I was just in Serbia during their most recent elections, and — well, things in America begin to look pretty sane.

In the northern region of Voivodina, the radical nationalist party got 47% of the vote…but luckily, the turnout was less than 30%, which means they have to vote again. There’s been a recent spate of unrest in the region, where ethnic Hungarians are being hassled because of a suspicion that they are conspiring to steal the area for Hungary. Which, I would think, is about the last thing Hungary would be interested in doing.

The recent murder of a Serb man in a Hungarian-minority village provoked Serbs to paint nationalist symbols on the front doors of all the Hungarian homes. Days later, it was proven that the man had been killed by a friend, also a Serb.

Last week saw the resignation of Serbia’s Education Minister, a particularly peculiar woman who first rescinded the law requiring students to learn 2 foreign languages in school, then outlawed teaching the Darwinian theory of evolution. Certainly people were upset, but then (just before resigning) she baffled the world even more by proposing to forbid computer education…because of the health risk posed by radiation from computer monitors.

In other news, a religious cult has supposedly sent letters to all the schools in the area, claiming that they are going to kidnap a 13-year-old blonde girl to sacrifice to their “god”, with the assistance of various government workers (named), and a mysterious “S.P.” arriving from Budapest. (Since my girlfriend’s initials are SP, and we arrived from Budapest, she found this particularly interesting.) The letters have gotten parents in a fit of hysteria, though to some critics it’s merely a way to get people feeling closer to the Serbian Orthodox Church and nationalism (critics see the Education Minister’s tenure as a similar ploy).

I don’t know. If I was in a cult wanting to sacrifice a little girl, I really doubt I’d send letters announcing my intentions beforehand. Would you?

(Originally posted at the Contemporary Nomad)