And, just like that, Serbia is once again unique. It has not only one, but two anti-fascism movements, and who knows, it might get a few more in the future. And all that is merely a proof of the vast conceptual richness, diversity, fairness and democracy of our nation’s elite. Thanks to this elite, Serbs should be given an award for the most post-modern nation, the one which confirms the high level of achieved pluralism of thought by rehabilitating the General.
How did we achieve this diversity? Simply, by accepting what might be called a consensual history based on political agreements and not on historical facts, and on the idea of the episcopal policy of reconciliation and the nationalist paradigm of harmonious community.
Because the main trick of Chetnik revisionism is no longer the Chetniks’ (or any other) anti-communist hatred of the partisan movement. Moreover, the Chetniks now admit that the Partisans were also anti-fascists, that they, just like them, the Chetniks, fought the Nazi and fascist occupiers. There is no more antagonism, we should accept the warm hand of reconciliation. Even Koca Popovic got his street in Belgrade – isn’t that a magnificent gesture toward those who only observed Chetnik antifascism down the barrel of a rifle?
But that warm hand of reconciliation is a soft, drooping and sweaty hand that someone just shoves into yours, surprising you with its touch, and you are expected to answer with the same drooping civil gesture.
So, the rehabilitation of the General doesn’t mean that the politics of the Chetniks’ nationalistic and fascistic hatred have won. No! Reconciliation, understanding and overall love have won!
And who in their right mind would oppose this peaceful offer? Only some “troublemakers” and “party breakers”, the ones who just want to spread hatred towards representatives of their own people (this is now called “auto-chauvinism”), i.e. the ones who want new divisions and slaughter and maliciously refuse to accept the punted hand. So, basically, a madman who wants to harm his nation and evoke new divisions within it.
In an essay from the late nineties, Boris Buden twisted the humanist fetish of reconciliation into the thesis that it is too late for love after the war. Because, today, after the wars of the nineties, “we have much more reason to hate than to love.” Buden says: “If we look soberly behind us, onto that pile of corpses and ruins, it would sooner make us grind our teeth in rage than gush into tears of sorrow and grief”. It is less socially acceptable today to hate and to be angry at those who use revisionism to hide the Chetniks’ and Ustashas’ crimes – which began with the end of so-called “communist totalitarianism” – than it is to lie about history.
And this is all for the sake of pluralism and respect for differences. It is magnificently paired with European trends of relativization of historical facts and social models, equalization of fascism and communism, and, primarily, post-modern “policies of the multitude” according to which every group has the “right” to their truth. This type of hazardous theoretical idiocy, which was created at serious university institutions starting from the eighties, has caused the current sad state of historical science in Serbia. It was not merely the individual bribery of local “social scientists” and their petty interests. Dubravka Stojanovic and other historians and activists who have been trying to draw attention to the danger of historical revisionism and relativism for years, have wasted their breath talking about the piles of evidence according to which the Ravna Gora movement can’t be treated as anti-fascist, but as collaborationist. However, for many of their fellow historians, they will continue to represent only one of the possible ways and opinions, a “clan” based on interests, so to speak, which don’t strive for reconciliation between the Serbs and the Serbs. Instead of just accepting the fact that there are other truths, not just one – even the revisionists have accepted the “partisan” truth as one of the possible truths.
And, thus, revisionism is in the service of tolerance, and insistence on historical facts and the hypothesis that the truth is definable and that everything is not relative, is merely a hypothesis in service of new divisions, conflicts and hatred. And really, why would anyone be on the side of hatred rather than on the side of reconciliation, or why would someone be on the side of a single policy instead of a multitude of policies that can survive equally in an ideal post-political coexistence?
There is that old saying “if you can’t beat them, join them”. So now the Chetniks have joined the anti-fascists, all in the name of social tolerance and a gesture of our “European future”. And so, in a twist, the fascist collaborators have turned into antifascists reaching out to all other antifascists. And why stop there? Nedic’s collaboration may also have been only a postmodern tactic, merely a mask covering a sincere anti-fascist concern for his people, while only those antisocial elements who did not accept the great love of the occupational Prime Minister for the Serbian people ended up in the Banjica concentration camp. An attribute of relativism and tolerance for the many truths is that it cannot be stopped once it’s been put into circulation as the main social idea, as was done here by sweaty Serbian civil humanities. So, we shouldn’t be surprised that social sciences, and the very idea of universities, are dying, because if a university is reduced to just practical technical sciences, it does not deserve, as Terry Eagleton said, to be called a university. And academic social sciences and humanities which are in the process of self-abolition by enabling relativism as a principle of our epoch are to blame for this.
That is why the answer to this kind of science may be the title of Zizek’s book: Less love – more hatred!
Translated by Marijana Simic
- The entire anti-communist brain-trust was harnessed to impose the concept of auto-chauvinism as an expression of national self-denial, which is kind of a special characteristic of the Serbs. It was accompanied by the thesis that every political disagreement with the nationalist mainstream means renouncing one’s own origin, something between opportunistic politicking and dangerous psychosis. This concept is also introduced as a fuel for the processes which started in the eighties (with the “Book of Milutin”, which is suggested by Dubravka Stojanovic) and ended with the rehabilitation of the General. Here’s how one of these “moderates” and “objective” historians, who supposedly doesn’t belong to any “clan”, but is allegedly a completely independent historical scientist, characterized this pseudo-scientific and sensationalist term. In the words of Predrag Markovic: “Our auto-chauvinists, that is the people who despise the Serbian identity, are often prisoners of the past. For them there is only Yugoslav identity, while they are actually more hegemonistic than Serbian nationalists. Today’s Yugoslavs, mostly Serbs, want to impose a common identity to Croats, Bosnians and Slovenians, who struggled to distinguish themselves from the common Yugoslav identity. It should be pointed out that the authentic auto-chauvinism didn’t exist before the advent of the Communists. The basic principle of the communist national policy in Yugoslavia was that the biggest nation needs to pamper and make concessions to smaller nations. Except for communists and neo-communists, there are no other auto-chauvinists”. http://www.nspm.rs/kulturna-politika/srpski-autosovinizam-ili-identifikacija-sa-agresorom.html?alphabet=l ↑
- Boris Buden, “Rightful hatred”, Kaptolski kolodvor, Center for modern art, Belgrade, 2001, page 115. ↑
- „If history, philosophy and others disappear from academic life, what they leave behind may be just some kind of facility for technical training or corporate research institute. But it is not a university in the classical sense and it would be so misleading to call it that”. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/dec/17/death-universities-malaise-tuition-fees ↑