So little is known about the post- Yugoslav wars of the 1990s among Israelis and Palestinians, unlike the overwhelming and on going news and coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian that consume the international media.
At Zochrot, after a long day, we invited interested audience to learn about Memory work in Serbia. The position of those engaged in memory work in their societies in Serbia, as I understand it, is very similar to this of activists in Israel producing alternative knowledge and alternative commemorative practices as related to the memory of 1948 as well as other layers of collective memory in Jewish Israeli society. Such practices, as remembering Srebrenica as a genocide in Belgrade, or remembering the Nakba in Hebrew, are part of the on-going mnemonic battles in both societies.
That evening, Nenad presented his work with "4 faces of Omarska" , sharing with the audience images of the former concentration camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina, of the struggles of former unmates to be allowed to commemorated this recent past of the camp, and the on-going denial and silencing of that past. "Why am I engaged in this work?" he addressed one the the questions from the audience, "because this is the only way I am able to continue to live today in Serbia."
Nenad Porobic presenting about his engagement with Memory Work with Four Faces of Omarska
Living between Serbia and Israel, teaching, writing, thinking about processes of collectively forgetting and remembering and work related to such on-going societal struggles in recent years, I came to think about this seminar, comparing memory activism in Israel and Serbia as of yet another form of memory work: of those extreme jumps I keep negotiating between, going back and forth between Belgrade and Tel-Aviv - both cities I came to love and think about of as homes, cities in which I came to know so much of what is hidden...
Possibly memory activism is most of all about hope, about the ability to continue and live and create in those cities and spaces…
Tel Aviv - January 2014