In this issue again here are some subjects that could be interesting to understand the background reasons of the peace process in BiH and the former Yugoslavia. But how is the peace process itself functioning?
Everybody knows by now that Milosevic is not on his throne anymore, but as some have said, it was quite a soft landing for such a dictator. Besides that, and I have mentioned this several times before, nationalism has had its greatest victories in the past ten or fifteen years, so people should not be surprised that new leaders also have a great amount of nationalistic sentiments. Even the youth, especially the older youth (people of 25 to 35) do not know better, because people only know what is taught to them.
Besides that, it is a fact that people have to live with the agreements that have been made over the last years. Just like Holland could not step out of NATO because that would have violated several international agreements, in the same manner the Social Democratic Party (SDP) cannot make a government because the government, according to Dayton, must be made up of people from the three different ethnic groups. Non-nationalists are therefore not represented in this preconceived method.
Because of that the Kosovars will all support the principle of independence because that is mentioned in the Rambouillet agreements, while that document also said that Kosovo would be a part of Yugoslavia, so the Yugoslavs will stick to that. It looks to be an agreement that will cause problems in the future. If these problems can only be solved according to nationalistic grounds, this will unnecessarily increase tension between the different ethnic groups. In this case the people and the politicians, as their representatives, are less to blame than the agreements itself. Vojislav Kostunica already mentioned: "It would be absurd to convict Milosevic for not carrying out the Rambouillet plans because no Serb leader would have ever signed it. It seems that Milosevic has been convicted for the only good step he ever made."
Democracy is, of course, something we must be careful with and must cherish. Not that I'm personally such a great fan of democracy but at least it brings enough rest to develop other segments of life, such as building a country and its institutions after a crackdown or a war. So why can't I call myself a democrat? A short anecdote might say enough. I was on tour with 8 other people. There was an appointment about the financial aspects of this tour. Two of them, looking for trouble, said they didn't knew anything about this agreement and in the short time of confusion they found three supporters. This 'democratic' majority convinced the two others and one kept his vote. There you go with your agreement, within an hour the thing was done and democracy became a little more dull. I say this keeping in mind that our media is for 80 percent owned by just a few people. Nevertheless there are a lot for elections coming up in the former Yugoslavia and I'm looking forward to it. In Serbia a new parliament should be chosen, the same as in Bosnia-Herzegovina. As far as I know, elections are also to be held in Slovenia and Kosovo.
The election campaign in BiH started with a show from the Muslim nationalists. Now that they cannot use their star of the last 10 years, Alija Izetbegovic, his goodbye tour is becoming a triumphant tour de force, especially in media that has recently been purchased by the SDA, Izetbegovic's party. Izetbegovic is really one of the very few things the SDA can point to. On the streets now you can see big posters with several beautiful blondes and brunettes, with the SDA comparing itself to the beauty of Sarajevo girls. Pretty strange for a devout party. Probably they have shaken off their devout-ness because it was only a public secret that SDA members were not really that devout. Or is this what they call being Muslim the Bosnian way? Also a poster showing a child in Benneton clothes reads: "Think about the future of the children." Which is really hypocritical if you know (and many people in Bosnia know) that the war could have been avoided if the SDA had made an agreement with the Serbs before the war began -- an agreement that looked in many ways quite similar to the final results of the Dayton Accords (besides the role of the international community in BiH). The SDA is conjuring up memories of their great efforts after the war and the fantastic reconstruction of the damage, but in fact the profit from those efforts stick partly to the sticky, corrupted hands of SDA members. The HDZ, the Croatian counterpart of the SDA (and partner in crime) made the slogan self-determination of extinguishing, which is actually a scandalous call for a third entity (like the Serbs have gained at Dayton after four years of terrible war). It will be the last convulsion of the nationalistic parties that dragged the country into the abyss. I can not imagine these parties can get a victory with these slogans.
But well, in this country bad things can also be said about the opposition.
In the meantime, the payment of pensions has again become an issue.
When the war was still going on, in the West people said it would take many years before people could live together again. And of those many years only a few have passed. In the meantime I already hear among the most optimistic former-Yugoslavs (or can I just call them Yugoslavs?) that some kind of confederation could be possible in which former-Yugoslav republics co-operate.
Maybe it will be something, again, what do you say?
In the meantime we are continuing to work and try to find ways to continue this newsletter. We're helping some people set up a great guesthouse in town and we updated our internet magazine with many, many pictures so you can see yourself how great this city was and still is. And things are just continuing. Indeed, we do nothing else - just living and it's continuing and continuing. Ain't that great?