UPDATE: December 9th – it turns out we are NOT boycotting after all. After a somewhat mixed public protest, it seems that President Tadic decided that it would be too embarrasing not to send a representative. I think the fact that president’s own father was a dissident during Tito’s rule decided in the end. We are not sending an ambassador, though, but an ombudsman – Sasa Jankovic (who is really doing a good job, by the way). So there you have it, it’s decided. Two things that came to my mind after all this, one – China’s human right regulations have really been A LOT in the media here thanks to the previous decision, and two – we are still living in a country where one guy (Tadic) decides on all matters instead of common sense.
This year’s peace prize will go to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, only symbolically, that is, because he is in prison in China, arrested for a horrendous crime of calling for greater freedom of expression, human rights, and for free elections – in China! But I’m sure you all know everything about this by now.
This is where Serbia comes in – today the country refused to send a representative from the embassy in Oslo who would attend the peace prize ceremony, and thus joined the team of other 18 countries who also in this way expressed their dissatisfaction with the Nobel peace committee’s choice. In comparison, when Martii Ahtisaari received the prize two years ago, there were 10 countries who boycotted the ceremony, Serbia included.
The reason Serbia boycotts this year’s ceremony is kind of a mystery. It’s the only country in Europe who decided to do this. Most other countries are doing it merely as a sign of disrespect for the West, while others are very much dependent on China. Some countries, like Russia, for example, just have more important stuff to do at that time. Serbia, on the other hand, has no other reason than China’s stance on Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence. The public opinion on this matter, as always checked through comments left on news sites, is basically that Serbian MFA made a wise decision because “China is soon to be worlds leading superpower, let’s suck up to them” or “Nobel peace committee lost all credibility after giving the prize to Barack Obama”.
What do you think Serbia should have done on this matter? Would China even notice Serbia’s attendance in Oslo?
See more great photos at: Andreas H. Lunde