Why do Serbs hate Croatians

"We hate Hungarians, Croatians and Muslims"

"We beat up gypsies, we hate Hungarians, Croats, Muslims and Jews," says 22-year-old Nemanja. He's a skinhead and a Serb. His heroes are Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, wanted by the UN tribunal for war crimes, "because they fought for Serbianism". And Adolf Hitler because he saw through the "Jewish world conspiracy".

He doesn't know any Jews, but he "knows" that they "incited" America against Serbia. He wants to show the Hungarian minority "where to go", namely that "Serbia belongs to Serbs". He is from Novi Sad, the capital of the multi-ethnic province of Vojvodina. Nemanja is one of 75 percent of young people who have never been abroad and who describe their future prospects as hopeless.

"Blood and Honor"

Over 50 percent are unemployed and live with their parents. In Vojvodina in particular, more and more right-wing extremist organizations are joining. Nevertheless, there is no institution in Serbia that deals with young people. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why around 400,000 young people left the country.

There are people like Nemanja everywhere, according to sociologists, but what is specific to Serbia is that right-wing groups are the fringes of a society that refuses to confront its own "blood and soil" ideology and the war-inciting politics of Slobodan Milosevic as a whole.

The ultra-nationalist "Serbian Radicals" (SRS) have been politically rehabilitated and with over thirty percent are by far the strongest party in Serbia. Only recently, the Interior Ministry listed "neo-Nazi, chauvinist, racist and anti-Semitic" organizations in Vojvodina: "National Marching Column", "Blood and Honor", "Racist Nationalists" and Skinheads. All of them are "anti-western", according to the police report. The organization "Obraz" (cheek), which is related to the Serbian Orthodox Church, is described as "clerical fascist". The Hungarian movements "64 Counties" and "Honved" in Vojvodina are not "expressly" described as neo-Nazi.

None of these groups has been banned so far. Literature like "Mein Kampf" or "The Elders of Zion" can be bought in bookstores. In Belgrade's pedestrian zone "Knez Mihailova", T-shirts with Mladic and Karadzic, which have also found their place in Serbian folk songs, are sold. From the offices of HypoVereinsbank you can see a huge poster by Milosevic. A declaration on the sixtieth anniversary of the UN could not be passed in parliament because the SRS blamed the organization for the "disintegration of the former Yugoslavia" and accused them of wanting to "take away" Kosovo from Serbia.

Stop fascism ", demanded forty NGOs. They warned of" anti-Western "sentiment that could drive Serbia back into international isolation. (DER STANDARD, print edition, December 17/18, 2005)
By Andrej Ivanji from Belgrade