Wednesday, 25 November 2015

#NoKosovoUnesco: When Society Showed Response-Ability but Government Claimed Responsibility

In light of Tomislav Nikolic and his cabinet essentially taking credit for the success of the #NoKosovoUnesco campaign, it’s important to highlight a few important points that demonstrate the inaccuracy of this claim.  Not least of which is the fact that if it were true, it would be a remarkable achievement given that no one’s quite sure of exactly what it is that the president does or is doing in Serbia or outside of it most of the time.  We see so much of our Prime Minister, you could be forgiven for thinking that Serbia is in fact a member of the Commonwealth.

Firstly, the best way that this government assisted with the #NoKosovoUnesco cause was by demonstrating a dedication to doing the bare minimum for it and then just hoping for the best.  Unfortunately with that approach, all we could really expect was the worst.  The reason that I say this was the best assistance they could have provided is because it forced those of us both in Serbia and in diaspora to take responsibility ourselves and show the initiative they had failed to show.  It brought together the best of the Serb community (including non-Serbs who were sympathetic to this cause) into a sort of giant think tank and taskforce.  It demonstrated that when we combined our numbers with our love for our homeland and our brothers and sisters living in it, our potential was unlimited.  From active protests on the ground in Serbia (from Kosovo to Novi Sad) to consolidated PR campaigns across Europe, Canada, the US and even down to right here in Australia, the government showed little interest in lending anything more than moral support when work was underway, but were eager to take all of the credit when the work was completed.

We’ve heard this government pride themselves on having spent almost nothing on stopping Kosovo from becoming a UNESCO member, and that’s true.  It’s true because they were never sent invoices for '28 Jun' members’ around the clock campaigning, they were never sent invoices for Boris Malagurski’s late nights spent arranging graphic designs for the cause and for Filip Filipi’s coordination of petition promotion.  They weren’t sent invoices for supporters around the world securing signatures, they weren’t sent invoices for journalist write-ups about all of this work from people such as Katarina Martic at 'Kurir' and they weren’t sent invoices for my work in Australia or for the articles written on my blog ‘The Daily Male’ attempting to communicate our message further.  The irony of it all though; they did little to earn any credit for this campaign yet they were the only ones being paid to work on this cause.

This is perhaps a good time to raise this issue given the controversy surrounding a video posted by Andrej Fajgelj, a Serbian citizen, criticising the Serbian government.  Now we’re not Andrej Fajgelj but we share his concern.  And unlike Fajgelj, our power is in our numbers as well as in our dedication.  Our voices have become too loud for this government to silence us.  There are too many of us for them to break down our doors and imprison us.  Our successes have been too significant for them to discredit us so instead they opt to claim responsibility for them.  So I’ll leave you with my personal message to the Serbian government and it’s a sentiment I think is shared by many others.  It seems that if this government was as willing and quick to accept responsibility for many of Serbia’s problems as they were to take responsibility for its successes, then Serbia would really be on the path to a better future.

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