29 November 2010

One Hadji, Much Like the Other



Last week it was reported that NATO had been conducting 'negotiations' with a man it believed to be a Taleban leader, but who turns out to have been an impostor. The impostor managed to keep up his act for months, talking directly to general Petraeus and in the end vanished with sacks of money - the courtesy of his 'negotiating partners'.

In the light of this information aren't you reassured these same idiots are sending out death squads to conduct "targeted killings"?

20 November 2010

Protest Opinion



In Croatia according to a recently opinion published poll 25% of the electorate holds Croatian membership in the EU would be a good thing, while 32% holds it would be a bad thing. In an eventual referendum on the entry into the Union 38% would would vote in favour of the membership and 43% would would vote against it.

Regardless of this climate no significant political party in Croatia is anything but staunchly in favour of joining the EU. While the general public is generally lukewarm, divided, unsure, resigned or opposed the politicos are determined, enthusiastic and of a single mind. Sure of their ability to manufacture consent when needed, they shrugged off the results of the poll, with the government answering that in their estimate, when the time comes, seventy percent of the people would turn out in favour of membership. Not that they have made any commitment to, or stated any plans to actually subject it to a referendum.

One might assume that such circumstances - coupled with the fact that only 20% of Croats support the work of their government and only 30% say that there exists a politician or a political party that represents their views - would present the perfect opportunity for a new breed of ambitious politicians to try to catapult themselves into power by finding a new anti-EU political party, to try to put themselves at the helm of the one half of the electorate opposed to the European Union membership - subsequently also hampering or stopping Croatia's entry into the EU.

However with the deeply cynical Croats that is almost certainly not the case. What makes the Croats suspicious about the EU membership is precisely that all the politicians are in favour of it. The very reason they are doubtful that their quality of life will increase once in the crutches of Brussels are the promises of the politicians that it will. Politicians are not exactly known for fulfilling their promises and Croatian politicians are worse than most. With a hypothetical split among the political class with a part of it becoming critical of the European Union, the support for it would probably rise.

07 November 2010

The 'Multicultural' Bridge



Many people who know only one thing about the Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina know they blew up the Old Bridge in Mostar. It is a consequence of wartime propaganda effort of their wartime enemy, the Muslim Sarajevo government, and of its Western backers.

In the propaganda narrative, as their most irrational and hateful act the Croats offended by this multiculturalist symbol relentlessly pounded and finally destroyed the centuries old bridge of no strategic relevance, only of great symbolic importance. To in this way crown their previous heinous acts: turning on their former Muslim allies in a surprise attack, ethnically cleansing western Mostar and mercilessly shelling eastern Mostar. All in their nationalistic hatred of the multi-ethnic vision of Bosnia and Herzegovina that is unfortunately only held by the tolerant Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To this narrative — conceived locally, but really given life in the enunciations of the Bosnian Muslims' Western advocates — the destruction of the bridge is central. It is a trump card to definitely establish the moral high ground of the Muslim side in the war in relation to the Croats. One that seemingly voids the need for any further discussion, or the need for evidence of other much more serious allegations.

For if the Croats were indeed so hate driven as to destroy an architecturally remarkable 400 year old bridge for no other reason than that it was a symbol of multi-ethnic tolerance, whereas the Muslims did their utmost to protect such a symbol, then it makes all further discussion pointless indeed. It comes natural that Croats imagined in such a way would do all the other things accused of, while the Muslims would be their victims only.

03 November 2010

Consensus


Perhaps you have recently stumbled upon "Mapping Stereotypes" on the internet. A humorous project by a Bulgarian artist reached internet renown, as it received millions of visits and was reported on by the paper press. A play on the old 'World according to the US' jokes it pairs geographical areas with stereotypes for the area according to various mayor nations.

One interesting thing that it shows is the level of uniformity of stereotypes across Europe, in Germany, France, Italy, and Britain, relating to the Balkans. In all of the aforementioned cases the (western) Balkans are simply paired with the sign "uncharted". This indeed is the fundamental characteristic of the Balkans in the Western imagination. The image of underdeveloped, warlike semi-savages takes only second place to the image of the Balkans as unknowable by its nature, a convoluted mess impregnable to outside understanding. An idea that certainly does not encourage anyone to study the area, but on the contrary provides a good reason why not to study it. It is pointless to do so!

Not only does the West recognize that is ignorant of the Balkans, but consoling itself with the idea that the Balkans are simply beyond comprehension, it is also determined not to learn anything about it. This would all be fine and well, but for the fact that the Balkans remain an area of Western intervention. To interfere with a region that you insist is outside your ability to comprehend - surely it is not a good idea.