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When a sadist says that someone is abusing others and at the same time morally condemns that person for it, it is, to say the least, bizarre. Yes, I mean Vucic and his condemnation of the doctors, now over 2,000 of them, who are supposedly abusing the members of the Crisis committee by demanding that they, the members, withdraw. It is not just doctors who sit on the Crisis committee, let us remind ourselves, but also politicians from the ranks of the current government. It is interesting that these politicians were left out in Vucic’s hypocritical statement. Vucic knows that any “abuse” of him and other leaders of the state, including the political wing of the Crisis committee, would be seen as a well-deserved punishment, and no one with a normally developed sense of right and wrong would be outraged by it: few would even think of calling it abuse. But a different question altogether is – why would the request for accountability be perceived as abuse? In Vucic’s perverted ethical optics, a matter of mere common sense is turned into abuse, while abuse becomes… actually, how does Vucic perceive his abuse of the citizens of Serbia?

For example, from his specific moral perspective, how does Vucic see his own deliberations with himself on forming a new government? As readers are already informed: the elections in Croatia were held after the elections in Serbia, and yesterday that country got a new government. While this neighboring country is electing the government, Vucic is meeting with Vucic so that the two of them can consider the possible candidates for the Serbian government. It should be noted that Croatia is forming a government as a matter of urgency, although the president of that country and its new / old prime minister openly hate each other. What is the relationship between Vucic and Vucic, then, if Serbia under Vucic needs a couple of months to elect a government? Croatia hastened to form a government because of the crisis and the need to respond to it in an institutionally appropriate way. Among other things, to immediately raise the capacities for the distribution of 22 billion euros in aid received from the European Union. True, there are no billions of euros to hasten the forming of Vucic’s government. Serbia, Vucic claims, does not need help, and if it did receive any, it would have to wait for the government to be formed to use it.

When you refuse obviously needed aid and deliberately do not raise the capacity to use any aid in the institutionally appropriate, and therefore only acceptable manner, in a situation where most people in Serbia fear the consequences of the crisis in the near future, not weeks or months, but in the coming days – what is it called? Abuse, perhaps. When, despite the official document and the formal statement of the hospital that a patient has died due to a lack of respirators, you claim that no one, absolutely no one in Serbia has died due to a lack of respirators – what is it called? Abuse, perhaps. When you answer the remark that the Crisis committee has presented false information to the public and the request to verify it with the question: who and when has changed the linoleum in the elevators – what is it called? Abuse, perhaps. When you send dogs, horses, and tear gas into the streets for no good reason and then arrest everyone – what is it called? Abuse, perhaps. And when you address a simple and utterly common-sense question – why on earth are you doing this – by calling it abuse: what does that make you? A sadist, perhaps.

Over 2,000 doctors did not sign the demand for the withdrawal of the Crisis committee just because of the concern for our physical health. This demand primarily protects our mental health – our faith in our own ability to think and conclude rationally. And to rely on our own experience, which differs so drastically from the image imposed on us by the current regime as the only true one. Perhaps that is why there are more psychiatrists among the signatories of the petition United against Covid than other kinds of doctors. Two thousand doctors, who stood up in defense of mental and physical health, among thirty thousand colleagues – that makes more than five percent. As the number of signatures grows, so does the pressure of the regime against them. For now, this pressure mainly consists of disqualifications and insults. Let’s call it the “linoleum” policy of the current regime led by Vucic. There is no doubt that the regime will resort to other measures, if not immediately, then soon. In order to be clear about the doctors’ impact on the regime, let’s say that 2,000 out of 30,000 doctors are equal to 300,000 residents of Serbia taking to the streets. Now imagine 300,000 protesters against the sadistic regime.

Now that we’ve imagined it, let’s try to do it. Yes, that’s exactly what the doctors did. Demonstrating such courage, determination and great numbers (yes, yes, numbers), they exposed themselves to counterattack from a regime that has repeatedly proven itself to be vindictive. We could leave them in the lurch, after they have restored our self-esteem for a moment, or we could expand the front against the regime in order to evenly distribute and mitigate its blow. Since Vucic has refused help from the outside, we can only help each other. So, let’s help the doctors, as they help us.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Peščanik.net, 30.07.2020.

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Dejan Ilić (1965, Zemun), urednik izdavačke kuće FABRIKA KNJIGA i časopisa REČ. Diplomirao je na Filološkom fakultetu u Beogradu, magistrirao na Programu za studije roda i kulture na Centralnoevropskom univerzitetu u Budimpešti i doktorirao na istom univerzitetu na Odseku za rodne studije. Objavio je zbirke eseja „Osam i po ogleda iz razumevanja“ (2008), „Tranziciona pravda i tumačenje književnosti: srpski primer“ (2011), „Škola za 'petparačke' priče: predlozi za drugačiji kurikulum“ (2016), „Dva lica patriotizma“ (2016), „Fantastična škola“ (2020) i „Srbija u kontinuitetu“ (2020).

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