Ovako "Đidu" vidi Svetozar-Steve Pejovich. Tekst je na engleskom ali toplo preporučujem:
REMEMBERING MILOVAN DJILAS (1911-1995): HERO OR SOB
ON 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH
Dictators do not like malcontents. Milovan Djilas quarreled with Tito and ended up in jail. Leon Trotsky quarreled with Stalin and was murdered. Field Marshall Erwin Rommel conspired against Hitler and was ordered to poison himself. They all paid a price for displeasing their masters. Like thousands of other ‘traitors’, Trotsky and Rommel have joined the dust of history. However, Milovan Djilas seems destined for a pardon. The initiative for pardoning Djilas comes, mostly but not exclusively, from intellectuals in the West, and former communist and socialists in Montenegro and Serbia. Pardoning Djilas requires downplaying the crimes he committed as a top communist leader in 1941-1954, and inflating the importance of his post-1954 activities as a ‘dissident’.
This communication argues that attempts to exonerate Milovan Djilas are plain wrong. Whatever Djilas did after his break-up with Tito in 1954 does not eradicate the crimes he committed in 1941-1954.
Shortly before he died, Jovo Kapicic, one of the bloodiest if not bloodiest member of the Yugoslav version of KGB, asserted that Tito and Djilas were the only true communist revolutionaries in Yugoslavia. Responding to Djilas’ complaints about his treatment in Tito’s prison, Slobodan Penezic, chief of the Serbian version of KGB said (I am paraphrasing): ‘Why are you surprised? You were a founder of this regime and you know what to expect’. The remarks of Kapicic and Penezic have one single message: As a founder of the communist government in Yugoslavia, Djilas is co-responsible with other communist leaders for the crimes of that government after his break with Tito in 1954. This is an important point that Djilas’ defenders choose to gloss over.
Of course, people in the West read about communist crimes. However, they never experienced those crimes on their own skin. Short of moral consternation, the costs of crimes committed by the communist party of Yugoslavia had then little if any direct effect in the West. At the same time, Djilas was one of earliest dissidents to reach Western press with the stories about the sins of communism. Hence, Djilas’ writings and other activities in the post-1954 years provided significant benefits to both decision-makers and public-opinion makers in the West. I conjecture that simple cost-benefit analysis explains why Djilas gets a passing mark in the West.
It would take volumes to catalogue crimes Djilas committed first in his native Montenegro and later on in Yugoslavia. In 1941, Tito sent Djilas to Montenegro to organize and control the uprising against foreign invaders and domestic traitors (meaning all opponent of communism). Djilas and his fellow communists considered the so-called people’s uprising merely as the façade of words hiding the true objective: the communist revolution. Djilas eagerly used his power to order directly or to condone indirectly the slaughter of hundreds of intellectuals, businessmen and civic leaders in Montenegro. Djilas wanted those people dead not because of what they did but because of who they were. They were respected Montenegrins who could not be counted on to support the communist revolution. Djilas’ usual remark to his underlings was ‘kill that dog’.
Eventually, Montenegrins had enough of communist terror. Under the leadership of Pavle Djurisic (whose battle slogan was: “the red star is not our star”) they threw the communists out of Montenegro and were able to keep them out for about two years. Today, Pavle Djurisic has a monument at the Monastery of St. Sava in Libertyville, IL. In Montenegro today, the memories of war years are different. Djurisic is forgotten while Djilas’ crimes are downplayed by being officially named as ‘left deviations’; that is, as forgivable political errors.
Immediately after the communist captured Belgrade in 1944, Djilas got total and unrestrained powers over media, radio, movies, and all other means of thought-control. In effect his position in the postwar years was no different from that of Joseph Goebbels in Nazi Germany. And his use of power was the same. Let me mention just a few examples that I am familiar with. Speaking to a group of elementary and high school teachers in 1950, Djilas literally shouted: “I want to know if there is a teacher in New Yugoslavia who believes in God.” In the early 1950s, Belgrade Radio hired a group of young English and German speaking students to read foreign language broadcasts. They knew foreign languages because their parents were the upper middle class. But the “class’ their parents belonged to was enough for Djilas to order the director of Belgrade Radio (I believe the director was Draza Markovich) to immediately fire ‘bourgeoisie elements’. At about the same time, several people were caught selling goods in the black market. Everybody was in the black market in those days. So those individuals got light jail sentences. Djilas, who in those days spoke forcefully about ‘forging the new man’ disagreed. He wrote an article in daily newspaper accusing the trial judge of bourgeoisie mentality and saying that those individuals should be shot. Indeed, those poor guys were immediately retried and shot.
Djilas was a high priest of Marxism-Leninism. In the service of that ideology he committed and/or condoned unspeakable crimes in 1941-1954. Exonerating Djilas for the crimes he committed is plain wrong for at least two reasons. First, Djilas was a major player in the communist regime; thus, forgiving his crimes falsifies the history of the communist rule in Yugoslavia. Second, downplaying Djilas’ crimes and inflating his post 1954 behavior provides future generations with wrong behavioral incentives. It informs them that it is OK to kill in the service of an ideology because writing a few books critical of that ideology is all it takes to be forgiven and even hailed as heroes.
As for Djilas’ conversion in the post-1954 years, careful reading of his work suggests a series of transformations: from a radical Marxist to a communist reformer; from a communist reformer to a socialist; and from a socialist to a left-wing social-democrat. Clearly, the stability of convictions was not Djilas’ trump card. Djilas never accepted methodological individualism, classical liberalism, and the private-property, free-market capitalism. Perhaps he died before making yet another political transformation.
In conclusion, glorifying Djilas as a fighter for liberty is almost pornographic. I believe that Milovan Djilas was masochist and psychopath. And that conclusion, which is not lightly made, finds its justification in Djilas’ activities, his writings, and the remarks of his close comrades.
Svetozar (Steve) Pejovich
Texas A&M University