A Serbian far-right protester managed to break through police cordons and reached the stage during the opening ceremony of “Miredita, Dobar dan” festival on Thursday evening in Belgrade.
The festival which is organized by Integra (Kosovo), the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia), Civic Initiatives (Serbia), and forumZFD, presents films, exhibitions, and theatre plays from Kosovo.
It also features debates on transitional justice, the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and cooperation between artists from the two countries.
Since its first edition in 2014, Serbian nationalists protested against the annual festival which promotes mutual values and respect between the two countries despite the nationalist, prejudicial and negative public discourse that is still present in both Serbia and Kosovo.
On Thursday hundreds of protesters let by a nationalist political group called Zavetnici shouted insults at the organizers, sang nationalist songs and waved Serbian flags.
Kushtrim Koliqi, the director of “Integra” and the creator of the festival, told Exit that “Mirëdita, dobar dan!” continuously dares to challenge the one-sided and prejudiced narratives and nationalist discourse that prevails in Serbia and Kosovo.
“By doing this it provides the citizens of both societies a different reality, a reality where the past is respectfully remembered and understood, a reality where the citizens of both countries, artists, academics, researchers, students and activists work and interact for a peaceful future,” he said.
He adds that it is absurd that the young people of both countries know nothing about each other and lives with the prejudices and stereotypes that have been served to them by others
“It is absurd to live so close and not know each other at all,” Koliqi said.
The seventh edition was open with the theatre play by Doug Wright, titled “I am my own wife”, directed by Kushtrim Koliqi, in which Adrian Morina, the only actor on the stage, plays more than 30 characters and brings the story of the difficult life of a transgender person – German Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who survived the Nazi and Stasi regime.
The three- day edition will continue with the debate “Kosovo – Memory Heritage”, as well as the exhibition of the same title by Korab Krasniqi.
On the last day of the festival, there will be a debate on the issues of transitional justice in Kosovo and its institutionalization, to be followed by the reading of Tristan Halilaj’s excerpts from his book “Richard Gere was here”, a collection of stories.
While the closing event of this year’s edition will be the screening of the film “Aga’s House” by Lendita Zeqiraj.