PAGE 2/3


NO 93-94

PAGE 2/3 ::: 1 | 2 | 3

INFO   :::  Helsinki Charter - PAGE 2 > Helsinki Charter No. 93-94 > Text


Helsinki Charter No. 93-94

March - April 2006



By Nikola Samardzic

In today's perception, what makes the entire history is nothing but persistent repetition of the crisis management focused on the challenges of social conflicts, natural law and human biology itself. Conscious communities more readily come to grips with these challenges and dam the floods of the past that threaten everyday life. Apart from providing knowledge as such, history rationally indicates the experience a new society can profit on, whenever necessary, to safeguard, review or break with its past, or to borrow the messages it would otherwise consider alien. Historical communities are not only those that purposefully remember, but also those that accept historical experience and put it to use - those that build new visions of the future on new interpretations of or lessons from the past. If in this context there is indeed no past that obliges by its very sum and substance, one can assume that historical character of every community derives from its ability to renounce the dictate of its predecessors be they real or imaginary.

Sometimes, the need to restore the entire collective memory never arises because an open social dialogue - the only road leading to forgotten codes of the past - turns impossible. Accordingly, is political conservativeness that dominates the political Serbia based not only the restored authoritarian autism, but also on the overall denial of historical processes? The answer is 'no,' since manipulation of oral history is deep-rooted in human communities' political genotype. What is more probable is that conservativeness negates the specific trait of history that urges human communities to change, and confront and reconsider their past. In this sense, the imaginary and often manipulated distinction between at least two opposing cultural patterns would not figure as an obstacle to a free public discourse. The cataclysm of 1990s has seriously questioned the assumption as such that is more indicative of the anomy of domestic political structure legitimately dominated by the premises that relativize the values of life and death in the light of ethnic and religious origins, and affiliation to so designed communities.

Speaking of her political prospects, the majority Serbia is permeated with pessimism, which is only natural when one bears in mind her actual material resources, professionalism and the situation of her healthcare and educational system. However, such skepticism is not justified when perceived from the angle of the course of history. The past brims with failed and unfortunate fates, and, seen in anonymous masses, its factors are nothing but passersby. Human lives move on in dark tunnels of the time, in chaos and disorder, and on the margins of the developments the generations to come will consider significant. History is a frightening collection of missed opportunities and wasted energy. With her opportunistic mentality and ideological conformism, the official Serbia deliberately - but also by the dictate of her very character - suppresses the discourse of hope, new challenges and genuine facing. The official Serbia is engaged in empty-worded monologues and superficially fierce dialogues. Boredom and parroting insurmountably wall up solitude. Occasional purges entrench the circle of the privileged and untouchables, who pay not heed to the axiom of modernity according to which successful acts in the past need not be such in the future, while the elites' interests may not be in conformity with both the public interest and that that of their biological offspring. Politically allied with Kostunica, Nikolic and Tadic, the caste of predators devours social optimism and energy. Moreover, in tandem with the nomeklatura, it denies the values and ideas of private property, free market and open society. As if the production of other people' fears produces one's own identical feelings. Hardly any outstanding individual's role and worth have not been criminalized and fundamentally denied.

The driving force of the ongoing cold civil war springs from the dilemmas and failures of the inadequate and blurred democratic transition. Public and private lives have turned too complex. The longstanding crisis - the outcome of which is hard to imagine - brings about the feeling of hopeless despair. Alienated from rationalism, a policy gets all the traits of something paranormal. Besides, the paradox of the present-day Serbia's political anomy cannot be explained by political correctness, since the untying of the crisis knot entirely depends on those who simultaneously identify themselves with the causes of the crisis, and feel betrayed and deceived. Achieving liberty, or achieving it once again, is not in itself an attractive endeavor, in spite of the fact that an individual's unfulfilled role derives from his or her bondage or unwillingness to throw off the yoke. Anonymous masses of humanity have usually basked in slavery or in passive, vain expectations. Throughout history, individuals have usually lost the competitions with collectives. Stability and order were more of value than equality and freedom, certainty more than love, and uniformity more than diversity. Many take that egalitarianism is uncertain and that every solution must be suited to ethnic, religious or ideological collectivism, to the vision of the predominant nomeklatura. Such cynicism is justified by the very nature of a society that allows that a mathematical difference between the levels of individual and collective freedoms annuls the causes of tension and dissatisfaction. The ruling Serbia's authoritarian cynicism invokes the limited achievements of the October 5 revolution and its meandering in the search for an ideological consensus just to conclude that they have been swallowed by corruption. Authoritarian pessimism imposes the feeling that the belief in freedom as a matter of unity and resoluteness to be attained in an instant, in one day only, is in vain. It is only logical that the myth of October 6 begun to suppress the myth of October 5. Quick and violent revolutions leading to overall liberation and paving the way to unstoppable progress are hard to imagine as they have actually never taken place. Freedom presupposes patience that sometimes takes longer than an average human life span. That's why borders of freedom expand like in the old aphorism about Achilles and turtle.

Today Serbia's wavering ethics and slow-paced, problematic democratic and economic transition indicate absence of clear-cut prospects. The official Serbia is unready to offer a new vision of the past that presupposes a new vision of the future. She is aghast of anything new. Having proscribed the meaning of modernity, she has no resources for the era marked by the triumph of liberalism. For her, freedom is nothing but lifelong subjugation to obligations and responsibility.

The ideology of bondage implies the Manichean delusion about good-evil dualism. The delusion about two ways and two Serbias. The predominant dualism pinpoints that enlightenment is discontinuous. That's nothing but a false dilemma between absolute good and absolute evil, about a character that is either cynical or naïve, and solutions that are either quick and simple or lead to the future's tragic deadlock.

Public life will never become open and made rational and functional unless the past is constantly reconsidered. In this sense, a happy society need not be a historic one. However, it's hard to imagine a prosperous, innovative community against the backdrop of constant mystification of history. Rational judgment does not imply disrespect or contempt for ancestors, on the contrary. Disrespect is when they are deliberately and pragmatically instrumentalized or completely forgotten. Ancestors and the events they have triggered off or found themselves in are most useful in their original forms. But their messages must be permanently reread.

Once upon a time ancestors used to order posterity to be obedient and keep their mouth shut. In today's Serbia, the ruling conservatives silence ancestors or frame them up with thoughts, feelings and stands that were never theirs, or shove them in the caste milieu of their nomenklatura.

The Manichean political dualism implies a public discourse that turns any debate into the arena one party will for sure leave defeated, belittled and humiliated. Debasement of public discourse destroys an individual's dignity and inner mystery, even of the one that seemingly leaves the arena in triumph. The phenomenon is more complex than the truth that by killing another human being one kills himself. The mystery of existence exceeds the understanding of human relations of religious writings that anyway pay almost no heed to the principle of freedom, particularly to the freedom of personal beliefs.

Every political generation develops codes of thinking and communication of its own. The preceding one tries to catch up with them, annul them or understand them. A conflict of generations leads to success, progress and new experience. Understanding and interpretation of the past alone do not make up historical experience. Sometimes the past must be diverse enough. A conflict of generations that also implies knowing one another better is a thorny road to any achievement of liberty. Progress that generates conflict rests on two basic facts - every new generation develops new scenography and dramaturgy, and every new generation knows more, i.e. knows that a historical process implies enlargement of human knowledge. Having turned more capable to perceive herself in real, ongoing historical time over the past two decades, Serbia has accumulated enormous historical experience. However, under the pressure of her nomenklatura the official Serbia manifested the tendency to ignore that experience so as to revive the hibernated ideas and values deriving from what she has gone through during the authoritarian epoch. This is neither about a new phenomenon. Humanity is an expert in failures and in wasted or empty existences. Success is not granted even to well-planned, clear-cut and seemingly sustainable visions. Even utopia - realized fully or partially - depends on experience. And on chance, unforeseen developments.

Judging one's own era is not easy. Serbia most probably experiences the crisis of conscience a quick and happy ending of which is hindered by the nomenklatura's interests, and inadequate educational, generational and property structures. The wheels of progress are stuck in the mud of anti-globalism or Euro-skepticism. Transitional losers grudge, while transitional winners threaten. Tycoonization chokes any emancipated policy. By comparison with political leadership's moral and psychological profile, tycoons impose themselves as an acceptable, rational alternative. Among other things, as an alternative to Putinian populism and autarchy. However, it is to be expected that - though its duration threatens with political entropy - the crisis of conscience would bring forth a new political rationalism regardless of the cost of an experience as such. For, in Serbia there is the majority - true, confused, discouraged and disoriented - that takes or feels that the future needs not be a repeat of yet another nightmare of demagogy and collectivism.


NO 93-94

PAGE 2/3 ::: 1 | 2 | 3







Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - 2008

Web Design * Eksperiment