2005-07-09

"Well, nothing. They listen to music."

A dear friend whose father was an intelligence officer told me about the day in the early 1980s when he decided to cut his hair short and get an earring. His father asked about among the intelligence folk, and determined that he "was either an anarchist or a punker." About anarchists everything is more or less known, yes, but what was up with this new category of "punker"? The answer among the intelligence officers was "well, nothing. They listen to music."

These days the fifth annual Exit festival in Novi Sad is under way. It is the biggest cultural event in the city and the only festival in Serbia that consistently attracts a large crowd of visitors from around the world. The concert lineup gets better every year, and the creativity of the organisers is more than obvious. The festival originated as a way of showing a different face of Serbia in the waning agonies of the Milosevic period, and continues to mean something now that the neofascist Serbian Radical Party (SRS) has taken power in the city government of Novi Sad.

Which is where the difficulty comes up. This year the festival coincides with the anniversary of the massacre of the civilian population of Srebrenica. The organisers thought to recognise this with a minute of silence at the performance. The SRS responded by asking whether the organisers thought they might like to have another festival next year, or not. Now the minute of silence for the victims is degenerating into a flowery gesture for peace in the world.

So is it really "well, nothing. They listen to music"? Or is the SRS so persuasive that the youth follow their command? Or is it that if you scratch a young progressive, you find a Radical underneath?

9 comments:

R Byrne said...

I've been following the perversion of the Exit moment of silence with some dismay. Maybe they should have Exit in Sarajevo until the SRS is out in Novi Sad....

Yakima_Gulag said...

They'd prpbably be hassled leaveing and returning. SRS probably employs some of th ose large black clad goons who used to work for the other unsavory political parties/criminal enterprses and they throw their weight around in a similar way. The best solution is to remain there in Novi Sad but think of a new date, look at the calander and aim for a date not associated with some terrible bloodshed. I realize in the Balkans this can be difficult.

Anonymous said...

On the opening night, dubioza kolektiv, a group from Zenica (B&H), played at the end of their set a statement from natasa kandic and statements from several politicians regarding srebrenica. the crowd responded by booing, throwing bottles, and a few hundred started chanting nationalist slogans and waving the serb flag with the kokarda. see http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2005&mm=07&dd=08&nav_id=172234

Anonymous said...

People come to Exit to forget all that shit which weighs on them for the other 361 days of the year. Just imagine if a Serbian band tried to perform a song in Sarajevo about how they "cannot forgive" the thousands of Serb civilian deaths in Bosnia. They'd be lucky to leave alive. There's a time and place for politics, and it's not at music festival. Exit should not be a political manifestation, although that's how it started

Yakima_Gulag said...

Well the guy from Bijela Dugme made some awful insulting remarks about the late Alija Izetbegovic, he made those remarks in Sarajevo and so far as I've heard while a lot of people were mad at him, and objected both to what he said and the vulgar way he said it, he's very much alive. If Sarajevo can take it so can Novi Sad!

Eric Gordy said...

I am not sure I have a comment shorter than book length about the place of politics in music. But I do note that the organisers of the festival in the end gave up even on the hippy dippy gesture for peace.

Yakima_Gulag said...

well the hippy dippy aproach is so lame as to be worse disrespect even than ignoreing the date would have been. I'd rather have seen the origional plan of a moment of silence, but I can also understand wanting to have another festival. SRS isn't going to be in charge forever. They will be in charge too long, but not forever.

Anonymous said...

i wrote an article for a magazine about Exit, having been there last year -then wrote the article-then went again this year. i got an interview with boskovic (a founder) and wrote up the political part of the fest. then i went this year and realized that the poster above was probably more right - you go to exit to forget about the political shit you have to deal with the rest of the year. exit's a party, a good party. if they try do something that's going to wreck the party and cause trouble, i see no bad reason to cancel it.

Anonymous said...

Well, the thing was, video collage was also an opening for the song "Bring The System Down", and it was supposed to invoke rebellious feelings toward SRS, but it actually showed that majority of youth in Serbia would rather support SRS and Chetniks.