Sunday, February 24, 2008
Serbia and the Trap of the Past
I was downtown today when I came across this Serbian-Canadian demo.
Police were taking no chances.
They even had a fire engine standing by. I guess they were worried somebody would burn the American consulate down. And blame it on the Americans.
But this was a noisy but peaceful crowd.
And very Canadian...
I couldn't help but be impressed by their pride and their passion.
But I also couldn't help but wonder as they chanted "Serbia...Serbia....Serbia."
Whether they understand that the dead of Srebrenica also speak loudly from their graves.
And whether the proud Serbian people still don't understand what happened and why.
And really are trapped in the past.
Every effort has been made by NATO, the United Nations, the European Union and the United States to accommodate Serbian fears and sensitivities. Belgrade has never demonstrated any remorse for the carnage unleashed by former dictator Slobodan Milosevic on Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority — nor any willingness to negotiate the province’s independence.
Serbian leaders have a clear choice: stoke this xenophobia and self-pity, and further isolate themselves, or tamp down these passions and accept Europe’s offer of economic and political integration.
History has proved that Balkan resentments can trigger wider conflict. It must not happen again.
I don't want to take sides in this conflict. All I wish for is peace and reconciliation.
But it seems to me unless Canada and other countries recognize Kosovo....and help the Serbs come to terms with the new reality. This fatal blindness or delusion will continue.
And the situation can only get worse...
P.S. Whenever I think of the Balkan War I think of the story Sébastien once told me. About coming across a burned out village full of rotting bodies.
And some U.N. guy was sobbing and beating his fist on the hood of a jeep. And when Sébastien asked him who was to blame he said "everyone."
As in those who did it and those that didn't stop it.
It's his nightmare... and because I love him ...mine as well.
Please never let it happen again...