THE REFERENDUM HORRORS AND INDEPENDENCE APPEAL

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Text: Žikica Milošević

It is hard to get the balance right between the two conflicting urges: to be stable (so-called stabilocracy) and the exciting new possibility to be independent. There is in fact, just one way to do it right: to negotiate with the central government, like Scotland in 2014, Montenegro in 2006, Quebec in 1995. All the unilateral things either fail completely, are bloody or simply, turn into frozen conflicts.

CATALONIA

The trouble with Catalonia is not gthat they have no rights to be independent, that the injustice has not been done to them since the Union of Aragon and Castille, the Bourbon Revolution, Austriacist, or Franco dictatorship. It is just that Carles Puigdemont did not do what Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon did. Negotiate the rules and do the job. Milo Đukanović did his job well. Usually it is about the voting lists, time span for campaign YES or NO, the percentage of qualified voters (usually between 50% and 66.67%), which in case of Montenegro was 55%. You can say whatever you want about Đukanović, but he had a fierce opponents in Belgrade, first the stongman Milošević, then much harder democrats with legitimacy, like Đinđić, Koštunica, Tadić. But he did it. You cannot say that Puigdemont had tougher job with Rajoy than anyone with “Sloba”. Simply, Puigdemont knew that the 50% trashold cannot be reached peacefully and he provoked incidents to make situation hotter, like in the Belfast Uprising in 1916. Then the majority of Irish were opposed to the Irish independence but cruel reaction of British troops change the common opionion. Thank God it did not happen in Barcelona, but it was close. Rajoy could have done it much much better. In other words, Catalonia cannot be independent, the EU said it was illegal, 50% is unattainable, tourism is the greatest potential and nobody likes warzones, the new international brigades will not help, so, it is the best to renegotiate Catalan position. Well, maybe it was the crucial objective: to make a hot fuss and negotiate from tougher positions. Rajoy also proved to be no wuss, so get back to the table and talk. And the flag called Estelada Blava, is reflecting the aspirations to unite 5 regions of El Paisos Catalans: Valencia, Balearic Islands, Andorra and Perpignan, and it won’t work at all. Puigdemont wanted to be caliph instead of caliph, with his own money and presidency. We here know that all too well.

KURDISTAN AND ONE STEP BEYOND

The same applies to Kurdistan. We all like the heroic battle of Kurds against the notorious Islamic State, their female fighters, their respect for minorities, and the secularity of their society. But they simply cannot expect Baghdad to say “Oh, OK, no problem, pack your bags and leave, don’t forget the oil! Good luck, guys!” Even Denmark or Finland could say something louder than that. It is, once again, not about the RIGHT, it is about the procedures. Just like the situation in Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Republika Srpska, Preševo Valley, Serbian Krajina, Transnistria (you name it) could not and cannot be resolved without the talks with the central governments, and it will all remain frozen. When Montenegro seceded, nobody in Serbia claims it should be with Serbia. You can only call for “another referendum since the circumstances are different”. Like in Scotland, or Quebec. Or Brexit. But you can organise as many referenda as you want, if you are, say, Transnistria, and you vote OUT, and Moldova says, no, you cannot leave even if you de facto left, then you have to negotiate. And the refendum is just a trump card, nothing more. Now Veneto is preparing something. Respect, but first negotiate. Or you will have to negotiate later.

AFRICA

And the worst problems are expecting Africa, of course. In Europe, borders are a bit natural, but in Africa, they are arbitrary and colonial. Republic of Ambazonia (former British Cameroon) decided to overturn the unification with French Cameroon, and Biafra wants resurection after 50 years. It is all about the oil, money, language, but it is all flammable. Many will follow. And the central goverments will not just sit and watch.

SUI GENERIS

And now the funny ending. The EU representatives exclaimed that the situation in Catalonia and in Kosovo cannot be compaired since Kosovo is a “sui generis” case. Supposedly, the Internation Court of Justice confirmed that proclaiming independence is not opposite to the international laws. It did not. As Tibor Varadi said, the ICJ concluded elegantly that making declarations is not illegal. So my declaration that I am the President of Russia is not illegal, it is just a nice try, right? And we know Kosovo is not sui generis. And they know. Everyone knows. Sui generis is used when you want to do something against all regulations and you desperately don’t know how to justify it. For example, all the students have to attend the college classes, but not me, since I am “sui generis”. No-one can drive drunk, but me, since I am “sui generis”, so it does not apply to me, right? Well, sui generis is rubbish and you know it. Just a lame excuse.

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