It would be great to hear the words ‘we were wrong’ without any irony; to open up a dialogue that isn’t falsified; to be united in values, while preserving different points of view. That is what we wish for in the New Year 2021, as well as, of course, good health and life without masks of any kind.
In the first place, we will remember 2020 by a different way of life, which was not caused only by the slow EU integration process, failed democracy, disrespect for human rights and lack of freedom (no matter how much it seems that it was only the pandemic that took the freedom away). This different way of life was imposed on us primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic, which, according to many world dictionaries, will certainly be the word of the year 2020.
The government didn’t help relieve the uncertainty and anxiety which follow any new and different circumstance. On the contrary, it intensified our anxieties and directed us further away from anything that would have bettered our lives: it distanced us from the EU, a stable democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights… Important goals were belittled and reduced to an empty echo. We knew that any critical thinking would cost us; the baseline definition of our work would cost us – pointing out that which is wrong, and suggesting opportunities for progress where we see fit. Our job is one that doesn’t guarantee comfort, which is uncertain even in ordinary circumstances, and which, due to its “disruptive” nature, has placed us in the category of those “well-paid” or ‘’pawns of Brussels, Washington, Luxembourg …”, and being oppositional for the sake of being oppositional.
The government is mostly to blame for that, because the government is, naturally, the most responsible. It has shaped a society that encourages unconditional approval rather than curiosity, reflection and a critical attitude.
And because of that, and not only because of the pandemic, Serbia has not opened a single accession chapter this year, it has been declared a country with a hybrid regime, the assessments in the European Commission’s annual report on progress towards the EU were bad, scandals accumulated and were covered up, civil society was targeted by the Administration for the prevention of money laundering, the media remained not free, journalists persecuted … It is no consolation that the government has done a few things right, and that we are not the only ones who are not doing well, that the EU is going through crises, that even it is sometimes inconsistent and unfair, and that certain members are not much better than us in what we are most reprimanded for. All of this is also not a reason to stop pointing out the things that are wrong because when they are wrong, they are really wrong.
In 2021, we would like for someone from the vicinity, not just us, to notice that we are the best in the region, that we are in some ways better than the EU. We wish we could know how we came first or among the first to what the others did not. It would be great to hear the words ‘we were wrong’ without any irony; to open up a dialogue that isn’t falsified. It would be amazing to say – our government has made real progress in the rule of law; it would be great to praise more and focus less on shortcomings, just like now we don’t really focus on some of the good as there is too little of it compared to what we should and have the right to hope for. Being united in values, while preserving different points of view. Encouraging, rather than toppling, one another.
That is what we wish for in the New Year 2021, as well as, of course, good health and life without masks of any kind.