Monday, February 04, 2008

Serbian nationalism and the election

It's interesting that the BBC have chosen to supplement their report on Sunday's Serbian elections with this photo.

The text reads "Mr Tadic's victory indicates that Serbians want closer ties with the West instead of getting closer to Russia, as was advocated by his ultra-nationalist challenger, Timoslav Nikolic."

Now I wonder how many people have spotted that this supposed victory over nationalism is being celebrated "enthusiastically" by two young fellows signally with the tri prsta nationalist salute.

Now the cultural meaning of the tri prsta is contested. For some it is as innocuous as the V for victory symbol is in Britain as a nationally specific gesture of a job well done. However, in the context of a history of ultra-nationalism and ethnic cleansing it also has a far more disturbing meaning. For some interesting thoughts on the tri prsta check out Samaha's post on the Eurovision song contest.

Could it be that, for the BBC, the term nationalist when applied to Balkan politics is code for not aligned to the US/UK axis? It might just be that the result is more complex than a rejection of nationalism on the part of Serbian voters and a common desire for blue jeans and TV sets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Serbians just make me sick... They are such a racist country that is unbelivable. When I visited Serbia I couldnt beleive all the gossip about their view of foreign nationals, including different skin colour. If you ever have a chance to explore this, pretend you are on their side and start conversations about blacks, muslims, etc.. and you will hear it with your ears. SICKKKKKKK COUNTRY