Ne da(vi)mo Beograd protest speech, February 15th, 2017
„If the government keeps lying, it will not cause us to start believing lies, it will cause everyone to stop believing anything. A government that lies keeps piling up the lies and has to rewrite its history over and over again… A nation that doesn’t trust anything and anyone can’t make decisions. That’s how its capacity for action is denied, especially the capacity to think and judge. And with a nation like that, you can do anything you want.”
These words were written by the brave and wise Hannah Arendt. Unfortunately, they can be used to describe our situation here and now perfectly. But, I believe that they won’t be exercised. I believe that we won’t allow ourselves to be a nation the government can do whatever it likes with. Not even when it lies arrogantly and gives violent speeches.
This government considers not only critical thinking, but any thinking, a danger. It’s been a long time since you’ve started gathering here, wondering what happened in this city 10 months ago. It wasn’t only a savage demolition of a city quarter. What gathers us here is a resistance against the force which eliminated the state with a single order, right at the time when that state was called upon to protect its citizens.
Not only is there no verdict on this state crime, there’s not even an indictment. And not only that, their plan is to eliminate the judiciary system entirely.
Aleksandar Vucic, who thinks that he’s the master of everything, and especially of justice, has already passed his verdict unauthorized and at an inappropriate place – on a propaganda TV show. What was Vucic’s verdict? The mayor of Belgrade, Sinisa Mali contentious PhD is going to stay Mayor of Belgrade for an undetermined period. After that he will be held accountable by a partial court of his party and that will be it! And what was his explanation? Vucic „resents“ that the demolition was done at night and not in the middle of the day. That’s the same as if he said: I only blame him for killing somebody at night and not in the middle of the day, in front of everybody! This roguish way of thinking is the essence of the demolition and the silence of the state: everything is fine as long as you’re not caught. And when they were caught, Vucic tried to relativize the entire thing by saying: as long as it’s by day, you’re allowed to demolish illegally.
We get it: the point of these statements is to free Mali from any legal accountability, both criminal and for the damage he caused. And not only Mali. Another contentious doctor had to mix his plagiarizing fingers into the silence and inaction of the police in Savamala on that night.
Our mission now is to not let this pass. We have to convince judiciary institutions that their duty to protect the citizens from the arbitrariness of the government is not merely a lesson from the law textbooks. We’re not only asking for the resignations of the mayor and the minister of police. We are asking for judiciary truth, legal truth, and not political lies. Our demand is neither exaggerated nor illegitimate. On the contrary, it’s perfectly normal.
If public prosecutors, who are political figures and whose terms are limited, are afraid, their deputies and judges have to have courage.
My fellow deputies of the prosecutors and judges, you were elected with an unlimited term. You were sworn to protect the Constitution and the laws from everyone, including the government. It doesn’t take courage to initiate and implement proceedings that are part of your job description. You know better than me what you have to do. No one can tell you what to do, you mustn’t listen to anyone.
Despite everything, the citizens of Belgrade and Serbia will eventually learn the truth about the demolition and the silence of the state, about Savamala and the giant chimera that is the Belgrade Waterfront. Human knowledge is like water – it finds its way. That’s how civilization progressed.
We mustn’t allow them to take away our ability to think and judge. For a Serbia without fear, for a Serbia without lies!
Translated by Marijana Simic