Article by: Aleksandra Savevska
Edited by: Austin Fast and Stefan Alievikj
This September brought me the chance to become a Youth Reconciliation Ambassador. It all happened after I successfully finished the Youth Reconciliation Ambassadors seminar that was held in Belgrade altogether with 25 other students and young activist coming from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. It was an opportunity for me to witness heated debates, arguments and counter-arguments and furthermore history lessons, some of which already learnt and some never heard of; upbeat nationalism contrasted with messy globalism. Here is my story of the event!
First things first, let me tell you about the ‘time warp’ I had experienced during the seminar. Have you ever had that feeling when you listen to a story and all of a sudden the story becomes so vivid and it just feels like you are in it, with all the goose bumps and chills? Well that is when you enter a ‘time warp’. And that happened here too! During the seminar, ex Yugoslavia came into being as it once truly was. Our collective traumas were in full blast fueled by the historical premises of the past. O boy, I could easily see that the hand of past traumas has touched each one of us either directly or indirectly.
I have been taught that rage, guilt, fear and shame are often passed from one generation to the next and now I could feel it too. It materialized without much pressure in the story of the Serbian girl in Kosovo that had to leave her hometown, in the story of the Bosnian boy who saw his home country splits into enclaves and massive graveyards, in the story of the Muslim boy from Kosovo who had to fight the paramilitaries ravaging his village, and the story goes on and on. At moments I thought, is there an end? Will there be a time for us people in the Balkans when we will stop living in the past and start creating the future of you and me together? Or is it not time yet? The answer should follow.