We would like to thank you in advance, in solidarity.
During the period covered by this report we have organized:
- Commemorations / memorializations of important dates pertaining to crimes which were committed in our name
- Feminist, antifascist, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-militaristic street actions.
Commemorations / Memorializations of important dates pertaining to crimes which were committed in our name, as well as other crimes against civilians during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia:
May 24th, Belgrade: “Crimes against Women during the Bosnia and Herzegovina War – We Remember”. A peace action organized as remembrance of the 21 years since the beginning of the Serbian aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and especially of the women victims of sex crimes. Around thirty women participated in this action which was also organized in the context of May 24th – International Day of Women’s Actions for Peace and Disarmament.
May 25th, Visegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina – “3000 Roses for the 3000 Killed”. We participated in the commemoration for the Bosniak men and women who were murdered 21 years ago during the Serbian aggression against Bosnian and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. 7 exhumed bodies of victims were buried at the cemetery (mezarje) Straziste on that occasion. Eight (8) Women in Black activists were present at the commemoration in Visegrad – we were invited by the association of victims in Visegrad.
May 31st, Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina – “International Day of White Armbands”. A commemoration of the commencement of the extermination campaign (1992) - which entailed mass executions, opening of concentration camps (Trnopolja, Omarska and Keraterm, which saw more than several tens of thousands of people pass its gates, while several thousands were brutally killed), sex and other crim es against non-Serbian nationals. On that day in 1992 the local Bosnian Serb authorities in Prijedor ordered the non-Serb populace to mark their houses with white fl ags or sheets as well as place white armbands around their sleeves. Around 200 activists from B&H and Serbia, representatives of victims’ associations and other non-governmental organizations commemorated May 31st, this important date, by peacefully gathering at the city square in Prijedor and then proceeding forward in a peace march, and giving their respect to the civilian victims of war. The action was organized by the “Because It Concerns Me” initiative, as part of the ongoing struggle against genocide denial and for the remembrance of civilian victims of war. Seven (7) Women in Black activists went to Prijedor and participated in the action.
June 1st, Zvornik, Bosnia and Herzegovina. During May and June 1992, on the territory of the Zvornik Municipality, Serbian armed forces tortured civilians who were Muslim nationals – approximately 700 men, women and children. They were later executed in the locality of Gerina Klanica. A peace march was organized to commemorate the 21 years since this crime happened. The participants went by places of prosecution and mass graves and the concentration camps in Zvornik (Snagovo, Crni Vrh, Karakaj, Klisa, the School-Technical Center…); on the same day the remains of victims were buried at the cemetery / mezarje. Eight (8) Women in Black activists took part in this commemoration, alongside families of victims and those who survived.
July 8 – 11: We Will Never Forget the Srebrenica Genocide– As part of the commemoration of 18 years since the Srebrenica genocide the following actions were undertaken:
July 8 – 11: Srebrenica – Peace Activism, Activist Bicycling – The Peace March from Belgrade to Srebrenica. This action was organized by a group of activists (Eva Dinic, Vladimir Jevtic, Nina Djurdjevic Filipovic), in cooperation with SOS Vlasotince and the Women in Black Network in Serbia, with fi nancial support from the Women’s Reconstruction Fund. During the action they handed out fl iers with information about the Srebrenica genocide. Cyclists went from Belgrade to Srebrenica by bicycle and on July 11th they took part in the 18th commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide. The “Belgrade – Srebrenica by Bicycle 2013” action was implemented as a bike tour, and was done for the fi rst time this year. Nine cyclists took part, and the tour lasted three days, passing about 220 kilometers. Cyclists wanted to remind the populace in Western Serbia and Podrinje of the role Serbia played in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina – during the Bosnian war these regions were frequently used for logistics support and as a destination of various military and paramilitary formations coming back from the front lines.
July 8th, Sabac and July 9th, Loznica (Western Serbia): we held protests, dressed in black and silent – “We Will Never Forget the Srebrenica Genocide”. Around ten Women in Black Network in Serbia participated alongside the aforementioned cyclists.
July 10th, Belgrade – “Remembrance and Accountability”, exhibit: Organized in the House of Human Rights in Belgrade, by Women in Black, Center for Cultural Decontamination, Lawyer’s Committee for Human Rights, Humanitarian Law Fund and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia. Photographs were exhibited as part of the “July 11th – Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide – Declare it!” campaign, which was organized by the aforementioned NGOs from February 2009 to July 2010, and this year repeated the said 4 demand. In front of the entrance to the exhibit, Women in Black activists handed out fl iers containing statements of Bosnian women who survived the war and genocide tragedies.
July 10th, Belgrade - “July 11th – Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide – Declare it!”: a protest in front of the Serbian Presidency, as part of the campaign baring the same name; organized by the aforementioned NGOs, with support from over 30 Serbian NGOs. On this again we requested that the President, Tomislav Nikolic, the Government and the Parliament, declare in Serbia July 11th the Day of Remembrance of the Srebrenica Genocide.
July 10th, Belgrade – “They Have Left a Trace on us”: a theatrical action, where WiB Network members stood in silence and dressed in black, to commemoration 18 years since the genocide. For this action WiB cooperated with artists collective Dah Theater, Skart and Art Klinika. By means of this theatrical action performed on the Republic Square, where we used objects from everyday life of everyday people (sheets, pans, water…), we expressed remorse – fi rst and foremost, for the people murdered, but also for the murder of life itself, symbolically. This action again is a statement that those who were murdered during the Srebrenica genocide left an inerasable trace on our lives and that we will keep their memory alive. This action, attended by approximately 200 activists from Serbia, represents a continuation of construction of the living monument for the genocide victims. By “moving” Srebrenica onto the Republic Square in Belgrade, with the names of the 8 372 genocide victims written out, we used this opportunity to warn that no one may close their eyes before the reality of the genocide that’s been committed and that only confrontation with what was done can advance the establishment of a political culture where crime is punishable.
July 11th, Potocari/Srebrenica – “Remembrance and Accountability”, solidarity with victims of a crime committed in our name: In July 1998, 25 civilians of Serb nationality were murdered in the Orahovac municipality, villages of Opterusa and Retimlje. Women in Black Belgrade activists laid down a reef, expressed condolences and solidarity with families of victims of this crime at the commemoration on the Orlovaca cemetery (which was organized by the Association of the Families of Those Kidnapped and Missing on Kosovo and Metohija).
July 24th, Sljivovica/West Serbia: Representatives of those who were interned in concentration camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Women in Black, Fond for Humanitarian Law and Youth Initiative for Human Rights, visited the municipality of Cajetina (Serbia), concentration camp Sljivovica for Bosniaks from Zepa. Namely, from August 1995 till April 1996 in the concentration camp Sljivovica, members of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Aff airs held captive several hundred Bosniaks from Zepa and the vicinity – who sought refuge in Serbia after the fall of Zepa. Dozens of cases of torture and inhumane treatment were noted in Sljivovica. They were committed by police offi cers against Bosniak men. Five men succumbed to injuries. Women in Black, the Fond for Humanitarian Law and Youth Initiative for Human Rights called on Serbian institutions to mark these two concentration camps and acknowledge the injustice committed against the victims.
August 5th and 6th, Trnopolje and Omarska, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Five Women in Black activists went on the invitation of the Association of Concentration Camp Survivors of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Association of Concentration Camp Survivors from Prijedor to visit former concentration camps of Trnopolje and Omarska (located at the site of a mine bearing the same name). Serbian armies and police held captive around 6 000 Bosnian and Croatian nationals in said camps, while 700 – 900 people were murdered at those same camps. On August 6th there was a commemoration of the date when the camp was closed. Our visit was intended to pay our respects to the victims, show solidarity with the survivors, but also give support for the initiative of building a Memorial Center on the location of the Former Concentration Camp Omarska.
A list of the feminist, antifascist, anti-war, anti-racist, anti-militaristic… actions in chronological order:
May 9th, Belgrade: Antifascism Is My Choice - a series of actions were organized in relation to Victory Day (Day of Victory against Fascism):
- Visit of Women in Black activists to the Memorial Park Jajinci – a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War, a place where antifascists were murdered, as were Jews, Roma and Serbs. We laid down a reef in memory and respect of victims on fascist terror.
- Antifascism Is My Choice: and antifascist performance organized by WiB and Artie-Center for Promotion of Culture, Art and Design in Belgrade; the action was performed in front of the Terazije Monument, where we laid down fl owers for the antifascist who were shot and then hanged on the main Belgrade street in 1941. This act was done in protest to historical revisionism – the trend of equating fascism and antifascism in Serbia, negating our antifascist heritage, glorifying World War II criminals, etc. Approximately 50 activists participated in this action.
May 17th, Belgrade – International Day against Homophobia: Women in Black, together with LGBT organizations Labris and Queeria, organized the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. The “Colorful Picnic” action was held in the Student’s Park in the center of the city (Belgrade), and several tens of people participated.
June 12th, Belgrade, “Food, Not Guns”- an antimilitaristic action done as part of the global anti-militarism action organized by the International Action Networ k on Small Arms (IANSA). Women in Black are IANSA members. This action aimed at protesting current militarism in Serbia, and military expenses incurred at the expense of the populace’s civil needs. During the action we handed out candy, antimilitaristic messages and leafl ets with data on the growing military expenses, and domestic poverty.
Jun 27th, Belgrade, “Hate Free Zone”: The International LGBT Pride Day was commemorated with the slogan “Hate Free Zone”, in the goal of pointing out the prevalence of intolerance in Serbia in relation to the LGBT community and other minority and endangered groups. Also, the goal was to “liberate” from hate public places in Belgrade and other Serbian towns. This solidarity action against homophobia, xenophobia and racism was organized by Women in Black, the Gay Straight Alliance, IDAHO Belgrade, Gay and Lesbian Info Center, Association “Duga”, and Safe Pulse of Youth, along with activists from other organizations. Around 150 participants gathered at the Republic Square and from there commenced a peaceful march which stopped at Obilicev Venac, where a French citizen (Brice Taton) was beaten on September 17th, 2009, and 12 days later died due to injuries. Taton’s beating happened in circumstances where hate and tensions were high in the city already due to the Pride Parade announced to take place in September of that year. He was beaten by far-right football hooligans. At the place where this crime took place we paid our respects by standing in silence, holding messages expressing solidarity for groups which live under threat in Serbia.
Facing the past/ Transitional justice – feminist approach
This is one of the most important activities of Women in Black. It consists of many segments: street events, workshops, lectures, creating diff erent models of transitional justice from a feminist point of view, and the cooperation with similar organizations in the form of joint actions (campaigns, consultative meetings)...
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