It’s been a fairly hectic week since I was Vidhi’s +1 at ICML (international conference of machine learning). It took place in Sweden and I wanted to share some intelligent thoughts about it but as always it’s difficult to go deep when on the move.

Being married to a Sindhi scientist is quite amusing but it leaves me little time to blog.I was really moved by the above post by Ali Zafar; Pakistan shouldn’t be as f*cked up as it is and really needs to do better. Croatia’s spirited play at the World Cup hints at a very cohesive nation state; Pakistan must avoid the fate of Yugoslavia..

I’ve been tracking the movement of the Sharifs and I must say I’m very very impressed by their decision to go back to Pakistan; it’s a rare moment when Punjabi politicians stand up to the Punjabi establishment. The army has overplayed its hand when it’s lost my support; I don’t like the hypocritical singling out of the Sharifs especially when Nawaz is pro-business, pro-India and pro-peace…

24 thoughts on “Croatia..”

  1. Not sure exactly what analogy you are drawing between Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia…..

    But sticking to football for the moment, I’d bet Yugoslavia (or “land of the South Slavs”) is probably the densest storehouse of football talent in the entire world. They were a reasonably strong force even before the breakup; I remember them giving the Argentines a good fight in the QF in ’90. And after the breakup, it doesn’t seem to matter how much you slice and dice the country (Yugoslavia to Serbia and Montenegro to just Serbia….), its constituent parts seem to contain more than enough talent to put together a team that can hold its own in the World Cup. Last time round it was Croatia and B&H, this time it’s Croatia and Serbia that managed to qualify.

    So I’m sure cohesion plays a part, but there’s (a lot of) talent there too.

    1. that maybe the case but what about Slovenia or the other ex-territories?

      the story of Yugoslavia seems to be a tragic one in any case; I don’t want Pakistan to be like that..

      1. Thanks for resurrecting this post. I forgot to mention that Serbia and Slovenia qualified for the 2010 World Cup, so Slovenia is no slouch either (though it’s not at the level of Croatia or even Serbia.)

        For all its fissiparous tendencies, I don’t believe Pakistan is anywhere near as vulnerable as Yugoslavia circa ’90 was. That was not just a religious conflict but a civilizational one too (a better comparison would be to India ’47), based on my reading of Samuel Huntington.

          1. No rational person wants Pakistan to break up. It would be a humanitarian disaster. And don’t forget about the nuclear weapons (which Yugoslavia did not have). Punjabis and Sindhis would flee towards India ( I don’t think India wants all those extra Muslims). The Pathans would join their Afghan brothers.

            It is far better for the Pakistani (Punjabi) establishment to keep the smaller provinces happy and let them rule themselves in as decentralized a fashion as possible. If people feel they are better off together than there is no need for any kind of secession. Also, 97% of Pakistan’s population nominally shares the same religion so there won’t be any kind of conflict such as that between the Muslim Bosniaks and the Orthodox Serbs.

        1. “That was not just a religious conflict but a civilizational one too (a better comparison would be to India ’47), based on my reading of Samuel Huntington.”

          Aren’t they all Slavs(at least the majority of it) ? Always felt it was a religious conflict with a bit of Civilizational thing thrown in.(Isn’t it always)

          “But sticking to football for the moment, I’d bet Yugoslavia (or “land of the South Slavs”) is probably the densest storehouse of football talent in the entire world.”

          Its interesting how their Northern Slavic Counterparts are not that great in it.

    1. I can’t do technical Nastaliq unfortunately. English is far too dominant; I’m super colonised.

      Need to change that but can’t find the time..

  2. Ali Zafar makes a very good point about the presence of the arts in Croatia. Unfortunately, General Zia’s Islamization basically killed Hindustani Classical Music in Pakistan (it was too “Hindu”). The All Pakistan Music Conference continues on in Lahore with monthly programs, but it is a struggle. We do still have Ghazal and Qawwali though.

    It is hard to believe the upcoming elections will be free and fair. What is being done to Mian Sahab and Maryam Bibi is completely unfair. They are being singled out because Mian Sahab has fought for civilian supremacy and dared to take on the Army. Otherwise, there are many other equally corrupt politicians the courts should be going after. But the Sharifs have filed legal appeals so hopefully they will get bail. The peoples’ vote may also change things. Despite the Army’s best efforts, I think large swaths of Central Punjab are still going to vote PML-N.

    1. “They are being singled out because Mian Sahab has fought for civilian supremacy and dared to take on the Army. ”

      Dont you think this trope is overplayed, i feel all the politicians including the alpha civilian (Bhutto) are the creation of the army. Its only when they really fall out with the military over certain other things do they resort to this charade of civilian supremacy. Even though i wish the Sharif’s well, one of the reason he is still getting only half-hearted support from the liberals is because there is a sense that he will revert back to his old ways once he is out of his misery.

      1. No, I don’t think this trope is overplayed.

        The military has been out to get Mian Sahab for the last five years. They hate the fact that he dared to start a treason trial against General Musharraf (although suspending democracy and declaring martial law is treason in my book). In 2014, they weakened him through the “dharna”. It looked for a while like Imran would become Prime Minister or there would be a military takeover. But the PPP and other parliamentary parties rallied around Mian Sahab. Over the last year or so, the Panama Papers provided a great excuse to go after the Sharifs. We saw the whole show (Supreme Court taking up a case that should have been addressed at the Accountability Court level, Joint Investigative Tribunal, disqualification on a technicality). Then, they decided to finish him off before the elections. They didn’t think he was going to come back from London and face jail, but he did so.

        The establishment has decided that Imran must win next week. But they are still not capable of actually rigging the vote on election day. And the Sharifs still have a lot of support in Punjab. The thought of Mian Sahab and Maryam Bibi in jail may well bring out the sympathy vote.

        I’m not a blind Nawaz Sharif loyalist. I do recognize the deep irony in the fact that what he helped the establishment do to Benazir twice in the 1990s (bring down her governments) is now being done to him by the new favorite, Imran. Also, NS was promoted by General Zia to counter the PPP. So in a way, what is happening to him is poetic justice. But anyone who believes in democracy in Pakistan must stand with the Sharifs right now.

  3. I leave you guys to talk about politics in Yugoslavia, some comments are ok, some are pretty naïve; it is much more complex than you think.

    I will just add about sport. Basketball is even more successful in this area (Yugoslavia was a multiple world and Olympic champion, beating Dream team). Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia are very successful in European championships, there are almost 50 basketball players in NBA. Serbs including Montenegro and Croats are the tallest people in Europe. Serbia’s water polo team was many time Olympic and world championship winner, Croatia and Montenegro are also very good. Serbia was Olympic and world volleyball champion, so in handball as well (pretty popular European and very athletic sport popular in Croatia and Slovenia, too). Serbia used to be very good in boxing and wrestling, they had many world champions (these sports are not popular in other parts of YU). Judo, karate and taekwondo are also popular and globally competitive. Slovenians are very good in world snow skiing (they have Alps), ice hockey and cycling. Serbia and Croatia have also excellent tennis and table tennis players (used to be competitive with Chinese but not now). There are also good swimmers and Olympic champions from Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia. Etc, if any specific question, happy to answer…

    1. I agree, its probably the least understood conflict, probably because it has multiple actors at the same time and everyone has its own side to flock to.

      1. It is very complicated but from other side – very simple. It has never been before against anyone conducted such media propaganda and satanization as against the Serbs. And NATO aggression with 10.000 planes (!), uranium bombs on urban areas against a nation of 7 million and few hundred kilometers in radius. Why was that? I could tell you but you may try to find answer by yourself to know what may happen to you as well one day. Everything is historically connected, since Aryan’s time up to the yesterday’s meeting between Trump and Putin.

        1. NATO intervened because there was ethnic cleansing happening in Kosovo. Serbia has still not accepted that Kosovo is an independent country.

          I’m not an expert on Yugoslavia nor is it a part of the world I’m particularly passionate about, but it is a fact that horrible atrocities were committed against Bosnian Muslims. Srebrenica comes to mind.

          1. What can I tell you? This was a part of propaganda, even their inventors do not repeat this anymore because it is untrue. You must be so naive if you believe that Nato, as so moral organisation, would engage 10000 planes to stop some local ethnic cleansing. And how many people were killed in Kosovo? Three hundred years ago there were almost no Albanians in Kosovo. Since Turkish occupation they came to Kosovo and stated terror against Serbs Christians which lasted for hundreds of years. Kosovo is about 90 km in radius, it was a cradle of Serbian nation and had several Thousands (!) of churches. There are monasteries almost 1000 years old. There is no one (!!!) Albanian monument in Kosovo.

            Even Albania itself – it was Serbia for thousands of years (have a look maps on Internet) when in 1043 AC first Albanian families came from Sicily (before that escaped from Hazars in today’s Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia). They asked Serbian rulers to stay as shepherds and got permission to work on mountains pastures and pay symbolic price for this. Their status was regulated by law, they were shepherds for 400 years. Since Turkish occupation up to today they became Islamic terrorists and in last 30-40 years leading narko-dealers in the world. This is only remaining nation in Europe which is still not civilized. Serbia spent billions to civilize them, educate and economically empower them but without success.

            So called Bosnian’s Muslims are Serbs who also recently converted under Turkish occupation. They still have Christian relatives who haven’t converted, live together with Serbs and Croats in Bosnia and have absolutely the same language. Twenty five years ago, instructed from outside, they started a war and tried to create Islamic state from whole Bosnia and to enslave local Serbs. They did not want to have own country only where they were majority, they wanted also territories where Serbs were majority. They invented new name for their Serbian language. USA prolonged the war and it was against any deal to achieve own global geopolitical interests. Now, Bosnia is split between Serbian Republic and Bosnian Federation, formally under the name of Bosnia and Herzegovina with three presidents (Serb, Croat and Muslim) but the real power is in two entities with local presidents and governments.

            I do not expect from you to understand all of this considering your limited comprehension abilities even for things in your own neighborhood. It is pretty complicated and it is ok if you do not know but you should not repeat outdated propaganda as a parrot.

          2. Well, if you are going to defend war crimes there is really no point talking to you. I understand you have a Serbian nationalist perspective on events.

            I don’t care enough about Serbia to bother debating with you. Unlike India-Pakistan, this doesn’t impinge on my life. Suffice it to say Milosevic was tried for war crimes. And this cannot all be “outdated propaganda”. NATO must have thought through why they were getting involved in a conflict that really had very little to do with the US.

  4. There is no really point to discuss if you do not have the basic knowledge. Tell me about war crimes. Anyone who resisted American NWO was destined to be killed. It was the case with Gadafi, Sadam Hussain, they tried with Castro, Chaves, Korean guy, etc. Nato bombed cities, schools, hospitals, electricity stations with uranium bombs. Thousands already died and thousands will die from cancer. You really believe that Nato was protecting innocents. What Madlaine Olbright said for Iraqi children? Nato organised its own Tribunal and tried to find war crimes of Milosevic. They could not find anything about him but their war crimes and aggressive politics was uncovered. Because of this they killed Milosevic, they could not find any ‘commanding responsibility’. Who was responsible for massive civilian killing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, who created, financed and armed Islamic State in Syria?

    As you said, you do not know any facts, you are not interested, heard a bit propaganda…Why you are commenting on this at all? If you are interested I could answer specific questions but you are not. For every average logical person, my couple lines about Kosovo would be enough to understand the basics. But you are not this one. I am sorry about this because we could be not so distant cousins if you have Aryan ancestors, we may send Razib our DNA samples to cross-check.

    1. Look, Milosevic was tried in The Hague. I trust the United Nations far more than I trust a random guy on the internet.

      You seem to be a Serbian nationalist and just like the Indian nationalists on BP, you go into denial mode when the wrongdoings of your country are brought up. It’s quite a typical reaction. I’m only discussing this because it was brought up on this blog. It’s not my area of interest and you can see that I have never blogged about it.

      US policies in Iraq and Libya are not the subject under discussion. Though I think that intervening in Libya was counterproductive. I also think Iraq II in 2003 was a war of choice.

      I was educated in the US. I’m not some ignorant Pakistani who doesn’t know anything about what happens outside of South Asia. We read “Zlata’s Diary” in school. I suppose you will now say that that book is “propaganda”? If so, I’ll let you have the last word on that.

      As for our being “not so distant cousins”, I highly doubt it since my family has been in the Indian subcontinent for generations.

  5. Milan, can Serbia join NATO now? I think that Trump might be the most pro Serb President in US history and might better understand the global Islamist threat than his predecessors.

    Can you share your thoughts about Turkey? Some say that Turkey manipulated NATO into supporting Turkey aiding her Albanian, Bosnian and Kosovan allies. Without NATO’s help Turkey would have had a harder time managing Serbia on her own.

    I think we have to let the past stay in the past and move forward. We all have shared values and shared interests. We need to collaborate on Islamism, global organized crime, global commons, global economics, post modernism, socialism. Serbia can lead the world in solving all these things.

    1. Yes, we do need to move forward. But not by defending those who commit war crimes. Srebrenica is a war crime by any definition. You can read UN reports on it if you are not convinced.

      There is no excuse for ethnic cleansing and decent people don’t attempt to make excuses for it. I am not trying to attack Serbia specifically, but just noting a general tendency of nationalists (of whatever country) to try to defend the indefensible. The Balkans war was very complicated and I’m sure crimes were committed on all sides. If a Bosnian nationalist came and defended ethnic cleansing, I would say the same thing to him.

    2. The Hague tribunal was a private Nato (US/British) court financed by Saudi Arabia which just continued their aggression in this way after the war.

      In the links is a girl with Serbian name and surname – Zlata Filipovic. How come a Serbian girl in Sarajevo under the Serbian siege? Before the war in Sarajevo lived 250000 Serbs, almost a half of total number. War in Sarajevo started (coincidentally I was that day in Sarajevo) when muslim gangs attacked Serbian wedding ceremony in front of the Serbian church and killed several people. The city was already full of armed muslim gangs. Serbian suburbs were around the city, zones were already established. The following day muslim gangs blocked Sarajevo i no one could exit (I left the previous day). All Serbs were taken hostages in Sarajevo and for more than 3 years could not get out. Serbian forces on hills around Sarajevo could not help them. What was the life of Serbs in Sarajevo. That was the horror. They were non-stop terrorized by muslim gangs, many private prisons were established, food was coming from international aid only to muslims, no electricity, cold winters. Serbian women were especially terrorized by gangs which were breaking into Serbian apartments. More than 6000 Serbs were killed by gangs.

      Western countries knew what was happening in the town, they were present in the city but muslims were their allies against pro-Russian Serbs. Serbs could not get out of Sarajevo to join their families in Serbia or West Europe. Many Islamic warriors from muslim countries and mujaheddin came to fight for Islamic state in a holly war against infidels. US gave them arms and logistics. It was probably similar situation as in Syria and Iraq where muslim gangs committed horrible atrocities and extermination of some groups (e.g. Yasides). For almost 3 years muslims were making provocations killing own people and accusing Serbs to induce American intervention and bombing of Serbs. Finaly, Americans decided to bomb in war superior Serbs, some kind of peace was made. Bosnia was split on Serbian and Muslim part. This is the current situation. Muslims are not happy, they want the whole Bosnia for themselves, one part of Serbia and even more, they are trying to provoke new war and to expel all Serbs from Bosnia. They have strong support from US ‘deep state’ which wants to prevent any Russian influence in Bosnia.

      Sarajevo – all Serbs were expelled from Sarajevo which was given to muslims. Used to be 250 thousands, now there are no Serbs in Sarajevo. All their suburbs and houses where they lived for thousands of years were taken and given to mujaheddins and muslims from Middle East countries. Only couple suburbs at the outskirts of Sarajevo were given to Serbs. The current situation is unstable, muslims are provoking and searching every opportunity to start new war.

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