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Professor Nadja Tesich about her brother Steve Tesich, Oscar winning movie director:

Remembering My Brother, Another Victim of US Deadly Disorder

Steve Tesich
Steve Tesich
Click to enlarge.

My brother Steve (Stojan) Tesich was fifty-three when he died July 1, 1996 of a massive heart attack. In his short life he had written many plays, novels, many film scripts, of which 'Breaking Away' is the best-know. He received an Oscar for it in 1980. His plays have been performed in New York, Chicago, L.A., and all over the world; they are often used in theater departments across the country. This country was also his main subject -- America and the 'American Dream' -- until the dream turned against him.

And yet none of these essays (or letters) about Yugoslavia were published even through they were more interesting than the usual junk, even though we spent days on one of them making sure the facts, dates, and figures were correct. It was a waste of time, of energy, of life. I know. Mine were rejected too, but he never got used to it the way many of us did. His rage was great and this man, known for his jokes and laughter, changed during these past horrible five years. When I heard my brother was dead, my first words to his wife were, "America killed him." Yes his anger against it was huge. On some days, powerless, dying for justice, we could only howl together. Yes it can kill you.

He was born and raised in Uzice, a town in Western Serbia, but most of his life after twelve was spent here -- Indiana, Colorado, New York City. He loved and remembered the world of our childhood where the rivers were pure and snows big, and the culture still intact. The world without TV, without hurry, filled with laughter, gossip, stories grownups told. I remained for him like a memory of happiness, a dream we shared.

My brother was not a simple minded nationalist. He was not even a political person. He was a writer from age twenty on whose heroes were Chekhov and Tolstoy. Yet he noticed the deadly display, advertising of weapons, and destruction during the US war on Iraq. Both of us saw it, both of us opposed it. Metallic monsters in the sky, no opposition to them in the media -- thus began a new era of the US 'New World Order.' Soon Yugoslavia went (with much help from outside) and we watched lies and deceit in every paper, every channel, as the US propaganda machine (more modern, more deadly than anything Geobbels tried) moved to fabricate a new enemy, to fill its own void -- a new monster had to be found and they found the Serbs.

Most Americans slept. They slept even last year when the US bombed the Bosnian Serbs with their 'clean' bombs with plutonium and poisons so that plants, people, animals, died where they fell. Do you know about this? What else don't you know?

No, my brother's essays were not published. Instead we had new experts, new and old CIA witnesses, new and retired generals and Bianca Jagger talking about the Serbs on TV. We had specialists who didn't know before where exactly Bosnia was. Susan Sontag, another specialist overnight, argued with my brother that there is no native culture or plays in Bosnia because they are 'Western like us.' And she had to go there to do 'her' Godot, to be where the action was.

My brother suffered. Silently most of the time. He suffered because he thought he was an important writer, whose voice ought to be heard. He suffered because most of the people around him, even old friends, appeared brainwashed, brain-dead. He suffered more than I because he loved America once. That love turned against him. Yes, it can kill you.

He suffered because he woke up and with amazing speed and brilliance he saw what the USA did to us, and to their own people, and to the rest of the world. It was easier for me. I was immunized from before -- Vietman, Chile, Panama, Guatemala -- the list is long.

He was only a writer, romantic, sweetly naive, full of optimism until 1990. He was unprepared. His awakening was deadly. He could not imagine his future in this new world order, faster, more deadly every minute as I write. He feared the day when his work will be censored entirely, the way it had happened to me. Here in Amerika. He wrote to expose, to bear witness against this era, this monster without an adequate name or a real face, so people will know many years later that someone objected. He refused to write 'bankable' films with violence and rape; he urged others not to. His best work and the gloomiest, his masterpieces, were written these horrible six years. Daily. With rage inside. Yes, it can kill you.

He called the US govenment and the culture it spreads a virus. He thought it's worse than AIDS, nothing can stop it. It travels fast, it propagates, it kills everything in its path, cultures and people. I called it 'Fascism of the New World Order,' a more cheerful title, and was/am more optimistic. It can be fought, I insisted. Nothing is forever. It, the monster, will die too. It is dying already, sick from its own contradictions -- just look around you.

So I, his sister, still alive, using his favorite quote from Tolstoy: "If vile people unite and constitute a force then decent people are obliged to do likewise, just that" in pain and rage and hoping against hope I make an appeal in my name and his to all the people across the world to resist and fight back against the evil US empire.

To all those in this country who are half-asleep: wake up, with others! Shout and yell really loud when you do -- it might catch. Think -- you can sleep plenty when you die. To all those who think 'something is wrong,' but can't name it, to all those poor or getting poorer, to all those who think your government is lying to you, to all those who could be happy and human but are not...

Wake up! Ask: who owns America? Is it you? Why is there money for prisons and bombs and not for your child? What did you know about Yugoslavia or Serbia or Bosnia before? Can you trust your government to tell you the truth? Have they lied to you before? Is the genocide against native Americans in your school books? In whose interest is it to keep you brainwashed and dumb? Turn the damned TV off or if you watch it think about all the missing parts. They are selling you something every minute -- your mind is at risk! In whose interest is it to keep you unhappy, divided with civil wars inside and outside? Happiness is not profitable, nor is peace. And when you wonder how to vote -- Clinton or Dole -- ask yourself what's the difference between Pepsi and Coke?

To people of the Caribbean, Central and Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe (especially Eastern Europe), to all those who cultures are destabilized with US weapons and junk --

Resist! Fight! Say no to deadly weapons, US bases, US violence on TV and film. Say no to the deadly poisons it exports and dumps on you!

Beware of the words US democracy, 'freedom' and 'freedom foundations'. It's a lie. It's a coverup. It's a seduction ploy. To get you devoured better, your life, your natural resources, your culture. Don't be naive and dumb. Why would the US want to do anything just for you?

Beware of the happy sit-coms in pink colors where everybody sits by a turquoise swimming pool! It's step one toward destabilization, that's how the deadly virus works. Stop it before it enters your mind. The truth is -- there are more than a million prisoners in US jails and more jails are being built. The truth is -- I almost stepped on a rat the other day on New York city street.

Why would the US want you to live better and to be 'free'? Are you freer now when you drink Coke?

Resist! Fight Back! Group Together!

Say no so some day you can say yes.

We are on this planet but a short time. Better die fighting than die a slave.

To those countries under US occupation (military and otherwise), those enslaved, unable to speak --

Survive first but never forget who the enemy is. Tell it to your kids, shout it to your friends. Remember -- you were free once. Nothing is forever. Keep the memory and your sanity intact. Resist with intelligence, with imagination. Make it hard for them!

Don't be intimidated -- these are not real fighters, just paid soldiers with technology, that's all. You are on your own soil. Spring will come. If nothing else, resist them in your mind, in books you write, stories you tell.

For life against death! Against all fascisms including the New World Order!

Go to:

[ Steve's articles ]
[ Nadja's home page ]
[ The book of Facts ]

Copyright Nadja Tesich 1995

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Last revised: March 25, 1997