November 2009

Korean member attacked and beaten by muggers

by Limbic on November 20, 2009

A Korean member of the Belgrdae Foreign Visitor’s Club,  Kuan, was attacked and beaten last Sunday by multiple cowardly muggers.

Six men a woman brutally attacked him in the early hours of Sunday morning on Zeleni Venac. He bravely fought them off, but was overpowered by so many attackers,  who kicked him brutally as he lay on the ground.

Kuan has been in hospital since then, with serious injuries. He was operated on today (Friday) and reported to one of the members that he was in agony, but he hopes to feel better tomorrow.

This is the latest in a spate of attacks on foreigners, but this is the first mugging I have heard of in Belgrade in years.

Kuan is a professor of Serbian and a long term resident in Belgrade.

We wish him the very best in his recovery and hope that the police will be swift in catching and locking up his attackers.

The Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club will be organising something for Kuan. If you have any ideas of special requests, please put them in the comments.

The story is online here:

Razbojnici prebili Korejca! – (Serbia)

(Google Translate version in English).


Climate Change and Sacrifice

by Limbic on November 20, 2009

These is a great interview with Howard Bloom on Scientific Blogging. He repeats something he said in his Interview with Jon Udell, about how sacrifice – an age old human habit – underpins some Environmentalist ideas:

I’m a skeptic about global warming.   With or without smokestacks, the big shifts of this globe’s weather kill.  There have been 146 mass extinctions that we can count. And there were probably many more whose evidence we haven’t yet learned to detect.  In some of this planet’s past climate shifts, the carbon dioxide level, the level of “greenhouse gas”, was 20 to 200 times what it is today. There were roughly 80 ice ages from 2.2 billion years ago until 12,000 years ago, when modern culture began. Twenty of those ice ages took place while we were evolving as human beings. In the last 120,000 years, there’ve been 20 global warmings in which temperature has shot up between 10 and 18 degrees in a decade.  None of these catastrophes were caused by man.  None were caused by industrial pollutants, automobile emissions, or human consumerist excess.  The message?  Forget about sacrificing to mother nature so she will make the earth a garden of Eden.  Mother Nature, to quote a chapter title of one of my books, The Lucifer Principle, is a “bloody bitch”.  She exults in creativity.  And she exults in destruction and death. She has doomed neutrons to find proton partners in 10.6 minutes or disintegrate. She has given birth to stars and killed them.  From that star death she has wrung 89 new forms of atoms, 89 new elements. Her ways of creation are not always nice.  To me our fixation on apocalypse, our fixation on global warming, is a sign that we are slipping into a new dark age.  Cultures that look up move up.  Cultures that look down sink and die.  The Global Warming fixation is our way of looking down, very far down indeed.  We feel that we have sinned and must sacrifice, that we must atone.  Our sin is the rape of the earth.  Our atonement is the self-denial we call “conservation” and  “sustainability”.

More at:

It brought to mind a quote by Bertrand Russell:

“Even more important than the domestication of animals was the invention of agriculture, which, however, introduced bloodthirsty practices into religion that lasted for many centuries. Fertility rites tended to involve human sacrifice and cannibalism. Moloch would not help the corn to grow unless he was allowed to feast on the blood of children. A similar opinion was adopted by the Evangelicals of Manchester in the early days of industrialism, when they kept six-year-old children working twelve to fourteen hours a day, in conditions that caused most of them to die. It has now been discovered that grain will grow, and cotton goods can be manufactured, without being watered by the blood of infants. In the case of the grain, the discovery took thousands of years; in the case of the cotton goods hardly a century. So perhaps there is some evidence of progress in the world.” – Bertrand Russell, “Ideas That Have Helped Mankind

For more posts on Howard Bloom, click here.


RIP Patriarch Pavle of Serbia

by Limbic on November 17, 2009


On behalf of the members of the Belgrade Foreign Visitor’s Club I offer my condolences to the Serbian Orthodox community on the occasion the death of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia.

Patriarch Pavle oversaw the Orthodox church and the people of Serbia through some of their darkest years of war, sanctions, bombardment, isolation and vilification.

I hope that his passing marks new chapter in the story of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the people of Serbia.


The Balkan Population Collapse

by Limbic on November 15, 2009

In this graphic from the Economist we see almost all Balkan countries losing population. This will have severe and unpredicatble social, economic and political consequences across the region.

In this graphic from the Economist we see almost all Balkan countries losing population. This will have severe and unpredicatble social, economic and political consequences across the region.

Earlier in the month I posted a picture of The Belgrade Wall and speculated about a Serbia 50 years from now, where Kosovo had been “saved” (i.e. remained part of Serbia) but we  ended up with a Nothern Ireland type situation after the ethnic Serb population dropped whilst the Albanian population grew.

This post drew some angry fire from those who thought I was being unfair to Albanians by implying they “breed like rabbits”.  For the record, I was making no such claim,  but merely posting a thought experiment based on the assumption that Serbia’s population will fall whilst the Albanian populations of Kosovo, Serbia and Albanian would rise. These assumptions were based on current birthrates which show Albanians are the only Balkan ethnic group with a growing population, although there has been a massive drop in fertility rates amongst Albanians too (7.5 to 2.2  since 1950).

The Economist has picked up the story as part of its special series on global population decline.

From “A birth dearth – The tricky politics of population in the former Yugoslavia“:

OUTSIDE a hospital in Belgrade, two parking spots are reserved for parents with babies. A placard shows a stork delivering a baby that is then driven off in a car. What is telling is that there are only two spaces. Serbia’s population is shrinking.

Demography is causing alarm in many Balkan countries. In Bosnia and Kosovo, the issue can be fundamental. In Macedonia, a bid by the government to give financial aid to encourage (low-birth) Macedonians to have more children but to exclude (high-birth) Albanians was struck down by the constitutional court in April.

Goran Penev, a Serbian demographer, says his country has 7.2m people (excluding Kosovo). But Serbia has one of the oldest populations in Europe and a low fertility rate, so the population is shrinking by 30,000 a year. This is not because Serbs are becoming rich and want smaller families. Rather, the war years and ensuing economic hardship have knocked the stuffing out of Slavs across former Yugoslavia, leading to fewer children, lots of emigration and high abortion rates.

The article goes on to discuss the consequence of these dramatic population declines in the region. This is one trend that you should definitely keep and eye on.

You may also be interested in a post on LimbicNutrition that I put up about the effect of population decline on traditional societies and our ideas about the family:

Al-qaeda versus three person marriages


World War 1 Posters

by Limbic on November 12, 2009

The Serving Soldier » World War One Posters


Amazing Grace on the bagpipes

by Limbic on November 9, 2009

I have always loved the bagpipes and Amazing Grace is one of my all time favourite songs, especially on the pipes. My father also adored it. On his 50th birthday a piper played it all the way up our driveway and into our house.


“I have never seen such elation…”

by Limbic on November 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary Berlin!


Liquid modernity

by Limbic on November 8, 2009

Zygmunt Bauman – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Liquid Modernity” is Bauman’s term for the present condition of the world as contrasted with the “solid” modernity that preceded it. According to Bauman, the passage from “solid” to “liquid” modernity has created a new and unprecedented setting for individual life pursuits, confronting individuals with a series of challenges never before encountered. Social forms and institutions no longer have enough time to solidify and cannot serve as frames of reference for human actions and long-term life plans, so individuals have to find other ways to organise their lives. Individuals have to splice together an unending series of short-term projects and episodes that don’t add up to the kind of sequence to which concepts like “career” and “progress” could be meaningfully applied. Such fragmented lives require individuals to be flexible and adaptable — to be constantly ready and willing to change tactics at short notice, to abandon commitments and loyalties without regret and to pursue opportunities according to their current availability. In liquid modernity the individual must act, plan actions and calculate the likely gains and losses of acting (or failing to act) under conditions of endemic uncertainty.

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Postcard Lenindenkmal Ostberlin 1989

by Limbic on November 6, 2009

Love this photo. Was in Berlin recently and it is an amazing city.

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The Belgrade Wall

by Limbic on November 5, 2009

The Belgrade Peace Wall separates an ethnically divided Belgrade in 2068. West Belgrades Serbs occupy the newer parts of the city, whilst its Albanian population is crowded into the old town slums.

The Belgrade Peace Wall separates an ethnically divided Belgrade in 2058. West Belgrade's Serbs occupy the newer parts of the city, whilst its Albanian population is crowded into the old town slums.

“Its 2058. Kosovo is Serbia. This is the divided city of Beograd/Belgrad (in Albanian). In the 50 years since the failed attempt by Kosovo Albanians to seceded from Serbia, the country’s Albanian population has swelled by over a million and the Serbian population has shrunk by a similar amount. Ongoing sectarian violence between Albanians and Serbs has left Serbia a destitute war zone, with an uneasy peace enforced by UN peacekeepers….”

Actually this is a replica of the Berlin was has been built in Republic Square in Belgrade. as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Its great installation. But it did get me thinking about divided cities – like Mitrovica and Belfast and Mostar – and how Belgrade may very well have ended up such a city if current demographic trends played out in a unified Serbia.

As much as I decry the bombing of Serbia and the injustice of how Kosovo was stolen, I think it is an undeniably good thing that 1.5 million resentful Kosovo Ethnic Albanians are not forced citizens of an ethnically divided Serbia in which their  numbers are booming whilst Serb numbers are falling, a situation which in time will lead to the dreaded Northern Ireland phenomenon where you have two equally sized antagonistic communities forced to live together.