I lived in Belgrade in 2000. Most of the time in a rented room in a big house in Ulica Ivana Milutinovica, where a hopeful boyfriend of my landlord had painted 'I love Irina' on the opposite house in the street.
The house was normally full of visitors of all sorts - and occasionally young men were sleeping on the couch while escaping the rough facts of life, like military service (or doing the dishes).
At one point I slept with over 10.000 USD under the mattress, while having a resistance movement poster in the window towards the street. This was my first experience of volunteering in a country where youth appeared to be living on a constant edge of emergency. Not just politically, but also emotionally. I quickly realised that I wasn't going to suggest that poster to be taken down, but to figure out a safer solution till someone did.
And I never really got over the addiction I gradually grew in Belgrade for:
Political activism combined with intellect, mad ideas and creative skills.
The feeling that it can all be over tomorrow, or next week.
Living in a pocket that the rest of the world is ignoring.
'Vreme je!' - the time is now - was one of the slogans of a campaign running at that time, amongst others from the concert tour with Darkwood Dub, Kanda, Kozda i Nebojsa etc., where the photo above is taken. I remember I was offered a seat on a bus going to Nis and back again the same day by a hard core photographer (who convinced me that I could take photos, too).
Another slogan was 'Life is what you make it' - advertising for the Exit festival in Novi Sad.
It pretty much said it all:
Like is exactly what you make it. (Add to that luck and hard work, and it cannot go totally wrong).
Belgrade 2000 was one of the best periods of my life.
So, obviously, I was happy to find the Canvasopedia, a non-violent multi-media library, yesterday, which is made by the people behind the Serbian resistance movement, Otpor.
They have also produced a fantastic handbook to non-violent struggle, which can be downloaded here: Download Nonviolent_Struggle-50CP.