Jasmina Tesanovic, Belgrade
Scorpions Srebrenica Trial
Day Three: March 15, 2006
The Tin Soldier
I repeat, we should not mix anymore. This is not healthy, it is perverse, it is sickening: my gay friend, a Woman In Black, is looking at the Scorpion witness today and saying: he is so cute...
In his early thirties, dressed in a fancy suit, with an upright muscled body, he lies at full speed. His voice is scarcely audible, so that his contradictions cannot be followed. We, the audience, are huge today. Most of us are law students, led by their right wing professor from Belgrade law school, who thinks very well of the Scorpions, and very badly of all other ethnic communities on this territory. They are the clerico-fascist party in the government coalition; in the nineties, they used to be Milosevic's best allies, supporters of his troops such as Scorpions.
The "cute" witness was in his teens back then. Today he is obviously a professional criminal, blackmailed and pampered by his famous commander, who still makes them all tremble with his praises or scoldings.
Back then, the Tin Soldier was a war orphan, hired to drive a truck. A truck full of food-tins, he claims: food for the troop. Today he remembers nothing, or next to nothing, of names places deeds words. Not even one Name, not even one Place.
He has become a true geek, autistic and narrowly determined. He is a Tin Soldier, whose emptiness clanks like an empty tin, its contents eaten by Scorpions. He says he has no friends, no wife, just a boss whom he drives. The Tin Soldier needs no money for his expenses. He just wants to go. He says, many many times, as any answer to judge's questions; "everything is possible."
[image: Detail of interior house wall, Serbia, by Aleksandra Radonić]
The Commander, who has eaten his soul and heart, explains this amnesia or dementia of the tin soldier: I myself acted as a British secret agent in the Second World War. Nobody knew of my movements or whereabouts. I was under cover, I was in disguise. My skills are numerous. One day I was the postman. Tomorrow, the commander...
The ego of this maniac is expanding beyond the boundaries of safety. His followers are fascinated and smiling at him as if drugged. They are aggressive toward those of us who are plainly disgusted.
As I said, we should not mingle anymore. It is becoming dangerous. These guys are still very dangerous, on either side of the law, and on any side of prison bars. They can explode in a moment, returning to their patterns of violence. Their next trial will relate to some other mass grave: the same methods, the same people, only different location, more innocent victims, and perpetrators with animals tattooed on their bodies.
One of the Scorpions in the audience with us has a bizarre symbol tattooed on his bald head. He is huge, and his eyes are blank and shining. He looks really scary and mute, like a Golem. The Golem looks brainwashed, lobotomized really. I say to my friend: it is the brain he tattooed on his head, since he has no brain in his skull. He overhears my comment and blinks.
The last witness is a real soldier. He is not very much of a liar, for obviously he does not have much to hide. He was on the front-lines, fighting enemy artillery, without artillery of his own. His solders were wounded and killed. He was not brave, he admits, on that battle-front.
However, he gives a very precise and heartfelt account of the bravery of his idols, the Commanders. The Commander was a brave man. He never abandoned his men to the enemy fire. He always tried to take us back away from the front-line with him, to where it was less dangerous.
While he is saying this, I realize that he is not aware that he was physically braver than his commander. He just stated that as a presumed fact. He fought the senseless war without a word while his Commander ordered it and then retreated to safety.
But yes, I am not the only one to comprehend this. Among the Scorpions in the audience, in burst of foul language, a very loud guys comments: it wasn’t him who gave the orders, you idiot! The big boss was even braver! Frenki was braver, and he was in Serbia at the time.
Frenki was a Milosevic chief of the police, now indicted in Hague. The links in this chain of crime are connecting like a network. I still notice incredible parallels between women' s activist world networking and this war-crime solidarity. We simply have completely opposite values and definitions of bravery. My gay friend is brave enough NOT to fight any war.
The role model for the Scorpions are cruel outlaws like Milosevic: just like him, until he died in Hague, they learned how to defend themselves in courts: by using totemic words, such as Homeland, Serbia, Guns, Territories.
We women have and need none of those things.
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Previous posts on BoingBoing:
- Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
- Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
- The Long Goodbye
- Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
- Slobodan Milosevic Died
- Milosevic Funeral
- Link to previous posts about Jasmina's work.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.