Friday, March 11, 2011

Invictus

"He was a statesman with a flaw. These people today, they are flaws without statesmanship."


- Brana Crncevic, poet, on Slobodan Milosevic (20 August 1941 – 11 March 2006)

4 comments:

Eugene Costa said...

Thanks much for the reference to Crncevic, who is in turn to be thanked, with some others, for the new attention on the acidic and surreal Daniil Kharms, whom one should perhaps have known earlier, but does know a bit of now.

In regard to Milosevic and also the Russians, one notes in turn a passage in a much more well known fellow, G. B. Shaw, but from a lesser known one act play, "Man of Destiny".

Napoleon is given to speak so about the British:

"NAPOLEON: No, because the English are a race apart. No Englishman is too low to have scruples: no Englishman is high enough to be free from their tyranny. But every Englishman is born with a certain miraculous power that makes him master of the world. When he wants a thing, he never tells himself that he wants it. He waits patiently until there comes into his mind, no one knows how, a burning conviction that it is his moral and religious duty to conquer those who have got the thing he wants. Then he becomes irresistible. Like the aristocrat, he does what pleases him and grabs what he wants: like the shopkeeper, he pursues his purpose with the industry and steadfastness that come from strong religious conviction and deep sense of moral responsibility. He is never at a loss for an effective moral attitude. As the great champion of freedom and national independence, he conquers and annexes half the world, and calls it Colonization. When he wants a new market for his adulterated Manchester goods, he sends a missionary to teach the natives the gospel of peace. The natives kill the missionary: he flies to arms in defence of Christianity; fights for it; conquers for it; and takes the market as a reward from heaven. In defence of his island shores, he puts a chaplain on board his ship; nails a flag with a cross on it to his top-gallant mast; and sails to the ends of the earth, sinking, burning and destroying all who dispute the empire of the seas with him. He boasts that a slave is free the moment his foot touches British soil; and he sells the children of his poor at six years of age to work under the lash in his factories for sixteen hours a day. He makes two revolutions, and then declares war on our one in the name of law and order. There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find Englishmen doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does everything on principle. He fights you on patriotic principles; he robs you on business principles; he enslaves you on imperial principles; he bullies you on manly principles; he supports his king on loyal principles, and cuts off his king's head on republican principles. His watchword is always duty; and he never forgets that the nation which lets its duty get on the opposite side to its interest is lost. He—...."

Well, I suppose he also, like Cameron now, sets his sights on Libyan oil with appropriate lectures on "democracy", and too on Egypt, and on lecturing such as Belarus, and also the Russians on Chechens, and the Serbs on everything under the sun.

What difference if Milosevic had pondered this passage, and in relation to the US as well as Britain?

Maie Kark said...

Very well put indeed!!! :-) He was a human being after all! Which everybody seems to have forgotten! Hitler - hm! Can anyone really be serious when they compare the two???

blue said...

Thank you for this, Nebojsa. The death of Milosevic was a devastating loss.

Irina said...

No one could have put it better than Bernard Shaw. It must be said that the English have by far surpassed their American cousins in hypocrisy,Russophobia, and later, Serbophobia. That is probably because American Russophobia, unlike the British one that was lovingly cultivated for centuries, is not an organic one. It was merely inherited together with the lost British Empire. But for Britain the loss of empire by no means meant the loss of Russophobia! Quite on the contrary, this nostalgia for the lost glory only exacerbated it. A clown like Edward Lucas would make any American neocon/neolib envious for the level of absurd hysteria about the New Cold War and "resurgent Russia". It is curious how certain geopolitical realities remain unchanged for centuries. If one were to open the Manchester Chronicle of say 1830s, one would be stricken by similarities with today's language and train of thought of Western elite.