By Žikica Milošević
I can see that many people in the West are trying to figure out the way to bring Serbia closer to the West, since it is drifting slowly away from it. The solution is easy! There is a way to do it and it has already been done in Finland, but certain solutions will have to change, both in Europe and in Serbia (clearly in the USA too).
EVERYTHING IS DOUBLE IN SUOMI-FINLAND
When Finland became an independent republic, during the 1917-1920 process, it was at a difficult starting point – not only there was a civil war between the Reds and the Whites, but there was also a rift between the monarchists and the republicans. Finland had three tricky issues to deal with. First, the country had 90% Finnish-speaking and 10% Swedish-speaking population (we are using rough estimates here for the sake of the argument). The additional difficulty was that the Swedish was, for centuries, the official language of state and in culture, even for the Finnish. The solution was to establish a bilingual state, with both Finnish and Swedish being official languages, hence the name SUOMI – FINLAND. The other „problem“ was that the country was 90% Lutheran and 10% Orthodox (again, a rough estimate), so it was decided that it would have two official religions – Lutheran Protestantism and Orthodoxy.
ÅLAND IS THE LAND
The issue of the Åland Islands was the most difficult part. The Swedes living there wanted to secede and form their own country or, preferrably, join Sweden, forseeing a Finnish independent state. Finland retained this claim and brought the issue in front of the League of Nations in 1921 and it ruled that the Åland Islands should remain Finnish. The population continued using Swedish, they had their own constitution, car plates, and even passports with clearly written ÅLAND on them. They were also exempt from serving in the Finnish army. So, de facto, it was a state within a state.
WHAT ABOUT US?
Some might argue that our situation should be dealt with in „the Macedonian way“ or „Zaev way“, but, in fact, the best way to deal with it is the Finnish way. Serbia and Macedonia must (not could, but must) apply the Finnish-style bilingualism in their entire teritorry, that is the Serbian and Albanian language. Yes, even on passports and everywhere else! It is a small price to pay for 16% of the territory and at least a formal re-integration of it. Also, Serbia should agree to allow around 25% of national MPs to be Kosovo Albanians, with the corresponding number of ministers. The ruling coalition, like in the FYRO Macedonia, could comprise of one Albanian party for each Serbian party. In terms of military, neutrality is the way go, regardless of the fact that the Serbs are leaning towards Russia and Albanians towards NATO. As for the EU integrations, a peaceful EU accession is the solution just like in the case of Finland. Would you be offended to hear MPs speaking Albanian in the Serbian Parliament while other MPs are wearing headphones listening to the translation? Of course, you would. Wait! In the Vojvodinian Parliament, MPs can speak in as much as 6 languages! OK, four, not counting Serbian and Croatian, with the latter not requiring translation. These 4 languages are Rusyn, Hungarian, Romanian and Slovakian. Who is offended by this? Nobody! If you take a look at the Vojvodinian government buildings, they all have plaques with the inscriptions in 6 languages. Offended? By what? By the fact that the inscription on one of the plates is written in Hungarian too? This is really not detrimental to you, but it does make the Hungarians proud because they feel at home, rather than like foreigners.
Why would you be then offended to see „QEVERIA E REPUBLIKËS SË SERBISË” on the plaque of the Serbian government building ? Or on the dinar banknotes? Have you ever really paid attention to what is written in the Nemanjina Street? When you hold euro banknotes, do you really care that they have the words EURO – EВРО – ЕΥРΩ written on them? No, you just use them for payment. Don’t over-dramatise this issue! When some politicians claim that „the Kosovar economy is based on drug smuggling and shadow conomy“ or that „there are 2 million „foreign“ people living in Kosovo“, it is blatantly racist. Do you think you are better? Do you think that it is easier to live „next“ to „the smugglers“ rather than „with the smugglers“? What is it that you exactly want? A territory with no people? Or you would like to cut off a Serbian territory because you (openly racist, once again) don’t like to live with them? If you like the notion of only Serbs living in Serbia, why not cutting Senta off, or Novi Pazar, or Kovačica, or Preševo? Cut them all off! Make our country Serbs-only! Now you sound like a skinhead, and you know it. So, why not „cutting off“ your own thoughts instead?!
THE GLOBAL VOJVODINA
It is not only us who need to change. It is also the countries which support the independent Kosovo. It is the local Albanians living there too! We all have to change! The Finnish way, or the Vojvodinian way, whichever you prefer. Make our country a global Vojvodina, and save our souls, and ourselves along the way. That is the way to westernise Serbia – give it something and it will go. Otherwise it will remain stuck!