The similarities which can be seen in the spirit of the people of South America and ex-Yugoslavia are astonishing, what is even more astonishing is that the political context is really similar.
Let’s start with Serbia, a country I come from. Serbia is a country which is fond of dictators, or dictator type behaviour, we really like that, don’t really know why, not that any dictator ever brought something good to us, but it is always easier to think that there is a messiah who will solve all the problems. Messiahs?! WE LOVE THOSE! (if you read messiah as Vucic and laughed, you are living here). Additionally, we are having financial issues as a country for as long as I know. For example, Serbia still haven’t reached the GDP that they had in 1990.
So where does that compare with South America? HOLA ARGENTINA! Financially, I think no Argentinean remembers the last moment when Argentina was doing amazing financially, or even good. Right now, there is an ongoing financial crisis with guys on the corners of the street yelling CAMBIO CAMBIO (exchange, exchange). So, a developed black market for money exchange, fond of dictators, and a bad government? We, Serbs, had that! We get you guys! Argentina = Serbia.
Uruguay. People are living a good, but austere life, saving money, not showing off and they didn’t participate in more or less any war in South America. Hello Slovenia! Most of us in EX- Yugoslavia will say that the Slovenians are boring money savers. Additionally, there is a joke in the rest of the region which happens in a bar, saying: “Come on, I’ll buy this round of drinks, you do the next one, we won’t split, we are not Slovenians!” (With all due respect for Slovenians, of course. We, ex – Yu nations make fun of each other non stop)
So they may live an austere lifestyle, and we make fun of them, but looking at their GDP per capita, average wage and everything else, I don’t think they mind the jokes. They will just sit on a plane and go for a holiday WHEREVER, as will the Uruguayans, while we go around the region, because of the lack of money for example. Maybe the joke is on us then? Who cares, we still laugh. Uruguay = Slovenia.
Chile. You are in the public sector? You live a good life. You try to start a business? Paperwork is about to shut you down before you even start and as a worker in the private sector, you earn nothing. Your coast is really beautiful? A lot of tourists roaming around the coast? The sea is important for you? Amazing sea food? Hello Croatia! Or was it Chile?
You are looking for complexity of the political system? You are not really sure who is doing what? Or who should do what? Huge issues with responsibility in the public sector? Welcome to Brasil! Did I say Bosnia and Herzegovina? I meant Brasil. Oh, wait, it’s the same.
The beauty of South America cannot be taken away with all the complexity, issues, problems, financial and other. It can’t be taken away from the Balkans, either.
Another similarity and also the fun part of the story is that even with all the issues, wars, all the bad things that happened in South America and the Balkans in the past – we never lost our smile, hospitality and the willingness to host people as they were our own.
You can travel all over the world, see all the different monuments of history, relics, churches, old books and what not, but there are not many places where you return or go more then once. That place has to sell you something more then just beautiful views and nice places to see. That places has to have a soul, and sell you a feeling. We give you our souls. If you come just once, I promise you, you will take a piece of us home, and leave a peace of yourself here. And you will return, That’s Balkan for you.
Author: Marko Čomić