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03 Feb 12

The Bigger They are, the Harder They Fall

Dusica L.I. Cook

This possibly isn't the most appropriate proverb but this is the only one that comes to my mind when thinking about the TV Duel: Jovanovic – Dodik.

I don’t want to go into who said what and why or why not, but just to analyse the two opponents in this “comic” television programme we watched on the 1st February 2012, the TV Duel by Tanjug, after Jovanovic’s statement that Republika Srpska was built on genocide.

When you don’t think much about it, it seems that apart from the ethnic similarities, there are so many things that make a difference between these two politicians and it is hard to compare them.

Nonetheless, when we have two public figures in a television duel, it is impossible to ignore the urge to compare them and one starts to wonder.

Almost one and a half hour into this duel I realised that my initial theory of them being different beyond comparison was true. It also proved that being raised in a village or in a city makes all the difference in interpersonal communication, public behaviour and appearance, as well as the opinion a person has of oneself.

We say a duel, and indeed – a match it was! If it really were a match, let’s say, a tennis match, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, with this loss, Bosnia and Herzegovina would have been taken off any list. No points scored, no elegance shown, no ball well received, and – tragically for the Laktasi-boy (Lb in the rest of the text)– no ball well sent, either!

Obviously, this was not a match between the two countries, but – even more tragically for the “Lb” (I like this, goes with his posture, resembling a counterweight) – between Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska.

Obviously, in reality this cannot happen, as the latter is not a country, but an entity within a state and the state is called Bosnia and Herzegovina. So, bringing the whole story down to this level of simplification, an-almost-a-half of one state’s one-man-team was totally destroyed by the other state’s one-man-team.

Of course, one can further argue that the parallel cannot easily be made, as one (Lb) won the little-bit-less-than-a-half-presidential elections with 50.52% of votes (since he is a president of the entity covering 49% of the country), while the other did not win with 5.34% of the votes for the other, in this case, whole country. In percentages it looks like an impressive difference, but when you bring it down to numbers, the difference between the numbers of voters is less than 2:3 for Dodik. Very relative, especially in politics.

Now, what changes these numbers is what the politicians show us of themselves. If our fellow-countrymen from Republika Srpska wanted to see what was happening on this TV duel, they would have been ashamed by this large, rude man representing them. Not only was he rude to his opponent, young(ish) Jovanovic, but he confirmed his lack of respect for the media, by telling the moderator journalist off on a number of occasions.

All of that was nothing else but a sign of political impotence and thorough absence of any value one should seek in a politician representing them. I noticed him nose-picking and I wondered, throughout the duel, whether he was going to eat that, or was saving it for later?

It is not easy to notice that Milo and Cedo had almost an equal number of interruptions made during the talk of the opponent, because the latter was calmer, more polite and, overall, more eloquent.

And, although Milo leads in the brutal interruptions of the moderator, Cedo does not lag much behind. All in all, 40:24 in media intolerance and 55:51 in lack of parliamentary manner; obviously, Dodik wins in these disciplines.

But, what is it that brought everyone in this region to comment and especially lead those living in Bosnia and Herzegovina (obviously, more open commenters from the Federation than from RS) to speak up? Cedomir is the one people associate with the arrest of Milosevic, he came out in favour of Kosovo’s independence, and he believes that the only way Serbia has in reconciliation with Bosniaks, Croats and Albanians is through facing the crimes committed by Serb military and paramilitary forces in the 1990s wars.

On the other hand, Milorad openly says that a man is free to change his opinions, and there are so many cases of this happening in his case regarding Srebrenica genocide, Tuzla and Markale massacres, Karadzic’s role and “heroism” and so on (the list is long).

From what we saw on TV, I could nothing else by conclude that one of them (guess which one) believes in morals and truly wants prosperity for his country, while the other (guess again if you guessed wrongly before) works very hard on promoting himself as a wrangler and backwoodsman.

Mind you, my teenage daughter came to the same conclusion.

Despite several (close to nationalistic) media, majority says BH politicians have lost the most in this match, no matter their physical absence from the playground. Reactions are pouring from everywhere, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Belgrade, and yet, this will be a yesterday’s story just in a day or two. I wonder whether this will change anything in the minds of the people who vote for one and not for the other (in their respective countries).

Moreover, many wonder what message have the politicians (those in power) in Bosnia and
Herzegovina learned from this duel? Are they ashamed of not being as strong, dedicated and straight-forward in their talks with Dodik? I hope they understood the message from the photo circulating the net, showing Jovanovic saying: “If I ever make an anatomical gift, I’d gladly offer my balls to the BH politicians.”

And, to close, since Dodik said in this duel that he is “a big Serb of 194 cm and 115 kg”, I wish he would take into consideration what the people say: the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Talk about it!

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