16. December. 2019. | 03:45

Forum Future 2019,11-12 December 2019.

Dealing with the past, the present and future relations between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo was the subject of the 2-day conference held in Mitrovica north. Other topics such as reconciliation process and transitional justice were broadly discussed between representatives of civil society, opinion makers and students from both communities.
Forum Future 2019 was organized by the NGO Aktiv as a member of the Kosovo Coalition for Reconciliation with the financial support of the EU Office in Kosovo. 

The conference was opened by Boyd McKechnie, Senior Adviser on Political Affairs, European Union Office in Kosovo/EUSR. Stressing that after 20 years we have even more reason to actually continue our discussion on reconciliation and transitional justice, and the aim of this forum is to provide space for inter-ethnic dialog with goal of bringing communities together. The new Kosovo government should consider transitional justice a priority and make reconciliation an inclusive process in which all Kosovo communities may feel represented.
The guests were greeted by the Director of the NGO Aktiv, Miodrag Milicevic. I believe that as a society we are mature enough to face all the issues that plague our community, and if we keep waiting for a better time and for someone else to do it for us, I think he cannot, he said in his welcoming speech.
The first panel discussion dealt with the process of reconciliation and transitional justice, perceptions, issues and perspectives. The panelists were Steinar Bryn, Nora Ahmetaj, Bekim Blakaj and Miodrag Milicevic.

It is much more interesting to explain how have you formed your stance than to convince others that your stance is correct. The most important work to focus on is working with the parents of the children, as the children form their stance in the family, there they are taught who their enemy is. Mr. Brin, the head of the Nansen Network, pointed this out in his presentation.
Nora Ahmetaj stressed that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission preparatory team plans to be much more active in 2020, to make people more aware of their goals and work.
The Aktiv Director, Miodrag Milicevic, said that we need to talk about essential integration, it means not about statistics data, but essentially whether the rights guaranteed by the constitution are fulfilled, partly because there is a lack of willingness of political elites to abide by laws and the constitution.
The discussion continued through the following panel, which addressed the current influence of the media on ethnic relations. Guests of the panel were Jeta Xharra, Violeta Oroshi, Đorđje Vlajić and Sanja Sovrlić.

Jeta Xharra, Director of BIRN office in Kosovo, considers that in the public media, speech is much more nationalistic therefore we should influence the state media the most, then she said, right now the fake news is a popular term but we had it before, then it was called propaganda and we felt the impact of propaganda on us.
Violeta Oroshi, the Radio WDR correspondent, points out that tolerance is an everyday word for her, if a community doesn't like what I wrote, they can't say it's not true, if you are honest, if you are not part of a specific politics, if you are not cheering for your own, then no one can tell you that you are not tolerant.
What counts as a media, whether we should count tabloids as the media is a key question, says Djordje Vlajic and adds, first of all, the media exists for the public interest to inform the society in a truthfully, accurately, in a timely manner etc. and if we sieve the media that work today, I’m afraid not many media would go through this sieve.
Sanja Sovrlic from the Black and White World (Crno beli SVET CBS) portal, has a similar opinion, and she points out that those who are laying and are not engaged in journalism are not the media, just as doctors who kill patients are not doctors, the police officers who do not arrest criminals are not police officers, the prosecutors who do not work according to their official duty (ex officio) are not prosecutors, and journalists who participate in propaganda are not journalists.
The third panel discussion addressed the perspective of the Serbs and Albanian cooperation process. The guests were Jeremy Flauraud, Jovana Stojanovic and Stefan Filipovic.

Jeremy Flauraud from GAIA Kosovo, notes that we do not have to brand work as reconciliation or other difficult topics because sometimes it is scary for some people, we can work on other topics but in order to achieve reconciliation, informal work is much more important in the reconciliation process.
We cannot change an entire generation, but we have to work with individuals, it is a great success to change mindset of a few people, you cannot expect to change the mindset of generations rapidly and the most important for changing people’s mindset is contact.
The conflict between Serbs and Albanians is a relatively young conflict and lasts just over 100 years, the historiography is silent about this and about the fact of thousand of examples of cooperation between Serbs and Albanians, and this is an issue, since these things connect the two peoples, notes Stefan Filipovic, from the Center for Peace and Tolerance.