Aleksandar Gubas on 9 Nov 99 09:21:50 MET

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Syndicate: the Serbian myth of young, beautiful and smar


All the thoughts and ideas on the reforming the Serbian society and
overthrowing Milosevic's regime take one basic assumption: the alternative is
recognized in the Serbian youth and students.

This is to be doubted. I'll tell you the three randomly taken examples before
I explain why.

1. In 1992 there was the large student protest against Milosevic. After the
beginning of the war in Bosnia and putting UN sanctions on Yugoslavia,
students occupied some University buildings, holding them for several weeks
and demanding Milosevic's resignation and early elections. They were
supported, among the others, by the Association of Yugoslav Pilots, who
offered a plane for students' needs. Students from the Protest's propaganda
department were delighted and started to make silly plans about dropping
leaflets from the sky to the Serbian peasants, in order to explain them the
sense of the protest. No one from the student propaganda department was
thinking about the possible effects of bombing Serb peasants by leaflets - no
one among the 'young, beautiful and smart' students (note: working in
propaganda service!) had any knowledge on their own people's mass psychology.
(Fortunately, the idea was never realized.)

2. In April 1999, during the NATO air campaign in Serbia, Serbian authorities
have taken over Radio B92. Later, the B92 crew has launched the new programme,
completely unwisely named - guess how? B2-92!!! No one among the 'young,
beautiful and smart' members of the crew seems to worry about the B2
associations in air raided Serbia. (But why should they worry at all? After
all, it's not the radio for the average Serb audience.)

3. A few deys ago, the student organization Otpor (The Resistance) held rally
in Belgrade. Previously they had junk-mailed thousands of e-mail account
owners by the .html invitations to that rally. No one among 'young, beautiful
and smart' Otpor activists was thinking about the psychology of an average
e-mail reader. Even I, who took part in all the Belgrade demonstrations since
1991 to 1999, was irritated by such mailbombing.

All these examples tell about the horrifying lack of style, and lack of
consciousness about the country one lives in, even lack of the basic
common-sense psychology knowledge. You can't have the ambitions to change the
system and overthrow the regime when you have no style and no knowledge and
skills neccesary to do it.

The myth of 'young, beautiful and smart' preassumes that the youth is by
definition capable of changes, resistent to prejudices and stupidities and
full of vision. It's not true; the examples clearly tell so. Besides, the same
myth tells the young generation differs greatly from the older ones. So many
times I was disappointed witnessing the contrary.

The truth IS that, in general, young people have more brains and are more
flexible, creative and skillful. And it's amazing how they miss to use these
advantages, repeating the same mistakes as their (grand)parents.

One should learn from the regime - people working in Milosevic's ruling
structures know very well how to communicate to the Serbs. 'Young, beautiful
and smart' should learn that lesson. Until then, they'll eat shit, drop
leaflets from the planes, junk-mail others and call themselves like NATO
bombers. And wonder why nothing in Serbia changes!

I need to give a more detailed comment on the students' junk-mail case. I do
support that student rally, and if I was in Belgrade (which unfortunately I am
not at this moment), I would surely join. But I can't advocate the students
who break some basic netiquette rules, as well as the items of the contract
with their provider. That's why I fully approve their provider's decision,
even if such decision was primarily politicaly motivated - if I was the
provider, I would also cancel the accounts of the people who repeatedly
junk-mail others from my server, no matter what's the content of those

And it's very strange how here mentioned B2 radio informed about that case. In
their news in English they told:

'Internet provider Sezampro has cancelled accounts held by activists and
members of the student resistance organisation Otpor. In a statement today
Otpor said that the organisation's three business accounts had been cancelled
this week, and that Sezampro had then blocked the accounts of 26 of its

A Sezampro representative a short time ago said that the accounts had been
cancelled after several warnings to Otpor about mailbombing other
account-holders' email accounts. The spokesman said that after complaints from
other Sezampro clients and the warnings, the organisation's business accounts
had been cancelled, followed by the disconnection of personal accounts after
the mail-bombing failed to stop. He added that the company was tolerant of any
kind of political activity but had a responsibility to protect the interests
of its other clients.'

It sounds pretty OK in English. But in their news in Serbian, B2 told only the
first passage of quoted above - not a single word about the provider's
explanation! Really funny. Another proof to me that this radio is more West-
than Serbia-oriented, not paying much attention from the untouchable B2
heights to the domestic audience.

Some 'young, beautiful and smart' Serbs seem to worry more about how to get
money from abroad, for the stories about defending democracy and blah blah,
than about the true benefit of Serbia. The foreign investors lighten their own
conscience by giving money for the empty stories, and until this mutual game
is so successful, there's no hope for any changes in Serbia.

The changes may come only when someone asks the true questions. Let's face the
truth and see what's the TRUE reason why all the attempts to change things in
Serbia have failed. It's easiest to say simply: "Milosevic is too strong."
Maybe his young and beautiful alternative is not as smart as it should be? Or
it doesn't want to be smart at all (it's sooo bothering to think deeply, and
sooo comfortable to repeat the cliche)?

Aleksandar Gubas

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