Yugoslavian Peace Protestors Reconnected After 25 Years

New Project Aims to Find People who attended the Biggest Yugoslavian Anti-War Rock Concert in Sarajevo in 1991

September 22nd, 2016
Linda Vavricova, CD News

Project Zetra, created by German journalist Danijel Višević, aims to find people who attended the biggest Yugoslav anti-war rock concert at Sarajevo’s Zetra Olympics Sports Hall on the 28th of July 1991 and find an answer to the question, ‘why does a war that no one wants break out?’

The anti-war rock concert at Sarajevo’s Zetra Olympics Sports Hall that took place 25 years ago was one of many peace protests in the multi-ethnic state of Yugoslavia, which took place only a few months before the Yugoslav War, in which Serbs, Croats and Bosnians fought each other, broke out.

Višević, the project’s creator, has managed to reconnect the visitors of the concert, as well as the organizers and musicians so they can share their views today, 25 years after the Yugoslav war broke out. In total he has been able to collect stories from over 50 people.

Karla, who told her story for Project Zetra, attended the concert when she was a child. She is now 33 years old and lives in Berlin. “Before the war, it did not matter from where you came from: we were all Yugoslavs. It was easy. Then it got complicated”, Karla said for the project.

All the people who shared their stories for Project Zetra shared one thing in common: their disbelief that the Yugoslav eventually broke out. The project showed that back in 1991, people were genuinely sceptical about the possibility of war in the late 20th century.

Through the stories collected, Project Zetra also managed to illustrate that the trigger for the war was never hatred among the different ethnicities living in multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, as commonly believed. Based on the collected stories, Višević instead claims that, “for a war, you only need a small number of extremists who are able to create an incident and then a powerful politician, who plays a national card”.  

The collection of stories of those who attended the concert back in the summer of 1991 is important not only for the Balkans, but also for the rest of today’s Europe, where nationalistic and anti-migrant sentiment has surged.

Project Zetra highlights that despite the fact that back in 1991 no one believed the war could actually break out in late 20th century, and despite peace protests in Yugoslavia like the anti-war rock concert in Sarajevo, it did eventually started few months later. Through the stories it collected, the Zetra Project is a powerful reminder of the fragility of peace. 


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