As the no-new news caravan that is Kosovo continues to hog the headlines on a daily basis accompanied by much sound and fury, I’ve started a competition in which all are free to participate.
It’s a spectator sport searching for the politician, businessman, celeb, man-in-the-street etc. who invokes “Kosovo” in a blame game – as an excuse or buck-passing - for something quite unconnected in reality.
My Kosovo blame game nomination for November goes to the leader of the Party of International Law, Vojislav Kostunica, who blamed Kosovo for a report damning Serbia’s mental health institutions in mid-November.
The report, issued by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), was pretty rude about the state of Serbia’s mental health services. It can be accessed here, the photos of the children are particularly disturbing. http://www.mdri.org/projects/serbia/Serbia-rep-english.pdf
Kostunica wins November’s blame game nomination because instead of acknowledging the absolutely shocking photos, he attacked the distinguished mental health NGO which had written the report in the first place and went on to blame....Kosovo.
At least according to Reuters which ran a story saying that “Kostunica said the timing of the report, which comes as Serbia battles with the West to prevent the independence of its breakaway province of Kosovo and advance its bid to join the European Union, was "not accidental."
According to government mouthpiece Tanjug, Beta and B92 Kostunica “slammed” the NGO saying "We are witnesses to systematic propaganda against Serbia, loaded with fascist overtones.”
Propaganda...fascism...Kosovo....Crikey, all part of wicked plot, then.
Except if Vojo or his cronies had accessed MDRI’s website and read their other publications, they would have realised that Serbia IS NOT ALONE.
MDRI specialises in blasting the mental health services of many countries and has dedicated reports condemning mental health human rights-related abuse in Argentina, Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Russia and Hungary.
Oh, and they have also written a damning report about the mental health institutions of another place not under Serbian government control: Kosovo under unmanageable Unmik.
So there it is. The human rights of the mentally ill are abused all over the world, not just in Serbia, the only real difference here between Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Russia, Hungary and Serbia is that the responsible Turkish, Peruvian, Mexican, Russian and Hungarian politicians have no Kosovo issue they can try and deflect the responsibility to. Of course, I would be the last person in the world to suggest that the leader of the Party of International Law was engaging in cynical demagoguery, fuelling nationalism and paranoia in an effort to minimise that which his government his responsible for. After all, where is the historical precedent?