| Boris Vukobrat, "a Paris businessman":|
"Communication and unity are a necessity"
Branko Horvat, Zagreb economist and also a participant of "Vukobrat Conference":
Plain citizen, who cannot fully grasp the whole situation, who is not fully educated, projected the complete situation on a national plane
Srdjan Darmanovic (also the leader of the oppositionary Socialdemocratic party of Montenegro):
"Balkan Benelux" Formula
Ask Croatian mothers...
Podgorica weekly "Monitor" brought in its issue of June 16, 1995, an interview with Boris Vukobrat, a Paris businessman whose conference caused such attention in the political and media circles in ex- Yugoslavia.
Vukobrat said that three years after he formed the "Foundation for peace and conflict resolution", the power holders in former Yugoslavia are not paying much attention to it. One of the reasons, he said, is that what the foundation stands for is in complete contradiction with what they did and stand for. Thesewere the people who had the control of the media in their hands, and our misfortune started through a media war. Hatred through the media was disseminated from the power centers: Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana... The effects of all this are the divisions, confrontation and war. Contrary to this, our Foundation is for association, not only in our region but wider.
When I say association, I do not necessarily mean in an organizational-state sense, said Vukobrat. Our foundation started from the principle that communication and unity are a necessity. That is an inevitability we cannot change with any ideology, nationalism, closure in statelets. But, we live in the times of bad people and they will attempt all that is possible to remove you from the media, that you do not "infect" others with common sense.
Discussing the disintegration of Yugoslavia and seeing economic bankruptcy as the key reason behind it, Vukobrat says that in other countries of Easter Europe the representatives of the regime that was crushed have stepped down through parliamentary means. In ex - Yugoslavia, the people did not vote forTudjman, Izetbegovic or Milosevic, but against the previous regime.
The people that have for a long time represented and explained the ruling ideology have suddenly seen that this is not "saleable" anymore and have become nationalists. They are using nationalism in confronting "those previously in power" and "those previously in power" are one and the same ! The people cannot see this, since those holding the power are attempting to fully control the media.
(Source: Podgorica weekly "Monitor", June 16, 1995)
Podgorica's "Monitor" in its issue of August 4, also carried an interview wit one of the participants of the "Vukobrat conference", Zagreb economist Branko Horvat.
Horvat, himself does not think that the economic system brought about the breakdown of Yugoslavia. On the contrary, he says, the economic imperatives have signalized the necessity of stronger integration of the Yugoslav region. The Yugoslav example shows that in these region the economy is not important, but the politics. The people seem to be willing to be hungry only to be able to see their flag.
The reasons for the Yugoslav breakdown lies in the undemocratic system, thinks Horvat. Due to the undemocratic system some people were overlooked some were favoured... Plain citizen, who cannot fully grasp the whole situation, who is not fully educated, projected the complete situation on a national plane, that he is not able to fully realize his rights since another nation is oppressing him. Since the economic policy and some other elements were conducted from Belgrade, everybody came to the conclusion that this is due to the fact that Belgrade is exploiting him. The whole thing was aggravated by the appearance of Slobodan Milosevic, probably the worst leader to appear in all 75 years of the existence of the South slavic union.
In the long run, Horvat says, there must be elements of integration. EU shows that, particularly in Europe, no state can remain isolated. So, the Balkan states must unify somehow. Since they cannot be absorbed by the EU, even Croatia and Slovenia, these state will turn to themselves and form an alternative union.
A simple fact has to occur for the re-integration to be possible, thinks Horvat - that is to remove Tudjman and Milosevic, meaning essentially democratization of Serbia and Croatia as a precondition. The second one is that international organizations start supporting democratic ally minded people in those countries. The EU has to agree which and what kind of democratic forces they will support in both countries and with which they will not even contact. Making various negotiators circulate between Tudjman and Milosevic only brings them legitimacy they do not deserve.
(Source: Podgorica weekly "Monitor", August 4, 1995)
Podgorica weekly "Monitor" in its issue of July 7, 1995. brought an analysis by its regular commentator Srdjan Darmanovic (also the leader of the oppositionary Socialdemocratic party of Montenegro) on the possibility of a "Balkan Benelux".
Citing all the current debates on the subject ("Harvard letter" and other) Darmanovic says that it is hard to discern what this idea of "Balkan Benelux" actually comprises of. But one thing is sure - it is not a question of reconstructing the former state, since it is clear to everybody that after all that has happened something like that is impossible, optimists would say for a long time, pessimists never. It is, in his opinion, actually a search or a formula of cooperation of states in the region of former Yugoslavia, since all of the peace efforts so far based on divisions and separation have failed.
Using the basis of such a "Balkan Benelux" outlined in the "Arkzin" article, Darmanovic says that it is hard to discuss whether this projects existence is true, but that it is possible to discuss its reality.
There exists the reality of today, established by the dominant nationalistic movements, their armies and paramilitary units. From their point of view, Yugoslavia was an artificial construction which could not last and which can only be replaced by national states, formed, if necessary by roughest force possible. That is why, as far as they are concerned, division and separation of territories the only thing that is possible and realistic. Due that these forces are dominant in the Balkans at the moment it would be realistic to expect that there will be at least one important regional factor that will reject decisively such a "Benelux" project.
On the basis of the idea that the dominant nationalistic movements and their leaders have been able to impose so far, that the territory has to be divided by pure and clear ethnic and religious criteria, and which was accepted by the "international community" (meaning great powers), since it did not want to take any risks, all the attempts so far to establish peace have failed. It has been shown that there is no "justifiable" division, and even less the one that everybody will be satisfied with. In that situation there is only arms andthe continuation of the war with no end in sight.
And such a war with no end in sight cannot be sustained even by most extreme nationalists. So, their reality of divisions and separation is transformed into a real (factual) state, rotting and destruction.
From all this comes the conclusion that a new approach is necessary to this conflict and its solution. Actually, it is an old approach, earmarked in the "Carrington plan", but now in changed circumstances and changed form.
But, asks Darmanovic, is all this realistic ? It is possible that it isn't, or not enough, but surely not less realistic than what has been offered , for years and with tragic consequences,by the ruling nationalistic logic, he concludes.
(Source: Podgorica weekly "Monitor", July 7, 1995)