< SWITCH ME >

Nenad lets enemies reflect about each other

Nenad Porobic, 33, also brings people together. But not just any people. Nenad brings the enemies together, the victims to the war and to the hatred still smouldering between the different young countries in the region. Leads people into exchange and empathy which each other, of which the one celebrates a day of the dead of the war, when the other one parties at a victory holiday. A tall, seriously-looking Serbocroat, co-operating with a Bosnian partner in the NGO Center for Nonviolent Action. His father still wishes back Milošević. The son organises professional peace building training.

Nenad tells the participants "Hey, participant Serb, write down on that sheet what you think your colleague participant, the Croat, thinks about you. Then write down what you think he thinks you think about him. Then think over. Rethink. And start to understand!" – Making individuals subjected to collective nationalist brainwashing reflect on how the other ethnic group perceives their own is not an easy job. Nenad has been doing it for years.

Serbia, Nenad says, is at a point where words like "genocide" still sound extremely annoying to people. And although the UN has clearly stated that Srebrenica was a genocide, its resolution has used the word only implicitly. But also in Germany, which was under occupation, it took some time until the term "Holocaust" was shaped for what had happened. And the televised discussion on the said UN session, lasting for nine hours, has been transmitted on Serbian TV, even pausing a soccer game of Manchester United. A sign that things are moving.

But are they? There are politicians today who were around when Milošević was still in power. An accused at the Den Hague tribunal was acquitted due to her admittance to everything and confessions of remorse. Immediately after her release she declared in Serbian media that she had barefacedly lied in order to take the piss out of the Europeans. The peace builder's voice is slightly shaking: "I hope never to see her, because that could make me loose my temper. She moved in not far from my flat with her bodyguards." In Serbia, the past and future live very close together.

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