In July 1991, Sarajevo was a home to a very special, yet far from isolated, peace concert and manifestation organized by YUTEL – an independent Yugoslavian TV station broadcasted on national level. The most famous rock bands from entire ex-Yugoslavia gathered together with over 50000 people to celebrate peace and say no to the increasingly tense situation in the country. The concert took place in ZETRA hall, built to host the Winter Olympics held in Sarajevo in 1984. It was a symbol of unity, peace, acceptance and awareness that the VAST MAJORITY of people of all ethnic, religious or social groups was against the war and nationalistic uprisal in the country.
Yet, ZETRA concert was completely forgotten, together with another 30 and more similar events and demonstrations across the country once the conflicts started – spreading a stereotype of Yugoslavia and its people as exclusively the one of ethnic hatred and repression.
Twenty-five years later, ZETRA PROJECT was born to give honor to the Yugoslavian peace movement prior and during the war – raising the question of how come a war, that nobody wanted, eventually did happen?
The project aims to once and forever dismantle the prejudice cast over the people of Ex-Yugoslavia as exclusively primitive and hatred-bearing, to raise the awareness that wars are not something that happens to “other people” and most importantly – to remind the people of the processes preceding the conflicts, as similar tendencies are present in the world today.
The project is conceived and lead by appraised German journalists, Danijel Visevic, Carolyn Braun and Marcus Pfeil.
I gave my personal contribution to this – I have never previously shared my own personal story, and the one of my family in such detail up until now. Why I feel compelled to do this is because I am a result of decade-long peace, multi-culturality, diversity and love among the people of Yugoslavia. Because I am tired of hearing that four generations of my multi-ethnic, multi-religion family are “a weird exception”. Because I know the discord between what was presented on the media during the ’90s and what was really happening in the country. Most importantly, because I notice the signs of the same “virus” in the world, today, and it would be hypocritical of me to just watch it happen all over again without saying a word.
You can read my own story in German and Serbian-Croatian… and many others on the ZETRA PROJECT official page.
ps. Please mind that these videos talk about “Europe” as a continent including all its countries, from Turkey to Russia to Scandinavia, and never about the EU. Europe is far greater that the EU alone, and the two can not be considered as two independent, separate entities. It is not a superficial and simple comparison between the EU and Yugoslavia as a union. It is a consideration upon the processes preceding a conflict.