The headline “Je suis Charlie” has become an almost planetary slogan of free speech resistance against the evil fundamentalism of all kind. Like many others, numerous journalists and citizens of Serbia have expressed their admiration and empathy with the murdered caricaturists and journalists of Charlie Hebdo.
The importance of the freedom of speech is so great here today, and the freedom itself so small, that the identification of not only caricaturists and journalists, but all of us, with a small group (too small) of the brave people from Charlie Hebdo is understandable – the people who refused to acknowledge the boundaries for satire, exposure to ridicule, making fun of everyone and everything that resembles an uncontrolled fundamental narrow-mindedness, as well as the forces that support it. As a sign of admiration and mourning – the identification with Charlie is sensible and is justified. However, not all of us who emphasize this sign of identification, neither here nor anywhere else, have the right to think of ourselves as equals to the murdered victims of the bloody intolerance of the freedom of speech – the freedom to ridicule, if you will. This is especially true about the local tabloids, because they are under no risks, since they celebrate the local potentates and not expose them to ridicule, or even a mild criticism.
Completely aware of the seediness of the saying: Think globally, act locally, a much better slogan by Dusko Radovic, which expresses the same idea, comes to mind – Before you fix the world, fix the plumbing in your apartment.
And so I wonder: has there ever been or will there ever be a newspaper in Serbia which would disclose on the front page, either in caricature or in words, the fact that an unbalanced autocrat, Aleksandar Vucic, is ruling Serbia? He gave two unbelievably contradictory statements about freedom within twenty-four hours.
He signed a book of condolences at the French Embassy and wrote, among other things: “Je suis Charlie” (http://www.kurir.rs/vesti/politika/upisao-se-u-knjigu-zalosti-i-vucic-napisao-je-suis-charlie-clanak-1654529, 9.1.2015).
“BIRN, those are the people who lied about Air Serbia, who were paid by Mr. Davenport and the EU to speak against the Serbian government. Tell those liars that they have lied again”, Vucic said to the reporters after the meeting of the Board of the Serbian Progressive Party (SPP) in Belgrade (http://www.rtv.rs/sr_lat/politika/vucic-birn-dobio-pare-od-devenporta-i-eu-da-laze_555780.html, 9.1.2015).
He, who considers himself a Charlie, accuses the representatives of the EU, which he supposedly enthusiastically supports, to have paid (has Mr. Davenport himself paid with his own money?) BIRN to attack the government, using the unlimited freedom of thought and speech, which apparently only he is entitled to. As if he doesn’t understand (he understands very well, he just doesn’t care) that the freedom of speech is a freedom of the citizens towards a potent and against him, not the other way around. Still, let us answer this here and now and add more slogans to the headline “I am Charlie”: “I am Curuvija”, “I am BIRN”, “I am Olja”, “I am Corax”, “I am Brankica”…
Furthermore, I wonder whether the fact that a gangster is the head of the police of Serbia – because plagiarism is a crime – will soon be published in Serbia, in image or words. This case was clearly proven – by the media, not by a legal state, since the legal state doesn’t exist here. Whether and when it will be published that the Minister of Justice is an arrogant ignoramus on legal matters, whose long refusal to negotiate and cynical acts of defiance brought Serbian judiciary system to collapse. And so on, in whichever order you prefer.
We don’t have the right to use the honorable epithet “Je suis Charlie” if we continue to be silent or completely relativize the collapse of the very form (the substance is already gone) of the parliamentary democracy in Serbia. He himself keeps attacking it with hysterical screams „You are cowards!“, imagining himself as a leader of a parliamentary phalanx instead of a parliamentary majority, with a heart of, according to his imagination, a serpent instead of a pigeon which shit itself. And it can be seen by a naked eye, you don’t need a microscope or a profound “political analysis”.
Translated by Marijana Simic