Ivo Skoric on Sat, 27 May 2000 09:36:05 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> ivogram (3): empowerment, journalist's deaths, savic letter

     [compiled @ nettime]

"Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
     Empowerment - just another phrase?
     Journalists Die in Israel and Sierra Leone
     Open letter by Obrad Savic

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 13:47:54 -0400
Subject: Empowerment - just another phrase?

Empowerment: just another phrase?
* Vesna Terselic

There are such words-buzz words. You catch them here and there.
In peace, environmental or women's initiatives, in Peace News and
United Nations documents. They change from season to season, from
year to year. "Empowerment" had appeared in the meta-language of my
colleagues-working on change-as an attempt to explain to ourselves
and to others what we are actually doing.

Once upon a time the magic word was "participation", for the last
few years it seems to have been "empowerment". People involved in
development work during the 1960s, '70s and '80s were swearing by
peoples' participation, while activists in the '90s and the
beginning of the new millennium are swearing by empowerment.
Surely the term empowerment suits me better-I am up to date with
activist fashions!

So I would like to present some arguments explaining why, in my
opinion, using or adopting the concept of empowerment is a step
forward compared to the concept of participation.
In development circles, the request for participation was made
following the big revolutions of the twentieth century, revolutions
which have not brought much to the world's poor. Asking for
participation was rather humble and modest, not oriented on gaining
power or controlling the world's resources. The idea behind asking
for such participation was that "big power" might be left to the
existing power holders, as long as they left a space for communities
to make their own local choices. Soon the big organisations,
including the United Nations, had accepted the language of
participation and started proclaiming it themselves-but, with or
without participation, the poor have continued to get poorer, there
have been even more wars, and things have been going from bad to
worse for the majority of people.

The phrase "Power to the people" doesn't sound very fresh, but it is
promising enough to make one more conceptual attempt. I would like
to move away from the definition of power as proposed by Dennis H
Wrong: "Power is the capacity of a person to produce intended and
foreseen effects on others." (Wrong, 1995:2.) In other words power
is the capacity to influence.

In light of Wrong's definition, empowerment could be eventually
defined as the increase in one's capacity to produce intended and
forseen effects on others. This does not cover all that might be
said about nonviolence and social empowerment, but will be good
enough for the purpose of this simple argument. Empowerment seems to
be better than participation because it expresses determination not
just to give any kind of contribution-as participation has very
often meant-but to contribute in a way which will lead to a visible
shift in power relations. It sounds like ending the era of shyness-
when activists felt that whichever kind of power was meant, "power"
was a wicked word-many people involved in civic initiatives have
been afraid of being accused of being power hungry or of
manipulation. Embracing the concept of empowerment might well mean
that civic initiatives acknowledge that they do want to have real
influence, and through this will realise that there is a need to
deal with power.

Participation meant taking part in the existing power structures,
empowerment might mean transforming power relationships through
transforming oneself, changing relationships in society and changing
cultural patterns. At least on a conceptual level. Of course the
question remains of how to do it-inequalities which were initially
addressed centuries ago are still enshrined within present power
structures. Do we know how to act and not merely to complain when
power relationships are shifting?

Reality check the concepts

The important question after Seattle and Washington is therefore not
"How might the utopian horizon of a more just world look?" but "What
small, achievable steps can be taken now?" How many successful
empowerment experiences can civil negotiators present in the spaces
that open up after successful actions are taken in the streets?
Simon Retallack has pointed out in a recent article in The Ecologist
that: "Seattle has created a unique and historic opportunity for
real change. Now is the time to seize it." (Retallack, 2000: 30.)
The point is not just to demonstrate at the front doors of decision-
makers, but to actively participate in the process of decision

How often have the cracks which have been opened up, using a lot of
energy and skill, been fully exploited? Is it just that power
holders have not wanted to take our proposals into account-or have
we also failed to develop space for dialogue?

I do not want to look for examples too far afield and will therefore
start with what is happening in my own backyard. Power structures in
Croatia are shifting following the elections in January. The
Croatian Democratic Alliance (HDZ) which led my country through the
wars, is in pieces, and the new MPs are receptive to different
proposals-organisations which have been working on peace-building
since the beginning of the war in 1991, are out of breath and out of
sight. People are exhausted. The authoritarian regime of the HDZ
lasted too long, and it is unclear whether we will be able to use
this unique chance to exert any influence at all.

In 1993 when the Volunteer Project in Pakrac began, activists from
the Antiwar Campaign Croatia (ARK) had been dreaming about such
opportunities for dialogue. We had been hoping for dialogue between
people of Serbian and Croatian nationality from the two parts of the
war-damaged town. We had been hoping for dialogue on normalisation
with the local media and authorities. But our hopes were dissolved
following several days of military action in May 1995 in which most
of the Serbian people fled from Western Slavonia.

Still there have been some important changes; we may have failed in
creating space for dialogue, but have opened paths of empowerment
for women. The women's club in Pakrac, which started its activities
with a modest laundry in 1995, is now a really strong and visible
organisation, and is actively participating in women's rights
campaigns. The group carried out impressive actions before the
general election, inviting people to use their power and vote. Women
who have been invisible a few years ago now have a voice, can put
issues on the local agenda and can no longer be ignored.

What the women's club in Pakrac, together with most peace
organisations in Croatia, still find difficult is how to speak to
power. How to address really important issues such as the return of
refugees, war crimes and peace-building in the media? How to start
local projects to increase economic empowerment? How to open public

For civil initiatives in Croatia and anywhere in the world, it is
still to be seen whether we are empowered to take responsibility for
transforming crisis. Are we empowered to stop assuming that everyone
will see the value of our arguments? Are we empowered to step out of
the marginal ghetto and jump into mainstream culture, to avoid
compromise while promoting dialogue?

Assumptions and fears

Are we ready to speak about our assumptions, are we ready to face
our fears?
In the summarising chapter of his study The Strategy of Nonviolent
Defence, Robert J Burrows underlines how crucial personal change is,
pointing out that "everyone can learn to speak the truth.everyone
can learn to deal with the conflict in their personal lives.
everyone can learn to respect others more deeply.." (Burrows, 1996:
276.) Of course everyone could choose to do all that, and even more.
But why should one do that?

More then two thousand years ago Buddha made similar
recommendations, two thousand years ago Jesus Christ reiterated the
message, later codified in the Gospels. Utopian socialists like
Thomas Moore described towns of happy, satisfied people, Mary
Wollstonecraft demanded equal rights for women, and friends of mine-
working on the protection of human rights-share the same dream as
Martin Luther King and also hoped for, and even demanded, the

All of them could just do their best to explain that things might
work better if we could all act according to certain prescribed
ideals. The saints have been proposing different options, meditation
as a way of conscientious living, respecting the ten commandments as
written in the Old Testament, following any kind of expected
behaviour-from moral Christian to consequent feminist.

But that does not answer the question- what about the people who do
not find themselves following these prescribed ideals? Everywhere in
the world activists are a minority. Dialogue between ourselves is
important. But isn't it even more important to speak to the
majority? How do we continue dialogue with people who are not ready
to give up mainstream values, and are not interested in searching
for other kinds of power, but are more then ready to struggle for
their portion of power over?

How to confront the feeling of insecurity which Elias Canetti
described in his book Crowds and Power. "Rulers tremble today, not,
as formerly, because they are rulers, but as the equals of everybody
else." (Canetti, 1992:546.) Everybody is afraid, we are all caught
not just in networks of relationships and power structures,
determined by social and cultural contexts, we are also prey to
disabling fear.

While being abused some feel it is better to sit still and wait,
others resist. But resisters seem to be the much smaller group.
Activists often speak about apathy, prevalent in many communities.
As Louise K Schmidt says "The cause of apathy is linked to
indifference. However if we look more deeply, we will find the cause
of our apathy stems more from the fear we feel surrounding despair
than from indifference. Apathy is a defence that prevents one from
facing fear. It is a refusal to feel that, which unattended, creates
numbness and ultimately non-action." (Schmidt, 1995:68.)

Many people tend to follow what the family dictates-and in most
cases it suggests obedience. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes has written:
"When culture narrowly defines what constitutes success or desirable
perfection in anything-looks, height, strength, form, acquisitive
power, economics, manliness, womanliness, good children, good
behaviour, religious belief -there are corresponding dictates and
inclinations to measurement in the psyches of all its members."
(Estes, 1992:173-174.)

The majority of people in northern countries tend to live up to
these culturally and socially prescribed standards and this in turn
might entitle them to gain her/his share of security-and maybe even
of power. In place of hoping to see a change in that ancient
pattern, maybe it is better to work out methods of involving more
people in dialogue, and eventually in common projects.

In place of a conclusion

Empowerment may be a more promising concept than others that have
been offered in the development debates of previous decades. Taking
steps closer to power, on both a conceptual and working level, means
something-but the questions arising from previous concepts have
remained unanswered, and are still painfully present. Tangible
change is not exactly around the corner. However, that does not
dissolve my desire for change or diminish my will for accountable
power. Even if it does turn out that empowerment has been just
another phrase.

Canetti, Elias, Crowds and Power, Penquin Books, London 1992.
Burrows, Robert J, The Strategy of Noviolent Defence, SUNY, New York
Pinkola Estes, Clarissa, Women Who Run With the Wolfes, Doubleday,
New York 1992.
Retallack, Simon, After Seattle: Where next for the WTO, The
Ecologist, Vol. 30, No 2, April 2000.
Schmidt, Louise K, Transforming Abuse, New Society Publishers,
Philadelphia, 1995.
Wrong, Dennis H., Power, Transaction Publishers, 1995.

Vesna Terselic works with AntiRatna Kampanja (ARK), Croatia, and is
their representative on the WRI Council

taken from:
Peace News - for nonviolent revolution
No 2439, June - August 2000

subscription rates:
Belgium                                 Fr 900  (Fr 1500)
Britain                                 £  10   (£   20)
France                                  Fr 150  (Fr  250)
Germany                                 DM  45  (DM   75)
Netherlands                             Fl  51  (Fl   85)
New Zealand/Aotearoa                     $  45   ($   75)
USA                                      $  25   ($   45)
All Other Countries                     £  15   (£   25)

Rates in parentheses are for supporting subscriptions.

Please contact: Peace News Subscriptions, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DY,
Britain, email: peacenews@gn.apc.org

women-east-west mailing list

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 13:47:39 -0400
Subject: Journalists Die in Israel and Sierra Leone

War is evil and it is especially evil when the victims are those who 
report on it. Now, one kind of expects from RUF / Foday Sankoh, 
who are better known for chopping arms off of their opponents and 
their opponents children, to deliberatelly kill journalists, but are 
Israelis going to be held internationally criminally responsible for 
their cowardly action against the international journalist crew? They 
should. International community should see to it that Israel tries 
and sentences the perpetrators of this crime. And what ever 
happened with Albright talking about US helping around Sierra 
Leone, or is it that Africa is still nobody's backyard?

Associated Press Writer

   FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) -- A cameraman for Associated Press
Television News and a Reuters correspondent, both renowned for
covering the world's most dangerous conflicts, and four Sierra
Leone soldiers were killed Wednesday when suspected rebels
ambushed their vehicles, U.N.  officials and local reporters said. 

   Spaniard Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora, 32, of APTN and Washington
native Kurt Schork, 53, of Reuters, died after they were hit near
Rogberi Junction, an area hotly contested in recent days by
pro-government forces and rebels of the Revolutionary United
Front, journalists said. 

   Two more Reuters journalists, South African cameraman Mark
Chisholm and Greek photographer Yannis Behrakis, suffered slight
injuries in the same attack. 

   Escorted by at least 10 pro-government soldiers, Gil Moreno de
Mora and Schork were traveling in two vehicles when the group was
ambushed, about 50 miles east of the capital of Freetown. 

   In his account of the ambush carried by Reuters, Behrakis
described a chaotic series of events, seeing Schork hit by gunfire
and Gil Moreno de Mora's car attacked. 

   "There was a lot of shooting and for a second I saw Miguel's
car behind getting hit," he wrote. 

   Behrakis said he scrambled out the window of his moving car.
With bullets flying between rebels and soldiers, Behrakis ran to a
stretch of thick bush. 

   "At one point, the rebels walked 15 feet away but didn't see
me," he said, adding he waited there for three hours before
fleeing on foot back to Rogberi Junction. 

   Behrakis, other journalists on the scene and a U.N. official
who spoke on condition he not be named said four soldiers were
killed at the scene as well. 

   State Department acting spokesman Philip Reeker confirmed the
attack and sent the department's condolences to the victims'
families.   Gil Moreno de Mora was the 25th AP journalist to die
in the line of duty since the organization was founded in 1848.
Previously, APTN producer Myles Tierney was fatally shot in Sierra
Leone a year ago and AP West Africa bureau chief Ian Stewart was
also seriously wounded. 

   Gil Moreno de Mora began his professional life as a corporate
lawyer but was drawn to the challenge of news reporting, which
began with his coverage of the Bosnian war in the early 1990s. He
went on to cover conflicts in Kosovo, Chechnya, Iraq, Congo and
other parts of the world for APTN. 

   Of reporting from Chechnya, Gil Moreno de Mora said in a recent
first-person account: "Every minute of every day you think you are
going to die." 

   Louis D. Boccardi, AP's president and chief executive officer,
said in a statement that "Miguel's death leaves us with an
indescribable sense of loss. Our pain is not eased by the
certainty that he was doing work he loved when tragedy struck. 

   "Professional accolades fade to the background at tragic
moments like this but at least he lived to accept the honor, just
last month, of being hailed as the Royal Television Society's
cameraman of the year," he said. 

   Nigel Baker, head of news for APTN, said "Miguel was intuitive,
bold and one of the most intelligent cameraman of his generation.
...He went to the world's most dangerous places but didn't make a
move without weighing up the reasons for doing it and his options.
He had immense respect from all who knew him not just for his work
but because he was a deeply modest man who would help anybody he

   Schork, a Rhodes scholar, had reported for Reuters for the last
decade, and covered many of the same conflicts that Gil Moreno de
Mora had. 

   "Kurt Schork was a courageous reporter, a courageous man who
perhaps more than any other journalist highlighted the plight of
the Kurds during the Gulf War and later those victims of the
Balkans conflicts," said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Geert Linnebank. 

   Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations,
said from New York that "the world doesn't always understand how
much it owes" to journalists like Gil Moreno de Mora and Schork. 

   "What the public that watches these pictures and doesn't really
realize is the compulsion to tell the story, which differentiates
people like Kurt and Miguel from the rest of us -- the risks they
take to make sure the world knows what's happening in what
otherwise would be the dark recesses of people behaving at their
absolute worst," he said. 

   U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in New York that he was
saddened to hear of the deaths. 

   "These were professionals, seeking to report on a bloody
conflict that has already taken too many lives," he said. 

   Pro-government forces in the West African nation have been
fighting the rebel Revolutionary United Front, which took hundreds
of U.N.   peacekeepers hostage early in May and then launched an
advance toward Freetown.  Government forces have been slowly
pushing the rebels away from the capital since then. 

FROM SAM KILEY IN MENARA - The Times, London - 5/24/00


A Gunmetal blue Mercedes snaked its way below the escarpment
marking the border between Israel and Lebanon. It stopped for a
minute or two, then disappeared in a ball of fire - blasted by an
Israeli tank lurking in trees 200 yards away. A few hours later I
discovered my personal connection with the vehicle.

It was the second car I had seen the Israelis destroy in ten
minutes yesterday. Their pride hurt by the rout of their forces
and those of their allies in the South Lebanon Army, who were
fleeing back into Israel, and by the defiant flags of Hezbollah
that fluttered over the border hamlets they had fled, this was
payback time.

I was to learn that they were shooting at Jeremy Bowen, the BBC
correspondent, and his Lebanese cameraman. Inside the car, Abed
Taboush, a veteran driver and "fixer" known and loved by hundreds
of journalists who had been taken under his wing over 25 years,
was dead.

I first met Mr Taboush in January. It was the finest contact a
novice could make. A guarded attitude gave way to enormous warmth.
He insisted that I meet his family. In the hours between risky
trips through South Lebanon's tribal maze, Abed would clutch a
cold beer and render his listeners tearful with laughter at his
irreverent descriptions of our colleagues.

I last sat beside him on Sunday when he drove me to Beirut
airport.  He told me then that he feared his luck would run out.
"I have been so lucky all my life," he said.

His car was well-known to the Israelis. Two weeks before he was
killed, he and I were in Mjdal Zun when Israeli gunners shelled us
for 40 minutes.  "They know me!  They know me!" he said with a

He had driven through artillery bombardments, braved helicopter
cannon fire to bring his cameramen into the heart of hundreds of
battles. But his wife and friends had begged him to stay away from
the south during the Israeli retreat.

In 1996 he was the first into the Qana massacre, when Israeli
gunners killed 130 people queueing for bread at a UN bakery. In
the same month he carried the 11 dead of one family out of the
cellar where they had been killed by an Israeli "bunker-buster"

Yesterday I watched what amounted to his execution. Mr Bowen told
of how he and Mr Taboush had stopped to film us: the group of
spectators with ringside seats on the front line. "I got out of
the car with the cameraman and waved my arms so that the Israelis
could see that we were not armed. I was wearing a pink shirt
[unusual attire for a Hezbollah fighter]," he said.

Then a massive explosion ripped Mr Taboush's car apart and the
Israelis used the tank's machinegun to try to kill the rest of the
BBC crew. At Menara, a religious kibbutz, soldiers said that "two
terrorists" has escaped and they were trying to gun them down. A
Red Cross team that tried to retrieve Mr Taboush's body also came
under fire.

I had spoken to Mr Taboush and Mr Bowen yesterday morning.   They
were in good spirits.  "Be careful, stay safe," I said.

Thursday, 25 May, 2000, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK Abed Takoush - our
tower of strength

Line of fire: Israeli tanks leave Southern Lebanon
By Middle East correspondent Jeremy Bowen

(Click here to read Jim Muir's tribute)

I've just been to the funeral of my friend Abed

He was killed at about midday on Tuesday, 24 May by an Israeli

He was sitting in his car, phoning his family when an Israeli tank
crew decided he was a target worth destroying.

Abed had worked for the BBC in Beirut for 25 years and between
times he helped hundreds of other journalists. He's being mourned
in Lebanon and around the world.

Abed loved his work, he loved the scent of a story, he loved news
and in the end he died for it.

Being in dangerous places was part of the job. For his whole
career there was no other way to do it.

That didn't mean that he took stupid risks. Abed was as careful as
it was possible to be.

His business card said Abed Takoush, producer/driver.  Abed was
not the kind of guy who just got you from A to B. I can't imagine
trying to cover the news here in Lebanon without him.

He knew where to go, who to talk to, where we could cover the war
without getting swept up in it.

Four years ago, when Israeli gunners massacred more than 100
defenceless Lebanese civilians sheltering in a UN base at Cana,
Abed was a tower of strength.

One day we were with a UN convoy that came under heavy Israeli

In the chaos, noise and fear as we filmed, the camera team and I
became separated from him.

We jumped into a UN armoured personnel carrier.  Immediately I
knew it was the wrong thing to do.


I suddenly realised that he would be looking for us. But by then
the APC was racing away.

When we were all reunited safe and sound only a couple of minutes
later, Abed said smiling but rather disappointed: "Jeremy, didn't
you trust me? I'd never leave a crew."

I apologised for about two days until he told me to shut up.

I always thought Abed would be there to meet me at the airport in
Beirut. To take us to the South or wherever it was happening. To
make us laugh and to boast about his driving.

A couple of hours before he was killed after a particularly
hair-raising manoeuvre I closed my eyes as he squeezed his
Mercedes through the last critical gap.

He said one of his clients had called him Michael Schumacher. Yes,
Abed said, like Schumacher, except Schumacher drives on empty
roads. Let him try it here in Lebanon.

Abed Takoush leaves a wife and three sons and friends who will
never forget what he did for them.

(click here to return to Jeremy Bowen's tribute)

Correspondent Jim Muir, who covered the crisis in Lebanon from its
inception in 1975, adds this personal memoir from Tehran, where he
is now based I was listening with half an ear when I heard what
was almost a throwaway line on the BBC World TV bulletin :
"...and the driver, Abed Takoush, was killed."

How often had I heard similar phrases from anonymous tragedies
around the world. But the name hit me like a sledgehammer.

I swore badly, switched off the set, threw the remote control onto
a seat, and slumped into my chair, holding my head in my hands as
memories and thoughts and Abed's voice crowded through my mind and
the tears came.

Abed, sticking his boggle-eyed, scowling, brooding face around my
door and intoning "Naaaaam!" - "Yes!" - which became our
catchphrase for years.

How that dark face used to light up as he cackled hysterically at
something that caught his fancy, which happened often.

Except after his sister was blown to pieces when one of General
Aoun's shells hit a West Beirut parking lot during his "War of
Liberation" in 1988. They only found about half of her.

After that, Abed went quiet and brooded even more for a long time.


Then one day he laughed again. He often reminded me later that it
was something I said, though I can't remember what it was.

I suppose I must have known Abed since the late 70s, when I joined
the NBC/BBC office in Beirut as a stringer.  He was one of our
pool of four or five drivers.

During the 80s, as others fell away for one reason or another,
Abed was always there.

I don't know how many trips we made south, north and east as the
Lebanese crisis mutated through its many contortions.

Own way with English

I came to trust Abed in a rare way. In those bad times, when being
kidnapped was a real possibility, for some reason - perhaps it was
that dark, brooding quality - I felt instinctively that if I were
threatened, Abed would fight for me.

Abed had his own way with English. Once he left me a message that
a Mr Bosh Dask had called from the BBC. It took a while to figure
out that it was what we now call the Intake desk at Bush House.

In 1985, when I got back to Beirut from watching the Israelis
pulling out of Sidon (he'd stayed in town for some reason), he
stuck his head round my door and asked, "Israelians f*** off?"
Yes, they had.

Ever after that, a withdrawal - and there were more - became known
to us as f***-offs. One of the first thoughts that came to me was
the sickening irony that this last of all the "Israelian
f***-offs" should have taken Abed away from us too.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 13:48:04 -0400
Subject: Open letter by Obrad Savic

Dear friends, esteemed colleagues,

I am addressing this letter to you, hoping that a voice of revolt
from shameful Belgrade will reach you. I am ashamed of writing
from the state in which the regime had sentenced 143 Kosovo
Albanians (from Djakovica) to 1.632 years of prison. I am ashamed
of addressing you from the country of terror and fear, the state
where parliamentary life, media and University have been
suffocated, the state where pensioners, workers and citizens are
being beaten. I am ashamed of the state which mobilizes
paramilitary formations to oppress students in the University
halls and classrooms. I am ashamed of the state which fears and
arrests its rebellious youth, organized as the "people's
resistance" movement. I am ashamed of our democratic political
opposition, which has wasted the trust of its citizens long time
ago. I am ashamed of my feelings of hatred towards the regime and
scorn towards the opposition. I am ashamed of sending my Open
Letter to the Belgrade Univertsity Rector now, in the moment when
everything around us is falling apart. I am ashamed of myself, of
my feelings of superfluousness and uselessness in my own country.
I am sad and worried for these darkest forebodings.

Your friend,
Obrad Savic

P.S. The Letter to Rector is attached.


An open letter to Jagos Puric, rector of the University of Belgrade

I am addressing you in a wish to express my utmost gratitude for
the fact that during your tenure I have been removed from the
Belgrade State University (a "decision on the termination of
contract" at Faculty of Chemical Engineering /FChE/ was given to
me on May 16, 2000). I do not intend on this occasion to engage in
a procedural discussion about a fabricated excuse for my exclusion
from the University,  inspired, as you very well know, with
political rather than statutory reasons. The decision was signed,
and pinned on the board at FChE (!), by personnel officer,
Milivoje Lazic. Let me remind you that the civil servant in
question was unlawfully appointed dean of FChE, just like you were
unlawfully appointed rector of the University of Belgrade. You
were placed on high-profile positions during the siege of the
University, i.e. by a government decree and without the approval
of the academic community. Your promotion is indivisible from the
role you played during the regimes brutal invasion against the
autonomy of the university and educational policy in Serbia.  As
you know, under the arrogant blows of your party zealots, donned
in the immoral clothes of academic authority, the wall of science
started to crack, and the occupied universities in Serbia began to
resemble a tomb of the academic apparatus and associated
pedagogical practices.

I was denied the right to teach at the University precisely as
with my friends around the Belgrade Circle international review I
finished publishing "In Defense of the University". This volume
offers an account of the dramatic history of destruction of the
University of Belgrade, in which you played an ignoble role. You
betrayed the University of Belgrade directly participating in the
suspension of academic freedoms, the ultimate institutional legacy
of modern European University. You irresponsibly dabbled with an
undemocratic siege of the University, which, until you took
office, was one of the most significant points of institutional
resistance and, at the same time, an important bastion of
democratic transformation and consolidation of the Serbian state
and society.

No one before you and your commissaries at the faculties (the
deans) ever managed to bring so much misery upon the Serbian
academic community in such a short time. Let me remind you that
during your two-years tenure the University laid off, on
different grounds, around 200 professors and fellows. At the same
time, another couple of hundred of renowned teachers opted for
voluntary exile. You should present to the public a list of
"spontaneously expelled" students who left Serbian faculties. You
can and must do it, because you are bound by institutional rather
than personal responsibility to all the teachers and students
expelled from the University of Belgrade.

Obrad Savic

In Belgrade, on this 24 of May, 2000

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net