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October 17, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 160

A Modest Celebration

by Milos Vasic

They lined up; a solo trumpeter played some of a well-known Serbian patriotic song; their Commander made a round of the ranks (``With God's Help, heroes!''), kissed the flag and made a speech. He spoke of courage, chivalry, the holy Serbian heroes who embarked from this very location four years ago to defend the Serbian soil and the holy Eastern Orthodox Christian faith, and the twenty-five who later died; he spoke of murdered children and the traitorous Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) which covered up atrocities and set free war criminals that the SDG had caught; he spoke of Serbian harmony and unity and of the dangers of alcohol consumption; he spoke of the wild soccer fans that he had turned into a disciplined army, of the soccer match at which he realized that the war had begun, of God's will by which he was released from the Ustashe dungeon, of the chivalry required during war which only the SDG possesses, of murdered children and the dangers of alcohol again; that they are not fighting against the Croatian or Muslim people, but against criminals; he sought someone who could turn off the alarm that had gone off on someone's Mercedes; he concluded that he had noticed that some of his generals had gained weight, but that this was not shameful because they would lose it once war resumed; he noticed that some had wandered off of the proper path; that the politicians are bickering; that this did not concern him because he does not recognize borders on the Drina and Danube rivers because the SDG had fought for the unification of all Serbian lands with one parliament and one leader who is the president, because what kind of situation is this one in which presidents sprout up like wild mushrooms; he remembered that he had once founded the Party of Serb Unity (SSJ) which must eventually win; he reminded those gathered around him about Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Pavle (whom he had declared to be his supreme commander) and his advice to be cunning as a snake and as harmless as a lamb.

However, the Commander neglected to mention a few Swedish, Dutch and Belgian banks, two Swedish policemen, a jewelry store in Germany, a certain restaurant in Italy, some casinos in Belgrade and Pancevo, about the federal secret police chief, and forged passports; other things that slipped his mind included Erdut, white wines, appliances, whiskeys from Vukovar's night clubs, the origin of weapons, equipment, transportation and telecommunications devices; he also neglected to mention that the SDG has not been a paramilitary formation since July of 1991, but that it is an integral part of the JNA, which is proved by the existence of a document signed by General Andrija Biorcevic, then commander of the Novi Sad Corps (the main commander of operations in Vukovar). The commander did not mention that his commander was someone other than Patriarch Pavle or General Biorcevic the entire time; the Commander did not talk about the events in Bijeljina, Zvornik and Brcko and how those events can be assessed according to his ideas of chivalry, heroism and lamblike harmlessness. He did not talk about Dafina Milanovic, petrol stations and the two members of the SDG who killed a police officer on the Novi Sad road while attempting a robbery. As president of the SSJ, the Commander eluded explanations of the origin and amount of money spent on the pre-election campaign of his party in 1993, after which not a single SSJ candidate was elected to Parliament.

At the end, the Commander said a prayer in the church of the Pokajnica Monastery. As usual, God remained silent.

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