The "Eternal Fire" on the obelisk to victims of NATO bombing last year has been put out
By Tanja Djurovic, Belgrade
from: junge Welt, Oct. 10, 2000
The Yugoslav capital Belgrade hadn't been visited by such an astounding number of Western officials in a long time. Ministers, politicians, diplomats, special representatives of the West have been standing in a line for seven days to congratulate newly elected Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica on his "democratic victory" and give him a friendly pat on a shoulder.
The "Democratic Opposition of Serbia" (DOS), Kostunicas party, rallied people of Serbia to come to Belgrade October 5 for mass protest against now ex-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
The escalation of this "peaceful protest" into street violence and a take-over of power on the streets was well-planned and coordinated, according to a later admission by DOS leaders themselves. There was no spontaneity about it. Desperately trying to avoid this provocation might bring about a Bucharest scenario," Yugoslav army and police didn't react to stop the masses.
Many euphemisms have been used since to describe this counter-revolution. "Democratic revolution" DOS manager Zoran Djindjic, calls it.
"Velvet revolution", say people on the street, making a parallel with Prague. Perhaps they have already forgotten that their "velvet" in Belgrade got soaked with some blood and scorched with some flames too.
"What happened on October 5th was just a show for CNN, this was nothing. The real fight for power is yet to come. A counter-revolution must be followed through to the end." says DOS supporter Srdjan Lukic, 25.. True. And in Serbia these days, real counter-revolution is going on indeed. Behind the scenes, behind closed doors, and far away from cameras and spot-lights.
Even with Slobodan Milosevic out of the way, DOS leaders are aware they must keep their street-gained advantage, if they want to win crucial state power, control of the Federal [Yugoslavian] and Republic [Serbian] Parliament.
In the Federal parliament, a majority is held by the left coalition. A battle for the Republic parliament is in full swing, where majority is held by socialists and radicals.
In the meanwhile, "non-institutional" pressure is well on the way. "Groups of citizens" are entering state enterprises, factories, institutions, even universities, demanding that the leadership leave. Peacefully or by force.
The DOS immediately denied accusations of the Serbian government that it established "crisis headquarters" and temporary leaderships in enterprises and institutions in the country. The DOS says the employees themselves are toppling their leadership.
Still, letters of resignation are pouring in from ministers, directors, hospital wardens, university deans...some admit they were pressured into it. Empty posts are being filled by DOS members or sympathizers. DOS has put its hands also on Service of payment, dealing with financial transactions.
All state-media are already controlled by Serbian "democrats", and one-sidedness in media-reports is horrifying.
"The Crisis headquarters the DOS will form in media are just temporary. This is just necessary until new government is constituted" says Vladeta Jankovic, one of DOS leaders, in his statement for Tanjug state agency.
Blaming the uncontrolled violence of the last days on "those who wouldn't accept obvious election-defeat", and underlining that "justified people's revolt couldn't be controlled" Jankovic repeated once again there will be no revanchism, as president Kostunica has promised.
President Kostunica is a legalist, and a man of principles. Most of the people who are his present allies, however, are not.
Even in this "democracy," the headquarters of Serbian socialist party (SPS) and Yugoslav Left (JUL) are being demolished, and their functionaries threatened on daily basis.
"I am not and never was a member of any party, but I got beaten also, as an executive of state-enterprise. They must have thought I am SPS too," states Ivica Indjic, director of supplies. "Maybe I should put letter "Dj" at the beginning of my last name from now on" says Indjic with a bitter smile, referring to the person believed responsible for organizing the extra legal attacks, Zoran Djindjic.
Maybe there's no need. As Beta agency reports, Djindjic denied on October 10 the rumors that paramilitary forces, whose core is made by members of his Democratic party, are operating in the country.
Nevertheless, in a vacuum until legal government is formed, it seems DOS is using "iron broom" to clean SPS and JUL out of their positions, and out of its way.
And while NATO functionaries keep flocking to Belgrade to admire their own success perhaps, the "Eternal fire" on the obelisk to victims of NATO bombing last year has been put out. As daily Novosti writes, "it has been done by someone, during the establishing of democracy in the country." Perhaps so as not to bother the high-level guests visiting Belgrade.
Tanja Djurovic is a Junge Welt correspondent from Belgrade.
Junge Welt -- www.jungewelt.de/
posted 12 Oct 2000
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