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Cafébabel Berlin goes Balkans&Beyond: immersion in Tito's former kingdom

Article published on Dec. 11, 2015
Article published on Dec. 11, 2015

More than two decades after the fall of Tito's regime, what do the Balkans look like now? In order to deconstruct the stereotypes linked to this region and depict its current political, social and cultural situation, cafébabel has decided to launch a new project headed up by cafébabel Berlin.

Bye-bye Tito, hello chaos? Twenty-five years ago, the Croatian first war for independance marked the dismentelement of long-time glorious united Yougoslavia of Tito. Later in the mid-nineties, Bosnia and then Kosovo conflicts completed the bloodiest decade on recent European history.

Though Balkans are only few hours flight from London or Berlin, the names of its countries from Montenegro to Macedonia sound as ‘strange’ Southern counterparts. For most of the Europeans, those countries evocate rather ‘kalachnikov, mafia and slivovitz’, than peace and prosperity.

Situated at a major crossroads between mainland Europe and the Near East, the region has a strong but volatile identity, from Ottoman influence to orthodoxe rules. Secret and moutainuous, the Balkans have lived the whole XXth century as a fragmented and violent area, coated into war, omerta and vendetta.

Essence of the project

Twenty-five years have passed since the start of 90’s independance conflicts: from Kosovo to Montenegro, passing by Bosnia or Serbia, how do balkanic societies look like now? What do its younger generations want and dream of? How do they live and love ? Are the people youg-ostalgic? Or more Europe-oriented? Migrations, cultural buzzing scene, religion or war scars, how does the region reinvent itself?

In an effort to illustrate the tremendous changes across Balkans in the last twenty-five years and following the success of its precedent édition "Beyond The Curtain", cafébabel has teamed up the editorial project "Balkans&Beyond", co-financed by cafébabel Berlin and the Allianz Kulturstiftung.

During the winter 2015–2016, 15 talented and promising journalists, photographers and video makers from the region will work together and tell us about the current political, social and cultural situation undergone by the Balkans.

Investigating from a young and multicultural perspective, the objective is to open the discussion about the shaking identity of Balkans.

The multimedia and print stories will be published in May 2016 on a e-book, in English and German. Later on, cafebabel.com and its media partners around Europe will republish the features across their respective websites. A photo exhibition will also be organised in Berlin in summer 2016.

We will keep you updated about the participants of Balkans&Beyond, the topic of the stories they’re working on, the coulisses of their reportages, some anecdotes, some insta-snapshot-stolen impressions from their teamwork, as well as precious insights about journalism & Europe.

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The project Balkans & Beyond is financed by Allianz Kulturstiftung and Babel Deutschland with moral support from the Babel International network.