St. Vitus Day
in a day? In the US, certain dates have come to mean certain things: July 4 is
about freedom, even if only in theory;
December 7 stands for a surprise attack, despite
evidence to the contrary; and September 11 has become shorthand for terrorism
writ large. The French still faithfully celebrate July 14, the day when the mobs
stormed the Bastille dungeons and by capturing that symbol of royal power began
a century of pan-European upheaval.
wonder, then, that even the Balkans has a few dates to remember. It so happens
today is one of them. A day heavy with meaning for the Serbs, June 28, St. Vitus
Day – Vidovdan – represents triumph, tragedy and treason, all rolled into
times so far has Vidovdan been a fateful day for the Serbs. First in 1389,
when Serb knights faced a Turkish host on the field of Kosovo. At the end of the
day, it was a triumph: the Turkish host retreated, their sultan dead. It was a
tragedy: the Serb army was destroyed, the prince who led it, dead. And it was
betrayal: for many Serbs and fellow Christians fought as Turkish vassals, and
Serb epics tell of treason that hobbled their knights at the decisive moment.
hundred-odd years hence, another Vidovdan changed the fate of Serbs again.
By 1914, Serbia had long won its freedom from the Turks, and in fact had just
liberated Kosovo two years prior. The preceding decade had been one of justice
and prosperity, even under the shadow of the mighty Austrian Empire. Their brethren
who lived within the Empire were not so fortunate, as Austrian oppression grew
worse by the year. Then on Vidovdan 1914, a young revolutionary from Bosnia
assassinated the Austrian heir and changed history – not only that of the Serbs,
but of the world. Within a month of Gavrilo
Princip's act, European empires fell upon each other in an orgy of mass destruction
known then as the Great War, today simply World War One.
its aftermath, Serbia disappeared into a joint state of South Slavs, later known
as Yugoslavia, which lasted for some 70 years in two incarnations. Its creation
was a triumph, for it freed the South Slavs of Imperial tyranny. It was also a
tragedy, since the war left behind death and despair which will haunt the Balkans
for decades. And it was betrayal, as some joined the new state just to stab it
in the back, and others desired it only for the sake of personal power.
the third fateful Vidovdan, Yugoslavia was gone. Serbs were virtually extinct
in what became Croatia; Bosnia found itself occupied by
an Empire. Kosovo was lost again. The Serbs have been blamed for all of it
so often, they themselves became convinced of the charges. The pinnacle of their
self-abasement was to come on this very day last year, when Serbia's new, servile
leaders delivered their chained
predecessor to the Empire for "trial".
this time, there was no triumph. There was only betrayal – of honor, of law, of
justice – and tragedy, as Serbia came full circle back to 1389, and bent the knee
to an outside conqueror. Then, it went down fighting, and the spirit of that fight
endured for centuries, enabling its eventual rebirth. Now, there was nothing noble,
courageous, or even rational. There was simply greed, gutlessness, and groveling.
course, groveling has consequences. Far from becoming a "friend and partner,"
Serbia has become a beast of burden. Its economy,
devastated by the early 1990s trade embargo and pulverized by the 1999 bombing,
is being sold off to foreigners and organized crime syndicates by a greedy, corrupt
regime. That gang of thieves has also stepped up its wholesale plunder of the
entire population. There are no citizens in Serbia any more, only tax slaves.
"blood tax" to the Hague Inquisition is becoming more frequent. Though the people
have become convinced that Milosevic was being railroaded – it wasn't too hard,
given the Hague Inquisition's blatant disregard for justice
or even pretense thereof – live feeds from his "trial" were cut off, and every
effort is made to legitimize the Inquisition.
absurd drive goes to such lengths as to jail
the former director of the Serbian state television, for "failing to protect"
his employees from NATO bombs. The actual murderers, NATO pilots who bombed the
TV station and killed 16 of its employees, do not even enter the picture. As RealityMacedonia
pointed out, those who can't kick the horse will beat the saddle instead. But
do they have to suck up to the horse?
is precisely what happened this past week, as the crumbling Yugoslav Army's top
soldier, Col. Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, was unceremoniously
sacked to make way for entry into
NATO's circle of vassals. Pavkovic commanded the troops that held off both
NATO and KLA attacks on Kosovo during the 1999 war, and as such, the Empire wanted
his head. Desperate for Imperial support, which has gone mostly to his arch-rival
Djindjic, president of the undead Yugoslavia Vojislav
Kostunica chose to offer Pavkovic's head as a token of submission.
wonder that the Empire is not standing by its bargain from
three years ago, when the Yugoslav Army peacefully retreated from Kosovo.
Bargains are kept with partners, not servants. Might asks for no permission, obeys
no contracts. Though Kosovo remains part of Serbia on paper, in the Empire-shaped
reality it is quite the opposite.
three years of NATO/UN/Albanian occupation, Kosovo has become a hellish nightmare
for the remaining Serbs, Turks, Roma, Gorani and all other non-Albanians
except the NATO troops of course. Over a hundred churches have been dynamited,
countless homes burned, hundreds of non-Albanians shot, stabbed, stoned, or abducted
to disappear without a trace. Few, if any, non-Albanian refugees
have been allowed to return. Worse yet, those who remained in their homes despite
the onslaught of murder and arson, are now being forced to submit or flee.
Michael "Caviar" Steiner, is preparing to eliminate the last vestiges of Serb
self-government in Kosovo, and subordinate them all to Albanian authorities. The
makeshift hospital in the northern Mitrovica, where non-Albanians live freely,
has been under siege
for weeks. Serbs who organized to repel Albanian raiders now live in fear of arbitrary
the other hand, it has been a year since three Albanians were arrested for blowing
up a busload of Serbs that was under UN protection. Two were released for "lack
of evidence," and the third "mysteriously escaped"
from the stockade at Camp Bondsteel, the largest US military base in the Balkans.
say that the UN/NATO mission in Kosovo has failed
is the pinnacle of understatement, but also clever sarcasm. Since the failure
doesn't seem to bother either of them, and since their behavior has consistently
indicated a somewhat different agenda, in reality it appears the mission has accomplished
everything it set out to do, and a few things besides.
ancient Slavic tradition Vidovdan was the day of Vid, the god of insight.
The destruction and despair the Empire and its servants have brought about is
plainly visible even on an ordinary day. And yet the people of Serbia – like so
many in the world that face the same predicament – are blind to their problems,
deaf to the call of reason, and deluded into believing salvation will come at
the hands of those who caused the suffering to begin with.
they would only look, they could see – and choose differently – any day now. This
fateful day, is as good as any.
have been, of course, people who have seen clearly. One of them was poet and essayist
Jovan Hristic, who died last week at the age of 69. One of his poems can and should
be a lesson not just to his fellow Serbs, but to all other nations facing the
same choice. It speaks for itself.
tora tha genoume horis barbarous.
Oi anthropoi autoi esan mia kapoia lysis
shall now become of us, without any barbarians?
Those people were a kind of
Constantine Kavafi, Waiting for the Barbarians
last, the heralds come and say: The barbarians are coming!
city prepares to greet them:
Excited youths already chant their names
And rush to worship the new gods.
For did the poets not say they were a solution?
Now they write poems to their glory
Awaiting the day when they will be read
While the impressed barbarians (fully armed)
Applaud, and learn
them by heart.
Already they see their verses in bold letters
entrances to the temples
From which they will banish the feeble gods;
They see libraries full of their books
From which they will banish stories
that no more
have meaning to anyone.
But poets do not know they will be
To be hanged on the town square
Together with the youths who
rushed to open
And let into the city those they have so eagerly
Because barbarians are barbarians
Not a solution.
glasnici su dosli i rekli: Varvari
U gradu se spremaju da ih docekaju:
Odusevljeni mladici vec uzvikuju njihova
I zure da slave nove bogove.
Ne govore li pesnici kako su oni neko resenje?
Sad pisu pesme u njihovu slavu
I cekaju dan kada ce ih glasno citati
Dok zadivljeni varvari (pod oruzjem)
Budu pljeskali, i ucili ih napamet.
Vec vide svoje pesme velikim slovima ispisane
Okacene u proceljima hramova
Oz kojih ce izgnati onemocala bozanstva,
Vide biblioteke prepune svojih knjiga
Iz kojih ce izbaciti price sto vise
nista ne govore.
Ali ne znaju pesnici da ce oni prvi biti
obeseni na gradskom trgu
Zajedno sa mladicima sto su pozurili da otvore
I puste u grad one koje su tako zeljno cekali.
Jer varvari su varvari,
i nisu nikakvo resenje.