geert lovink on Tue, 27 Aug 2002 06:17:56 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ANEM Statement: Serb nationalists close exhibition

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Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 1:52 AM
Subject: ANEM Statement

ANEM press release


BELGRADE, August 26 - The Association of Independent Electronic Media
protests against the disruption of an exhibition of war photographs by Ron
Haviv in the central Serbian city of Kragujevac on August 25.

A large group of protesters forced the opening of the exhibition by the
celebrated US photographer to be abandoned. The exhibition, Blood and
Honey, consists of photographs taken on the battlefields of the former

The protesters many wearing T-shirts with the slogan "Radovan Karadzic -
Serbian Hero" greeted visitors with shouts of "Traitors!" and nationalist
catch cries. Police arrived quickly on the scene but did not react as the
protesters, mostly young men in black shirts, hurled insults at visitors
to the exhibition.

The exhibition, which was mounted by Cinema Rex Cultural Centre, 1991-1999
War Documentation Centre, Kragujevac Forum and the Kragujevac National
Museum will most probably be moved to a different location.

The organisers told media that an agreement was reached to postpone the
opening in order to avoid a major confrontation.

This is the third in a series of incidents related to Haviv's work.  A
group of about forty people disrupted the exhibition in Uzice on June 5,
protesting that the battlefield photographs were anti-Serb.  A month
later, in Cacak, a group of skinheads burst into the opening of the
exhibition and attacked organiser Ivan Zlatic leaving him seriously

The nationalist identification with Radovan Karadzic and the insistence
that the documentary photographs are "anti-Serb" and "offensive" have been
the common theme of all three incidents.

Whether or not these disruptions have been orchestrated, it is clear that
a dangerous climate of intolerance has re-emerged in Serbia.

ANEM warns that the tacit consent of the authorities to the actions of
these radical right groups is absolutely unacceptable.  Such consent is
the only explanation for the exhibition being closed in Kragujevac, where
only three police were in attendance, despite the experiences in Uzice and

ANEM reiterates its call to the state authorities to ensure that the
people of Serbia are able to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed
freedom of speech, even if those authorities are not prepared to fully
participate in the process of facing the past.

Veran Matic Chairman, ANEM

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