Yesterday, the new President of Serbia, accompanied by his wife, children and grandchildren, triumphantly entered the building at Andricev venac. The Nikolic family still cannot believe their fate, especially the grandfather and the grandson, while the wife, a doctor, is already thinking of ways to improve the health system. The son, who ran for mayor in his home city of Kragujevac, is considering the possibility of inheriting his father in the Serbian Oval Office. Why not? Veroljub Stevanovic, mayor of Kragujevac, cannot remain in power for ever, and many friendly states similar to our own already introduced hereditary democracies – Azerbaijan, for example. But we don’t have to go as far as Baku or, alternatively, Tasmajdan park, to realize what this means; Boris Tadic has introduced a new type of hereditary democracy in Serbia – succeeding oneself, or, where I stopped, I shall continue. Even the mythical bird Phoenix needs at least 500 years to rise from its own ashes – renewed and ready for a new life circle; for Boris Tadic, 48 hours was enough to resurrect after the defeat on the presidential elections, ready to “assume responsibility” as Prime Minister. In doing so, he once again humiliated citizens, who, several days before, clearly told him that he can leave with his courtiers and sit down for a cappuccino in a Dorcol café, which with any luck they should have never left.
Boris the First/the Second and his Rasputins understood the elections the same way British understood the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, as a party with fire breathers, horses, actors and singers… where his majesty will renew his vow to his people. Instead of a party, Tadic experienced what can be called “a Ceauşescu moment“. While other protégées of Russia were falling down throughout East Europe, Nicolae Ceauşescu decided to show everyone he was not loved only by his wife, Elena, and the Securitate, but the entire Romanian people, as well. So he ordered a support rally. And then he, too, was betrayed by the people. The unimaginable happened, the masses started to boo him, the cameras turned towards the podium, where the shocked and humiliated leader stood. Several weeks later, he was executed by a firing squad in front of the cameras, his back against some Romanian fence. Luckily, even we have given up putting people against fences, at least temporarily. However, Tadic received a more than clear message that he should be dispatched to the dustbin of history, and not to Nemanjina 11. Having in mind the economic and social catastrophe we are yet to face, he will have many reasons to fear fences each morning he smiles to himself smugly in the mirror, thinking – I did not lose, I won, I became Prime Minister, and, luckily for me, the parliamentary system is still in power in Serbia.
The Prime Minister of Croatia, Zoran Milovanovic, officially announced his country entered a recession, adding that his government will not try to absolve itself claiming that all negative trends were inherited from Jadranka Kosor. Our friends from Croatia roll their eyes when we tell them that we can only dream about such statements in Serbia. When faced with the numbers proving a total economic failure, Tadic will say – I am not guilty, I inherited this from the incompetent Mirko Cvetkovic and his horrid government.
During the electoral campaign, ombudsmen, commissioners, commissions, agencies and chambers were silent, as if all life had stopped. Allegedly, they did not want to interfere with the electoral campaign. I believe that one of such institutions was the Fiscal Council, an independent expert institution formed by the government. As soon as the last piece of scotch tape on the ballot boxes was unpeeled, they started sending us alarming messages that we are nearing a total collapse – public debt has reached 50% of GDP, and if VAT is not increased, it will reach 55% in several months. Even us laymen understand that this means further depreciation of dinar, higher unemployment, decrease of living standard, inflation growth… Ljubomir Madzar takes over, in an apocalyptic tone, to warn us that, if this happens, the state will not be able to service its debt, nor pay the public sector salaries, and Krkobabic and son will not be able to ensure that their voters receive their pensions. This, in turn, means that people will not be able to pay their water and electricity bills, their taxes… and this is called system collapse. Experts from the Fiscal Council propose to the future Prime Minister to increase VAT from 18 to 22% as soon as possible, freeze salaries and pensions in the public sector, not only this year, but the following, as well. Then those who survive can tell the story. We are faced with the threat of the Greek scenario, something many economists already warned us about, including Aleksandar Vlahovic, former minster, now the president of the Alliance of Economists, who just yesterday remembered to propose drastic measures. In the meantime, he took drastic measure to increase his already drastic wealth, which earned him the nickname Aca the Thief amongst certain malicious people. I would not be surprised if people like him become new advisors to Tadic. Maybe the advisors to the new Greek Prime Minister will suggest to him to revert to drachma, while our Prime Minister will be advised to use a creative and only possible solution to measure economic growth or decline not by GDP, as other countries, but by GNH, gross national happiness. This formula was used by the king of Bhutan, who decided to measure the progress of his tiny Himalayan state in such a way.
The media, which received a portion of the 34 million EUR Tadic spend on his campaign, are still paying off a part of that deal, and continue to scare us with how disgusted Brussels is with the victory of Nikolic. However, delivering the message from Brussels yesterday, Deger only talked about the EU concerns and fears regarding our economic collapse.
The international media reported yesterday on the oath ceremony of the new Serbian nationalist President, and everyone heard how he announced at the inauguration that he will protect the territorial integrity of Serbia, Kosovo included. But he took that oath with his hand on the Constitution that he wrote jointly with Tadic. And while both the lesser and greater evil in this duo are refusing to acknowledge the existence of the Kosovo state, thus encouraging people to react to the first alarm siren, as it actually happened this morning, and head for the barricades in Jarinje (which, by definition, means gunfire, wounding, choppers and barbwire), those who really live on the holy land, in the holiest of places, Visoki Decani monastery, understand that the best way to protect their monastery walls and their Orthodox people is to cooperate with the existing authorities. This week, the famous cyber monk, Sava Janjic, Archdeacon of the Visoki Decani monastery, together with several of his fellow monks, visited the mayor of Decani and asked for Kosovo personal IDs.
Yesterday, between 2.000 and 3.000 joyful people followed Tomislav Nikolic to the Parliament, where he took his oath; the leader of the civic Serbia, Cedomir Jovanovic, smiled at them coquettishly and waved. At that same time, 500 meters from the Parliament, a few Women in Black gathered in Trg republike, as a reminder of May 1992, when the Bosnian Serb authorities ordered the non-Serb population in Prijedor by radio to mark their houses with white flags or sheets, and to wear white bandanas around their sleeves when leaving their houses.
What followed were mass executions, concentration camps Omarska, Keraterm and Trnpolje. The final outcome of this episode of rounding up Serbian territories was the elimination of 94% of Bosnian Muslims and Croats from the territory of the Prijedor municipality. And there were more than 50.000 of them. The order to mark non-Serbs and their property in Prijedor was issued by “The Emergency Headquarters of Prijedor Municipality”. The president of the Headquarters Milomir Stakic was tried and convicted before the Hague Tribunal to 40 years in prison for the murder of more than 1500 people, including the murder of around 120 men in the Karaterm concentration camp. Stakic is also responsible for the execution of 200 people in Koricanske stene. Another 27 or 28 of his war comrades from the nineties were tried and convicted in the Hague Tribunal for crimes committed in Prijedor. There is something sick and blasphemous in the fact that the man in power in Prijedor today is a close associate of Dodik. This Marko Pavic banned the commemoration of the White Bandana Day in his city, and everyone obeyed. One man alone, Emir Hodzic, wearing a white bandana, came out and stood on the almost empty square.
And then on top of all comes Sinisa Mihajlovic, Arkan’s friend, and bans Adem Ljajic from the national soccer team because he did not sing the national anthem with his hand on his heart. After him comes Rasim Ljaljic, the favorite Serbian Bosniak, and announces that Adem has made a mistake, but that he loves soccer and Serbia, asking for Adem to be given another chance to redeem himself and play for the “eagles”. They say that yesterday, Tomislav Nikolic, as well as half of the MPs, did not sing the national anthem during the inauguration; does this mean that “God of justice, save the Serbs” is a song only non-Serbs must sing, Bosniaks more than anyone else, in order to prove their loyalty to the state which, if nothing else, sent weapons to Bosnia, weapons that killed their countrymen, followed by excavators and trucks to carry out the so-called sanitation of terrain, that is, to hide their bones?
If the future has its harbingers, and is sending them in the form of Nikolic, Tadic, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Aleksandar Vlahovic, Rasim Ljajic… then we should enjoy every coming sunny day to the fullest.
From the radio show Pescanik
Translated by Bojana Obradovic