Saturday, May 23, 2009

The following is a notice from the A-Infos website. It seems that the General Secretary of the International Workers' Association/Asociación has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for his actions during a demonstration ie burning a US flag. The mind boggles at this. I wonder if Serbia is the only country in the world to have statutes that ban the burning of other nations' flags. Or is it just the US flag in particular ? In the latter case it is even more bizarre. The history of the past few decades is one in which Serbia and the US have hardly been the best of friends, to put it lightly. I have no doubt that Serbia would like to suck up to the US as much as is possible while, at the same time keeping its Russian trump card, but still.... Maybe this is under the heading od insults to foreign "dignitaries" (cough, cough, cough, hack, hack- oops there's another hairball). In such a case one wonders about the mindset of Serbian judiciary in presuming that the burning a a US flag in a small demonstration would actually ever reach the eyes of the US Vice President, let alone that he would be insulted. The Serbian authorities give far too much credence, undoubtedly more than the demonstartors did, to the power of the demonstartion. It's bet taking time here. Has Biden become aware, or will he become aware in the future, of the 100,000,000th burning of a US flag on this particular occasion ? I give 100 to 1 odds. To say the least I am being conservative and hoarding my money on this one. The actual odds are much higher, more like winning the lottery jackpot. Any takers ? You have 1 year to produce the evidence. Anyways, on to the story.

Serbia, 10 days of prison for the IWA General Secretary
Ratibor Trivunac, member of the Union Confederation "Anarcho-syndicalist Initiative"( the website of the Serbian Anarcho Syndicalist Initiative is -Molly) and General Secretary of the International Workers Association, was convicted yesterday evening to ten days of prison for the burning of the US flag in the center of Belgrade. A group of anarchists organized an illegal protest yesterday as a reaction to the visit of the US Vice President Joseph Biden to Belgrade. During the protest Trivunac burned the US flag and read a statement condemning the role of the USA in reproduction of capitalist relations, wars, exploitation and discrimination in the world.
---- Belgrade district judge Goran Milutinović sentenced Ratibor and ordered him to be immediately sent to prison without giving him a chance for appeal! Other comrades that have been arrested were released without charges. Our lawyer will try to appeal the sentence today.

Burning of the flag is a symbolic act of protest and we find the actions of judge Milutinović to be scandalous. We refuse to obey orders, we refuse to keep quiet! We will always burn the symbols of exploitation and oppression!

We would like to call for international actions of solidarity if Ratibor is not released by Saturday morning. We will keep informing you of developments. The IWA Secretariat can be contacted, as usual, by telephone number +381-63-263-775 or email (we would prefer by telephone as we may not check the email regularly during the following days).
Freedom for Ratibor!
Long live the IWA!
On behalf of the IWA Secretariat,
Nikola Pavlović
Secretariat of the International Workers Association
Secretariado de la Asociación International de los Trabajadores

No comments: