In Serbia, there is no official commemoration of the anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, which is no surprise: the official position is that there was no genocide in Srebrenica. Judgments of the Hague Tribunal, thousands of pages of testimony, countless pieces of evidence, books, studies, and analyses - they do not bind Serbia to anything. Even the Law on Cooperation with the Hague Tribunal has no force - why should our country respect its own laws if it does not suit our political officials? Especially if we bear in mind that the majority of public opinion is on their side, which is a logical consequence of decades of propaganda.
Media loyal to Aleksandar Vučić use July 11 as an ideal opportunity to deny the genocide once again and to fuel the narrative of self-victimization, for the hundred thousandth time. TV Happy and its editor Milomir Marić are mainly responsible for mocking the victims and playing with their bones. The person in question deals with this shameful work throughout the year, together with a large number of war criminals, their lawyers, and various professors, analysts, writers, directors and other members of the intellectual wing of the joint criminal enterprise. And there are other media addresses for denying responsibility and slandering the thousands of innocent human beings who were placed in mass graves by Serbian forces, above all Željko Mitrović's TV Pink.
The villains do their villainous work
Convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj repeated his old proposal - to declare that the claim that genocide was committed in Srebrenica be a criminal offence. The Chetnik duke of the rusty spoon proposes imprisonment for up to 20 years for anyone who dares to celebrate the notorious fact of the Srebrenica genocide. His proposal was enthusiastically welcomed by the high official of the Serbian Progressive Party, Vladimir Đukanović. This is the one who on July 11 has the custom of congratulating the Serbian people on the "liberation of Srebrenica". The villains are doing their villainous work, although this year they are not so agile in proving that they haven't lost an atom of humanity.
There are no powerful "scientific" texts that prove that the genocide in Srebrenica is a myth or a dogma concocted by world power centres as part of the famous conspiracy against the Serbs. The nationally unconscious intellectuals have failed, I guess they are too busy rejoicing over the destroyed Ukrainian cities and the killed civilians, they have no enthusiasm left for juggling the bones of the victims of Srebrenica. And there is no need, the tireless long-term work of political and intellectual elites has brought the public into a state of denial with elements of glorification of mass murderers. All of Belgrade is covered with murals and graffiti with the face and name of the genocide commander Ratko Mladić, and the icon of this Serbian hero is engrained in the minds and hearts of a huge number of people, who keep it as their most valuable intangible heritage.
Meanwhile, Vučić's on-duty megaphone, which responds to the name Aleksandar Vulin and acts as the Minister of Internal Affairs, persistently repeats that the official Serbian policy has not given up on the unification of all Serbs into one state, even though the struggle for that goal has led to wars, war crimes and genocide. While the progressive cadres call for new rounds of evil and violence, the opposition remains silent, amused by its own misery. July 11 is not an important date for them, they have other things to do. Đilas's Party of Freedom and Justice is measuring how far casinos are from schools, and Jeremic's People's Party is considering what should be done with the Pančevački Most. Not a word about the genocide, I guess they forgot to put it in the reminder, it happens to an opposition politician to forget about such little things as the biggest crimes committed on the soil of Europe after the Second World War. And why would they oppose Vučić's ideological matrix where it is most important, at the very root of evil, when they can nicely deal with communal problems.
An ideal day to celebrate
The few individuals, non-governmental organizations, activists, journalists, intellectuals, artists and citizens preserve the little conscience and shame that has passed in Serbia. They paid tribute to those killed in Srebrenica in the park near the Presidency of Serbia by lighting candles that started at 6:30 p.m. They also requested that July 11 be declared the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica in Serbia, which today seems like an impossible mission. Considering the atmosphere that prevails in our society, it is more likely that Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić will receive red letters in the church calendar or that Šešelj's law will be passed. Or that a national celebration be organized on July 11.
The latter actually happened, no matter how surreal it sounds. While candles were lit for the victims of genocide in front of the Presidency, in the immediate neighbourhood, in front of the Old Palace, fans of white sports gathered to welcome Novak Đoković, in order to celebrate another triumph of our best tennis player at Wimbledon. Music was blaring, there were also live concerts, Đoković was welcomed by the mayor of Friš, Aleksandar Šapić, the tennis player addressed the crowd from the balcony, with frenetic celebration and joy. Well, the need to celebrate sports triumphs is understandable, but has it not occurred to anyone that July 11 is not exactly the most suitable date? Or maybe the city fathers and other deniers of genocide were happy that it was set up so conveniently? Rather, it will be that the second option is closer to the truth. As Ilija Čvorović would say: "The central office can make a mistake once..."
When Serbian sportsmen win, many members of the Serbian nation perceive it as their own triumph, they look forward to the won trophy as if they had personally played the match. Sports medals create a feeling of national unity, people who do not play sports at all participate in the victory in some way, they have the impression that it was achieved on their behalf, and the athlete appears in their imagination as a representative of all Serbs. But when a member of their nation, in their name and with their money, commits a crime or genocide - the expected identification is suddenly absent. Suddenly, it is no longer valid that the criminal is a representative of all Serbs, even though his crime is ethnically motivated. When a sportsman plays and wins for his money - that has something to do with us and causes universal joy, and when a criminal kills in the name of the nation - that has nothing to do with us and no one thinks of feeling shame, embarrassment or, far from it, repentance.
Heavenly People and Mass Graves
Đoković spoke from the balcony about spite as something "that symbolizes the spirit of our heavenly people", the audience enthusiastically greeted the praise of this characteristic national trait. No one was bothered by the mention of the phrase "heavenly people", which was launched precisely within the framework of nationalist and warmongering propaganda at the end of the eighties. The expression itself testifies to the racist character of the ideology that then entered the scene and, armed to the teeth with the weapons of the JNA, soon began to destroy everything in front of it, especially other peoples who are not heavenly.
And all this happens on July 11, the day when the barely found remains of the skeletons of innocent victims are buried, which the virtuous members of the heavenly people scattered in secondary and tertiary mass graves. Almost no one sees anything strange or abnormal in this perverse, obscene celebration that takes place while our neighbours mourn their loved ones. Every year we manage to prove to ourselves and the whole world that there is no moral bottom, that one can always fall deeper and that there is no end to our free fall into the ethical abyss.
Instead of facing our own responsibility for the wars, for the immense evil that we have committed against our neighbours for no reason - we deny the committed crimes and genocide, we relativize, lie, falsify, glorify the murderers and keep alive the ideology that made all these crimes possible. The day when July 11 will be declared the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Srebrenica Genocide in Serbia is far away, the day when the Museum of Victims will be built in Belgrade dedicated to the innocent people of Srebrenica is far away, the day when the truth about the Serbian criminal campaign will enter school textbooks is far away.
As things stand, the Serbian version of that famous German question will read: "What did you do in the war, great-great-grandfather?" And that is an optimistic version of the future. Huge studies have been written about the state of denial, negation, dealing with the past, and transitional justice, there are also explanations of how it is possible for people to deny obvious facts and turn a blind eye to crime. All this has been studied, analyzed, interpreted and explained, and I myself write something about it, but it is still not clear to me how it is possible for the absence of elementary human compassion to be so massive. How is such indifference to human suffering possible, in a country that is responsible for great suffering and unhappiness. It's as if we no longer belong to the same species, as if we've turned into monsters without even noticing it.