I spent a lot of time thinking about what to write for my first column, I sat and thought for hours, and then the idea came by itself by listening to both of them, the position and the opposition, who do the same things, praise or repel, depending on where they are positioned in society. I thought – this is the real Balkan, a land of honey and blood (a Turkish wordplay, ‘Bal’ meaning ‘honey and ‘Kan’ meaning ‘blood’), a land of beauty and hatred, a land of sunflowers and short-sightedness. Only in the Balkans there are five seasons, spring, summer, autumn, winter, and war, and whatever the season is, it’s always a season of fools. Once again, the fools scream, glorify and salute an even bigger fool, who in the absence of reason and arguments, waves weapons and threatens war. And without exception, the finger is always pointed at foreigners who are blamed for everything, even war, while we continue fighting each other and die, and then call those foreigners and ask them to end our fight. War and hatred are never-ending here and they never solve a single issue, instead introduce new issues and problems that incite new war. Even when we are not at war, we are fighting, we threaten those who think differently from us, we demean each other and fight each other about whose country was older and greater, who was a traitor, and who was a patriot. When we are not at war we certainly are not in peace because we don’t know of such a season. We use this season to insult each other, to accuse other people of being less than us, and that they should not have the same rights and freedom as us because they are undeserving. In the Balkans, your rights are dependent on the nationality and political party to which you belong. Here, one should be allowed by someone else to do anything because not everyone is equal before God or the Law. The government is never elected by voting, yet with fraud and money, and even when the opposition gets all the votes, there’s no guarantee the opposition will win the election, there’s no guarantee for change of power because there are always fools who interpret the Law and Constitution as they please and find fit. And that’s when the people’s games and dances, accompanied with horns and drums, begin – protests and counter-protests, interpretations and counter-interpretations. And this is the only time when the President comes to life and has something to say.
We even distinguish and measure time through war, telling our grandchildren how things were before the war and the way they are now, after the war. We find the stories about long-gone heroes the most interesting, even though we don’t really cherish them and barely know anything about them, but always remember to mention them when we need good advertising or political points. We build monuments, not to remind us of our past, but to piss our neighbors off, or just steal money from the people. And the most interesting part is that the heroes who died in war or the revolution for our bright future were almost all executed by their own people, their brothers and relatives, because we are one suicidal nation accustomed to punish itself.
There are only four seasons everywhere else, except the Balkans, and they don’t even know we exist.