This is the first Peščanik in 2012 and it was supposed to be completely different from what you will hear today. We wanted, as always, to talk about real world problems and real life, about how the High Judicial Council is carrying out its work illegitimately and illegally – that those who should be the guardians of law and justice act like bandits, about how the latest employment rates dropped by 2.5 per cent and that unemployment in Serbia has taken on frightening proportions, about how, in the recent weeks, political parties literally overnight changed laws by introducing or omitting clauses, so to gain the tools needed to steal even more from their own citizens. They shamefully adopted amendments to the public procurement law and passed an even more disgraceful legislation creating the Bank for Reconstruction and Development, with an operating budget of several hundred million Euros. This will be an inexhaustible source of new systemic corruption that will help them prolong their existence by purchasing votes as well as gaining support of controversial businessman.

And while preparing the legal basis for the last great looting, their spin masters, with the help of their  media are working hard in diverting the attention of the bewildered population which struggles daily in order not to be swallowed by the all-encompassing quicksand. It was not our intention to add more fuel to the fire that was started by the actual owners of the tabloids and the so called serious media about how a Montenegrin journalist, a writer and an adviser to the Chairman of the National Assembly, in a published article called for the murder of the Serbian President, the Patriarch and all the ministers, as well as Emir Kusturica. We did not want to be drawn into that nonsense, but yesterday things went too far. Stupidity and the nerve of the so called Serbian state-building politicians and their analysts and patriotic intellectuals yesterday broke all records. The tone of the call to lynch the signatories (Writer’s Forum) of the controversial statement, which initially demanded the publication of the original text of Andrej Nikolaidis, and to stop demonizing him by turning him into a major threat to the security of the Serbian state – this tone was given by the Minister of the Interior, Ivica Dacic, claiming that one of the signatories of the statement, Sreten Ugricic, director of the National Library should be sent to jail because with his signature he supported terrorism. Groundwork for this dangerous claim by the Minister was made by the so-called independent analysts and former diplomats, at first by a certain member of the National Education Council, then a man who would appear and then equally as fast disappear in various intriguing times of the Serbian political history – Bozidar Prelevic, and finally the psychologist Zarko Trebjesanin who reminded us that Sreten Ugricic had already previously expressed similar criminal views…

First of all – the statement signed by the members of the Writers Forum included signatures of Sreten Ugricic and Nenad Prokic, Borka Pavicevic, Filip David, Mirjana Miocinovic, Ivan Colovic, Vladimir Arsenijevic, Laszlo Vegel and others. I do not understand on what grounds the director of the National Library, in Minister’s opinion, should go to jail, and not, for example Borka Pavicevic or Nenad Prokic. Because he is a civil servant? So what? One does not go to jail because of this. For supporting and encouraging terrorism it is irrelevant where one works because it is such a serious criminal offense that not even Nenad Prokic could be protected by his parliamentary immunity. I guess. As much as what Dacic and all the Democratic Party (DP) stuntmen in the form of independent analysts and observers said may sound dumb, it is even more stupid that we are now forced to contemplate over this whole madness. It is terrible that this is systematically creating a dangerous environment, which, judging by this, will gain momentum in the upcoming months. Individuals will be struck as collateral damage because many will not allow the Ministers of Justice or Interior to be replaced, and thereby risk imprisonment or losing millions. When I say that people will be struck, I mean this literally: there will always be someone who will in the public transport, the supermarket, or in the middle of the Terazije square beat to death those who were designated as traitors by a patriotic politician or the media. And an archetype of a traitor both yesterday and today is a writer and the director of the National Library Sreten Ugricic. As it is written today, DP and the Socials Party of Serbia (SPS) demand the head of Sreten Ugricic from the Minister of Culture, Predrag Markovic, who will today deliver his verdict on the case that shook the Serbs on both sides of the Drina. Meanwhile, the spin masters, friends and political advisers of Tadic and Dacic, will continue to agitate us by showing us contents of various blogs, forums and Facebook, in which the masses, as once in the Roman Coliseum, are deciding if the gladiator should or should not survive. Then someone will come up with an idea to seek public opinion of the people who are deeply moved by the fact that the director of the National Library, a person whose salary they are paying, is calling for the death of their president and their patriarch. As many times before, they have provoked a campaign, manipulated public opinion, and will then proceed with the prosecution justifying this by popular will. And the people, including the Serbian people, ask for various things. For example, they asked for all the things that resulted in yesterday’s filling of the Hague Tribunal courtrooms with Minister’s former friends and mentors, once popularly elected, supported and loved: Ratko Mladic, Nikola Sainovic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Sreten Lukic, generals Lazarevic and Ojdanic – in the same day in which he summoned the pack. Yesterday, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, sat the crème de la crème of Serbia – instead of stopping to breathe for just for a moment because of embarrassment, we are creating a hysteria which is attracting  the army of miserable, humiliated, senseless people just waiting for someone, anyone, to be sent to the guillotine. And something about the people and the guillotine… the guillotine was at first very unpopular among the people because death occurred so quickly and the audience could not witness it properly and enjoy. This is why the people organized a protest and demanded that their leaders to go back to the practice of good old gallows. A government statement followed that read: the Revolutionary Government has decided to accept the criticism and introduce a series of changes, raising podiums and displaying decapitated heads so to meet the requests of the people.

Ivica Dacic, finally took off the mask which stood so distorted on his face, while DP released its stuntmen to do the necessary dirty work. After all, it is better to talk about the terrorist associates of Nikolaidis such as Ugricic and other writers, instead of talking about who and why started the story about the attempted assassination of Tadic, and why he wore across his chest a bloody sash while in Banja Luka.

DP, i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sent a Démarche to the Montenegrin state. Good. But why in the Démarche, with the supposedly controversial article they included all the books and articles Andrej Nikolaidis ever wrote, and objected to the Montenegrins (imagine the terror) that their writer called our president a factor of instability in the region and that his writings show that he does not like Serbian policies and thus the Serbian people. So, the Démarche included everything ever written by Andrej Nikolaidis, and did not fail to omit not one irony, sarcasm, successful or failed metaphor expressed by the now famous Montenegrin writer. If we are so subtle and delicate, how could it have happened that the state, personified by DP, has not found it necessary to violently, like a wounded beast, respond to the Russian journalist who, on the Russian state television, declared that it is a very good thing that Zoran Djindjic was assassinated. I do not remember them shrieking then, or neither issuing a Démarche when the Chinese ambassador asked to ban a movie from the Belgrade film festival because it refers to the Tiananmen Square massacre… then the Democrats, embodied in Darjan Mihajlovic, Secretary for Culture, drew their tail between the legs, fleeing the first time someone stronger swung their stick. Not to mention when the Chinese suggested that our representatives do not travel to Stockholm for the Nobel Peace Prize award reception. Again not to mention that, two years ago, the Democrats with their coalition partners forced Branislav Dimitrijevic, then the deputy minister for culture, to resign because he publicly said that the Serbian Orthodox Church needs to be reformed, that Borka Pavicevic is a patriot, and that he has nothing against the new exhibition of the Jasenovac Museum. Similar to today, he was prosecuted by the media and through different forums.

One can only speculate as to what is the cause of things we are currently witnessing, whether they needed it so to conclude the story about the attempted assassination, whether because at the time  greater flexibility on Kosovo needs to be demonstrated, they are displaying commitment to defend national pride by aggravating relations with Montenegro, which has been referred to as a bastion of crime by these same people, or whether because someone is looking to become the administrator of the National Library, now that it has been so beautifully restored by Sreten Ugricic who had invested several years of his life into this project, or is it merely because they could not tolerate his writings and books that challenge the essence of their disgraceful politics…

The way Sreten Ugricic tried to defend himself yesterday was in my opinion deeply flawed. He tried to calm the pack using conciliatory statements and apologies; even though it was not pleasant to watch, it is less significant compared to the way that the pro-European DP, reformed SPS and some intellectuals are reacting to these manifestations of state terror.

Speaking of writers and novels, the first thing that came to mind as I watched this was the novel “El asco” /Disgust/ by Horacio Castellanos Moya: after many years he visits his native El Salvador and writes – this country is beyond time and beyond the world, it existed only while the slaughter lasted, it existed only thanks to the thousands killed; without these criminal abilities this country is unable to exist. And in a taxi that is taking him to the airport, he grasps his Canadian passport, turns the pages to make sure that it’s his, that he is a Canadian citizen, born many years ago in a country which now disgusts him.

Today we may lose a good manager of the National Library, he will be replaced at an emergency government teleconference; if that happens, we will lose much more as will show the months and the years ahead. We will not only lose our jobs, houses under mortgage and leased cars, but we will lose what little democratic institutions we have, the rights and freedoms that we have somehow collected over past 12 years.

Before we hear our guests, a notice: the Pescanik site has been under constant attack for six days by someone who has the knowledge and the time, and who is paid to take down our website. If it happens that, like last time, our website becomes inaccessible for weeks, we will visit your town and hold public discussions and, if necessary, we will meet in people’s homes. Maybe there is so little of us left that we can all fit into one apartment.

From the radio show Pescanik

Pešč, 23.01.2012.