A typical Sunday evening in the TV Pink studio. Regular guests, Olivera Zekić from REM, TV Hepi editor Milomir Marić and Vladimir Đukanović, MP, progressive functionary and attorney-advisors of various eligible suspicious persons gathered in the show "Hit tvit". The guests settled in with host Verica Bradić and ignited the usual story about domestic traitors and foreign mercenaries in the media, delivering another dose of traditional radical-progressive propaganda to an unappreciated audience.
In the middle of this cheerful chatter, a disturbing message broke through the show: "In Zubin Potok at 7:45 p.m. shots were heard, when Kurti's special forces tried to remove the barricades". A blurred video taken from Telegram, the favourite Putinophile network, was also broadcast, in which nothing can be seen, but a burst of gunfire can be heard. Another recording was broadcast as proof that the long-desired and called-for war had finally begun.
The show was interrupted, Zekić went somewhere, to a new work assignment, the guests moved to another studio, and they were joined by other regular Vučić analysts such as the editor of "Informer" Dragan J. Vučićević and the director of "Srpski telegraf" Saša Milovanović, and they continued to inflame war atmosphere. And that in a hastily organized show under the unequivocal title "Rat uživo" or “Live War”.
Mass war hysteria
Authorized interpreter of the Serbian reality, DJ Vučićević, explained to his colleagues and dear viewers what they see and hear in the recordings: "Serbs on the barricades were attacked, there are not only men among them, but also women and children". Other eligible media also joined the general war-mongering spree, we went back to the beginning of the nineties by the time you said: "hit" or "tweet". The Kosovo police attacked endangered Serbs while they were peacefully fulfilling their duty at the barricade, Kurti's criminal regime spares nothing to defeat the unruly Serbs, and the state of Serbia must react and protect the weak - that was roughly the unanimous conclusion of Vučić's bodies on duty.
While the propagandists did their work, the president of Serbia did not sit idly by either. He held an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and the military leadership and ordered the Chief of the General Staff Milan Mojsilović to start the road to Raška from these steps. Mojsilović replied with a military "I understand! And it's not difficult for me", and immediately shot to Sandžak. By the way, he appeared live on a television program, and when asked what actually happened in Zubin Potok, what can be seen on the video - he could not answer, because he clearly has no idea. After all, as if what happens, in reality, is important, something else is much more important. "I'm currently on my way, I'm travelling to Raška, the tasks given to the Serbian Army are precise and clear and will be fully implemented and realized as such", said the submissive general using the military vocabulary that does not tolerate arguments and hesitates to think about whether they have issued orders of any meaning.
On Monday, Vučić ordered the Serbian Army and all units of the MIA to be on the highest level of combat readiness, for the sixth time in the last five years. The heavy artillery was moved from the barracks in Raška to the border with Kosovo, so that during the day the howitzers turned to the left and were returned to the barracks, to their initial position. War hysteria spread throughout the obedient patriotic media, whose basic content has been targeting the enemy, inciting war and keeping citizens in a state of mental combat readiness for years.
News also arrived on Sunday that Patriarch Porfiri was banned from entering Kosovo, but his Holiness bravely headed to the holy Serbian land despite this. However, he did not feel like stepping into the cradle of Serbia, he was detained at the Merdare border crossing and returned to the Belgrade Patriarchate. It is difficult to understand why a peace-loving religious leader is unsuitable in this difficult hour, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Porfirije is one of Vučić's trustworthy men, and the SPC is a pillar of the Serbian world, or with the fact that the patriarch occasionally delivers some wise sermon about the fact that state borders in the Balkans are only temporary and provisional.
Contradictory information about the incident in Zubin Potok came from Kosovo. In the end, it can be said with certainty that there was a shooting, but that there was no exchange of fire between the Kosovo special forces and the barricaded Serbs. KFOR announced that an unknown person opened fire near one of the patrols of this mission, there were no injuries, and no material damage was caused.
Therefore, there was no conflict, the police did not move to remove the barricade, and no one hit the bare-handed Serbian people, who were then forced to retaliate with bursts of fire. None of that happened. By default, the Serbs were not threatened this time, only the KFOR patrol was in potential danger. The whole fuss was made for nothing. This is a situation that corresponds to reality, but the Serbian authorities do not pay any attention to what corresponds to this hostile reality.
Pirot poisoning with ammonia
Something else happened in Serbia on Sunday, around the same time that the described incident in Kosovo did not happen. A freight train carrying dangerous toxic material derailed near Pirot. Four tanks with ammonia overturned and started leaking around. Ammonia quickly spread throughout the area, and the entire city was enveloped in toxic fog, but no one in the state leadership paid any attention to it.
The local authorities in Pirot were left to fend for themselves. A state of emergency was immediately declared in the city. Traffic was stopped, the highway was blocked, and vehicles were diverted in the direction of the village of Ponor. Second-shift workers from the Tigar Tajgers factory located on the outskirts of Pirot were evacuated, and third-shift workers were told not to come to work. The authorities decided that schools, kindergartens, and public institutions will not work on Monday and Tuesday.
More than 50 people were immediately hospitalised, two people died as a result of poisoning, and the health of countless people was threatened. One victim died in the hospital, and the other died on the spot. The journalist of the Pirot plus online portal Nenad Paunović found the lifeless body of the Turkish driver near the locomotive of the accident train. For the others, their lives are not in danger, at least for now, but inhaling ammonia will have consequences for their health. One of the hospitalized patients was behind the wheel at the moment of slipping, he inhaled ammonia and because of that, he had a traffic accident that resulted in a serial fracture of his ribs.
There isn’t enough money for everything
The citizens of Pirot have been in fear for a few days now, almost no one goes out into the street, which was the recommendation of the authorities. Ammonia is still leaking, although the state authorities are obliged to stop it. Instead of a timely reaction and a team for emergency interventions, instead of an organized system for remediation of such incidents, we have empty stories from the competent ministers. In the beginning, members of the government did not even “sound off”, they had more important work to do, to defend the endangered Serbs in Kosovo.
Finally, on Monday, the Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Goran Vesić, came forward, saying that two commissions had been formed to determine all the facts regarding the derailment of the tank car with ammonia. By the way, he said that there is no reason to panic, but there is a reason to be careful. The Minister for Environmental Protection, Irena Vujović, also spoke on Monday evening, the day after the incident. And she said that there was no need to panic. All this happened the day after, while the situation was alarming, no high representative of the state was on the field. Who cares about the lives of citizens? Well, the party officials did not fight hand and foot to sit in the minister's chair to take care of the citizens, but of themselves.
The train derailed because the track was dilapidated, and dangerous toxic cargo should not be driven on it. The reconstruction of the rails has been planned for years, but it will never happen. There is simply no money for everything, and the government has to set some priorities. There are 900 million euros for the national stadium, but there is no money for repairing neglected railways. There is as much money as you want for boasting and extortion, but for the safety of the citizens, they somehow always miss the funds in the budget. And the voters don't protest either, they regularly vote for the ruling government, so the authorities in question don't feel any need to deal with the prevention of potential dangers to the lives and health of citizens.
The story of endangered “Serbianness”
It goes without saying that the appropriate media did not make a fuss about the chemical incident near Pirot. On Sunday, while the disaster was unfolding, most did not even report the ammonia leak or about the entire city that was exposed to the dangerous poison. Later, they published some news, but without excessively going into detail about the whole story. That is quite understandable. If it were some kind of "Kurti's cisterns with ammonia", it would be easy for the government and the media to deal with it. They would ring all the bells as the evil Albanians poisoned the innocent Serbian people, while Europe and the world calmly watched. Since such abuse of the event for war propaganda purposes is impossible, then nothing, why would anyone be rattled about the poisoned inhabitants of Pirot and its surroundings?
We saw a demonstration exercise from something that could be called the doctrine of vulnerable Serbs. According to this unofficial teaching, Serbs can only be threatened outside of Serbia, most often in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo. By default, Serbs are threatened only by other nations and their anti-Serb authorities. As can be seen from the tussle over the non-existent conflict at Zubin Potok, it doesn't even matter if something actually happened. It will be easy for our propagandists and their masters to domesticate the missing parts and perpetuate the narrative about endangered Serbia.
This does not mean that the state of Serbia cares about the members of the Serbian nation in the dispersion, on the contrary. They are just a convenient tool for maintaining a failed Great Serbian nationalist policy, for fueling international hatred and causing instability and potential conflicts. Unlike Serbs abroad, citizens of Serbia do not have much use or value. That's why they can be poisoned with ammonia in peace, no one from the government and the regime media will pay attention to it.
Citizens of Serbia can be robbed, abused, beaten, and humiliated in all possible ways - this is their patriotic duty. And if they rebel, organise demonstrations and block traffic - the Prime Minister will call them fascists, and the media squadrons will shower them with insults and declare them enemies of the state. And if they go too far in demanding their rights, they will receive the most severe punishment - the propaganda machine will declare them "Kurti's Serbs", making the citizens of their own country legitimate targets for shooting.