Last night, for the first time after many years, I went to a protest at Nikola Pasic Square against the arrest of Aida Corovic, famous anti-war activist and politician, and Jelena Jacimovic, activist and designer. They were arrested for throwing eggs at the shameful mural of Ratko Mladic, which was painted on one of the buildings in Njegoseva St, in the middle of Belgrade several months ago. Anti-fascism activists planned to paint over the mural on November 9, the International day against fascism and anti-Semitism. As we all know, the police forbid this event, meaning that they prevented the destruction of the mural of Ratko Mladic. As an excuse, they said that they are trying to avoid conflict with “right-wing activists”, which is a pet name for para-police forces created and managed by state leadership. It is clear that the state and its boss are doing their outmost to protect this mural.
Still, two fearless women refused to let November 9th go by without expressing their resistance against war crimes and fascism. So, independently of the grand plan to publicly paint over the shameful mural, which was already forbidden, they settled for simple egg-throwing. They could have gone with tomatoes, but eggs are louder. They went to the nearest store, bought some eggs and threw them one by one against the monstruous face. This was all they could’ve done, knowing that the eggs won’t even damage the hated mural. But this was a gesture to show that they couldn’t just walk down Njegoseva St. yet again and ignore the war criminal and his strict military salute. All by themselves, without knowing what would happen to them, they threw the eggs as a symbolic and meaningful gesture.
But it seems that they didn’t know how bad the situation has become, how far this state has fallen. The mural was guarded round the clock by policemen in civilian clothes. Aida and Jelena were grabbed by two of them, who dragged them to their colleagues in uniforms around the corner, who then transported them to the police station. And they will face misdemeanor charges. But what was their misdemeanor?
Throwing eggs at the shameful mural of Ratko Mladic in the middle of Belgrade, which shames the state which put it there and the citizens who have been walking by with their heads down for months, knowing that he is up there on the wall, greeting them ominously. The man behind the Srebrenica genocide. It took two women, two heroines, to decide that they won’t walk by peacefully, come what may. When they were taken to the police station, a new group of people gathered at the city square facing the National Parliament. Just to add to the symbolism. And we waited for Aida and Jelena to come out so that we could hug and greet them. What they did has become an honorable note in these dishonorable times.
Translated by Marijana Simic
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).