WHO ARE THE ADVOCATES OF
ANTI-MODERNIZATION AND ANTI-REFORMISM?
Novi Sad, January 25-27, 2008
The third in the series of four 3-day confidence-building
workshops/seminars planned under the project "Fostering Vojvodina's Multiethnic
Identity" was organized in Novi Sad on January 25-27, 2008. Twenty-one young people
from Odzaci, Ruma, Bela Crkva, Pancevo, Beocin, Kovin and Novi Sad discussed for three
days the issues such as modernization, nationalism, minority rights, resistance to
Serbia's Europeanization, the media, the ITCY and Serbia's relations with the
international community. Young participants were notably interested in the problematic
determining Serbia future. Who are the advocates of anti-modernization and anti-reformism?
What happens if Tomislav Nikolic is elected the President of Serbia? How to remove the
stumbling blocs in the way of the country's movement towards Europe? What are the
prospects of liberal democracy in Serbia? What are the roots of animosity for the Western
civilization? What is the meaning of democratic alternative? What is the bottom line of
the "oil" agreement with Russia? What is the difference between Serbia's and
Croatia's images? When will the Seselj trial close? When and how will the tribunal in The
Hague conclude its mission? Was there a secret arrangement not to arrest Karadzic? Why is
it that Serbia's public opinion is not powerful? Does anyone know who the real owners of
the media in Serbia are? All those were the questions the young people posed and mutually
found answers to.
As most inspiring the participants underlined the keynote addresses
historian Latinka Perovic, the official of the Stability Pact for South East Europe, Goran
Svilanovic, journalist Svetlana Ceca Lukic, and the chairwoman of the Helsinki Committee,
Sonja Biserko. Speaking of Ms. Perovic's contribution to the seminar over the evaluation
meeting, a participant said, "In two hours only /she/ managed not only to provide us
with deeper insights into social and political developments in Serbia in the past 150
years, but also to argumentatively and interestingly explain historical benchmarks that
have perplexed us."
According to the participants, the seminar met its objective - they
obtained new knowledge, met new friends and discussed the topics that are hardly ever
openly questioned. All of them without exception said they would gladly partake in the
next workshop. They even suggested the topics they would like to learn more about -
relations in multiethnic communities, non-violent resolution of conflicts and human and
gender rights. As for criticism, some participants took that seminars as such should
"recruit more people with different stands, which would be a challenge in terms of
intellectual confrontation." "Seminars would thus be more dynamic and
provocative," they said.
The confidence-building seminars are realized with the assistance of the
European Union under the EuropeAid program.