The Confederate Flag Debate: What it Indicates

My nephew, who’s African American, shared this on his Facebook page. We had a good laugh about the butt flags.


But seriously, I’m hearing a lot of White people talking about how this damn Confederate flag business is not a big deal, that First Amendment rights are being trampled, and there are lots of other things we could be focusing on that are more important. I thought a Krajina Serb perspective on this issue might be helpful.

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A Fate Worse than Death

Yeah, there were actually two different punishments for breaking that taboo. The guy would get killed, and the girl would get a fate worse than death.

Sure, don’t you remember those Westerns? There’d be that lady who gets kidnapped in some battle, and then one day the soldiers bring her back to the Fort, with a couple of cute little Indian kids in tow the camera pays no attention to. Then there’d always be that old battle-ax who’d be sneering with disgust, “I would a’ killed myself first.”

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Slaves and Hated Ghetto Thugs

So how does it feel to be a walking basket case of all the symptoms of people who’ve been slaves — or exploited, hated ghetto ‘thugs,’ for 530 years? Many Black people apparently don’t know, because they have rarely noticed that’s what has been going on with me.

I have been really, really good at being a ‘White girl’ in this culture. I say ‘this’ culture, meaning within the American Black subculture, which is why I’ve survived here for 45 years. I’ve been really good at it because I’m an imposter playing a role to please the people around me, discouraged from being who I really am, or saying what I really think, except maybe one-on-one, behind closed doors.  Like people were ashamed of me, or annoyed with me calling any kind of attention to myself.

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Land of Blood and Bullshit

bosnia-92I came across Angelina Jolie’s movie, “Land of Blood and Honey” on Netflix. I didn’t realize it was hers at first and watched curiously to see if there might be anything worthwhile. The movie opened with a title describing Bosnia as one of the most diverse countries in Europe, where everyone was living in harmony.
The first few minutes were about two nice young women and a baby.

I remembered what my Srpkinja friend had told me a few weeks ago, that Serbs are darker than Bosniaks (Muslim Bosnians) and noted that the movie had that switched, as I’d expected. You could easily fool Americans with this, Americans expect the opposite. (We Serbs were chattel to Middle Eastern people for half a millenium, don’t forget. That’s what happens. You just start looking like the people chattelizing you, I guess by magic, you just admire them so much.) Then she has a date with the fairer-complected Serb.

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Ustasha Survivor, Danko Milakovich

Ustasha survivor

Mr. Danka Milakovi?

Photographed by the interviewer-author,

Mr. Lazar Lukaji?

From the book, “Friars and Ustashas are Slaughtering” (Fratri i ustashe koljuby) by Lazar Lukaj

“During the slaughter of winter 1942 I was at home with my grandmother Jovanka and mother Todora and two more children, my two brothers, Bogoljub who was 6 [years old] and Milenko who was one [years old]. My mother was 35 then. My father Stojan was in hiding. Grandmother Jovanka, my father’s mother, was saying that men were on the run. She says that they [the Ustashas] are not going to do anything to the women and children. There were three of us, children–Bogoljub, Milenko and myself. That morning, as we saw many Ustashas coming from down there, from [Croatian majority village of] Ivanjska, we were petrified.
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The Woods of Brezje

I wrote this story last week, after translating the Prkos document.

The Woods of Brezje*

(*J’s are Y’s)

Nismo znali tko smo, ali smo znali
We didn’t know who we were, but we knew

She regarded me with an insolent air of superiority. “You’re really into that, aren’t you?”

She stood several inches shorter than me, as if to emphasize her superior femininity, half her height draped in exquisite blond curls, framing a face even more beautiful.

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Green Velvet

city-of-rabI’m reading Rebecca West’s “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.”  She’s considered the leading female intellectual of the first half of the twentieth century writing in the English language.  This was considered her magnum opus.  It’s supposedly a travel log, but it’s really West on the Balkans through the ages.  She loved us. The book’s 1200 pages, but I’ll be sorry when it’s done.

So, the other day I read of her travels to the city of Rab on the Dalmation Coast in 1935.  The first day they arrived they jumped in the ocean and paddled around so that they could take in the view of the town.   She was in raptures.  Built during the Renaissance by the South Slavs, it’s of a piece with other Aegan architecture of the time, and then it’s not.  It’s entirely original, in a sublime way.
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Lords and Peasants, All

Just starting Rebecca West’s chapter on Serbia.  Oh goodie.  It’s starting off better than I’d hoped.  Constantine, who’s really Stanislav kul-vinaver-smallVinaver, Serb poet, is our tour guide.  Brilliant, witty, incessantly chatty, a renowned seducer.  We shall be entertained.  The first memorable phrase he uses in referring to the Serb “lord and peasant.”  That’s not referring to two separate classes, but to the two aspects of the Serbian everyman’s identity.
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