Intrigued by a Serbian language graffiti notice about Drenitsa in the predominantly Albanian Ferizaj/Urosevac, at 6.50pm on the 28th of July 2005, I copied it:
Celo lepoI think that this translates as something like:
Drenitsa - 98 -
The beautiful country[Updated on the 14th of January 2007; I've left the original post below for searches, etc.]
The country up there
Drenitsa - 98 -
Eric Gordy commented that:
The language seems odd, but one possible interpretation could be that the graffito is a reference to Srdjan Dragojevic's 1996 Bosnian war film, "Lepa sela lepo gore," the title of which is usually translated into English as "Pretty village pretty flame," but which would be rendered more literally as "The beautiful villages are burning beautifully." The title, like the film itself (whatever its evasions, which are worthy of an analysis all its own) is meant as bitter but detached commentary on the pointlessness of war. Your average wallscrawler is probably more familiar with recent popular films than with the kind of psychologistic mysticism of which Anzulovic is one of the most recent promoters, but which is pretty much unknown outside of the political campaigns by one bunch of people to characterize another bunch of people's ideology.Leaving Anzulovic aside (as I don't know whether it sounded like I was saying that his interpretation of the ideology might be informative or that they might be consciously making a reference to it, neither of which matter now there's a competent analysis of the graffiti), Eric Gordy's reading turns this slogan about, from being nationalist to being anti-war (I would say anti-nationalist, but I do have a few friends who are anti-war nationalists, who don't see any point in killing anyone when everyone knows they're going to win in the end anyway).
Contextualising the graffiti, I noted that
According to Antenna, the Hellenic Resources Network (HR-Net)'s newspaper, on one occasion in Drenitsa in March 1998, 25 ethnic Albanians were "murdered by Serb security forces". This or another set of killings led www.oppression.org to warn that:Clutching at straws, I offeredThe slaughters in the Drenitsa region show that this is a repetition of what happened in Bosnia before. The killing of 28 innocent persons in the Skenderay region including children shows that this is likely to be, may Allah prevent this from happening, the beginning of a new genocide of a greater scale.
I still don't know what the graffiti writer was trying to say, but I suppose it may have some relation to the ideology dissected in Anzulovic's (1999) "Heavenly Serbia: From myth to genocide", in which the "dominant Serb nationalist myth" was that of "Serbs' commitment to the heavenly kingdom".Not bad, as over-stretched efforts go; still, now we know it wasn't about that. I haven't yet seen Dragojevic's film, but it lingers on my Amazon "buy later" list; I shall have to buy now.
Here, Heavenly Serbia could be the "beautiful country" and the heavenly kingdom could be the "country up there", although in another reading, Heavenly Serbia could be both; Heavenly Serbia's commitment to the heavenly kingdom, then, would have been demonstrated by its actions in Drenitsa in 1998.
Anzulovic, B. 1999: Heavenly Serbia: From myth to genocide. London: New York University Press.
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