Warren and Veran

It is known that few evenings before the assassination – in any case after the devastating text published in Politika Express that announced his killing - Ćuruvija called minister Vučić to see what’s going on. Vučić had, months prior to this, stripped his skin off with the fines that Telegraf was obliged to pay.

Slavko Ćuruvija (file)
Slavko Ćuruvija (file)

Warren from the title of this text is the Warren that chaired the so-called Warren’s Inquiry that used to investigate the assassination of J. F. Kennedy. Veran, on the other hand, is Veran Matić, who leads a body within Serbian Government launched two-to-three weeks ago, that has the goal of ascertaining the truth on the killings of three journalists. This is, namely, what connects two of them and their names, not just a humble imagination of the author of this article. They have in common several other things, among other things, what’s most important: their goal, to reveal the truth about the events that, each in its own way and format, tormented the conscience of the societies in which those incidents took place. But the differences between them are also significant, and those do not pertain solely to the difference between Kennedy and Ćuruvija. And they are not insignificant.

We’ll discuss differences later. Commissions of this type are common for the western world – they are established as super independent bodies in the situations critical for attaining the trust of the nation in some sensitive matter. This is a rule. Blair had, at one point, given to Lord Hutton the task to investigate murder (and the latter had claimed that it was a suicide) of an export on weaponry, certain Kelly. Meaning that such well-established judicial system such as English has been circumvented, can you imagine, as it is being challenged recently by the work of the recent Leveson’s Inquiry on the epochal scandal of Murdoch’s tabloids. There are other examples, but we do not want to bother you anymore. We shall only mention that in our country, after October 5, Kostunica formed the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation with somewhat broader tasks, but to no avail. It was not conceived as tradition.

Veran Matić is well known in public. The founder of B92, journalist, but he always preferred to be something other than that, journalist I mean. He is, actually, a journalist without any articles, as he practically doesn’t write. Veran Matić, however, since he became known publicly, has been chasing some action: agile, with an excess of positive social phantasy, as soon as he delivered the last incubator for the babies, entered into this investigative Commission. It remains unnoticed that one bizarre and rather draMatić peculiarity presents a burden to him – namely, as opposed to us, journalists-mortals – he is moving around Belgrade in a jeep under police protection that the Ministry of Interior had imposed on him, assessing that he needs protection due to the open programs he airs on B92. After a meeting, or reception, or any other occasion, you will go to catch a tram, while Veran Matić has to take direction dictated by police, in a disciplined manner. Well, that’s horrible. This could be pleasant to someone with retarded spirit, which is surely not the case with Matić.

What would motivate Veran Matić to engage himself in the story of Dada Vujasinović, Milan Pantić and Slavko Ćuruvija – into the story on their unresolved murders – better than the above described situation in which he himself lives day in day out. This restricted freedom to which he is confined due to the freedom he advocated on his B92, had undoubtedly been good motive. Anyway, Warren was – when appointed for the chief of team on the Kennedy assassination – president of the Supreme Court. Matić is editor in chief of a media company. This is that significant difference we referred to at the beginning of this text. And, if we could find any fault with this Matić’s commission, then it lies in its composition. Journalists that took part in it without any hesitation had embarked on something that, clearly, is not their job. Yet, when it turned out that it will not be only journalistic but rather journalistic-security-police group, the commission was additionally questioned. More sarcastic pen would here write that it is good that the tradition has changed and that it is better for the police and journalists to cooperate openly than secretly, but this author finds that those coalitions are more natural for a dictatorship than for a democratic society. Namely, I cannot imagine even Putin’s Russia where policemen and journalists sit together to resolve how journalist Anna Politkovskaya had lost her life.

Here, something like this is acceptable. When we mentioned the compositional flaw of the Commission, we could also mention that its flaw is also in the fact that it is politically sponsored. Maybe it is its main fault. Prime Minister Dačić – to reiterate what is general knowledge – was at the time of formidable events that the commission tries to resolve, high official of Milošević’s ruling party, while First Deputy Prime Minister Vučić, at least in the case of Ćuruvija, was the minister in the Government, Information Minister, to be more precise. Let’s presume that both of them nowadays want to show their better face, and they shouldn’t be reproached for this (alleged) intention. However, one thing is disturbing: there is too much hypocrisy there. They could have approved it in silence.

Let’s mention just two examples pertaining to the man that now assumes the status of deus ex machina. Example number one: this summer, around the time of constituting new government, Vučić has – as a precondition to take part in his TV show – requested from Dragan Bujošević to exclude one journalist (his name is known to this author) from the list of guests in the studio. Bujošević didn’t thank Vučić and tried to find some other guest, but he obediently accepted his requirement, as well as unwelcome journalist, alas, while the protagonist of this bullying, Vučić, had continued to lecture us on the freedom of speech and the dictatorship of the yellow party.

Second example is less tentative, but closer to the content we discuss in this article. Namely, it is known that few evenings before the assassination – in any case after the devastating text published in Politika Express that announced his killing - Ćuruvija called minister Vučić to see what’s going on. Vučić has, months prior to this, stripped his skin off with the fines that Telegraf was obliged to pay, etc. Still, when faced with disaster, every address seems to be rope for the salvation. If he is pioneer in everything, Vučić could have been pioneer in this also: his story probably wouldn’t reveal the fatal incident, but it would, without any doubt, evoke the fatal atmosphere in which we had lived back then. Commission shouldn’t miss the opportunity to introduce itself and the public with Vučić’s version of the story. This would, definitely, mean a lot.

Though lots of things pertaining to Matić’s commission is done in sorehead manner, what gives it the right to live is a little bit of Machiavellianism, that is to say, its highly moral goal (alleged task) it aspires to achieve. Although it aroused lots of confusion – starting from its name, via its mandate, to the method of its work and practical purpose of the whole business – all of this can be one day disregarded, under one condition: if it succeeds to achieve its goal. But, what should be considered a success in such a case? Commission has embarked into cold water – without rules of procedure, without similar procedural tools, without any experience. It cooperates with the police, and its goal is to prove that the police did its job in the past poorly. It has to go against the past of those who support it in the government today. And so on, and so forth. Those are its serious contradictions. Moreover, the fate of similar commissions is not in its favor. The outcome and the findings of both Warren’s and Hutton’s inquiries remained contradictory until this day. There’s almost nothing that works in Commission’s favor. So, one should be arrogant and go ahead with it. Or one should just have guts?