This article by Dejan Vuković originally appeared on 13.3.2014 at frontal.ba
Around noon today right in the city centre of Banjaluka an interesting scene unfolded: as a young man parked his delivery van in front of a building in order to make a delivery to one of the flats, another man descended on him like a fury, getting out of his new Passat and demanding that the kid move his van immediately so that he could park his car. They got into a heated argument.
“Move that van right this second, you loser! Who gave you the right to park there? Who do you think you are?” roared the enraged proud owner of a new, dark blue Passat at the kid.
The kid seemed puzzled, so he tried to explain that he was making a delivery and that he would be done in literally three minutes. However, the slick loudmouth in a suit didn’t care about such work of lesser people, so he continued shouting and threatening him in front of disbelieving passers-by. In the end, the kid had to get in the van and move it. As he did so, he directed a few choice swear words both at the state and at the owner of the Passat, upon which the latter really lost it and physically went for the kid. Luckily, the Passat was still in the middle of the street and other drivers were honking their horns for it to move, which prevented a more serious escalation.
If you’re not from around here, you’d probably think that something’s amiss here. True, people park just anywhere nowadays, they don’t even keep main entrances free. And so many young people are impolite and don’t respect their elders. But in this specific case, a few of the passers-by knew this proud owner of the Passat and discreetly whispered how this was one of those typical local “businessmen” who have managed to get rich in these times we live in, such as they are. He’s barely gone to school enough to drive a delivery van himself (which his vocabulary made abundantly clear), but now he’s a proud car owner and esteemed member of the community at whom you can only swear when he can’t hear it.
One reaction especially was interesting. An older gentleman was talking to his neighbour and said the following: “There’d be no sin in ending that slick dog right where he stands. Who let that motherf*cker here to terrorise people? What did the poor kid ever do to him? All these little sh*ts ought to just be exterminated. If I had a gun, I would have brought down my own judgement on him. I’m at the end of my road anyway…”
Even more interesting was the way everybody around him was reacting: they were nodding, clearly sharing the man’s opinion.
But even more than that, I was shocked by my own reaction. I didn’t mind that idea at all!
Normally, I am a quiet man and any aggression is alien to me. I’ve never wished anyone any harm. But decades of living in a society that no longer knows any ethical ideals, no longer has a sense of justice and honour, where moderation no longer exists thanks to arrogant politicians, where regular people truly have no opportunities, has slowly started turning us, regular people, into animals. Wrath, suffering and despair have been festering inside us far too long. Humanity is being replaced by rage and a thirst for revenge.
Our elite has treated regular people like dumb circus animals that just need to be trained properly. They saw themselves as the trainers with a license to do whatever they want to us. In time, we did, indeed, start turning into wild beasts. Humiliated and abused, our systematically destroyed dignity now thirsts for revenge and brutality towards our abusers.
This is truly frightening. It’s gone too far. Better than any political or economical analysis, these “small” scenes from everyday life illustrate the reality we live in. It seems no one understands that things need to fundamentally change, that the people need some modicum of justice, some opportunity to direct that vast destructive energy toward something better, something useful. The power holders need to finally understand that the citizens aren’t their enemies and that the people’s grievances transcend the political games they play with the opposition.
Otherwise, unless things change quickly and significantly, this won’t end well.