement would bring peace, dialogue and renewed co-existance!

Owen said...

Alan, who was Mars? And do you remember the two moons of Mars?

Mrki said...

It's a shitty joke Owen.
And Alan I think you have an identity problem. I would say that you are an Englishman with serbian ancestors, not a Serb. Greetings, from Sasha whose family comes from Lika.
PS:
And yes, many members of my family perished in Nazi croatia in ww2. But that is not liberal to say isn't it? And my grandfathers fought in the resistance, one in nationalist camp other for communists. Can you imagine that? Stupid bloodthirsty Serbs fighting for so called "allies"?
Stupid Serbs...

Owen said...

Mrki/Sasha, it wasn't intended to be funny, more wry or angry. The people whose ideology it's referring to caused an awful lot of other people's blood to be shed, along with plenty more Serb blood too.

And World War II is relevant as long as more recent history is relevant too.

Alan Jakšić said...

Hello Mrki! Thanks for your comments. Keep 'em coming!

Just to remind you, I was born Alan Jakšić in 1986 in Zagreb, when it was still part of Yugoslavia. I consider myself a human being first, and Serb, Ličanin, Croatian/British Serb, whatever second (Read here to learn more about me). Both my Parents come from Gračac in southern Lika (i.e. Nikola Tesla country!), and I've actually been there more than once in the last ten years. How about you?

And the same applies to me regarding WW2, Mrki. Many of my relatives perished just for being Orthodox Serbs by the evil Ustaše, and likewise some of my relatives fought on the victorious side of the conflict and a few on the defeated side. And thanks to fighting on different sides, many Serbs never saw their relatives again. Very sad. But what's that got to do with being liberal/coservative??

Anonymous said...

it is not true that croatia accepted ustashe symbols.
i am using this p. to refute accusations and lies by another poster on another page that had suspended further comments.
croatian flag had existed for centuries and shahovnica for at least a millennium.

neither is it true that all croats aligned with italy and germany.
good 50% of croats rose against the puppet croat'n govt, germans, chetniks, and italians.

most of the pavelic's soldiers were recruits and as such indoctrinated against communist croats.

actually, croatia was more communist that any other yugoslav republic.

serbia was also a puppet state and that's why chetniks fought on the german side.

i think that poster shld be warned if he continues to spread such hatred towards croats as a whole. tnx bozh

Anonymous said...

alan:
"Afterall, I live in the Diaspora away from my homeland, and I personally care a lot about where I come from and my "korjeni."

from this one cld conclude that ur homeland comprises areas like banija, kordun, lika, n.dalmatia, and the enclave in w. slavonia?

and possibly the areas from which some 100k croat'ns were expelled from '91 on?
or we cld assume u'r talking about croatia.

this appears then as an obnubilation. is it prethought, a freudian slip, or an avoidance?

Alan Jakšić said...

Hi Bozhidar,

There was great resistence against Fascism in Croatia and Bosnia during WW2, and that should never be forgotten. My grandfather on my mother's side and my great-uncle on my father's side (i.e. father's father's brother) both fought in the Partizan resistence. That great-uncle of mine was killed fighting against fellow Serbs on the Chetnik side. We have a saying in the former Yugoslavia: "Rat nikom nije brat!" And how true!

And let me respond to the above comment questioning me about my "korjeni" comment from last year further above: I identify with Lika; I'm a Ličanin. And as far as I know, none of my ancestors were born in Kordun, Banija or Slavonija. Besides, those places are very far from southern Lika!

Anonymous said...

alan,
however, banija, kordun, n.dalmatia, lika, and perhaps w.slavonia, were connected [disconnected prior to '90] parts of the republika srpska krajina.

since u thought until just two yrs ago that milosevic was right -- and by implication also serbs from croatia were-- then u must have thought that serbs had the right to a state of own in croatia; which also justified expulsion and killing of croats.

and by implication and ur explicit assertion that croat'n serbs had the right to secede from croatia, i can now be sure that ur homeland is not croatia but serbia.

so, u want to live in croatia, an alien land to u-- and serbia being ur homeland.
however, u dare not say that explicitly; thus, my country is gracac wld do.

i have also noted that u do not challenge or correct those people who demonize croatia, spread hatred, assiduously lie about us.
naturally, if i have to continuously correct u or defend croatia to such demonizers, i have to leave this site.
tnx bozh

Alan Jakšić said...

"since u thought until just two yrs ago that milosevic was right -- and by implication also serbs from croatia were-- then u must have thought that serbs had the right to a state of own in croatia; which also justified expulsion and killing of croats."

Actually, more than two years; more like five years, from 2006. But I've already told you that I never thought a separate state for Serbs within Croatia was a good idea; I always thought it would be problematic in many ways, including morally.

and by implication and ur explicit assertion that croat'n serbs had the right to secede from croatia, i can now be sure that ur homeland is not croatia but serbia.

Let me clarify: Serbia is NOT and NEVER will be my homeland (zavičaj). Nevertheless, it's part of the Balkans, and since I'm also from the Balkans myself, I naturally care for all people who come from our part of the world. Doesn't that make sense, Bozhidar? But where did you find this "explicit assertion that croat'n serbs had the right to secede from croatia", that you claim I made?

so, u want to live in croatia, an alien land to u-- and serbia being ur homeland.
however, u dare not say that explicitly; thus, my country is gracac wld do.


Lika is not an alien land to me. And why on earth shouldn't I identify with Lika, Gračac or anywhere else I feel a connection to? Besides, I prefer regionalism and decentralization to nationalism and centralization.

i have also noted that u do not challenge or correct those people who demonize croatia, spread hatred, assiduously lie about us.

Bozhidar, I've learnt in life that sometimes there is no point in trying to convince someone that you are right and not them — or that you're more right than them. I accept that in life, we can't always agree with everyone. Sometimes, people will tell outright lies, while others prefer to see things only from one angle and ignore the other.

Why should I tell another Serb, who is convinced to the bone (!) that Greater Serbia is a good idea, that it's not a good idea at all, even though in my heart and conscience, I know that what they believe in can only cause numerous problems for many people, including themselves?!

Nema vajde, Božidaru. Taki je čo'ek izgubljen slučaj, i najbolje da ga pustimo k vragu! Neka mu tako! Nami je ostala dužnost da učimo svoju djecu da ne sljede primjer od takije ljudi. Djeca su naša budućnost, i ne zaslužuju da pate nako kako su naši stari patili! Zar se ne slažeš?! :-)