A Serbian Perspective on the Belgrade Massacre



Two recent mass shootings in Belgrade, Serbia have shocked the world. Therefore, there is a need to examine the reasons that may have contributed to or facilitated these tragedies.

One of the co-authors of this commentary lives in Belgrade and can offer a Serbian perspective on these tragedies.

The first mass shooting occurred at an elite elementary school. Students at this school mostly come from wealthy families. Their parents are mostly former athletes, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and successful entrepreneurs, though some are in socially unacceptable professions.

Students at school live a privileged life, but bullying by classmates and faculty is very common. The child who shot nine people was regularly bullied.

At the request of his parents, he was transferred from one class to another in order to distance himself from his torturers.

His father is a prominent physician and founder of the university’s eye clinic. His mother is a microbiology doctor.

The child is a talented student who has participated in numerous competitions in mathematics and history. Some called him a “geek”.

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People lay flowers and candles for the victims outside the Vladislav Ribnicar Primary School in the Serbian capital Belgrade on May 5, 2023. kill list. (Oliver Bunnick/AFP via Getty Images)

In Serbia, school classes are divided into two shifts due to overcrowding. One group of students attends the morning class and the other group attends the afternoon class.

The shooter arrived for the morning shift after the first class had already started and killed two fifth-grade girls and a security guard 14 meters (46 ft) away in the hallway.

He walked into a history class and shot a teacher, then a student in the front row. Two boys tried to confront him and were shot in the leg.

A total of 37 bullets were fired. He had his six clips and he had his two guns with four Molotov his cocktails and his list of kills with 15 names on them.

A total of 8 students were shot dead, 6 from the list and 1 security guard adult. Four students were seriously injured.

Of the eight students killed, seven were girls. The majority of the students on his kill list were girls.

When he left the classroom, he went to the schoolyard and called the police. He confirmed his identity and said he killed someone.

This horrific tragedy happened in just five minutes.

incompetence kills school

The shooting incident is proof that Serbia’s education system has failed. The school was aware of the bullying charges, but did little.

The principal has yet to make a public statement about the incident.

Three days after the shooting, in multiple schools across Serbia, children were already reenacting the shooting on social media. Upon discovering this behavior, the school called the police, who arrested the father of these children.

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A placard in memory of five youths killed in a drive-by shooting is photographed in the village of Maro Olase, near the town of Mladenovac, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of the Serbian capital Belgrade, May 6, 2023. photographer. (Andrey Isakovich) /AFP via Getty Images)

All schools in Belgrade are closed at this time. This is because school staff do not know how to deal with disasters.

As such, the education system is poorly managed and managers do not know how to proceed. This system failed because those responsible for its administration were appointed to their positions on the basis of political loyalty rather than merit.

A second shot occurred the next day. A 21-year-old man began firing with a semi-automatic rifle from his car south of Belgrade.

He shot eight people, including children, and wounded 15. The rampage began shortly after 10pm, and the next morning he was caught wearing a Nazi shirt.

Interestingly, the shooter’s father is a high-ranking official.

The massacre did not lead to the resignation of the Minister of Education.

failed system

The President of Serbia addressed the nation on state television, informing viewers of the measures the government is taking to combat youth delinquency.

Measures include lowering the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12 and reviewing all gun permits.

There are about 400,000 registered weapons. He has two permits in Serbia, a gun permit and a gun permit (carrying permits are not easy to obtain and are usually only used by police and security guards).

However, the proposed lowering of the age of responsibility is incompatible with international best practice of setting the age of criminal responsibility at 14.

Also, the number of guns and weapons in Serbia is very large. This is due to internal migration from multiple war and conflict areas in the 1990s.

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Protesters march at a rally calling for the resignation of high-ranking officials and an end to violence in the media, just days after a series of shootings that stunned the Balkan nation in Belgrade, Serbia, May 8, 2023. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images)

Many people in Serbia believe that the shooting will be a tragedy. This is because Serbian society has been severely divided into two groups.

On the one hand, the ruling party and those around them live well. Their business is successful, they make a lot of money and flaunt their wealth.

On the other side are people who struggle, hold multiple jobs, have heavy bank debt, and are treated abominably.

For example, the average net monthly salary for an employee in the government sector is €700 (US$770), compared to €500 in the private sector. This difference is even greater in Belgrade.

Current politicians, ruling parties and government bureaucrats perpetuate this demographic imbalance with meaningless rhetoric.

Meanwhile, the media has sensationalized incidents like the shooting, contributing to the escalation of social tensions in a divided Serbia.

Media networks use bombastic headlines, accuse, and destroy people’s lives without checking the facts. There is no investigative news agency to check the media.

Several TV channels are devoted entirely to reality shows involving associate stars, starlets, and even impostors, creating the illusion of the existence of Nirvana, an unreal world. It was harmful to people who

In reality, these programs often create and glorify crime, prostitution, and drugs.

The situation is exacerbated by the apparent inability to introduce and implement much-needed reforms to address entrenched inequalities that lead to social exclusion and disunity.

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Demonstrators marching behind a banner reading “Serbia Against Violence” in Belgrade on May 8, 2023, are calling for the resignation of senior government officials and an end to violence in the media, as the Balkans nation It was just a few days after a series of shootings occurred in (Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images)

where is the answer

Serbian people are outraged by two mass shootings. They are asking questions, but the government has yet to give an answer.

The punishment game has not started yet. From a political point of view, it stands to reason that no one should be held responsible for what happened.

Of course, shooters should be held accountable for their actions and brought to justice. But it’s also important to understand the reasons that led to these tragic incidents.

It’s all the more tragic to keep in mind that from a historical perspective, Serbs have been selflessly helping others rather than being violent.

Serbs fervently hope that these horrific recent shootings are an anomaly. They do not want Serbia to become like the United States.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.