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The Oldest Blogger in the Balkans

In the evening, Radmilo Ristic, a 74-year-old retired high school professor, likes to attend theater plays, gallery openings, literary nights, round-table discussions and other similar events that take place around Kragujevac, the city in Central Serbia. When Ristic comes back home, instead of the traditional paper and pen, his computer awaits him.

“I like to comment on some neglected texts in online editions of Serbian and Croatian papers,” says Ristic, the oldest blogger in the Balkans. “That way I can stimulate others to leave additional comments and point to important issues.”

An affair shaking the domestic community these days is the exams trade that took place at the Law School of Kragujevac University. Police arrested a number of professors who were allegedly involved in selling university diplomas. Ristic says (SRP):

It is interesting how they established that one exam costs 500 euro […]. Did they use some economic principles? There might be one explanation if the creators of this price thought one exam needed two months of studying. They took into account the average monthly salary of 250 euro, and, two months of work for this salary equals two months of studying for the exam. That’s a totally clear economic calculation, the one which wasn’t figured out even by the economics experts from Economics Department which is located just a few meters from the Law School.

He focuses on an article about the state of Serbia's judicial system by showing all the hassle one rape victim had to go trough in order to achieve justice. He states(SRP):

The author of the text asks who is punished more, the sentenced professor or his student victim. It is enough to compare four months of imprisonment and five years of waiting for justice.

Two months have passed since the general election in Serbia. The major political parties haven’t formed the government yet. Ristic responds to an article dealing with the political trade happening these days (SRP):

It is certain that elections threaten the government, but authorities aren’t naive either. They intimidate us by ELECTIONS.

He comments on the statement of Verica Barac, president of the Anti-Corruption Council of Serbia, noting that Serbia is, except for the Vatican, the only country that doesn’t have control of the budget asset spending (SRP):

There are two roads to the state budget. That’s clear to everyone. On the other hand, from the budget to spending there are thousand ways. When comparing it to the Vatican, the difference is, they spend money others made for them, our government spends money of its own people.

He comments on an article about Srebrenica massacre (SRP):

In the despair of tragedy, victims are equal on all sides. The ones who survived are also equal at pain, they feel towards the closest ones. Politicians are the same when labeling different people by saying: ours and enemies. They caused victims on all sides, so they are eligible to count the dead. They simply challenge one another, who has the most victims. Terrifying!

Ristic attempts to prove that people of different nations are generally similar. He writes under the name of Harry Black at Croatian blog portal called Lupiga to prove that nobody can mistake him for a Serb according to his entries. (His friends call him Rile; to his readers at Vecernje Novosti, he is known as Milorad Miloradovic.) He responds to one blogger with an epigram about differences between the peoples of the Balkan peninsula (CRO):

While Serbs are pressured,
Croats are stressed,
while one uses the press, the other uses compress,
both railway train and plane passes them!

[…]

Morons are same, all the time:
They have only one desire:
To be ethnically clean,
Everything else is dim.

[…]

About politicians and their masks (CRO):

Celebration:
Success is celebrated with many nice wishes, masks are making many false friends.

***

Real place
when one makes mask,
He puts it on the face,
but often,
he places it at his butt.

***

Masks and faces

Mask is clenching us,
it offers us safety,
it is loved by everybody,
nobody criticizes it.

Everyone places a mask
on his head
Does he know
To put on the real one?

Here goes the joke
And a small remark:
who knows what the faces are,
And what are our masks!

Harry Black

Some thoughts on writing (CRO):

[…] Thoughts, transfused into words, can be deadly, because the head hurt from thinking, but the head can go away because of spoken words! […] It is true! Oblivion is easily erased by writing!

***

Toshiba posts Ristic’s “The Prayer triptych” and a song titled “My homeland” (SRP) on SerbianCafe.com:

THE PRAYER

We pray, God, for a sunbeam,
let us all work by your leave,
give us in our life to dream
and with You in dreams to live!

In our hearts You are for ever,
in every dream and in each deed,
Your goodness we'll forget never,
You're with us everywhere indeed.

You give us Faith, Love and Hope,
Your grace is so mild and fine,
we all live under Your cope;
give us all peace and sunshine!

If you far-away, somewhere in the world, find the heart which will beat with yours together, let’s hear these verses, because you maybe would write the similar ones.

MY HOMELAND (from the poem having the same name)

You ask me, where my homeland is?
Everywhere in the world, under each star,
Where I am free and not afraid of breeze!
My homeland is, where my friends are!

3 comments

  • Drago mi je kada vidim da je neko u Srbiji, pa jos i u mom rodnom gradu aktivan na internetu.

    Imam vise predloga za vas- napisite nesto o odeljenju bioinzinjeringa-mladim kragujevackim intelektualcima koji Kragujevcu mogu da u ovim teskim danima bar malo operu ukaljani obraz. Pisite o legendarnom muzickom bendu SMAK, predivnom glasu Jelene Tomasevic, Sretenskom ustavu i Kragujevcu kada je bio prestonica, tragajte za Kragujevcanima koji su postigli nesto u inostranstvu, dokazali se na polju nauke, kulture, kragujevackim studentima na stranim univerzitetima, timu americkog fudbala Divljim veprovima, poslasticarnici “Srce” i bilo cemu sto moze Srbiji i mom gradu doneti dobro.

    Prljav ves nase zemlje sakrijte za neka lepsa vremena kad ga pametne zene peru.

    Nadam se da se necete naljutiti zbog ove dobronamerne kritike i da cemo ostati u kontaktu,
    Borka

  • Dear Mrs Tomic,

    there are numerous beautiful stories about city of Kragujevac and Serbia as a whole, that I would like to write about, but I have to reflect words of blogging community. Please feel free to send me some links toward a content published online (blogs, forums, or comments written by “citizen journalists”), which depict some of personalities you mentioned. Thank you in advance!

  • Marko Selakovic

    Dear Mr Bojic,

    Although you most probably know and use Serbian language, I will use English in my response, in order to make it understandable for those members of blog community who are not so proficient in Serbian :-)

    First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to your efforts to introduce opinions of Mr Radmilo Ristic, top intellectual from Kragujevac. It was pleasure for me to have him as professor in Kragujevac Grammar School.

    In addition to this post, herewith I would like to underline this topic as important one, but would also prefer to see positive side of Kragujevac.
    You know (as well as my colleague Mrs Tomic) that Kragujevac is town with bright past and with clear potential at present and future time. I would be very thankful if some of the topics mentioned by Mrs Tomic could be posted in more detalis. If you need any assistance in obtaining additional information or contact, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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