Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Serbian foreign minister has said that "Kosovo's indepedence has provided a toolkit for insependentists in Europe and beyond". Apparently Russia is considering to recognize Abkhazia and South Osetia (but not Chechnya) and some Palestinians are already demanding the formal creation of a Palestinian state if negotiations with Israel "are to succeed".
Looks good. What next? I have already mentioned Chechnya, that declared its independence almost two decades ago. Of course there's the much more dubious issue of Northern Cyprus (as it's merely a Turkish colony in fact) but also more importantly Kurdistan, including maybe 1/5 or 1/4 of Turkey's territory and population.
The Russians of Transdnistria, who declared their independence under Moscow's protection are happy. But one should not forget that Russia itself has many territories (autonomous republics and others) that have non-Russian majorities.
But the most interesting situation will be in Western Europe. In the UK the Scottish nationalism is quite strong these days, while in Spain Basques and Catalans could maybe take their own unilateral decissions. France is not exempt: Brittany and Corsica, as well as some overseas territories like Kanaky, have more or less important nationalist movements - and German identity is again on the rise in Alsace as well. Italy could eventually face some issues specially in Sardinia, Friuli and the Southern Tyrol (aka Alto Adigio) but also hase afced in the last times growing regional secessionism specially in the North. And let's not forget that Belgium is on the verge of breaking apart.
And, of course, there are many other natinal issues elsewhere: Western Sahara, Berbers, the ethnic puzzles of artificial post-colonial states, specially in Africa, southern Azerbaijan and eastern Kurdistan in Iran, Uyghuristan and Tibet in China (plus the issue of Taiwan, that is not really an ethnic but political issue), etc.
We are maybe entering a phase of history when decolonization and self-determination could become more and more widespread. After all that's what democracy is about: the power of the people. And many peoples all around would prefer to break apart from their forced historical "marriages" (or even slavery).
I am really glad that the artificial constructs of estabilished borders (borders that often are quite recent creations, but anyhow) and states are being challenged and defeated. It's a great act of democracy and self-determination. It's what freedom really is about.
I really hope that the somewhat hysterical Serbian "prophecy" becomes true. Let's break the chains of artificial borders, let's be free. For some of us this has been a very long centenary struggle and the happy end still has to arrive.