Moral Atheist (I)



Mira Markovic


I have no other explanation to my reaction to the interview that Zeljko Mitrovic, the owner of TV Pink had given to some Zagreb based newspapers several months ago, except that my reaction is caused by the fact that he CROSSED THE BOUNDARY OF GOOD TASTE. Others had also, due to fear or pure interest, or only due to their personal nothingness, distanced themselves from JUL, minimizing their role in the party, thanks to which they radically changed their material and status circumstances. But nobody, not that I am aware of, had said anything negative about JUL.

Zeljko Mitrovic had, in the course of these seven years, given ugly statements on JUL. I myself had read one of them in the plane, getting back from The Hague, six years ago. I haven’t given any significance to what I have read. It was gross, immoral and false, and I thought – this is his honor at stake.

Two months ago, I’ve been informed from my friends in Belgrade about this interview he gave to Zagreb paper and all of them thought that I should react to that. Recently, I have got excerpt from that interview published in our newspapers. This is what I have to say about it.

First of all – Zeljko Mitrovic claims that he was “JUL’s member”, that what he did in JUL, he did “on a professional, not political basis” and that this “politics has served as an umbrella to him”.

The first statement is partly right, the second is false and the third is true.

Here’s why I say this. Immediately after JUL was established, my comrade M.T. has brought to my office the owner of Pink, introducing him as a man whose television has nothing to do with Arkan and Milorad Vucelic. It is only his. I was very much surprised why he had been telling me that as that was irrelevant to me. I have hardly heard of that television. And I couldn’t care less who is its owner. As for Zeljko Mitrovic’s distancing himself from those two persons in my presence, was quite rude. My husband had refused to extradite Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan to the Hague jail when Madeleine Albright had requested it. On the other hand, Milorad Vucelic was high official of SPS (Socialist Party of Serbia) more or less since its inception and for a while general manager of the state television. But I have elegantly ignored this distancing. I have asked several conventional questions and the visitors had left.

Immediately after that, I have been informed that Zeljko Mitrovic had become JUL member and that he expresses great interest for the work within the party. And he was given the opportunity to do so. To be honest, he was at party’s service for all as main initiator of his own activities. We have already had our own marketing department, nice and unusual. Zeljko has joined this marketing business right away, showing great enthusiasm. He had overwhelmed us with the marketing and OTHER ideas. He came to the party headquarters very often. He had established close party contacts, and afterwards personal ones with the lots of people from JUL’s management. “JUL is COOL”, this very nice and popular slogan was his idea and he thought of it at the beginning of his presence in JUL and aired it often on his television. He used to show us his media ideas on the monitor in JUL for hours, as well as at his home, he liked that we watch his proposals together, to select them and make decisions… Soon, he visited party headquarters every single day.

In 1996, he was on the SPS-JUL-New Democracy election list for the federal members of parliament and as our candidate he used to be MP in the Federal Assembly for four years. In the pre-election campaign, he took part as the MP candidate, that is to say, as an active member of the party. His marketing activities were part of it, but if it was the only field of his activity, this would not be enough for the MP candidacy. He used to work in our marketing department as the author, member of JUL, would have written for JUL, the singer sang, but nobody would have task to write or sing, but to be politically active, in the first place. That was the rule that he also had to obey. After all, at a time, marketing was done by others, as well, the people that were not JUL members, but were professionally engaged and paid for their services.

During the protests of coalition “Together” back in 1996, he had on his own initiative launched, with another JUL party member, the newspaper FLASH, where he wanted to “unmask“ protest’s leaders, main people from the opposition. Several issues were printed and the newspaper has extinguished itself with the end of protests.

For the first JUL Congress in 1998, with his Pink crew, he of his own accord, had done everything relating to marketing of the Congress – scene design of the meeting, and the rest, and he financed it although nobody had asked him to do so. When it comes to his work, what we could see, or at least me, his work was genuinely sincere, nice and full of sacrifice. He was the candidate for the member of the Managing Board. At the end of Congress, the names of the selected Board members had appeared on the monitor, and Mitrovic’s name was not among them, as someone had discreetly informed me, adding that he rushed out of there, completely desperate. This was just an oversight. He was very active in the party, MP, it was logical that he becomes not only the candidate but the member of Managing Board. I have immediately called him and talked to a really desperate man. He had started to enumerate excitedly all that he had done for JUL, showing his love for JUL, and I agreed with him and asked him to come to my house. I have informed him that this was a mistake and that we will immediately straighten it out. And we did. Prior to going home, we have contacted media and informed them that they should add his name on the list of the members of the managing board. We have reached the residency at about the same time. He came with his wife. It goes without saying that I wouldn’t talk about visual and verbal details of his desperation. I have consoled him in the salon where we sat and where my husband had joined us later. I have explained to him what happened. We have talked for a while, making jokes about this oversight and Zeljko’s reaction to it, and then I called other friends, and we all went to dinner in a small restaurant at Ada. Zeljko was comforted. Tomorrow’s papers included his name on the list of the members of the board. A month later, when we established JUL’s bodies, we have appointed Zeljko head of our marketing center. Director of this center, along with the presidents of the committees of JUL for different departments was ranked as the members of the Directorate, so they were present in that capacity on the Directorate’s sessions. We haven’t told him in advance about our plans. He read about it in the papers and saw that he become JUL’s high official. He called me immediately upon reading this, in exaltation, thanking me million times. But one sentence rings in my head: “Thank you so much! You’ll see, you won’t regret it. It will be the best center for marketing in the country”. And it was true. He got spacious office in the reconstructed JUL Directorate’s building, he equipped it fully, with many monitors and other devices that seemed impressive. He brought several people from Pink to work there. He used to run endlessly all day long from Pink to JUL. I still think that he was genuinely happy that he was given the opportunity to do that.

November 24, 2007.

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged | Leave a comment

Moral Atheist (II)



Mira Markovic


From the very beginning of his presence in JUL, he went to many places all over Serbia where I used to give speeches, uninvited and very interested. He called me to visit Pink, to address his employees, claiming that the whole crew would become members of JUL. I have visited Pink as I didn’t want to disappoint him, honestly speaking, and gave a short speech. I have considered his agitation for joining JUL rude, as I talked in front of people that hadn’t known me in person, but were brought there on the request of their employer. Surely, I hadn’t expected that all of them join our party. It would be unrealistic, and even if it happens, it would be insincere, and generally pointless. This proposal was one of Zeljko’s fervors to which he was inclined.

When on March 23, 1999, we had established JUL war headquarters that was active for 77 days, Zeljko immediately became member of this body. We had met and discussed things every day. On those meetings, we had made a decision about defending Belgrade bridges. JUL city board was in charge for the implementation, headed by Slobodan Cerovic, its president, and naturally, Zeljko engaged people from Pink in this campaign. They have been on Branko Bridge every evening, members of JUL City board, almost entire management of JUL, Zeljko and his team from Pink, and of course, many citizens. Zeljko was an inspired anti-NATO agitator, proud of his patriotic and JUL’s activity. At the end of December of that same year, he furnished on his own initiative JUL’s Press center, so he asked me to bring my husband to see it. So, we came together. Center was impeccable. I am not sure who of the two of them said: “Just as the Press center in Pentagon”. We have been delighted, especially me.

He used to follow the activities of the municipalities where JUL won locally, and made self-intentionally great film about the successes that those communities had achieved during four-year of JUL’s reign.

Prior to the 2000 elections, he was again among the candidates for the federal assembly on our list. He had participated in the campaign with his usual enthusiasm. He was engaged in the marketing activities for the whole party, of course. He was especially proud of his slogan “It is the people who will decide, not NATO”. The whole Serbia was plastered with the billboards carrying this slogan, in summer and early September 2000. I am not aware of the fact that he was engaged in the marketing of some other political party. If so, this would be very unnatural, awkward, as Zeljko was one of the most inspired DOS critics and of their candidate for president, Vojislav Kostunica. If he did engage himself in the marketing for someone else, besides JUL, then it would have been someone from DOS. It is very hard for me to believe in this as Zeljko Mitrovic was one of the most active JUL members, truly devoted to its policies, close to many managing board members, he was completely in JUL’s story since he entered into JUL till the elections that was held on September 24, 2000.

So, the first statement that he was only “JUL member” is partly true. He was JUL member, but not he was not only its member, but also its high official, member of parliamentary club for four years and member of its main board, and afterwards the director of its Marketing Centre, along with being the member of JUL war headquarters. I have personally appointed him to be head of party organization of JUL in Prijepolje.

The second statement that he worked on JUL’s marketing “professionally and not politically”, it is false. He used to do marketing for JUL as a party activist, the best and the hardest as he could. When we needed the assistance of the professionals, we hired them, as we did prior and after Zeljko. Our nicest billboards, and the most popular ones, those with flowers – “LOVELY, LOVELIEST – LEFT”, “JUL IN JULY”, “THE HEART IS ALSO ON THE LEFT SIDE”, “JUL IN NOVEMBER” (billboard for the elections 1996) was not done by him. Non-party professional work for JUL was paid. Zeljko had insisted to do that as a party activist and member of the board, in the same time being an expert and a man of fortune, so he wanted to help the party, working on its marketing and financing what he can in that particular field of work.

So, both of these statements are false and dishonest.

The statement that he “used politics as an umbrella” is, unfortunately, true. However, he didn’t strike me back then as a man driven solely by his personal interests, although he did realize them all along his, as he says, non-political engagement in JUL. From a small, barely known, television, that he owned on the day when he rushed into my premises to pledge that he had nothing to do with Arkan and Vucelic, until September 2000, Pink had become very popular TV station. In this period, he has built big, nice and modern villa for himself on Dedinje, and a big TV premises, also on Dedinje. In this period, he became entirely different man, in a material, status and professional sense. It goes without saying that he did it due to his personal capacities, but also backed with the support of JUL, that is to say, its influential friends from JUL, on various high positions on the state level, and on the Republic level, that involved the activities he used to deal with, meeting all his requirements. Not only those from JUL that were high-positioned, but also thanks to those that assumed certain positions because of JUL.

I have no trading gene in me, I have never calculated gains and losses, I was not born in the horoscope sign of Libra to weigh endlessly this and that, but I was born in an unhappy and often clumsy Cancer sign, but nonetheless, I am certain that Zeljko got from JUL more than he gave. He got EVERYTHING that JUL could offer, and it was a lot. He knew that and took advantage.

And when JUL lost on the elections, he didn’t lose his assets, on the contrary. He increased them. How did he do that? By finding another politics to serve to him “as an umbrella”. Under one, July’s politics as “an umbrella”, he made significant television station, he became famous and rich, built up his villa, his TV castle, became MP, met many influential people in power, from the chief of state via ministers to significant directors and presidents of local communities, etc. Under present politics as “an umbrella”, he became even richer and more famous, but in order to place himself under that “umbrella”, he had to minimize his role in JUL, and to defame JUL. Those lies and libels were needed so that he could place himself under the “umbrella” that enabled him to buy off ships, trucks and airplanes, and to keep bragging that he has a billion dollar in front of the people of seven and a half million population (without Kosovo), out of which over one million of them were unemployed. Whoever from the present regime, close to him, and which he calls democratic (he, the flustered enemy of DOS and Vojislav Kostunica from 2000), reads Zeljko Mitrovic’s statement that the politics served him back then only as “an umbrella”, should not be surprised at all. It goes not only for the past, but that is the case now. With the help of the then policy, he became rich, with the help of the present one, he became swaggering rich. We, former ones, hadn’t known that we were used as “an umbrella”. Those present ones have no reason to doubt that they serve as “an umbrella”. Had we known that we were “his umbrella”, he wouldn’t be under it for a single day. The present ones know that they are just “an umbrella”, and they keep him under it. I don’t know why. But they do, some of them, at least.

Until I read this interview, I would never thought, not even after gross statements about JUL, that Zeljko used our party as an umbrella. Quite opposite. I would defend him in front of others, should someone said so. But, then again, he said that himself. I guess he knew better than me what were his genuine motives.

December 8, 2007

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment