Blogging Buddy: Chandler Longbons
With swollen joints and a terrible pain in the legs, I was walking my 30th mile on the hot Roman concrete. My brain-limbs control system, with all the logistics that accompany it- in the entity named Darko Ivanovic, does not give a crap that it has reached reserve energy level for several hours now- I just had to see as much as I can of ancient center of the world in just a few days.
A week in Rome- my cultural and sociological face-palm hit and run adventure, started for the third time.
And there is nothing new:
- the vault of the Sistine Chapel has that “touch” still hanging out there with its incredible beauty of expectation,
- mischievous white roped guy with Prada shoes still charges in euros our desire to admire in front of so many spectacular arts and religious glamor (and actually the fact that we are witnessing criminal enterprise of organized religion through the ages)
- macaque monkeys, still entertain tourists with picking of each other anuses, getting more photographs than the above mentioned art world wonders
- the incredible Coliseum with even more drunken tourist key-carved inscriptions “USA RULES yeah!”
- McDonalds standardly bad for my weight, and
- Campo dei Fiori still has that Italian charm of unbridled libido and hectoliters of beer and white vine
All in all, nothing new…
But I am always back here, again and again.
All of my life I have been (like many of us proud Montenegrins) persuaded and taught that the Montenegro as a global brand, and thus us- as Montenegrins – represent the smartest, best, deepest, longest, most beautiful values/people/nature/history in the world.
That is why I like ancient Rome. All those fat lies of our (my) greatness lay buried on the tenth step of Roman cobblestone, as soon as I get to the station Termini. At one point in time I became somewhat immune to the tremendous discrepancy between what I thought I was and what I actually am. And that enabled me with the ability to try to subdue false greatness to humbleness and modesty. And to understand that in that formula I can find a strength of my global me.
My global brand recognition does not start from the point that I am somewhat famous and recognized in my beautiful piece of land, but with a honest reflection in the mirror when faced with legacy much greater than mine. When faced with the mirror that reflects my position in the world, my accomplishments, compared with what the world has already been through, and endured. Through the stories of the people that created it, and endured.
That is why summer walks in ancient Rome were somewhat crucial to understand that
- The Balkans were left to us by jerks that practiced Communism, Socialism and National Socialism for decades on our backs as we raised our arms in military like discipline and drew perfect circles on the voting ballots, just to get us imprisoned in those circles
- We did nothing to break away from the sick provincial desire to criticize the world and didn’t go out there to greet it, find out something more about it
Only there in Rome, in the vast sea of ancient urban chaos, I realize that civilization is within me, and that I belong equally to all those who are in line for Big Macs, as I belonged to army of my friends that during the 90s went to school with fritters in their mouth, with ruptured soles of the shoes, with holes in their jackets.
So what made me recognize “strength” of my global brand?
Simply. While resting between marathon sightseeing tours, I typed “Montenegrin in Rome” or “Crnogorac u Rimu” on Google search, and what I got as a first result was a defeat, a blow, a sincere reflection of Global me.
It showed us as small time thieves, bunch of petty criminals, Pink panthers of Europe. All quotes from news reports. Far away from self indulgent false greatness that we bestowed upon us. Far away from our false image. Our big fat Montenegrin lie. My global brand.
I grew up in a generation that has spent its best years waiting in lines for one liter of milk and a loaf of bread, torn between the Chetniks, Communists and Ustashe, who were eager to start wars and slaughter, steal from each other in ex-Yugoslavia just as we,the kids, started with the first great books, movies, kisses, parties and coitus- so crucial for the maturation of a ordinary human.
And they were winning, creating our global brand, as they are still on power, “leading” our countries.
Those of us who did not want to be in line with others, classified by party membership, that consider our country as the most beautiful, but in a healthy, comparable way, those of us that are struggling to put it on the world map far away from corrupted elite and mouthful of: “example in region ” and “good political story”, those of us who want to label our country with great movie, album or a sports result, are fed up with these Google “postcards” of Montenegro.
And the situation is nothing better with all of those 30-something folks that grew up watching the same news reports during the 90s in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia …
So now we know– that we are ready to give our best and wash our streets from poorly educated provincial folks that brought us here. To these Google results. Because our new image will win. Our global brand, no matter what the cost is. Because today’s -klik! – is replacing their- boom! And thus this mail is directed to all the new Balkan brand creators, brothers in arms that I have never met, a Bosnian with whom I have never drank, Croat girl which I have never kissed and a Serb i have never missed. We are changing things, and winning in this battle for better image, our brand, for sure.
Only they do not know it yet.
In Rome again. Smog as a choice, nervousness as a way of life, while I watch the “center of the West” shrugging another river of disordered millions of tourists with newest gadgets and even more Visa cards.
I’m calling a cab. Surely we will win, I’m more convinced. Why?
“Because there isn’t a huge difference.” says a taxi driver from Puglia who married a Romanian, and works in Rome. “Everyone has the cohones,” continues his discourse while deliberately turning right at Piazza Navona, in order to get more mileage and bigger bill, counting on the fact that the bearded Balkan boy doesn’t know the road to the Olympic stadium, “all of us just carry them in different manner.”
And so, I write.
Trying to make a new image, to create a new global me. Us.
Because I know that there are thousands, hundreds of thousands who have seen Rome. Walked, understood its greatness and reflected our image in its fountains and famous Roman wells. Without even leaving the room.
All they have to do is to be able to visit it, touch it.
That’s why I’m putting this text on the internet. Now when you go to Google search and type “Montenegrin in Rome” you will probably get this post as a result. My frustrated postcard of maturation.
A new global me.
Spread it on.