The Taliban-like censorship move by the director of the Novi Sad Cultural Center Andrej Fajgelj (an intellectual anonymous, politically appointed “cadre” of the Third Serbia, ex- Dveri Movement), who removed the art work of Danijela Tasic as a preemptive measure because it dawned on him that it may “offend the religious feelings of citizens”, as well as its ideological roots and social implications will most certainly be the topic of further discussion and “philosophising” in the upcoming days – however, here and now, it is time for some concrete suggestions and observations.

1. Artists, writers, intellectuals from Novi Sad and other places will not participate in any program or other activity of the Novi Sad Cultural Center until Andrej Fajgelj is removed from the position, or until he resigns irrevocably. Relevant art associations, such as SULUV, ULUS, SKD, DKV, PEN, etc. will react unambiguously against censorship (they will, won’t they?) and instruct their members not to give it “legitimacy”, either by passive, or let alone by active cooperation. Furthermore, Fajgelj will take back with him into fairly won anonymity those whom he amassed into KCNS in the meantime, since the sheer removal of an individual means nothing if he is to be replaced by someone similar or even worse.

2. The public has no direct mechanisms of power and influence to “depose” Fajgelj – in this case, most certainly more a metonymy of pernicious and barbaric politics than a concrete individual or citizen – but maybe, for starters, it can at least isolate him and his team in the ivory tower in Katolicka porta street, until they naturally die out as a paranormal phenomenon. Then their exhibition can be visited by Irinej (Patriarch of Serbia), and their public debates by the local Catholic priest. They can bring along a few nuns, just to make the quorum.

3. The example of the students and professors from the Novi Sad Academy of Arts who decided to withdraw their work and close down the exhibition because the work of their colleague was censored under the most incredible religious-fundamentalist accusations, as well as the examples of the painters Dusan Vuletic and Borislav Suput, who withdrew their independent exhibitions from other galleries belonging to the Novi Sad Cultural Center promptly and without calculations, also as a sign of solidarity and resistance against censorship, have set a high standard for the reaction of the “intellectual community” in the city and in the country: ”nothing must be done below this level”. This means: a boycott. There is no “third road”, except in the heads of the muddled activists of “the Third Serbia”: you either show solidarity with the clericalist censorship, “normalize” it and pretend like nothing happened, or you clearly take the other side. This is not an issue for political parties, the government, opposition, and the like: this is a question of basic civilized standards. So now, let us count our numbers and look ourselves in the mirror: the issue is not who and what is some guy named Andrej Fajgelj, but who and what are all of us who are not Andrej Fajgelj? That is, if we truly aren’t.

Translated by Bojana Obradovic

Pešč, 29.10.2013.

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Rođen u Skoplju 1965. Novinar, kolumnista, kritičar, urednik kulture u nedeljniku Vreme iz Beograda. Komentator Radija Slobodna Evropa. Objavio 21 knjigu eseja, kolumni, kritika, priča. Pisao za sve relevantnije medije u regionu, između ostalih za Feral Tribune, Peščanik, Našu borbu, Autonomiju, BH Dane, ljubljanski Dnevnik, Globus, Jutarnji list. Živi u Novom Sadu.

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