Saturday, April 19, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
When I looked at it I was stunned:
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
I Am My Mother Afterall
Prodaja bubrega jedini izlaz iz bijede The first one is a feature about a 30 year old guy who is completely disabled. He enlisted in the Bosnian army in 1993 when he was 16 and was wounded. Now he has a wife and two kids and can’t collect disability or veterans’ benefits because of a typical Bosnian run-around. He lives in one neighborhood but is registered to receive benefits from another, and one political boss doesn’t talk with another. What he gets from children’s welfare services is so meager that he is seriously considering selling a kidney on the black market.
That story was complete with photos and sidebars explaining the truth of his statements and the pathetic funding of social services.
Za cetiri godine UTAJENO 312 MILIONA. This story is about how 320 million KM (about $300 million) of tax money has NOT been collected because companies aren’t paying it and inspectors aren’t doing their jobs. It’s easy to create a holding company here that owns the small retail stores selling clothes, coffee, groceries, and booze. The retail stores may or may not record their transactions, and the inspectors may or may not care to find out. Old story.
Ignorise se ideja o zabrani djelovanja fasista. The last story explains that the Sarajevo “Josip Broz Tito” Society is losing its patience waiting for Parliament to begin discussion on a law to outlaw fascist organizations. This is a political action committee composed of true Tito loyalists, and they are regularly featured in the newspaper and testifying at Parliamentary hearings. The bill against fascism has been shelved for lack of an advocate to walk it through the process, and this is agitating the Titoists.
Now…I'll debate the definition of fascism all night. Which merits more Parliamentary attention? Anti fascism or anti racketeering? I'm not saying it's the case in Bosnia, but what do you call the Russian model of fusing the old Communist left that organized around anti-fascism and the new criminal oligarchs who keep Putin installed?
The Soviet and Tito era has gone, and patronage dispensation by a few magnates--the so-called oligarchs/mafia—has replaced it. It is a workable system, with the politicians “facilitating” the accumulation and circulation of capital. A (fill in the blank…Serbian, Russian, Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian) producer of an exportable commodity creates a holding company with intermediary companies, including those offshore. They buy aluminum, oil, raw materials from their own subsidiary at a low domestic price and sell it, also at a low domestic price, to offshore companies. By doing this, they pay low taxes on a low-priced commodity. Then the offshore company they own or control sells the commodity at the world market price, and the enormous profit stays in the West. No income tax. No profits tax.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Meet John (Indiana U), Kevin (Columbia), Elizabeth (Johns Hopkins), Grace (Arizona State), and Noreen (St. Johns, Minnesota)
Welcome to the first meeting of the Sarajevo Seminar. We met to discuss Jerry Muller's article in Foreign Affairs, Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethno Nationalism.
I organized this first meeting and John made the pizza...a true international work of art: American pizza sauce, Serbian pizza meat (aka SPAM), Greek artichokes, Herzegovinian mushrooms, Bosnian tomatoes, and mozzerella cheese from heaven.
Is ethno nationalism a product of modernization? Does the waning of industrial capitalism and the rise of international financial capitalism, or globalization, place such social stress on people that they embrace ethnic identity as a ego defining action? What are borders...interpersonally and internationally?
Noreen lectures at the Faculty of Islamic Studies on Tuesday night on Islam and video gaming. She's a scholar of religion and science, esp. computer science. I'll report back.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The meat guild (for Pat) and money changer guild (for me) in Delft. Sorry Chris, but the historians' guild is the church. Mr. William of Orange, the nemesis of the Irish, is buried in the Delft cathedral. I sent your regards.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I am visiting Ellen in the Hague and going to the War Crimes Tribunal to hear the trials of three of the more notorious of former army officers in the war in the former Yugoslavia. There are 3 courtrooms, a number of press rooms, reporters and diplomats crawling around in the hallways, and an unbelievable support staff of lawyers, judges, and interpretors. The building is an impressive modern structure.
Vojislav Seselj is a Serb accused of murdering Croat, Muslim, non-Serb elderly citizens in Croatia and for advocating for a Greater Serbia that would return Serbia to its "glory days" after WWI. He is a slick, sick fascist. Seselj's Indictment
I was in the courtroom when Ramush Haradinaj, who ran the Kosovo Liberation Army, was found not guilty of establishing horrific detention camps where Serb soldiers and civilians were tortured. You couldn't have believed the turnout of Albanian Kosovo supporters who cheered the not guilty verdict. What role the US state department played in helping our new friend, Kosovo, is beyond me, but something stinks. Allegations
Rasim Delic is a Muslim accused of failing to take steps to stop the executions of captured Bosnian Croats and surrendered Serbian solders around Travnik in Bosnia.
I listened to one of his subordinates being interrogated by Laurie Sartorio, one of the prosecution lawyers. The witness was doing his best to evade the questions she was asking about what he knew about 3 women being raped and murdered. Delic sat in the back, smiling.
I am getting the impression that witnesses who want to testify against these war criminals are threatened and intimidated.
Visitors are made to sit in an isolation booth that has a glass wall that looks into the courtroom. We wear headphones, and armed guards are in the room at all times. You have to hand over your passport, cell phones, computers, and any other communication device before they let you through and run the gauntlet of three metal detectors to get into the courtroom. My arm never sets off metal detectors in airports, but each time I was padded down and wanded.