Last Friday, two artists — Vladan Jeremić and Uroš Jovanović — were arrested by Belgrade police. Why? Jeremić and his colleagues, performers, were standing in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art wearing masks of the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić. Jovanović tried to enter the museum with a framed photograph with the words: Vučić – the best artist.
The pair were interrogated because they “insulted the institution and credibility of the President of Serbia”. This senseless, authoritarian action — that took place on the anniversary of Belgrade’s liberation from Nazi occupation — shows the true face of the Serbian regime, that shows its pro-European side to Brussels while committing disgraceful acts of repression at home.
It is not big news that the US, the Troika and EU bureaucrats are happy to turn a blind eye to these authoritarian actions and their like, so long as strongmen like Orban or Erdogan continue doing ‘a proper job’. All those in the EU who keep quiet about these and similar arrests do not deserve to call themselves democrats.
Let’s be clear: there can be no political freedom without artistic freedom, and vice versa! We urge our progressive, democratic, left wing colleagues all over the Europe to condemn this barbarous act of the Serbian police.
Because it resembles the actions of those who burned books and sent the opposition to concentration camps, not that long ago.
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