Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kosovo to be Serbia's Trianon?

I am listening to Gde je danas Srbija (Where is Serbia today) a discussion on the Serbian Television (as the image quality is not so good to actually see much), today's topic is Karadzic and Serbia's future.

Kosovo TrianonOne interesting idea brought up by one of the guests was that there are "wounds" that hunt countries for decades, and among the examples he mentioned Trianon (in the way that it involved losing territory and people still talk about it, it has not yet been processed by the people*). He went on to warn that it is possible that Kosovo will for a long time be seen in a similar way as the Hungarians look on Trianon, especially by the radicals. I didn't really understand his conclusion, but I have found his comparison as a possible foreshadowing of the things to come.

*I might be one of the silent majority, or maybe a minority that doesn't stick Greater-Hungary maps on everywhere. I also hold the heretic view that the Hungarian minorities living in the neighbouring countries should do almost everything to integrate into the respective societies of the countries they live in: obviously with their minority rights protected.

On a totally unrelated note CNN has published a video about the protests in Belgrade, the twist is that they spiced it up with pictures from a previous riot from Hungary. They are now ridiculed all over the Hungarian and Serbian press...

[Image created using this picture under GFDL licence and this one found on the internet]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'm not letting the World pass me by

I decided that I should keep a closer look on the events of the world, as there is so much I do not know, and moreover so many things happen that skips ones attention. To remedy the situation I have decided to subscribe to the print edition of the Economist. I currently have no income, but I'm also thinking about subscribing to Foreign Affairs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Foreign Affairs

While I was in Holland I grabbed a copy of Foreign Affairs in the hope that it would be an interesting reading even if there is no Clash of Civilizations class article in it this time.
The articles I read, so far, haven't changed my life but nevertheless they were interesting. There was an article discussing American support for a Jewish state (which was never limited to the American Jews, but included for different reasons groups from the whole spectrum of public life).
One other was discussing the misuse of American oil reserves by the previous presidents since its creation in the 1970s and proposing an independent board to oversee it. The article, though this wasn't its primary intention, has given an interesting insight into how different countries store their oil, for example Japan has to use earthquake-proof steel tanks on valuable land, the US uses - I presume, among other locations - sand domes, while South Korea counts towards its capacity a storage facility in Norway.
With the elections coming closer many articles were discussing the foreign policy of the US as it should be. I haven't read all the articles on this topic, yet, but the main ideas expressed were stronger North American integration - with supporting the deepening of NAFTA cooperation, as it seems this is against the views expressed by the leading candidates, stronger economic cooperation with China, and measures to regain the lost respect of the world. An interesting tidbit from these articles was the fact, that to transport anything from Mexico to the States, it usually needs 3 different trucks, because Mexican trucks can't enter the States: one to bring it to the border  and unload in a warehouse, one to transfer it to an other warehouse on the American side, and one to deliver it to its final destination.
I have found this journal quite interesting, and I don't regret buying it: even though its whole content is available on their website for free, it is much more comfortable to read the printed version.

Back from the Netherlands

I just arrived home from a two weeks Travelling Summer University programme in the Netherlands, where I had an amazing time. I did things that otherwise probably I would never have done, including mudflat hiking, which apparently - against all my expectations -  has a proper Hungarian name, sailing,eating burning Mozartkugelns.
Apart from these adventures we spent quite a lot of time in Eindhoven, Ternaard (Friesland), and Utrecht and visited The Hague, Amsterdam and Leeuwarden, and by far the most time in the local pubs, clubs, and discos...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gender issues

I am almost finished reading A Series of Unfortunate Events, and for a children's book I'm quite glad to find that it doesn't reinforce some "old-fashioned" perceptions of gender: in the story both the father and the mother is portrayed as cooking (the mother usually having a good recipe for every occasion, and the father always doing something special for his wife) and the mother is shown as handling the finances of the family while the father is watching over the kids.
Speaking about the kids, they accomplish some quite unbelievably feats, with the oldest sister being an inventor, and the middle sibling being the researcher that remembers everything he reads (as opposed to Hermione in the Harry Potter series).
In general I think this is an important aspect of the series, if not in the context of contemporary American society, but in the Hungarian one (where, I am being told, perceptions are changing, but there is still a lot of headway to be made in the field of the hidden curriculum).