Dejan Ilic has demonstrated, in a substantiated manner, why Vucic’s proposal to establish a collective day of remembrance for all victims of the wars in the former Yugoslavia is both wrong and unacceptable. He bases his arguments on the tried and tested experiences linked to the process of reconciliation, and on the best traditions of transitional justice. There can be neither justice nor reconciliation if responsibility for committed crimes is eliminated by saying: we all have victims and we all have criminals, therefore – we are all guilty and no-one is guilty. Vucic’s proposal, worthy of a shell game cheat, is nothing if not another of his ruses, a provocation for new quarrels and misunderstandings. In order for us not to wizen up, the across-the-fence war has been wrapped in comical exaltation, that of “an offered hand left to dangle in the air”.
Vucic’s proposal has already caused a multitude of critiques, comments and reactions. This comedy has been conceived for those that watch him from Berlin, so that he can present himself to them as the only leader of reconciliation, while all the others are well below him, almost to the point of being moral scum. Thus another excuse to continue fighting with the neighbours has been found, and another gauntlet flung across the fence. Those from the faraway lands of the EU, ostensibly stupid and naive, will not notice that the Serbian prime minister really loves a good fight. If he can no longer engage in armed combat, at least he can enter a hamming joust – and he is very adept at hamming it up.
Crude capers are effortlessly identifiable in the public activities of Vucic’s party bots*. Director of the Serbian Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Djuric, says that Kosovo’s deputy prime minister Hashim Thaçi lacks the moral credibility to comment on prime minister Vucic’s initiative. His message to us is that, due to Vucic’s monumental moral stature, Thaçi should not dare to speak to him, let alone comment on his sublime peacemaking proposals. It seems it has been forgotten that this is the person with whom Vucic signed the Brussels Accord. We already know that Vucic likes nothing better than being a diligent worker and a moral tutor – now we see that he has decided to become a great statesman, too. There is nobody that will be able to hold a candle to him. Marko Djuric says that this “initiative is a statesmanlike act whose goal is to achieve the reconciliation of the peoples of the region with a view to mutual progress, however it is directed to those that have credibility”.
Minister of police Dr. Nebojsa Stefanovis reiterated the same point. Unlike Djuric, he does not mince his words, and says that all those who reject prime minister Vucic’s initiative for the establishment of a collective day of remembrance demonstrate that they do not recognise a great opportunity for reconciliation. He sees the prime minister’s initiative as an honest hand that wishes to establish lasting peace, respect and stability in the region. Only those concerned with their own petty interests cannot accept this extended hand. And so we come to the main message: the apodictic statement that the prime minister’s initiative is “absolutely statesmanlike”. The Doctor regrets that the other statesmen in the region are not on this level, and therefore cannot successfully lead their own countries. Continuing in the same vein, the Doctor comes to a conclusion: in order for someone to lead a serious state, to lead at least our province of Kosovo, one has to demonstrate that one understands the historical moment, and one has to understand that the prime minister’s message is the best message for the building of the future. The Doctor is a peerless toady.
Having buried the neighbours that are not on the level of our prime minister, Stefanovic concludes: because of the prime minister’s peacemaking politics, “people gladly come to our country in ever growing numbers, and the number of investors is growing, too. I am not certain this is happening in countries in which the wish for peace and progress in the region is not recognised”. Well, bully for us with all those investors, and woe to them without. They got what they deserved.
I’ll be brief. Vucic conceived reconciliation as gasoline used to put out fires. Why does he need this, and what purpose does this serve? It serves no purpose, because the Radical Party hooligan cannot live without fights and arson. There is an innovation here, however – Vucic now clothes the radical party hooliganism in the suit of a great statesman and a peacemaker, something that he personally, as well as his servants, are going to sing about. He knows full well that the people mind their own business, and there are more than enough diversionary techniques and slops to go around. It won’t be difficult to find naive people who will mistake the fanning of fires for peacemaking, either.
By some miracle, the good Sveta Basara appeared in the midst of all this. He understood Vucic’s proposal for a collective day of remembrance as a noble and generous gesture. Truth be told, it has one flaw – the hot-headed, illiterate patriots, both domestic and those from the neighbourhood, will never accept such magnanimity, not by a long chalk. What a pity, what a wasted opportunity – think about that.
*Bot is an abbreviation for automated software robots. In Serbia, the term is used metaphorically. Bots are party members who write comments on the internet.
Translated by Milan Jelić
Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).