Serbs in the Diaspora do not fully comprehend the magnitude of the disaster that has befallen the land of their ancestors. That is alarming. However, the situation is also tragic because most Serbs in Serbia and the neighboring fragments of despoiled Serbian lands (Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro) are almost as blissfully unaware of the systemic nature and true extent of their troubles. And even less so of the imminent dangers that they face both collectively as a nation and as individuals.
The task of the Archibald Reiss Institute is to first highlight those critical issues in a concentrated and non-partisan fashion, and then to initiate a pan-Serbian dialogue about them. Such a dialogue, to be fruitful, must result in a realistic appraisal of the root causes of the national malaise and of the paralysis and hopelessness it has generated. Unless a correct diagnosis is made and quickly followed up by an effective treatment plan, the patient will assuredly die. That is an outcome that – to quote a famous phrase that still resonates – we must pledge “our lives, fortune, and our sacred honor” not to permit to ever come to pass.
The nation’s current travails can most certainly be linked to systemic flaws deliberately and perfidiously built into its governance. Those flaws are programmed to promote self-destructive policies and, even more importantly, to block every endeavor that might lead to regeneration. Serbia is trapped in a vise: measures specifically designed to hasten its annihilation are relentlessly and unalterably pursued regardless of deceptive periodic changes in the composition of its ruling cliques, while capable and patriotic individuals with the requisite knowledge and experience to help their country in distress are sidelined and prevented from participating meaningfully in the nation’s affairs or contributing to its recuperation.
Dark and dismal as is the present panorama, it is but the high point of nefarious processes that have turned Serbia’s twentieth century into an unmitigated catastrophe.
Biological disaster. In the course of the last century, the Serbian nation experienced three massive bloodlettings, the debilitating effects of which are plainly visible today. In World War I, Serbia lost between a quarter and a third of its population. In World War II, mainly under the genocidal regime of the Nazi-satellite “Independent State of Croatia,” about three quarter million Serbs of all ages and stations in life were slaughtered. In the period that immediately followed, at least a hundred thousand fell victim to the murderous Communist regime that was installed by foreign, mainly British, intrigue to rule the country under the leadership of their agent Josip Broz Tito. The nature and impact of the biological disaster is not merely quantitative, but qualitative as well. The most capable and best educated segments of Serbian society were the first to perish in the defense of their country’s liberty or because they were specifically targeted in order to thus paralyze their nation’s will and capacity to resist.
Political disaster. The formation of Yugoslavia at the end of World War I was the project of the local political elite, accomplished largely behind the backs of the Serbian people and without a clear mandate from them. It followed the blueprint laid down by Great Britain of incorporating incompatible ethnic and cultural components within the confines of a foreseeably nonviable multi-national state. The design was to keep the Serbian Orthodox element in check. Unseaworthy intra-war Yugoslavia’s pre-planned and fatal design flaws led to its quick collapse and mayhem under Axis occupation in World War II, leaving the Serbian people adrift. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia failed its first serious test when the Axis invaded in 1941. The inception of the atmosphere of demoralization and corruption which led to that result was brilliantly described in 1928 by Archibald Reiss in his perceptive farewell to the nation that he grew to love but to whose flaws he always remained attentive, “Listen, Serbs!” Indeed, every one of the flaws then noticed by Reiss, was since then immensely magnified and is plainly visible today, in combination with many more that Reiss could not even have anticipated. Predictably, the loss of national compass, to which Reiss then drew attention, bore its bitter fruit in the form of the quick collapse of the government and the army, followed by territorial dismemberment and a terrifying foreign occupation accompanied by a bitter, ideologically driven civil war. When the nightmare was over, the Chetnik Serbian nationalist liberation movement led by General Draža Mihailović stood decimated and betrayed by the self-interested political machinations of Britain and the Vatican. Power was handed over to their delegate Josip Broz. He consented to his sponsors’ demand to cover up the atrocities committed against the Serbs in staunchly Catholic war-time collaborationist Croatia so that the moral reputation of the Roman Catholic Church should thus be preserved for the upcoming confrontation with the Soviet Union and the socialist block and so that its mobilizing resources could be used to prevent the westward expansion of Soviet power and influence. The physically decimated Serbian nation was a direct victim of that infernal strategic bargain as Josip Broz and his Party, and currently their variously disguised successors, were installed to rule over it. That particular nightmare, with all its dreadful repercussions, has still not reached its end.
Moral disaster. Disorientation, general loss of collective will and purpose, and absence of a common task that could stimulate the nation’s imagination, release its creative energies, and sharpen its instinct of self-preservation, were one of the chief consequences of the massive loss of Serbia’s best and brightest. Commitment to Yugoslavia and to an illusory version of Communism, in neither of which their foreign-imposed tyrant Josip Broz was so credulous as to genuinely believe, were the twin chimeras which eventually came to obsess the leaderless physical remnant of the Serbian people. The corollary of the acceptance of these pernicious fantasies was renunciation of Serbian identity and culture. Without the cohesion derived from shared historical identity and culture there can be no common project. Breakdown of the will to survive and capacity to resist soon follow. That is precisely where the Serbian nation stands in these dangerous times.
A sober analysis of the causes of the breakdown and energetic treatment not of its symptoms but root causes, must therefore be the order of the day. The Archibald Reiss Institute has set for itself precisely that ambitious task. The pathetic foreign stooges temporarily administering Serbia today at their foreign masters’ pleasure and behest have little to fear from us in the immediate term. We want them out, of course, so that Serbia may live. But in due time they will be routinely discarded by their foreign masters anyway, so for the moment they are not worth the expenditure of our time and energy. Our attention will be focused instead on the rotten system of which ghastly regimes such as the present one are disgusting, yet merely transient, features.
The Spanish patriot Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera articulated best what is also our position — in quoting him, we shall substitute Serbia for Spain. This is what he wrote in his seemingly paradoxical but in fact eminently sensible discourse:
“We love Serbia because we do not like it … We love it because we strive for perfection. We are unable to love the ruined and decadent Serbia that we see today. What we do love is the eternal and immutable metaphysic of Serbia.”
Whoever understands this profound thought and takes it to heart is ready to come on board and we invite him to join us.