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Identity and Citizenship                                                 6 Sept. 1999

By Pavel Kollar

I want to express my opinion regarding the citizenship concepts mentioned in the article. I think that the choice between the two concepts, in the sense that either one or another is not correct, that both of them should be institutionalized. Ask a kindergarten child who is his or her mother and father and you will get correct answers similar as on the questions where he or she is living, in which street or place. Now ask for ex. an adult citizen of Hungarian nationality living in Slovakia about his or her nationality and you could receive following answer: ‘...? ... we are Hungarian but we are Slovaks also ...’(I heard this in one broadcast). Then, ask for ex. some Slovak from Serbia which is his or her land and you will get the answer something as ‘...? ... Backa ...’(I heard also this). And Mr. Milosevic, in his interview to CBS in April this year explained(without being asked) where is the land of Kosovo Albanians: in Albania.

The conclusion from this could be that children are born clever but with adult age they are becoming stupid. Who made them stupid? Different authorities and the education system. Why so many people are living on lands which are ‘not their’? Or possible is this not a common falsification of identity of individuals coming from wrong organization of institutions? Both of these concepts are parts of human identity, then why not integrate them.

You want to build up one certain and stabile economy in one part of Europe were these concepts, in the past, caused many troubles, but I think without solved identity issues this could prove to be a risky affair. Here is one example: The Lowland in northern part of Serbia(the Banat, Backa and Sirmium, later named by Serbs as Voivodina) in 1918 was on the same level as Slovenia what’s cultural and economic development. Today Slovenia is prosperous country, candidate number one for European Union, the Lowland is still for several percent better on than Serbia mainland(without Kosovo), but this is sufficient to be only about a half so developed as Slovenia. How could this happen? Slovenia was nationally homogenous, so there was not possible(for different politicians, of course) to play with this two concepts of citizenship. Lowland was a national mix(and with Serb minority which made about a quarter or a third of total population) where these two concepts were easily mixed. So, my suggestion regarding the idea is following:
- before the start make a big(or start up) inventory(as it as the use in every business) to determine who is who and what is what and to whom belongs what
- create a new definition of human identity and a new organization based on this new identity(that means new institutions) which will guarantee two things: at first right to every group to have own budget and second equal rights to territory to every ethnical group (the term national minority must vanish, not only from constitutions of those countries but also from some EU documents, the Copenhagen declaration and Helsinky documents being examples).
The question of migration should be regulated with separate legislation. But to make this, one must give up the idea that the civic concept, in those countries where it is applied, functions perfectly. There are many examples that the American multiculturalism has problems, and in Europe you will hardly find a state without strong national movements.

And suppose, the idea of integration, so as it was proposed at Sarajevo summit, will succeed and the thing will function, but how long. My answer is that until the Serbs will not start to argue that the whole region is their(this could happen one day when the region will be sufficiently rich) and all will start from the beginning.

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