Mladen Bundalo / April, 2020

Minerals, struck by a lightning bolt in the presence of warm water and early Earth’s atmosphere, form organic compounds which might afterwards turn into self-replicating molecules, setting a life in motion. In return the organic life catalyzes new minerals to rise by altering the chemical composition of environment. Billions of years of the intertwined co-evolution of the geosphere and the biosphere, causes animal and plant life to move or even to migrate in search of certain minerals. As Robert Hazen, a famous mineralogist claims: “Life begets rock, rocks beget life.” Those grains of sand which you watch here passing over the map from West to East, are basically a silica, a quartz mineral, a silicon dioxide. The very same silicon we use to make microchips, those digital brains now waiting for just the right conditions for artificial intelligence to start self-replicating. Silicon is the element of the Anthropocene, but also a witness of its origins and migrations, as a solid rock is a material well preserving of every interaction with humans.

Migrations are indeed a fundamental force of co-evolution, and not some provisional moral phenomena to accept or reject. Hyper-migrations of modern humans inward and outward from the continent of Europe have been happening for at least 45 thousand years, and people of diverse life-styles, technology and beliefs are changing in a culturally diffused and demic model. Controlling or stopping human movement or migrations means holding back an energy flow, which cumulates and tends to overtake the obstacle in a violent resolution. Economic, social, religious or political positions entering into arguments about migrations of modern humans, are all engaged with effects, but none can be used to define a need for migrations, a need to move away from natural catastrophes, diseases, individual danger or social oppression, and to prolong life.

Migrations are not a cause of wars, cultural collapse or misery, the cause is the idea of living from someone else’s work, retaining control over people and resources, and imposing that principle onto others. Hypermigration of the first farmers and herders from Asia Minor to Europe, some 9k years ago, shows no signs of violent contact with European indigenous population of hunter-gatherers in the Balkan region. Archeologist Andrej Starović concluded that the mixing of the populations occurred almost immediately, during the first immigrant generation, which was unique as in the other parts of Europe two such different communities would live next to each other at first. He believes that this melting pot was a keystone of human development in Europe. It nourished the Lepenski Vir culture, which brought the concepts of village, square, family - which then spread over and overwhelmed the continent. Archeologist Marija Gimbutas claims that “Old Europe” which arose on banks of Danube river in the Balkans, was a peaceful, matrifocal society worshiping the cult of Earth – the Great Mother represented with big eyes as a sign of permanent awareness and care for the community. One center of civilization was in Vinča, now an archeological site nearby the city of Belgrade. Archeologist Dragan Janković describes Vinča as an urban settlement with no fortification, featuring permanent, comfortable houses with ground heating, insolated walls and windows. Vinča was the first culture in history of modern humans to set up steady and advanced industrial process of metallurgy, involving copper for example. This Old European community is also attributed with the first proto-writing, advanced design of clothing and pottery, and shows no traces of any weaponry or organized violence, and the most importantly, features no signs of social stratification.

However, migrations can have some devastating effects, if a community in process is built on idea of exceptionalism or living from someone else’s work. Indo-European speaking people from southern ridge of the Pontic-Caspian Steppe broke into the Balkans and made contact with our Old Europe, but this time the contact was of a destructive nature. The invading, horse-riding, sun-worshiping, patriarchal warrior society, equipped with bronze swords and daggers, started skirmishing and raiding resources and endangering local populations, bringing to an end the egalitarian culture and idea of our Old Europe once and for all. The invaders’ bronze weapons and the extra mobility, provided by domesticated horses and loaded wagons, gave them a tremendous advantage over the autochthonous inhabitants of Europe. It allowed them to replace most of the native male lineages, notably of the communities attributed for building megaliths all over the Atlantic coastline. Native female lineages seem to have had a greater chance to survive, although violence and collective trauma on this scale certainly generated a gender gap we might feel until today in Europe. Some of the indigenous communities withdrew back to less accessible regions like the Alps, Sardinia and the West Balkans.

Historically, no other part of Europe was invaded more times by steppe peoples than the Balkans. The first invaders may have come with the westward expansion of the Sredny Stog culture, which led the way to a succession of steppe migrations that lasted for over 2,000 years until the end of the Yamna culture. Then came the Thracians, followed by the Illyrians, and later the Huns and the Alans, then the Avars, the Bulgars, the Serbs, then the Magyars, and later the Mongols, among others. Nevertheless, the vast majority of people in Southeast Europe today are of Slavic origin, together with a significant admixture coming from indigenous Neolithic Europeans, who long ago co-created Old Europe with incoming farmers from Asia Minor.

In spite of its cultural legacy and historical importance, the Balkans today are a very different place, and people of the Balkans are now propagandized as a violent, corrupt, criminal, conservative and aggressive male dominant culture. It is precisely such a region that would host a ghetto of several countries persistently kept outside of European Union, against their will. There is an obvious culturally biased antagonism between this region and the current centers of power on the continent. Slavoj Žižek claims that “the Balkans are the unconscious of Europe” . Rather a vague and confusing memory of prehistoric time with no wars, which must be revised, ridiculed and discredited as irrational.

The ongoing migrations into the continent have accelerated from Africa and Asian last decade. A European elite related that migrants are welcome as the European Union cares for human rights, while the direct benefits for its economic development are not so morally relevant to communicate. The European Union needs to fuel grow economic growth by way of cheap labor, due to an aging population and unsustainable birth rate. Europe is forgetting its consistently reiterated values, and of course, migrants are not welcome anymore. However, this time it is morally relevant to mention economic reasons as insufficient to enter the EU . A financial cartel has sucked-in just enough migrants to maintain its economy, but not enough to significantly destabilize the political status quo, as the political horizon started to encroach from all sides.

Disgraced and displaced, those who still live in the Balkans, should indeed embrace migrants from the Levant and elsewhere once again. Contrary to the majority of states in Western Europe, the nations of the Balkans have no colonial influence on the people of the world, and we can look to each other with clear eyes and no feelings of guilt. It is now a moment in history to welcome migrants willing to blend and become a new melting pot in Europe. A truly egalitarian society with no cult of leader, with landscapes diverse enough to support any style of living, fertile soil and wonderful rivers. However, it is utopian to expect such thing to happen, since numerous forces of separation are manifest in the region and prevent any unifying, bottom-up change taking place. Unless a major reset were to happen, something powerful enough to break down the current global matrix of power and control; something which will make profit-run corporations and military-industrial complexes useless, creating a vacuum for a new idea of society to emerge. A culture not made on psychopathic drives to dominate public discourse, live from someone else’s work, and control every single social process. Instead, a culture empowering awareness and the complexity of uncertainty in nature and life, with eyes wide open to question, research, understand, create, share, and care.

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