ichael . benson on Sun, 3 Oct 1999 18:52:06 +0000

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Syndicate: Re: reactions and consequences

One thing, as far as I can tell,  that nobody has pointed out, either
*in* or *regarding* the whoopla surrounding Mihajlo Acimovic's various
accusations, retractions of accusations, renewed accusations,
apologies, etc. (and probably I missed something in that list
already!), is the portrait painted of Serbian society, and in
particular of the 'opposition', within those posts. If ever there was
a time where 'only unity can save the Serbs', it's now, I would
hazard, and yet those posts are a living, breathing, practically
*radioactive* demonstration of the success of Slobodan Milosevic's
'divide and conquer' strategies. Which, if it wasn't such a palpably
NOT useful emotion, would already seem to be a good cause for despair;
I mean both for those in Serbia demanding major change and those on
the outside hoping for the same thing.

Let's take Acimovic's words not at face value -- I mean, even he has
admitted they can't be taken that way; I guess now everyone's agreed!
-- but as symptoms of a phenomenon. Practically everyone identified in
those posts is in league with this or that form of corruption or
subversion. In this world-view, the many and manifold sources of evil
that have been afflicting Serbia for, oh I don't know how many
centuries, or years in this century, have now taken up positions
within the Belgrade city limits (I mean, they or their well-paid
proxies). It's actually the exact same picture that has been spewed
out of the Milosevic controlled mass-media for years, only now in
'opposition' garb. Opposing the monolithic evil of the Milosevic
regime we have, according to this portrait, a host of corrupted,
not-so-monolithic power-hungry wanna-be-Slobos. Everyone's taking
money and espousing someone else's propaganda; everyone's in someone
else's pocket. It's wall to wall, floor-to-ceiling blackness, with not
a glint of light in sight.

Well, maybe there's actually a lot of truth in that characterization;
clearly the execrable Vuk Draskovic, a.k.a. "the Prince of the
Streets", is just a microcosmic Milosevic, already plugged into the IV
lines of corrupt money and patronage first rigged up by Slobodan (Ok,
yes, arguably Josip Broz before him; that's another argument). And
clearly the TV that he controls, by dismissing the size and scope of
the protests against Milosevic, is playing exactly the same game as TV
Serbia. And when it comes to the games played by Zoran Djindic in the
past, in particular regarding his on-again off-again support of
Karadjic and Mladic during the Bosnia war, they make him a thoroughly
suspect figure. But -- what's really depressing to observe is who is
winning from all these divisions, and how they are produced by the
same poison. This is just to just say out in the open that those
divisions are no accident; they even have an author! Same guy who
wrote most of the Balkan history book for the last decade. What's
really depressing about those divisions is that they could have been
prevented by those in the 'opposition' who had bothered to study even
the most primitive basics of 'divide and conquer' strategies -- not
exactly new political methods, after all. I mean, it's something that
the slogan 'only unity can save the Serbs' is already advocating!

The problem, again, is of course that they have, studied the 
basics I mean, and they've been corrupted by them, and thus the 
not-very-merry-go-round goes around again. Because (to 
take only the most egregious example) micro-Milosevic Draskovic 
thinks that by his strategies he too can learn from the master and
divide and conquer his hated "nominal opposition" enemies. Not
realizing who is pulling his own strings, a.k.a. the master puppeteer
of Dedenje.

So, is there any hope? Only if younger generation people like 
Acimovic, and, unfortunately for him, half the people he can't 
stand and has contempt for, realize that they have to put aside 
all their differences, hard though it might be, all shoulder the same
wheel, and throw the bastards out, and fast. And by bastards here I
mean Milosevic and co AND Draskovic (with Djindzic maybe getting an
ambassadorship somewhere -- in the tried-and-true Soviet-style reward
granted the fundamentally untrustworthy but moderately useful. Pesic I
suppose gets Foreign Minister!). Rather than raving in a deep Belgrade
cynicism over the many and endless corruptions of almost everyone
else, someone -- Mihajlo Acimovic, I nominate you, if only as penance!
(Ok, I realize the ridiculousness of presuming to meddle in the mess)
-- *someone* has to bloody well unify the opposition, rather than
further divide it. That means make a platform, try to build some
trust, use the phone, e-mail, radio etc etc as a tool to *organize*,
not *criticize*, and make some desperately needed changes. I mean, who
was it who observed -- Slavoj Zizek was I guess only the latest --
that the moment of the victory of a political movement is the moment
it fractures into a million pieces? Well, evidently the Serbian
version of that isn't even that efficient, because it fragments long
*before* it wins anything significant. Like all those proto-airplanes
in the late 1800's that never quite made it into the air, no matter
how hard they flapped their disintegrating wings.  

No, new designs are needed, and then flight really is possible. I 
mean, shit, if Soros is handing out badly-needed money to help 
organize and inform the revolt, and if that great questionable 
character would like to see Milosevic's head on a platter -- so what? 
It doesn't do any harm to take the money, if you have the same goal 
I mean, especially since he won't be in a position to direct the 
post-Milosevic era, even if he shares your, and my, satisfaction at 
the man's four square meter cell in the Hague (which I also hope 
would be the result. Along with Karadjic, Mladic, Arkan, etc.). My 
humble suggestion: Mihailo, take your stress pills, remember who the 
real enemy is, and get to work!

Or forget everything I just said. Whatever. Never mind. Just a 
thought. Mumble, mrmmph...


Michael Benson  <michael.benson@pristop.si>
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