I have to admit that when I first heard about Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors I was skeptic towards the whole story since I did not have good experience in previous seminars concerning this topic. In other words, they served as some kind of farce – a note in someone’s booklet for volunteerism. Surprisingly, I was totally wrong.
First of all, I would like to emphasize the importance of the reconciliation principle. In my opinion, gained through my education and reading about this topic, the main meaning of the reconciliation is bringing people together in the sense of their introduction, physical and cultural approach, achieving empathy and accomplishing the possibility of cooperation! The main result, which should be taken from it, is removal of divisions that are oppressed, imprisoning, not natural and prevent us to have our own opinion and not to deepen this issue even more.
Prejudgments and wrong comprehension of the other side is like the curtain that blurs our view when it comes to the relation between the groups. That blurred picture does not allow us to see the issues, to understand them and to manage the mechanism which would serve as possible solution. When one is put in the situation like that the frustration and negative point of view are made. Moreover, in moments like these we can see sights of hate, intolerance, chauvinism, and even racism. The ones that are mainly affected with this are the younger generations. While they are not yet formed as a person they are getting under negative influence of mash media. In addition, we can find overall apathy which makes enough space for manipulation and the social system like that is implemented on all the countries of the Western Balkans.
During the seminar, we mainly talked about the issues that are present in every society. First of all is deep inside of human nature which prevents some persons, usually those whom have weaker character, to engage in these topics in the way they should be. Unfortunately, it is easier to put it away and let others make decisions and solve the problems. The principle like this is the principle that is found in most of the layers of the social class, but likewise it can be found within the educated people and those that make decisions. Another side of the same principal is when people conform even more and then they join the national tendency of the majority, covert and overt. It is easier to support attitude of the majority and when those attitude are based upon hate, mythology and victimization, division between ”us and them”, those attitudes are usually automatisms. The crucial reason why mental postulate like these can escalate and bring to violation is that in mindset like this basic and emotional state of human mind (often less sophisticated and fond of rash reactions) is engaged. When it comes to problem solving on this level it is really painful, especially for educated people since they are not talking in the same language as the ones that are defending attitudes like these. In my view, the solution can not be reached quickly, but with gradually continuous work and emphasis on the truth the changes are possible, even amid the widest social class.
Secondly, the crucial issue is history science in all the countries of the Balkans which implies signs of biased. The early history is based on the myths which, at the beginning, shows “our” ethical group as oppressed, fought with superior enemies, always for the right thing and it gained liberty, truth and justice along with suffering. The modern historiography is sketchy, always focused on moments and movements that our nation did well and at the same time, all the negativity is neglected. However, for all other countries emphasis is on the negativity. This does not show the real picture of the history and also, the immaturity in the public debates and discussions brings to the point when historical events are mentioned as justified. This is wrong because the past cannot be the base for making cooperation nowadays. What is more, when we do not know the exact truth of the history this practice can be even more destructive.
The events that occurred in our near past and by which we are affected are strongly in correlation with the media manipulation by irresponsible government and individuals in every society of the Western Balkans. The war took many lives, for example during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is really hard to develop dialog between those two parts and talk about victims, guilty and possible solutions. They are both equally damaged and look at it as personal attack and disrespect of their own victims. The Albanians from Kosovo have even more problems since the language barrier is present in comparison to the other part and likewise, problematic social class in their environment. When talked about this matter, some of them are characterized as betrayers and every agreement or solution is observed as treachery. When young Bosnian quoted: “And drop of mybloodflows, andBosniais not dried” on one of the sessions, I found it wrong approach since it is dividing victims on our and theirs and they are not observed as people. Moreover, it serves for reinforcement of ethical pride. The good example how this can be solved is monument of raid in Novi Sad where all the victims are at the same place, with their names and memorized as the victims not as a member of some group. Furthermore, in my opinion it would be wrong that, for example, Serbs develop cooperation with Bosnians or Croats based on some crime or memory of some crime. Manipulation of media and selective way of reporting, for example, mentioning the victims or relation between individuals or part of the society just bring to the point where this issue will be deepened. The issues of making the truth, that Serb had during the time of Slobodan Milosevic, is still present in all the societies in our region. In addition, we had string impression during one of the sessions when the participants were asked to mention some crime that was commit by their ethical group and consequently, many of them could not remember and some of them rejected the possibility like that. The view like this can be found even more in the wider social society.
As a result of all these issues, I will try that my contribution towards international reconciliation starts from myself, and by of educating myself even more and collecting information I am trying to understand the social process on the Balkans. In addition, I put emphasize on two things during this programme: sincere desire towards the reconciliation, peace and cooperation and that is the process in which, by conversation with the participants and later on media appearance and discussions, I wanted to show to others that the process of reconciliation is not some kind of trade in which we should give something to somebody as to gain something. It should be approached with sincerity and our societies should be observed as one unit that needs to be recovered. We are not part of the clash that needs to, like tribe societies,harm each other. We are the partners that only together can be significant on the global plan and only as strong and healthy group we can provide better position and more quality life to each person. We, young and educated, need to be pioneers in these efforts and to be responsible individuals who will face to pressure on the way to the truth.
To sum up, the concrete example how I managed to facilitate the way towards the final aim is to organize this year participants in one team which will, among the current work that is already be done by them, write and report independently and sincere about their view concerning matters that have regional character. We should not run away from difficult topics, but on the other hand, we should put emphasis on the topics that connects people and divide them. For instance, education opportunities, sport, action for youth, society activity, travel offers, interesting information concerning their ethical community, history and friendship between them. It will be organized like online publication as to be available to all of those who have access to the computer and the internet.
In conclusion, I think that our individual possibilities for reconciliation are huge, but if we want to make significant progress we should approach to each other with sincerity, we should be brave and only time can estimate the true value of the great work.
1. Regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, MilicaDelevic, Institute for Security Studies, July 2007
2. European Integrations of Western Balkans: From Reconciliation to European Future, LucijaVesnic-Alujevic, Centre for European Studies, 2012
3. RegionalneInicijativeiMultilateralnaSaradnjanaBalkanu, DuskoLopandic, JasminkaKronja, EvropskipokretSrbija, Fridirch Ebert Stiftung, 2010