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Old 14.07.2010, 01:25
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Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

'Cause I am totally sold. Never have I met kinder and more generous people.

I have put this in travel as I just today arrived back from Exit Festival in Serbia, and I cannot sing enough praises, but I will try.

To be honest, I did not know much about the politics before I went there. Yes, I knew it had been a war zone in my life time, yes I thought I understood certain things, but I just wanted to go for a great party.

I have been to many festivals in my life, including Swiss ones, and I was guessing the organisation would be shit, you would be ripped off at every turn, and well, the Serbians would be pricks just there for you to give them your money and off. I was wrong on every single front (do you like what I did there?).

Firstly, when we arrived, we thought we were staying at some house with a swimming pool and BBQ which we had booked. It was actually someone's grandmother's house: clearly the Old Bird had heard that she could make a shit load of money by renting out her house for the week, so she was well up for it. She also thought that with a pool that would be more, so we had a blow up pool. More fun the more people you have .

She was always pottering around and trying to clean up after us (she even tried to carry my suitcase!). Thus, every night before we went to the festival we made sure that there was no crap laying around. The house was located on the Army Barracks underneath the fortress of Novi Sad, 1 hour north of Belgrade. On the way out (or in, which ever way you are looking at it), there was a Fire Station. They thought, "screw it, let's open a bar outside and rob them blind for 1 Euro a beer". On the Thursday I asked them what time did they close. He looked at his watch and said, "Monday morning".

Now, we ended up spending a fair amount of time at this bar, and got to know them. So very kind and sweet. Not that I had a preconceived judgement, but I don't think I have met a kinder bunch of men.

At the festival it was even more so. Not only was the organisation sensational, but everyone wanted to stop for a chat. Even when I told them that I was Australian (as you may remember, we kicked Serbia out of the World Cup), they did not want to kick me in my lady parts.

Some of the chats and the views were so liberating for me. Because these peers of ours have experienced war. It was not only Serbians we met. My eyes are totally open now. I suppose to put it differently it was attainable empathy. Normally you hear second hand stories and you try to understand. This was different.

I am kinda chuffed I got this message, as the Festival was started in 2000 as a political protest against Milosevic.

Belgrade was also incredible. Want a hot weekend with your Frau? this city is positively vibrant, and not too pricey. I was fascinated, and all my nerve endings are still tingling in a similar way to they did after New York, but it is even more raw.

Anyhow, even at the airport the man checking my bags asked if I had been there, I said yes. After I had answered in an affirmative manner that it was my first time in the country, he said, "it is always wonderful when people visit. Please do so again" and then told me all about the night life.

This reviewer gives the festival two thumbs up.

Oh, and the music was great too .
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Old 14.07.2010, 01:35
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

I can't give you any more rep this evening, but if I could you'd get the full whack for this post and thread.

I've had the pleasure of knowing several Serbs, and found them all to be funny, decent and generous. The comments you made about our peers having experienced war at first hand are true: it's funny how so many Brits (like me) and Australians and Swiss like to pontificate on the subject of war when they have never experienced it for themselves. Not all of us, of course, but plenty of us are talking out of our arses, based on what we have read in the paper and seen on the telly.

Throughout the bombardment of Belgrade in 1999, I found my thoughts drifting to Saskia, the barmaid at the Volume Bar in Halkida, wondering whether she was there, whether anyone from her family had been killed or injured, whether she would be able to get back and see the people she cared most about. And she wasn't the only one (but certainly the best looking!)

The Serbs are one of the most unfairly maligned people in Europe, and it sickens me to hear the things that are said about them by ill-informed Swiss colleagues and so-called liberal English friends alike.

I could go on for hours on this subject, but shall leave it here.

Thank you for starting this thread.

Zhiveli!
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Old 14.07.2010, 01:41
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

Spot on, great review right there, shamefully i were supposed to be there to perform but couldn't make it due to my recent illness, i would have loved to make it & play over, hopefully next year will do.

Didn't actually know you were into clubbing nor from OZ .

Re: the Serbs, i find them to be the most kind nation across Europe, as DB said, shame lots of people tend to just criticize them all the time
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Old 14.07.2010, 01:48
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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I can't give you any more rep this evening, but if I could you'd get the full whack for this post and thread.

I've had the pleasure of knowing several Serbs, and found them all to be funny, decent and generous. The comments you made about our peers having experienced war at first hand are true: it's funny how so many Brits (like me) and Australians and Swiss like to pontificate on the subject of war when they have never experienced it for themselves. Not all of us, of course, but plenty of us are talking out of our arses, based on what we have read in the paper and seen on the telly.

Throughout the bombardment of Belgrade in 1999, I found my thoughts drifting to Saskia, the barmaid at the Volume Bar in Halkida, wondering whether she was there, whether anyone from her family had been killed or injured, whether she would be able to get back and see the people she cared most about. And she wasn't the only one (but certainly the best looking!)

The Serbs are one of the most unfairly maligned people in Europe, and it sickens me to hear the things that are said about them by ill-informed Swiss colleagues and so-called liberal English friends alike.

I could go on for hours on this subject, but shall leave it here.

Thank you for starting this thread.

Zhi-****en-vili
Thanks hunny, I am just so overwhelmed by the whole experience.

I know that they sound abrupt on occasions (for example, when I went to the chill out area in the festival and was looking lost, and a lovely man came up and said, "You must chill out. Now.") We have been laughing about this for days.

I just fixed one thing, as apparently this is how I was saying cheers for the last 2 days to every Serbian person I met.

Vala (sp).

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Old 14.07.2010, 02:11
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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A/S/L?
Loooool, didn't see that coming
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Old 14.07.2010, 02:12
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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Loooool, didn't see that coming
Crap. Deleted my post.

I wanted to write something more substantial, but I was busier making innuendo in J.L-Ps thread about how to make good custard.
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Old 14.07.2010, 13:21
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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...I've had the pleasure of knowing several Serbs, and found them all to be funny, decent and generous. ...The Serbs are one of the most unfairly maligned people in Europe, and it sickens me to hear the things that are said about them by ill-informed Swiss colleagues and so-called liberal English friends alike...
It should not come a a surprise that several Serbs that you had met were all funny, decent and generous. This is statistically (and otherwise) entirely possible but so it would be for any other nation. It does not mean that the next three or three dozen Serbs that you meet would be the same (especially if one of them happened to be Ratko Mladic

And saying that the Serbs are one of the most unfairly maligned people in Europe suggests that this negative perception somehow came out of the blue, out of purely irrational dislike. Well, it did not. I am not arguing at all that the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 was justified and that the conduct the war was just. Regardless, the fact that it did happen does not change one thing: the Serbs (and other ex-Yugoslavs, by the way) can hardly blame anyone but themselves for this sordid bit of their recent history and the negative image abroad that comes with it.
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Old 14.07.2010, 14:09
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

I am sorry but I did not meet one single "ex-yugoslav" with a shit attitude. They have energy, and vibrancy.

I understand what you are saying, what I am trying to say is that when you go there it is entirely unexpected.

They are all trying to move forward with their lives. Hell, there has even been a bid for the 2020 Euros to be shared between Bosnia and Herzegovina–Croatia-Serbia.

My point is that they are trying to move on, and as for their "sordid recent history" you cannot blame individuals for that. I am sure that the majority have had wars shoved in their faces from the get go, and I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up away from such and environment.

I am also not insinuating that think there are no people still trying to propagate the conflict. Maybe next time I should go away from a loved up festival and the cosmopolitan part of town. However, that does not change my initial point that everyone I met was lovely, and that I found the whole experience eye-opening.

That is what traveling is all about huh?

May I ask jlm, have you visited the region?
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Old 14.07.2010, 14:32
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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I am sorry but I did not meet one single "ex-yugoslav" with a shit attitude.
Well I have met Serbs with totally shit attitudes. But I have also met many with open, generous and fun attitudes and they have been great people to hang around with.

Probably the same can be said of most other nations I have met members of.

My pet theory is that the Serbs have been scapegoats. Some of their mannersism and ways and their speech are easy to poke fun of, especially if you don't really know what they're about and haven't tried to understand them. But the same can be said about virtually any group of foreigners so that doesn't set them apart. I believe, however, that Serbs often take the brunt for general frustration at foreigners. You can't rant on about Tamils or Somalis for too long without being accused of racism but with Serbs it is somehow socially acceptable so IMHO a lot of people say "Yugo" when they mean "Ausländer". Some of my Yugoslav friends confirm that they agree with this view.
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Old 14.07.2010, 14:36
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

Have only had good experiences with Serbians or any other ex Jugoslavians for that matter and don't understand why the bad reputation.

My son's godmother was Serbian and very generous and kind she was too.

When my 2 sons left the security of the monoculture of the village in which we live to go to secondary school in the nearby town, someone asked me what I was going to do to protect them against the "Auslander" because, horror of horrors, there are so many "Jugos" at the senior school.

My reply was that I had always taught them that they themselves were half "Auslander" and never to forget that. They seemed to gravitate towards Turkish or Serbians and now that they have left home can honestly say they have various friends from Balkan countries. Think the prejudice is passed on from generation to generation
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Old 14.07.2010, 14:38
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

I tend to agree with you Natasha, of course young people in Serbia and elsewhere in the region are doing a great effort trying to move on, have a broader perspective and become very "European", in the truest sense.
But as you yourself stated, the festival you went to was founded to protest against Milosevic, I would be surprised if the people there are anything but great. And that unfortunately also doesn't change anything about Serbs in Europe, their reputation isn't so much founded on the war but on their actions in their new homelands, both in Germany, Austria and Switzerland they have quite a big share of crime statistics. I guess it's a bit like a German from Berlin visiting Istanbul - the contrast of perception couldn't be greater. But it's always great to experience people in a different light, in that sense I wish I could travel more to the Balkans in the near future.
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Old 14.07.2010, 16:04
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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...They are all trying to move forward with their lives...

...My point is that they are trying to move on, and as for their "sordid recent history" you cannot blame individuals for that. I am sure that the majority have had wars shoved in their faces from the get go, and I feel incredibly lucky to have grown up away from such and environment...

...I am also not insinuating that think there are no people still trying to propagate the conflict. Maybe next time I should go away from a loved up festival and the cosmopolitan part of town. However, that does not change my initial point that everyone I met was lovely, and that I found the whole experience eye-opening...
The sad truth about the Balkans (and I am not here talking about the Serbs only) is that they are doing exactly the opposite: instead of moving on with their lives, people prefer to engage in self-victimisation or cling to grievances from both the recent and not-so-recent past. Just try having a rational discussion about Srebrenica or Kosovo and you will quickly see what I mean.

It is precisely individuals that should be blamed. Yes, it all probably started with unscrupulous politicians but in the end it was individuals, people you went to school with, your first neighbours, who rolled up their sleeves and committed crimes. It is individuals and not nations that are tried in the Hague. Although there is no collective guilt there is a sense of collective responsibility and this is why it was necessary for both the Croatian and Serbian Presidents to recently engage in symbolic gestures of recognition of their countries' roles in major war-time human rights violations in Bosnia (by visiting Ahmici and Srebrenica respectively).

All of these things do not mean that you can not have a great time in Belgrade. Of course you can. And you should. In many ways, Belgrade is the most vibrant, most exciting, most 'cultured' city in ex-Yugoslavia. It is a city that is a bit worn down, a bit rough round the edges but perky and in many ways irresistible. It is great to hear that you enjoyed it.
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Old 14.07.2010, 16:24
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

True ljm, but I thought we're focussing on the young, liberal minds in these countries, not the general, still rather chauvinist populace. The former you're also more likely to meet when going to a music festival there, or visiting trendier parts of Belgrad.
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Old 14.07.2010, 16:32
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

I have been to serbia 3 times, heck I even got married there. In my mind, they are a very generous and open bunch of people. Its a shame all the corruption thats going on there, a few people dragging down the rest for their own personal gain. I have two problems when I go to serbia
1. Everyones father,uncle or brother breas the slivovich, which I drink far too much of when I am there.
2. The women are absolutely gorgeous. In winter time its all long hair,knee high boots, tight skins and fitted jackets
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Old 14.07.2010, 16:33
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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..
May I ask jlm, have you visited the region?
I am positive ljm knows what she's talking about..

Thanks, ljm, for giving us a different angle we wouldn't probably think about while traveling..

I really would like to visit ex-yugoslavia. I teach many kids from there, already born here, they are quick, temperamental, honest and a load of fun, proud of their home, but there are a lot of things they wouldn't ever share with us. I can only imagine what their families must have gone through.
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Old 14.07.2010, 16:44
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

great post- will look into the next festival- sounds like my kinda fun...

in regards to serbs, in general- never met any in ny but here in our hood there's quite a good amount and many of my son's football buddies are from serbia (i should say our buddies as hubby and i play with the kids )
and they are good kids- contrary to what our older and more judgemental neighbors tried to make us believe when we first came. a bit louder and more childish in their ways, but then again they are, after all kids and not robots, and i am louder and childish and not a kid so it's all good.
in truth the parents are pretty cool too, and one mama opened her door to offer us a coffee or a cool drink to us after playing- something that i haven't seen most other parents do around here.

but, there's always gonna be people who say this or that about people who are from certain places- having family in nicaragua and el salvador i've about had it with stupid judgements on what becomes of an entire group of people when they go thru years of war. many things happen- most importantly it's the appreciation of life and resourcefulness that is the strongest consequence.
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Old 14.07.2010, 16:52
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

I liked Serbs before but I like them more now coz they beat Germany in the world cup
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Old 14.07.2010, 18:58
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

First of all, Hi there

I accidentally tripped on this forum and I had to reply.
Since I am a Serb I think I have a right to write a word or two (and indeed I apologize on this raid).

I've seen different answers, both positive and negative (more positive ones ) and I was glad to see such a healthy debate. I also want to thank Natasha for visiting the Festival, it's because people like you this Festival grows better and stronger each year.

And now:

Regarding the fact that Serbia was in war zone /// Forget all bout it (WAS --- Past Time Tense), cuz we all want to.
Regarding the fact that some people make wrong assumptions on what they see on TV or read in newspapers bout Serbs /// PLEASE visit Serbia and make sure yourself, you wont be disappointed.
Regarding the fact that we are treated as "Ausländer"s /// Its sad but its true... But Natasha please tell us, did you felt that way while visiting Serbia? Hope not...

All in all I hope this post will help you understanding us just a bit more...

Visit Serbia, visit Exit Festival see you there

cheerz, Mladen
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Old 14.07.2010, 21:58
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

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And that unfortunately also doesn't change anything about Serbs in Europe, their reputation isn't so much founded on the war but on their actions in their new homelands, both in Germany, Austria and Switzerland they have quite a big share of crime statistics.
The high crime statistics are mainly breaches on immigration laws.

In % similar to other non-eu immigrants proportional to their numbers in CH.


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True ljm, but I thought we're focussing on the young, liberal minds in these countries, not the general, still rather chauvinist populace.
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But as you yourself stated, the festival you went to was founded to protest against Milosevic, I would be surprised if the people there are anything but great.
Ok not sure if it makes sense to start a discussion if somebody has this kind of mindset, but such stuff shouldn't be allowed to let pass without comment.

If you educate yourself about the war in bosnia, and about the UCK in Kosovo, you will hopefully then be able to understand that the situation is complex and it would be too easy to blame in general the serbs as the baddies, incl. Milosevic.
(Mladic is another case.)

And one of the biggest shames in recent European history would be the Kosovo war - and the role of the UN and the UCK - legitimated on false facts, saying a genocide would to be committed in Kosovo by the Serbs.
Those claims were disproved after the war when the team of Carla del Ponte went down to the Kosovo to take evidence for the 'Kriegsverbrecher Tribunal' (engl: 'ICTY' ?) in Den Haag, and been dugging over for months the Kosovo, and haven't found not one mass grave.



P.S. Sorry if this came across a bit harsh simon_ch, but this type of brownish SVP propaganda against the Serbs in Switzerland annoy me. Feel free to groan.
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Old 14.07.2010, 22:56
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Re: Does anyone like the Serbs? (Exit Festival Serbia review).

It's nice to see all these positive comments given my impression of our reputation here in Switzerland. It was especially.. well, interesting.. when my room mate introduced me to some of his Portugese and Brazilian friends (i.e. also immigrants) and said that I was originally from ex Yugoslavia but added - "he's not like the other Yugoslavians". When somebody has to explain that to OTHER IMMIGRANTS, you know your reputation is bad
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