We needed movers. We called a few. We agreed a deal with one. He came, he forgot the deal, and he began threatening to "beat" us when we insisted. He said that he had beaten his mother that very morning. He held the thing we had to move hostage. He added, just for information, that he was a "woman-hater."
All for €20.83.
Are we such base creatures that violence is the only possible answer to conflict? When the Croatian border was closed for mysterious technical reasons for four hours last week, immediately people began to cut the line, pull up in front of others (i.e., us) who had been waiting for 3 hours already, and - when I rebuked one of them - he growled like an animal and tried to hit my car with his.
The main problem is that we are, in the main, forced to acquiesce to this kind of daily violence. If you call the police, they will most likely come back and beat us for real. That is assuming the police would even bother to intervene. If we answer with violence, people will get hurt and nothing will ever be done about it. The one certain thing is that we would no longer be safe.
I would like it to be known that this is not just a rant. I would like to do something about this, but I have no idea what. The mover was an illegal business - meaning that no legal recourse is possible. And even if there were, he would probably be scolded and I might even pay a fine myself for using him.
I will not publish his name here - it would very likely end up with his arrival at my door with other bullies. But if anyone needs a man with a truck to do some moving in Belgrade, please let me know, and I will tell you who he is so you can avoid him. In a world which I have always thought to be evolved from proto-human behavior, I am genuinely shocked by this recourse to threats and violence.
And before any of you respond by telling me to leave the country, that "this is Serbia," or accusing me of generalizing, I would like to say that this kind of response is NEVER acceptable under any circumstances anywhere on the face of the planet.
Today we held our ground and no fists were thrown. But I cannot just shrug my shoulders and think we got off lucky. I urge you, if you have read this all the way through, to oppose this instinct. Do NOT accept or entertain violence as an answer.
Because it is not. It never is.
Read more blogs by Chris Farmer on The Standard Deviation