John Lennon has roots in Ex-Yugoslavia. His secret father was a famous and controversial person of history. So claims a new video that is obviously a parody of conspiracy theories so popular in the region. The problem with the video: Somebody will believe its claims.
It is no coincidence that John Lennon was one of the greatest musical genii of his and one of the greatest musicians of all time.
It was in his genes.
And they speak of the oft ignored and denied greatness of no other than the Serbian people.
For his father was one of their greatest – at least to many, if you’re a Serb nationalist – heroes of all time.
No, not Tito (of course).
It was Dragoljub „Draža“ Mihailović, leader of the Četnici in World War II, and just recently rehabilitated, following decades of lobbying be revisionist Serb nationalists.
This is the message of a video the satirical site Zicer published this Thursday.
Of course, it is a parody of the conspiracy theories (CTs) that are so popular in former Yugoslavia.
This is particularly true of supposed conspiracies involving famous people in history.
A lot of thought and effort went into Zicer’s video.
For anyone familiar with the Ex-YU propensity for CTs it is a good laugh.
Yet, as obvious a parody as it may be, there is someone out there who will believe the story.
Not probably. Very certainly.
The Motherland of Conspiracy Theories
There are several CTs and related bullshit stories out there in Ex-YU that are easily recognizable as the nonsense they are, some even started out as a joke, and yet they have thousands of adherents.
A still very popular one is that Tito was actually a KGB agent who replaced the real Tito at some point and time either before WW II or after Tito was allegedly killed during the war.
It started out as a joke.
Til his death, the Yugoslav leader spoke with a coarse rural accent from his native region in Croatia, apparently with a slight tint of his mother’s Slovenian.
So a lot of people tell me.
Making him out to be a Soviet spy was a way of making fun of his accent.
As far as I know, the joke was even told during his lifetime.
It hasn’t lost popularity since and a lot of people actually believe the story.
This may seem harmless at first.
Yet, this CT can be made to fit neatly into nationalist narratives.
If Tito was a KGB agent and not a Yugoslav, it is no wonder that Yugoslavia was actually a grand project of suppressing or even eliminating the great peoples of Yugoslavia, namely the Croats and the Serbs.
It may also offer an explanation why the country broke apart, even though that happened a decade after Tito’s death.
How Not to Be Responsible for A War
Another of these CTs portraits Yugoslav and later Croat and Bosnian leaders as being on the CIA’s payroll.
Yugoslavia was that strong a country the US were hellbent on eliminating it and so they used every method of destabilization they could find.
(While it is undeniable that Western involvement hastened the country’s demise or may have even made it possible, and certainly attributed to the rapid radicalization, one still wonders: If Yugoslavia was that strong, why could it be destabilized in the first place?)
This is a neat way of reflecting the question of responsibility away from oneself.
No one here is to blame, it is all the Americans‘ fault.
It is evident that this CT is very popular in revisionist circles. Particularly in Serb nationalist circles. but not just there.
Some Croat or Bosnjak nationalists also find it rather convenient.
As do some YU-nostalgics who have a rather hard time admitting that there may indeed have been internal reasons that led to the country’s violent breakup.
Another of these theories I have looked into and debunked HERE. In this case someone just rewrote the history of Yugoslavia’s most famous song in order to promote Serb nationalism.
The Growth of The Antivaxx-Movement
One less political CT and unfortunately very popular in other places as well is that measles cause autism.
In Ex-YU, this nonsense is being promoted by one of the regions most successful singers. (See HERE.)
This has direct and possibly fatal consequences. Only the beginning of this year an unvaccinated infant died of measles in Sarajevo.
An increasing number of parents in the region do not have their children vaccinated. In some parts of Ex-YU up to a third of all kids does not have adequate protection against common virus infections such as measles.
This is probably not solely owed to the antivaxx movement.
In some cases it is due to failing healthcare systems that make even measle shots for kids unaffordable for many parents – alongside the failure of authorities to provide adequate vaccination systems.
The World Is Run By Egyptologists
One of the most popular CTs in Bosnia appears harmless at first sight.
It is the notion that the world’s oldest pyramids are actually in Visoko, in Central Bosnia.
This needs to be hidden from the world.
So the international community of Egyptologists and historians, alongside, presumably, with the totality of scholars of Pre-Columbian America, have conspired to suppress this discovery made by Semir Osmanagić, a local businessman.
This world’s secret government even got the Bosnian government to keep Osmanagić from continuing his research and to discredit him.
(For an indepth reportage about the scam, see HERE)
People adhering to this CT even threatened scientists who pointed out the obvious nonsense of the whole „pyramid“ business.
And even here, a dose of nationalism can be inserted.
Aren’t today’s Bosnians the stuarts of possibly the oldest culture on earth?
Why CT’s Are So Popular In The Region
It is hardly surprising that CTs enjoy that huge a followership in the region.
People living in Ex-YU have been lied to by politicians and public officials for decades.
They have been driven into a murderous war with 100.000 victims.
Now, obvious lies are supposed to cover open corruption.
Even murders are being covered up before the eyes of the public – who at least sometimes takes a stand against it.
(For more about such a protest movement, see HERE.)
Projects promised to alleviate manifest poverty somehow never materialize. Or exceed projected costs many times over.
Alongside all of this, there is open historical revisionism and sometimes flat out denial of war crimes and worse.
In the past decades, people in former Yugoslavia have learned that no one is to be trusted.
They don’t believe anybody.
So they believe everybody.
As long as he or she can say that they have discovered some inconvenient truth hidden from the public for whatever reason.
That CTs are getting increasingly popular in the West – albeit in more „enlightened“ middle class circles – doesn’t help.
Not Just A Local Spleen
This propensity for CTs is more than a local spleen, perhaps helping to deal with an ever more complex world.
It is harmful.
It leads people to sometimes categorically deny material reality.
It discredits science.
It discredits the idea of a social order based on reasons and facts, rather than sentiments and irrationality.
It makes civilized discourse impossible.
On the long run, it makes it impossible for people to identify and address actual grievances.
And there are many of these in Ex-YU.
It also makes it much harder for any larger group of people to find any common ground to organize against those responsible for the state of affairs.
Thus, it encourages political passivity.
And it inherently lays the seed for irrational ideologies.
Antisemitism Is Growing
One of these is Antisemitism.
Whereever there is a CT, Antisemitism isn’t far away.
In order for a CT to work, it takes some arcane power, some hidden agents, some powerful clique who are supposedly responsible for hiding whatever „truth“ is being hidden.
It isn’t a far leap to „World Jewry“ from there.
That Jews are a – or even THE – worldwide clique, wielding power in secret, is, unfortunately, a topos all to common in CTs.
And, in fact, Antisemitism does seem to be on the rise in Ex-YU.
Over the past years, I have encountered an increasing number of people who will drop a remark or two about Israel being the real master of the world.
Or, perhaps even sadder, of Israel preventing early Western military involvement in Bosnia because „the Jews“ didn’t care about or even hated Muslims.
Recently, a lot of people buy into the „population exchange“ orchestrated by George Soros.
Soros, so this CT goes, is responsible for hundreds of thousands of refugees coming to Europe. He wants them to replace the European population.
(For whatever end, one wonders)
This is sometimes even aggravated by a Balkan angle: The main target area is the Balkans, proponents say.
People there are made to leave so there will be enough space for refugees.
This is particularly popular in Bosnia. Arabs are supposed to replace the local population.
So, Soros, the Jew, is in cohoots with radical Islamists, too, it seems. „World Jewry“ and „World Islam“ against Europe.
Or whatever it is they are against, anyhow.
This shows that combatting CTs isn’t just something you should do cause you want to spoil someone’s fun.
It is rather important.
Hopefully Zicer’s Lennon video will help in doing that.
It is a good start. Even though someone will certainly believe the story.
Title photo: John Lennon and Yoko Ono. (c) Eric Koch / Anefo
Obtained from wikimedia commons under CC license CC0 1.0.