nettime's_m9nd_kontainer on 27 Feb 2001 01:35:20 -0000

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> serbs/roma/targets/journos digest [ilich, integer]

fran ilich <>
     Re: western journalists

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 09:17:45 -0600
From: fran ilich <>


Far-right skinhead groups are scaring Roma off the streets of Belgrade

By Daniel Sunter in Belgrade

Katarina Zivanovic arrived at the Rex Cultural Centre on Jevrejska ulica,
Jewish Street, last week to find the doors and walls covered with swastikas,
SS insignia and anti-Semitic stickers and posters.

It's widely believed the outrage was carried out by Serb skinheads,
apparently provoked by a widely publicized and well-attended photographic
exhibition on the Belgrade's Roma community in the same building.

This was the latest in a series of racist attacks against the capital's Roma
over the last three years. Many blame ethnic hatred stirred up during
Milosevic's regime for the intimidation.  Zivanovic, curator of the Rex
Cultural Center and one of the organizers of the Roma exhibition, told IWPR
that she encountered racist attitudes on the streets all the time.

"All sorts of people come up to me, educated people, artists, and ask why
I'm holding the exhibition, why I'm not doing something about Serbs and
Serbia, " she said. " I'm so dismayed by people's reactions."

Zivanovic believes the exhibition has exposed disturbing levels of racism in
Serbian society, resulting from years of isolation under Milosevic.

"Milosevic's fierce propaganda turned people from different ethnic and
religious backgrounds against each other," agreed the Federal Minister for
Ethnic Minorities Rasim Ljajic, himself a member of the Bosniak minority.
"Mutual mistrust among these communities is vast."

Police estimate there are about two thousand skinheads in Serbia, based in
Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad. They emerged, as in most countries of Central
and Eastern Europe, during the early nineties and were thrust into the
headlines in late 1997 after being implicated in the murder of a Roma

Dusan Jovanovic had walked into a Belgrade store to buy a can of coke and
was beaten to death by a group of thugs. The store, close to the university
law faculty, had been a renowned skinhead haunt during the 1990s.

Two and a half thousand people turned out for Jovanovic's funeral which was
attended by senior members of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The gathering
suggested there is, at least, some support for the victims of racial
violence in Serbia.

Since then, however, the intimidation has increased, much of it directed at
Belgrade's Roma street cleaners. They've sought police protection, but their
assailants have got around this by targeting suburban areas where the police
presence is low.

Earlier this February, a second fatality shocked Belgrade. This time, the
victim was the well-known Belgrade actor Dragan Maksimovic, who died after
being beaten up by a skinhead gang in the centre of the city. The local
media said Maksimovic, a Serb, had been attacked because of his dark

The new government of President Kostunica has taken a strong stand against
racist intimidation.  Aside from the appointment of Ljajic as ethnic
minorities minister, Kostunica has himself condemned the emergence of Nazi
symbols and anti-Semitic slogans.

Kostunica has spoken out in public against the recent violence and
apologised to the  Roma and Jewish communities. He said the perpetrators
were trying to "spoil Serbia's new democratic foundations" and that he
intended to crack down hard on them.

The president, who has the backing of most political parties on this issue,
found himself the target of the right-wing slurs a few days after his
speech: 'Kostunica, the son of a Jew' read a message scrawled on a wall in
the city center.

Most commentators seem to agree that though the skinheads employ
anti-Semitic slogans and have attacked some Jewish property, the principal
target is the Roma community. President of the Jewish Community in Belgrade,
Misa Levi, described the assaults on his community as "isolated incidents".

Roma community leaders, meanwhile, have said they are willing to take the
law into their own hands to look after their own if the government fails to
take adequate measures.

 "We know that the authorities in the past have supported the actions of
those who hate the Roma," said Roma Congress Party leader Dragolub Ackovic.
" We also know that those now in power have promised that we will be treated
as equal citizens. They should keep their word. We have no intention of
leaving Serbia."

Human rights groups and NGOs are taking steps to bring the skinheads to
justice. An ongoing court case in Nis is being seen as a litmus test for the
prosecution of racist offenders: for the first time in Yugoslavia, racial
motives have been brought as charges in a criminal trial.

The charges are being brought against two twenty-year-old youths and a minor
for the attack earlier this year on a 15-year-old Roma boy and his father
who had leapt to the boy's defense. One of the attackers, Natasa Markovic,
told police after the three were arrested that, " I hate Gypsies. They don't
belong in Serbia".

Markovic's vituperative remarks could land her withYugoslavia's first
conviction for racially-motivated crime. "Previously, courts have only dealt
with the actual physical attack," said Igor Olujic, a lawyer working for the
Belgrade Humanitarian Centre, which is bringing the case against the three

Legal analysts in Serbia will be paying close attention to the trial, which
begins March 8. A successful prosecution would represent a major victory in
the struggle to overcome the ethnic hatred of the Milosevic era.

Daniel Sunter is a regular IWPR contributor

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 16:54:29 +0100 (CET)
Subject: Re: western journalists

fran ilich <>


blaming the milosevic regime for the anti-gipsy routine = 01 shortkut 2 intelligence
which only western life forms could activate. this has been taking
place in eastern europe prior to and it is fueled by 01 elongated history. 

western life forms = may wish to update their m9nd kontainers or even better 
- remain exactly where you are. 


>Far-right skinhead groups are scaring Roma off the streets of Belgrade
>By Daniel Sunter in Belgrade

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: