Vote for Filip Filipovic, the oldest graffiti in Belgrade (1920)
Vote for Filip Filipovic, the oldest graffiti in Belgrade (1920), photo: Ivana Karic Tutunovic

*an allusion to the January 6 Dictatorship of king Alexander (1929)

The unexpectedly nice weather for this time of year may have brought people out onto the boardwalks and picnic areas, but not to the polling stations. Which only makes sense – after all, voting has long been replaced with pointless circling of numbers.

What do we have to vote on anyway, when it is not our place to choose, only to obey? One electoral list and one leader are enough for us. As one of the MPs from that list said recently, supposedly unaware that he was paraphrasing a Nazi slogan – one nation, one state, one leader. We need nothing more. Especially when it comes to the leader. We have no use for other nations, let alone other political parties. Maybe some very small ones, which are in coalition with the biggest one or, better yet, pretending to be the opposition, can be allowed to exist.

So, given all this, we definitely don’t need a Constitution, nor a referendum for changing it. The government invited us to vote on it, modestly and bashfully, more as a gesture than anything else. Just like when they invited us to get vaccinated.

How can we answer an invitation that all but didn’t happen? The government is already calling our private cellphone numbers (I wonder where they got them?) to check how we’re going to vote in the election two and a half months from. And yet, for the referendum, we didn’t get anything except a few pamphlets in the mail which looked more like ads for a local plumber, and maybe a few ballots tossed on the floor. If we have in mind the efforts the government invests in bringing people to their rallies, so many that they can’t all fit, it turns out that the referendum is less important than a day trip for pensioners. There were no sandwiches, let alone coffee, flour, or cooking oil. Maybe it’s because of inflation, the consumer basket is ever more expensive.

How come the government didn’t care about the will of the people which, according to it, is traditionally expressed at the polls? This is about changing the highest legal act and it turns out that only one quarter of the citizens care. And this in a country where the president refuses to run in presidential elections unless he’s positive that he has 50% of the votes in the bag ahead of time.

We know how hard this government tries when it cares about something, no matter how ridiculous it may be. They’ve done everything they wanted and didn’t do only the things they didn’t want to. They’re tearing down the city, tearing down trees, tearing down indictments people’s reputations. They’re building in the middle of Kalemegdan, and on Pancic’s Peak of the Kopaonik mountain; they’ve even managed to build a personality cult. The only thing they did absolutely nothing about is the referendum. Because they don’t care which constitution they’re violating, the old one or the amended one.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 20.01.2022.

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Nadežda Milenković, kreativna direktorka, školovala se da radi sa delinkventima, a završila kao „samohrana majka srpskog advertajzinga“. Smislila neke od najboljih slogana: „Ili jesi ili nisi“ (Lav pivo) , „Izgleda šašavo, ali mene leđa više ne bole“ (Kosmodisk), „Ako vam je dobro, onda ništa“ (Peščanik)... Radila u reklamnim agencijama: Mark-plan, Sači, Mekken, Komunis. Sve manje radi komercijalne kampanje i okreće se goodvertisingu. Na Fakultetu za medije i komunikacije vodila master kurs: Idejologija. Autorka bestseler knjige „Kako da najlakše upropastite rođeno dete“, dugogodišnje rubrike „Pun kufer marketinga“ u nedeljniku Vreme i kolumne ponedeljkom na portalu Peščanik. Poslednja knjiga: „Ponedeljak može da počne“, 2020.

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