4th Sarajevo Fest – Art and Politics 2022

Humanity Censored

Recently, during a lecture, I asked two separate groups of students: Who liberated Europe from the Nazis? No one in any group knew a clear answer. Their average age is about 20. I asked them if they learned about World War II in school? They told me they did. How long? One or two hours, was the answer. Newly composed school curricula in the subject of History avoid detailed study of the Second World War. The reason is that knowledge about the Second World War would have to include the now unpopular fact: that the Yugoslav partisans were the only authentic European resistance movement that managed to free the territory of their country from the Nazis and domestic traitors. Along with the Yugoslav partisans, the victims of the revision of history are the Americans and Russians who, together with the British, liberated Europe from the German Nazis, Italian fascists and local fascist forces from many European countries. The biggest victims of the rewriting of history are the new generations, from whom the truth is hidden. In this way, young people are left to the influence of fools like Ye (ex Kanye West), an American global rap star, who declared a few days ago that he “loves Nazis” and that he “likes Hitler because he invented the highway and microphone” and because he has accumulated so much power. (Hitler did not invent the highway or the microphone).

The Third Reich, the Nazi empire, is a paradigm of totalitarianism in its deepest stage, which meant the establishment of total control over the body and mind of each individual; then the systematic killing of Jews; the extermination of Roma, homosexuals, the disabled, people with mental illnesses and the abolition of freedom of speech and expression. Nazism is the ground zero of evil. The relativization of Nazism and the absence of the study of Nazism prevents the understanding of any other form of totalitarianism that occurred in the past or that may occur in the future.

“Third Reich” – the play/performance/visual work with which we are opening the 4th Sarajevo Fest – Arts and Politics is an extremely powerful work of art by Romeo Castellucci, probably the greatest theatre director of today. His play is astonishingly energetic, extremely intense, sometimes unbearable for some viewers. It is a dramatic statement about the establishment of political totalitarian control over the individual.

Tobias Ginsburg, a writer and director from Germany, made a unique venture and infiltrated neo-Nazi organizations in present-day Germany, Poland and the USA. In the past few years, he wrote three books that quickly became among the most read in Germany. Ginsburg will speak at the Sarajevo Fest about her experiences, which were terrifying, tense and very dangerous. Ginsburg testifies to how the neo-Nazi movement is developing and growing today and what its consequences are.

The play “Miss Julie” by August Strindberg, which I directed in Belgrade’s Madlenijanum Theatre, speaks about the power of one economic class over another. That power is not only economic, but is also established in relation to the private and the physical, striving to completely master the person who becomes the object of that ruling power.

The play “Three Winters” by Tena Štivičić, directed by Jasna Đuričić, thematizes the individual and the family and ideological power in the Yugoslav territories (and specifically in Croatia) during the fascist Independent State of Croatia; communist Croatia and the post-Yugoslav Republic of Croatia.

FACE TV viewers will have the opportunity to watch the festival play “The Society of Spectacle”, which has been playing for ten years with undiminished relevance. Based on the philosophical work “The Society of Spectacle” by Guy Debord, an anarchist philosopher from France, the play speaks about the social and political tragedy of Bosnia and Herzegovina today.

The theme of this year’s Sarajevo Fest: Censored Humanity was partly motivated by a series of political attacks on the freedom of the body, dressing and expression in Sarajevo this year.

This year’s Sarajevo Fest is taking place during the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and in the midst of protests in Iran against the repressive Iranian authorities. The dramatic worsening of the climate crisis and the aggression of technology companies and other global corporations and the strengthening of extremist parties in Europe that are beginning to enter governments are features of our time that have their reflection in the Balkans. The responsibility of art is great in our time, and the relationship between art and politics is crucial for the healing of society.