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FW: Gays/Lesbians attacked by Milosevic Supporters

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  • Natalie Davis
    this story paralyzes me. do check out the link to the BBC report on the attacks; the pictures are chilling. ...
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2001
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      this story paralyzes me. do check out the link to the BBC report on the
      attacks; the pictures are chilling.

      forwarded from ken sherrill's academic glbt list:


      >Return-Path: <gsvirsky@...>
      >From: "Gila Svirsky" <gsvirsky@...>

      >Friends,
      >
      >This is one of my rare forwards; I promise not to do it often.
      >
      >For years, progressive Israeli and Serbian women have been linked in
      >solidarity against oppressive regimes. In both countries, Women in Black
      >are alive and well (and are the two groups who represent the international
      >movement for the Nobel Peace Prize nomination this year).
      >
      >This past Friday, a small band of gay pride marchers in Belgrade was
      >attacked by pro-Milosevic supporters. This is a report from Belgrade
      >activist Jasmina Tesanovic, drawing the connection between fascism,
      >homophobia, and all forms of racism.
      >
      >Gila Svirsky
      >Jerusalem
      >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      >30 June, 2001
      >
      >It was supposed to be a feast, the first public demonstration of the
      >gay lesbian movement, celebrating their international day, in the main
      >Square of the Republic, where all our democratic history has happened.
      >The only thing we feared, was bad weather. OK, let's be honest, a big
      >amount of homophobia is going on for years in Serbia, strengthened by
      >the wars, nationalism...But also marginalized by all those men's
      >issues, the latest being the extradition of Milosevic, the guy who was
      >the role model for much of that "manly" behavior, which included
      >bombing, killings, ethnic cleansing and finally mass graves on our
      >doorsteps, under our living bodies.
      >
      >Two days ago when the ex president
      >was suddenly transported to Hague, his supporters organized a meek and
      >under control demonstration by the police in this same square. Not
      >today: a lively, colored and happy group, of 30-50 gays and lesbians
      >was supposed to sing and dance in the square and afterwards a
      >conference was supposed to be held at Students' Cultural center,
      >a traditionally free alternative space for politics and culture. This
      >is what I saw happen:
      >
      >At three p.m. I was at the square, approaching a
      >heavy crowd of mostly young males with bald heads , big muscles and
      >tight T shirts, wondering where is my lot...I heard a cameraman
      >standing next to me say: now this will last only a few seconds, no way
      >such a thing will pass in Serbia...I wanted to answer him , no way,
      >this is my Serbia too, but I was already on guard. After few seconds
      >I was overtaken by the stampede of a wild lot running to the other
      >side of the square: I spotted the gay group with balloons singing...I
      >ran towards them too: it was a few hundred screaming, insulting,
      >violent people against the few. The police were invisible, here and
      >there you could spot a special force guy. The flock attacked the small
      >group which begin to disperse in all directions...
      >
      >I followed a few of
      >them: next thing I saw was a unknown guy to me with dyed blonde hair
      >being repeatedly beaten with sticks...his head was bleeding, his
      >nose...My friend was trying to drag him away, ten policemen made a
      >circle around us...but hundreds of them were breaking the circle.
      >There were many journalists, with cameras...I thought I will assist a
      >lynch, I felt utterly helpless and lost. But the police stared
      >shooting in the air, the hooligans draw back for a second, the next
      >minute they were hurling screams "whores, degenerates" towards
      >the square again. And there were other common policemen standing and
      >watching: as they hit a woman from a feminist group giving an
      >interview, throwing eggs at anybody who seemed a participant...as a
      >girl passerby was dragged and insulted...
      >
      >With other two friends we
      >started going towards the Students Cultural Center: a group of guys
      >followed us, insulting us and spitting on us, among crowds of common
      >people. My friend turned around and said: calm down honey...I felt as
      >killing him. The passersby were commenting in different ways,
      >mostly, why bother with queers, kill them all, they are ruining our
      >clean Serbia. Some were just afraid or dumbfounded. Nobody I heard
      >said: let them be, they are people as we are, they have their human
      >rights.
      >
      >We arrived at the center, it was closed, police forces were
      >all around and some women onlookers were screaming to them: so you
      >voted for democracy and this is what you get, you should protect us,
      >the straights, you assholes, because these decent men are protecting
      >our honor. A very ugly fat elderly man was screaming and sweating,
      >give me the lesbians I want to rape them...We just stood and watched,
      >giving interviews to all who wanted to hear a statement: the only
      >words I could say was, this is my Serbia too...this is fascism.
      >
      >Only
      >afterwards, in the center, when hooligans were being arrested and
      >broken in small groups, I managed to put a more complex picture
      >together: Milosevic is in Hague, the hooligans are frustrated, instead
      >of beating their wives and children, they are beating everything
      >that doesn't resemble their picture of a patriot. Later still, while
      >sitting in the women's center and trying to see how many people were
      >hurt (8 policemen and about 8 civilians) all of us admitted that this
      >kind of violence and reaction never happened before and it was,
      >notwithstanding all the fears, definitely not spontaneous.
      >
      >We gave
      >many interviews, there were many crews, but after a few broadcasts of
      >spontaneous news, the official version became; a conflict between
      >homosexuals and their opponents. The official statement of the chief
      >of the police ran the same: everything under control, thanks to brave
      >policemen. Three days before the meeting was officially reported to
      >the police: leaflets of the right winged organization threatened
      >violence...
      >
      >That is not enough for me, I know better, behind that huge
      >organized mass of violent, ethnically superior patriots, besides the
      >radical party, homophobic organizations, illiterate democrats, is a
      >bigger issue: the silent majority...including people in power, those
      >from the ex regime and these today. Those people , in few words,
      >would say that Serbs have suffered enough disgrace and dishonor to
      >have this latest shame in public...digging dead Albanian bodies is
      >just about enough. And those people, to purify the national
      >self-esteem, would love to impose religion in schools, restrict
      >abortion, cut the voices of the minorities, ethnic or sexual.
      >
      >Now I
      >still tremble from the fear I suffered, maybe the biggest in my life,
      >because it was personal and yet the deed impersonal, as lynch is. But
      >I do not want to speak or let my comrades speak as victims: this is an
      >occasion, no matter how painful to speak out, to denounce, to claim
      >the justice, the names of the organizers...Getting rid of Milosevic and
      >digging dead bodies from mass graves is not enough, we have to get rid
      >of all small Milosevics cruising around our cities and lives, and dig
      >out of our conscience and bodies all the intolerance and homophobia
      >that for many years was neglected and upheld. I want to stay upright
      >and say: this is my Serbia too, though I am a woman, a marginal, a
      >feminist...whatever...I want to strike back at those whom I want to
      >declare outlaws and marginals, those who use violence and hate. This
      >is why I am writing this message, to all, demanding support and
      >publicity.
      >
      >Jasmina Tesanovic
      >Belgrade 30 June, 2001
      >---------------------------------------
      >
      >Sorry - I don't have an email address for Jasmina. You can try writing to
      >her through Lepa Mladjenovic in Belgrade at lepa@...
      >
      >For a BBC report:
      >http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1415000/1415789.stm


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