Febrero 23, 2006
Activismo y derechos humanos
Más sobre los Escorpiones, de J. Tesanovic
Scorpion Trial 3
Belgrade 21 February, 2006
When Bad Guys become Good Guys
Today the " Good" Guy of the Scorpion Srebrenica trial finally spoke out: I shot the six Muslim men, I am guilty before God and you will decide, from the
special court for war crimes, if I am guilty for you too. I obeyed the orders... Others, the "Bad" guys at the same trial, are in denial.
At this hour, B92 and some other media are unofficially reporting that General Ratko Mladic in charge of Srebrenica action is being arrested, but the Serbian official government is in denial. Only a few hours ago, the special adviser of president of president Kostunica said he knew nothing, except that it is imminent.
I just arrived from the mountain place close to Belgrade where Mladic has been reported to be hiding in the past, in a military base. Mladic has been seen a little bit everywhere. Until 2002 Mladic was openly "hiding" in Belgrade, he was buying bread at the same bakery as my friend, but since 2002, the rumors, or stronger things, have even killed some supposed eye-witnesses involved in his
At this moment there are difficult negotiations in Vienna for the future status of Kosovo, torn between 90 percent majority Albanians, demanding autonomy
after Milosevic's troops pulled out in '99, and the Serbian central government which is fighting for its sovereignty in that part of a once-united country. A
difficult task for the EU leading the negotiations, but an excellent opportunity to demand that all the parties comply with international war tribunal.
Mladic, who until recently was claimed to have big popular support for his non-surrender, seems to have lost all of it these days; from good to bad guys.
Yes, we all know he gave the orders.
8 p.m Contradictory news on B92, is he arrested, about to be arrested, or already flown to Hague? Again, as when they were arresting Milosevic back in
2002, we are relying more on tips and foreign press... B92 is broadcasting a football game, they will interrupt if the biggest goal in Serbia is scored...
Less than Human
(The Cunt, the Gun, The State)
22 February 2006
I refuse to speak the name of the Bad Guy Who Became the Good Guy. When Milosevic was in power, for years on end, his words and face everywhere, his and his alone, while those of us, the political idiots, the victims, were so baffled and mute, I gave a vow to myself: the Word is power. I will never mention his
name, privately or publicly.
This Bad Guy who became a good guy, because he pleads guilty in front of his God: he wants attention. He gives long speeches, speeches full of himself and
his new way out of prison: out of himself. He pleads for our sympathy, for compassion as though this lessens his guilt, and the victims' relatives feel
disgusted. So does his boss, the number one indicted, who gave the order, who conveyed those orders from somebody else... He, who plays the game of the big Serbian hero from past centuries, and displays his grandeur saying literally: I care for only three things in life: the Cunt, the Gun and the State.
God knows how many women he raped, whispered a relative sitting next to me... His wife is sitting in the audience too... Today they are loud and laughing. While the Bad guy who became Good is describing how he executed his first
victim by asking the "Poor Thing" to step out of the row and then shooting him, the sister of the shot man sobs aloud in court. The Good guy chose his first
victim at random, and he does not know if his hasty shot actually murdered the man. He claims: I wanted to do it fast and clean -- for their sake. Answering
the question of his own lawyer, he continues, yes, they had military elements in their clothing, they wore short trousers, thick socks. They were banging metal cooking pans to make noise and irritate us. He still despises them for this. An unrestrainable moan is coming from the audience. I believe even his women
could not stop it.
We are not gypsies, he adds: we are telling the truth here and facing each other. We are not proletarians, says his superior, whom he fights for not facing the truth and admitting he gave the orders. He says: We have still our people outside the courts and prisons, we are doing this for our country, our
children. I am a Serb and this is my nation.
As we are silently sobbing, fighting the urge to scream, one of hero's supporters turns around nervously and proudly shouts: stop whimpering, you
The Scorpions are named for the guns they carried, the second major value they killed for. They carried the guns out of their homes, and used them on any land they felt it was their country: that third value.
I am in a judgmental mood. I find it incredible that they believe such bullshit for even a second. Their relatives swagger in overpriced finery, from
head to foot: ugly and fantastically vulgar, but preening with self-esteem.
The Bad Guy who became Good is not whimpering: in his haughty manner, he is claiming that, for ten years, he slept badly: not because of their atrocity,
but BECAUSE of the film. If it hadn't been for the film, he could have forgotten the episode of executing six bound young men, face-down in a ditch, but the
fact that the film existed made him come out. The others claim they too have come out: to be arrested for various noble reasons. Are we all dreaming? Not
one of these indicted criminals gave themselves in: they were all caught and nailed. Just as the ghost of their true hero and leader is still hanging in the
courtroom... Today, when the press hysteria about his alleged capture once again has sunk into passive despair.
So you feel guilty because of the film?, asks Natasa Kandic.
The Good guy who claims God will condemn him, fails to deny this; the film is God's stick of chastisment, come out of heaven.
The director of the atrocity film -- tomorrow, he testifies himself -- apparently asked for stage help from both victims and killers. He required to arrange
themselves in a convenient way before he himself started shooting the video sequence. An assistant director had to charge the camera's batteries...
The Bad guy turned good, who was the first one to pull a trigger, claims that his commander wanted this video made to endear himself to somebody important. That was the purpose of this artistic endeavor. But in his rage and for all his broken illusions about the grandeur of his leader, he still is not spilling the beans...
The women in the audience are cat-fighting the women of the victim's families, and us the Women in Black. A mother just breaks in tears: to Hague, to Hague with all of you...this is too much... We are hushed by the policeman in the courtroom, I am hissing at the hysterical laughter of their women. We should
not really sit together. We are repeating the primal scene from ten years ago, only with lawyers rather than guns.
The Good guy is speaking of the humorous slang they used, of the "packages" that were human beings, of the "petrol order," meant not for their cars but
for cremating corpses. They referred to prisoners as "jale", cattle, the less-than-human. Jale, I've never heard of it. I am sitting with the mothers just like
myself, women who gave birth to "jale," children executed for being less than human.
The Good guy says: we were trained to kill, but not to bear the consequences of going through with it: I never expected a clear order, I never got a
clear order before: "kill these guys".
Hard to believe: in those days 8000 people were killed through hints and insinuations: the Divine Eye never registered it.
Nobody wanted to be a cunt, repeats the Good guy, meaning a coward who refused to kill.
Meaning...what? He is explaining genocide. Nobody acted normally, he is adding, we were nervous, tight and laughing, but we faked it...
A lawyer points out that if the war criminal didn’t know he could refuse the orders, then he is treated as somebody fighting for his own life.
Our hero claims he never heard of the Geneva convention, how to treat prisoners or civilians... and yet he speaks so much of military pride and honor...
It goes on. Two men, godfathers to each other's children, start insulting each other in a confrontation. They are almost in tears with each other, falling out of love... I wonder why the judge is letting this indecent family scene go on forever.
This morning, one of our young punk-styled Women in Black was not allowed to enter the courtroom, because she was dressed "indecently." The lawyers are
lamenting that they are not allowed to use the local restaurants, by law, even though, thanks to their profession, they are spending entire days inside the
Did you say, or not, that I ratted us out as a CUNT?
Yes I did say that, says proudly the Other.
Did you say that one of the Scorpions didn’t shoot because he was a CUNT?
Yes, I did.
That is my philosophy, says the commander.
This tape is of an incident I didn’t know about --but even if I did give the orders to kill, and killed, I would never say sorry afterwards. Destiny was on my
side at that time, and someday it will be again. I have nothing to regret and no need to apologize.
Maybe it is a good thing to hear a bad guy turn good. Then you can see what it means when the Other remains bad and claims that destiny will redeem him.
That God, that destiny, they shared more than a bed, more than a love, those words that we Women in Black hear, record, compare in our notes, whisper over in the court, and promise to each other, trembling, as if raped by their intact criminal ethic, that we will never pronounce. Because the word is power, but power is in words, too.
That is why we write this.
The Court Jester
February 23, 2006
His video is probably one of the most-viewed pieces in the short history of that medium. He is different from all the other Scorpions I've seen, behind the bars or free. Dressed in a classic light-colored suit with an ironed shirt, bald thin and gaunt, the video artist seems to come from the 19th century, though he is only forty.
He has no big muscles, no tattoos, no arrogance, no macho pride, no war knowledge. He is the comical figure of this worldly tragedy. Yes, even we hard core weepers at the trial are laughing when the video artist unfolds his story. Not because there is anything funny per se in the tale of this former provincial
street cop, who ended up in the Scorpions because of war, ties to his relatives, and good money. It is because of his uncanny way of putting things in their
'right perspective.' He does not shun from being who he is. He has such low esteem within the criminal group, because of his humble looks and low potential.
That his modesty and straightforward emotional codependency on big bosses becomes his trade mark.
The boss, he says, wanted himself surrounded by distinguished people, big and muscled, not like me, for example, so he down-graded me... and he was
Nobody could do anything without the boss's control, he had his spies everywhere, nobody even tried to do anything, and those who made a mistake
were punished . For example, one soldier had to take his clothes off and bathe nude in the winter in icy water.
The Artist wasn't the real video artist of the Scorpions. He held that camera only for a short period while the real cameraman was sick. Still, his eagerness to be of some use to muscled guys made him execute any order without doubts.
I played cards with the boss, drank coffee, cooked food and made him laugh. He would tell me, take that camera and go to the troops on the front-line. They are bored. Give them some fun. And I did it.
Usually I would go to bed very late but make all the food arrangements before going to sleep.
That morning they woke me up early and told me: get your camera, off we go, you will film an execution.
Yes they were all there... The Artist proudly identifies the indicted lot; he himself is not indicted. He must feel once again excluded from hstory. He hasn't the faintest idea that he is a historical figure already, thanks to modern media.
His short film was downloaded all over the world, so any times, that this one short and efficient execution of six people become an endless symbolic
display for the execution of all 8000, killed in those days.
Our antihero is diligent. He tells not merely the truth, but the details. He drove a refrigerator truck full of food to the front- lines. Those chilly refrigerator trucks are famous in Serbian criminal history for conveying the bodies of killed enemies all over the country, so to hide the corpses, disperse them, and bury them in mass graves. We are still digging in Serbia, very close to Belgrade too... He does not speak of that, maybe next time... Now he is the Court Jester. He speaks of how he provoked some fun among the Scorpions and the boys they were shooting, first the four civilians, then other two. The Scorpions were poking the bound prisoners on the ground, while still alive, and asking them cinical questions, like:
Did you fuck something?
No, says the young boy.
And you won't , says his "witty" executioner.
The Artist is filming the scenes just as they come, he claims. He is worried about his batteries and technical quality of the material.
He wants his boss, the commander, to have a nice memento, he says. And he was given orders of course. The last shot prisoner, taken to the abandoned house, asks for some water he sees in an ashtray, the rain water fallen through broken window... They let him drink it. Then they shoot him.
Back to the truck, in silence.
Back to the headquarters to drink coffee and report to the commander.
One of the Scorpions, the Cunt, did not shoot. The artist wants to check out that accusation. He helps the coward clean his gun.
His hands trembled so much that he could not do it, and yes, he was a cunt, his gun was full of ammo, he did not shoot. I called him the epileptic because he
would always faint when he had to shoot.
In those times it was a shame to admit you did not kill and shoot. He was hiding the truth.
After that, his camera broke. He gave it to somebody else. He never ever saw his masterpiece until recently, among the police. He tried to see it earlier, but the fast-rewind didn't work. Afterwards, he said proudly, as a true artist heading for new endeavors, he didn't care much for the massive reproduction of his art in video clubs.
When the footage is played, when he is interrogated about the shots, he thinks twice to identify his work. He is fussy and nervous, anxious to make sure
it is his own work, not a plagiarism. We are exhausted. He is exhausted, the judges and lawyers too...
This is a joke. This is a war crime tribunal, this is genocide and yet it rings a bell. Even the best artists or writers in the world have never been a stronghold of morality. Just as the lousiest court jesters in the world, such as this pathetic creature, can aspire to the grandest crimes.