“Yes, but he is a Chetnik”

“Yes, but he is a Chetnik”

In the Bosnian film “The perfect circle” by Ademir Kenovic, of which the shooting began a few months after the end of the war, and which records faithfully the situation in the besieged Sarajevo, there is a scene recording the prejudices born during the war and nowadays have become consciousness for the people of former Yugoslavia. Little Adis asks Hamza, in whose house he found shelter with his deaf brother after the murder of their parents by the Serbs:

–    “What is your best friend’s name who was leaving in your house?;”

–           “Are you asking me about Mark;”

–           “Mark? But, this is a Serbian name, is he a Chetnik?”

–           “You don’t become a Chetnik only by the name”

–           “But how you become a Chetnik ?”

–           “Perhaps by killing!”

Last Friday, three young Croats attacked with steel bars, in the city of Split, the Red Star water polo players from Serbia once they sat in a seaside café. One of the players, in order to escape the lynching, jumped to the sea, where he remained until the police appeared. Some of the people who were walking on the beach rushed to help him get out of the sea. Most of them, however, watched and recorded with their mobiles, the desperate attempt of the terrified player, to climb the jetty.

In a video recorded by a cell phone that was posted on the internet, a lady or a miss was talking with another lady and she was saying, “Yes, but he is a Chetnik.” This phrase, which in fact justifies the beating because he is a Serb, sounds even more terrifying than the act of beating.

In the consciousness of a large portion of people of the former Yugoslavia, national identity is synonymous with the most despicable and vile elements produced in the history of a nation. The Serb is Chetnik, the Croatian is Ustasi, the Bosnian Muslim is Balija. This is the case from World War II until today, as if nothing changed. The minorities and the social scums of the nations, who drowned in blood every human value and principle, during the Nazi and fascist occupation, are now oppressing the majority of the people, who are usually silent.

The majority, out of the hundreds of citizens, found in Split’s Riva Square, are surely not welcoming the beating of Serbian players, but they did not react. The memory of the recent wars of the 1990s during the past century is still fresh, as well as the knowledge that a person is easily stigmatized as a traitor of the nation, a villain and becomes a target for the extremists.

Srdjan Aleksic, the young Serbian, who lost his life in Trebbinie in January 1993, defending a Muslim fellow citizen who was being beaten by some soldiers in the center of the city, was a traitor or, at best, “a fool who got involved unnecessarily and finally died”.

Years have passed until his act was fully recognized by all Serbian societies without exception, as a normal act of humanity. Although there are still many who haven’t decided yet what really was the young Aleksic. Hate is maintained and reproduced systematically by nationalists, clerics, pseudo-historian journalists and, of course, politicians.

For today’s young people of twenty-five years old, like those who attacked the water polo players in Split, their idols are not Nikola Tesla, Ivo Andric (Nobel Prize winner), Mesha Selimovic (Bosnian writer), Miroslav Krleza (Croatian writer), Aleksa Shantic (Serbian poet)…

For them, the following people are of higher value such as Draza Mihailovic (World War II Chetnik leader), Ante Pavelic (leader of the Croatian Nazi state – NDH) and Osman Kulenovic (Deputy Prime Minister of the NDH), as well as their contemporary nationalist criminals of the recent wars, such as Zeljko Raznjatovic – Arkan, Ante Gotovina and Naser Oric.

What happened in Split could possibly happen in Belgrade or Sarajevo because the cleansing of consciences has never happened in the area of former Yugoslavia./IBNA