Journalists' associations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina launched a project to promote co-existence and understanding in the region.
By Igor Jovanovic and Drazen Remikovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade and Sarajevo -- 28/04/14
The initiative was motivated by the example of Srdjan Aleksic, who died in 1993 defending his Bosniak friend from the Bosnian Serb Army. [Rade Aleksic]
Journalists from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have launched a series of TV documentary films and investigative reports about the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia that highlight positive actions during the time.
The project, titled "Living Together," falls under the auspices of the EU Media Fund. Journalists involved in the work said positive stories can lead to better understanding between the western Balkan nations and religions.
Representatives from the Independent Journalists' Association of Vojvodina and the Association of BH Journalists said that in a sea of negativity, the individuals, organisations and initiatives that helped people on the "other side of the front" have been pushed aside.
"Those who sowed the seed of good in a time of evil, who did what was in their power to stop the war or to at least give hope that a life different than the one we were living at the time and the consequences of which we are still living was possible, have been sidelined. Saving one human life can sometimes equal saving mankind or at least humanity," a statement at the opening of the project said.
The project was launched in March and will last through the summer of 2015.
Nedim Sejdinovic of the Independent Journalists' Association in Vojvodina told SETimes that the films will be broadcast throughout the region starting in early 2015.
The screenings will be followed by public presentations in Serbian and BiH cities, along with discussions on the films and the topics they launch.
"Our objective is to assist the process of reconciliation in the territory of the former Yugoslavia with this project," Sejdinovic said. "Sadly that process has not gone far so many years after the wars. If there are already various interpretations of the political causes of the war and what happened during the war, then there is very little room for wrongly interpreting honest examples of humanity and courage."
The Association of BH Journalists, which started the campaign, is already collecting stories from citizens.
Representatives from journalists' groups presented the project in Sarajevo last month. [mediafreedom.rs]
"The initiative was motivated by the example of Srdjan Aleksic, a man who died in 1993 defending his Bosniak friend from the soldiers of the Bosnian Serb Army. There are dozens of such stories from that period. We want to show people that even in the hardest times, there were persons who expressed their humanity even when they could have lost their life because of it," Adis Susnjar, a member of the association, told SETimes.
Rade Aleksic, Srdjana's father, supports the initiative.
"If we want good things to happen to us, then we must think that way and emphasise such examples. Our youth must see good examples, which is why I support the series of films that will emphasise humanity and humaneness. My son died doing his duty as a human being," he told SETimes.
Many citizens support the action as well.
"This is certainly encouraging citizens to tell stories about the heroism and humanity that was expressed in the most difficult period. People are fed up with bad news. Journalists should encourage and promote such actions more," Samir Luburic, 27, of Sarajevo, told SETimes.
What other types of initiatives can show the human side of the 1990s conflicts? Share your thoughts below.