Drop Down Menus: The Real Barrier To The Independence of Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro? (Or How Kosovo and Serbia Have More In Common Then You Think)

In its rocky but resolute path towards independence and after, Kosovo has met its share of notable detractors.  Russia.  Serbia.  China.  Cyprus.  But, truth be told, the positions of these countries were never really in doubt.  There was no surprise in anyone’s mind that Russia or Serbia would not now, and probably not ever, recognize Kosovo’s independence. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://interactionculture.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/countrydropdown.jpg&imgrefurl=http://interactionculture.wordpress.com/2007/11/02/balancing-values-usability/&h=390&w=419&sz=46&hl=en&start=18&um=1&tbnid=OH5sgxCRrsnrpM:&tbnh=116&tbnw=125&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddrop%2Bdown%2Bmenu%2Bcountry%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff The same probably goes for China (i.e., the People’s Republic of China as opposed to the Republic of China) as well as for Cyprus (but not the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus).

So what now?  Does Kosovo and the international community try to spend its limited resources on changing the minds of countries that will unlikely change their mind?  Shouldn’t hard earned money and time be spent on things that really can make a difference?  Well, like what?

For starters, how about drop down menus.  That’s right, the real barrier to worldwide recognition of Kosovo’s independence are not countries or cults of personality, but the silent killer: drop down menus.  To date, I have not been able to locate any drop down menus where you could select “Kosovo” as a country.  In fact, I have only been able to find one drop down menu that lists “Serbia” and “Montenegro” as separate countries.  Most drop down menus either list “Yugoslavia” or “Serbia & Montenegro” or both as countries.  Of course, as I’m sure everyone in the matrix knows, neither “Yugoslavia” nor “Serbia & Montenegro” exist.  But in the real world of drop down menus, they do.

Don’t think for one second that these drop down menus are mistakes or oversights.  After all, I have to date not found a drop down menu that lists the U.S.S.R as a country.  The super-majority of drop down menus list Taiwan as a country, Kazakhstan, and of course Macedonia (although some report it as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

So what gives?  Who or what is behind these drop down menus?  Perhaps if the international community spends time discovering the mastermind behind the drop down menus, then maybe there would be less tension in the Balkans. 

A large part of me, though, feels that the majority of the programmers who are making these drop down menus are Americans.  As most know, Americans are horrible at geography, even when it comes to their own geography.  I think this is the result of believing you are the center of the world, so why feel any need to know where anything else is.  I think if you say “Yugoslavia” to most Americans, you’ll likely get this response, “Oh, that’s the country that makes those crappy cars, right?”

Jeez.  To all those programmers out there, you may have different stands on whether Kosovo should be independent or not.  But at least change what isn’t at issue:  YUGOSLAVIA NO LONGER EXISTS nor does SERBIA & MONTENEGRO.     



6 thoughts on “Drop Down Menus: The Real Barrier To The Independence of Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro? (Or How Kosovo and Serbia Have More In Common Then You Think)

  1. lololol

    Drop down menus are getting better for me (a Bosnian) but I’m still having problems explaining my fair freckled complexion, blonde hair and green eyes. No – I’m not middle eastern and those were not old images of the holocaust that were being displayed day in and day out in the 90’s 🙂

  2. Do you think if they put Bapetikosweti or even Bophuthatswana on the menus, that would help them to exist? Come back Hong Kong, all is forgiven!

  3. I confess, I’m an American programmer, who right now is developing a web application that will include a grossly inaccurate list of countries in a drop-down menu. All I can say in my defense is that it’s not entirely my fault. I was given some bureaucratic government list of countries to use that is itself out of date, and there it is. You think we programmers just type in whatever countries we can remember off the top of our heads? You know the lists would be a lot shorter then. 😉

    The other problem with country names is places like the Republic of China, which the People’s Republic of China insists is just one of its provinces, or Macedonia, which really is a province of Greece in addition to being a nearby country. Even if a list is current, it’s difficult to come up with a neutral list.

  4. Dear sockmonk,

    Are you talking about Macedonia (the one in Greece) or the Republic of Macedonia (a/k/a FYROM)? Either way, these drop down menus are themselves a political statement. Rebel somehow!

    Mr. Cheeseburger 9000

  5. Dear Samaha,

    I understand your pain! I have a similar issue when it comes to describing my “race.” It usually falls under “other.” At some point, “other” will become a race in and of itself.

    Thanks for visiting, Samaha.

    Mr. Cheeseburger 9000

  6. Funny thing that middle eastern and bosnian fall under the same race as caucasian – so i’m actually having to explain my history and how it is that bosnians got to be muslims as the misconception is that we recently immigrated to the area or are left over turks from the ottoman empire. what makes it even more complicated is that there are something like seven different versions of that story (although none of them include immigrating from the middle east or being left over turks).

    “At some point, “other” will become a race in and of itself.”

    Race should have one category – “human”.

    ~off to find aliens to accomplish that goal~ 😉

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