Pubblichiamo l'intervista realizzata da Ada Sostaric con Nada Savkovic, una delle organizatrici dell'evento artistico e autrice del libro "I miei anni con Milosevic".
Il 24 e 25 maggio 2002, si è tenuto nelle città di Novi Sad e Belgrado, un progetto artistico internazionale denominato " ". Il progetto è stato realizzato da Marco Nereo Rotelli, Nada Savkovic e Filippo Addarii.
Giuseppe Mannino - presidente del Consiglio comunale di Roma - ha inaugurato l'evento. Alla realizzazione del progetto hanno contribuito l'Istituto italiano per la cultura di Belgrado, il Segretariato per la cultura e l'educazione della Provincia Autonoma della Vojvodina, Solutioo e l'associazione italiana "GlobaLab".
L'intento del progetto è quello di stabilire la pace nel mondo attraverso l'arte che crea "ponti" fra le culture, le nazioni e le religioni di tutto il mondo.
Abbiamo parlato con uno degli autori, Nada Savkovic, che ci ha illustrato il progetto e raccontato un po' di più sul suo libro "My Years with Milosevic" (Prometej, March 2002), che è uno dei pilastri del progetto "gli Angeli di Novi sad".
- How did the idea about the project "Angels of Novi Sad" develop, and when?
On October 4th 2000, Marco Nereo Rotelli and I met. What an irony!
In the spring of the same year I finished my book about the years of Milosevic regime, in which occasion I actually interviewed 23 representatives of the Serbian intellectuals and cultural elite about the same period.
Marco Rotelli is an artist eager in co-operating with other people, especially poets, philosophers, people working in culture, musicians, film directors, etc. He was therefore very interested in doing something with us, and he decided to set up an artistic project.
At first Marco and I came up with the rather naïve idea to join all the bridges from Belgrade and Novi Sad to Sarajevo.
However, when I returned to Novi Sad and explained other people about our plan everyone looked at me as if I was kind of crazy. Then I realised that it is not possible at all to put in practice such a project, as we would need a very strong financial support and an extremely large number of people involved. At that moment it was impossible to do such a thing. Henceforth we narrowed our idea a bit and organised a project focusing just on the bridges of Novi Sad, which destruction we saw as a symbol of the ten years of wars and NATO strikes.
That artistic project was done as a sort of a homage to bridges, as representing the need to establish communication among all the people ready to give their contribution to peace all over the world. I myself find that it is everybody's duty to give a contribution. Living in this region we unfortunately tragically realised how important peace is. Still so little has been done in establishing peace in the whole world.
I have grown up in a multi national and multi religious region and I knew this kind of project must connect people coming from the different cultural, nations and religious groups.
The majority of artists who gathered around this project are from Italy, however there is also Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who is one the most famous representatives of the bit poetry and is currently living in San Francisco, and also Robert Severino an American of Italian origin.
We also wanted this project to gather artists coming from the countries who participated in the bombing of Yugoslavia, because we consider that in every country there are people who never did obey the official politics of their countries. Nor they did approve certain political moves decided by their governments.
This project is symbolically reconstructing the bridges of Novi Sad.
As a motto of the project we took a phrase from Ivo Andric's book "The Bridge over Drina" and therefore named the project "Angels of Novi Sad". That phrase from Andric's book is telling about a moment when people could not pass from one side to the other. It was because the devils that envied their harmony came and separated the people by creating a valley in the middle of the town. However later angels came and by spreading their wings helped people cross from one side to the other.
This project also includes the exhibition, which as I said earlier, will be opened on May 25 in Novi Sad by Giuseppe Mannino, who wrote one of the introductory texts and also a poem. The exhibition consists of 11 pictures on the round basis of non- rusted steel on which Marco Rotelli intervened, and also of 10 Nino Mustica's paintings. There will also be photographs of Novi Sad taken by Juan Zapata from the Dominican Republic, presently living in Italy. After that, there will be a mini anthology which consists of 35 poems about bridges, then there will be a part from my book related to the bombing, translated in English and Italian.
The bridges will also "spread" to Belgrade, when, on May 24, there will be a poet's night during which Miodrag Pavlovic, an academic who participates to our project, will read a very original and until now still unpublished poem for the first time in public.
But maybe the most important and good news the project has brought is the suggestion that a co-operation between the University of Bologna and Novi Sad University is to be established.
- How do you see the Serbian intellectual elite today? Are there any changes?
If we are talking about the political elite I would rather prefer not to comment, because I did not expect such a lack of political consciousness in the heads of people having political functions. I think they should reduce their arrogance and bad attitude. I am also greatly disappointed that even some representatives of Vojvodina's parties are allowing themselves to advance certain unprofessional considerations. Of course, there are also great people who do their jobs very well, like for instance Djelic or Dinkic. Nevertheless, there are a large number of those who came in power just because they are members of certain political parties. I expected more respect towards professionals and less to those who are just members of political parties. This is where my disappointment comes from.
I wouldn't like Serbian intellectuals to be mute again, as they were mute in so many cases during Milosevic's regime. Because today there aren't the same reasons why to fear speaking out. Fear was an excuse not to speak in public back then, but today fear can not be an excuse any more.
Intellectuals must be critical towards the current authority, some things should not be tolerated and still there have been a lot of mistakes. I have always been in favour of the citizens' option. During the presentation of my book in Belgrade, I said that changes in Serbia will start the minute when someone takes me to the police and I have the right to have my lawyer beside me, and not, as it is now, to have anyone question me as they please. We know that, even today, people face such situations.
- Because this project is a certain "bridge of culture", do you think that the moment has come in which Serbia will finally find cultural visibility internationally?
We have to use this chance that has come up. Until now, only people from abroad have spoken about Serbia, commenting on what was happening to us. They are now ready to listen to what we have to say about our experience. Therefore everybody is now interested in my book. We have to use this new international attention to express our thoughts and show what we can offer. Therefore, I am very happy about the fact that this project will be presented in Bologna in July, then in Rome, and in the Institute of Philosophy in Venice, in Milan and maybe also in Washington.
Therefore I don't just see a chance to promote the project but also a chance for the people all over the world to learn something about my country and my town.
At the end of the interview Nada Savkovic also commented on the fact that she sent an announcement to the Serbian Ministry of Culture about the project two or three months ago and no one even acknowledged the receipt of the information. "This is totally impolite", commented Savkovic. She also tried to contact the Mayor of Belgrade, Radmila Hrustanovic but it was impossible to reach her. Serbian intelligentsia should first learn to be polite like everywhere in the rest of the civilised world", concluded Savkovic.
The book "My years with Milosevic" written by Nada Savkovic consists of 23 interviews done in the period from Marc 15 to July 15, 2000, in which different intellectuals expressed their thoughts and feelings about life during the nineties.
Some of the topics covered in these interviews were for instance the reasons why SFRJ disintegrated, what led to NATO strikes and if human rights in Kosovo were violated, the influence of the media and of the Serbian Orthodox Church on public opinion, why Serbian nationalism rose and the issue of individual responsibility. Finally, what the future looks like and if multi ethnic life is possible, etc.
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