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<nettime> B92 (digest 2 msgs)
Gordan Paunovic on Sun, 5 Sep 1999 22:25:43 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> B92 (digest 2 msgs)

1........Subject: WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
2........Subject: PUBLISHING ON!

From: "Gordan Paunovic" <gordan {AT} residence.aec.at>
To: <nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net>
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 1999 18:42:09 +0200

from the Free B92 web site: http://www.freeb92.net

The current position of the former and present B92's publishing activities

When Radio B92 was suddenly shut down, in the midst of bombing raids and
its premises in the Dom Omladine building taken over by new editorial staff
who retained only the name of the station, not only were listeners
infuriated and enraged, but readers as well. This take-over also brought to
an abrupt halt the radio's highly productive publishing operations, which
were a cultural focus in their own right.

Radio B92 had published books by Antonio Tabucchi, ("Pereira Declares: A
Testimony"), Alessandro Baricco ("Silk"), and Israeli peace activist Amos
Oz as well as the works of local authors.

After the closure, B92's journalists resumed their particular style of
urban broadcasting on Studio B's Third Channel. The books, however,
remained in Dom Omladine.

"We would love to have taken them with us," says B92 Editor-in-Chief Veran
Matic.. "At worst we could have distributed them without charge. However,
this option is not legally possible. Radio B92 has exclusive publishing
rights to these properties. For the most part, B92's literary operations
are incompatible with the new management's philosophy and they are probably
anxious to get rid of them."

Aleksandar Nikacevic, the new editor-in-chief of B92 says that they are in
possession of some eighty or ninety titles: some of them are almost sold
out but there are large quantities of other titles in stock. "Sales have
not been disrupted," says Nikacevic, "We are working with a large number of
booksellers and shall continue to do so. Some writers have called us
looking for their manuscripts, but the contracts were removed by the old
management team. For the time being there are no funds for publishing, but
new Radio B92 titles can be expected in the autumn."

Veran Matic won't give up either. He is convinced that the books published
by the former B92 have become an integral part of the urban culture which
cannot easily be wiped out. While the bombs were falling translators were
working on books by Karl Theodor Jaspers and "Global Capitalism" by George
Soros. The literary magazine "Rec" (The Word) continued publication on the
Internet. New issues of "ProFemina" and a bilingual edition of "Rec" can be
expected soon. A book by Svetlana Knjazev Adamov is now in preparation for

B2-92 will launch new publications in October. Veran Matic predicts at
least two domestic best-sellers. B2-92 will certainly publish ten new
titles before the Frankfurt Book Fair, in which the company will
participate for the fourth  consecutive year. They will also bring a number
of world-renowned authors to their stand at the Fair.

"Our plans include publishing a series of some thirty books focusing on
general issues like truth, reconciliation, guilt and responsibility in the
aftermath of wars and the collapse of dictatorships and totalitarian
regimes," says Matic. "Prominent among these titles will be Karl Jaspers'
'German Guilt', 'Eichmann in Jerusalem' by Hannah Arendt, Arendt's
correspondence with Jaspers and a number of international studies on this
subject. The launch of this series will be accompanied by a number of media
projects, ranging form television programs to Web sites. A number of works
under the collective title "Transitional Justice" will be particularly
interesting and educational. These will discuss the establishment of guilt
for crimes in East Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. A number of
books deal with the experience of South Africa and Chile.

"It is important that this edition takes root in the countries on the
territory of the former Yugoslavia and the whole region. This view is
shared by Freimut Duve, the head of the Vienna-based OSCE Media Committee.
Mr Duve will  help us with preparations for the Frankfurt Book Fair; he has
been instrumental in launching this edition.

"Publications from the former Radio B92 may be found in bookstores in
Ljubljana and Sarajevo, together with other titles form the countries which
were once a part of Yugoslavia."


From: "Gordan Paunovic" <gordan {AT} residence.aec.at>
To: <nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net>
Date: Sun, 5 Sep 1999 17:50:43 +0200



By asking this famous question posed by Lenin, we are trying to open a
discussion on the current situation in Serbia and Montenegro. Our intention
is to cut through the obviously chaotic and pre-revolutionary mid-game and
find our way, at least in theory, to the simplest, the most rational and
the most efficient closure. Of course the conditions are completely
different from those at the beginning of this century in Russia. However
the dramatic and tragic nature of the situation forces to ask certain
questions. Without the answers to those questions there is not only no way
out of this situation, but no awareness of what we might soon be facing.

There are many scenarios and even more historical analogies. The analogies
most often drawn on are those closes to our time. These include the way the
authorities were replaced in Czechoslovakia and Rumania. We are heartened
by the Czech experience and frightened by the Rumanian.

At the same time the accusations and self-guilt multiply. At one protest
rally, a speaker addressed the assembled crowd as 'You cattle!' He drew
tumultuous applause. Nobody knows whether self-criticism or self-pity has
more appeal. When things begin to move forward, it usually looks like a
miracle, as if it is happening of its own accord. In our case it is quite
clear to everybody that nothing will happen by itself. First of all, we
have behind us ten years in which millions of people have fallen and
suffered. Mass murders, detentions, tortures, expulsions and general
impoverishment, coupled with loss of hope for the future, internal
depression, crime and fear are enough reason to get us moving.
Unfortunately, during this unhappy period, we have begun moving, sort of,
several times. Each time we thought we would manage to turn around towards
a decent and normal life. We didn't make it. Now many of us are ready to
give up. To say we tried everything and there's no point. Or to lash out at
those people who, until now, have not moved a muscle, who have watched in
silence what was happening around them. Those who managed to leave are very
inclined towards that line of thought. To wait, or not to wait? We have
faced this dilemma repeatedly for the past two months. Wait for the system
to crumble in on itself, or overthrow it now with co-ordinated action? As
though, instead of Lenin's 'What to do?' we have Dickens' 'Great
Expectations'. The comparison, of course, is meaningless, although Dickens
is winning the race. This is both because of the widespread social and
economic despair and because of the fervent hope that everything might be
solved quickly and easy. All we need is a deus ex machina.

For quite some time a manifesto under the title 'What are you waiting for?'
has been circulating on the Internet. It lists the reasons why people must
not wait. From human dignity to sports. Our compatriots spread throughout
the world are particularly fond of reminding us why we should wait no

In all of this there lies a serious problem. Although highly pragmatic in
nature, it has at the same time moral overtones. If the condemnation of
waiting represents a call to uprising and rebellion, anyone who makes such
a demand must state openly what they themselves are prepared to do.

For example: if I live outside the country, am I ready to picket this
regime's diplomatic and trade offices every day? Am I prepared to publicly
condemn foreign banks and firms which launder money for Slobodan Milosevic?
To call for a boycott of all the public figures on his payroll, to work
every day at collecting financial and other assistance for the opponents of
this regime, to band together with my compatriots and promote urgent change
in the country? If, finally, it comes to an uprising, am I ready, at least
temporarily, to abandon the safety of the world outside and come home?

The situation is not much different for the internal critics. A number of
these believe that, as veterans of the resistance to the Milosevic regime,
they deserve long service leave. Let others put themselves on the line:
we've been banging our heads on a brick wall for long enough. The fact that
the wall is cracked is reason enough for others to have a go now. As though
each generation must prove itself. Then the sacred tasks are handed out:
you're going to set yourself on fire in front of the Parliament; you're
going to hand in your resignation; you're going to go underground; you're
going to dress yourself in explosives and run wherever it's needed. The
embittered veterans of the resistance believe that every legitimate
political action, especially those carried out through the existing
opposition parties, are a pure waste of time.

There are, of course, those who believe in inaction, that the regime is its
own worst enemy and will inevitable, eventually, destroy itself. Today, we
are being presented with a wide range of scenarios:

The united opposition backs a transitional government to be endorsed by the
Serbian parliament. Slobodan Milosevic doesn't resign until the next
elections. Slobodan Milosevic resigns and his whole crew with him. The
united opposition backs a transitional government which is not supported by
the Serbian Parliament. The opposition gives the parliament a deadline to
accept, applying pressure with demonstrations, mass civil disobedience and
a general strike. Milan Milutinovic dissolves the Parliament and calls
early elections. Unrest and clashes between citizens and police give the
regime and excuse to declare a state of emergency in Serbia and establish
an open dictatorship. After the August 19 rally, unrest and clashes between
police and citizens result in a military coup d'etat against Slobodan
Milosevic by democratically inclined officers. After the first clashes in
Serbia, Montenegro declares independence, backed by NATO troops. In Serbia,
the clashes rapidly escalate into a true civil war. These are some
permutations of the basic elements possible in any denouement of the
crisis. There are other scenarios of course, such as the illness of major
players, intervention by external forces and internal friction in the
ruling coalition, but these are mostly too far-fetched to be discussed

The basic question of WHAT IS TO BE DONE? is not so much theoretical as
practical in character. There will be time for theorising about the problem
afterwards. Let's begin an open discussion now. The anonymity of any
participant who wishes it will be strictly protected. Obscenities, moaning
and misanthropic diatribes will be disregarded. All of us want to see
information as well as ideas. And we especially want to know what everyone,
for their own part, is prepared to do.

Your comments are the most welcome at:
www {AT} freeb92.net

Free B92 team

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