Institute for European Affairs is focusing on negotiations between Serbia and the EU as well as on strengthening the capacity of all sides involved in the process. Given the complexity and long duration of the process, the Institute brings together a large number of professionals and external experts with whom organises trainings, debates and other forms of capacity development. We want to contribute to enhanced understanding of Serbia-EU relations. The Institute provides multi-perspective trainings in order to enable active participation of professionals and citizens in the decision-making processes. The Institute actively advocates for fundamental reforms within the EU integration process and in cooperation with partners working on strengthening Serbia's capacity to face the challenges of the global world through collective action. The overall objective is active membership of Serbia in Euro-Atlantic framework for the benefit of all citizens.

My Reconciliation Process

In the beginning I want to tell you a story about one old man who lived long time ago. He had three son and 17 camels for them to inherit. Right before his death he told them that he wants oldest son to get ½ of inheritance, second son 1/3 of inheritance and youngest 1/9 of inheritance.

They were thinking for days and days after his death of how to divide the it, but to respect his wish. After not being able to came up with right answer they went to an old and wise lady in the village to seek help from her. She advised them to give her few days to think of their problem and send them home.

Few days later she still did not called them so the brothers decided to check what is going on. She answered them as follows: ‘I’ve been thinking about your problem for days and yet have not find a solution, so the best thing I can do is to offer you mine camel to help you solve existing problem.’ With these words they left the old lady and went home with hers camel which now raised the number to 18.

The brothers started dividing so oldest got 9 camels, second brother 6 and youngest 2. They were still left with one camel extra and took it back to the old lady.

The moral of the story tells us that third side must be wiser than all sides included directly in the story and sometimes, eager to give something for the conflict not directly directed to them.

Story also teaches us that people who lived together for so many years, with strong connections must think for the better of the other before focusing on own wishes. Brothers show us that the rank is important, but staying together means brings much better things.

Some 20 years ago, ‘father’ died leaving his ‘ six of his sons’ with common heritage. There was much more camels and division was even more unclear. They could stay together watching each other, but the division was brought as some of them wanted to explore future on their own. Others let him go, but one brother wanted more to say in that decision so he started an argument with the rest of them. Old lady did not succeed in her one and only task, to keep them safe and secure. She selfishly kept her camel for herself without offering it as extra help in solving issues between brothers. Old lady watched as one family separated in bloodshed and tears, she watched connections build for years got disconnected and broken by destroyed future of new born baby whose parents got killed just because they belonged to second brother tribe.

Some 20 years ago Balkan countries were those sons and orphans without father. Some 20 years ago someone decided that living together makes no sense anymore. Some 20 years ago someone else decided that one group should be killed because they were different.

Some 20 years ago people forgot that this area is one big family and that no matter what differences we notice and express the traced roots deep down will show one father, one offspring and start.

Some 20 years ago old lady Europe watched what is going on at its back doors and let magnificent back yard get destroyed in storm caused by no one else but those birds, rabbits and wild roses living there.

Some 20 years ago old lady Europe let brothers hate each other and forget all they went through together.

I would love more than anything to tell you a story that describes how these brothers got together and continue nice life, but such thing did not happened yet. That story is yet to be lived through and yet to be written. That story is present of my generation and those coming after me. That story is story of learning trust and unity, that story is looking after one another and opening again.

That story will begin when we start travelling and talking more openly, when we see in other what we talk is in us.

This story is called reconciliation process and it started for me the moment I decided to give everyone second chance and to look more deeply into what happened. It started when I decided to forgive because pain must have been to those other sides as well. It started when I decided to believe in brighter future for my country and the region, a future build by young people taking their differences as benefits and strength.

This process will last, will be difficult and painful, but the worst part we already survived and these coming years will be better. I might be a dreamer and over- optimist, but I know many people that share my thoughts and ideas and sentiment about this region and I would more gladly focus on them rather than on all others who are still in doubt or deep hatred. Reconciliation as a process will open many hurtful wounds, will show much more pain and tears and injustice than we thought it exist, but it has to be done.

No one is seeking a situation like it was 25 years ago, but something new and more open than it is now. We will never go back to as it was before, but we surely cannot stay in deadlock as is today. We do not want to copy past, but to create future on positive present and as to take it as a present.

My reconciliation process just started because I just realized the importance of everyone in this process. I just noticed that it is my obligation to talk to those who are still against and to convince them that all this is for their benefit and to tell them billion times story of those brothers in order to show them the moral of it and applicability to our situation. My obligation is to focus on those brothers rather than on old lady in order to secure peace and everything in this backyard. My obligation is to keep working with those people I previously met and not to lose what we wanted at the beginning, these brothers with different ideas living nicely and taking care of each other while fulfilling their goals.

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