Srdja Popovic helped start the movement that overthrew Slobodan Milosevic by setting a turkey loose on the streets of Belgrade. Now he travels the world helping other activists.

The Exporters of Revolution

BELGRADE | Among the shops at an inconspicuous building in the Serbian capital’s Gandijeva housing development is an unmarked door with the word “CANVAS” on the buzzer. On a recent afternoon, CANVAS Executive Director Srdja Popovic greeted a visitor with a warm smile. The office has a few desks, a computer, and a conference table. It gives little impression of CANVAS’ work. But then Popovic is rarely there. He had just returned from several weeks abroad and planned to fly out again in two days.

“South Sudan and Burma are my next destinations,” Popovic said. Continue reading “The Exporters of Revolution”

Turkey: Where tradition and technology flourish

Turkey: Where tradition and technology flourish

Part 1 in a series on Turkey: Technological revolution and digital literacy

Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country of 75 million with a 7 percent annual economic growth. Its inhabitants consider themselves to be a part of Europe and past surveys have shown that a majority of people want to belong to the European Union. Although culturally different, Turkey has a lifestyle similar to that of Central Europeans. Continue reading “Turkey: Where tradition and technology flourish”

Impressions from the Field IV

Impressions from the Field IV

In my previous blog entry Impressions from the Field III, I told the story of one man who was caught on account of his smuggling business. Smuggling, I noted, is common in and around Novi Pazar, and creates jobs. I also noted that smuggling is nothing out of the ordinary. People simply buy and sell counterfeited goods as they do other items. Continue reading “Impressions from the Field IV”

City Center of Novi Pazar

Impressions from the Field III

City Center of Novi Pazar.

When 22,000 people don’t or can’t find work in a city of 120,000, as is the case in Novi Pazar, it is redundant to say that unemployment is a problem. But as for the validity of the exact unemployment number, the figure of 20,000 is certainly not 100 percent correct, as this is the “official” count, I was told at the Nacionalnoj Zluźbi za Zapošljavanja (National Services for Employment).

Continue reading “Impressions from the Field III”

Baba Mondi is the spiritual leader of the 3 million members of the Bektashi sect of Sufi Islam. Photo by Swiatek Wojtkowiak.

Candy from a Dervish

TIRANA | Baba Mondi foists one sweet after another upon me, as if this is his way of convincing me that Islam – or at least Sufism – is a religion of peace, and that we shouldn’t treat all Muslims as fanatics. Continue reading “Candy from a Dervish”

Picture taken from the Novi Pazar Altun-Alem Mosque minaret - looking north, toward Belgrade

Impressions from the Field II

As stated in last week’s post “Impressions from the Field”, relations among the Bosniak population of Sandžak is more tense compared to relations between Bosniaks and Serbs.

Continue reading “Impressions from the Field II”

Love of Balkans

I have been asked many times why I like the Balkans, why I keep coming back, why I am fascinated with this region – a region that is far from perfect. The answer might be that despite the fact that it is far from perfect and at times everything seems wrong, it is a magical and pure place with cheerful and funny people that were given some hard time but still managed to come out laughing. Continue reading “Love of Balkans”

Many of Sarajevo's buildings still bear the scars of war.

Sarajevo Saviors

SARAJEVO | When Jovan Divjak walks along Sarajevo’s main street, Ferhadija, everyone recognizes him. To passers-by, this smartly dressed man in a white shirt is like a magnet. Everyone wants to be photographed with him, shake his hand, get his autograph. Yet Divjak is neither an artist nor a politician. He is an army general. And a Serb one. A representative of the power that for most Sarajevans is the epitome of evil. Continue reading “Sarajevo Saviors”

This mural was painted by one of the Urban In projects in an effort to illustrate interethnic relations.

Impressions from the Field

Judging from media reports, Novi Pazar, Sandžak’s main city, appears unstable, perhaps even dangerous. Reports often connect Novi Pazar with illegal drug trade, increased religious conservatism, high unemployment and interethnic tensions between Serbians and Bosniaks. Continue reading “Impressions from the Field”