The media public in Serbia functions in line with programs of current regimes. When Milosevic ordered that the official attitude of the society towards political reality during the nineties was to be that “Serbia is not at war”, the media consistently obeyed the command. When Kostunica harnessed the system to defend Kosovo, it did just that. When Tadic ordered that the program to follow was “both Kosovo and EU”, it was done. When Vucic says that the past should be discussed in the Hague and that “we” should focus on “the future”, that program is carried out unconditionally. However, there has to be some outlet for those who reside in the public sphere, take pictures, write and speak the way the government requires, but don’t believe it themselves. They definitely know that there has always been a tacit social consensus about the past, it is only a question of which mask it will wear in the public. Facebook profiles today work as social outlets of suppressed aggression where “public workers” can relax and speak their minds during their night life. This is especially true for those people who were important actors of the tabooed war past: SSP, SRP, but also SPP, which has since filled up with the mass that migrated from DP, where it previously arrived from the common reservoirs of the nineties. So, they have been known to put the picture of the rifle that killed prime minister Djindjic on their profiles on March the 12th or to simply invoke the execution of peace activists. The case of Radomir Pocuca, TV Pink’s former anchorman and current PR of the Counter terrorist unit of the Serbian Police, who was a guest on the TV reality show “The Farm 5” last fall, may be the most apparent manifestation of this mechanism.

The magazine “Gloria”, like the TV show “Balkanskom ulicom”, is an ideal training ground for normalization of the image of society. They provide an opportunity for “significant personas of the past and spirit of Belgrade and the Balkans” to present themselves to the public as peaceful neighbors who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Veselin Sljivancanin speaks of his days as a librarian in the Hague, while Radomir Pocuca presents himself as a part of Serbian jet-set with European manners, who helps his wife in the kitchen, loves to put on an apron, who is tolerant and spends more time cleaning and cooking than watching TV. He speaks of women with respect. He stresses that in that relationship you need to have “positive spirit, sense of humor to spice things up and sometimes some silly unpredictability”. That is, basically, an image of this Pink’s “imposing anchorman” who became “famous” by reading the news. On the other hand, his Facebook profile tells us that he is an “arms aficionado and adrenalin junkie”. When he started to work for the Unit (apparently a legitimate derivative of the Unit – Red Berets), he told us that he has finally “returned home”. He boasts at his profile that he has “returned from the front as a counter-terrorist” and that he later “went to Vucitrn to become a policeman” (one of six Yugoslavian centers for police training). This policeman from Vucitrn, who was employed by the outgoing prime minister and minister Ivica Dacic, the hated enemy of terrorism, called upon the “gentlemen hooligans” two days ago to execute Women in Black, who announced the marking of fifteen years since the crime of Serbian army and police against Albanian civilians in Kosovo. The call for lynch itself is interesting as a type of discourse which is often used in public and represents a mixture of civility and fascism. The Unit’s PR addresses the hooligans and football fans as “gentlemen” (Legija, Saric and other murderers and criminals are also gentlemen) and requires them to make peace, i.e. not to fight among themselves anymore, but to turn their combat abilities against a legitimate enemy of the state – the Women in Black. In Pocuca’s appeal gentlemen hooligans act as a legitimate part of Serbian security structures, which has participated in state actions so many times, since the days of Arkan and Legija. Gentlemen hooligans have dealt with those who were marked as anti-state elements for the simple reason that, during the nineties, identity of the state was equalized with hooliganism and aggression, so it was logical that its representatives should defend it. There were many cases when representatives of hooligans were activated after the wars and the crimes as officials of the state security or the police. The Unit has, unfortunately, never been dismantled. The human resources have only been dispersed and continued to act as malignant cells within social structures, media and military formations.

When he encountered criticism after his appeal for execution, Pocuca didn’t waver, but continued his Facebook activities. Referring to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, he explained his activity as his right to “freedom of speech”. His boss Ivica Dacic didn’t react to any of this. Dacic’s boss – Vucic didn’t say anything either. Sasa Jankovic, the Ombudsman, reacted, while the state secretary of the Ministry of police said that the case will be investigated and that Pocuca’s contract will, most likely, not be extended. It goes without saying that the six-month contract won’t be cancelled now, but sometime in the future when it “expires” and when everything is forgotten. Is the Unit’s PR supposed to lose his salary when he barely even began working. After all, besides sexist and fascist remarks on his Facebook profile, he has expressed his deep loyalty to this department: “Just to show the clamorer who hunts for anti-European statuses, I am a person who WORKS as ATU’s PR and I am entitled to personal opinion when I’m off work and only when I express an opinion representing the Unit – you can eat my dust”. Politika made an effort to explain to the public that Pocuca is not actually the Unit’s PR nor does he have any “police authorizations”. As Politika reports, Pocuca was actually in charge of the game room in the Police, i.e. to traditionally cut the cake on Slava day, organize the Unit’s birthday and entertain students of Criminal and police academy during their visits. That is, of course, an official position of the state regarding Pocuca case, just like they will present the Nazi organization Nasi, which added 30 more names to Pocuca’s list, as a mixed choir that performs on state holidays.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 01.04.2014.

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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.

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