This past February, the Serbian Association Krokodil, colleagues and partners in the European project Be (P)art, Grow with Arts!, was the target of various attacks by extreme right-wing groups and likeminded individuals.
They were engaged in a fun and civic activity, in collaboration with other cultural entities in the city, to clean a park but also to repaint the wall overlooking the playground for toddlers of aggressive nationalist warmongering graffiti that sought to incite new conflict in the region which is still recovering from the period of bloody war's in the 1990's. With their project “Free the streets, free the people,” they want to rid public urban spaces of symbols that instigate hate and social friction, creating a society where violence is ever-present, especially among youth. This rhetoric and the actions that derive from it also endanger the fundamental rights of people who live not only in Serbia but also in the neighbouring countries.
These attacks happened both on social network sites, in a hate campaign accompanied by death threats, and with physical attacks on their headquarters. This required members of the association to seek police protection, and they were advised not to leave home or travel.
However, the Krokodil Association wants to go ahead with its activities, based on the dissemination of literature, promoting cultural dialogue, and reconciliation and reconstruction of broken ties, especially in the Balkan region. In the words of Milena Berić, director of the Association: “We will continue fighting for the most basic human rights.”
We, the associations that make up the project Be (P)art, Grow with Arts! – PEN Català, Uxío Novoneira Foundation, Szépírók Társasága and UCLL – strongly condemn this attack and support the Krokodil Association and all the people who work there to defend human rights.
Fundación Uxío Novoneyra
Szépírók Társasága Egyesület