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Photo: Predrag Trokicic

Vucic didn’t stand a chance against himself. He was always doomed to lose against the superior opponent. Here’s another way to say this: Vucic didn’t stand a chance with himself. As long as he is the way he is – omnipotent, he will experience nothing but defeat. Together with Serbia.

This is not an absurd, logically impossible statement. This is an easily explainable paradox, which was pointed out by Srdja Popovic two decades ago, in a different setting. Back then he wrote about Slobodan Milosevic, in an essay appropriately titled “Unmotivated evil”.

He borrowed the phrase “unmotivated evil” from Coleridge and connected it with W. H. Auden’s interpretation of Iago from Shakespeare’s “Othelo”. Here’s what Auden said about Iago: “The greatest pleasure of this villain is to cause pain to others and to impose his will by violence”.

Popovic’s point was simple: if we try to analyze Milosevic’s politics from a rational point of view, there is no explanation. However, it we apply the principle of “unmotivated evil”, things start to make sense. “The analysis of this fictional character, written over 50 years ago as a lecture for students of literature, defines Milosevic’s personality, actions, and motives far better than the hundreds of pages written about him by journalists, diplomats, and political analysts”, said Popovic.

As they gain more power, the destructive potential of such people increases. With unlimited power to “impose their will by force” – defeat is inevitable.

I may be wrong, or exaggerating. But, how else can one explain the following words by Vucic: “My policy in relation to Kosovo has been defeated”? Which policy? Vucic: “My policy to save as much as possible in Kosovo has been defeated. The Serbs love to lose everything. They would rather cry over somethings which they’ve left far away, than keep something in their hands”. So, “the crying Serbia” has won over “the winning Serbia” – concludes Vucic. And then he describes the “crying” Serbia in more detail: „Sonja Biserko, Sava Janjic and Rada Trajkovic, and those so-called greatest nationalists“.

Let’s try to analyze this reasonably. Serbia has the parliament and the government. Those two bodies create domestic policy, make and implement decisions. Who has the majority in the parliament to create policy and make decisions? A coalition led by Vucic. Whose is the government which proposes and asks approval for those policies? Vucic’s, of course.

What do Sonja Biserko, Sava Janjic and Rada Trajkovic have to do with the parliament and the government? Nothing, of course. Are they members of the Serbian government? Of course not. So, how could they have defeated the policies supported by the government and the parliament?

Is it possible that Vucic was talking about the public? The argument – although extremely stretched – could have been: through an aggressive media campaign, Sonja Biserko, Sava Janjic, and Rada Trajkovic have managed to convince the citizens of Serbia that Vucic’s policies regarding Kosovo are bad.

But, isn’t it true that all recent elections have shown that Vucic has the absolute trust of the majority of the citizens of Serbia? Vucic keeps convincing us of this on a daily basis, saying that no Sonja Biserko, Sava Janjic, or Rada Trajkovic can threaten him in any election, on any level. Didn’t the recent election in Majdanpek also prove the complete dominance of Vucic’s voters in the Serbian electorate?

To sum up: Vucic dominates the parliament, the government and the electorate in Serbia. And yet, he’s trying to convince us that he’s been defeated by none other than Sonja Biserko, Sava Janjic, and Rada Trajkovic. So, from the rational point of view, this doesn’t make any sense. But let’s try it this way: Vucic’s greatest pleasure is to cause pain to others and impose his will by force.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

To be fair, there is a third, somewhat reasonable explanation. Vucic is trying to blame Sonja Biserko, Sava Janjic, and Rada Trajkovic personally for the defeat of his policies in Kosovo. If he gets away with that, Auden’s understanding of Iago transferred to our situation could be stated this way: the greatest pleasure of the citizens of Serbia is to cause pain to others, and to themselves.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 02.10.2018.

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Dejan Ilić
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).
Dejan Ilić

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