Israeli media on Tadić's visit

Thanks to friend of East Ethnia O.F. for bringing this to attention. Yossi Melman interviewed Boris Tadić for Haaretz and found out:

*He could not go swimming because he had a flu and was too busy

*The murder of Zoran Djindjić was like the murder of Yitzhak Rabin because "both were motivated by a desire to put an end to historical processes."

*He wants to commemmorate Serbian and Jewish victims in "a memorial center for the common tragedy of our two peoples, which will be built in Belgrade, where two concentration camps were located during the Nazi occupation."

*He sees a parallel between the sense of threat in both states, as (the reporter's words) "many Serbs feel close to and identify with Israel; they feel a common sense of victimization, justified or not. Israel is fighting Palestinian terrorism, and Serbia feels threatened by Albanian terrorism in the fight over Kosovo, most of whose residents are Muslims who want independence from Serbia."

All said, the interview is typical Tadić: a little bit of moderation, a little bit of opportunism, a little bit of playing to the extremes. It makes for an interesting set-piece on hybridity and the uses of victimisation.

Do animals harass people with lawsuits?

So it seems that the philosopher Milan Kangrga has won the case brought against him by the unusual person Tomislav Dragun on charges of "libelling Croatianity," noted earlier this month on this blog. Dragun had claimed that Kangrga had done him damage by claiming that animals were smarter than Croats. Kangrga denied having made any such claim (the conflict seems to have been over a satirical remark the philosopher had made on the question of whether people know what their interests are), and allowed that Dragun was smarter than an animal. There was no effort to specify what animal it was under discussion.


Moral foreign policy?

The Times reports that the Uzbek interior minister, who is accused of directing the massacre of potesters in Andijon in May, is currently in Germany for cancer treatment. Colonel General Almatov is one of twelve Uzbeks affected by an EU travel ban announced Monday. EU officials explained that "medical emergencies" were exempt from the travel ban. There goes your leverage.

The Bush administration's contribution to the progress of civilisation, in five words

Torture. Secret prisons. Chemical warfare.


Blog Against Racism Day, 1 December

This is the sort of blog action it is easy to support, and it could produce some useful results. Chris Clarke is asking people to make 1 December "Blog Against Racism Day." There is plenty going on worthy of comment and critique. On that day, put up whatever thoughts you have on the topic, and a good discussion ought to follow.

What's in a name?

The village of Smrdići (little stinkies) near Žitorađe (native town of Ceca Ražnatović), apparently got its name after a lot of horses died there. Now it has changed its name to Izvor (source), for some reason.


Treatment for blogophobia

There was some concern this past summer when a pseudonymous "Ivan Tribble" published a couple of essays in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the perils of blogging. Considering that he chose a pseudonym for a column in a print publication too, he might as well have been warning about the perils of saying anything at all, anywhere. This week Rebecca Goetz has a response based on her own experience (and a small-scale survey), highlighting the positive contributions of blogging to many parts of the academic job. I would go further: to the extent that professors and other academics have anything valuable to say, they are not doing their job if they do not communicate it.


Prediction: Something might happen, maybe

The interior ministry of RS is negotiating with somebody regarding a surrender to the ICTY, reports Nezavisne novine. It might be Ratko Mladić, but then again it might not be.

Confronting and understanding the extreme right

Today's papers have several reactions to the very public display of neo-Nazi groups in Serbia. Dnevnik's article cites a number of social scientists, including historian Zoran Janjetović who points out that the country does not have authentic fascist traditions and points to the appearance of extreme right groups as a sign of social crisis. The article also cites social psychologist Žarko Trebješanin who concurs that extreme movements appear as a result of social crisis, and also ties the appearance of these groups to the destruction of social values over the past several years. Sociologist Zagorka Golubović places the development in a global context, pointing out that similar developments are apparent elsewhere in the world, as a consequence of "great turbulence and confusion, and the impossibility of showing that there exists some different, new and more acceptable alternative to the dominant neoliberalism." Sociologist Neven Cvetićanin argues that people who see no future for themselves will tend to find solace in extremism.

A similar but more detailed perspective is outlined in sociologist Isidora Jarić's interview in Politika, where she details the results of a series of surveys on questions of hopelessness, inclination toward extreme perspectives, and the possibility of violence. B92's article concludes with a brief discussion of whether purely punitive approaches can address the problem.

Carnival of the Balkans #4!!!!

The fourth Carnival of the Balkans is up over at Science and Politics! This is the most exhaustive and diverse Balkan carnival ever, featuring Balkan blogs in many languages from around the world. Have a look and see what people are writing about, and what sorts of communications they are getting from their neighbors. Previous editions are archived at the Balkan carnival site.