Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pieces of the UNMIK wall in Prishtina

daniel.virella says:

I am really concerned about such help...

CharlesFred says:

Why?

daniel.virella says:

'cos EU and NATO were supposed to help people to live in peace together, in cooperation, free trade and freedom of movement, not helping the different peoples of Europe to tear their countries apart.

It was not without a sense that the expression "balkanization" was born and it was not a good sense...

I am not so unrealistic that I would believe that it would be possible to "force" Serbian Kosovars and Albanian Kosovars to become good neighbours again in a couple of years, but the facts are clear: all the peoples of the former Yugoslavia were able to live in peace and within a certain prosperity and solidarity for almost 40 years. Demagogue, populist politicians, hunger for power led the country to disaster, war, manslaughter and disarray. All those people were sadly misled.

I cannot forget all those mixed ethnicity families and good neighbours that were forced to choose sides or die or both. Those were the living symbols of the success of Yugoslavia and they too are gone (for good or away from their homeland).

CharlesFred says:

Thanks, Daniel for your explanation. I agree with you in many parts, I just think there is still a problem with exactly with the way these countries were created. Many of the boundaries were set by the western powers in the early part of the 20th century and have never really been fully accepted by the people that live there.

For instance the boundary between Albania and Kosovo cut off the northen part of Albania from its main trading centres in western Kosovo, a natural geographical, ethnic and economic area split down the middle.

That being the case, there is no doubt that populist politicians have exploited the end of Yugoslavia and are still doing so.

It is very nice for Albanian Kosovars to have their own country but it has very little to offer the world apart from contraband and smuggled goods and people. 60% of the workforce are unemployed, possibly under-educated and there are few natural resources. It is just a beginning and maybe when enough funds have been procured from the EU/US over the next thirty to forty years, maybe the situation will change.

And, in the meantime, the US will have had a large military base in south eastern Europe as gratitude for their complicity in giving birth to Kosovo.

daniel.virella says:

I subscribe everything you wrote.

I just add that History made almost every corner of Europe an ethnic mix where the balance of living together has never been easy. And every ethnicity calls those areas their home!

Both of us, as our entire generation, have grown up seeing the EU as a place where those differences have been softened (even if not gone though, which may even be a good thing, because homogeneity is not a desirable goal). It gives me a sense of failure that we aren't able to export it to parts of Europe as the Balkans (or the Baltics), whose people certainly need it...

CharlesFred says:

Yes, but I have always been doubtful about the UN/EU/US or whichever power being able to bring peace or make many changes, in the short term.

I am willing to forgive, to some extent, what is going on in the Balkans, if one looks back and sees how many centuries it took for the boundaries in western Europe become reasonably settled, let alone all the conquests and wars which followed between the various countries. And that was without any meddling on behalf of 'greater' powers.

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