Ćosić complains that some Serbs have surrendered before Europe’s satanic charge about ‘the Serb people’s alleged aggressive nationalism’. Those who have surrendered have became blind and ‘mentally deranged’, because they cannot understand that the ‘European commissars’ and ‘experts’ are brainwashing them, destroying their identity, and dictating its historical consciousness, national obligations and social aims to a nation whose culture goes back eight centuries.
Every day I have been dutifully cutting out the instalments of Dobrica Ćosić’s introduction to Nikola Koljević’s diaries [Stvaranje Republike Srpske: dnevnik 1993-1995, Belgrade 2008], which Politika has been publishing in serial form, under the title ‘On the creation of Republika Srpska’. Astonished by what Ćosić can write, I was cutting out the instalments with the intention of studying them; but I soon realised that in order to analyse it was not necessary to collect all the instalments, or indeed to buy the book, since every instalment is just like all the others and one is enough to make a judgement. So that is what I did: I blindly pulled one out from the pile of cuttings, and this is what I found in the instalment chosen at random.
Ćosić’s central position is adoration of the Serb leaders who fought in Bosnia in order to establish a large and united Serb state, thus giving rise to Republika Srpska. These were men ‘drunk on patriotism and freedom’, ready for any sacrifice to create and defend Republika Srpska. These were men ‘of achievement, and dedication to freedom and the survival of the Serb people in Bosnia-Herzegovina’. They did make mistakes, setting themselves too high aims – argues the Father of the Nation – but such mistakes are common in all wars. Ćosić says that it is impermissible to compare the Serb leaders with Alija Izetbegović and Franjo Tuđman, and particularly wrong to compare these latter two with Radovan Karadžić. The comparison is impermissible because they were ‘unequal in their human, moral and spiritual values and aims’.
This is how Dobrica Ćosić describes Radovan himself: ‘He is a strong political personality, with great achievements in the struggle for the Serb people’s human and national rights; he deserves history’s just verdict and the respect of his people – which he enjoyed from the start of his struggle for Republika Srpska – and certainly not humiliation, persecution, arrest and trial in The Hague. He is not a war criminal, but the political leader of the people of Republika Srpska.’
The wretched Dobrica does want to be critical too: it is true that Karadžić is superb in all respects, but even he made certain mistakes. It is not up to contemporaries to judge him, however: that should be left to later generations. He should not be judged, in particular, by those of Radovan Karadžić’s contemporaries who ‘drugged by Hague propaganda and NATO ideology, are slow to realise or do not yet realise that the first Serb state on the other side of the Drina has been created through the efforts of the fighters and commanders of the Army of Republika Srpska, the people and the leaders of the liberation movement of all Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina’.
No court should try these Serb fighters for the freedom and human rights of a nation, argues Ćosić, and goes on to say that ‘it is the Croatian generals and politicians who started a war for a Croatia to the Drina who should be tried’ (he is clearly unaware that some of them are indeed on trial in The Hague), rather than the Serbs who fought only for ‘their freedom’, and ‘only for their national territories’. In addition to Croats, the court – Ćosić suggests – should also try Haris Silajdžić, Ejub Ganić and their brethren, who started a war for an Islamic Bosnia. They should be tried also ‘because they were the first to start the war, killing the retreating soldiers of Tito’s Yugoslavia … and then for killing thousands of Serbs and for many crimes across Bosnia-Herzegovina’.
Ćosić says that he has ‘no space to identify Muslim and Croat criminals’. However, this is not necessary, he goes on, because such books ‘have been written and others are being written’. But he did find the space to mention that in Sarajevo alone ‘seven thousand murdered Serbs have been counted, and it is believed that the number of killed Serbs goes beyond ten thousand’. Here is a direct quotation: ‘There existed under Silajdžić’s direct command, in his capital city of Sarajevo, some 125 concentration camps for Serbs, while on the territory ruled over by Izetbegović and Silajđzić with their generals and religious brethren there were 336 concentration camps for Serbs. I do not add the Croat concentration camps to this number, but there were hundreds of them, equal to the Muslim ones in their brutality.’ Ćosić naturally does not reveal sources for this number of concentration camps, but it is presumably ‘self-explanatory’.
Nothing is said in Ćosić’s introduction, on the other hand, about the three-year-long siege of Sarajevo mounted by Karadžić and the Serb troops on Pale. There is not a word about crimes committed by Serbs, not a single word about concentration camps for Bosniaks, not a single word about Prijedor, not a single word about Srebrenica other than that these are just ‘satanic’ concoctions invented by Serb enemies. Of all the ‘European nations, large or small, the Serb nation has given proportionally the most lives for European freedom and democracy, for which Europe rewarded it by treating it as a sacrificial lamb. This Europe, says Ćosić, has satanically punished the Serbs, thus rewarding them for their struggle for Europe’s own freedom and democracy. Some Serbs have surrendered before Europe’s satanic charge of ‘the Serb people’s alleged aggressive nationalism’, and insistence that ‘it is a nation of war criminals’. Those who surrendered have become blind and ‘mentally deranged’, because they fail to understand that ‘European commissars’ and ‘experts’ are brainwashing them, destroying their identity, and dictating its historical consciousness, national obligations and social aims to a nation with eight hundred years of culture.
I decided to stop with the eight centuries of Serb culture. Those who wish to carry on will be able to read the next instalment on the morrow. It will use the same approach to glorify the Serb people and spit on others, and one will be able to hear for the umpteenth time about the secessionist republics legitimised by Badinter, the Serb national liberation war in Bosnia, the national decline caused by the Ustasha genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian Serbs, and also about the loss of Montenegro ‘which we believed was inhabited mainly by Serbs’. With your regressive national consciousness, the father of the nation tells us, you do not understand that the Serb nation has achieved a fantastic victory by creating ‘Republika Srpska’, the first Serb state on the other side of the Drina, which should become a democratic, legal and civilised state. Its most important creator was Radovan Karadžić. Judging by Ćosić, I have totally surrendered, and have become completely ‘mentally deranged’.
Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).