Speak your mind freely if you dare

jahorina-zastava-srpska     british-flag

When I have the money, I’ll be happy. When I have a stable relationship, I’ll feel fulfilled. When I have a good job, I’ll be at peace. This sort of perverted logic is typical of twisted minds because we are rarely told and hardly by anyone the truths such as: when you are happy in poverty, money will come later, when you feel fulfilled in your solitude, you will be in a relationship after that, when you feel at peace in your uncertainty, you will get a job afterwards.

We all think we should have first so that we can be. Happy, fulfilled, loved, in love, rich, beautiful… And actually, it is the other way round. We should be first. Honest, consistent, well-intentioned, humane, compassionate. And having itself comes later.

And in that pursuit of acquiring and having we imperceptibly become slaves of capitalism. We threw off medieval shackles, we are no longer persecuted by the state security service, we do not fear the Church, we get artificially served freedom on capitalist gilded plates telling us that our real value is our market value.

Fast food, a supermarket express lane, a highway fast lane, fast Internet… But slow lives. Everybody is bored; love, right judgement and personal merits are overdue in everyone’s life. There is something wrong there because neither products nor services are sold today, just time. This is how it goes with this instant McDonald’s generation. Only now matters. That is why love and friendship have been devalued, because they take time.

Illustration: Marian Kamenski

Illustration: Marian Kamenski

With all that political correctness, we have become humanly incorrect. With all that tolerance, we have become intolerant towards those who have no tolerance. Today you are free to think whatever you want, but you’ll be better off if you do it silently. Today you can love whoever you want, but you’d better do it within your own four walls. Today everybody may say whatever they want, but nobody dares to.

In that artificially made world that is real to us, capitalist freedom has become a uniform that everyone can wear, a perfume everyone can apply and a passport anyone can use to go anywhere they want to. And that is far from freedom. In a world where anyone can supposedly do anything, but knows very well what must not be done, everybody thinks the same, looks the same, nods in approval of the same. In such a world, there is no freedom.

That is why fledglings have their wings clipped as soon as they spread them, the curious have their tongues ripped out once they utter something, the tame have their shins broken the moment they learn how to walk. They are forced to sign pacts with the Devil, executioners and murderers on silence and intellectual isolation just to be able to survive. They know they will live to see the dawn only if they do not ask questions, if they do not draw conclusions, if they do not practise broad-mindedness and if they do not express their opinions in public. Even though all this is permitted today. But within your own walls.

Today those walls are the last bastions of defence when it comes to the little  humanity and compassion remaining in us. Those walls are our souls, our heads, our families, our children. That is why we need more love, courage and consistency to survive, because out there, if you do not wear a modern capitalist swastika on your upper arm, you will not die by the bullet like back then, but of hunger you will.

Translated from the Serbian by Svetlana Milivojević-Petrović