Photo: Predrag Trokicic
Photo: Predrag Trokicic

If Vucic ever decided to write poetry, it would be something like the verse published by Darija Kisic Tepavcevic on her Instagram profile. This verse is actually a pasquinade on Goran Markovic, written by a politician who is a doctor by profession, but is currently in charge of veteran affairs. These affairs, as the order in Serbia finds it, are the most important field of psychiatry, which was dominated by another doctor who also left his primary profession for politics, but continued to write poetry, for which he received the Risto Ratkovic award in 1993. There is a deep psychiatric connection between the two Doctors D, just like the one between the Ratko Mladic mural and its keepers.

The media lynch of director Goran Markovic, which started after the shameful decision of the Management Board of the Film Center of Serbia to annul the decision of the committee to award funds to Goran Markovic, Zelimir Zilnik and Srdjan Dragojevic, has been ongoing for over a month now. It turned out that the president of the Management Board of the FCS Jelena Trivan was behind this. With this act, she demonstrated how cultural policy guidelines made by the previous government are implemented. These guidelines are based on Jasenovac, the sacrifice of the Serbian people, tribal mentality and absolution of all war criminals and Milosevic’s policy from the 90es. This cultural policy is completely aligned with Aleksandar Vucic’s policies which have ignited new conflicts with all our neighbours and caused the permanent destabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The censorship in Serbia is legitimized by the Ministry of Culture’s legal acts, but the Ministry is only enacting everything that was adopted in the previous decade. The Serbian cultural elite was busy for the past several years, when it should have been opposing such legal acts, so now it finds itself in the same situation as the Serbian energy system after the first snowfall. All blocks for production of cultural values fell out of the system due to the rapid increase in the mud-to-coal ratio. In order for this mixture to become effective, you need to add fuel oil and ignite it. When it comes to culture, this fuel oil is nationalism, which accelerates combustion of solid mud fuel. This is why the culture in Serbia stinks so unbearably, while its committees, boards, forums and agencies, galleries and so-called book fairs resemble a mix of fairground and funereal ceremonies. This is why Goran Vesic is the main representative of culture and literacy in Belgrade, Ana Brnabic of the modern cultural industry, and Aleksandar Vucic, among other things, is the chairman of all film funding committees. 

Goran Markovic applied to the FCS for his future film about Doctor D(abic). It was an initial spark, just like the one fired by activist Aida Corovic when she threw an egg at Ratko Mladic’s mural. The keepers of the mural, who were given a simple task, responded immediately to discredit the director, humiliate and dehumanize him according to the tried and true scenario. Everyone in Vucic’s service, from doctors to soldiers, ministers to MPs, managers to university professors, has to obey the order and join the hunt. The elite here is worse than the mob, wrote Mirko Kovac. Battles with dissidents are brutal and all means are allowed. It’s certain that Markovic will be a target of this until the end of Aleksandar Vucic’s regime and that pasquinades and verses like the one by Darija Kisic Tepavcevic will be the most valued expressions of intellectual thought.

Radovan Karadzic, as an accused war criminal on the run, operated in Serbia uninterrupted for five years under the protection of the state, with an ID bearing the fake name of Dr. Dragan David Dabic, issued in Ruma. He was allowed to do this until the external pressure increased so much that the government was forced to arrest him and explain to the public how a war criminal, who held the highest rank during the war in Bosnia, was able to travel around Serbia, visiting libraries and cultural centers, “curing and preaching” under a secret identity. Doctor D was and still is the most valued cultural fact, which was confirmed by the decision of the FCS Management Board. Such decisions are usually followed by media campaigns designed to degrade individuals like Goran Markovic and turn him into the main obstacle for cultural progress amidst Serbia’s golden age. The pasquinade by Dr. Slobodan Antonic confirmed this for the umpteenth time, by presenting Markovic’s work as a part of cultural racism from the “second” Serbia. Dr. Kisic even managed to diagnose this “patient” in three bullet points: “Frustrated and arrogant. Artistically impotent. Lacking national identity”.

Aleksandar Vucic’s regime is not even trying to hide that its national and cultural identity is the one based on crimes and genocide. As evidenced by the mural and the FCS, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, although sentenced to life in prison for genocide, crimes against humanity, and violation of laws and customs of war, are the foundation of these values. So we shouldn’t be surprised when the ministers and prime minister target the individuals who dare oppose this cultural policy. A movie or TV show on these topics, in order to be allowed to exist, would have to be a lot like the TV show Family which was tasked with the historic mission of revising the role of the Milosevic-Markovic couple in the years of unfolding and demise of Yugoslavia. Based on the reputation of Goran Markovic, we could assume that his movie about Doctor D would be something completely different. The grant committee itself said something similar when it reviewed his grant application. However, the quality and experience of this extraordinary director weren’t enough. In Serbia, art is valued only in relation to the degree of agreement with the regime’s propaganda, whether it be Jasenovac, Srebrenica, or some of the people who contributed to the truth about the “Serbian world”. And Doctor D, as evidenced by the poetry of the other Doctor D, is only allowed to be covered in this key. For now.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 03.01.2022.

The following two tabs change content below.
Saša Ilić, rođen 1972. u Jagodini, diplomirao na Filološkom fakultetu u Beogradu. Objavio 3 knjige priča: Predosećanje građanskog rata (2000), Dušanovac. Pošta (2015), Lov na ježeve (2015) i 3 romana: Berlinsko okno (2005), Pad Kolumbije (2010) i Pas i kontrabas (2019) za koji je dobio NIN-ovu nagradu. Jedan je od pokretača i urednik književnog podlistka Beton u dnevnom listu Danas od osnivanja 2006. do oktobra 2013. U decembru iste godine osnovao je sa Alidom Bremer list Beton International, koji periodično izlazi na nemačkom jeziku kao podlistak Tageszeitunga i Frankfurtera Rundschaua. Jedan je od urednika Međunarodnog književnog festivala POLIP u Prištini. Njegova proza dostupna je u prevodu na albanski, francuski, makedonski i nemački jezik.

Latest posts by Saša Ilić (see all)