Serbia’s ambassador to NATO had reportedly been “chatting and joking with colleagues” at Brussels Airport when he “suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over and jumped over, one diplomat said.” Apparently no one saw any evidence of depression or anxiety.

In “The Judgment,” George Bendemann has an upsetting conversation with his elderly father, after which

He leapt out the front door, driven across the roadway to the water. He was already clutching the railings the way a starving man grasps his food. He swung himself over, like the outstanding gymnast he had been in his youth, to his parents’ pride. He was still holding on, his grip weakening, when between the railings he caught sight of a motor coach which would easily drown out the noise of his fall. He called out quietly, “Dear parents, I have always loved you nonetheless” and let himself drop.

The suddenness, and of course the phrase the way a starving man grasps his food, account for the disturbing surreality of the passage. With his other story, “The Hunger Artist,” in mind, one is brought to consider the possibility that it’s death after which one hungers. Paul Valery, in his poem, “Graveyard by the Sea,” talks about “the wild addiction not to be.” There are more of these seemingly motiveless suicides than you might think.

In the case of Branislav Milinkovic, as in many other such cases, something will perhaps emerge: A hopeless alcohol addiction; looming bankruptcy or other even worse legal problems; the recent loss of someone deeply loved; having recently been told that you’re suffering from a terrible disease… Or a sudden overwhelming psychotic break, whatever that might mean…

There’s one other possibility, and this goes to the way he chose (if we can speak of choosing) to kill himself: In front of his colleagues, including senior colleagues. Had one of them just told him he was fired?

Obviously, to traumatize the people you’re standing with suggests hostility, vengeance…

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UPDATE: He had just been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

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One Response to “A Kafkaesque Suicide”

  1. Michael Tinkler Says:

    That is indeed a bizarre story! Perhaps they fired him – or perhaps this is cloak and dagger stuff? VERY strange.

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