On Serbia. Or, as it was then, Yugoslavia.
The Kosovo War has been debated, God knows, enough times. Still, a couple of things. One is this interesting article from the always-worth-reading Nenad Pejic. (Favorite line: “the official speeches spend all their time remembering that Serbia was bombed but never mention why Serbia was bombed.”) This bit was particularly interesting IMO:
Mladic remains at large and Serbia remains in denial about the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. Schoolchildren are taught about crimes committed against Serbs, but not about crimes committed by Serbs. This policy of denial has created an alarming situation among young Serbs. A 2007 poll of youths found that more than 30 percent say “there is no need” to be acquainted with ethnic Albanians. Fifty percent think the Cyrillic alphabet should be given preference to the Latin alphabet. Twenty-five percent “cannot imagine” having sex with a member of another ethnic group, and 20 percent expressed a desire to live in an ethnically pure state. It is unlikely these figures have improved since the poll was taken.
To be fair, I should say it is likely the responses would be similar among ethnic-Albanian youths in Kosovo. I shudder to think what these attitudes mean for the region when this generation takes over political power.
I’d love to disagree with this, but I can’t. In much of Eastern Europe — Romania, for example — young people, especially in towns and cities, are likely to be more cosmopolitan, more sophisticated, and more tolerant than their elders. In Serbia, unfortunately, the trend goes the other way. Fortysomething Serbs grew up under the old Yugoslav system. They’re likely to have
travelled outside Serbia, and they remember when the different groups lived together in peace if not affection. Twentysomething Serbs grew up under Slobo; their childhoods and adolescence were blighted by economic collapse, sanctions, and isolation. They’ve come of age in a country that’s much smaller and poorer than Yugoslavia, and that’s been drenched in nationalist rhetoric. So the poll results aren’t surprising. Just… kind of depressing.
The article mentions an attack on Cedomir Jovanovic, head of the small Liberal Democrat party, by “youths”. It doesn’t mention the riots this week, with Obraz — the vaguely fascist nationalist “youth group” — smashing windows and attacking symbols of internationalist oppression, i.e., McDonalds.
— Kosovo-related threads usually attract nationalists from both sides, ready to jump in and explain how it was all someone else’s fault and also that the Serbs/Albanians are utter degenerate swine. So, please keep in mind that this is a moderated forum. Thank you.