ALEKSANDAR BALJAK, undisputed leader of the Belgrade Aphoristic Circle. Currently lives in New Belgrade as the only full-time writer, editor and thinker of aphorisms. Two different eyes, one blue, one green. Leads a healthy life, except for sports lottery. Recently survived a second heart attack.

Protesters were brutally attacking,

with their backs, the sticks of surprised policemen.

SLOBODAN SIMIĆ, psychiatrist. Member of the aphoristic “Group 133”, named after Article 133 in the Yugoslav Law on Libel, which defined ‘verbal offense’. Refused to be drafted during the 1991-1995 Serbo-Croatian war and wrote two brilliant anti-war aphoristic books instead. Currently works as the Head of the Psychiatric Clinic at the Belgrade City Hospital, where he introduced the first regional Lighting Therapy Box for patients suffering from seasonal depressions.

He’s a successful politician.

He hasn’t been sentenced several times.

MILAN TODOROV, Milosevic-era state-TV manager, sacked after the October 2000 protests, after which he turned to winemaking. Kept writing excellent anti-political aphorisms both before and after he was in a position of power.

Judging by your voice, I would say that you are not from around here. Here nobody would dare to utter a single word.

ALEKSANDAR ČOTRIĆ, dissident turned minister. When he realized that satire cannot change things, he became politically active. Throughout the 1990s, he participated in endless and often violent street protests against strongman Slobodan Milošević. Later on, he spent seven years as deputy in the Serbian parliament and held various positions of power in the Belgrade City Council and in the Serbian government. Despite this reversal of fortune, he continues writing subversive aphorisms about politicians.

Why shouldn’t we be proud of our past

when each new day is worse than the previous one?

NINUS NESTOROVIĆ, former football professional, hotel maid, hospital nurse, now a journalist at the state Tax & Custom’s Office magazine.

My wife and I are involved in organized crime. I steal milk in one shop, she steals bread in another.

RADE JOVANOVIĆ, former mountain resort manager, sacked because of political aphorisms, which made him turn to erotic ones.

She was the ideal hitch hiker. She never said stop!

MOMČILO MIHAJLOVIĆ, brilliant student who failed to materialize his talent. Works in a run-down photocopying shop in a Belgrade suburb, takes care of his fruit orchard and is a regular on horse races and underground caffé-boats on the Danube. His aphorisms are extremely dark and cynical compared to his personality, though he’d never admit he’s actually a very positive person.

The minister was astonished when he was told that he was receiving a triple salary.

He immediately drew up a budget to start an investigation.

RAŠA PAPEŠ, child dentist from Kragujevac.

In our fairy tales every ending is possible, because Little Red Hood is as hungry as the wolf…

MIODRAG MILOJEVIĆ alias IVA MAŽURANIĆ, barfly journalist from Kragujevac, enfant terrible of the aphoristic movement.

When I see a destroyed mosque, I am ashamed to be a Serb. When, a bit further, I see a demolished church, I am again proud to be a Serb.

ILIJA MARKOVIĆ, economist from Novi Sad, northern Serbia. As a genuine fanatic whose self-proclaimed creative motto is “one aphorism per day”, he has published over 20 books so far, including some of the biggest bestsellers in the history of the genre – yearly office planners with daily aphorisms printed in dozens of thousands of copies and sold tax-free, since they were treated as regular books. In a typical megalomaniac endeavor, he even wrote a 300-page “novel in aphorisms”, a freestyle prose novel featuring only the author’s aphorisms, both brilliant and below-average. The book is currently being adapted into a play at the National Theatre in Belgrade.

The worst has not passed.

The best is yet to come.

DEJAN MILOJEVIĆ, veteran postman, very much in love in his job and with the human race. Also a regular at sports lotteries.

I was born into a poor family. My children can proudly say the same.

MILAN BEŠTIĆ, economist in a dying state-owned textile company.

I am giving Marxism lessons. I’m paying 5 deutschmarks per hour.

DRAGAN RAJIČIĆ, gas station worker. A good man and an archetypical victim of transition. Democracy is when you can say

what don’t even dare to think about.

MILIVOJE RADOVANOVIĆ, lawyer from the small town of Svilajnac, in central Serbia. Banned from the courts during the 1990s. Lifelong enemy of the local strongman Bidza.

If we weren’t aware of our greatness, we too would be a small nation.

RASTKO ZAKIĆ, most prohibited satirical writer in Tito’s Yugoslavia, with seven banned books of aphorisms. In 1984, he published previously banished aphorisms once again, but in negation form, for which he got rearrested. He defended himself in court by bringing in mathematicians and biologists trying to prove that he couldn’t be sued twice for two completely opposite things, but failed to convince the judges. The secret police eventually offered to clear him of all charges and even give him a high rank if he accepted to spy on his fellow aphorists and report them, which he agreed to, to their great surprise, but only “if they gave him an appropriate uniform”! In 2005, he published his 30th book of satire. He currently lives in Belgrade, taking care of his grandchildren.

The working class

is the skeleton of our system.

VESNA DENČIĆ, webmaster, voluntary editor of the satirical online monthly ETNA (, 100+ issues so far), former director of a matchmaking agency and jewelry dealer. Extremely positive despite a severe physical handicap, she constantly urges her colleagues to write and changes her styling on a daily basis.

We have finally changed the regime.

It will be a real refreshment for the satirists.

VLADIMIR JOVIĆEVIĆ JOV, chess master, film buff, boem, veteran of the Belgrade Aphoristic Circle.

Shakespeare never said: “Something is rotten in the state of England”.

ĐORĐE OTAŠEVIĆ, linguist and publisher. Author of the upcoming “Encyclopedia of aphorisms in 50 volumes”, of which he compiled three volumes so far.

This year Santa was quite good, but the reindeer kinda stuck between my teeth…

ZORAN RANKIĆ, actor at the National Theatre in Belgrade.

The book is the man’s best friend,

said the dog, visibly exasperated.

VITOMIR TEOFILOVIĆ, literary critic, master of wordplays and linguistic aphorisms.

Individuals make a society. Society makes it up to individuals.

DRAGUTIN KARLO MINIĆ, editor of the satirical page in Politika, the oldest newspaper daily in the Balkans. Handles dozens of weird letters every day with aphorisms written by readers from all over Serbia.

We are now a peaceful nation

proud of our warrior tradition.

RADIVOJE BOJIČIĆ, editor of “The Bald Hedgehog”, a cult satirical magazine first released in 1935. During WW2, it was published handwritten in a Nazi concentration camp. During the shortages of the 1990s, it was printed on bread bags, tramways and street tv monitors.

A Serb is as efficient in his leisure time as a Japanese is during working hours.

MILOVAN VRŽINA, deputy editor of “The Bald Hedgehog”.

Slow down, please! Serbia is in a hurry!

SVJETLANA RAŠIĆ, financed the printing of her book of erotic aphorisms by working as a copywriter in a hotline company. She’s now the top regional writer of kitsch romantic novels, to which she always adds a progressive feministic touch. Lives in a small village 50 km south of Belgrade with a conservative husband who doesn’t even know their daughter is singing in riverboat restaurants.

I would sacrifice my autonomy for such an anatomy!

DEJAN TOFČEVIĆ, beekeeper and air-traffic controller at the Podgorica airport.

The police was the first to arrive on the scene of the crime. It was waiting for the victim.

Colonel VLADISLAV VLAHOVIĆ, Tom Cruise look-alike, but 2m tall. Helicopter pilot, former Military Attache in London, now Aviation Commander of the Montenegrin Army.

When you hear gunshots, duck. Nobody has any reason to celebrate around here.

BOŽO MARIĆ and JOVO NIKOLIĆ, professors of history and math from Republika Srpska. Both have spent four years on the frontlines during the war in Bosnia, during which time they actively wrote aphorisms.

The enemy is using dirty tricks.

He’s putting women, children and house appliances in the first fighting rows.

The police fired warning shots in the air. It’s not their fault that some demonstrators inhaled it.

IN MEMORIAM : Dragan Šušić, Vladan Sokić, Vuk Gligorijević, Alek & Bodin Marjanović, Vib, Minimaks, Svrzis, Duško Radović, Mile Stanković…

A nation which has a government like this deserves an even worse one,

but that’s theoretically impossible.

We’ve had some hard moments before,

but they never lasted this many years.