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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Sons of Europe UNITED !

Antonija Kolobaric, a 16-year-old Croat, and her boyfriend Uros Randjelovic, a 17-year-old Serb, were walking hand-in-hand, wearing their state flags during a parade celebrating the 50th anniversary of The United World movement in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where they are students.
A woman approached Kolobaric and asked how she could dare to walk next to a Serb. In response, Kolobaric kissed Randjelovic, while a friend who was with them took a photo.
The image found its way to the Internet and quickly became a social media sensation. Citizens and analysts from BiH, Croatia and Serbia say the kiss could have historical meaning.
Radmila Nakarada, a political science professor and head of the centre for peace studies at Belgrade University, said the photo has a positive impact on young people, encouraging them to have relationships without "looking deeper" into ethnic background.
"The kiss encourages the young generation to overpass divisions … as well as to protest against war consequences by non-prejudiced love and friendship, and to go ahead to the future, which will be according to their measures but not according to past ones," Nakarada told SETimes.
Sanja Latemkina, 22, a law student from Zagreb, said she would have done the same as Kolobaric and Randjelovic if she found herself in a similar situation.
"I am also a child of a mixed marriage and I don't see where is the problem when someone is different nationality or religion," Latemkina told SETimes. "What can be more beautiful than love and youth? I think new generations are slowly erasing the effects of a long time of bad politics and relations between the Balkan nations, and this act is truly contribution to that trend."
"Antonija and Uros haven't bitten the bait of hatred which has been spreading around them. They had a success in catching a piece of clear, uncorrupted Balkan air," Mile Juric, a 34-year-old teacher from Belgrade, told SETimes.
For Bojan Bojic, 28, a fashion designer from Belgrade, the kiss is proof of numerous similarities that connect Croats and Serbs.
"I hope that, finally, both of us will be brave and ready to say openly how much we are close and strongly connected. All of us know how much Croats love Belgrade and how much Serbs love Croatia coast," Bojic told SETimes.
Older citizens, who lived in Yugoslavia, also were moved by the photo.
"We had lived together and nobody had cared about the name, nationality or religion of anybody else. Alma, Kreso, Kiril, Ivana -- it was the same," Olga Katuric, 76, a retired lawyer from Belgrade, told SETimes. "This kiss is the most beautiful thing I've seen for almost 25 years. It wakes my hopes for a joint future."
Miodrag Zivanovic, a professor of sociology and philosophy at the University of Banja Luka, reflected on the photo's notoriety.
"At first glance it appears very nice, but if we think about it we can conclude that the situation is not pretty. It just shows how much we are deeply divided society, and we will need lots of time to make these things become normal and not to be sensational news," Zivanovic told SETimes.
Nakarada warned that the kiss could outlive the moment only if it is followed by other encouraging gestures.
"Some examples are efforts to get back homes in Croatia for Serbian refugees, to spread gestures in favor of joint life instead of parallel lives in three ethnic communities in Bosnia … [Without such action], the kiss will be canceled by bitterness and resentment which are still present," she said.
This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.

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