Date: Tue, 18 Feb 97 10:25:38 CST
Belgrade, 84th day of protest
By Lepa Mladjenovic LEPA.MLADJENOVIC@ZAMIR-BG.ztn.apc.org, 13 February 1997
Beograd - The political situation in Serbia has not changed much yet. There has been passed a special law in the Serbian parliament about accepting the results of election - which was the main cause for beginning the protests. Now the opposition and the people are waiting to see if the law will be promptly implemented, in the meantime :
1. Students are still in daily protest. They are walking again every day throughout Belgrade, starting from noon untill up to 3pm. The police is not at all appearing during their protest.
2. Opposition coalition 'Zajedno' are still in daily protests as well. They usually start with inviting people to come out during the TV News to bang and whistle in the certain places in each community. then they all get together and walk up to the center of town, and around 9pm the opposition leaders start speaking. The police is set up between street and the pavement and does not bother protestants any more, in the last week it is so.
3. All the faculties of all universities in three university cities are in strike, and there are no lectures for three months now.
4. From the 2,200 primary and high schools in Serbia, 1,800 are in strike (We are talking of public schools).
5. The trade union of school teachers has organized two-days protest in front of the parlaiment, today and tomorrow, at noontime.
6. All the kindergardens in Belgrade are in strike / closed down.
7. In 42 towns in Serbia there are in some kind of opposition or student protests against the regime.
8. In few towns in Serbia local women's organizations are organizing women on the street to oppose the fact that mothers with children have not get their child benefit (if that is the term) in the last 11 months!
9. Women's Study Center does not reopen for the next semester untill the University reopens.
10. On and off, the theaters and cinemas are in strike.
11. Vesna Pesic, the founder of the Antiwar Center and the leader of the Civil Alliance opposition party has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize together with Vesna Terselic, the founder and the Coordinator of the Anti War Campaign in Zagreb (Croatia), and the leader of the only non nationalist party in Bosnia and Hercegovina, 'Union of Bosnian Social Democrats', Selim Beslagic from Tuzla. Feminists first of all support Vesna Terselic, she is an active feminist and peace activist and a beautiful woman. Vesna Pesic is pro-feminist, and Selim Beslagic was the only city major, in Tuzla, in the entire Bosnia and Hercegovina who succeeded during the war to spread non-nationalist politics in his town. That was very dangerous and very difficult.
Comments of a feminist:
First, one has to note that primary and high schools and kindergardens are full of women and mostly lead by women. The President of their indipended trade union of teachers is a women. Also, the teachers have a long history of strikes since their salaries are very low and conditions for work very poor more than 6 years now.
Shall we ask why, if feminsits have long time ago made an analysis of female dominated jobs and their status in society compared to some others. OK.
I wil describe the scene from tonight.
So, the people are not banging on their widnows anymore, but they come out at a certain square and they bang together for half an hour there. The part of the town where I live is called Dorcol: it is one of the oldest parts of town where Jews and Gypsies used to live. In the Second World War, from 11.000 of Jews only 200 remained, others were killed in the concentration camps. So Dorcol does not have any more Jews but does have old people, poor people and Gypsies/Roma. Tonight the mood among people was very merry. There were lots of young girls and boys whistling, one of them had a name of his high school on a banner, there were families with kids, there were women who came out with pots and tops of the pots, so either banging on the top with spoons, or banging two tops one on the other. . . there was one middle aged Gypsy man and his son. Usually they are not concerned with the white Serbian governement, they dont feel it as theirs, and they are rarely seen on these protests (which are mainly lead by the bourgeois). But the father and the son were there. The father had a huge red plastic watch in which the time appears in big digital numbers. He had a big transistor near his ears. The transistor was wrapped with rope because some big elements were sticked to the back and the batterie were on the edge of falling down but were not. The Roma man was making noise with the folk music, and his son had a whistle, and they were part of the non-Roma crowd. Just near them there was an old granny, very old, maybe over 70 or 80 years old. She had probably put the white boots on reverse, she must have had a reason, and she had a very red whistle in her mouth, coat, and the metal tray in one hand and the wooden spoon in the other. She was seriously banging without stop. Among the crowd in the middle of the intersection in Dorcol, and therefore the traffick was stopped, there were many women of all ages whistling, they looked so powerfull and touching, whoever they are.
lepa mladjenovic, 13 februar, 1997, beograd