The recommendation to grant Serbia candidate status for European Union membership cannot be called a success. Eleven years ago, we believed, with good reason, that at this time we would be full members of the European Union. The recommendation is more like a strong reminder of all our failures so far.
This is why we must not delude ourselves. Simply put, Serbia of today is not an open society. Characteristics of a community obsessed with the magic appeal of historicism and indifferent to the risks of self-destruction and isolation are still prevalent in this country. After a short calm period, emotional social triggers have, once again, come to the fore, together with aggressive repression of differences, theistic interpretation of history, justification of war crimes, strengthening of extreme right-wing organizations, prominent influence of clergy, nationalism and primitive collectivism. At the same time, everything revolves around signs and decorum; be it a competition of ideas, norms and empty declarations, or approval or disapproval of right to use clubs, crosses or cassocks. Pure political symbolism is at work here. Not in the service of representation, but both as the program and as the goal.
Is there any difference between Kostunica’s standpoint that we don’t need the European Union because we have Kosovo, and Tadic advocating for the EU, but not at the cost of recognizing Kosovo? Between – we don’t need it, as we are fulfilled by fiction and – we need it, but not at the price of giving up fiction, there is no fundamental difference. In both cases, illusions govern our political being. Those who govern this state are actors in an imaginary political situation, trying to convince us, if not believe themselves, that we can move from reality into a movie screen, and then come back to real life – just like in Woody Allen’s movie Purple Rose of Cairo.
More or less, all political teams in power since October 5th 2000 until today, are responsible for such a state of affairs. Some because this is what they secretly wanted. Others, however, because they adulated such behavior, assuming it was deeply rooted in the society, instead of confronting it bravely, in the hope of exterminating it. Modern, literate, secular societies, Rorty said, depend on the existence of mentally concrete, optimistic and probable political scenarios, as opposed to scenarios of salvation in the afterlife. The scenarios of our politicians, in addition to being stupidly optimistic, belong to the afterlife.
The state that stirs up, amongst the members of its majority ethno-nation, the fear of survival in another state, and supports their resistance to any kind of domicile legal integration, cannot be a reliable guarantee of the rights of its own minorities. The state that is unable to admit the consequences of deserved political and military defeat, invoking the culture of revenge and manifesting the readiness to plunge into new hopeless adventures. Persistent care for members of its own nation only, raises the imagination to the level of biological feature and sets the groundwork for discrimination.
Because of all this, a citizen of Serbia who is in favor of urgent amendments to the Constitution, recognition of Kosovo, NATO membership, strengthening of Vojvodina autonomy, putting an end to the vassalage towards Russia, and full distancing of the state from the church and its obscure ethical views, who seeks public recognition of the failure of foreign policy, as well as the failure of education, of the judiciary reform, of the fight against corruption, of brining order into the work of secret and public police, a citizen who is against any form of national idealism and interest-based alliances with those who want to restore Milosevic’s policies, against the remnants of the forces which instigated and led wars, and all those who would have fallen victims to lustration – cannot find a relevant political force in Serbia today, with a program and practical activities he or she can rely on.
Being constantly unprepared leads to defeat. Constant defeat one is responsible for can be handled only hand in hand with a sense of injustice. Constant sense of injustice always finds an outside guilty party, and is the source of intolerance, loneliness and rejection of the world. The way we are unprepared is something that is inherited, practiced and bequeathed. It is not only the consequence of neglect. On the contrary, and not very rarely, it signifies the failure to accept being prepared, it is an expression of unreadiness for any kind of changes, for learning how to change, for acquiring the ability for realistic assessments and rational prognosis. It is a method of political determination, denial of the world to come, denial of the order of things.
A little like the mythical hero Ixion, who fathered the Centaurs with a false Hera in a fit or rampant drunkenness. The false Hera was made out of clouds by Zeus, in order to protect the real Hera from Ixion’s sexual attacks.
We don’t need a demiurge. We created a Hera out of clouds on our own. We should also be the ones to disperse the apparitions.
Translated by Bojana Obradovic