Jasmina Tešanović: Christmas in Serbia

(Essay by Jasmina Tešanović, photoshop by Oibibio)

Since December 20th, 2007, ever-smaller Serbia is surrounded by the ever-larger European Union. Nine countries have joined - bringing to 24 the number of nations to have abolished internal passport controls.

The latest wave of members includes eight former communist states, and Malta.

Switzerland will become the 25th Schengen country when it joins next year.

The enlarged free-travel area encompasses some 400 million people - 30 percent more than the population of the U.S.

This wall is called Schengen, imposed against the Others in the region who will not comply with the standards emanating from Brussels. Every state around Serbia has come to make its peace, more or less, with the huge fact of European soft-power. Serbs do not comply.

The negotiations in Vienna about the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo have clamorously failed, yet again. The province is threatening to proclaim a unilateral independence from Serbia, which will likely be recognized by every state in the EU except for Cyprus. Serbia is declaring that it will fight to the bitter end for its ancient heritage, although Kosovo is currently inhabited by a 90 percent Albanian populace.

The Serbian president Boris Tadic just returned from the US where he sought the understanding of Condoleezza Rice. God knows why.

The Russians, with their newly assertive and deeply nationalist policy, are busily buying up Serbia with their boom in oil funds. Serbia as an economic and diplomatic pawn within EU territory would be very handy for Russian intrigues and wonderfully painful for everyone else including Serbs.

With its own clamorous failure in the negations in Vienna, the European Union timorously hands over a European problem and a fractious chunk of European territory, back to the planet's violently assertive power players: Russia and the US.

European reluctance was symbolized last week in Vicenza, Italy, where a big anti-NATO rally was held. Vicenza holds a major airbase from which NATO, in 1999, launched the (mostly American) warplanes that bombed a European state for the first time since 1945.

This holiday season, Serbia will observe the New World Order's consumer rite of Christmas, then perform the pagan ritual of New Year, when people hit the streets, flinging firecrackers and firing weapons into the sky in a storm of resolutions, wishes and kisses before the Serbian Orthodox Christmas.

The upcoming presidential elections in January 20th 2008 will show supposedly what small Serbia has decided for its own fate: to become European, Russian or American. In reality, Serbia stands decoratively armed as the banana republic of Ruritania, a frozen-conflict in love with melodramatic national notions from a historical pulp novel, with its own rules and edicts, which it flings into the teeth of a disbelieving world. The world does not comply with Serbia.

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Jasmina Tešanović is an author, filmmaker, and wandering thinker who shares her thoughts with BoingBoing from time to time. Email: politicalidiot at yahoo dot com. Her blog is here.

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Previous essays by Jasmina Tešanović on BoingBoing:

- Neonazism in Serbia
- Korea - South, not North.
- "I heard they are making a movie on her life."
- Serbia and the Flames
- Return to Srebenica
- Sagmeister in Belgrade
- Jasmina Tešanović: What About the Russians?
- Milan Martic sentenced in Hague
- Mothers of Mass Graves
- Hope for Serbia
- Stelarc in Ritopek
- Sarajevo Mon Amour
- MBOs
- Killing Journalists
- Jasmina Tešanović: Where Did Our History Go?
- Serbia Not Guilty of Genocide
- Carnival of Ruritania
- "Good Morning, Fascist Serbia!"
- Faking Bombings
- Dispatch from Amsterdam
- Where are your Americans now?
- Anna Politkovskaya Silenced
- Slaughter in the Monastery
- Mermaid's Trail
- A Burial in Srebenica
- Report from a concert by a Serbian war criminal
- To Hague, to Hague
- Preachers and Fascists, Out of My Panties
- Floods and Bombs
- Scorpions Trial, April 13
- The Muslim Women 
Belgrade: New Normality
- Serbia: An Underworld Journey
- Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
- The Long Goodbye
- Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
- Slobodan Milosevic Died
- Milosevic Funeral