Photo: Pescanik
Photo: Pescanik

One would expect the president of the country, deeply shaken by the wave of murderous violence of children against children and young people against young people, to say something about reconciliation, a time for mourning and revival, or anything remotely human… and Christian. Instead, he immediately called for stiffer sanctions, the death penalty, preempted court decisions, and generally acted like a vigilante from some comic book or video game. One would expect the highest representative of the government to immediately consider the real vectors for spreading violence and the possibilities of conflict, and to humbly invite Albin Kurti to a new meeting to find a permanent peaceful solution, to make absolutely sure the state does not end up supervising the further killing of children. Without cameras, they could cry together, pray, vent their anger and calm the swelling of violence between people who can’t live without each other and who understand each other much better than those trying in vain to reconcile them.

Lowering the age limit for criminal offences is simply insane: it is a measure the worst theocratic societies reach for. The introduction of the death penalty is even crazier: it directly cuts off the path to EU accession. This immediate prediction of punishment shows that the president and the country do not follow the law. The practice is well known, this open recognition of it is only a supplement.

Serbia is caught in a vortex of brutalization, a social phenomenon with two-fold meaning: when it comes to the law and jurisprudence and especially to penology, brutalization refers to a social phenomenon, observed in crime statistics in the USA, that every execution in a region is followed by an increase in the worst violent crimes. Studies conducted in New York State in 1980 and in Oklahoma in 1994 and 1998 confirm this conclusion, while some other studies speak to the contrary. These results are particularly important in debates about the death penalty. However, the term is also used more broadly in criminology studies, referring to an increase in crime due to some kind of collective psychological state, a consequence (and cause) of social changes. The second meaning of the term is different, because it implies not only national, but also international, continental changes in the psychology of the masses and fundamental, global changes of societies. Such a study was carried out by George L. Moss, a researcher of Nazism, who is also considered one of the pioneers of research on LGBT+ groups and cultures1. Moss believes that the shock of mass killings and slaughter in World War I, made possible by the first-time application of new technologies of death, caused consequences that can be traced through World War II and up to the present day. These consequences include, on the one hand, the further industrialization and technologization of war, and on the other, a drastic reduction of humanity, solidarity and care for human beings, with the simultaneous development of the glossary of humanity, increased international efforts regarding human rights, establishment of international institutions and services for protecting human lives. Brutalization is linked to the recent pandemic: statistics have shown that under conditions of restrictions and prohibitions, the number of cases of domestic violence, especially femicide, has increased. In children, a marked increase in psychological disorders, mobility and eating disorders (weight gain and anorexia), depression, paranoia and other disorders was observed. What happened to men is shown indirectly by the already mentioned statistics. They come from Slovenian and Serbian institutions.

In a state exhibiting signs of brutalization, the government would have to act quickly and efficiently, although there are also “bottom-up” procedures, like elections to remedy it. The last thing we need is for the government to seem like it approves the brutalization, because it uses it to survive. Vucic’s performance in this respect is frighteningly convincing. Hundreds of thousands of adults and children in Serbia today are broken, depressed and hopeless, and want only peace and mercy, yet the president is highly unlikely to fall to his knees in tears, to ask for and offer those two simple things: peace and mercy.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 13.05.2023.


  1. Moss, George L., Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars / Fallen soldiers: Reshaping memories about the world wars, Oxford University Press, 1990
The following two tabs change content below.
Svetlana Slapšak, rođena u Beogradu 1948, gde je završila klasičnu gimnaziju i doktorirala na Odeljenju za antičke studije na Filozofskom fakultetu. Pasoš joj je bio oduzet 1968-73, 1975-76. i 1988-89. Zaposlena u Institutu za književnost i umetnost 1972-88. Predsednica Odbora za slobodu izražavanja UKS 1986-89, sastavila i izdala preko 50 peticija, među njima i za oslobađanje Adema Demaćija. Bila članica UJDI-ja. Preselila se u Ljubljanu 1991, gde je redovna profesorka za antropologiju antičkih svetova, studije roda i balkanologiju (2002-14), koordinatorka studijskih programa i dekanka na ISH (2004-14). Glavna urednica časopisa ProFemina od 1994. Umetnička direktorka Srpskog kulturnoga centra Danilo Kiš i direktorka Instituta za balkanske i sredozemne studije i kulturu u Ljubljani. Predložena, u grupi Hiljadu žena za mir, za Nobelovu nagradu za mir 2005. Napisala je i uredila preko 100 knjiga i zbornika, oko 500 studija, preko 3.000 eseja, nekoliko romana, libreto, putopise, drame; prevodi sa grčkog, novogrčkog, latinskog, francuskog, engleskog i slovenačkog. Neke od novijih knjiga: sa Jasenkom Kodrnja, Svenkom Savić, Kultura, žene, drugi (ur, 2011); Franc Kavčič in antika: pogled iz antropologije antičnih svetov (2011); Mikra theatrika (2011); sa Biljanom Kašić i Jelenom Petrović, Feminist critical interventions [thinking heritage, decolonising, crossings] (ur, 2013); Antička miturgija: žene (2013); Zelje in spolnost (2013); Leon i Leonina, roman (e-izdanje, 2014); Leteći pilav (2014); Kuhinja z razgledom (2015); sa Natašom Kandić, ur. Zbornik: Tranziciona pravda i pomirenje u postjugoslovenskim zemljama (2015); Ravnoteža, roman (2016); Preživeti i uživati: iz antropologije hrane. Eseji i recepti (2016); Kupusara. Ogledi iz istorijske antropologije hrane i seksualnosti (2016); Škola za delikatne ljubavnike, roman (2018); Muške ikone antičkog sveta (2018); Libreto za kamernu operu Julka i Janez, Opera SNG Ljubljana, premijerno izvedena 19.1.2017; Antična miturgija (2017); Muške ikone antičkog sveta (2018); sa Marinom Matešić, Rod i Balkan (2018); Mikra theatrika II: antropološki pogled na antično in sodobno gledališče (2018); Volna in telo: študija iz zgodovinske antropologije (2019); Moj mačkoljubivi život (2021); sa Aleksandrom Hemonom, Mladost (2021); Feminističke inscenacije (2021); Osvetnice, roman (2022); Grožnja in strah: razraščanje sovražnega govora kot orodja oblasti v Sloveniji (2022). Romani su objavljeni na slovenačkom i makedonskom. Dobitnica nagrada Miloš Crnjanski za knjigu eseja 1990, American PEN Award 1993, Helsinki Watch Award 2000, Helen Award, Montreal 2001, nagrade Mirko Kovač za knjigu eseja 2015, nagrade Mira ženskog odbora PEN-a Slovenije 2016, Vitalove nagrade Zlatni suncokret 2017.

Latest posts by Svetlana Slapšak (see all)