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Srbija 2020

Chris Farmer

What We Learn from History….

Signing Up for Staying OutSigning Up for Staying OutIt is interesting that Sergei Lavrov refers to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 in the extended Russian riff entitled “What in the Heck are We Going to Do About Kosovo?”

According to B92, the diplomat said: “It is necessary to abide by all international laws, including the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the principle of inviolability of borders that cannot be breached other than by mutual consent.”


Note on the New Serbian Government

It is gratifying to see that when all else fails there is still one common denominator which inextricably links all of the players in our political spectrum together with singleness of purpose. It is the one single element which can still galvanize the bickering and posturing factions of the "democratic block," compelling them forward into the unknown territory which is known as decisive action.

Fear.


Dog Watching

Neighborhood DogsNeighborhood DogsThere are about twelve dogs outside my window, more or less.

If you close your eyes and listen, there might be five hundred. No one loves these dogs. They are loud, abrasive, and harbor a particular dislike for passing cars. The dogs live in a large dirt bottomed lot, replete with hills and valleys and studded with protruding atramental re-bar in the Non-Operational Construction Area for Suspended Housing (NO-CASH) – an open field/apartment block in transition. A perfect place for our twelve neighborhood dogs.


Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

Imaginary ObjectImaginary ObjectSince moving into our stately new offices in Sarajevksa, I have had one nagging problem: my books keep falling down.

Stubbornly persistent, I line them up on my desk and, after an interval ranging between 5 minutes and 2 days, they all slide down onto the floor with an inelegant but highly eloquent series of thuds.

Inspiration, ever my traveling companion, suggested to me that what I needed were Book-Ends. Simple pieces of plastic, metal, or wood, they are placed strategically at the polar extremes of a small row of books (i.e, on my desk). The weight of the books firmly anchors the books in place and no series of thuds ever ensues after their application. Quite a marvelously simple invention, I think.


New Government - No Waiting

The Pessimists, and there can be little doubt that this is single largest party in Serbia today, are saying that we will be left without a government until the end of May – or maybe even longer positing visions of new elections to jostle the swing voters one way or another.

The Cynics, another significant block of voters, are saying – Great! The longer the politicians stay home the better our chances!

I say this is an intolerable situation. Like it or not (you Cynics) we need the government to get to work. And love it or leave it (you Pessimists) we cannot wait until next Christmas (Gregorian or Julian) for the formation of this government.


The Silence….

Pity the poor media consumer in Serbia!  For the next 48 hours, we have lost our daily bread of electioneering, promises, baby-kissing, lovely hand-knit sweaters (providing the coveted Man-of-the-People causal look), dramatic camera angles, flag-waving, and – of course – rampant speculation about who plans to get in bed with whom after the electoral chips have all fallen.


Low Stakes Game

Did you notice how they no longer hold our attention?

Elections in Serbia used to be raucous and joyous popular battles. And when I say used to be, I mean last time we had them. The Fate of the Nation was at stake. The choices we made at the polls would determine our Destiny. Our Place in the Universe depended SO MUCH on who we chose. Naturally, the rhetorical warfare of invective and slander was part of the game. OUR GUY was better by far, but, in order to see that, we had to show and be shown how the OTHER GUYS were Evil and Pernicious and even a little Smelly.


TOP SECRET: Resolutions

One of the secret purposes of our celebration of the New Year is to expose last year’s excesses and negligence, to put the right foot forward, to make firm and binding resolutions (1244?) for how we will modify our behavior in the oh-so-close-at-hand future.

There are a number of resolutions which we talk about and some we keep as guarded secrets so that when we abandon them on January 2 at about 10:23, no one will be the wiser….


Christmas Spirited

WHILE THE CANDIDATES in our Yuletide Elections are getting dressed up as multiple Santa Clauses and fighting among each other about who will bring the BEST present to all the good boys and girls of Serbia (and you know perfectly well that ALL OF YOU have been good)…

WHILE THE BUSINESS community is getting ready to consumer the traditional generously-tolerated levels of Christmas spirits at company Christmas parties and gatherings stacked three deep per night from here to December 29…


Lost in the Funhouse

Whenever the US Department of Paranoiac Frenzy (USDPF) gets a whiff of a terrorist plot or conspiracy or threat or whatever, the Powers That Be (PTB) instantly spring into action – they warn all US citizens in the area to ALTER THEIR ROUTES.

The strategy seems sound. When 295 million Americans suddenly turn and start heading in the other direction, your average terrorist will certainly become confused and depressed, seeking counseling and probably eating more chocolate than he should.


The Crying Game

At the precise moment of admitting defeat at the hands of my adversary, a small, unassuming, and yet hugely powerful opponent, I had a moment of total clarity. In one epiphanic flash, I perceived his full battle strategy and was forced to tip my hat to the cunning genius and utter simplicity of his plan. I had been outflanked, outmaneuvered, and out-right slam dunked. Again.

Allow me, if you will, to reveal for the first time my story. It is a story of the triumph of youth over experience, of primal instinct over wizened rationality. It is not a tale which I tell with pride, nor yet with anguish, but its telling will – I sincerely hope – unburden my soul by acknowledging the full untenability of my position.

And because my adversary is only two and half years old, he has yet to comprehend the sweetness of victory while I face the next 20 years (nay, more!) of bitter defeats.


Between Rock and Blog Place

Can we write whatever we want about whomever we want whenever we want? And when we write whatever we want about whomever we want who did whatever they did to whomever it was, do we need to have any proof whatsoever?

What?


The Great Push

The decision for me to push my car from Mercator to my home was deeply imbued with inat. The fact that I did not have a massive coronary in the process was due to the intervention of the Unexpected.

It was a normal evening in the White City. I had spent most of the day rushing from Point A to Point B via Point Q (which was of course under construction) and had arrived at item number 629 on my list-of-stuff-to-do for the day:

“Go to Mercator.”


Sticky Carrots

Reading the news about Serbia’s chances of renewing talks with the EU, I came across a line from the chief Government Talking Head (or Head of Talking, as you like) which baffled me:

 “It’s a pity that EU talks won’t be continued at this time, since that would motivate us to finalize the Hague cooperation as soon as possible,” Đurić told the press. (B92, October 15) 


Behind the Sofa?

When you lose your keys, there is always some guy – a guy who is clearly MUCH smarter than you – who will tell you where to look. The guy is never much help, but he has the smug certainty that at least HE did not lose his keys and that if ever he did he would first tell you to look behind the sofa. After the futile struggle of looking in all your pockets, in the car, and in the refrigerator behind the ajvar, you start to wonder if the Helpful Guy has not in fact taken your keys himself and hidden them.

Hmm…

Days go by and your keys are NO WHERE to be found. Eventually your cousin from, say, the Netherlands shows up at your door. Let’s call him “Carlo.” You promised to give the keys to your cousin several years ago, but you just cannot find them anywhere. Even though he has come to help you (after all, Carlo is much better at looking for lost keys than you), you cannot help but wonder what is going on.


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