If you don’t deal with politics, politics will deal with you

From November 30 to December 8 2019, East West Centre Sarajevo organises the first SARAJEVO FEST – ART AND POLITICS in Sarajevo. Sarajevo Fest will have a part of its programme held in Mostar (December 9) and Banja Luka (December 10).

The world changes both fundamentally and rapidly. In order to understand this change and find our place in it, it is of paramount importance to consider, from different angles, the societal, social, political, climate-related, economic and cultural trends. It is indispensable to communicate our experiences with others. Rationalism instead of rooting for and facing reality, instead of denying it, can significantly improve our lives. Sarajevo Fest Art and Politics aims at becoming a platform for critical thinking. Critical thinking is neither hating, nor negating everything. Critical thinking is dispassionate analysis.

Politics finds it more and more difficult to find solutions. Is it because politics is in crisis or because it is no more capable of governing new societies? Recent mass protests in France, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Chile, Iraq, Hong Kong; the war in Syria; the chaotic Brexit; dramatic elections in Bolivia; chaos in Venezuela; genocide against Rohingyas in Myanmar; extremism, terrorism, human rights violations; great migrations of desperate populations – these are only fragments of the picture of today’s world. The climate crisis is more evident than ever and politics cannot find a concrete answer to it.

Specificities and diversity of the Balkans is more often abused and manipulated by local politicians, than used as our advantage. Reluctance of the EU to either give the membership status to these, now isolated, countries or to openly say that it does not want them, hinders their further development.

If politics can’t solve all the problems, what is it that it can do? Why an imperfect democracy is better that authoritarianism? Who are the proponents of constructive changes in the 21st century?

Art can’t solve these issues. Art can contribute to creative considerations of these and other issues. Dialogue, critical thinking, and advancement of democracy – these are the values that make a society smarter, more interesting, and better. The Sarajevo Fest Art and Politics will have about 300 participants, collaborators and guests. The audience and journalists will follow the Festival and take part in it in their own way. Many of us know that the Balkans can do much better that it is doing nowadays. The Sarajevo Fest Art and Politics will hopefully be a part of that progress.

Haris Pašović
Sarajevo Fest – Art and Politics