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November 26, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 217
The Dayton Serbia

The Spell Is Gone

by Milan Milosevic

Between the sentences: "Good afternoon. We are going on a trip. The aim of our trip is peace." (S. Milosevic, October 31) and "Good afternoon to everyone. The aim of our trip was peace. The aim has been accomplished successfully" (November 21), the Belgrade public restored its sense of humour, reviving the old joke about a telegram in which Sloba (Milosevic) told Mira (his wife): "I have sold the land, you go on and sell the cattle!" The joke clashes with the general atmosphere.

Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj, Milosevic's favourite opposition leader in 1992, and later abandoned, has remained one of the most persistent people on the opposite side. "The greatest treason of the Serbian people since the battle of Kosovo (1389) has been committed in Dayton," he said.

The national block did not follow Seselj's radical stand, although it did retain distance and bitterness. The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) assessed that the result of the Dayton talks was "peace without much justice." Its leader Vojislav Kostunica interpreted Milosevic's sentence, with which he congratulated the Bosnian Serbs on their republic and wished them cooperation with the Muslim-Croat federation, as a message which was impolite to quote.

Democratic Party (DS) leader Zoran Djindjic remained with both feet on the ground. He said that, like the rest of the world, he was relieved to hear the news about the peace agreement, but that there was no special reason for triumph and euphoria because "a difficult period of restoration of the country in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina was ahead, as well as the development of democratic institutions in Serbia and Yugoslavia."

The Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS) expects "those who bear the greatest responsibility for our tragedy to leave and those who can do something in peace to come."

President of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) Vuk Draskovic said that "in Dayton, a stop has been put to prolongation of death, destruction, flight, misery and suffering of millions of people," and that a "senseless and savage war in which, since the first shot, everyone was condemned to unhappiness, injustice and loss could not have ended with anyone's happiness or gain." He advocated radical internal changes in Serbia, including fast and complete privatization and abolishment of public property, establishment of open free market, free and responsible media and urgent cadre changes.

At 11.35 a.m. on November 22, 1995, Television Serbia interrupted its broadcast to announce that the U.N. Security Council had suspended sanctions on Yugoslavia. Prior to that, the post-Dayton peace-celebrating atmosphere had lasted for some thirty hours during which the number of opponents to Milosevic's signing of the agreement was gradually decreasing. By declaring themselves for the Dayton agreement and ritually mentioning the role and contribution of Slobodan Milosevic, the ruling nomenclature manifested their loyalty.

The (Belgrade) municipality of Palilula nominated Slobodan Milosevic for the peace and freedom medal, the Krusevac branch of SPS organized fireworks, while the Nis socialist Mile Ilic nominated Milosevic for the Nobel peace prize.

President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zoran Lilic patronizingly shook Milosevic's hand at the airport and wrote that the "agreement is the beginning of a new era in the Balkans." Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia Col.Gen. Momcilo Perisic, once called "the knight of Mostar," expressed "great satisfaction and relief among the members of the Army of Yugoslavia," because "sense has finally prevailed among the people from the territory of the former Yugoslavia." There is so much of all this that SPS might change its initials and call itself PPS - the Pacifist Party of Serbia.

The new self-proclamation of historical greatness, now that the spell is being removed, seems like fermentation of the same mythological consciousness, the schaman ritual of exaggeration and re-naming of myths.

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