bastashevski-state business-exhibition view

The last name Dabić aroused no particular suspicion until the 21st of July 2008, when _____ was arrested after living under that name for several years. 


The name ‘aroused no particular suspicion’ in a very precise way: the existing Dragan Dabić, whose identity was hijacked by _____, lead a remarkably ordinary life. He never traveled. He had no criminal record. He had no phone number. He had few friends and never worked for any government.  



The impostor had access to the governmental databases to select a suitable identity, and the power to administratively hijack the name with the help of his remaining associates in government.



While he did not pretend to be the real Dabić as a person – to assume his profession, live in his house – he did reap all the legal benefits of a clean name. The new identity was means to an end; allowing _____ to  publicly disassociate his old identity from his physical person, to abandon his past, and to avoid prosecution. 



Under his assumed name, _____ was seen publicly, wrote newspaper articles, practiced pseudo-science, and traveled; all the privileges of an individual in possession of a legally-recognized document. 


Those who interacted with the impostor later claimed they had thought to have recognized him to be _____ the eyes, the hair– yet the power of a ‘legitimate’ document trumped their own perception and judgement.


Following the broad and sensational press coverage of the arrest, 'Dabić' became irrevocably connoted and inhabited by the identity and actions of the impostor. The media exposure given to the discovery of _____ affected every individual whose last name is Dabić, regardless of their personal choices and political views. Attention to the arrest, and to the identity which delayed it for years, has intertwined that name with the the Balkan conflict, making 'Dabić' a synecdoche, a collective Dabić identity.