Members of the Serbian parliament went to cinema, to see Spielberg’s movie Lincoln. Tickets were presented to them by the US ambassador. When the movie ended, he gave each of them a pin with the US and Serbian flag, and coins bearing Lincoln’s image – “as a token of common struggle to make the world a better place”.

The dignity of the Serbian side was saved by the editor of Vreme, Dragoljub Zarkovic, who addressed the guests in the name of the host (it is not clear why him, exactly). The editor of Vreme did not agree with the ambassador’s perception of the historical role of Abraham Lincoln. Ambassador Michael Kirby sees the great US President as a man who fought to ensure the right to life for all people, the right to freedom and the right to seek happiness. Reminding the guests that he is not a nationalist, Zarkovic said that Lincoln’s main struggle was to preserve the unity of the American states: “This is a struggle we lost. Our country has been divided once again – and the Americans took part in it. And Lincoln would have never accepted that – Zarkovic thought pertinent to remind the US ambassador.

Why do I mention this – for no reason, I could have mentioned anything else – and the question would still remain – who cares, what does that have to do with our lives? How is it that we feel like nothing has anything to do with our lives anymore, that each of us has his or her own calendar, schedule, his or her way of measuring space and time.

This spring, we are faced by nothing but numbers and dates: the sixth, seventh and eighth round of Kosovo negotiations, followed by the date to decide the date on opening EU accession talks. And then, if we are lucky, the date for opening and closing the first chapter, followed by the date for the second, third… thirty-fifth chapter – and there goes our life.

Apart from Kostunica, Slobodan Samardzic, Antonic, Dveri and Nasi, everyone understands that the process of EU integrations is important for the stabilization of the country. They push you on this ski trail, and you have to go forward and make sure you don’t end up in the trees.  I believe it is important not to lose sight of the fact that stability is not, by itself, our only goal.

Azerbaijan and Angola are stable countries, China and Cuba even more so, and the cemetery is the most stable place you can be. This political goal that Vucic and Dacic have been fighting for on the battlefields of Europe is nothing but a means to make this country a more decent place to live.

The problem lies in the fact that, while they run around Brussels and Berlin, the two of them leave behind the lowlifes they appointed ministers, who act as if they are also spending hours negotiating with Thaci and Westerwelle, and have no time to attend to their real jobs.

This obscene farce with the Serbian milk is the best example of how bad things have gotten. The Minister of Health, Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, as the most responsible to tell people something about the damn milk, is telling us to make our own decision whether to drink it or not. All that is left is for the pro-European Socialist Party of Serbia to sell this as their way of respecting our human rights.

In the meantime, Ljaljic’s and Ugljanin’s people are at each other’s throats; in the meantime, Miodrag Kostic, aka Sugar, has gotten the approval of the Commission for the Protection of Competition to purchase two more sugar refineries, which will allow him to rule over 65% of the sugar market in Serbia; in the meantime, people kill other people and then commit suicide over market stands with goods worth less than 100 euros; murdered women and girls are set on fire, while their stories remain in local crime columns…

Several thousand Montenegrins gathered together in Bar to light candles and voice their concern over the increasing violence in that country. In Serbia, whenever we mention these brutal crimes, we feel awkward, embarrassed, like we are talking about someone’s mental illness, and not about a sick society. And this sickness is not part of the 36th chapter of EU accession process; no one in Brussels will call on us to cure it.

Now let me get back to the screening of the movie about Lincoln. It was ambassador Kirby, not Dragoljub Zivkovic, who reminded us of something Lincoln said: As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. All that the majority of us want, people who are not satisfied only by strategic goals, people who do not fall for the story that they are faced with life-changing decision for which they have to put their entire lives on the back burner – is to be neither slaves nor masters, but simply people who will not feel stupid if they answer the question “What are you doing?” with – I am seeking happiness.

Translated by Bojana Obradovic

Pešč, 25.02.2013.