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    #1

    The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Would you please correct my mistakes in the third part of my text?

    When the Yugoslav President Tito died in 1980 after a long illness, extraordinary things happened all over the country. People cried openly on the streets, held their faces in their hands; beat their breasts with their fists; hugged each other wailing; and shook their heads in disbelief. I was watching a live broadcast of a football match between two popular teams, when the announcer declared that Tito had just died. About 30 000 spectators fell silent. Players stood on the pitch rooted to the spot. They wailed and some collapsed to the ground as if they had been hit by a bullet. National TV and radio started to broadcast classical music instead of ordinary program.

    A week of national mourning was declared and schools and universities dedicated their lessons to the great man instead of teaching their student knowledge. I watched my fellow citizens with pity. Their naivety and ignorance were obvious for everyone but themselves. But if I had told them that they were victims of the Communist propaganda, they would have torn me to pieces. They would have killed me because they loved the fiction they were reading about for decades, and they wanted it to continue for ever. The power of Tito’s myth was appealing for people. From a simple locksmith, the man had risen to the statesman, who dressed in the white marshal uniform, travelled over the world spreading peace and understanding between nations. People shouted slogans to show their love for him. “Comrade Tito, we promise not to turn from your path,” or “Tito belongs to us, we belong to Tito.” Indeed, he took care of you as long as you followed him and never questioned his leadership. He gave you free education, cheap accommodation, free healthcare and many other rights and concessions, under the condition that you stay silent. Silence and shouting slogans would have taken you far in your career. But if you, for some reason could not stay silent and protested, Tito’s love would inexorably turn into hatred. You would end up on a barren island in the Adriatic Sea where you would crush rocks and carry stones from one heap to another for the next decade or two. Even if you told people about this island and the inhuman treatment of the prisoners, they wouldn’t believe you. They would reply that their great hero and humanist knew nothing about it. He was such a wise man who would never ever imprison his own people for opposing his revolutionary ideas. Their brainwashed minds were so submerged in the fiction and myths that they shunned reality.

    Immediately after Tito’s funeral, hundreds of thousands of people went to Belgrade to honour his tomb. The mausoleum was called the House of Flowers and became a place of pilgrimage. The whole factories, companies, garrisons, schools, universities and other institutions from all over the country travelled to Belgrade and solemnly filed by the rectangular slab of marble stone as if they were visiting a tomb of a saint. Many were overcome with emotions and could not hide their tears. That moment when they stood close to the body of their leader was the most important of their lives, probably more important than the death of their parents or birth of their children. The loss they suffered was immeasurable. If it had been practically possible, many of them would have stepped into the tomb and given the President another chance to life. “What is going to happen with us now when is gone? Who is going to lead us through this difficult time?” You heard their tearful voices in cities, towns and villages. Like a lost flock of sheep, they anxiously glanced around. They had been told in the past to keep a watch out for enemies who threatened the country from all sides. Who would protect it now when its creator had disappeared?

    My school decided also to visit the mausoleum, and my schoolmates were excited. But I had no intention of spending more than five hours on the bus to Belgrade, and then another few hours waiting in line to walk by a slab of stone. I told my teacher I was sick and would not be able to make such a long journey. He accepted my excuse and I did not ask more questions. I wondered if he believed me or maybe he felt just the same as I did but kept silent nevertheless and did as he was told. His absence from the trip could have easily cost him his job. Only one another student beside me chose not to travel. Twenty-eight others were eager to spend not only five hours, but probably ten times more time if required to honour their leader, whose photographs and citations graced every schoolbook and classroom. My decision not to travel was an act of disobedience. While I could not fight him while he was alive, at least I could ignore him when he was dead. A few years later, I would watch with amusement the very same people who cried for him, now throwing his pictures and books into rubbish. They had been deceived, they shouted. But Tito was not to be blamed. Their minds had created a saint of him and did not want to see his dark side. And they would make the same mistake many times because they never bothered to scratch the surface and see what was behind.
    TO BE CONTINUED

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    You don't need "the" in the first sentence. Instead say:

    When Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito died...

    And:

    People cried openly IN the streets....

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    #3

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Spelling the person's name out in its entirety is not normally done. You would be emphasizing the significance of the occasion. (Of course, it's not necessary.)

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    #4

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    First paragraph, last sentence. You don't need "started to" here. Instead say:

    TV and radio stations broadcast classical music instead of regular programming.

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    #5

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Paragraph two. First sentence. Insert a comma after "declared, and put an "s" at the end of "student".

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    #6

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Time changes everything. Russians may now freely criticize Stalin. And anybody who wants to may freely criticize Tito.

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    #7

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Say:

    were obvious TO everyone.

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    #8

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Their NAIVETE and ignorance were obvious to everyone but them.

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    #9

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    My dictionary says that both "naivety" and "naivete" are correct.

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    #10

    Re: The Fiction of Reality, part three

    Say:

    But if I had told them that they were victims of Communist propaganda....
    Last edited by Tarheel; 15-Apr-2016 at 22:18. Reason: Insert "them"

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