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Serbia: “The Hidden Fascism”

(Note: The original version of this article was edited, as its tone was deemed to be not in keeping with the standard set by this web site. Please note that the portion of the article in block quotes is a quotation from a blogger who is not a member of the immediate Global Voices community.)

Hermann Hesse once wrote: “To speak is good, to be silent is better!” We Serbs seem to agree. Serbs will talk about world politics, about the relationship between America and Russia, but often prefer to be silent about things that happen in our own backyard.

This week, journalists could not get locals in Batajnica to speak to them about a double murder and suicide that happened in their town. The following is a translation of a reflective post (SRP) by Queeria, a Serbian blogger, commenting on the murder story and how it relates to past tragedies in Serbia on Blog B92 on June 13:

[…]

Yesterday, all Serbian news agencies reported the news of a drug addict who killed two old people with a knife in Batajnica and later killed himself. It is terrible!

Journalists immediately showed up to explore the incident and its background. But none of the neighbors wanted to speak about it.

[…]

Everybody pretended to be innocent, as if nobody had been peeping into the home of the unfortunate family until yesterday.

[…]

My favorite author, a feminist, a lesbian, a mother, [an African-American], [Audrey Lorde], left this invaluable sentence as her will to us: “If you are silent, you will not be yourself.”

But few of us […] believe that by speaking up we can solve anything.

[…]

It all reminded me of the stories of the invisibility of the concentration camps and the population that knew nothing about them.

Several villages were evacuated so that the Nazi could build Auschwitz – but none of the villagers knew anything.

When former prisoners, gays and prostitutes, came to erect a memorial to the victims in Dachau after World War II, representatives of other groups who had been prisoners, too, said: “We don’t know who you are!”

Nobody knew anything about [Srebrenica].

Nobody knew anything about [refrigerator trucks] with dead bodies.

Nobody knew anything about [the six Bosnian Muslims].

Nobody knew anything about the women who were raped during the war.

Nobody knew anything about the violence in the neighborhood.

Nobody knew anything about death threats to lesbians.

Nobody knew that gays had been sexually mistreated every day.

[Ceca Raznatovic] knew nothing about her valuable necklace.

Then it is utterly logical that nobody knew what happened in Batajnica.

From all that's been written I can make three conclusions.

First, the silence about evil always inevitably leads to fascism.

Second, everyone who keeps silent is an accomplice to fascism.

Third, there is too much silence in Serbia.

I am an anti-fascist and I cannot remain silent. To speak up has its price, but that price makes you free.

As Audrey said, to speak up doesn’t give me too much, but it keeps me from being an accomplice.

8 comments

  • Srdja

    1-CLEARLY this is a biased article, only ignorance and misinformation allow for this to be shown.
    2- you dare compare Serbs to Nazis, when it was infact the Serbs who suffered the most, (Besides the Poles and Jews) under Nazism, particularly in Croatia.

  • Marcvs Agrippa

    What a trite article. It’s full of ridiculous claims and unsubstantiated arguments (not to mention pathetic sloganeering). I especially like the “thesis” that “silence about evil leads to fascism.” “Always” and “inevitably,” no less.

    The prevalent delusion among those of the author’s ilk in Serbia is that self-hatred will lead to acceptance; that self-hatred will lead to approval. The more they’re being violated (physically, mentally, intellectually, economically – the list goes on…) the stronger the urge to be loved/accepted/approved of by the abuser. This is the mindset of a masochist.

    What is being missed here is that the opposite is always the end-result. The more you grovel, the more despised you are. Someone ought to send them a memo.

    This article is a textbook case of the so-called Other Serbia’s disease.

  • +/-

    Facism has turned into an all-purpose metaphor to create easy-to-digest bias.

    It’s all most people would understand without actually grapsing anything.

    I propose: study your own language, take a linguistics and rhetoric course and think about ethics when taking a pen into your hand.

    Otherwise, remain silent.
    To put it simply: shut up

  • Sinisa Boljanovic

    Reply to the second comment:

    I think that you’ve turned the thesis inside out. No words about everyday silence, about the silence of breeding frogs. The words are about violence and the silence about it. Several years ago, Serbs were closing their eyes on Milosevic’s regime, on the violence toward the regional countries, and got a terrible war, so many refugees, so many dead and disabled, etc.

    Serbs have to talk about the violence. Serbs should never be silent anymore.

  • Marcvs Agrippa

    You’ve got your history wrong. The Serbs are the only ones who protested, en masse, their government’s policies on more than just a few occasions.

    The first mass demo was held on June 9, 1990. Then came March 9, 1991. Despite the tanks and 10,000s of riot police bent on breaking someone’s bones, the Serbs swarmed the streets and STOOD UP. They SPOKE UP.

    So, don’t talk about “silence” and complicity.

    No such protests had been organized against the Tudjman and Izetbegovich regimes in Croatia and Bosnia, respectively.

    Moving on… Countless demos against Miloshevich across Serbia in the period 1993-1996. I ought to know – I took part in many of them. Or was I hallucinating?

    Then came the largest demonstrations ever witnessed in the Balkans: 3 months of non-stop demos against Miloshevich during the winter of 1996/97. More than 1 million people took part in *every* city in Serbia — even in Miloshevich’s hometown of Pozharevats. I was one of those young folks who had had enough. Need I remind you that the West supported Miloshevich back then? They still needed him for their then-upcoming Kosovo adventure.

    It’s very disingenuous (to put it rather mildly) of you to try to portray the entire Serbian nation as a bunch of complicit fascists and on a foreign website visited by 100,000s of people from across the globe. I take this as a personal insult, and so does my permanently damaged kidney; the souvenir from the 1990s.

    Hopefully, the visitors will see right through this charade of yours. It’s an outright lie, as I’ve just pointed out by providing evidence to the contrary.

    Where is this rabid self-hatred coming from?

  • Is there a Moderator Here!

    This article made by Sinisa Boljanovic which include insults, indecencies, racial and national hate messages and intolerance SHOULD NOT be published by Global Voices.

    We are waiting for someone doing its job and deleting this Hateful aricle.

    Lunov Agency – Beograd

  • Djuro Vorkapic

    This is hate speach, I did not expect this !!!

  • Serb bashing is made all the more disingenuous when some minority Serbs choose to engage in such manner. Note those outside of Serbia who promote them. They’re among the most unfair of observers.

    In 1995, the West trumped up Milosevic as Serbs opposed him.

    Compare Croat opposition to the Tudjman regime. Note the popularity of a recent pro-Ustashe concert in Croatia. Compare Bosnian Muslim opposition to the fundamentalist Izetbegovic. Where’re the Albanians who speak out against the KLA? They either get killed or are threatened with such.

    For a different perspective from the minority Serb bashing Serbs, see Nebojsa Malic at:

    http://www.antiwar.com

    Another source to consider is:

    http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org

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