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Old 03-06-2011, 09:30 AM
newcomer is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,943
Originally Posted by Tamerlane View Post
Quite true in general, especially as to the second, but sometimes it can get weirdly fluid. My father's side of the family ( through both his parent's lines ) are all of Croatian Serb descent ( i.e. Serbs from Croatia ). But in that case as little a thing as switching your confession ( say by marrying into a family and converting ) could result in switching ethnicities. There otherwise is not an awful lot to distinguish one from the other, despite fiercely held pride in that tenuously defined ethnic grouping. Serbs and Croats are notoriously hyper-nationalist these days, but in that region it could be surprisingly easy to change tribes.

And of course to pre-rise-of-ethnic-nationalism to everyone outside Croatia ( including the Hapsburg government ) everybody from Croatia was a "Croat" - they simply used the term as a geographic identifier.

The Balkans are an ever-confusing welter of weird ethnic issues.
Serbs in Croatia as a regional group is the perfect example of what I was trying to convey with my little regional theory of people who try too much to be pure while mixed through generations. The way they were manipulated (if you know the story from 1991 until their expulsion) is almost borderline masochism and prime example of never ending story of Balkan - instead of mutual respect for differences and agreement on similarities they went the way of hating the differences and disagreement on similarities.

Little off-topic...

Funny thing, at my office we were discussing multi-cultural state of affairs in Canada and how it is incredible that these same people from Balkans can live in Canada along each other with no problem but transport those same people down there and things go downhill. On top of that, here you still have quite a number of people living their life in Canada while being fully engaged in every day conundrums of Balkan and thus making up very rare bird - respectful and peaceful on the street of Toronto but full of rage on the pages of local discussion forum; something of a modern Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde brought to you by very fast DSL. Further rumination on the subject led me to challenge everyone in the office to come up with a cultural or social custom from their country of origin that is superior or at least equal to what’s currently a custom in Canada (more than half of the people in the office are either recent or 2nd generation immigrants and they exclude Western Europe countries). Well, needless to say no response received yet.