By Stevan V. Nikolic
New York, Feb. 15 2010 (Serbia Today) – Recently I walked down the 4th Street in the Village and the homeless man in the wheelchair asked me for a dollar. I didn’t have a smaller bill than a $5, so I gave it to him telling him in passing: “Today is your lucky day”. He smiled, thanked and asked me where am I from. I told him “Yugoslavia”. He smiled again and said: “No, you are not from Yugoslavia, you must be Serbian”. I stopped and asked him “Why you say that”. His answer was simple and logical:”Because only Serbs still say that they are from Yugoslavia, you will never hear a Croat, Slovenian, or Macedonian saying that.
This accidental conversation with the homeless black man in New York made me think of the mentality of Serbians. It is almost two decades that Yugoslavia does not exist anymore and many of us are still more comfortable identifying with the past than with the present.
The worst of all, the man most responsible for all tragedies in the Balkans since the Second World War, Yugoslavian dictator Josip Broz Tito, still has his Museum in the Serbian capital city Belgrade. His gravesite was designed as a Temple where those who admire him can come and bow to the memory of the “Half-God”. It is officially a part of yet another museum “25th of May”, dedicated to the memory of the person responsible for a death of a hundred of thousands of Serbs during and after the second World war.
Of course, Serbs today are too impressed with the grandeur of the St. Sava Cathedral as a symbol of their faith, and with the architectural beauty of the Serbian National Library to remember all those unnamed Serbian intellectuals buried on the same spot where those two buildings are standing today. They have been executed by Tito’s communist government immediately after the Second world War just because they were not communists.
Yesterday media reported of the opening of the exhibition of not yet seen photographs taken by Tito himself. Tito taking picture of himself in front of the mirror, picture of his wife Jovanka and her sister and dozens of other amateur pictures that could be found in the shoebox of any average family anywhere in the world made it to the halls of the museum just because they were made by Tito.
The article about this exhibition made me really sick in my stomach. There is no a single person in the history of Balkans that made more lasting damage to the Serbian nation than Tito, yet Serbs are still impressed with the memory of their torturer.
If they are Americans, Serbs would already have an expensive psychiatrist who would help them deal with their obsession with the oppressor. Nevertheless, being Serbians denial is the best resort, and to make a point of their denial, it does not hurt to show signs of respect to the cause of all pain and suffering. God bless a memory of President Tito…we deserved him….