After the human rights sham(e) of the Serbian government’s eleventh hour decision to ban Belgrade Pride 2011, there is concern that the country could be on the brink of flouting international conventions again this year. If the authorities do buckle under pressure from agitators and right-wing groups, it could bring the government into conflict with the Council of Europe over the fundamental right of assembly. Serbia’s own Constitutional Court might take issue with it, too.
When the government cited security issues for the last minute cancellation of last year’s event (although nobody has been charged with any associated crime) it was humiliated for being unable to protect people on the streets of its own capital. It was also seen to be riding roughshod over the country’s constitution and received widespread international condemnation for its inability to defend human rights.
When two fighting men crossed paths over the skies of Yugoslavia nobody could have guessed that it would set in motion a series of events that have seen two families becoming firm friends. By orchestrating emotional meetings between a Serbian baker and a former US airman and capturing them on film, Serbian documentary maker Željko Mirković has produced a film that is grounded in a message of reconciliation.
The Second Meeting, which will have pre-premiere screenings in Belgrade (21 September) and New York (October), is a film about the touching reunion and shared memories of a US F117A stealth pilot Dale Zelko and the Yugoslav missile colonel Zoltan Dani who shot him down over Yugoslavia on March 27, 1999. The plane crashed and everyone had a chance to see for themselves, and live. Thankfully, the pilot ejected and was successfully evacuated eight hours later.