Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Africa and Europe were both carved up in boardrooms. Until the Berlin Conference of 1885, European Colonialism in Africa had been largely focused on ports and rivers. Europe's borders had been a Game of Thrones for as long as there had been people. Serbia was ruled variously by the Romans, Habsburgs and Ottomans. The formal independence of Serbia was recognised at the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Same boardroom used seven years later 'for Africa'? After World War I ended the Ottoman Empire, Serbia was part of Yugoslavia from 1918 till after the end of the Cold War in 1992. Fueled by ethnic tensions, Nationalism led to a break up into various nations. Following extending lesson from elsewhere, Britain imposed the 'Canadian model' by force on South Africa with a union in 1910. South Africa was also used as a pawn in the Cold War, with the thaw bringing democracy in 1994. Serbia has a population of 7 million, which would make it the third biggest South African province. Unlike Serbia and Yugoslavia, South Africa held together. The lesson for both places is to avoid being a pawn in other people's power games. Democracy, and identity, should be about empowerment rather than power.

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