When my motherland Yugoslavia went through the separation process, her children suffered. The nations of Yugoslavia sought their old/new identities, drawing new borderlines with bloodshed and war. I lived in the central part of the central Yugoslav republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina with no intentions of going further than Sarajevo, Zagreb or Belgrade - it was a world big enough for me.
We, the Yugoslavs, were a proud nation once. With our own military and car industry and a leading position in the Non Aligned Movement, we played a neutral role in the world divided by the Berlin Wall. The truth is that back then we were united, strong, respected nation. As a society, we believed in progressive ideas of humanism, investing our faith in science rather than an abstract, divisive God that was marginalized. Instead, our God was The Party. Under Tito, a benevolent dictator with a gentle hand, our passport could cross almost all borders in the world without any visa requirements.
We were many times world and European champions in basketball, water polo, handball etc.
Then, a quest for independence, accompanied by a quest for parliamentary democracy came into the peaceful lives of Yugoslav nations...
Today, after the war, Yugoslav nations are economically and socially destroyed tribes with old dogmas and very little to hope for. Slovenians and Croats started the process of the disintegration of Yugoslavia. As a reward, years later, they were given a European Union membership. The two Yugoslav nations (out of 6 republics of the former Yugoslav Federation) joined European Union and NATO, dropping their independence once again for yet another alliance, but this time not on equal terms with other members. I am not going to waste my breath on those arguments claiming that there was an inequality of nations in the Yugoslavian federation.
After the separation we - the true Yugoslavs - had no choice but to leave the land of the newly discovered old deities. Since we had a superb basketball team, we thought of ourselves as Titans. In this metaphor, the corruptive and nationalistic “democrats” could represent an enraged Zeus, who declared the war on the mighty Titans – Yugoslavs – succeeding in cutting them to pieces, imprisoning them within the borders of their born again national identities.
Once upon a time a free nation, nowadays majority of former Yugoslavs can’t freely travel and work in Europe (which was possible during the socialist Yugoslavia). Most of them cannot travel to the UK (which Yugoslavians could) as they can’t meet visa requirements
However, they don’t have to play basketball together, under the “confinement” of Yugoslavia.
Monday 8th of September 2014, London
The citizens of United Kingdom woke up to a day in which pound has fallen to its 10 months’ low. That day polls have indicated that the YES for Scottish independence is slightly ahead of the NO. Businesses are preparing for the worst. This gives us a rare opportunity to see the leaders of the three main parties together. There is a visible panic on their faces.
Thursday 11th of September,London
Today’s poll shows a NO vote is back to its leading seat but panic persists in the UK.
The final week of uncertainty ahead of us will be the longest one. The Scottish referendum could change our world forever. YES or NO - that is THE question.
I overheard a group of teenagers loudly arguing in London underground;
Why is everybody obsessed with the Scottish referendum… as if I care… –the loudest one with a greasy forehead shouted out.
Wrapped up in their free copies of underground bulletin, commuters remained silent.
Of course they do care. Pound Sterling is their God. When the God is weak, the entire nation is poisoned with fear.
In the light of the referendum, the Brits know how it feels to be seated in front of TV witnessing, with dread, the prospect of their family being torn apart and not knowing what the future holds …
Friday 12th of September, London
I visited my Serbian friends in Finchley Central. A couple of them are going to Serbia for a short holiday but long enough that on their way back, they may find themselves in a different country. Over a dish of tasty Serbian food that our hosts prepared, we discussed the Scottish referendum.
One of our hosts R. is greatly concerned about the possibility of yet another separation that he will have to be part of. When he was a child in Belgrade, his summers on the Montenegrin coast (the Adriatic Sea) were reminiscing of a heaven that should have lasted forever. Then Yugoslav separatism started, as his family moved to London to represent a Yugoslav company in the UK. Serbia and Montenegro kept together for a while, then dissolved at long last in the process. When Montenegro is mentioned, R. face turns green. His family sold the property they owned on the coast right after the separation. The reason: with the separation the heaven was lost forever. R. works hard in the city, he is successful, in love with his girlfriend L. and London is his new heaven. He thinks that the Scots are, undoubtedly, the only ones who have the right to decide what they want to do – stay or go – but, the reality is he does not like the separations that remind him of that paradise he has lost.
Another friend, P., lives in Belgrade, often visiting London. P. is a spiritual man who loves his country quietly. Although he found his spiritual home in the heights of `Nepal, Serbia is in his heart. P. is a rebellious artist whose words are known throughout countries of former Yugoslavia while in Serbia he is a cult character of Belgrade’s cultural underground. He is a free thinker, but a responsible one. Although some of his writings may suggest otherwise, he is a humble man. The only money he makes comes from his jagged jobs as a hired writer or equally irregular jazz sessions played in the ever shrinking jazz scene of Belgrade. His only possession is his trumpet.
P. thinks Scots have nothing to lose if they go. He thinks they should take this chance and go. There will never be another opportunity like this. When he talks about the referendum his voice is firmer. I am not sure if it means P. is bitter for what has happened to his country when it suffered from the separation syndrome, as a result of its democratization. It shrunk like Balzac’s magic Shagreen skin whenever it made a wish.
Saturday 13th of September, London
If it comes to pass, and Scotland votes itself out of the UK next week, the outcome could be final brake of a strong, potent union into two weak national states. Murray alone, if he were to win the American Open, could have greatly influenced the next week’s ballot in favor of the independence. So, if the Scots vote NO, I guess the Scottish nationalists could blame Murray alone for their failure.
But, if the Scots vote YES, I can predict swift turn in Murray’s career. He will play under the Scots like he never played under the UK sponsorship, to become the real champion. Djokovic was always inspired by his nation. It is hard to say that of Murray, who once famously said, commenting on the football World Cup, that he would be supporting "Anyone but England".
Today’s polls show a critical tight race of Yes and No campaign. It seems that separatists are once again gaining momentum. Nobody is indifferent to it.
Sunday 14th of September, London
The morning started with the unpleasant news from the Islamic State where a UK aid worker David Haines was beheaded yesterday.
“In the video, entitled A Message to the Allies of America, a masked man is shown carrying out the beheading of Haines… … Speaking to the camera, the hostage, composed but clearly under duress, and wearing an orange jumpsuit, reads out a statement in which he says that Cameron is “entirely responsible for my execution” for entering into a coalition with America…“Unfortunately, it is we, the British public, that will in the end pay the price for our Parliament’s selfish decisions.” … The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, issued a statement denouncing the killing.
“This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil. My heart goes out to the family of David Haines who have shown extraordinary courage and fortitude throughout this ordeal.” …
The Guardian 14th of September 2014
David Haines was Scottish. The speculating British media are trying to guess how the beheading of a Scot will affect the referendum.
The world is becoming overwhelmingly omnipresent torture camp. The images of intimidation, torture and murder appear first in the TV boxes while we presume that these appalling images are far away from our own reality. Our worlds remain an unbreakable safety net.
Monday 15th of September, London
From dramatic events in Scotland it is becoming harder to grasp what is at stake and for whom. For Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland and the leader of Scottish National Party (SNP), winning would mean only one thing – the independence for Scotland. For Cameron and his Tories it may be a one way ticket away from the political stage of a shrinking Britain.
Today’s reappearance of Gordon Brown, the former Chancellor under Blair’s Labour government and Prime Minister of Britain in Labour’s last term in the office, brought some hope to the No campaign. He urges Scots to stay in the union, promising major devolution for Scotland that he agreed promptly with suddenly soft spoken Tory government. Brown urges people to stay in Great Britain in order to shake off conservatives together in the upcoming elections. But can he deliver? If No wins, Cameron will stay in the office forever, not a good outcome – not for Brown nor anybody I can think of.
It is a big burden for Scottish people who really deserve better future than the one they can get from the arrogant, self-centered Tories from Westminster. Scots are instinctively and predominantly socialists in the way they think of their priorities.
If Scotland walks away, it will be only because of the arrogance of Conservatives. But if Scotland stays, the divisions will stay too, and so shall the Tories and they will rule happily ever after.
I don’t want Scotland to go for selfish reasons - because they will be greatly missed and their votes, too. On the other hand, for all humanitarian reasons I don’t want Tories to win another term in the office … and they will if the Scots stay!
On Sunday, Westwood urged Scotland to vote for independence, saying a Yes vote would be "absolutely great". "The future could be just amazing and Scotland would be very important and an influence on the world," the fashion designer said. "We just hope that Scotland can be a model for future hope and development where we have a people's democracy instead of only everything for profit and for business and for destruction."
The Guardian online Monday 15th of September 2014.
Tuesday 16th of September, London
Two more days to go ... something is changing in me. It’s the momentum. I am less and less convinced that it would be a good idea for the Scots to say NO. I think the same change of mood is happening to the Scottish voters.
Given how some social groups have been brutally treated by the current Tory government, including the disabled, homeless and the people who are destitute, I would not be surprised if the Scots did choose the go option.
If the outcome would be YES, that can’t be good for anybody in England – but the positive side of Yes vote is that it will sway Scots away from the ruthless powers of Tory bureaucrats. It could enforce unimaginable changes here and elsewhere. The consequences would be hard times ahead for many.
Perhaps, after the initial waves of nationalism, the working class of England is going to realize that they have no other friends apart from themselves and their international counterparts.
Perhaps the decentralization of power across Europe is an inevitability that will follow soon after the Scottish departure from the union.
Perhaps a new model of democracy is already born, regardless of the Thursday’s vote.
But first things first…
Right now waves of ultra nationalism are forming in the open sea of the European popular politics. England is not excluded from this nationalistic tendency. On the contrary, if the Scots go, English nationalism will flourish freely.
It’s clear; keeping the union would mean fear. It would also mean security, status quo, guarantees of a freedom that is shrinking every day. On the other hand, the departure would mean adventure, it requires free – thinking, courage, it has the ability to create something new but it brings difficulties, too.
Great dangers lie ahead if Yes is the answer.
However, dear Scots, if you choose to go, many will understand. Indeed, if you can choose, why would you want to live under the dictates from Westminster that is offering you a greater autonomy only now, when you can take it all and without their permission?
But then, is it not unfair for the entire British population who thinks of their identities and their culture as of British rather than English or Scottish, that the right to decide about their future is given only to the tiny percentage of the population?
Was the swing to Yes a bandwagon onto which more and more voters would now want to jump given that the prospect of independence finally looked like more than an impossible dream? After all, the apparent negativity of the No campaign did not seem to be generating much enthusiasm in the minds of voters.
THE WEEK on Tuesday 16th of September 2014.
… 3000 dead, 300 000 permanently relocated people and five months later (too late), there is a new development in Ukraine;
“Ukraine's parliament has granted self-rule to eastern regions controlled by pro-Russian rebels, as well as an amnesty for the fighters themselves.”
BBC News Europe reports Monday 16th September 20104.
Wednesday 17th of September, London
The air of Britain is electrified. It could rain any time soon.
Suddenly the wider picture of the potential consequences of Scottish independence appears more transparent.
Next referendum takes place in Catalonia on 9th of November. The prime minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy says the Catalonian referendum (if it takes place) would be an illegal act.
Independence referendums in Scotland or Spain's Catalonia region are like a torpedo to European integration, PM Mariano Rajoy has warned. He told MPs such processes created "more economic recession and poverty". Pro-independence Catalans are watching Scotland's referendum on independence on Thursday closely, with plans for a similar vote in Catalonia in November. If Scotland backed independence, it would have to reapply to the EU as a new member state, Mr Rajoy said.
BBC News Europe wrote Wednesday 17th September 2014.
Only hours remain before the thousands of polling stations will open across the country of Braveheart.
Brits should be proud of the display of a high standards of democracy both in Scotland and England during the campaign.
Thursday 18th of September 2014… The Day of the Scottish Referendum
8:00 am – London
The polls have opened in Scotland. The all times record 97% of the voters turnout is expected in this historic referendum.
Andy Murray, the UK tennis star originally from Scotland can’t vote - he does not live in Scotland.
In an eleventh-hour intervention, Murray – who had kept quiet previously – tweeted about his distaste for the no campaign on the day Scotland goes to the polls. In the early hours of Thursday morning he wrote: “Huge day for Scotland today! No campaign negativity last few days totally swayed my view on it. Excited to see the outcome. Let’s do this!
The Guardian Thursday 18th September 2014.
Murray was previously careful not to publicly back either side of the independence debate … In March this year he said: “I will take a position. My thoughts on it aren’t that relevant, because I can’t vote myself.
- “I wouldn’t personally choose to make my feelings on something like that public either because not a whole lot of good comes from it.
- “I don’t know a whole lot about politics, and I have made that mistake in the past and it’s caused me a headache for seven or eight years of my life and a lot of abuse.
- “So I wouldn’t consider getting involved in something like that ever again.”
But he just did. He is trying to score a nasty volley to his forehead.
We all remember how Murray was fullheartedly supported, all the way throughout the UK, in his quest to become a Wimbledon champion. It’s not a good sign for the Scots who support the independence, as Andy Murray is a high profile looser.
Andy Murray branded 'irresponsible' for revealing 'extremely ill-advised' Scottish Independence view on Twitter
The Independence Thursday 18th of September 2014.
Tweet responses to Andy Murray;
Jack Maycoe @andy_murray disappointed in you andy , you may have just swayed the undecided…
Tony Quintus And yet the lies, obfuscation, violence and intimidation of the "Yes!" campaign didn't have any effect on you at all #Hypocrite
Grotty There really are some vile people out there. Like every Scot @andy_murray has the right to cast his vote without abuse from others
Friday 19th of September 2014, London
Mini is a dog. From time to time, when her “mum” D. travels to Scotland or abroad, I look after her. This time Mini’s mum D. went to Edinburgh to participate in the referendum festivities without the right to vote (although Scottish, D. does not live there therefore she was not entitled to a vote).
Mini woke me up 7 am, I guess most of the results were counted by then but I did not have time to look at the news lines. I grabbed the leash, took Mini out, trying to guess from passersby’s faces if this walk had been taking place in Great or Lesser than Great Britain. Looking at the grey sky above and grim faces under it, it looked like nothing had changed.
And NO it is… The proud Scottish nation decided to give up independence for the safety of the union. An overall turnout of the voters may be close to 90%. It’s not yet officially announced what are the margins of the unionist victory.
A victory that can’t be measured instantly is one of democracy itself, which has never mirrored itself as democratically as it does today in Scotland.