The Serbian Progressive Party rally yesterday in Belgrade was really a non-event for me. I was busy reading questions for the Knowledge Bowl (see our school’s blog for more information on that event) at the school during the rally. I did get down around 4:00 PM and snapped a few photos, but by that time, everyone was gone and the moving trucks were taking down the stage. Estimates from the B92 put the number at around 55, 00o. As this commentator put it on the B92 website,
The usual blabla from these two guys. 55 thds people that mostly came from south and central Serbia in buses! As always these people most probably received some daily allowance to participate!
It is certainly important to have a good opposition but when it comes to these two, apart from critics I have never heard, read any mention of a program that make sense or could change the situation in Serbia. So waste of time and money.
I would have to agree with this. The purpose of the rally was to complain about the performance of the current government and a call for early elections. People around the world want good government (ex- Egypt) but they don’t want ideals, or platitudes, which most politicians give.What they want are the basics like tax money being spent well, roads without pot holes, decent schools, clean hospitals, a dignified retirement for senior citizens, job opportunities, feel secure in their neighborhood, etc. I don’t see Nikolic (the Progressive Party leader) and others in his party being able to do this. They don’t see smart enough, or empathetic enough to manage an economy and a nation.
But instead of just criticizing them, I will give my ideas on how Serbia should be run. I see a nation with great potential, but it is being wasted, as young people who are innovative and ready to make their mark in the world, being disillusioned because the economy is horrible. I haven’t given it enough thought, but if I were president of Serbia, I would have the following platform:
1) Foreign Policy
- I would eliminate the military. It is a big expense for the Serbian government. This would free up the large amount of military land for the good of the public. This could be used for parks, schools, green housing projects, hospitals, etc. There should also be money to train ex-soldiers for civilian life. The ending of the military would also say a lot to our neighbors and the world that Serbia is past violence and open for tourism and business investment.
- The end of the military would also mean the end of military service. I would make a Peace Corps for the Balkans and send young people for 1-year missions around the ex-Yugoslavia and the poorer parts of Serbia. They could be intern teachers, nurses, security guards, construction workers, engineers, etc.
- Invite Montenegro and Republika Srpska (the Serbian part of Bosnia) to join Serbia. I would also negotiate with Kosovo and get the northern part to join Serbia. The majority Kosovar Albanians will never want to stay in Serbia. With a recognized government, Serbians will eventually be able visit whenever they want anyway. The dream of multi ethnic societies should be dropped for now.
2) Domestic Stuff
- Ban the Serbian Latinica alphabet. The Cyrillic script looks cool and this is a part of Serbian culture that should be protected and promoted.
- Eliminate the antiquated and Byzantine (appropriate for this place) laws on the books that make it impossible to do business. The amount of paper work for building permits, starting and ending businesses, hiring and firing workers, etc. is a huge impediment for companies. Belgrade is a natural business hub for the Balkans and with a business-friendly environment, it would entice more companies to move in and we would see more start-ups.
- Fight corruption and organized crime. These elements hurt society in the long-term.
- Collect income tax from everyone, including the rich.
- Pump huge amounts of money into schools and build a cutting edge, “green” curriculum that targets entrepreneurship, technology, and problem solving. (you can tell I am a teacher)
- Clean up graffiti and garbage around the city. Help neighborhoods to form cooperatives to beautify their apartment buildings and parks. Give matching grants to apartment associations for renovating of their buildings.
- Continue moving towards Europe because this would give young Serbs the opportunity to work in other countries in the EU as well as Serbian companies possibly expanding their markets.
- Adapt the ex-Yugoslavian slogan of “Unity and Brotherhood” to “Tolerance and Pursuit of Happiness.”
Those are my initial, undeveloped thoughts. If any bilingual Serbian wants to be my running mate, I would like to run for President. I don’t speak Serbian well and that would probably hurt me in government.
6 thoughts on “If I Were King of Serbia”
Bravo, I always learn a lot from you. Thank you for Blogging.
Fantastic! Bill for president xD
I’ll just try to “correct” you, or agree with you, step by step:
1.1. – You’d do what? Eliminate military from a country that lies in the middle of a crossroad? Eliminate military from people who have it in their genes (or at least, as long as history is aware of them)? Didn’t you read history of this region? It doesn’t work like that. There have been wars, every 50 years, more or less and there will be wars again. Eliminating army won’t help any country here, on the contrary – it’ll become much more easier target for it’s neighbors. Wars are like earthquakes. They happen. You can learn to live with them, or ignore them and be surprised and shocked every time they happen. Eliminating military is like eliminating e.q. measuring instruments and shock absorbers for buildings – it’s stupid. If you want peace in this region, you need to have a respectable army (that will scare away any possible invaders) and be wealthy enough (to keep the nation happy, so they don’t need to dream of neighbors lands). And that’s necessary for all region’s countries. But, since it’s unreal, it won’t ever happen and we’ll have wars every now and then. So, we need military.
As for the “image”, did our neighbors eliminate their military? Did the world? Please…
Also, every military is leader in technological development – all cool things are firstly born in military and than, some time later, available for greater audiences.
1.2. – Nope. Military service is already killed and pro army is being developed. Only trained pros will be soldiers and paid for it. Non-pro civilians can train in army and become reserve soldiers (and get some benefits) if they’re physically and mentally fit for it. “Peace Corps”? Are they armed with flowers? Or guns? Why peace corps if we all get rid of military? There’ll be no war, so no need for peace corps, right?
Young people as construction workers, engineers, nurses? Please… If young people are willing to help, they’ll do that without peace corps, just because they like helping, meeting new people, shagging in bushes, etc. Actually, we already had that system – in ex-yu! “Work actions” – young people rebuilding their country after WW2. But guess what.. somebody didn’t like ex-yu, and lobbied for it’s end, and here we are now, talking about utopia…
1.3. – If you invested much in relationship with a girl, who in return gave you little back and finally left you for someone else and then posted your “homemade xxx” photos on internet, would you invite her (again)? Neither will Serbia invite Montenegro anytime soon. Neither would they accept it. Only way to make it happen would be if Mnt. would get fucked up again by earthquakes, fires, Albanians, swine flu, economic crisis, etc.. and by the way forget their own “identity” and not get into EU, they might maybe ask to be part of something with Serbia. But what kind of “person” would Serbia be if it wished such misery to its ex, only to get some pussy back?
Other thing would be like… you love some girl, she loves you, you want to get married, but her step/foster parents won’t let you, just because they like it so. You’ll get married only if they get too old and become powerless, or if you kill them
The third thing would be – your property was taken by some bad guys, with help of many big muscles. But those bad guys don’t really control the closest part of that property to your main property, where you actually live, so there’s possibility you might get that little part back. Would you be happy with just that little part or all the land your dad gave you?
2.1. – Ćirilica and Latinica are both parts of our culture. Serbs from todays Croatia and other catholic countries have been using Latinica for generations and they’re connected to it as some of us here are with Ćirilica. You can’t just ban it – it would take away a bit of identity of those other Serbs. But, as for promote and support part – I agree. Luckily, soon, it will be possible to use internet in Cyrillic (as well as arabian, chinese, etc.), so that will help much (there will be no more the argument – internet is only in Latinica, so why insisting using Ćirilica). Just imagine билкраловец.ком 🙂
2.2. – 2.6. – Agree
2.7. – We can already work there, and we can already sell there, even if we don’t get into EU. (eurosceptic here)
2.8. – Slogans are doomed to be outdated or even hated. Skip slogans.
3. – There are no running mates in Serbia. We don’t have such (may I say pathetic) system. If you want to be a president (have no power) you run alone. If you want real power, you need to be a prime minister and run government. For that, you need a political party, which will get most of the seats in that parliament. Once there, if you’re lucky, you’ll form government with your party alone, or if less lucky, with some other party and fight for bigger share of power.
Not bad set of comments, some bit extreme, but overall sane and in tune with Serbian reality 🙂
The fact you found SPP rally as non-event for you, I salute that …after-all it is a party formed and lead by ultranationalist turned ultra BS-ers who are ultimately Serbian fascist not liking the currently pro Western establishment….in other words nothing new on Serbian political front thus I agree that it was non-event and hopefully it will remain so regardless of the number of people in attendance.
Now, in regards to your platform….I find it interesting and I agree with and would support all but two, and those are:
1. Ditching military totally (I am of Serbo-Croatian and few other mixes Belgrade Ex-At living in Washington DC) because unfortunately Serbia and its peoples live in the area of the World that it is close to impossible to act as pacifist and to be respected and followed for it (in other Words, if you think US can run and live on that platform than could Serbia, but if not than I am sorry that is doomed part of the platform in Serbia as well). I would adjust that part to military reduction and using that part of the budget for infrastructure improvement in Serbia, such are roads , telecommunication and agricultural capabilities…after-all Serbia’s rich lands should produce more food and be major food exporter in Europe!!!
2. Second, Serbia in EU, if it happens it will be the 2nd biggest mistake Serbs will do in their history. 1st was following Mislosevic and his doctrine of self preservation on account of its population at all costs. Now why not EU…well, to elaborate I will need a pages and pages to write, but in short. EU might be god outlet for some serbian kids to eventually work in EU countries and some Serbian business to expand its market reach, however that would be just legalizing brain drain that is ongoing in that region for the past 50-60 years and in particular past 20, and it would legitimize some of the crooks who own business now in Serbia (names are not necessary, since they are already legitimized and West has closed eyes on it because as long as it is peaceful in Serbia they don’t care who is the main thief there). EU has been made and proven to be so a perfect model for the rich countries to rule and control the poor, while getting superbly cheap and educated (freely for them) labor. In other words, biggest beneficiaries of it are (proven so far) Germany 1st, France 2nd and than the rest of the Western Europe (even messed up Spain has use out of it). A more primitive explanation would be, what Germany didn’t accomplish militarily it is and has done via EU, and I congratulate them, but always warn my family and friends, if you are dumb you will support Serbia’s entrance into EU, and same applies for Croatia and other 5 republics (Slovenia is already screwed…). Joining EU will ruin what is left of the agriculture in Serbia due to the EU’s control on who can produce what and how much, it would bring some investment, but than again it would cripple a bit of industry left since again all the regulations in place again favor existing large conglomerates and corporations which are mainly in hands of large German, French, British and Italian so called multinational companies…etc. No EU is not for Serbia, best is to be just EU partner and lifetime candidate!
…anyway, interesting write up. I had fun reading it, and I actually enjoy some of your write ups in regards to your life in my ex-home land. I do hope you will enjoy life there and hospitality , and feel at home as you did in US (as I do for example) or any other place where you enjoyed a good life. Serbia and overall region of Balkans, is likely the most hospitable region of the World regardless of all the strife it went through recently and throughout the history. People are generally warm, friendly and hard working, however due to the geo location (thus always on the plate of big powers and their games) and the fact they are surrounded by 8 different cultures it was, is and will be hard to keep it stable and 100% prosperous….etc.