Serbia: How to fight the war image?
War tore apart Yugoslavia only two decades ago and divided families, towns and friends into ethnical groups. It left the rest of the world with a clear and simplistic narrative, in most cases with Serbia as the nationalistic aggressor and the rest of the region as mere victims. A new generation of Serbs, who didn’t experience the war, fight the stereotype of Serbia as a bloodthirsty country. And that is far from easy.
“I am from Serbia but not a war criminal,” says Dimitri when he shakes hands in a hostel lobby in Hamburg, Germany. This satirical way of introducing himself works and people laugh. It is his way of showing that he is aware of the stereotype of his country: Serbia as a war loving country infamous for its war crimes.
Almost every young Serb who travels abroad recognises the fixed ideas of what their country looks like, mostly based on the bloody history of the 90s. “Is there a still an atmosphere of war?” and “how do you face someone from Bosnia?” are common questions for youngsters crossing borders.
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