This blog was and will remain written only in Serbocroatian language, a language spoken in Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegowina, Montenegro, Croatia as the native language, but also in Slovenia and Macedonia as the second language. I am aware it is English the language of Internet. And we all know that, so we all born in Balkan peninsula, like in many places around the world, tend to consume significant amount of Internet content in English.
OK, but sometimes the trends may also be reversed. You, lucky fellows that have no actual merit in being the English native speakers are able to read the most of the great content in a language you perfectly understand. But, if for what ever reason you are the Serbocroatian language student, you might be attracted by the texts you may find in this blog or other blogs of my colleagues. Either you are the linguistics student, a business person with the partners from this area, or simply a person with high degree of curiosity to learn languages from a non mainstream country, you are the perfect candidate to appreciate my texts.
I might have asked an English speaker to correct my text here prior to publishing, but i did not do it on purpose, because the goal here is to communicate to people that show interest in my native language, so all the imperfections of my English are in spirit of inter-culture communication. You are not perfect in reading and writing my language and neither am i with yours. Probably, i am much better in English than you are in my language. After all, the scope of the language is, the communication and not the formal correctness. If you get my message, that’s great. Probably with all the errors, it conveys my message even more. The perfection does not belong to this world anyway.
I once wrote that every state, instead of sending young men to the army, it should send both boys and girls with an age of around 19 to a location that is at least 500 km distant from their hometown, preferably to an area where a spoken language is not understood by them at all, without the possibility to come back home for one entire year. And this should be by law, therefore compulsory. This, initially a very painful adventure, at the end of the journey would become a valuable, priceless, once in a lifetime experience that should lay the ground to a much healthier civic culture. Some of us had, but most of us never had an opportunity to learn the inter-culture subject in school, but even those of us that have attended such classes had very poor theoretical preparation only. Instead, with the active, involved life in a totally strange territory (but with enough money to survive decently without having to humiliate oneself with the semi-slavery work) should be an excellent start to understand that there exist many different ways of seeing the world and that one culture is never enough to understand and rule the world by one view only. This would be an excellent exercise to appreciate the vastness of human conditions, their advantages, but also pitfalls, because we should not fool ourselves, other cultures are sometimes even infinitely more stupid than our owns, but sometimes they are also infinitely cleverer, deeper, more emphatic, more pragmatic or more anything else.
I work in Western Europe, and you may see from the description of my proposal that already a 500 km distance may represent a huge cultural difference, while, if you are an American or an Australian, this could be a short distance to the next gas-station where you fill-in your private airplane to make another step within the same country and culture. So, in that case, add one zero, so 5000 km from your hometown is a good start for you. Come to Balkans to experiment.
I will give you another reason, why i feel a so big need to propose something like this. I like English language, i like many cultures that speak that language, i am not the West hater, i am exactly the opposite of that. But, i am also not blind, i see, day after day, the hegemony of Western values and culture trying to impose it everywhere, mostly by force, sometimes with intelligence (like Hollywood films), but still imposing. And i am not talking only about the wars and diplomatic hypocrisy, double standards in foreign policy etc… I am talking also about the smaller things, like the open space office layout in the workplaces, advertising based commercial model in all the media, sugar based sodas, excess of meat consumption, excess of pornography etc… Also, i know many West haters in Balkans or other non Western lands that think all is bad on West, and in most cases they are completely blinded by their local propagandists, like religious or political preaching leaders.
What we need is more of cultural exchange, something at the massive level, not only at the personal enrichment program levels that few enthusiasts did already. And I am not even favoring the increase of permanent emigration, like i did. No, i am talking about the ‘go and see others and come back home approach’. And forget about the National Geographic documentaries. We need real life experiences.
I sincerely think our world is, literally, close to a total collapse for a variety of reasons, but in essence we live in a world where we have plenty of ideological fundamentalists of various colors combined with the technology able to destroy the whole world hundreds of times and not just once. We need, urgently, a set of corrective actions on many aspects of our common life and one of them is to increase the sensibility about the otherness to be able to survive on this planet. If, by example, you learn the very secondary language like Serbocroatian (or any other), you will, probably, have very little practical direct profit, but indirectly, I think you will have a much bigger return on investment in terms of inter-cultural learning that saves our lives. You, native English speaking people have a monopoly on the culture, so you are, by definition in the dangerous position of thinking that your culture is the best and the only one. Not, because you are bad or stupid, no, simply because the mass-psychology mechanisms tend to put you in that position. So, wake up, embrace the world and learn something from the minorities.