“Official nationalist narrative in Serbia has been going on for 25 years, it is only getting stronger, closed in itself, and this entire truth, regardless of being established before international courts and that the whole world sees it in one way. Serbia is the victim of nationalist narrative which puts it on the opposite side of international law and developed world”, said Ivan Đurić, Programme Director of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights to N1 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

Talking about the campaign “Never Again, For Anyone”, which YIHR launched together with the Independent Association of Vojvodina Journalists and forumZFD, Đurić says that the aim of the campaign is to break through the nationalist narrative using artistic expression and the messages of solidarity and pure compassion.

“We have the whole year for political judgments and attempts at political change and we will continue, like all other peace activists in Serbia, to work throughout the whole year. But this month of July, especially the way it is this year, without a possibility to go to Potočari and pay respect to the victims, without a possibility to do it properly even in Belgrade, our campaign now wishes to send that message in a different way”, says Đurić.

Ivan Đurić adds that this year, on the eve of commemorating the anniversary, none of the Serbian officials have mentioned Srebrenica, apart from a “superficial mentioning by President Vučić at a press conference before his departure to Paris.”

“On one hand, it is a great shame for our country, that the officials of Serbia, which has been found responsible for not preventing the genocide, are silent on that day, but on the other hand, it is good that there is no an active campaign of negating and denying; it is good that such an active campaign of making Serbia a victim in the Srebrenica context has not continued, which we have witnessed since 20015 and the attack on President Vučić in Potočari and the British resolution, when Serbia presented itself as the victim of international conspiracy and Bosniaks”, stresses Đurić and adds that, as an optimist, he hopes that the change will come, “but it is a bigger problem than how our officials react, because the officials may change their opinions in a day, easily, relative to their political interests”.

Talking about how young people relate to the issues of dealing with the past and learning about the events of the 1990s, Đurić reminds that YIHR seeks to offer to young people a way out of the omnipresent nationalist propaganda coming from the media, public space, educational system, “to offer them something closer to the truth and facts, and bring them closer to their neighbours, Bosniaks, Croats or Kosovo Albanians”.

“There we have very important messages from the EU and, for example, what particularly drew my attention is the statement by the Commissioner Varhelyi who said that Srebrenica was still an open wound for the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as for the EU. Only when we build our relationship on trust, we may speak of reconciliation and healing, while for trust, it is crucial not to lie openly, as official Belgrade lies today, that there was no genocide, that it should not be discussed, that Belgrade has nothing to do with it and that Ratko Mladić is a hero, that we are reporting about his health at the hospital, while we never talk about what he is responsible for. It must change if we expect that anyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina or anywhere outside Serbia trusts us”, concludes Đurić.

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights, together with the Independent Association of Vojvodina Journalists and forumZFD, has launched the campaign “Never Again, For Anyone” within this year’s commemoration of the anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. The campaign includes a short video “Never Again, For Anyone” and a song “Never Again, For Anyone”, Kemal Monteno’s anti-war call, performed by the Horkestar, alternative choir and orchestra.

Foto: N1/ Printscreen