Feed Me to Pigs

4 January 07

It’s not easy being a Serb. And I am not just talking about the moral aspect of it — it also gets frustrating not to be able to travel anywhere.

You can imagine my joy when I finally got to the stage of an interview for a visa at the Austrian embassy. We all ate and drank for days to celebrate, and my mother spilled water after me before I left.

— Good morning, Your Majesty — I addressed the clerk in the embassy.
— You want to visit Österreich, ja?
— No, Your Majesty, I would only like to apply for a transit visa.
— A transit visa!? Vee are not good enough for you??? Oh, vell. Please fill out this form: Do you plan to settle in Austria? Are you now, or have you ever been a Muslim? Do you waive your right not to be fed to pigs if you violate any one of our rules? When do you need to pass through?
— In exactly three weeks, from 11:00 until 15:00, that Saturday, please.
— Four hours! Wher’ do you zink you are going, to Siberia!? — His Majesty, the clerk, was both confused and insulted — It vill not take you mor’ zen 2 hours to drive through.

I was getting nervous. What if he knew? What if it was plain obvious that I not only plan to drive through Austria, but also to stop for gas, food, restroom, and dare I even think about it — tea with a friend in Vienna.

— But sir, I would also like to stop for a lunch in Your Precious Country. — I decided to risk it.
— Despicable! Bring a sandwich…
— I would, but it would be confiscated from me at the EU entry.
— Stop at McDonalds and stay until 13:00. — His Majesty offered a solution.
— Ok, I’ll grab a Happy Meal and stay until 14:00.
— No! Just a cheeseburger, until 13:15.
— Burger, soda and fries, until 13:45! — I couldn’t believe my ears that I was haggling with His Majesty.
— You vill not take fries with that, and you vill leave by 13:30!
— Thank you, Your Majesty!

. . . . .

Celebrations lasted until my departure. My sister and mother ran after my VW Golf for an entire kilometer, waving their white handkerchiefs. I was about to embrace Europe, a continent I have never seen before, in all its estate, slave-trading glory.

Villages and towns passed by me. I watched, through the windows of my Golf, dirty Serbian west and tranquil Slavonia. At the Slovenian border, I had to promise not to be a nomad.

Finally, after hours of driving on the Brotherhood and Unity Highway, I was there — on the very checkpoint between the Balkans and the Europe Proper. I halted when I got to the HALT sign.

— Ihr Ausweis, herr Ostländer! — the young Austrian examined my passport — Yugoslawien, ja? I m sorry, wir have no record of such country in ze computer. You cannot enter.
— But sir, I assure you, the country only recently changed its name, the passport is valid for Serbian citizens.
— Oh, yes? And how do I know that you really are a citizen of Serbia, and not some other Yugoslavian?
— Well, look at the place of birth…
— Silence! And, how do I know — he was persistent to know — that you are not, hypothetically speaking, a Slovenian trying to colonize Styria?
— … .
— Or you may be a Macedonian, with your blood revenge. I saw that film !
— Ok, listen. I drive a Golf, I’m not cleanly shaven, I smell of rakija and pork roast. I can even sing Ceca for you, I’m a Serb, I’m a Serb! — I was yelling and crying something that I never believed I’d do.
— Step out of the car, Ostländer!

The air around me was boiling. A human being can take only so much and I about had it. All the standing in lines for visas for all the countries in the world! I had it up to here!

— Fuck you, and Styria, and your entire country! I just wanted to pass through! — I yelled out as the guard was handcuffing me — And fuck your Alps, and the ugly brown Danube, and fuck Franz Ferdinand, and Mozart! It was not by an accident that the Serbs defeated Oskar Potiorek. Long live Gavrilo Princip! Death to fascism, freedom to people!
— Günter, get the pigs ready, please.


  1. james
    Jan 9, 07:05 AM #

    too bad. any kind of immigration authorities can suck. I’m from the UK and originally of eastern european jewish origin. I flew to the United States and felt like i was being treated like a criminal entering the country. They dragged me aside, scrupulously checking out my background. This happened on multiple occasions. After getting it over with i had a great time. So while i commisserate with your experience, i don’t with the hurt feelings about being persecuted against. It’s nothing personal, it all realated to recent history and policy thereafter..so 9/11 means i get the heavy check in the US and you get the yugoslav check up because of recent history there.
    hope it works out better next time. j

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