Photo: Predrag Trokicic
Photo: Predrag Trokicic

Should the excavator smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to it the other also. This is not quite what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, but it seems that this is how the police and public prosecutor’s office in Sabac understood it. Because, instead of arresting and questioning the excavator operator who tried to run over the protestors, they arrested the person who refused to be ran over. This is because Serbian police are famous for their love for freedom. And Serbian public prosecutors for their spite. And this is how both of them demonstrate their patriotism. With Kosovo always on their minds, and the hated Turks, too.

But the Kosovo oath is long gone, and it seems that Macva is not quite worthy of a new oath. Although some people seem to be ready to defend it. The state, i.e. Vucic, says that Macva is for sale. He’s already started counting the profits – I’ll make a killing selling Macva, he thinks, just like every time I sell a part of Serbia to the Chinese. I am the greatest patriot and the greatest salesman in Serbia. I will do everything for Kosovo, which we’ve already lost, and nothing to keep other parts of Serbia that we still have. In the end, the whole Serbia will fit in the Belgrade Waterfront, with a magnificent view of the sold territories.

While poisoned cattle and who knows what else floats down the Sava, from Sabac to Belgrade. And that shall be known as Vucic’s apocalypse.

The citizens of Serbia, however, refuse to live this apocalypse. They refuse to watch Serbia being parceled out. In some other, happier and more normal country, this would be considered a sign of patriotism. Alas, in Serbia, it’s considered treason. In some other, happier and more normal country, the police and public prosecutors would be on the side of the patriots. But, in Serbia, they prosecute patriots as if they were traitors. They arrest and investigate people who are trying to protect themselves from being run over. In Serbia, police and public prosecutors protect the great salesman as a patriot. Could it be that they are a part of this great deal to sell our country?

Serbia is not a colony. It wasn’t colonized by Rio Tinto, the Chinese, or the Russians (with their gas). Colonies were always conquered. Foreign imperial troops were there to protect and defend the institutions of colonial exploitation. There are no foreign troops on Serbian territory. Instead, the police and public prosecutors act on their behalf. And Vucic, falsely presenting himself as the president of Serbia, is actually the voluntary colonial governor of Serbia.

In a different country, some other people, no happier, are fighting to make everyone agree that black lives matter. How do we get to the point where all lives are valued equally in Serbia? How can we prosecute excavator operators and policemen who prosecute people who refuse to be run over, when the prosecution thinks that the life of the excavator operator is far more valuable than the lives of those he tried to run over? One hundred dead for one excavator operator, shouts Vucic, and the police and prosecutors echo his words. How much is a life worth in Serbia? And how much is an excavator operator prepared to run people over worth? What’s the position of the police and the prosecution on this? Which laws sanction these values? If there are no such laws, will we see the governor’s servants raising their hands in Parliament in support of some new law guaranteeing immunity for the excavator operator?

The excavator has put an end to life in Serbia. After the governor’s servants have confirmed that the governor may take absolutely anything from anyone in Serbia, if he so wishes, their job still wasn’t finished. To take a man’s property is not enough. The governor must be made master not only of people’s property, but also of their lives. A new law in the near future might sound something like this: if a citizen of Serbia should find themselves in the way of an excavator – belonging to Rio Tinto, China, Russia, doesn’t matter, it always belongs to Vucic in the end – they are obliged to lie down and let the excavator run them over. If they dare to resist in any way, they are to be immediately arrested and kept for questioning for 48 hours.

Honestly, I wonder what the police and the public prosecutor will ask the man from Sabac who refused to be run over. Why didn’t he let the excavator run him over? Why didn’t he just lie underneath it and die? Why did he stand in front of it in the first place? Does he actually care about this country, or at least about Macva if he is merely a local patriot, so much that he not only refused to let the excavator pass, but tried to stop it? Why the hell not, maybe they really will ask him these questions! Because the feeling of caring about your country is so foreign to the police and the public prosecutor that they really need somebody to explain it to them.

This, after all, is why they didn’t arrest the excavator operator. They have nothing to ask him and he has nothing to tell them. Because everything he knows, the police and public prosecutor already know as well. The collaborationist mind of a lackey is the same, always and everywhere. The excavator operator, the police, and the public prosecutor are of one mind and one will – the governor’s.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 06.12.2021.

The following two tabs change content below.
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), „Dva lica patriotizma“ (2016), „Fantastična škola. Novi prilozi za drugačiji kurikulum: SF, horror, fantastika“ (2020) i „Srbija u kontinuitetu“ (2020).

Latest posts by Dejan Ilić (see all)