Imagine all the people

The project Zamisli Srbiju (Imagine Serbia) has set out to encourage young people to take a role in imagining the future of a country in which "there are powerful structures which revolve around big capital, big crime and big politics, for whom the status quo is convenient, and who are very worried that they will one day have to face European standards which could threaten their monopoly positions and profitable activities." They are asking participants in their forum and some public figures to discuss how they imagine Serbia. One answer came from the cultural-political journalist Petar Luković:

"One June morning in 1977 -- I remember for a reason -- I was drinking my first morning coffee, espresso with cold milk, in the garden of the Šumatovac restaurant, I looked into the blue, sunny sky and found myself deciding that I would go to London that afternoon. The Sex Pistols had released the single "God Save the Queen," the Stranglers had just celebrated their debut album, the Clash had a concert then ... a perfectly good reason for me to organise a nice weekend on the Island. I got travellers checks and some pounds at Ljubljanska banka, bought a plane ticket at the main office of JAT, and I brought my red passport in which there was no visa (I remind the younger residents of Serbia that we never needed visas then, the majority of owners of SFRJ passports had no idea what they were for). I told my parents that I was going to England and the only thing they asked me -- I remember -- was when I was coming back.

I pulled this episode out of my memory as the only possible answer to today's science-fictitious question of how I imagine Serbia, if I am able to imagine anything at all. I imagine being free to, if it crosses your mind, go to London or Paris or Amsterdam, being able to afford that from your pay, not having to fuck around standing in line 96 hours in front of every embassy, where you will have to patiently explain to the officials the reason you want to go to London, to prove that you will not liquidate Bosniaks on Trafalgar Square like the Serbian national heroes of the Mladić or Karadžić or colonel Beara type, to promise that you will behave respectably because, you know, England is not Republika Srpska or Kosovo and that on the Island they use freezer trucks to transport ice cream and not corpses."

The essay continues, listing reasons why "Serbian society -- like in a cartoon -- is hurrying backward" and any imaginary rendition seems like, well, imagining.


Mat Savelli said...

I have nothing witty to say, but this is an excellent post on behalf of M. Lukovic. Maybe I'll forward it to all my friends with nationalist tendencies.

Eric Gordy said...

I'm happy to remmend just about anything by Lukovic. His style is very referential, though, hard to translate but very enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Huh. Petar Lukovic. Small world.

I met him once. Sat next to him for about three hours. Had a conversation that turned into a wrangle that became an argument.

Mm, this is not really the venue. But it was... interesting.

So he's still around, and still doing his thing.


Doug M.

Eric Gordy said...

And the award for least overstated comment goes to Doug!

Anonymous said...

Thanx for the comments! I`m still alive & well!
Petar Lukovic, personally
PS. Greetings to Eric & Azra!

Eric Gordy said...

Hej Lukovicu! Priznaj da je dobar prevod, a? I posalji mi poruku na e-mail, da znam kako si.

Anonymous said...

nemam tvoj fucking email, moj je stari xz99@infosky.net
prevod je ok, ali fali citav deo koji je neprevodiv! Jebiga! Fuck English language nesposoban da me prevede!
Daj, javi se!

Anonymous said...

daj, javi se. Znas da te volimo! Iako smo Srbi!

Alex said...

Pera is cool... Even though his commentary might be a bit profane or over the top it's an editorial, so I chalk it up to poetic license. He's essentially right though, and endlessly amusing. His "pa jebote bog!" when he talks on Pescanik is classic! And with Serbia the way it is today, sometimes it's pretty much the only thing you can say...