Fa fa fašista nemoj biti ti

At the core of this piece is something that is a legitimate cause for concern, not only of course in Croatia. But the text itself is a bit of a recycling of old news and commonplaces. Isn't the benefit of having a contributor who is from the place about which she is writing, like Slavenka Drakulić is, supposed to be that the reader gets some kind of new information or unique insight?


Anonymous said...

Dear Eric,

Perhaps you should get out more. For those that I have spoken to - who have no particular interest in the region - the news items alone appeared to be something of a revelation. As indeed were many of the comments. A quick search on Google News will reveal that coverage of the Sakic funeral ceremony was minimal in the West and amounted to little more than noting the outrage of Jewish groups.

Recall the coverage that (looney) David Irving gets. What would the reaction if a government minister went to his funeral - regardless what costume he was buried in. And of course, there is no equivalence between Irving and Sakic.

Try the Sakic story out anywhere in the UK (except Surbition of course) and see the reaction. I have - toes have been repeatedly whacked by falling jaws.

I'm sure that we are both familiar with those articles that interpret every miniscule event in Serbia through the lens of nationalism. Whereas everyone else, naturally, has patriotism. Serbs have deep, dark myths that propel them to etc. etc. Everyone else has a proud history. Serbs have (naff) turbo-folk which is the mood-music for ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc. etc. Whereas the Croats have happy-go-lucky-god-and-family-values Thompson.

This is fun. Actually, it's hard to stop once you get going. Let's see. This year's raspberry harvest! There's bound be some dark myth etc. etc. pitch on that somewhere.



Eric Gordy said...

Well, sure, but the Sakic story is over a month old, and the Thompson story is years old. Legitimate causes for concern to be sure. I was just hoping that a well known writer from the country could offer something, either facts or interpretation, that is not already commonplace. Maybe your general point is that people don't know much about the region generally? Sad, true, and keeps me employed.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe your general point is that people don't know much about the region generally? "

I'd suggest that they know rather too much of some *and* rather too little of the rest.

Eric Gordy said...

I'll take a wild guess that most people here don't know much about what Serbian farmers are getting for their raspberries either. But yeah, the balance of stereotypes is a bit skewed. Not that nasty stereotypes about Croatia are any more appealing than nasty stereotypes about Serbia.

Anonymous said...

"Not that nasty stereotypes about Croatia are any more appealing than nasty stereotypes about Serbia."

True - would anyone hazard a guess at the ratio in column/blog inches for either case?

Eric Gordy said...

Assuming the implied claim is true, what approach do you think is more likely to change the presentation: comparative counting of insults or an effort to offer alternative images?

Anonymous said...

The former to determine first if there is some need for redress in the first place (no point proceeding otherwise). And, if so, then the latter.

I'm an empiricist.

Sarah Franco said...

if this was 2 years ago, I would expect more from slavenka drakulic, but nowadays I think she is not as deep as it seems when we first contact with her writing.

i would say the same about jasmina tesanovic from serbia.

we start reading them, then we expect more that what they in the end we manage to get.

they promise more than what they deliver.

dubravka ugresic is much much better. you read her again and again and still you find something new in her words.

this is my opinion, totally subjective, of course.

Anonymous said...


As I noted above, Drakulic's article turned out to be something of a revelation for Guardian readers. Please, try out the Sakic story in the UK and see the reaction.

Being an 'empiricist', I searched Google News for "Radovan Karadzic", which resulted in the following for various stories:

- all 1,012 news articles

- all 194 news articles

- all 178 news articles

- all 421 news articles

- all 2,266 news articles (this was the 'rally' in Belgrade, naturally attracting a lot of attention)

- all 53 news articles

And so on. I think you get the picture. Add to this the numerous blogs - including your own I might add - and we see that their is no shortage of coverage.

I can't help wondering therefore why this vast amount of repetition and overlap in the voluntary blog-sector? Is that, if you are one of those who *doesn't' run a blog giving the litany of crimes which RK is accused of, then you run the risk of being complicit through omission?

This phenomenon certainly seems to encourage the searching for, and swapping of, RK 'memorabilia' -- for example, your "Serb hero in a new poster!" article. Complete with a smattering of me-too pithy comments.

Even though the jury is still out on RK - actually, probably not even in for the building yet - the 'blogsphere' (yuk, the word is so cheesy) presents itself on this as a kind of simmering mob. Perhaps, a bit like a 'decent' version of the mob in Fritz Lang's "Fury". Decent, but largely intolerant of narratives that deviate from the standard text. So, Drakulic's article which proved to be rather more of an eye opener than a lot published on the Balkans lately must by diminished by, of all things, accusations of lack of "originality".

Funny old world, eh?