Déjà vécu

21 February 08

I wanted to write about the recent events regarding Kosovo’s declaration of independence and Serbia’s response, but I was too shaken up to process what was going on.

After tonight’s protest and vandalism, a big part of which took part right under my window, the confusion and excitement, that I usually fell around election time, gave way to depression and room for both personal and objective reflection. Déjà vécu is an experience that one is reliving (unlike Déjà vu that only feels that way) and this day has been it.

Some 17 years ago, big March demonstrations took place in Belgrade. It was led by political opposition of the time, which was very nationalist and unruly. I was young back then, but I still distinctly feel the hate and blood thirst that was in the air. The “three finger salute” that you can see Serbs showing nowadays was invented then.

I remember those demonstrations because my father was afwully concerned about his new car. At one point, his Russian made Lada was parked right between a cordon of demonstrators and a cordon of policemen. He was desperate. He tried to move the car earlier, but when he approached the parking lot, a fully armed soldier told him to back off at gunpoint. I felt miserable. I was 8 years old, on the balcony, watching my helpless father. This was the first time in my life, that I remember, that I saw him backing away and not trying to argue his case. He was at a fucking gunpoint.

Little did I know how many children would see their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, at gun points in the coming years. I had it good in that decade.

I only talked to a girl who was raped by a dozen men for a week. I only heard of 10.000 people being killed in a day. I only saw hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to understand what happened to them. March demonstrations were a beggining of something it took me 10 years to learn how to cope with.

Today, it happened all over again. Politicians, artists, professors, students were shouting nationalist slogans in the middle of Belgrade. They were completely disregarding human life. They once again showed how territory can be more important than people. They showed how a nation state can be worshiped at the expense of happiness. Then they took it to the streets.

I was again on my balcony, watching rioters demolishing street signs and trash bins, making barricades and weapons out of them.

Incidentally, I was with my father again. This time it was a Honda on the parking lot. He didn’t give a shit about it, and from this persepctive, neither should’ve I. I’ve seen this so many times in the last 20 years that I grew tolerant of idiots destroying material things on the streets. I knew that trash bins are nothing compared to what these people are capable when given a gun and a uniform.

But I was still afraid for a fucking car. Looking back, I didn’t want anything to happen to it because I was hoping that we are over that. I was hoping that I will never again feel the way I felt as a kid in 1991. Worst of all, it was not the same people like two decades ago. It was young people.

Many people were injured in Belgrade today, and one person died. But that feels like nothing compared to knowing that lunatics are once again politicians and that people are capable of such hatred, again.


  1. sarah franco
    Feb 23, 07:50 AM #

    Very interesting text. I took the liberty to quote it on my blog…

    it’s a miracle that people like you manage to keep their mental sanaty in such an environment.

  2. Timi
    Feb 27, 11:54 AM #

    I just want to say hello :) I’m very glad to meet you, and any time you visit Romania, call or write a mail, and we are ready to show you Kolozsvár/Cluj.

  3. Dejan
    Feb 27, 01:36 PM #

    Timi, it was nice talking to you! I hope you have fun in Novi Pazar and Kosovo!

  4. max
    Feb 29, 05:02 AM #

    This is an outstanding text that gives us an insider and in depth perspective, above all the clichés that been spread by international media in the past few days. I appreciate your reason based approach to the matter. Hopefully the lunatics will be defeated…

Textile Help

Ego Center

I suspect that some people will want to know more about the author of this blog. However, as my topic of writing is usually not of very personal nature, I find it inappropriate to write about personal things, say: hobbies, my pets or particularly bad ways in which girls refused me.


Web design - Bitspan