Monday, February 18, 2008

Past, Present and Future

Like I told you, I was really looking forward to the chit-chat about Kosovo today.

At Alejandros@World, blogger Alejandro Ribo provides with an analysis of the situation in his post titled "Kosovo and its future, Catalunya and its present, Spain and its past", here you have the part I liked the most:

I do not see how this can be against international law, for there are no consensual rules about self-determination, beyond those ad-hoc norms imposed by big states to save themselves from independence movements or for “stability/security” reasons. Self-determination is basically a political concept, not something that can be reduced to a piece of paper agreed by a few for the many. If a group of people wants to separate from another group of people, and they have the possibility to do it, be it because they have the power or they are supported by the powerful, self-determination will happen; otherwise the most active among the former group of people are called manipulators, for they want to convince others that they are different, or even terrorist.

In Spain, the government has promptly reacted with a nuanced an ambiguous position on Kosovo’s independence. It cannot go against it, for it is supported by the US and it is the product of the suffering of the Albanian Kosovars so-much defended by NATO. But it rejects its forms - unilateral against international law - and it fears a “domino effect” in its own borders. Quickly, nationalists parties in Catalunya (Catalonia) have marked differences between the Kosovar case and the Catalan situation. However, they defend its independence as an exercise of the legitimate right to self-determination.

Obviously, Kosovo is different from Catalunya, and Catalunya is different from Euskadi (Basque country), and Euskadi is different from Vlaanderen (Flanders), and Vlaanderen is different from Scotland, and so on. Nevertheless, they all have something in common: a cultural group (i don’t want to use the term ethnic, for its connotations) that lives in a state dominated by another cultural group, and the latter uses this state to, surreptitiously, favored the population that follows its socio-cultural norms e.g. speak its language. In my opinion, the important here is not what separates Kosovo from Catalunya, or even what is similar in both cases, but how beneficial independence will be for the Balkan province (and soon state) - its future. For if Kosovo proofs the principle that “small states are better off in a globalized world”, we might say with more emphasis that “small states are better off in a united Europe in a globalized world”…

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