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March 6, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 179
A Personal View

The Bosnian Serbs Draw Closer To Iran

by Miodrag Zivanovic (The author is a doctor of philosophy, president of the Banja Luka Liberal Party and a combatant in the Bosnian Serb army.)

There are several interesting points in regard to the ideological foundation of the ruling party in the Bosnian Serb Republic (RS). That essence of that ideology is characterized by things irrational: myths. The myths of the centuries of oppression of the Serbs, the Kosovo myth, the myth of historic and traditional friends, the myth of the heavenly people.

But to make all that understandable to the masses and more attractive, the mythical (i.e. irrational) ideology of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) is usually translated into popular sayings. Radovan Karadzic does just that majestically and naturally that can be charming but the question of that simplified ideology's reach remains open.

"Now, and especially when the war ends, we have to build a strong, highly centralized state," Karadzic and his parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik said on several occasions. They don't want regionalization or local self-rule. Why? Because they feel that disrupts the unity of the Serbs. The only right thing to do is what is in the interest of the unity of the Serb people.

That means absolute uniformity and absolute exclusivity. I don't see how we can achieve a multi-party system, multi-party parliament or anything democratic with all that. At least traces of those things. Right now, all the local community parliaments in the RS, except the Banja Luka assembly are single-party and single-nation gatherings. It will take a lot of time to just list the reflections of those relations in education, culture and other things.

Religion and the church are built into the very foundations of the system we live in. Birth certificates rank as high as state documents, religious education has been introduced into schools. The expansion of religion and the church can't have a negative connotation and just so I'm not misunderstood: religion has its known spiritual and moral values, the problem comes up when it is made equal to the system and mechanism of social relations. In that regard we are very close to an Orthodox Iran. Being one of the faithful is becoming a status symbol. Obviously, that is the worst favor we can do to religion and the church.

In resolving big problems in society (and we have lots of them) our authorities are increasingly unable to find a rational solution and they in God to help. For example, the reviving of the economy: ruling politicians say everything is in God's hands and when the opposition accuses them of successfully isolating us from the world, of not having political or national friends, they respond by saying we always have one friend - Jesus Christ.

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