07 January 2011
The Reign of Fools
In the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina freedom has been the exception rather than the rule. The provinces had been subject to the rule of the Porte, then of Vienna and now of Washington and Brussels.
Of all of Bosnia's foreign overlords the present ones are by far the most ignorant of the locality they have added to their empire. No long and complicated proof is needed to back this up. It is enough to see any of their press releases or media appearances. As they are unable to spell, much less properly pronounce 80% of the surnames in Bosnia and numerous toponyms, they reveal their ignorance in every one of them.
After twenty years of Anglophone press, NGOs and governments sticking their nose in the region, the bright and wise Westerners on a civilising mission among Bosnia's Balkan savages are still not able to talk and not sound like cretins. They still can not tell apart a 'č' or a 'ć' from a 'c', a 'ž' from a 'z', a 'š' from a 's', even though in Serbo-Croatian a 'č' is as distinct from a 'c', as a 'b' is from a 'd'.
There is no need for anyone to learn anything about Bosnia and Herzegovina, its language, geography or its repetitious history, the least of all for Westerners — if they stay at home. However if you are going to impose yourself on a place and set yourself up as a model of superior civilisation it might be a good idea to take steps not to embarrass yourself before the natives each time you speak up.
The politics and "solutions" pursued by them are as willfully ignorant as they are. Of them none is more idiotic or more fundamental to their project than their insistence on a "multi-ethnic Bosnia".
Clueless of the region they would rule over the foreign lords assume Bosnia and Herzegovina are, under the surface, just like the places they are from. So they lecture in tones, astonished and indignant about the preposterous failure of these backward natives to come to terms with their fate of having to live together in peace, of the need to overcome "ethnic divisions" and start pulling together to serve a unified state.
Just like back home the Scotch-Irish of the Appalachians and the Polish-American of the Great Lakes work together in the USA, or the Breton, the Alsatian and the Corsican all bow to France. But Bosnia is not like the lands they come from. Serbs, Croats and Muslims in Bosnia are not "ethnicities", they are not analogous to Irish-American and Italian-American in the US, they are not analogous to British Indian and British African-Caribbean in the UK.
They are nationalities, analogous to Canadian and Mexican and Polish and Norwegian. All three went through national awakenings, the Croats and the Serbs in the 19th, the Muslims in the 20th century. Furthermore all three peoples live on their own ancestral land, none are transplants, descendent of migrants that left their birthright behind.
To drone on about multi-ethnicism is to miss the point. Bosnia and Herzgovina is not merely multi-ethnic, it is multi-national. Its borders enclose the Bosnian Muslim nation and a part of the Croatian and Serbian nations. All three of which are recognised as constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Regardless of this formal recognition the Croat nation within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serb nation within Bosnia and Herzegovina are prevented from determining their own fate. To be recognised the right to go their seperate way if they so wish, and in the Croatian case, to even enjoy meaningful autonomy within Bosnia and Herzegovina.
To speak of a "multi-ethnic Bosnia" as a worthy goal threatened by the evil of "nationalism" is a weapon serving to combat the logical implications of Bosnia's multi-national nature. In the Western designs this "multi-ethnic Bosnia" is synonymous with a centralised "civic" Bosnia.
A centralised Bosnia is by definition "multi-ethnic" and thus a positive, but a decentralised Bosnia is by definition one ridden with intolerance and ethnic division, ie racism. This is as explosive as it is stupid.
The West does not permit the possibility that precisely a centralised system might serve to poison relations between the nationalities, but that it is a decentralised system that may be the prerequisite for them to start improving. Therefore it wages a holly war against the legitimate desires of the Croat and the Serb peoples in Bosnia.
It is an ugly and brutish effort to paint the picture where national autonomy automatically equals „ethnic division“. Where calls for decentralisation are made from the worst of motivations, ie are testament of "nationalistic agendas", but calls for centralisation are necessary made from the best of motives, the desire for cooperation and 'multi-ethnic tolerance'. Where the politicians pushing for a unitarist country are automatically „progressive“, or "moderate" but the politicians safeguarding the greater devolution of power are „tension-stirring“. Where acquiescing to the project of centralisation alone constitutes a constructive compromise, but anything else is proof of obstruction, immaturity, trouble making or a throwback to "division and conflict"... Where championing centralisation is championing of multi-ethnic tolerance (even though only a single ethnicity favours it), but being against it is the equivalent of a hate crime.
The schools are an excellent example. Respect for minority rights is considered a great achievement of post-WWII Europe and so it is everywhere in Europe the norm that national minorities can have their own schools and curriculums. For example the Hungarian national minority in Slovenia which numbers 6,000 people has its own Hungarian schools and classes. When it comes to Bosnia however the values are reversed.
The hordes of pencil pushers and bureaucrats making their careers on Bosnia can not get over the alleged "segregation" that exists in Bosnia's schools and how this "perpetuates ethnic isolation" and "reinforces prejudices and intolerance". This in relation to a situation where a school will have two curriculums, for example one in the Croatian and the other in the newly founded „Bosnian“ literary standard with the parents free to chose wether to send their child to classes in one or the other.
This is a great and enlightened achievement, instead of the communities having to be at each others throats over what standard of the language the schools will operate in and what the curriculum will consist of, each community decides this for itself. There is no "segregation", Muslim parents can send their child to a Croat curriculum class and vice-versa if they so wish.
The smallest minorities are by European norms permitted to educate their children according to curriculums they themselves devise. If tomorrow Slovenia prevented its citizens of Hungarian nationality from being able to educate their children in Hungarian and according to a curriculum devised by themselves, there would rightfully be an uproar against such a trampling of the rights of the Hungarian community. However Bosnia's 500,000 Croats and 1,500,000 Serbs having the same right in Bosnia is a source of irritation and an anomaly in need of urgent repair.