Photo: Predrag Trokicić
Photo: Predrag Trokicić

I have never before heard a president of a country, even Serbia, in the middle of a five-hour speech on Kosovo in the Serbian parliament in which he repeatedly swears that he will never recognize Kosovo because he can’t comprehend any compromise solution – calling, at the top of his voice and from the bottom of his heart, on the people of our country to make children to fill our empty factories. I am not trying to underestimate factory work and people who work under very difficult conditions. Yesterday, Pescanik published an article about the conditions of workers in a car factory in Kragujevac owned by Fiat Chrysler and the state of Serbia. The situation is no better in other factories, because working conditions are often bad and the state does not react to mass violations of labor laws. Striking is practically banned by investors, although that right exists by law. If you decide to go on strike, you can say goodbye to your job. The state openly supports maintaining this untenable position for workers, while giving out gifts to the investors who are obviously more important to it. In return, some investors are allowing the leader’s party comrades to benefit from their businesses through corruption.

Such a system is no longer a novelty, it is basically the trend everywhere, but it looks much worse in poor countries than in developed ones. Since it is better to be an investor than a worker, and since the president wants to motivate people to have more children, it is strange that he did not express his concern for the birth rate in Serbia by calling on the people to have children who would grow up to be investors. That would be much better motivation. No one wants their children to become factory workers, but the invitation to become an investor is much more appealing. Perhaps potential parents would immediately start producing future investors, so that their children would belong to the richest social stratum. It’s a much harder job for the president to motivate them to have children because of the empty factory halls they need to fill. Let’s not even discuss the concept of having children to become this or that by profession. The joke being shared on Twitter reads: “- Congratulations, you are a father. – What did I get? – A cable winder.” That is why it is not even worth attacking the president, who unexpectedly and totally stupidly connected the choice to have children with the professions they may choose when they grow up. And he promised the people in advance that these children would fill the empty factory halls. I guess explaining the emptiness of this statement is pointless – with so many different occupations available, he thinks that Serbian parents need to have children who will work in factories.

This poses additional questions. If Vucic’s fear of empty factories should motivate people to have children, let’s ask the almighty president why his children, Danilo and Milica, aren’t already happily employed in some factory. Does he hope that at least little Vukan will manage that, since his older brother and sister have failed? He brags about being the best student at Law school, even though he never practiced law. Maybe he should instead brag about being the best worker of Simpo furniture factory.

Vucic’s comedy about the Kosovo negotiations held at the Assembly was already nicely described by Vladimir Gligorov, so I will end my analysis of the president’s solution for the birth rate problem by quoting a tweet posted by Bojan Pajtic. When he heard that Vucic has called upon the people to have children who will become factory workers, he suggested that the president should have promised that the state will invest in diapers, because people will “use them for a very long time. Both when they are babies and when they start working at a factory.”

This joke is quite sad, because it is actually not a joke at all.

Translated by Marijana Simic

Pešč, 05.07.2021.

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Vesna Pešić, političarka, borkinja za ljudska prava i antiratna aktivistkinja, sociološkinja. Diplomirala na Filozofskom fakultetu u Beogradu, doktorirala na Pravnom, radila u Institutu za društvene nauke i Institutu za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju, bila profesorka sociologije. Od 70-ih pripada peticionaškom pokretu, 1982. bila zatvarana sa grupom disidenata. 1985. osnivačica Jugoslovenskog helsinškog komiteta. 1989. članica Udruženja za jugoslovensku demokratsku inicijativu. 1991. članica Evropskog pokreta u Jugoslaviji. 1991. osniva Centar za antiratnu akciju, prvu mirovnu organizaciju u Srbiji. 1992-1999. osnivačica i predsednica Građanskog saveza Srbije (GSS), nastalog ujedinjenjem Republikanskog kluba i Reformske stranke, sukcesora Saveza reformskih snaga Jugoslavije Ante Markovića. 1993-1997. jedna od vođa Koalicije Zajedno (sa Zoranom Đinđićem i Vukom Draškovićem). 2001-2005. ambasadorka SR Jugoslavije, pa SCG u Meksiku. Posle gašenja GSS 2007, njegovim prelaskom u Liberalno-demokratsku partiju (LDP), do 2011. predsednica Političkog saveta LDP-a, kada napušta ovu partiju. Narodna poslanica (1993-1997, 2007-2012).

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