Mihajlo Acimovic on Wed, 22 Sep 1999 14:25:39 0000

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Syndicate: About Rastko Seji

There is also one very interesting person in the PSS (Pokret Studenata Srbije - Movement of Students of Serbia), that I want to tell you about. That is Rastko Sejic. He was the chief editor of a youth magazine in 1992., became chief of the press service of the Student Protest 1996/97, planned and organised the "What is your name?" exibition, participated in making the film about RESISTANCE and I think he also writes for the BUKA. 
In 1992., the first issue of his magazine, called "What do you want?" (Sta ti hoces?), was printed in Belgrade and then burnt by the printer, just after he had read it. It was then published as a submagazine in the Republika. The Republika is very close to the Center For Antiwar Action (last public antiwar action they made was with my participation, in March 1998.) and the Civic Alliance Of Serbia (antiwar profiteurs), a member of the Alliance For Change. 
I have little information about what he did as chief of the press of the Student Protest 96/97. All I know is tried to organise some new media things and exchanges of resistance materials. He went to Finland for that. 
In 1998, I interviewed him about an exibition that he planned. He seemed slimy, secretive and a liar. A perfect example of a profesional protest organiser.
Of course, I couldn't know if this was true, but his self-marketing and his refusal to give me information he didn't think were important, were self-explanatory. 
The PSS was funded mostly from people like Soros. The exibition was funded by IRI. A foundation very close to the Republican Party in the U$A.
In 1997., he had planned this exibition, called "What is your name?". It was only held in 1998., and in a different ambient, because of police bannings. The exibition showed some objects with highly simbolic meanings, concerning the years of Milosevic's rule - postcards from friends who went to live in Fortress Europe, old children's toys, plastic bags, socks...
And there were posters, with people's faces, saying who they are, how old are they and how they live. The final question was always "What is your name?". It was fantastic. I cried a little. That is something I do very rare. I couldn't believe that someone like Rastko did something like that. One of the posters had the pictures of a Serb and an Albanian from Kosovo. They said: "Our names have the same meaning - Peace. But, because of this war, we no longer speak to each other".
One time, when police phoned to say they were banning the exibition in Novi Sad, he asked them if there was a way they would allow him to hold it. The policeman said "Yes, change the subject" (the subject was declared simply as antiwar).
In 1998., he becomes chief of the RESISTANCE press service, as soon as it was formed. 
In November 1998., 4 people were arrested for doing RESISTANCE grafitti around Belgrade. 
The story published in a press release, by Rastko Sejic, the next morning was that around 40-50 policemen, with patrol cars and vans (and I don't know if they mentioned an armored car or a helicopter hovering), charged into Student Square from all directions, brutally forced them against the wall, handcuffed them, took them into a van and drove away. 
The story was a complete and utter lie. 
A journalist of the Vreme magazine (well respected by foreign journalists, circulation about 15000-20000, over 5000 of which is abroad. Has an English edition) made an interview with Rastko Sejic, confirming this story. She made an interview with Miroslav Hristodulo (alias Malisha) on the next page of the same issue. Malisha was a friend of one of the arrested and a long time social activist. He told a part of the real story, completely negating Rastko Sejic's press release.
The full real story, as I heard it, is that there was no 50 special police, charging into Student Square, with sirens on (I know some people that live there. They might had noticed such a thing happening. I lived five minutes from there, at the time). They were doing graffitti and Teodora was in the middle of one, when a patrol of two was walking down the street. She wouldn't run until she finished it. She even didn't run after they told her to get lost, or else they would have to arrest her. She said "just let me finish this one". They told her they were taking her to the station. Her friends didn't want to leave her alone, so they approached, cans of spray in hands, and got arrested too. The police car came and took them to the station. 
The station was another story. They were beaten and sentenced to 10 days of jail for "writting graffitti of anti-state content", but that has nothing to do with what Rastko did. His press release went all over the world. He didn't publish a negation of it.
Instead, he made a film, together with some people, about RESISTANCE. The film was largely centered around the arrest of four activists and the protests for their release.It completely repeated the story from the press release. It is also noticable that Teodora
one of the arrested didn't want to do graffitti with the symbol of RESISTANCE (the organisation), but wrote slogans instead. I myself did graffitti with the slogan resistance and nobody charged in to arrest me. 
The reason why neither of us did the symbol was because we didn't want to advertise an organisation that is controlled by protest profiteurs and deeply corrupt.

Mihajlo Acimovic

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