September 19, 2002
three successor states of the former Yugoslavia, this fall
is all about voting. Macedonian parliamentary elections were
held this past weekend, with predictable results. Serbian
presidential elections are next on September 29, followed
by a general vote in Bosnia-Herzegovina on October 5. It is
a time of choice, a time of civic responsibility, a time to
reaffirm commitment to democracy.
is also entirely bogus.
political system needs something that would give it legitimacy.
For most of human history, that role was played by religion,
from the "gods" of ancient Egypt to the "divine
right" of European monarchs. In the 20th century,
however, the altars of priests were replaced by ballot boxes,
as the world largely embraced the new religion – democracy.
belief in "democracy" is seen as a mark of righteousness,
so much that dictators across the Third World hide behind
the democratic title of "President." Almost every
party in the former Socialist bloc has "Democratic"
in its name. So did most of the formerly Socialist countries,
for that matter. And the Balkans is a very representative
case of this phenomenon, as the place where democracy
is raw, primeval and unadulterated.
as more primitive religions honor ritual more than the meaning
behind it, so the Balkans democracy honors the act of voting:
as a sacred ritual that needs to be performed in a certain
manner at a certain time, in order to bestow legitimacy upon
the chosen leader(s). The Election is a Portal to Power, the Sacrament
of Governance, and the Triumph of the (People’s) Will.
entire sordid spectacle certainly did not impress the great
American author Robert
is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than
one man. How's that again? I missed something." (Time
Enough for Love)
it does beat human sacrifice. But not by much.
of Macedonia should be a warning to every country in the world,
but it isn’t – because of democracy. A year after capitulating
to Albanian bandits, Macedonia officially voted them into
power. Elections here were nothing short of a major miracle:
they transubstantiated the "murderous
thugs" and terrorists of the UCK into peace-loving
moderates and "linchpins of the peace process."
telling their ignorant readers that black is white, up is
down and short is long, Western reporters gloated
over the demise of the ruling VMRO and cheered
the ascendant stooges of the Empire: Ali Ahmeti’s KLA,
and the pliant Macedonian Socialists.
press" can mention Ahmeti’s Union for Democratic
Integration (with a woefully appropriate Albanian acronym,
DUI) with a straight face, given its forceful advocacy and
practice of separate societies for Albanians and Macedonians,
an ethnic apartheid. Yet the Malice Award must go to
the Washington Post’s Nicholas Wood, who described
the Macedonian people as "ethnic Slav majority, who often
call themselves ethnic Macedonians."
is the equivalent of someone referring to "an ethnic
European majority who often call themselves Americans."
For that matter, imagine a Hispanic- or African-only party
composed of pardoned terrorists, advocating an ethnically
cleansed portion of the U.S., special ethnic privileges (called
"rights" by the malicious or the misinformed)...
Never in America? Yet in Macedonia, that’s "the road
to peace and democracy."
is all rubbish, of course. Any real choice must contain the
possibility of different outcomes. Yet the outcome of Macedonia’s
election was foreordained by many powerful
people, who worked hard to bring it about. Indeed, just
before the vote, they confidently claimed that whoever emerged
victorious, Macedonia’s policy of subservience to the Empire
not change. So much for choice.
will the powerful people stop at Macedonia. They have similar
stakes in the upcoming elections in Bosnia and Serbia, where
things are bit more complicated.
is a country held together by outside force and tyranny. There
is no consensus among its citizens as to what is should be,
or even if it should be. Ethnic conflicts that
erupted in 1990 have remained unresolved, and were only made
more intractable by the war. To think the way to fix this
is holding elections, the Empire must be even stupider
than critics give
it credit for.
has had three elections after the Dayton Agreement ended the
war and instituted a foreign protectorate in all but name.
Every time, the people’s choices disappointed their foreign
masters. On several occasions, Bosnia’s colonial governors
elected officials and appointed others more to their liking.
This time, Imperial Viceroy Lord Ashdown even went so far
as to lecture
the people of Bosnia on whom to elect come October 5. So again,
real choice is absent from the ritual – and from the slate
parties in the Serb Republic are dedicated to preserving its
autonomy, though the degree of their commitment largely depends
on how much they need to please the Viceroy in order to stay
the electoral defeat of the HDZ in Croatia, and the crushing
of its Bosnian daughter-party by former Viceroy Petritsch,
Bosnian Croats have lost much of their political clout, and
their vote is likely to reflect their fear of domination by
seem to have the most choices, but the appearance is deceiving.
They could bring back Alija Izetbegovic’s SDA, perpetuating
dream of a unified, Muslim-dominated Bosnia. Or they could
support Izetbegovic’s loyal opposition, Haris
Silajdzic’s "Party for Bosnia," which has the
exact same goal, only packaged in the rhetoric of justice,
human rights and yes, democracy.
(SDP) are the only non-nationalist alternative in the country,
but what do they offer? Human rights, justice, democracy,
rule of law, a citizen republic… these concepts are merely
words, lacking practical manifestation. Plus, they have already
been tainted by Izetbegovic’s abuse.
fact, having collaborated with Izetbegovic during the war
and with Silajdzic to win the last election, the SDP continue
to be regarded as "just another Muslim party." That
is somewhat unjust, since they do seem to have a commitment
to a secular, multi-ethnic country. Shackled by their own
prejudice, though, and preferring reluctant half-measures
to a decisive resolution of Bosnia’s crucial issues, they
seem unable to make their program believable.
wins, it is safe to say that ethnic issues will remain unresolved,
the foreign masters will remain displeased, and Bosnia will
continue its paradoxical existence. So much for the ballot
Evil and The Confused
only real choices seem to be available in Serbia – though
even here, they are of highly dubious quality. In a cruel
mockery of reason, behind an otherwise perfectly reasonable
statement about Serbia’s future was Vojislav Seselj, the
psychotic and unpopular leader of the Radical Party. Though
endorsed by Slobodan Milosevic, Seselj will compete for the
opposition vote against a former actor
and Socialist candidate Velimir-Bata Zivojinovic.
of them has a good chance of winning, though. The real
struggle will be between a puppet of the unabashedly pro-imperialist
Djindjic regime, Miroljub Labus,
and the confused, vacillating Vojislav
Kostunica. It is a contest between two visions of democracy,
differing in degree of submission to the Empire while firmly
anchored in modern welfare-statism. This is where Djindjic
and his stooge have the advantage: they are as amoral, hypocritical,
callous and unprincipled as their Imperial masters, "democrats"
personified. On the other hand, Kostunica’s attempts to reconcile
the realities of today’s democracy with ideals of liberty,
law and limited government might as well be trying to square
Serbia would be vastly better off if Kostunica won, then
called for a new parliamentary election and ended Djindjic’s
reign. And even though the notion of limited government
flawed in itself, it is vastly preferable to unfettered
tyranny currently in place.
is, will the Empire allow it? Too many people in Washington’s
corridors of power hate Kostunica with a burning passion.
the classical liberal ideals of the Founding Fathers, the
paladins of Empire cannot stand someone who still professes
to believe in them.
the Empire would like nothing more than a Djindjic-run Serbia
with Labus as the figurehead of state. To ensure this happens,
they will likely continue to threaten,
pressure, and blackmail to ensure the Serbs "choose
wisely." In a September 17 statement to the public, Djindjic’s
party has already claimed that Kostunica’s victory would bring
"new war, crisis, hyper-inflation and international sanctions."
Ballot and Bomb
the past decade, the Empire has been heavily involved in all
the Balkans elections, and continues that involvement with
the current three. The birthplace of democratic religion,
its blessing is now the necessary confirmation that the voting
ritual was successful. Ballots have long since joined bullets
and bombs in the assortment of Imperial weapons of conquest.
they may install in power leaders willing to serve the Empire
– or have
already done so – elections in Bosnia, Macedonia and Serbia
will hardly improve the lot of their people. Government is
not the solution to their woes, but rather the
source of them. There is little point in engaging in politics
if debate is only allowed within the confines of statist tyranny
and submission to the Empire.
yet, the Balkans demonstrates the thesis
that democracy attracts the worst sort of people to positions
of power. The local power-mongers are so intent on lording
over a fiefdom, however small, that they can’t see the
forest from their own kindling-pile. Most Balkans politicians
are only good for lamp-post decorations.
remains, of course, that some day the Balkans will awaken
from the horrible nightmare of Imperial servitude and domestic
tyranny. Preferably soon.
the Yugoslav basketball team won
the World Championship two weekends ago, ecstatic fans
welcomed the players back with signs "Divac for President"
and "Bodiroga for Prime Minister," showing that
the everyday people still retained a modicum of sensibility.
Sports championships are won through hard work and fair competition,
and represent a real triumph of human spirit. Hokey religions
and pretentious rituals will never match that, however hard
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