YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY

The 1990s were the time of an unstable political situation in Serbia, heavy economic and political sanctions enforced by the international community, hyperinflation, a large decline in production and employment, a public health crisis, a huge impoverishment of the population, and an influx of over 850,000 forced migrants (refugees and internally displaced persons), which inevitably put a strain on people’s nerves. It was difficult to say no to negativity that sucked many a man dry so the fact that quite a few lost their raison d’etre came as no surprise. A total of 300,000 young educated people emigrated from Serbia during the first two war years, whereas as many as 16,620 took their own life in the war-torn 90s, with the highest number of suicides occurring at the time of the culmination of the crisis connected to the disintegration of Yugoslavia (1991-1993) (source: ResearchGate).

Back then, people were lucky not to starve to death thanks to food obtained from rural households. In addition, our moms and grandmas were constantly making home-made bread. In times of crisis, people learn to be resourceful to survive. The 1990s in the Republic of Serbia provided favorable grounds for a great number of illegal businesses or activities conducted in the so-called gray economic area. The smuggling of wardrobe, cosmetics and canned food from neighboring Romania and Bulgaria was flourishing. I remember some strange soaps, and toothpastes we used and awful canned fish we ate all the time. Gasoline purchased from across the border was obtained in plastic bottles or 2.5/5GL (10/20L) containers in the streets. Although there was no legal import of cigarettes during the embargo, a market of low-quality and fake cigarettes, alcohol, and various street drugs took its place. Of course, smugglers and dealers made a big profit. The sanctions also affected industry greatly with numerous companies recording tremendous losses, which resulted in mass layoffs. Who didn’t dare to smuggle or wouldn’t buy smuggled goods could not survive, so the violation of the law became justified.

One of the features of the time was a specific way of conducting cash exchange operations. Black market currency trading was prevalent, cash being mainly exchanged by street dealers who handled large amounts of money. Basically, they would purchase foreign currency in banks at the official exchange rate and then sell it at a significantly higher one, thereby earning large sums of money. Citizens were not only content for obtaining more money but, more importantly, preventing it from losing value because of being transferred into foreign currency on time, mostly Deutschmark (DM). In 1993, the German mark was worth a thousand billion dinars on the black market and practically became the only means of payment.

The U.N. embargo on the import of weapons was applied to all opposing sides in the war. However, this did not represent much of a problem since the civil war in Yugoslavia drew an extensive network of arms depots already in the country. According to a State Department official, the Yugoslav military was probably the best armed in Europe, aside from the Soviet Red Army. Before the fighting erupted, our arms industry had produced most of the Yugoslav military’s weapons and was also one of the top world’s arms exporters. Furthermore, the conflict proved a magnet for the world’s shadowy arms dealers, with a weapons flow difficult to trace (source: The New York Times). Needless to say, organized crime in Serbia grew enormously during the collapse of Yugoslavia when local criminals plying their trade in Western Europe returned home to take advantage of the chaos.

Stability, certainty and comfort seemed to have belonged to the past, while archetypal heroes – honest, hard-working and noble people – were seldom held in high regard. The never-ending war, financial and existential crises were accompanied by the crisis of morality and values, creating new heroes to be imitated and looked up to, along with new ethics and rules of conduct. Not rarely, the meaning of life was radically redefined and a new reason for existing found. Before long, antiheroes, embodied in crackheads, loafers and lowlifes, became new role models for the young. The reality their parents were facing was harsh and the choice between being an outsider or joining the new elite and its values seemed an easy one for some.

Plenty of felons took part in wars, joining paramilitary forces. Both big shots and small time crooks earned a reputation as scavengers, feeding on people’s material possessions and confiscating everything left behind by those who had to leave their homes in Bosnia and Croatia. In spite of this, the members of the criminal underworld were frequently perceived as tough and uncompromising people, ready to get to grips with a terrifying reality. I’ve read an amazing research paper called ‘Social Context and the Rise of Antiheroes’ in which a sociologist and a criminologist with expertise in social psychology ‘analyze the development of social heroes, as well as the substance, functions and dichotomies of heroism’ in Serbia in the 90s. In their opinion, in times of crisis, people often turn to biologically powerful individuals who are believed to be able to survive in difficult times. It is to be expected, they explain, that we then do not admire poets but warriors who are able to defeat the enemy, be it internal or external ones (the neighboring peoples). In the absence of a legal state and rule of law, tribal perceptions of justice were reanimated. The overwhelming feeling of disappointment and powerlessness pushed people towards the mythical and imagined, romanticizing criminals and turning the negative hero into a constructive social one. Their anti-heroism was thus perceived as a lack of respect for the given reality, and ‘a rebellion against the deficiencies of the existing system.’ They were ‘our’ protectors from ‘the others,’ fighters against evil and social injustice, defenders of raison d’état, and patriots ‘bleeding for the common good. Rebels with a cause.’

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During their ‘heroism’ in Bosnia and Croatia, mobsters continued with intense criminal activities in Serbia, buying real estate, coffee shops, nightclubs, restaurants, etc. from the money they ‘earned.’ I don’t think they questioned anything; they just followed their instincts that were obviously telling them to steal and kill so as to indulge in all worldly pleasures at disposal. What frustrated decent people most was the fact that lawbreakers were given the status and reputation of national heroes. They understood the importance of the media very early, having a great deal of journalists on their side to glorify them; therefore, each had a carefully built image. Our ears were filled with their commitment to sport, attractiveness, discipline, dedication to family, Orthodox Christianity and tradition; we listened about invulnerable, unstoppable, unbeatable and uncatchable guys to whom cunning came as second nature. Of course, we shouldn’t underestimate the intention of the state to divert people’s attention from the real problems. Stories of gruesome crimes were replaced by odes to successful businessmen and ‘savers of the people.’ The national television spoke the language of soap operas day in day out. At the same time, they were ‘a prodigious and attractive consumer model that at the time of general scarcity had the image of success and dictated trends.’ A portrayal of bad taste at its best.

Needless to say, nationalism was extensively used by the political elite in Serbia in order to justify the widespread conflict and maintain absolute power. Furthermore, the political and state leaders utilized the chaos in the national economy for the ruthless theft, ripping the state-owned enterprises to shreds. ‘The beginning of privatization practically represented the legalized form of illegal enrichment of the privileged managerial lobby and the political and economic elite.’ Economic inequality was already visible in the second half of the 80s, while the gap between the rich and the poor skyrocketed to extreme levels in the early 90s. Both vieux and nouveau riche used financial hanky-panky and illegal distribution of humanitarian aid, military, and military medical supplies, opening offshore bank accounts in tax havens. Many ‘reputable’ business people became filthy rich upon stepping out of state-owned enterprises and founding their own companies, along with entering politics which additionally secured their position, and guaranteed the continued pursuit of personal interests.

With crime booming, lots of illegal weapons were in the streets, brought from the war by organized crime groups, involved in gunfights, robberies, aggravated assaults, kidnappings and liquidations. 90s Serbia witnessed thousands of brutal killings, with culprits and controversial businessmen dropping like flies. On top of it, numerous government officials were assassinated. Journalists too, despite the fact that some were under police surveillance at the time. Everybody who dared to unmask a connection between organized crime and the authorities, or expose corruption in judiciary and law enforcement was proclaimed a national traitor, not rarely suffering abduction, threat, torture and/or assassination. None of these murders were ever resolved, nor were the perpetrators captured. Once ‘the safest city in Europe,’ Belgrade became a city with the most unsolved murder, fraud and embezzlement cases.

People were desperate and needed to believe in something, which made them an easy target for innumerable scumbags and cheaters that appeared in the 90s, and spread like an epidemic. Namely, psychics, mediums and fortune tellers were constantly occupying the media, robbing people of their money and dignity. Unbelievable supernatural powers they were thought to possess were demonstrated using various cards, pendulums, beans or crystal balls. The majority of citizens were making ends meet. They were hopeless, frustrated, vulnerable and susceptible to deception and the promise of a future full of hope too tempting. While the Serbian economy was dying away, and the existing banks experiencing widespread closing, an assurance that better days lay ahead was embodied in two energetic middle-aged individuals, and directors of private banks, founded in ‘91/’92. They offered a stupendous return for money: 15% on a 30-day deposit of foreign currency such as German marks or US dollars, 280% on a 6-month deposit of Serbian dinars. One such bank was at one point offering 160% interest rate per month. Serbia was thrown into a savings frenzy.

A sad realization that banks were set up by opportunistic criminals supported by the state and President Milošević himself came too late. People were losing it. We can’t blame them. It’s easy to be smart now on a full stomach. The government needed to fund the foreign trade deficit and that’s why such crooks were invented. Some citizens invested as much as 100,000DM; however, when bankruptcy was announced, they had to say goodbye to their money. Many a man who fell for the fraudulent banks were left homeless. Billions of German marks were coaxed out of the people’s mattresses in less than 2 years. The state started returning the debt to the deceived in 2002, the process lasting until 2016. Only a small sum of money was found after the bankruptcy. It was never determined where the rest of the money ended up.

In 1994, almost 40% of the population in Serbia were below the poverty line. The unrestricted printing of money was stopped that year but the consequences of the disastrous economic policy were visible many years afterwards. The Dayton Peace Agreement, reached in November that year by the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, helped bring the war to an end. I graduated from high school the following year. I was 18 and full of hope.

Author: Blogging_with_Bojana

I'm diggin' Need to grow, have to push Flicking through vinyl and feeding the rush I dig for that one and I open the haunt It's takin' all day from the back to the front I'm diggin' and diggin' You know Sorry baby I'm gone diggin' www.bloggingwithbojana.com

132 thoughts on “YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY”

  1. Oh, little sister!! I am speechless (which in itself is amazing). As was stated earlier – this needs to be a book.

    It took me back to stories my granddad shared with me of the Great Depression; when Bonnie & Clyde. Dillinger, and their ilk became the poor man’s heroes. My grandfather himself was no stranger to trading on the black market to feed his family.

    The gut punch here for me was this line: “It’s easy to be smart now on a full stomach.” I can’t even tell you how that moves my heart. It’s fire in my bones.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes, outlaws like Bonnie & Clyde were robbing people and killing when cornered or confronted. And yet, they are often romanticized and glorified. Jesse James is more a celebrity today than he is known for mass murders and robberies he committed. The modern day Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
      Some Serbian criminals did it too. No wonder they were so loved. People were hungry. As for the line you mentioned-it’s easy to be smart now…We have a saying in Serbian: “It’s easy to be a general after the war,” which boils down to the same thing-making quick decisions, no time to waste, prioritizing, cheating if needed to keep your head above water. You need to survive today, thinking about tomorrow is too much to ask. And if everything seems futile and useless, you have to believe in sth, however unreal it might seem. My parents too lost lots of money, but I never heard them complain. I guess it meant they didn’t lose hope.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Funny you mention Jesse. It was my first son’s name and one of my grandfathers suggested I give home the middle name James! I am from JJ’s home territory- members of my family knew him.

        I was dumbfounded to realize, grandpa was serious and thought it as an honorific. I said, as lovingly as I could, ‘that’s fucking crazy, Pappaw’

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, what a life you had to manage this time. Horrible, and in Germany most of the citizens got only filtered information about these things.
    Thank you for this really first hand information, and have a good weekend ahead. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The juxtaposition of the lines….fucking hell.

    In 1994, almost 40% of the population in Serbia were below the poverty line…I graduated from high school the following year. I was 18 and full of hope.

    I am continually amazed by you, girl. Continually.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Interesting fact: I live less than 10km away from where all these leaders (Milosevic, Karadzic, Mladic) were/are imprisoned, while my grandfather once did his time in Zenica for being strongly against Tito (and acting on it).

    Everyone knows about Bosnia being the victim, but like it was a walk in the park for innocent Serbs(!!!!). I’m glad you show that side.
    Your use of words show intelligence, as always, amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. You my dear are an incredible writer! When you write your first book, I promise you I will be the first to buy it! The way you write draws your readers in and they always want more! You paint the picture so clearly that it feels like your readers are right there! Absolutely breathtaking!!!!! Please never stop writing because you truly are inspiring and amazing!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Good morning dear Bojana. Continuing with your great series of how you grew up in war-torn Serbia ( Yugoslavia first) you narrate the hopeful period right before the Dayton accord where finally there seemed to be an end to the civil war. I dared to call it “civil” because you had many similarities to Croats and Bosnians, including the crazy adherence to religious beliefs to justify war crimes. Thank you for the hot link to that article, which I will read later. Yes, we understand that in those terrible times Serbs might have felt the quasi-subconscious need to adhere to powerful figures that gave the impression you could survive that longstanding horror. But wasn’t that also true for many Germans that supported Adolf Hitler before and during World War II? I am looking forward to reading your next article.
    Un baccione. Arrivederci!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Morning to you too (quante volte l’abbiamo detto oggi?)

      Germans are different because I’m not talking about the appeal of authoritarianism here, but war criminals. What happens in the first case is some sort of an ego construct: my country is criticized, which implies I am criticized too.
      The subject I’m addressing is an ease with which some people identified with criminals because supposedly they were the embodiment of everything that was lacking back then.
      Interestingly, you have something similar in the States too. Horrible crimes occur every day in Florida for example. Yet, attractive uncompromising criminals seem to become media sensations very fast, receiving much more publicity than is normally the case.

      Unfortunately, the link of the research paper I provided is not identical as the Serbian one, it is not complete and the translation isn’t good enough.

      Merci de lire et de commenter. Je promets plus d’articles bientôt. (était-ce assez poli?)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My dear, I am astounded at, not only the depth of your intellectual capacity, but also at your honesty in dealing with controversial issues and commentaries. Please do not even mention the widespread stupidity in the USA where some morons, with plenty of time to spare evidently, idolize these media manipulated-monsters and their sad accomplishments. Thank God the recent tragedy in the Parkland High school spurred young people to act and demand answers from our deadbeat politicians. When I told my father Mario that the youth in this country was only interested in the vain, frivolous pursuit of blind consumerism, he responded: “Yes, that might be sadly true now. But a cataclysmic event will awaken them… You’ll see it someday” He was absolutely right. Gracias Papa.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Coincidentally today we celebrate a national holiday in Argentina called “Dia de la Memoria”, which remembers (not celebrate) the day in March 24, 1975 when the military took over and the Terror began for all of us. I plainly remember that I was walking towards the home of my Medical school buddy Edgardo Celi ( we liked to meet early in the morning to study with a quiet house and drink mate amargo)in the quiet dawn streets of La Plata when I saw a military convoy pass by in the avenue, full of gloomy looking conscripts and sour-faced officers. As months passed by, the Triple A terror squads begin to kidnap thousands of union leaders, student activists, educational leaders, all types of civic figures that dared to resit them in order to send them to the clandestine detention center for torture and eventual death. You can read in my novel what it was kind of hellish stay they all had in one of those clandestine prisons. Now my question is: didn’t the Serbs know that those goons were kidnapping and torturing Bosnians in the conflict? Perhaps you wont’t even approve my commentary and don’t worry, I can understand why. Let me remind you about a more ancient related issue of “sweeping under the rug” for citizens with a bad conscience. The French never fully acknowledged that almost half of them were active and/or passive collaborators of the Vichy Regime and it does pop up in every major election cycle, tainting the civic discourse.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Of course I will approve your comment although I see bias in it. Again is only party guilty of all tortures and murders. The state knew about paramilitary formations ; they are often best friends. Let me remind you that all three parties had theirs. Citizens could not have done much.

      The most painful part is that there is no reciprocity today regarding punishing war crimes nor accepting the wrongdoings of your own state/army. The retaliations (operations Storm and Blast) conducted by the Croatian forces at the end of the war, where unarmed refugees, namely Croatian Serbs, were bombed for days, are celebrated as national holidays in Croatia today.

      Serbia acknowledged and accepted Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia. Every year our President/Prime Minister goes there to pay tribute to thousands of victims of this bloodshed.

      A total of 161 persons were indicted in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to date. 94 of these are Serbs, 29 are Croats, 9 are Bosniaks, etc. There are 62 convicted Serbs, 18 convicted Croats, 5 convicted Bosniaks… Do you see something unusual here, Herr Doktor or you still think only one party is always responsible for all monstrosities in times of war ?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for the update on the War Crimes indictments, whose extent I wasn’t aware of really. I know that the three parties were guilty of war crimes but the majority were done by the Serbs. Let’s drop the discussion right here, right now, for the sake of our friendship. We’ll respectfully disagree dear.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. “…in times of crisis, people often turn to biologically powerful individuals who are believed to be able to survive in difficult times … we then do not admire poets but warriors who are able to defeat the enemy …”

    We see this play out, time and again. The tribal instinct. Here in America visceral fear, perpetuated by falsehood, sent the modern American out to elect a bully. The words “I’m the only one who can save you,” followed by demeaning and dismantling rhetoric about political enemies, and chants of “lock her up!”, had the 1/3 with the least foresight frothing at the mouth. Poets are snowflakes. Only the strong survive. Crush the enemy. Make America Great.

    Intelligence only matters in a civil and equal society.

    I read an incredibly potent article this morning, just before reading your incredibly potent entry, about inequality. It was written in September of 2016, by Bill Moyers for the Guardian. It sat in my saved articles on pocket.com forever echoing all my thoughts on society and waiting for me to finally give it a go. It reminded me that (a) I need to get around to reading Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” this summer, and (b) all the evils of the world involve the shortsighted hording of our own individual prerogative.

    Our nature is to put ourselves first. To succumb to self-preservation and personal gain.

    Our greater nobility arises when we overcome that inclination.

    We too often choose our leaders for their apparent “strength” instead of their inherent wisdom. Particularly in times of crisis. In times of crisis, the lizard brain wins.

    But maybe not as often as it used to. Maybe, in our evolution, we are seeing incremental change. Today, those of us who are “poets” can find each other across the great gulf, and unite. Children march on the capital today to protest the needless deaths of their friends and, throughout the world, other children join them. Call it Freedom Spring. Call it progress.

    Bojana, thank you for continuing to share your incredible story. And thank you for being Bojana.

    Strong AND wise.

    How often does that happen?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for your continual support Tom and an outstanding comment.

      I just read an interesting article myself about how voice pitch influences our choice of leaders.

      The croaking of a frog or the screech of a monkey conveys information about the animal making the sounds: its motivation, its ability to defend resources, its health, and even its genetic quality. Other animals have evolved to pay attention to this implicit information and adjust their own behavior accordingly, because doing so can increase their own evolutionary fitness. The loudness of a bird’s song reliably signals the likelihood that the bird will physically attack its opponent. It also shows how motivated it is or able to defend whatever is being contested, such as a territory, a prospective mate, or a source of food.

      Humans too are influenced by nonverbal aspects of speech, vocal traits, specifically voice pitch, which influence our selection of leaders enormously. So, the louder and the more aggressive, the better and more secure we feel about and around them. If we’re attacked, they WILL defend us, make no mistake about it, whatever that means. Now tell me, how primitive is that ?! Or just human ?

      Thank god for wise, perceptive and uncompromising poets. Thank god for us being us.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That actually makes a hell of a lot of sense. I do think it is a primitive, human infancy, kind of reaction. After all, the wise among us, those I would say are most intellectually evolved, know to look beyond pitch, even beyond the words, and into the character of the actors themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This is so depressingly familiar. Criminal wars spurred on by criminals, petty and gros. Why is prison the breeding ground for the Islamic martyrs? Give a criminal an excuse and he’s happy to be either a martyr or a hero or the only stable point in the universe. It happened in Northern Ireland, in South Africa, in almost every African country you can think of—criminality and power. As for the industrialists literally fueling wars, they are probably the biggest criminals of all, and the ones who are never caught, never brought to account and certainly never punished.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, state crime being the worst of all.

      How else can we explai the ever increasing production, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs in Latin Amarica (and not only there) with vast profits continuing to benefit organized crime ?

      Felons are often ‘hired’ by many governments worldwide to get their bloody jobs done. Never caught, never taken to court and everyone happy. The sweetest crimes are the ones devoid of any accountability .

      Like

      1. I don’t know what the solution is. We vote in people who seem to have come from the people and reflect the desires of the people but as soon as they start mixing with the old lags, they get a taste for money, power, and the devious, sleazy, not quite legal ways of getting it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They all take the bait in the end. Either that or they just never get the appointments and stay with the pack on the floor of the house, shouting and roaring but never being in a position to make policy.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. One of my best friends is Serbian. She doesn’t talk about these events because whenever they are brought up, she gets triggered and can’t contain her anger. Reading about your experiences has given me a window into her world and an understanding of what you all went through. Thank you for so courageously writing about these painful and traumatizing days of your life. It certainly puts things into perspective and makes me feel incredibly blessed that I grew up with food and shelter, and without the constant fear of death. You always view the world around you with eyes wide open, Bojana, and I admire you very much for that. Despite all of the adversity you faced and resentment you might feel, you still see beauty where most would not. You are an extraordinary and beautiful soul and an inspiration to many.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, dear. I’m trying. I can’t say I can do it each and every time, I can’t even tell how successful I am either because demons are sometimes too strong to fight. But I know one thing : the more I open up about it all, the better I feel.
      Spreading awareness is another reason why I write about those traumatic years.
      You can choose to open your eyes wide and deal with the past so as to be able to cope with the present better. Either that or what Kubrick calls ‘eyes wide shut.’

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t offer any intellectual commentary on this Bojana. I feel pulled apart. My heart breaks every time I read more of your story, but it is a breaking that is repaired again and again by your immense strength and the heat of your convictions. You don’t close your eyes. You don’t allow me to close mine. I feel the chaos and fear under the skin of people in a world I cannot even begin to imagine. How do I say that I am sorry for your suffering? How do I tell you that the weight of your words has an enormous impact on my heart and mind? How do I adequately express my admiration for your courage and the gift of sharing that through your writing? It is unthinkable to me that so much was put into the hands of a child and miraculous that the child still had a heart full of hope. It is an honor to know the woman that child became.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. We’ve been dealing with the black market for so many years and it’s getting even more difficult. People are hopeless in Venezuela too. I know how hard this must have been for all of you to live through.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Fascinating tale. Makes me feel guilty about only having Trump & the Republicans to complain about. We Americans have no idea how privileged we are. BTW, I suspect Serbian is your native language, but there‘s nothing in your writing that suggests English isn’t. Quite amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Michael. Actually, Serbian IS my mother tongue so thanks for the
      compliment. I studied Eng. lang. and liter., which explains my love for, not to say obsession with, Anglo-American liter.
      I wish Serbia were/had been more boring. Our three-year-olds know the names of our ministers so having ‘only’ Trump to complain is sheer bliss.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Another fascinating entry in a series I have followed eagerly.
    Bojana you paint such a picture with such ease. You have seen the absolute worst in humanity yet you retained yours.
    Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Interesting read. But left me feeling quite sad. No sad because of the past, but the fact that similar things are happening all over the world and people still do no have the eyes to see what is playing out in front of them. Worse still, all those who ring the warning bells continue to be called names by those they’re trying to save. History keeps repeating itself. Sad, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It is sad but it all came as a consequence of the war and the crisis. If you’re interested in the topic, you could go back to read Marriage…., The good, the bad… and Welcome to… where my saga of the war years in ex Yugoslavia begins. If you think this was sad, trust me, there’s sth much sadder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t really intending on feeling sadder, but I liked your writing and my curiosity was stoked, so I just had to read those posts you mentioned. And I must say, I am grateful that you lead me there. Thank you for letting us walk with you, among those dark days in the history of your country, through your words. Was quite an eye opener for me. To think that our childhoods were quite similar, and to see how life spiralled out of control at your end, makes me feel grateful for the life I live. But also.. I think this is a reminder to all who are living stable lives, of the fragility of the economy in reality, especially at a time when hyper nationalism is spreading throughout the world. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a person who believes ‘nationalism’ to be a bad word. But I also wish we understood that unless it is handled right – which is a challenge in itself – it can lead to a disastrous end. Thank you for your writings, Bojana 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank YOU. I appreciate your support. It should be a pointer to the growing nationalism worldwide as well as a reminder for all those living in rich economies to value their lives more. Einstein summed it up nicely, it’s the measles of mankind. Unless treated on time with adequate means, it can easily spread and have a fatal outcome.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t exactly hold the same opinion as Einstein, but I guess both he and even you have seen it from closer quarters, so I do respect your views 🙂 I personally believe nationalism to be more like fire, dangerous in itself, but can be used for good. I believe there is a good side to nationalism, one which encourages people to love their own. Loving your own, doesn’t necessarily mean you must hate the other. People who claim to be nationalists, I believe ought to work on lifting up their own, instead of working on bringing down the other. Now.. I understand that can be a little idealistic. Okay, more than a ‘little’ idealistic 😅 But it is possible, right..? The thing is, people who oppose nationalism, I feel, do not consider this possibility. Making nationalism an evil in itself, immediately alienates them from the masses, because well meaning people tend to believe it to be genuinely good. And when the time comes when the fire begins to rage uncontrolled, these people who are the only ones who can quench it, find that between them and the people they’re trying to do good for, there is an insurmountable barrier. And the masses are at the mercy of fools. That’s why I believe it shouldn’t be compared to the measles, as there is simply no good with the measles, but only danger. Fire on the other hand, is dangerous too, but in certain situations can be good. I can understand if you disagree though, as I must admit I am unsure how closer to reality my views are… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I can’t agree and you know why. Because nationalism is not considered good any more. So, I’d always resort to patriotism if I want to talk about loving your country and people.
        It should involve a sense of pride in your country’s accomplishments, love of the language, religion, culture, maintaining national identity. However, what we’ve seen in our history so far is anything but positive. So, I don’t believe in this devotion to one nation any more, anthems, myths, flags.
        I am the citizen of the world. I don’t belong to anyone or anything. I am not from here, nor there. I am myself and myself shall I remain.
        Yes, that’s a bit too idealistic (read: utopistic) for my liking. I’m too much of a realist and skeptic for that. But, hey, that’s your opinion. Discussion is always welcome, as long as it’s civilized. Right?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Please forgive me for such a delayed reply. I can be far too lazy for my own liking, at times 🙄 For sure. I am opinionated to a large extent, but I understand that I haven’t walked in the same shoes as everyone else, so I do value people’s passion for their own views too. And as I said, this particular view of mine isn’t something I’m entirely convinced on, just that I haven’t seen reason to not believe in it. The thing is, I can live without nationalism. That I am only a sojourner in this world, is my belief. I see the danger that nationalism can be, and as you say, avoiding it altogether, if possible, wouldn’t be something I would be too disappointed with. But my issue with demonising it altogether, is that it demonises people who believe in a milder, more acceptable [IMHO] version, too. I’ve seen many good and genuinely well meaning people being discounted for no reason except that they believe in nationalism, even to a lesser degree. Most of the people belonging to the masses do not believe in hatred, but are driven there unawares. In showing utter disregard for their views, I believe the people of thought may be pushing these well meaning people into the hands of fools. This is why I believe what I believe. I do not believe any political ideology can be seen as being black and white while in the hands of people. In the end, it is the nature of the people who handle the ideology that dictate the outcome. When the brand of nationalism begins to expose the nature of the people though, that is when I believe is the time to oppose. Again, these are only my untested views. I am always willing to correct myself if I am convinced that they’re far too idealistic 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. You’re entitled to your own opinion so it’s all perfectly legitimate. The problem I have with nationalism is that it does not stand for the same values any longer and as history has proven so far it can be extremely detrimental, that is poisonous. Mild as you said shouldn’t do harm. Regardless, I like to think of myself as belonging to no one, no nation, no ideology, but rather consider myself a citizen of the world where (seemingly) we’re all equal. It’s good to believe, however idealistic it may seem at times.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I can understand why you disagree. And of course, I can clearly see that you wish well for the world, even though we disagree. Thank you for the graceful conversation, I do enjoy it when people speak to express their views and aren’t speaking to win the debate. We can agree on one thing though, that nationalism CAN be disastrous. Please do keep writing, Bojana. The world certainly needs to hear more of this 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow, what a great article. History does always repeat itself. Americans tend to think that this cannot happen in the ‘great society’ here in the U.S. yet we are quickly walking this direction, if we do not stop it very soon our economy, possibly even our Nation, is going to fall on its face and by no means are the working class people prepared to survive this dilemma. I am going to reblog this article for you, thank you for taking of your time to post it.

    Liked by 1 person

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