Vesna Manojlovic on Thu, 2 Apr 1998 17:40:10 +0200 (MET DST)

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

<nettime> "bijela" report (peace school)

(On 2nd of April we will have presentation of Peace School in 
Cinema Rex, Belgrade.)

<a href=>

                                     Peace School


(a possible article for cyberfeminist reader)


     From 26th February to 4th March '98. I was in "Peace School", in
Bijela, Montenegro (see pre-anoucement, /nettime/archive/1433.html).
That was 12th gathering of that kind, but for the first time held in 
Yugoslavia. The topic was "The first generation of human rights as shown 
through the media" -- taped theater performance, newspaper, Internet, radio. 
The goal was approached through nonviolent communication and creative work, 
and the participants were young people, age 18 to 23 years, from all the 
former republics of former Yugoslavia. 

     I was the leader of computer workshop. My plan was to go through
Internet resources about human rights, to learn how we can use media for
our proposes and to make a web page, but reality was different.. 


     Instead of 8 computers in our hotel "Delfin" (Delphyn), we got only 4
in "House for children without parents" ("Dom ..."), half an hour away,
walking. With more problems: because of missunderstanding betweeen (very
birocratic) authorities of Dom and our organizers, for the weekend we were
allowed only to use equipment during the night, and only me and Ana
(organizer, from XXL). Director was surprised and suspicious -- can he
trust the whole computer room to two such young girls (and I am not so
young at all ;). OK - first night there were just two of us. We found 4
pentiums, but only one with Win95 and CD ROM drive and complete Office
instaled, others were with Win3.11 for Workgroups, plus one 286 with
German DOS plus one Amiga. We put them together 'cause they were all
de-composed to pieces. I connected them with Ethernet cables so all
Windows could get up through network from the server. 

     Next day I got my group -- 9 boys and two girls. First hour we had
with Journalists and Radio workshop, with whome we were in the same
"media" group. Rest of the session I gave them a lecture about beginings
of Internet, its structure, organization, services.. Then we disscused
situation in our countries: ISPs, monopolies, infrastructure, censorship..
On our second unplugged meeting girls gave up - I suppose they wanted more
concrete lectures about practical usage of computers - so it was again me
alone with 9 boys. I told them about net-activism, with examples of Sans
Papiers, Radio B92, mexican rebbels (zapatistes), networks of NGOs,
networks of artists like Syndicate, organizing meeting via list and chat
like cyberfeminists; I brought with me ZKP4 and ZKP3.2.1 and gave them to
read, also "Digital Arts", new YU magazine. I told them about HiP, and we
discussed privacy and cryptography, and about importance of accessibility
of data and possibility to promote our own ideas to the broad public. 

Net Working

     Our walk to the Dom was along the sea, passing the shipyard. SF,
fantasy, hacking, HTML, free software.. were our topics. In the computer
room they were mostly practicing typing, usage of Office and basics of DTP
- but, as usual, all things were uncompatible with one another:
workstations had only WordPad, without YU fonts, and that was the major
problem -- it appeared that the main goal of our workshop was to give
technical support for preparing everyday bulletin and administration of
participants. But, besides that, most of the time most of boys were
playing games - they brought their own, & machines were full with those
that Dom's teacher Boba was using like education tool with retired (and
other) children. There was possibility to switch on the modem we brought,
but only early in the morning, on computer in director's office and if we
don't bother him in that moment, so we quit. Even if we were not connected
to the Big Net, we practiced working with local net: mapping and
disconnecting network drives, sharing devices, moving or copying files,
de/installing applications.. and organized ourselves according to the
network laws: decentralized, no hierarchy, learning from one another...
Some boys were suffering 'cause they don't have computers at home, but I
was encouraging them: I also never had my own computer, everything I know
I learned working for "providers", and also not in school, but practicing.
There is also a "rule" that my friend came upon after lot of years leading
computer seminars in Petnica Science Center: quantity and quality of
knowledge is in opposite proportion with the "power"/configuration of
machine that pupil has. Momir (from Osijek, Slavonija, Croatia) was the
best example - he knew a lot and was very interested and hard-working and
the greatest freak - he was staying during the nights just to finish some
typing or to play games, in spite of not having computer. 

     Last morning Murphy decided to remind us of his Law: server was
f*cked up, but Boba fixed it - somebody deleted whole operating system by
mistake. We were in great hurry to finish final work:  "Mammal Almanac"
and Address Book, but then printer refused to work. We gave up and went
outside, to lay on the beach.  Sun and sea and Conte's jokes made us feel
better: "It was mistake when we quit using stone boards for writing".
Then, Crni (Black, from Rijeka, Istra, Croatia) fixed the printer driver
and we did it. But.. our happiness was not long-lasting: now photo-coping
machine was not working, and there was no more time - we went back. 

The Rest Will Follow

     Other results of Peace School were radio program on Radio Kotor,
exhibition of Photo section, exhibition of Scene and Costume section, two
performances of Sound workshop, bulletin of "Igraonica", and final theater
performance - the result of Actors, Directors, Scene & Costume. NES
workshop had it's own shows, but also helped to all others with make-up
and hair-dressing. In workshops of nonviolent communication I learned to
open, to express how I feel, to listen to others, to think of my needs and
what other need. 

     But, the main thing that we achieved was friendship and love that we
shared, trust and openness we were feeling for each other, news from the
neighborhood and from the friends that couldn't come this time,
connections that we made and plans for the future, the way we were
working, eating, sleeping, dancing together nice memories that will help
us in days that we will be separated again.. 

     When we came back to Belgrade, all who stayed couldn't resist to be
without others for a half day, so in the evening we gathered in
Andergraund. On last evolution Conte's wish came true: on the wall there
was a drawing of a computer on stone board, like a fresco I asked them
about their impressions: Denis (Pula, Istra, Croatia) couldn't show all
his skills because of lack of equipment and software; Sale (Belgrade) was
sorry that he couldn't help more and understand everything, but he become
even more interested and he will continue to learn; Misha and Bojan are
also staying here so we will work together more - but the thing that I am
satisfied the most is that Crni liked Linux and he will examine it
further. Others, not mentioned but were in our workshop: Andrej, silent
Slovenian, Gogi from Tuzla, Bosnia, and Aca from Jagodina, Serbia, that I
hope will become as good hackers as they are dancers. 

     We are still virtually together, on the mailing list I'm maintaining,
and on the web-page that is in progress and that everybody will
contribute. When I walk through Belgrade, I can recognize some, that I
haven't chance to personally meet among 150 people, by the knitted caps
and shawls that all participants got in the beginning of camp (and they
were knitted by refugee woman from Croatia and Bosnia). We are always
wearing them. We become some kind of "supporters", Peace Team Supporters

     On 2nd of April, we will have presentation of Peace School in Cinema
Rex.  It will be screening of the video that Video workshop made: some
practical excercises of participants + whole theater play, photo
exhibiton, and promotion of wall-news-paper and of web-page. 


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