Pit Schultz on Wed, 4 Dec 96 02:06 MET

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Even revolutions aren't what they used to be, since there is internet. The
times of illegal printing-presses in wet cellars, seditious pamphlets spread
by revolutionaries in duffle coats, are over. The students of Belgrade
University agitate per homepage (http://www.galeb.eft.bg.ac.yu/protest96)
against the Serbian president Milosevic.
Evening after evening the newsreader of the Serbian television summarizes
with a long face the soporific activities of the statesmen, explaining about
the visits of official delegations and especially about cutting through of
endless numbers of ribbons. What about the protests - which protest? Even
when already for two weeks every day, a hundred-thousand people demonstrate
against Milosevic, because he falsified the local elections, the media act
as if nothing is going on.
Radio B92, from which the weak transmitter only reaches the centre of
Belgrade, was the only one who reported the anger of the people. But since
Thursday the one thing one can only hear on the frequency of B92 is
ear-splitting noise. The authorities have a disturbance- transmitter in a
small bus driving through town, to make the broadcast impossible.
Via the world wide web students of the faculty of electro-technics try to
break the media-blocking. The symbol of their homepage is an egg, which is
the most beloved weapon of the students. On the homepage are shown pictures
of the demonstrations, which should show ignorant Serbia how numerous the
demonstrators are, a report on the egg bombardment, the next-days program
and a list of demands.
>From the whole world they receive solidarity e-mails, even from countries
with whom Serbia was recently in war. Canada wishes 'Courage and Strength',
New-Zealand 'stays with heard and soul on your side'. 'Fight for your right'
encourages the United States.
Former Serbs, lots of them emigrated to far-away countries after the
break-down of the students protest five years ago, admit that they think
it's a shame they can't throw a few eggs themselves.
With over two-thousand hits on the first day of it's existence the
protest-homepage is a success. The Belgrade students are even listed on the
On second thoughts the homepage opens the door to an unsuspected network of
subversive sites full of information about anti-Milosevic demonstrations:
weekly papers, newspapers and civil-groups, which are muzzled by the regime,
have found an opportunity to escape to the Internet.
But probably most readers of the protest-homepage live abroad. In Serbia a
vulgar computer already fulfil people with respect and fear, let alone that
they know what internet is. The students, full of revolutionary fire, say
that every stone they can scull from the wall, build by the authorities to
stop information, is one.

Bart Rijs, Volkskrant, 12/2/96

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