A Report of the Protest "Stop the War in Lebanon"

Yesterday, July 23, 2006, a vigil protest against the war in Lebanon was organized on Republic Square. The following posters were held at the vigil: Stop Ethnic Cleansing in Lebanon, Neither Hezbollah Nor The Israeli Army, Stop the War, Stop the Israeli Occupation, Stop the Bloodshed, Stop the Violence, Neogtiate!, etc. The activists carried Fatima’s Hands, a symbol of women’s resistance against war in Levant. There was also a performance. Three activists lay down and held hands around a cedar tree, the symbol of Lebanon, made of candles. The message was that their bodies, in black, protected the civilian population of Lebanon fro aggressions.
Activists from Belgrade, Zajecar, Tutin, Vlasotinac, and Novi Pazar participated in the vigil.
There were no democratic media at the protest, only one reporter from the Beta agency.

“I was very proud to be able to publicly state that I am against war. The situation would be much better if the large group of people who couldn’t be there took part. For me, it was wonderful when the women lay down.” (Jasmina, Zajecar)

“I came all the way from Tutin just for the protest. The number of policemen there made a made a big impression on me. I was scared of so many uniformed people. The police forcefully separated us from the people, restraining this big, dangeous gathering…” (Dzeneta, Tutin—400 km from Beograd)

“I think that the police had orders not to let anything happen to us; they had to take care of us. People haven’t learned, they are indifferent to someone else’s suffering. I was excited to light the candles and lay down on the square. People are ignorant, and because of that we protest.” (Mima, Zajecar)

“When I was lying down, it was completely different from everything that I had experienced to that point. Lying down, I felt like the asphalt was burning. I lay down, and in the sky and saw the birds flying, announcing death. I did not see people. It was very powerful for me, lying down holding hands. I asked myself about all those people who did not choose to lie down, who had to fall to the ground….” (Emina, Novi Pazar)

“Solidarity…solidarity with all human being in Lebanon. How? By showing our bodies, in black, on the square, lying down next to the cedar tree made of candles… Trying to feel, in our bodies, the difficulty of the suffering of others, to symbolically protect them, to fall in the emptiness outside of space, outside of time…to get mixed up between those categories. In thoughts, to be in Lebanon, with Lebanon….” (Milos)

“I felt my spirit and my body with friends from the Middle East, Israeli and Palestinian women, and the civilian population in Lebanon. Indifference to the passage of others’ suffering hurts me the most, and it worries me. And this act of international solidarity demonstrates that solidarity is not just any belief. It demonstrates the complete dehumanization created by the nationalism and militarism in this society. I heard both solidarity for others’ sufferings and various expressions of astonishment around us, but the majority of people experienced the protest as a part of the general conspiracy against the Serbian people.”

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