Photo: Predrag Trokicic
Photo: Predrag Trokicic

So, an armored vehicle is not an armored vehicle but a “two-or-three-ton TAM truck” (Stefanovic). A tank is not a tank but a “model with caterpillar treads” (Stefanovic). That “model” (T55), which was used in Kosovo, but not in Vukovar, is completely “harmless” because (for now) it “does not have explosive devices” and as such is welcome on the plateau in front of the Red Star Stadium (Stefanovic, Vesic, Vl. Djukanovic, Terzic). The logic of this government discourse can also be seen in other, similar term replacements: the Radicals are not Radicals but Progressives; potters and “college graduates” from private colleges that hand out degrees like candy to the highest bidder, are not what they seem – they are esteemed PhD holders; football fans are not just fans but the real elite of this society (Vucic). This is why after the Red Star – Young Boys match, a proper militaristic orgy was organized, which, according to Zvezdan Terzic, the director of Red Star, was not an orgy, but a “Miniature Gazimestan”. Zvezdan Terzic, PhD, who gained this title with his thesis “Leadership influence on transformative changes in sports”, must be very well informed about everything that was happening in front of the stadium and about the “transformative” message which was sent to the public. “A couple of days ago, I was told that we will bring back obligatory military service”, explained the Red Star director and added that “we should all put on helmets, ride around in tanks and transports, so that we are ready”.

Director Terzic was clearly talking about the military training of football fans and players, who drove around in an armored transport after the match, decorated by the jersey of the team’s former captain “Guard Giska”. This jersey was worn by the football player Vujadin Savic, well known for the rehabilitation of his cousin, one of the founders of paramilitary formation “Serbian Guard”, Djordje “Giska” Bozovic. During the exhumation of his remains in the fall of 2017, he was found to be “undecayable”, which was attributed to a “divine miracle” which warrants this former criminal a higher position in the football pantheon. If not in heaven, at least on the team’s military vehicles – which is what ultimately happened, establishing continuity with the team’s military history. MP Vladimir Djukanovic, a big Red Star fan, told this story while defending the lethal machine in front of the stadium and stressed once again that “Red Star fans died for Serbdom more than anyone else”.

Progressives, fascinated by the football fans’ performance, all tried to justify this gesture and remind us of the various military symbols of other European football clubs: CSK from Moscow has a tank in front of their stadium, Arsenal has a cannon on its crest and the fans of Italian Atalanta run over cars with their tank to demonstrate their team’s power. It’s only natural that Red Star should have its own tank, said the progressives, its own military transport, especially since they’re preparing to reinstitute mandatory military service. The National news on Pink TV had a special segment targeting the newspaper Danas, which dared to criticize this. After listing all the military ornaments of the European clubs, Pink’s journalist asked all “the resident worrywarts” whether they are for or against Europe. More precisely are they for the Europe as Vucic, Stefanovic, Vesic and Djukanovic see it, the Europe of tanks and cannons, or for some other Europe, not so close to our hearts, which may (possibly) oppose the militarization of political reality. And besides, UEFA has already said that Red Star’s tank doesn’t bother them, as long as “it doesn’t fire”. And the tank in front of the stadium remains quiet and oblivious to the blood of Albanians on its treads, which trampled over many Kosovo villages in 1999.  Djukanovic would probably add that that fact has only made him like this tank even more, which he already said in response to the public criticism that this tank participated in the “liberation” of Vukovar.

Whether Djukanovic likes it or not, whether Stefanovic calls the tank a model or not, these events show that the Progressive usurpation of Red Star, once again, caused the militarization of the club, its fans, and, indirectly, the reality of football of the past few days, which caused football itself to remain a secondary issue in something much more important – the demonstration of power. Whose? Red Star’s? No. Director Terzic and the managing board which brags about the lucrative sale of its players? Certainly not. Whose, then? Perhaps the planners behind all these actions – the fan leaders? If you followed certain media reports closely, you couldn’t help but be surprised by the enormous technological development of this privileged group. According to Novosti and Informer, using exclusively their own intellectual and economic resources, they managed to build an armored transport resembling the third generation of NATO transporters in performance, engine, and appearance.

It’s quite possible that, since the death of “undecayable” Giska in 1991, Serbian football fans have managed to develop sophisticated technology similar to that used in the American General Dynamics corporation. Maybe they even used super light composite material. This would mean that a true “divine miracle” has happened in the brain of the average football fan, since, out of the entirety of Giska’s legacy, he chose reading and learning, just like Giska did in jail, accumulating the knowledge he needed to form paramilitary units (with the help of Vuk Draskovic).

One thing is certain: besides the technology for building military-grade eight-wheelers, Serbian football fans have also adopted stealth technology, presumably stolen from the F-117 wreck in Budjanovci, which they used to “mask” the one who was actually in the transport with them that night and whose executive power was celebrated. The stealth-president, made of composite material, invisible, but omnipresent, like a poisonous gas which clouded the judgement of everyone involved and instilled them with battle-readiness. And no, they didn’t go back to the nineties – how could they, after all these years of progress and democratization. As the technological avant-garde that they seemingly are, they installed the nineties and “Giska” in front of “Rajko Mitic” Stadium. Just like they had already done in the President’s office, in Parliament, and in rest of the institutions.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 10.09.2019.

Text in German

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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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