From a regional level, the title of your text “Is Hashim Thaci an Albanian Tarzan?” is painfully associative. It’s clear to all of us how many “Tarzans” there are in these parts. Aside from that, the only other thing that is clear is that we live in a jungle. Regional cooperation here could be depicted as a „series of business deals made by a bunch of Tarzans from a bunch of jungles in southeastern Europe.”
Hand on heart, “Tarzan” has become a synonym for rulers from America and Russia, to Britain and Italy. It’s just that their jungles happen to be a bit tamer than our own. The world is ruled, from one end to the other, by arrogant, half-literate frauds and snake oil salesmen who could, even in the absence of doctor’s orders, gain entry without delay into any insane asylum. These people are stronger than the system. Something that Marko Miljanov said “better a hero than a pious man”, could apply to them. There are no institutions, no righteousness, no principles, no responsibility. All the levers of power are held in a single part of the hand… as are the hammer and the anvil. The systems that we live in are plunder for these new Tarzans. They destroyed normal social dynamics and reduced them to an illusion and fraud, to ignoring citizens and the humiliation of reality. We have drifted far away from the world of normality.
The Belgrade press is full of articles on how ‘mini-matura’ tests (taken by students in Serbia before entering High School) are kept under guard by members of the police and the secret police. Cameras, special forces and helicopters follow the flash-drive containing the exams for eighth-graders from wherever it was made to a secret printing shop. The exams are guarded more closely than Putin was during his recent visit to Belgrade. Kids will take their exams in highly-secure study halls: jammers will block mobile signals, and everything will be under tight surveillance.
Unbelievable! In a country where the former president didn’t know how to answer journalists’ questions as to what the name of the faculty where he graduated from was, and where it was suspected that a number of ministers had bought their degrees and PhD titles – a test for primary schoolers has better security than the American President.
The media is one of the main purveyors of deception. Fake news has become the main news. Last year, just one Belgrade tabloid published 362 pieces of fake news on 320 cover pages! A number of other tabloids in the capital compete for primacy in the publishing of false information, nonsensical insinuations, and the contamination of public opinion. They contain so many lies and so much poison that I honestly believe that if you threw them in the Sava or Danube, the fish population would die off.
According to one agency’s analysis, only 4% out of 960,000 publications and reports in newspapers, on TV, and on social media in Serbia dealt with the economy. In those articles you can find numerous statements made by politicians on various economic themes. Politics as fate! We’ve been shackled by politics, locked in a virtual spin-room. Balkan societies are on sedatives. The totalitarian reflex creates a need to control, to create a framework that suits a particular group of people in order to enrich themselves. The rest have a choice – to keep quiet and suffer, or to go abroad for seasonal labour.
In Pristina, the American Ambassador feels compelled to warn against nominating people under indictments for official positions. In Tirana, the headlines have been dominated for months by a continuing spectacle of a triangle enveloped in tear gas – that of the Prime Minister, the President and the non-existent constitutional court, not to mention the mafia bosses who buy votes for Edi Rama. In Montenegro, the government is “forcing the Church onto the street” and creating a senseless crisis in the goal of offering their western mentors surrender as a solution. Belgrade is suffocating in spin about the “war in north Kosovo”, and the plunder of Serbian holy sites in Montenegro, just so the regime can extend their rule by a couple of months. In Skopje, Gruevski is still blamed for everything. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, two of the three “Walters” that make of that country’s presidency are locked in never-ending quarrels. All of this is happening while an army of qualified and educated young people waits in line in front of Western embassies. Almost like the Brussels dialogue – actually and virtually.
But, our “Tarzans” slowly became slaves to the systems that they themselves put in place. They allowed for members of their gang to accumulate significant amounts of wealth, generated rivalries between friends and relatives and, alienated their “crew” from the rest of society. They garnered much more affluence than they could have ever imagined. They cut off old friends and created new enemies. The system that they created will attempt to sacrifice them in order to save itself. Through the decisions that they made, and by flirting with the underworld, they created a situation where their friends and associates know that their plunders will be best protected when the “boss” is blamed for everything when it all comes crashing down. So huge is the prize that political rivals, the international political mafia, the intelligence underworld and all those eager for fame, power and money will swoop down to take it at all costs.
For years they’ve faked conflicts, stage-managed artificial crises, spurred hatred and fear between nations, all without a single national vision or goal. The societies in which we live are their loot. However, the hunter often becomes the hunted.
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