Let’s just list all of it.
Two weeks ago, the police beat up the prime minister’s brother.
A week ago, it was discovered – by a polygraph, of course – that the warehouse worker, alone, without anyone’s help, stole two boxes, each containing ten automatic handguns from the warehouse in the duty free zone of Belgrade airport. He smuggled them out in black garbage bags, for no reason at all – as he said.
Yesterday, the rehearsal of the military parade scheduled for October 16th was held. The official story is that that parade is meant to commemorate a hundred years since one war began and seventy years since another ended, although that date has nothing to do with either of those events. What is especially idiotic is the fact that we are celebrating a beginning of a war.
Unofficially, we all know that on October 16th Serbia, for no apparent reason, will symbolically line up before the president of a foreign country. At the time of the wars whose beginning and end the parade is supposed to commemorate, it would be a clear gesture of capitulation.
Yesterday, because of a rag flying above the stadium, hanging from a children’s toy, a football match between the representations of Serbia and Albania was interrupted. In a foreboding tone, reporters of the public broadcasting service spoke about it as a major incident.
In the middle of a live coverage from the stadium, a father of a ten-year-old boy, whom he brought with him to the match, jumped out in front of the camera and yelled like crazy against the prime minister. All reporters from the public broadcasting service spent the rest of the evening apologizing for this incident and explaining that there was no way of preventing it.
The brother of the Albanian prime minister was arrested for playing with and directing the toy which dragged the contentious rag across the stadium from the VIP box. Will the brother also confess on the polygraph or are there different rules for foreign citizens, is still to be seen.
How could we make a meaningful story out of all these facts? What do they tell us about the nature of the current Serbian regime? Let’s forget about the floods, media, doctorates, laws, judiciary system, notaries, lawyers, students, austerity measures, and try to, at least, understand what happened yesterday.
Let’s say: although the entire armed forces, including the fighter jets that flew over the city the entire day, were engaged, the Serbian government didn’t manage to prevent a toy aircraft from entering the air space above the stadium where the match between Serbia and Albania was taking place. By carrying the rag into the airspace, that aircraft caused a serious incident and severely insulted the Serbian people. As we would expect, none other than the Albanian prime minister’s brother was responsible for this. European football association will seriously consider this issue and its decisions are expected to hurt both Serbia and Albania.
Let’s remember another match, from 1999, which our national team played against the national team of Croatia on a nearby, slightly bigger stadium. The electricity went off in the middle of that match, the lights went out, the stadium went dark and the fans started to sing what turned out to be a farewell song to then ruler of Serbia. To say that history here, like everywhere else, repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce, would be a cheap way out of this article. Because this article doesn’t really have a point. In order to make a point, you need at least some meaning. And these events are simply meaningless. So, the best thing to do would be to end this decades-long show and finally turn on the light.
Translated by Marijana Simic
Dejan Ilić (1965, Zemun), urednik izdavačke kuće FABRIKA KNJIGA i časopisa REČ. Diplomirao je na Filološkom fakultetu u Beogradu, magistrirao na Programu za studije roda i kulture na Centralnoevropskom univerzitetu u Budimpešti i doktorirao na istom univerzitetu na Odseku za rodne studije. Objavio je zbirke eseja „Osam i po ogleda iz razumevanja“ (2008), „Tranziciona pravda i tumačenje književnosti: srpski primer“ (2011), „Škola za 'petparačke' priče: predlozi za drugačiji kurikulum“ (2016) i „Dva lica patriotizma“ (2016).