Ivo Skoric on Wed, 21 Jun 2000 06:23:53 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Gesture

From: The Objection!, magazine for conscientious objection and anti-
militarism, number 6, May 2000, published by Women In Black, article 
Gesture, page 4-5, by Drazen


At the time of war in Slovenia, when I went there, we were told to be 
flying into Slovenia the next day. A hard rain was falling, it was 
thundering, the heaven and earth were one.

They were dressing us up, old petty officers were distributing all new 
uniforms to us. Never before, and I was on many training exercises 
before, did I get a new under-shirt. Now they were giving us all new, still 
in its original packaging, and they were helping us, those old officers, 
dress ourselves up. I saw something large is moving on. Nevertheless, 
there were those international triplets at Brioni, trying to calm down the 
situation, and they did something, and it was postponed for seven, for 
fifteen days. Then, there was August 15 and the proposal that Yugoslav 
Army leaves Slovenia and situation quieted down. I am telling you this 
story because of one awesome gesture that I witnessed at that time.

Once some number of generals came to explain to us how we should run 
down Slovenia, because this was the way to save Yugoslavia. Because, 
they said, this was the way to save Serbia, this was the way to save our 
homes, this was at the core of that defense operation, that we have to 
erase them now, so that the next day somebody would not, God forbid, 
come and attack our homes.

Typical story you can hear from generals. But they failed. Soldiers did 
not want to listen to them, soldiers surrounded them and booed them, 
that was something, some chaos. When that first general did not 
succeed, they brought somebody else, Spasojevic, I think, I don’t know 
for sure, now, I would have to dig that out from some papers. He was 
there the next day. He dismissed our commander five times, screamed at 
us and our officers. He gave us a hot lecture spiced with the threat of 
force and imprisonment and then he asked whether anybody had any 
questions. Some Roma kept the sense of humor asking: “What, mister 
general, are only Gypsies and poor peasants good enough to go about 
saving this our fatherland?” Then, from somewhere, it looked to me as he 
was heaven-sent, some dude dropped out wearing a t-shirt on which it 
was printed: I LOVE SLOVENIA, with that LOVE heart-like sign on the 
back and on the other side SLOVENIA MY COUNTRY [in Slovenian].

Ninety percent of people did not understand that, I am sure that ninety 
percent of draftees did not understand that gesture. The general did not 
understand it either. He covered it up quickly saying that dude was some 
fool, that he should be removed, that he should be arrested. And I know 
that there were some petrified tears at the edges of my eyes and that my 
voice was, as it is now, trembling in excitement.

That was that individual act of rebellion against that incredibly stupid 
establishment that believed that country could be defended in army 
boots. That country could not be saved that way. That was the stupidest 
way. That was exactly the way to destroy that country in pieces. And 
that individual act of rebellion, that I saw then, was for me something of 
value, to make the long story short, something worth remembering all 
these ten years.


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