County Kosovo Leads the Charge
County Kosovo Leads the Charge
The little statelet of Kosovo should be major inspiration for Corkonians this week as it declared it was packin' up its bags and leaving its Serbian masters to the north.
|The new flag: nice choice of colour|
Like a rag doll at a jumble sale, the poor aul Kosovars have been dragged from one failed Balkan political project to another. The end of Yugoslavia and the Balkan conflict of the late nineties was the final straw. Why stay in a turbulent relationship when you'd have more peace in a gaf of your own?
Since the end of the complicated and ethnically charged war the UN have been effectively running the country, holding elections, referenda and baby-stepping its ravaged citizens into a 21st century democracy.
So on Sunday afternoon (late enough so everyone could go to mass we assume) the president announced that the small, landlocked country would become Planet Earth's newest nation. No love lost between partners who certainly weren't wrapped in each other's arms on Valentine's Day.
So how did the Kosovo's, now ex, partner, take the news? Did she reach for the Kleenex, break down and cry? Did she lose the rag, start pathetically slapping her ex-lover's chest and claim she had slept with his brother to spite him?
Just break up willye!
It's Not You,
Rather than the usual lies pedalled by fella's in break-ups, the Kosovars were pretty up front about the whole thing and the Serbians, semi-resigned to its inevitability, knew things weren't going well for sometime. The "big chat" had to happen eventually:
"Listen it actually is you and you've been treating me like dirt so I'm leaving you for someone else".
That someone else hasn't decided on whether she likes Kosovo just yet but strong rumours suggest she's very interested. Outrageous flirting with the E.U. ever since the break up of Yugoslavia and the success of the Montenegrin "legger" from Serbia in 2006, has turned Kosovars interests away from the cold influence of the east to the warm and lucrative lure of the western European economy.
Serbians aren't too happy about it but their leader is stressing that they need to focus on getting their economy fired up rather than harking back to former lovers who clearly have no interest in a serious relationship with them.
Some protests have taken place inside Kosovo by ethnic Serbians but protestors are being kept on a lead by Serbian secret police (read: large men in leather jackets with AK47s). While not yet officially recognising the break away republic, Serbia will have little choice.
Russia, its childhood friend and backer at the UN might not need to block a resolution to have the state officially recognised if Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon decides to go around them. It's a political game from here on it seems with little appetite in any quarter for violent confrontation. Late night nostalgic text messages between embittered parties are unlikely to bear fruit.
Divisions within the EU however are making the organisation look a little silly - especially at a time when it's attempting to flex its international muscle as a united force - with Spain declaring its discontent at the apparent ease at which Kosovo made shapes.
Not quite Gouganbarra but the Kosovars have got some berry looking hills of their own
Like the well intentioned girl, determined to help her best friend patch things up with an ex who clearly doesn't love her, the Spanish have their own agenda. Catalans, Basques and the other ethnic groups in Spain are all watching Kosovo's departure from Serbia with interest. Sweaty palms all round in Madrid - divorces seem far too easy to come-by these days.
Free State Reaction
So what about the Free Staters up in Dublin? Are they on for recognising Kosovo as a recently 'single and looking' man about town? Interestingly, Irish foreign affairs minister Dermot Ahern raised a few positive eyebrows in Cork when he declared that his country will be recognising the new Balkan government and will endeavour to help build its economy.
This raises the hope and expectations of Cork separatists as Ahern has now bound himself to recognising nations who decide to ditch their long term partners and go it alone.
Even the geography of the new Balkan holds significance for Corkonians. Kosovo was Serbia's most southern 'county'.
Its other recent rejection came from Montenegro in the south west. Food for thought too for Kerrymen one would think (although the image of Jackie Healy-Rae at the UN Security Council demanding new fencing for Paddy Keneally's sheep farm near Kenmare might deter more image conscious Kerrymen from demanding independence).
Cork's case for forming its own People's Republic is far stronger than any other county's and Kosovo's "bauld" move into the realm of nationhood is being watched from Leeside with keen interest. There is clearly a role for the UN in Cork and not just keeping peace between the County Board and Cork players but between Free Staters and Cork fans alike.
So now to the revolution .anyone got Ban-Ki Moon's mobile number?