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Peace march in Novi Pazar

Not in Our Name! We Won’t be Fooled by Our Own!

Saturday 27 October 2007, by Stasa Zajovic

My feminist ethics means that always I have in mind where I come from, emotionally, morally, and politically. I come from the capital city. I inherit the aggressive criminal regime. I come from the capital city where crimes committed in our name are still glorified and denied today.

My decision to oppose that ceaselessly and publicly is a component of my feminist ethics. I have decided to know and seek accountability for the innumerable crimes committed in my/our name.

Today, we do not only remember, but seek accountability for crimes committed in the Sand_ak—crimes committed against people only because they had a different name, ethnicity, or religion—the crimes committed in Sjeverin, _trpce, Priboj, Pljevlja, Bukovica, Kukurovi_i, Milanovi_i, Voskovina, Raji_evi_i, Zabr_e, _ivinice, Ran_i_i, Prelac, Sastavci, Slavoti_i, So_ice, Strmac, Valovlje, and Zaostro.

The legalism of Vojislav Kostunica is a continuation of the politics of Slobodan Milosevic. His only way of staying in power is constant production of conflicts and chaos. And this is done with our money! Consequently, on this occasion, we tell them Not in Our Name, Not with Our Money!

The Milosevic Regime instrumentalized ethnicity, the state, and so-called national interests to serve as a cover for criminal policy—death squadrons, ethnic cleansing, plundering, and all forms of violence.

The sanctimonious government of Ko_tunica accelerated the theocratization of the state, violating one of the basic principles of democracy – the separation of church and state. The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) leads state politics, according to its own wishes and the demands of the current government.

We, as freethinking citizens tell them, ‘You are violating the Constitution of the country and freedom of religion. You misuse religion in the political sphere.’

We ask, ‘How, in all of these years, has Patriarch Pavle not stood up for peace as the biggest spiritual and ethical value?’

How did he not oppose his own high priests who blessed murderers, elevated criminals to saints, protected pedophiles, did not pay any taxes, and propagated hatred towards other ethnicities and beliefs? Besides that, Patriarch Pavle and the sanctimonious government improperly influenced the public’s religiosity, which is an entirely private thing!

In Serbia, 200 churches are under constructed while 40% of schools do not have running water, 25% do not have bathrooms, and more than a million people are unemployed. This is the moral cynicism of those who supposedly work most for morals and spirituality!

Unfortunately, the trends within the SPC are favorable to the increase in similar trends in other religious communities in Serbia. My civic and feminist principles tell me to first clean my own garden so I will not be fooled by my own. Only then do I acquire the moral legitimacy to ask things from others.

Consequently, I support all nonviolent efforts for:

- Secularism as the complete separation of church and state, the
non-intervention of the state in religious issues and the non-intervention of religious communities in state business;

- Secular society and religious freedom, which means that religion is a private thing of every individual and religious freedom is understood as equal treatment for believers and nonbelievers. That is especially important today, because in Serbia intolerance towards the nonreligious, towards atheists, is greater than intolerance towards members of different religions.

Consequently, I support all nonviolent efforts for civic and women’s solidarity:

- I refuse every form of ethnic and religious homogenization because it does not benefit peace.

- I refuse the reduction of identity to the religious and ethnic dimension – because we are what we choose to be, not what is assigned to us by national and religious leaders.

- I refuse that my identity as a woman be reduced to the patriarchal role of mother and spouse, the role of protector of the nation and belief. Disobedience to patriarchy guarantees my women’s and civic freedom.

- I refuse to respect all differences, all traditions, and all cultural practices. I will respect only those differences which do not endanger human rights and freedoms. The violation of human rights in the name of religious or ethnic tradition is in opposition to universal civic values and freedoms. Most of our customs and traditions are against women’s human rights. Therefore, I am against them and will continue to this nonviolent struggle.

- With others, I will foster values of active civic solidarity, crossing all walls, outside of and above all state, ethnic, and religious borders and barriers. Together, we will build a just peace, solidarity, and a different Serbia, one for its citizens