In the lack of expertise offered by political analysts and sociologists, you might think – what qualifies me to write about reconciliation and coexistence in this region? I can point out two references – a citizen of Serbia and a civil sector activist. Furthermore, I won’t mention any legal regulations, strategies or signed documents, nor will I offer an expert analysis of the current social ambience with reference to the events of the last decade of 20th century and from the start of new millennia in the Western Balkans. This is a personal point of view and therefore some readers may conclude that this is an „abstract scribbling“.

Although the text itself doesn’t offer an evaluation of the current state of affairs in Serbia nor offers an instant solutions for reconciliation, the questions we will raise can offer a vision of our joint future. Near or far – it all depends on us. In the process of confronting the past, it’s important to establish the facts impartially? Do you agree!? Do you accept that the truth can not have “their” and “our” version. Whether, when we are talking about the victims, should be emphasized that the 100 is not the same as 1000 or is it necessary to work on raising awareness that a one victim of a war crime – is too much? Are we aware of the consequences when propaganda pushes out objective information in the media? Are we concerned when the national and religious symbols are used in a distorted context, for the need of daily politics? Do you react when investigative journalists and representatives of the civil sector are labeled as “foreign mercenaries”? Is there a moral responsibility of a “common” person who, in personal, family, business, existential and other reasons of everyday life, finds excuse not to think about these issues? There are many questions that can continue the string, but the period of transition from “divided past” to “joint future” depends on how we approach them.

At the time when for Milan, Azra, Zdenka, Azem … and millions of citizens from the Western Balkans, not only in words, but essentially, co-existence means respecting diversity, then in the history books of the region, on a new page, we will notice a chapter: RECONCILIATION. The road to that chapter leads through the answers to previously asked and many other unspoken questions.

Author: Ilija Jovanovic (Educational Center, Krusevac)

This text was written as a part of Divided Past – Joint Future project and it does not represent nor reflects attitudes and viewpoints of the European Union, its institutions and bodies. Responsibility for the information and views expressed in the text lies entirely with the author. 


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