The Bodacious Belgrade Blog

October 18, 2008

The Ballad of Dragoljub Milanovic

Filed under: Uncategorized — bunitingi @ 1:04 am
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So here’s a real good little Serbian story, ’bout a fellow by the name o’ Dragoljub Milanovic.

It takes place back in ’99, back when the good ol’ US of A decided to pay a visit to our Serbian friends and give ’em a big ol’ US military kiss up the backside, bombs an’ all.

Some o’ y’all might o’ forgotten about a little bomb-laden bru-ha-ha we threw here in Belgrade back in ’99, but ol’ Bill Clinton was in the White House gettin’ a heap o’ trouble for a simple little late night favor by a perty young thing and Little Mighty Mister Milosevic was over here giving the former Yugoslavia the shaft in just about every conceivable way possible.

So, after taking a huge steamin’ dump on Bosnia and Croatia, some additional trouble started developing down in carefree Kosovo, and Milosevic turned his eye down thataways. Ol’ Bill decided it was as good a time as any to show some interest in NATO and hoped the Amercian population would do the same and stop obsessin’ ’bout them damn mayonaisse stains on that damn blue dress.

So in came the yanks and down fell them bombs.

Now say what you will ’bout them damn Yankees and NATO, it is true they weren’t lookin’ to cause an unorthodox amount o’ personal death and injury.  To this effect they took the trouble of calling the Serbs each time they came in with their planes and letting them know which building  they’d be bombing during that evening’s festivities so’s all personnel could be evacuated.

Which brings us to our friend ol’ Dragoljub Milanovic.

Dragoljub was a senior member of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia and the director of Radio Television Serbia, which controlled all Serbian…. wait for it….. radio and television and dished out a nice heaping helping of government propaganda.

Well, General Wesley Clark decided to bomb Milosevic’s TV station, and put the call in to warn the Serbs so’s the building could be evacuated.

The call came in. However…

Milosevic, as the story goes, was lookin’ for Bill and NATO to get some more flak for those damn bombs they was dropping. He needed some outrage. He needed some martyrs.

So an order was given. It was Dragoljub’s responsibility to make the call to evacuate the buildings. “Don’t make that call, Drago. Keep that phone where it is and look the other way.”

Drago was good and loyal party member, all the way. He was livin’ high on that hog and knew on which side his bread was buttered. He did not pick up that phone.

A few hours later in came the Yanks with their slick little planes and rained their fiery little slice of freedom pie down on the RTS building and down on the folks who were in that building. 16 of them folks died, conveniently enough all low level workers, mostly technical staff and service people. Cameramen, the guy who rewinds the VHS tapes, the janitor…

So Dragoljub looked the other way and Milosevic had his martyrs. ‘Course just ’bout NOTHIN’ came of it to Milosevic’s advantage. Nothin’ came of it at all. Just a bunch of dead people and a bunch more maimed and damaged.

Well now, the sands o’ time cover some secrets, but they also uncover others, and by and by this sad little tale came out into the ears of the Serbian population. And it wasn’t too much longer that a fateful day came when that there population assembled outside Milosevic’s big governmental building and the governmental buildings surrounding it, including that there RTS place we had just mentioned being at the center of this little tale.

And lo and behold as the crowds grew and grew the police decided they just didn’t give a flyin’ you know what and simply walked away. So in came the crowd, stormin’ Parliament and stormin’ the RTS.

Now on that fateful day, when Mighty Mister Milosevic came tumbling down, there were all sort of folks in that crowd. And all them folks have their own stories, but this tale is only interested in a few of them folks that chose to storm the RTS. And the reason they chose to storm the RTS is it was their sons and brothers and fathers who were killed that day not long back, that day when the phone didn’t ring.

And when the police decided they didn’t get payed enough to protect the folks sitting high atop these buildings and thusly walked away, well, these fathers and brothers and sons marched right on in. And they didn’t stop on the first floor, nor the second. They went straight on up to a certain office, with a certain name plate on the door, one which read Dragoljub Milanovic. And into that office they went.

They say when Dragoljub Milanovic went to work that day, he was as recognizable as he could be. His wife recognized him when he left home that morning, his underlings and coworkers had no trouble recognizing him throughout the day. Nope, he looked more like himself than anyone else and kept on lookin’ that way up until them fathers and brothers and sons marched on into that office. After that though…

Well, it is to their credit as good folk that Dragoljub did, in fact, survive. Within another year he stood trial and was sentenced to 10 years for the simple act of not picking up a damn phone when it could’ve done something. He sits in jail now. And perhaps he is recognizable once again.

Because on that day when them fathers and brother and sons left that office, that man, that cog high in the machine, that fool who followed that order and made that choice that sealed his fate and the fate of them 16 folk, well the only thing he was recognizable as was as a lump of bloody, swollen red meat that had been pummeled and pulverized ’bout just as much as a man can be and still be pronounced barely alive by the paramedics when they arrived shortly afterwards.

Yup, on that fateful day Milanovic got truly the living shit kicked out of him and kicked out real good. And all because he obeyed an order and didn’t pick up a phone and say ’bout 5 words into it.

And son, i tell this to you now and hope this day will never come. But it may be, it may in fact come to pass that YOU will one day find yourself in situation where you are given a direct order to simply look away. You will be given an order to do something as simple as leave a telephone alone, and they’ll tell you that refusal to follow this order will result in consequences that will be nothing but trouble for you.

Son, when this day comes, you remember ol’ Dragoljub, and you remember those 16 good folk who didn’t do nothin’ to no one, and you remember that that damned man deserved that damned beating, and you pick up that phone. And if them givin’ that evil order want to punish you, well sometimes a bad rain’ll fall and it’ll fall on the just and the unjust just as well. You take whatever petty punishments you gotta take and you walk away a good man with a clear conscience and leave the blood on the hands of other sons of bitches like ol’ Bill Clinton, Little Mighty Milosevic and that damned fool Dragoljub Milanovic.

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