Memory Activism in Serbia
Presentation and discussion at Zochrot
From: 14/01/2014 18:00 - To: 14/01/2014 20:00



Participants in a study seminar in Israel, organized by the Belgrade based Center for Comparative Conflict Studies (CFCCS), will present three memory projects in carried out Serbia.
Moderator: Dr. Orli Fridman, CFCCS director.

A discussion in English at Zochrot on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 8pm.
34 Yitshak Sadeh St Tel Aviv. Fourth floor, room 400.

Four Faces of Omarska – by Nenad Porobic 
This is an ongoing art project that questions the strategies of the production of memorials production from the perspective of those who have been excluded in the public remembrance. The location of Omarska is a former socialist mine in the former Yugoslavia. It was a concentration camp for non-Serbs in the early 1990s; a filming location for a Serbian ethno-blockbuster; a mining complex owned by a multinational company, ArcelorMittal. During the presentation, the historical, political and wartime context of Omarska (Prijedor, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina) will be shared, as well as post-war realities which solidify divisions created by the wartime agenda. Some acts of resistance will be presented, including the annual commemoration by former concentration camp inmates in the place which has not been recognized/memorialized as a site of mass atrocities.

The Kosovo Memory Book & the Batajnica Memory Initiative – By Sandra Orlovic
The Kosovo Memory Book is an unprecedented fact-based testimony about the war in Kosovo (1998-2000). The first volume, entitled Kosovo Memory Book, revealed stories about 2046 persons, who died or disappeared during the war; the circumstance of their death or forced disappearance, the facts about their personal and family life, etc.
The Batajnica Memory Initiative is a project designed to start and facilitate a public debate in Serbia about one of the most striking features of Kosovo War –over 600 Albanian bodies – victims of crimes committed by Serbian forces - concealed in mass graves in the proximity of downdown Belgrade. After discovering these mass graves in 2001, there were no attempts in Serbian society to address the legacy of Batajnica mass graves, to create a place for remembrance or to acknowledge the victims.  The project already began by collecting oral history interviews from family members in Kosovo. 

Activist response(s) to Historical Revisionism in Serbia – By Nebojsa Milikic
Starting in the 1980s in Serbia, there have been latent attempts to rewrite the history of World War II and the role of the Serbian people, as well as of the different classes of Serbian or Yugoslav society in the course and outcome of the war. During the 1990s, this revision was quietly legalized by the Milosevic regime, which in the tactical coalition with the democratic nationalist opposition sought to find allies for the Greater Serbia project.  Since the overthrow of the Milosevic regime (2000), such revisionist trends aspired to complete this process (through the media, education and justice system),  changing the conception and perception of the history and the outcome of the Second World War in Yugoslavia. The historical revisionism in Serbia today is certainly only part of a wider European trend of conservative (counter) revolution. However, the specifics of the different locations present and which defines challenges and tasks for activist groups, non-governmental organizations, historiographical and legal professionals. The presentation will focus on activist action based on experience from several episodes of the current conflicts and the long term struggle against historical revisionism in Serbia.

Zochrot online