With its first session on April 11, the Belgrade Circle, an articulated model of gathering and protesting against the war months ago, brought together writers and other intellectuals of various persuasions, with a common thread that connected them – resistance to war.
For months, preparations were made for the establishment of the Association of Intellectuals Against War, whose core consisted of members of the Association of Independent Writers, an organization created in December 1989 in Sarajevo at the initiative of Mirko Kovac, Filip David, Vidosav Stevanovic and Zivojin Pavlovic. At that time, 30 most important Yugoslav writers gathered and made a declaration on stopping nationalist tendencies. The activity of this association, which met once again, in Bijeljina, was interrupted by the war. In Belgrade, intellectuals are working to organize associations that will oppose Serbia’s war goals. The Founding Act of the Circle of 13 January 1992 states: “Instead of protecting the peace and survival of civilized life, the holders of public authority – authorities, churches, cultural institutions, the media – with honorable exceptions, tolerate or even encourage incitement fratricidal hatred, sowing desolation and death. “
OTHER SERBIA: Among the founders, reminds Filip David, were Mirko Kovac, Miodrag Zupanc, Djordje Lebovic, Miladin Zivotic, Nenad Prokic, Obrad Savic, Borka Pavicevic, Aljosa Mimica, Ivan Colovic, Ivan Vejvoda. “It was a gathering of people who really wanted to do something, so that the Belgrade Circle, as it was later called, had its activities in an environment that was absolutely hostile to that type of organization.” In its good days, the Belgrade Circle had up to 300 members. Of course, not all like-minded people were there. Today, when you look at the two books published from the sessions of the Circle, you see that there are many names of people who may have gone the other way, but it was important at that time that all those who join the Belgrade Circle do not accept the ruling policy. what Milosevic was and what his associates proclaimed and carried out. At that time, and little is known outside of Belgrade and Serbia, the Belgrade circle was really a place of resistance to such a policy, and I think that when one day it is talked about, if someone deals with it and researches, they will see that resistance is really existed in Belgrade, that Belgrade and Serbia did not accept Slobodan Milosevic’s policy as unitedly as it seemed from the outside “, concludes Filip David.
“While human bodies are being dismembered, no one has the right to act like an offended young lady. We are called to respond to that, and we will respond to that call, “said Radomir Konstantinović, accepting, after a long conviction, that he will chair the Belgrade Circle. The first session of the Belgrade Circle was held in the first days of the siege of Sarajevo, on April 11, 1992. This is how the Second Serbia was formed, the one best defined by Radomir Konstantinović: “If they ask you what the Second Serbia is (what it was “Just say: Another Serbia is a Serbia that does not put up with crime.”
HOPE FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT HAVE IT: Ivan Vejvoda, co-founder of the Circle, stated at the last session that grenades are still flying towards Sarajevo and other towns and villages, and innocent people are suffering, innocent children. “Society here continues to rot because of the choice of war as a way to resolve conflicts of interest.” hope for those who have no hope): we must not be afraid to fight against insanity and violence precisely because of those who fear and fear. “
Anthropologist Ivan Colovic points out that the Circle also meant for him the image of “radiant, beautiful faces of people who came to our gatherings, the programs of the Belgrade Circle and who were happy to see that they were not alone in their attitude towards what was happening around them.” “. He adds that people came to say something, to see that they have like-minded people, to have people who think or feel like them. “It was a special experience for me and a special impression and confirmation that what we do, even though we work in a relatively small circle of people, makes sense. Especially if we were making programs of the Belgrade Circle outside Belgrade. Because, the Belgrade Circle is called that, and it was actually a circle of the whole of Serbia, or, if you will, his work had an echo in the whole region, as we now call it, and in the world. So those people we came to and talked to showed such an unexpected sense of gratitude. There were those who stood up at those sessions all over Serbia and said, let’s say this and that journalist saved my life when I saw or saw that it could be said, that my son is not, say, a traitor because he left here and did not I wanted to go to war, that I am not alone because I do not give lectures at school as expected of me, but I argue with the directors-nationalists, that I have support from you. That was one of the first associations for me “, emphasizes Ivan Colovic.
On the occasion of three decades of forming the Circle, the production of the Al Jazeera media house will soon begin the realization of the documentary series Belgrade Circle, co-writer, director Zoran Amar (Schmeker, Picnic in Topola) and journalist Bojan Toncic. The series and documentary will be directed by Zoran Amar, a longtime professor of film directing, production and film history at the New York School of Visual Arts. In a statement for Danas, Amar points out that the documentary project Belgrade Circle aims to tear from oblivion the events related to the work of the Circle and connect them with the bigger picture of the tragic destruction of Yugoslavia. He also emphasizes that enough time has passed for the revolt of intellectuals against the policy of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic to be placed in the broader context of historical facts.
EXCERPT FOR ANALYSIS OF SERBIA IN THE 1990s: “The Belgrade Circle was a supra-party and supra-party gathering of free-thinking intellectuals and artists, and each individual expressed his personal opinion in relation to politics, culture, religion and other aspects of public life in Serbia.” Many of these attitudes still sound strong and clear today, smart and sincere, and are a reflection of deep disagreement with official politics and media nationalist cohesion. The speakers of the Belgrade Circle are a testimony that the need to save personal dignity is more important than silence and fear of force, that the fight for the right to different opinions is a value that must not be lost. That is why many of the views expressed then and today sound topical, reflect the conflict of opinion and point to the similarity with which the government, even after thirty years, leads Serbia, “says Zoran Amar.
The co-author of the script, Bojan Tončić, points out that there is no war, which does not mean that there is no danger of conflict; totalitarianism, manifestations of fascism, poverty and all kinds of violence, corruption, robbery reign. ” He adds that the existence and work of the Belgrade Circle are just a clip for the analysis of Serbia in the 1990s, at this moment, it seems, a clip for an autopsy. Our project is open, and the goal is to take a step towards placing the anti-war movement in Serbia where it belongs, among the attempts that, if not successful – although their success is determined by alleviating the suffering of the endangered – were very humane. And it is as if we do not see that humanity today, while watching the demonstrations of a crowd of figures in honor of killing and destruction. One part of the society has rebelled since the beginning of the 1990s – we will remind those who know that, we will show the younger ones a part of recent history that they could not see and hear. He may also conclude that rebellion is possible. We will also show them that there was a truly different Serbia, that scum and thugs made that phrase pejorative.
Stop the war
Historian Latinka Perović reminds that “part of the elite, when armed conflicts began, distanced itself, primarily from the war”, adding, “so, every Saturday began those sessions of the Belgrade Circle where people were, I must say, very differently ideologically oriented . But with one firm determination to influence the end of the war in some way. So, we can talk about Yugoslavia, it is ripe for a certain reorganization that was differently conceived, in different circles, more or less democratic, but people thought that this should start, dialogue and eliminate armed conflicts and everything that comes from them. , not only for material goods in the former Yugoslavia, but especially for the people. I think that the Belgrade Circle left an important mark and when in 2000 there was a renewed communication with Europe, the exit from sanctions, then those sessions of the Belgrade Circle were mentioned as proof that there was resistance to war policy in Belgrade and Serbia. The other question is that the balance of power was such that these people did not succeed, but I think that it fairly illuminated that anti-war scene. “
Resistance to nationalism
“The Belgrade Circle was founded in resistance to nationalism, which occupied the majority consciousness of Serbia, but to which the majority of the Serbian intelligentsia was made available.” It was absolutely impossible, deeply humiliating, to silently suffer nationalist terror. “This was resistance. And the resistance of the loner. Very necessary and very dangerous: the government of the bloody regime was against us, but also the majority opposition, immersed in nationalism. And even more: neighbors, relatives, even friends from the day before yesterday, many of whom stopped calling me on the street, “Radomir Konstantinović noted in his memoirs on the formation of the Circle.
A battle that could not be won
Nenad Prokić, co-founder of the Circle, says that a battle was fought that could not be won. “Especially when viewed from this distance, it was clear that such a small number of people with such small resources, with such a small influence in society against a general hypnosis and madness that prevailed at the time and could not count on any greater social support. But, on the other hand, we can say that Belgrade, through its Belgrade circle, has brightened the face of itself and Serbia, and to this day, all these people can be proud that they participated in something that happened, “he explains.
Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.
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