Serbia: War is Over (if you want it)…

Hey, it’s not easy being Serb, or any southern Slav, showing up on the southern gates of Europe post-Rome and looking for a place at the table, a table already pre-set by Dacians, Thracians, Illyrians and Celts to boot, remove your shoes at the door, please…

…bowing to Rome and breaking bread with Byantium, playing one empire off the other until you qualify for one of your own, only to have to do it all over again with Hapsburgs and Ottomans, don’t put your feet up on the furniture, please…

…then losing it all in the Great War, which started in Serbia, as a matter of fact, or Sarajevo to be exact, same difference, since Bosnians, Croats and Serbs all speak the same language, whether it’s written in Roman, Cyrillic or Arabic, you do what you have to do, to make it through the long cold winters of the Dinaric Alps…

…halfway between Athens and Rome, Bucharest and Budapest, Communist with the best of them after the next Great Spat (II), Yugoslavia even teaching Mao and Khruschev a thing or two, until it all came crashing down when strongman Tito lost his crown, and Milosevic put the word ‘ethnic cleansing’ on a map too full of it already…

But things are better now, even if hard feelings remain amongst brothers separated only by religion and ranking, and the recent bloody past of the Yugoslav wars, even Kosovo pulling out amid much uproar, and Serbs in Belgrade still wondering what they did wrong to deserve the bombs of 1999 that ended a bad decade with more of the same…

But now things are back to normal, music is good, and the bars are full, especially Bukowski Bar below my hostel in 2009, showing me a thing or two about how a pint is polished off. Still Bosnia and Herzegovina has a Republika Srpska within its borders, so nothing will likely ever be finally resolved, hence the term ‘Balkanization’…

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