Serbia: Good morning, Fascist Serbia!

Women in Black
These elections, the most important since the toppling of Milosevic seven years ago, have proved that time can stand still. One third of the population still votes for the fascist Radical Party, whose leader Seselj is in jail in The Hague.
Between dramatic hunger strikes, Seselj raves politically against the vast conspiracies of "the West." I know a translator who was forced to translate those speeches of his; driven mad, he resigned.
Here in Belgrade, half an hour after the official results were confirmed, my gay friend and a Woman in Black activist were attacked and beaten in the streets by joyful skinheads.

Yesterday, young voters in their early twenties were crying in front of the school where they were supposed to vote. I interviewed them. They told me they were desperate because they cannot vote for what they want in their lives, but only against what they fear. Their youthful aspirations are overwhelmed by fascists, radicals, wars, global isolation... They have had enough of that treatment in their young lives, for practically all their days. "Never make decisions out of fear," I told them boldly. I wonder how they voted. The gypsy party was first time in history on the electoral list. But death threats, and graffiti "Go Back to India" immediately appeared in their neighbourhoods.

A small and promising new party (LDP) passed the electoral threshold to enter Parliament. The leader of this party, a younger man who personally arrested Milosevic seven years ago, had a tough election campaign. In the last day before the vote, somebody planted a device under his car, apparently a bomb. The police blocked the streets for several panicky hours, then denied that anything had happened. I myself was a couple of blocks away, I saw the incident take place, but denial is a big art in Serbia. Who are you going to believe: the official version, or your lying eyes?

A couple of us electoral losers spent the evening waiting for new Serbia to arise. On blog B92, we chatted with our virtual friends from all over the world, many of whom who left Serbia in order to survive. As the new day was dawning, our hopes were fading. Those who left Serbia have no reason to return. If we ourselves leave, then we forfeit the country to the raucous, violent minority who just won the most votes, but can't take power. They want us to leave. Then they'd make life here impossible even for themselves.

I wonder: if every last Serbian left Serbia as a hopeless, dysfunctional mess, would "Serbia" still exist? Would the last Serbs to leave the country turn out the lights? Maybe the last pair standing would become cannibals, in our ultimate political solution: kill and eat.

Jasmina Tesanovic
22 January 2007

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