Karadzic, Mladic, Hadzic aka The Serbia-EU Express(One stop NATO): Is It Really Welcome by Serbs?
Update: Okay, there seems to be something going on over at RTS .. apparently the SRS (Serb Radical Party) leader Tomislav Nikolic has threatened RTS twice in the past few days. The SRS has threatened to obstruct RTS’s work. This of course may explain the predominantly radical comments (possibly a campaign) that I had read earlier and noticed then later a change in comments – as noted at the bottom of this post. This still does not excuse the lack of positive reaction to Karadzic’s arrest or media manipulation of comments. Let’s see if the Serbian bloggers can take this task up – so far – I’ve been to one blog that says that everyone knows what Karadzic did and those that don’t believe he did those things are never going to believe – I say you try anyway.
Serbia announced today that it is restoring it’s ambassadors to EU countries that have acknowledged Kosovo’s independence. Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic insists that this move is not capitulation but rather that Serbia is trying to change its parameters in a constructive manner. The goal is two-fold: integration into the EU and pursuing it’s hold on Kosovo through a diplomatic battle. source
Additionally, Serbia has taken additional steps in regards to foreign affiliations today by announcing the Serbian government’s intention of securing a security agreement with NATO in which Serbia and NATO will share information. While a Serbian delegation must still meet with NATO, Spasojevic clearly states that this is a sign of the first step Serbia is taking towards an operational membership with a Partner in Peace. source
This past weeks news of Karadzic’s arrest in Serbia has news stories full of reactions of Bosnian Muslims along with the contrasting reactions of Bosnian Serbs (and yes there are few exceptions). The international reaction has been positive, of course, and talk of capturing Mladic and Hadzic were overwhelming in most articles.
A few stories have come out of Serbia regarding Serbian reaction which range from a couple of hundred to several hundred protestors outside of the Belgrade court where Karadzic is being held and their violence against the press. It would so seem that Serbs in Serbia are more enamored of Karadzic’s transformation into a health guru hiding out in the open, writting articles, public appearances and speeches at conferences, his frequenting a local pub with his picture on the wall and his alleged mistress than they are about the arrest.
It still struck me as strange that Serbs weren’t a little more elated about the capture of Karadzic, after all, this is a significant step towards EU integration and this is what they wanted (so be it that it was a slim majority) they did afterall vote in the government that made this all possible. I decided today that I wanted to see the Serbian reaction to the news that Mladic handed over Karadzic.
Talk about denial. The overwhelming comments to the article referencing the Telegraph were full of conspiracy theories and anti-American sentiment is rather scary – I think I’d be safer traveling through RS or Serbia with a Bosnian passport. Get passed all the conspiracy theories though and one begins to realize that these men are really heros to many Serbs and one has to ask where is the debate?
I searched a few more articles and much of the same.
After having some difficulty accessing the site, internet explorer kept comming up with an error page that the page could not be found but when I finally was able to get back into the site, there it was, what I assume to be the first article “Radovan Karadzic Captured” which begins with some very enthusiastic comments and yes, there were those full of scorn as well but at least there was a mixed reaction.
Still, it is quite obvious that a radical nationalist opinion exists in Serbia. Since I began writting this many of the comments in articles that I have looked at have changed, strangely enough right after I was having access problems, to reflect a more mixed reaction but that doesn’t change the radical elements that exist within the society.
Is this change a welcome one by Serbs? A slim majority voted the powers that are making these steps into power but can the moderates hold on to this position? Is the new found government facing the same battles that the government that turned over Milosevic is facing? These are important questions because if the moderates can not hold onto a majority and that EU membership isn’t delivering them salvation from their dreary lives – we’re quite possibly looking at another Milosevic being elected.