As well as we know, Germany, especially Berlin was divided between allies in World War Second. It was borderline among democracy and communism. Berlin wall besides being the dividing line of two ideologies it was actually wall built in city. Fall of Berlin wall, symbolically meant the end of Cold war. People crashed Border down and they were celebrating reunion people of same ethnic group that were living in very different, diametrically opposite, order. With the fall of Berlin wall, started transition in Eastern European countries. Transition was mainly peaceful, but with Yugoslavia, it was not the case. The pluralistic revolution helped political elite to start fighting for national states. Now there are many studies about transferring communist authoritarianism to national authoritarianism, but then it was justified with the right to one nation to live within one country. It leads to civil war and during the last decade of 20th century, our societies faced with many crises. The result of war is animosity among nations, xenophobic and intolerance.
But, why is the story of divided Germany and Berlin wall important? Well, no one could believe that after Cold war there would be another city, which is phisicly divided. Now we have similar situation on Balkan, in one Europe city. Kosovska Mitrovica is in 21st century divided city. Bridge across Ibar is the line between north and south part of Mitrovica. People say that bridges connect people, but this is not case with Bridge across Ibar. It is a border between two ethnics groups. This barrier in one city is result of war, but also, a result of misunderstanding problem, situation and fears between people. Although the war on Kosovo formally ended with Kumanovo treaty, problem stayed. Prolonging the solution and late start of negotiation worsened the situation. Beside issues of high politics, there are still many questions on which we do not have answers. In addition, there are same problems in every republic of former Yugoslavia, they are all facing with intolerance, animosity among the nations because of war.
For many years it was actually taboo to speak about war crimes and victims from other nations, because every side thought that she did the right thing defending hers territory and population not caring what she did to others. Also, many politicians denied that the crimes occurred. Situation now has been changed, however not completely. Still, there is political unwillingness to deal with the past on a proper way. Nevertheless, positive thing is the fact that there are younger generations, which want to look to the future and acknowledge the victims, give honor to them and on that basis build further relations. Equally very important thing is effort of NGO has to make a pressure to governments of republics to found RECOM. RECOM would be a form of Commission of truth with focus on victims and goal to investigate and report critical periods of violation of human rights, suggest reparation and measures of prevention of violation in the future. It is important to face the crimes and give dignity to victims, beside of the nationality, because every victim is equal and all of them deserve same respect. This Commission would have twenty members from all parts of ex-Yugoslavia, taking care of the equal representation of ethnic. Its main purpose would to establish facts about war crimes and other violations of human rights that have been done on territory of SFRJ from 1st January 1991. till 31st December 2001. Also, to point out political and social circumstance which had influence on doing this acts and consequences of crimes and violation. Also it is stated objective of recognition of injustice inflicted to victims with purpose of building culture of solidarity and sympathy, as well as contributing in lightening destiny of disappeared. Critical thing to this Commission is to contribute in preventing war crimes and other violation of human rights to happen again. The draft
Statute of RECOM emphasizes that it is necessary that politic elite and our societies accept facts1. I would say that this particular commission have very difficult task and it would be very hard to do all that things in and for our societies, but at the same time, it is very important for all of us and generations to come. Coalition for RECOM which is gendering more than 1.800 NGO’s and individual from all countries made from dissolution of SRFJ is now trying to lobby to politic elite to found this commission so that would not be just another NGO’s project, but true regional commission with support of all states.
We can see that in one hand there is effort to bigger and very significantly project started by non-governmental organization, which needs governmental stamp. This can be done till end of this year, next year or sometimes in future, consequently we need more actions going in different directions, individually to each person. Very important thing is intercultural meetings and cooperation between younger generations, so trough this individuals could be introduce to other cultures in region, other way of lives. It is also good way to brake down taboos about nations, their behaving and (un)hospitality. For example, Youth Initiative for Human Rights is organizing Visiting programs with goal to brake down barriers between Serbs and Albanians and through direct contact to found out real situation and social changes. This program is realized since 2003. and it was attended by more than 2.000 participants Also Youth Education Committee organized project Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors as a way to connect young people from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo and to promote cooperation among our societies, to work on overcoming obstacles which are facing from the end of the wars, to share our experiences and make new friendships. These initiatives are huge things for young people, mainly because, more or less, we are all facing with some kind of prejudice and this is the best way to overcome them. There are all young people who want to show that the war ended long ago, and that is possible to get along with other ethnic groups, they want to handle the mess from past. And all of them realize that for countries from Balkan it is essential to work together to overcome barriers and share experience of transition.
Problem with nice words written on paper is how to realize them. Most of people living in Balkan want peace and friendly relationship with its neighbors. So we must ask what prevent us to achieve that purpose? I would say mainly fear when we realize that our stereotypes and prejudices are for no reason. We are, possibly, scared to look foolish. Some people still thing that it is impossible to live in peace with neighbors in Balkan, but this is still just a prejudice imposed by others. Therefore, we need to prove to ourselves that we can agree, but also to others. Best way is regional cooperation with goal to promote multiculturalism, dissimilarity and friendliness. Because, when we realize that our differences do not threaten us, we can achieve fully understanding us individually and among others. This is starting point of peaceful relations and cooperation.
1 Available on: http://www.zarekom.org/uploads/documents/2011/04/i_836/f_20/f_1857_sr.pdf, article 13., downloaded on 08.10.2012.