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Not even an hour after the declaration was made in Kosovo that it was 'officially' an independent country, people were gathering in the different cities in Serbia. Belgrade and Novi Sad saw the most destruction.
Going around downtown Belgrade in the last few hours one can see packs of men trying to catch up to large groups who are still roaming the city. The Slovakian embassy had all its window's smashed. Many shops and buildings were similarly damaged, cops were hurt, and many journalists were injured. Lots of spray paint went up today, slogans such as 'EU NEVER' and '1389,' referring to the Serbian historic battle in Kosovo where Serbs fought against the Turks, 'protecting the Christian world' and their territories.
The people rioting were members of Obraz, a clerical-Fascist group, and of many various football clubs.
Obraz is accused of the bombing of the Slovakian owned shopping mall Mercator in Belgrade last week. They also demonstrated this week at Kontekst, an art gallery, as it was opening an exhibit that showcased artists from Pristina, Kosovo. The exhibit was shut down and art pieces were destroyed.
Big demonstrations have been called for tomorrow, one at noon at the university, another an hour later called by Activni Centar, a group that has been running a major advertising campaign for the last few months focused upon keeping Kosovo inside Serbia. Thousands are expected.
The government has called for a demonstration at noon on Thursday.
Some government-funded folks at U of T are organizing a conference about investing in the new, "western friendly" Serbia.
The region has already seen some high-profile investment from Canadian companies. Organizers say that participants can expect a frank assessment of the potential for the region as whole as it moves towards political and economic stability along with membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the European Union.
The press has repeated, ad nauseum, that the Serbian Radical Party, which won a plurality of seats in yesterday's election, is "ultra-nationalist", and in a few cases "far right". Unfortunately, there's almost no information about their positions or policies, other than they're against European integration and the extradition of General Ratko Mladic to the Hague.
On the second point, it's hard to argue with them. If one wishes to enforce international law, the way to do it is not to set up a US-funded kangaroo court that refuses outright to try war criminals on both sides. That's not justice, that's a farce. Enforcing international law is a great idea; enforcing it selectively just means it's not law and it's not international. And it's hard to get excited about non-international non-law.
Credit to the BBC for not only not using (at least in that article) the term "ultranationalist" to deride the Serbian Radical Party, which appears to be on its way to winning the elections (but probably not the government) in Serbia today, as many outlets undoubtedly will. The BBC gets extra points for alluding to the small fact that NATO dropped 20,000 tonnes of bombs on the country might have an effect on whether the majority of Serbs are willing to sacrifice their well-being to join the EU.
In today's Globe, Bruce Konviser hits all the major notes of Globe and Mail foreign coverage: unspecified "pro-western reforms" are good, "nationalism" is "destabilizing", and why should any facts get in the way of us reporting that story once again.
I forgot the most important one: history doesn't exist, and if it does, it doesn't matter.
(For a long, fascinating, historical take on whether Serbia should join the EU, check out this essay of sorts by John Bosnitch)
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.