Sofija Todorović is an activist of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), as well as a passionate advocate of connecting young people in the region. She has been working on peace-building on the Balkans since 2015, having went through a couple of educational courses on the subject of conflict in these territories:
Radicalisation leading to violence among young people has become a growing issue of concern in Europe and its neighbouring regions, including the Western Balkans. There is a notable increase in hate speech in the social media, incidence of hate crimes and attacks on migrants, refugees and others that are, or seem in some way different, propaganda and violent xenophobia, as well as a rise in religious and political extremism and in terrorist attacks.
Ivana Volf and Branislav Trudić are youth workers who implement the digital world into their work with young people. Ivana tackled the subject of digital violence through projects, while Branislav commits himself to youth work based on peace education, seeing himself online as a “promoter and defender of the culture of dialog, non-violent communication and human rights”.
Perhaps you’ve seen a group of young people performing expressive theatrics in your city these days. Don’t worry – that’s how they fight discrimination, showing through performance how to overcome intolerance.
These young people come from organizations Somborski edukativni centar – SEC, Organizacija kreativnog okupljanja “OKO”, Connecting, AS Centar i Pokret gorana Vojvodine, and they gathered through the initiative of BalkanIDEA Novi Sad on the project “Riznica različitosti 2.0”. During their tuition a dozen young people explored human rights and came up with a performance in which certain characters tackle discrimination.
Aleksandar Reljić is a journalist and the editor of the documentary program of Radio televizija Vojvodina. His short length documentary “Kosovo Nazdravlje! Gëzuar!” gathers the representatives of the “sides at war” on Kosovo, asking the question whether shared life among Serbs and Albanians is possible. “I would probably never have gotten into journalism if it hadn’t been for the wars on Ex-Yugoslavian territory, and if that hadn’t been a frustration that had to be channeled in some way – otherwise I would have burst. And I was bursting. The only remedy and true therapy was when I took on this job that allowed me to channel frustration”, Aleksandar explains. “I never thought I could change the world, I never had that sort of illusion”, but at least I shattered my own prejudice and helped base the opinion that, in reality, regular people don’t hate. Regular people live their lives, and they’re only (and exclusively) victims of propaganda”.
War and Peace, Good and Evil, Life and Death!
Any good, new paralyzed evil, damn it, we have to choose.
The choice is ours!
We take steps, and our reality gets destroyed,
we obscure our eyes,
swim in the covetousness, and the extinct waves clash into our face.
Thus, day by day, we are filled with envy, wrath, and in the spirit are the bells of evil.
Third regional EUROCLIO summer school ”Going beyong pride and pain? – History that connects the Balkans” is held in Albania, 18 – 23. July, in a natural ambient of the national park Llogara, near Valona. The summer school was organized by EUROCLIO (in cooperation with ALBNA, Association of Historians in Albania), with support of CDRSEE and Anne Frank Museum. Eighty participants from the entire region and Europe, including Divided Past – Joint Future team, attended the various presentations and had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge through workshops, discussions, visits and lecturing.
I know how it was for me, but I want to know what it was like for those I fought against in the war. If we just sit in our own pen, then we will only know the truth we want to hear.
War veterans from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia visited the former Vozuća battleground in the Zavidovići Municipality, paying their respects to the civilian and military casualties, wishing to hear, as one of the participants, Enes Bajrić, put it, what it was like for others on this battleground that took the lives of more than a thousand soldiers and hundreds of civilians from all three sides involved in the conflict (Army of BiH, VRS, HVO).
The OSCE Presence in Albania in co-operation with the Municipality of Tirana and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) are launching a Call for Applications for “Youth Trail: “Promoting OSCE Values in the Western Balkans” to be held from 13 to 17 September 2017 in Tirana, Albania.
Youth Initiative for Human Rights Bosnia and Herzegovina together with ZFD Forum, CCFD-Terre Solidaire and European Commission is organizing first regional School of Different Memories in eastern Bosnia – Gornje Podrinje from July 26 until July 30 2017.
School of different memories is a summer educational programme based on study visit and aimed to exchanging experiences of local community, human rights activists, representatives of religious communities, historians, victims and witnesses about reconciliation process and dealing with the past. Programme is based on visiting places where war crimes happened in WWII and in a last Bosnian war 1991 – 1995 and connecting experiences of communities from broader area of one region. Since 2016, this school has a regional character, so participants from Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro will join us, too.