Photo: Predrag Trokicic
Photo: Predrag Trokicic

A recent article by Slavoj Zizek, translated from the Guardian, shows just how much peace can annoy the restless and heroic advocates of the idea that Ukrainians and Russians should keep dying until they prove their hypothesis about the futility of peace. There is really a lot of evidence for this, further efforts to prove it are unnecessary, the only question is which evidence to choose. Peace doesn’t stand a chance, John Lennon was wrong, but Nebojsa Stepanovic, AKA Keba, got it right in his song about a general:

One, two, so command I,
One, two, three, let everyone die!
Four, five, burn the world down –
Five, six, let consciousness die!
Forward to battle,
All in line,
for my medal!

My day starts when I cut yours short,
The sight of intestines makes me want to sing,
While blood spurts from another’s heart…

Perhaps peace really isn’t a sacred subject that mustn’t be deconstructed; maybe nuclear war really is the right solution to both European and global social problems; perhaps its association with the sacred right to armed resistance really makes the idea of peace so odious. But, when it comes to the latter, the lie is so evident that it cannot go unnoticed. During World War II, which strengthened and legitimized armed resistance, all parties constantly negotiated peace in secret, a fact that is deliberately forgotten today. Therefore, peace must not be an open, direct opposition to war, but an insidious, hidden, crafty action against it, breaking all of war’s rules and ethical ultimatums. We know very well from recent experience that pacifism makes sense only until the war starts: once it starts, pacifism becomes part of armed (liberatory) resistance, regardless of location or side in the war.

And that’s why the debate about peace and war is pointless, perfect entertainment for those who don’t risk anything. Attacking the war and helping the liberation movement is not a moral schism or paradox, on the contrary. It is a simple practice that anyone can take on, just as once in Belgrade women occupied the streets in the fight against war. Anyone takes any action they can, and this failure to adhere to the logic of war and complete arbitrariness in choosing methods that cannot be controlled probably annoys all those who take themselves seriously. Recently, for example, two open letters to the new government were published in Slovenia. One was signed by 18 people, among them two former presidents, Kučan and Türk (as well as little old me). The signatories propose, tempered by a clear condemnation of Putin and Russian aggression, initiating the mechanisms that could contribute to the re-establishment of peace. What we have here is the almost forgotten skill of high diplomacy, which is not particularly known and practiced even in the EU. Immediately, a second letter to the government appeared as a response, signed by 55 people, all “heavyweights” of liberal and extreme right-wing affiliation. All of them would take up arms and fight to the last Ukrainian and the penultimate Russian. The signatories of the first letter are portrayed as Putin’s henchmen, at best.

In this matter Zizek behaved as he usually does: a month earlier he represented the party Levica (which defends pacifism and the prominent Slovenian tradition of it), now he is on the other side – or is he, really? Back in 1983, Srdja Popovic, after several unsuccessful attempts to start a society for debating the death penalty (and, ultimately, its abolition) in Belgrade, had an excellent idea to start a foundation and a petition against the death penalty in Slovenia instead. And he succeeded in this immediately, it happened in our living room in Ljubljana. It was the first public petition in Yugoslavia (it was published in Mladina), signed by over 3,500 people from all over the country, even some politicians and clerics. Immediately after that, Zizek published an article in support of the death penalty. Was it just a desire to oppose? At that point, this benefited the authorities. I guess it’s a skill to find such double solutions. Peace deserves better.

I can understand the effects of hormones and the wheels of resourcefulness that work in many minds today. What I cannot understand is the incredible naivety that drives them. If you are against war, attacking peace should surely be the last thing on your mind. And if you want to contribute to peace and the victory of the attacked and weaker side, you still have to respect the basic rules of guerilla warfare / partisanship and real resistance in a real war: don’t talk too much, don’t reveal, act!

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 13.07.2022.

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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.

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