THINKING REGIONALLY

By William Markiewicz

Historically, the Serbs haven't had it too easy; now, unexpectedly, luck seems to turn in their favour. By a hairsbreadth, they've escaped being bombed by the world. What suddenly put the situation into balance was the capture of the Kurdish leader and the havoc it produced.. Isn't it unfortunate that the luck of one had to be paid for with the grief of another? The earthwormlike public IQ get suddenly aware that within this anti-Serbian and pro-Albanian thunderstorm, no attention was ever given to the millions of oppressed Kurds. The professional PR manipulators try to save the Albanian cause by comparing Albanians to Kurds, which is a falsification of history; it is rather the Serbs who can be compared to the Kurds. But as the Turks are not in danger of being bombed, the comparison is irrelevant anyway. What counts now is that the threat of bombing the Serbs is on hold through not eliminated. Historical patterns have a tendency to harden into eternal inertia. All the weak know it; Jews, Iraqis, now the Serbs... Besides the cooling of public opinion, another new thought freezes the bullies: if the Kurds are becoming annoying, what troubles may come from the scorched Serbs?

But my present topic is not about the Scottish-shower treatment applied to the Serbs (by the way, they call the Serbs cowards and liars, the same term the Nazis used against Jews and Gypsies. Bullies don't change vocabulary, brute power replaces brain). My subject is the population's advantage in regional reconciliation. Abdic was on the right path. The people knew it then forgot about it when the outside powers caused his defeat.

I didn't read it personally but I overheard that Israel rationalises its present alliance with Turkey as a necessity for smaller powers to be allied with bigger ones. In the name of the same philosophy Israel unilaterally relies on the USA, neglecting other important alternatives like looking for alliances with the Arabs. Croats rely unconditionally on Germany, Muslim Bosniaks and Albanians on Turkey and the USA. During WWII. various minorities, lured by similar arguments, joined the Nazis. I once spoke at a meeting between Polish and Ukrainian groups in a Toronto Ukrainian church. I made the point that an alliance between big and small is like an alliance between wolf and goat. I remember how the heads of the audience swayed in common agreement like wheat in the wind. The Ukrainians remembered how the Germans had tricked them. I advocated that smaller neighbours make alliances among themselves rather than being used against each other by the giants. My remarks gave food for thought, though the reciprocal distrust is slow to die out. Many small neighbours have already passed from hostility to tolerance, even to friendship -- the Scandinavians are the living example.

It's only logical to use the same point of view toward the Balkans. Now the Serbs are targeted, but if they're smashed who will win? Nobody among the smaller neighbours. Germany is a big power of another language, another culture, totally another nation. Croatia and Slovenia will be quite lonely, small spots within alien turbulent surroundings. Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Romania would loose a neighboring Orthodox partner. The Muslim Slavs would lose a linguistic partner, their only link to Europe. The Albanians, so thankful to Turkey for its support against the Serbs, would become more dependent on the Turks. The return to the Balkans of the Germanic and Turkish powers will be consummated with, as a result, more 'Kurds' in the Turkish collection. Above, I used the example of Scandinavians, of Poles and Ukrainians who have begun to live as neighbours with mutual benefits. Lithuania and Latvia, with similar language and culture, are glad to have each other. The same goes for Estonia and Finland. The only Celtic independent country is Ireland, and we see what has happened; the living Celtic culture is irremediably lost. So, how about starting to look slooowly at each other across borders, as a first step in rejecting the all-powerful 'protectors' and start to think in regional terms.

Back to the index of the Vagabond
© Copyright 1999 E-mail to: William Markiewicz
Brought to you with the help of: PD