2006-05-24

Srbija i Fruška Gora

East Ethnia sends you greetings from lovely Niš, which must have more kafići per capita than any medium-sized city in the immediate vicinity. Greetings also from my friend Pedja's computer, which he has graciously allowed me to borrow since my screen has decided it would no longer take instruction from the skalamerija below. Presumably this can be repaired, although I expect that finding a Mac mechanic will have to wait until my return to Belgrade.

There is the possibility that I may arrive to one country and leave from another. The independence referendum in Montenegro appears to have succeeded, just barely, in one of those underwhelming results that lends itself to multiple interpretations. Probably the eventual independence of Montenegro will make little difference to most people there or in Serbia -- the concrete questions that will affect people have to do with property rights, pensions, and the ability of people (students, for example) to cross borders and use benefits freely. As long as these questions are not taken up in bad faith, most people will be likely to carry on as before. The result has been interpreted in international media in many cases either as an expression of anti-Serbian sentiment or as an additional step in the disintegration of what was once Yugoslavia. These are probably overinterpretations, at least in part. The referendum also put a legal stamp on a separation that was already proceeding in fact, and put an end to an expensive and dysfunctional federation which neither had much to show for itself nor, in the end, had much of a will or desire to argue for its continued existence.

Most of the immediate consequences of the referendum will be felt by political elites. About 3000 functionaries will be out of work, together with a smaller number of parliamentary deputies who will not be losing much work, and some ministers. Among these ministers will be two influential ones whose parties are not particularly favored by the Serbian government (of which they are members): human rights minister Rasim Ljajić and foreign minister Vuk Drašković. There should be some mild entertainment as PM Koštunica looks for a way to keep his government alive while trying to satisfy them with the smallest crumbs possible.

As long as I can get access to a working machine and a connection, I will try to post as regularly as I can from the banks of the mighty Nišava. With any luck all technical difficulties should be resolved soon after I get back to Belgrade, and your humble correspondent will humbly correspond.

7 comments:

Tova Norlen said...

Hi Eric,

I was in touch with you before the end of the semester and said that I was going to call you about questions regarding Kosovo/Serbia. However, I never had the time before I left on my field trip but then today I came across your blog and it seems like you are in the Balkans at the moment, yes?

I am in Vienna and returning to Belgrade for a second time on Monday morning (May 29th) and staying for about 10 days. I will also be in Kosovo for a few days.

If you are around Belgrade at all and would have a few minutes to sit down for a cup of coffee during next week sometimes, please let me know. I would really be delighted and it would be a lot of help for me.

Best way is to write me back at tova@tova.org or norlen@iiasa.at.ac. Don't have a Serbian cell phone this week. So far my experience has been good and people have been so extremely helpful.

Sincerely,

Tova Norlen :)

Seesaw said...

I am sure you are enjoying in your stay in Niš. It will not be that soon, but that there is no more SCG seems to be obvious with every day that passes by.

Bg anon said...

Yep, as most of the time, I agree with of your observations Eric.

Looking forward to reading more from you once you are set up.

Nakic said...

Kako ste dospeli u Nis? ;) Pa ja sam Nislija (gradjanin Srbije)! Ako Vam bude zatrebala neko objasnjenje ili tura najznamenitijih obelezja grada, tu sam. Pozdrav!

Eric Gordy said...

Zdravo Nakicu! U Nis sam dospeo lepo, autobusom ... sad sam ponovu u Beogradu (i imacu prekid jos neko vreme sa blogom jer sam poslao kompjuter na popravku) ali mi je u Nisu bilo fino. Gostovali su "momci" iz grupe Atomsko skloniste, tako da sam cak i uzivao u nostalgiji. Sve najbolje.

cãorafeiro said...

hi eric and all bloggers:

I agree with you. abroad, averybody is getting an completely distorted image on the meaning of the independence of Montenegro.

the fact is that tha public opinion and main opinion maker outside the Balkans tend to look at that region as if they were waching a cheap soap-opera on TV. They expect drama, and tragedy, with wich to get entertained ant then confortabilly think how lucky they ar to belong to a civilized country...

It's the cronicle misrepresentation of the Balkans...

Snezic said...

eh moj dragi grad.. Nish... slucajno sam naletela na tvoj blog. Upravo citam, da vidim sta se zanimljivo desava...

pozdravici od jedne Nishlike :)