I already wrote a thing like the one I’m writing now once before. Only it didn’t start like this, nor did it have the same ending. Actually, the middle part was also different and the only thing this has in common with what I’ve written before is the number that I put at the top – 25, but technically, just technically, it is the same thing.
And in that piece I went on and on and on about all the what ifs and the how comes, the whys, the Xs and the Zs, the kidnappings, the speeches and all the other bollocks that in some way, shape or form had to do with the September 24th elections.
Then I read what I had written and got confused somewhere near the third paragraph. I stopped, spent some time thinking about what I should do to make it more understandable, and after about five seconds decided that three strokes at the keyboard, Ctrl-A-backspace, was the only thing that could be done for it to be clearer.
Because in the end, no matter who the people really vote for, no matter what cheating technique the government decides to use, and no matter what combination of wins and loses you take into account, the end result is always going to be the same – trouble, and lots of it.
That’s why nobody yelled anti-government slogans in any of the three UEFA Cup matches Yugoslav teams played yesterday (and all three of them draws), why nobody is saying a word about politics in public. For the first time in the short ten-year history of elections in Serbia, the only huffing and puffing and ‘we’re going to bring our opponents to their knees’-ing is done solely by the government, the ones who now look like anything but a serious political party.
I based that largely on a speech Slobba gave a few days ago. To be short, I came to a conclusion that he and at least half of the three-dozen ministers, generals and butt kissers, which stood behind him during the speech, are, in the most literal sense of the word, mad.
“We are the only thing that stands between the NATO villains and our friends from the east. We must protect the freedom of the world at any cost, and that’s what we are all about – freedom.” No comment.
It’s not only what he said, but how he said it, looking like he absolutely believed in every single word that came out of his mouth, and he probably does. Add to that the way he looked while delivering his speech, bloated face, hunched back and a mad twinkle to his eyes, and you’ll see what can become a great legal argument once he gets his ass hauled to the Hague – an insanity plea that looks more and more likely to become his best chance of defence.
Stand-up comics, if we had any, would probably say that his eyes were all puffy from mourning the loss of his best man. The joke in that is that his best men and once the president of Serbia, Ivan Stambolic, has probably been kidnapped by Slobba’s own men more than two weeks ago. The person who removed him from the position of the president to claim the title himself was Slobba, and the exact date of that is, surprise, surprise, September 24th, 1987.
So, exactly 13 years after he came to power, Milosevic is giving the opposition one more, some would say it’s last, chance of throwing him out of office, right? Well, he may be mad, but he’s not stupid. Even if he does believe in his election victory he, or someone in that mass of more than three dozen cabinet members, isn’t taking any chances.
Besides eliminating the sole living reminder of Serbia’s pre Slobba political past, he also seems to have blackmailed one of the opposition leaders, Vuk Draskovic, to go into the elections separately from the rest of the lot, and hopefully for Milosevic take some votes away from them. But the only thing Draskovic’s ‘betrayal’, as it were, will achieve is the burial of his own party, once the largest single opposition party in Serbia that’s now dwindling with less than 10 per cent of the voters.
But that’s the only certain thing about these elections that the Serbian Renewal Movement will die out. The rest of it, who will win, by how much and how, is an unknown. But be it the real opposition, and their presidential candidate Vojislav Kostunica (who is the leader in all of the polls, in some cases more than 10% ahead of Slobba), or the ultra-nationalists with a candidate than never finished college, or the socialists with Slobba in charge, I already said what the outcome will be, albeit in the most broadest of terms.
Because although two out of three serious parties involved are staying away from mass rallies just yet, all of them know very well that a lot of huffing and puffing will arise if either of the three doesn’t win.
And as with any elections, there can be only one winner.
That would, if the elections were fair and free, be Kostunica (with the socialists loosing miserably, of course), but this is Serbia, where a man can misplace more than 500,000 votes and not get punished for it.
The only glimmer of hope is that, unfortunately for Mr. Milosevic, misplacing a million is nigh on impossible.