Step Forward

„Step Forward“ is the book in which are collected literary works of young people from the ex-Yu region. Those works are initiated by „School for Civil Courage“ witch has been held last year in organization of NGO GARIWO, and by the invitation for submition of literary works witch has been posted also last year by NGO GARIWO.


Mentioned facts are important because the knowledge and thoughts in this book are unrelated to educational systems in B, H, S speaking area. That is one of two disappointing things that this book indicates.

Specifically, in B, H, S speaking area it is still impossible to find anything what young people do or say related to civil courage that it happenes in the organization of any official educational institution. Many works in this book suggest, while in some were directly told that the authors have not had the encounter with the concept of civil courage until they are met with it through the NGO sector.

Vanja Rakić, one of the authors in this book, begins his work with following sentence: „Until a few months ago I did not even think about the concept of civil courage until I had a visit to Sarajevo and the Duško Kondor Civil Courage Award Ceremony.“ When they have the opportunity for education about civil courage some of them, such as, for example, Slađana Komatina, run into the following problem: „Coming to this school for people in Serbia is an act of civil courage, although this fact is in itself terrible. When I told in my environment where I'm going, what is the theme of the school and who will participate in it, many people have responded in a very bad way and decried me. The first reaction I heard was: 'Why should we apologize to them, let they apologizing to us!'“ That is the second disappointing thing.

Mentioned two things are perhaps the most important for consideration when it comes to students and their works in this book. One possible answer to why such things happen is that the countries crated through disintegration of Yugoslavia, particularly the ones in which is spoken, how we used to called it, Serbo-Croatian language, are countries founded on the violence. This violence has become legitimate with their creation, especially with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement. As such, they can not be anything else but an emanation of everyday violence on which they are based.

States protect themselves with their mechanisms whose one of the main functions is socialization of citizens in accordance with the values on which they are based, and these values are mostly anticivilizational. Systems of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro are working on the defense of the crime presenting it as it is not a crime and due to that we are dealing with different kinds of relativisation. One of the defense mechanisms of the crime is educational systems which is responsible for indoctrinating and disciplining the youngest according to described values. Therefore young people have no knowledge about civil courage before their meet the projects such as the School for Civil Courage or Duško Kondor Civil Courage Award. When they encounter with something like mentioned projects, then their have problems with people in their environment who are educated, indoctrinated and disciplined by mentioned educational system but also by other mechanisms such as religious communities, the media, etc.

Because of all above mentioned, all these works in this book are extremely valuable. The engagement with civil courage, even at the level of thinking about it, it means the possibility of conflict with the authorities of which depends the lifestyle of young people. Such authorities are familie, school, community, etc. So, as the student of the School for Civil Courage Slađana Komatina wrote, even the attending of School for Civil Courage is an act of civil courage. Deal with civil courage or manifest it here and now in many cases it means to be under the gun as a potential enemy, someone who can threaten the order which necessitates everything that is the opposite of civil courage for its survival. First of all, blind obedience and submission without possibility of doubt and questioning.

Young authors announcing themselves in this book as those who think and question the values that are dominant in their areas (it is mostly about large cities in Serbia, Croatian and BiH such as, for example, Belgrade, Zagreb, Banja Luka, etc.) do something what is sacred because there is a moment of self-sacrifice.

Of course, this self-sacrifice should not be understood as something scary. It refers to the gradual liberation from the constraints of the system and the false authority but with the possibility of losing some things that we like to define as „privileges“ that we have if we are eligible. With uncompromising stepping forward, dealing with civil courage and expressiing it, in one moment we will become aware that this alleged privilege are nothing but a „carrot on a stick“. It is always equally far away but we are deeper and deeper into a mental slavery.
Amer Tikveša

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