Could QR codes join candles and rakia at Balkan gravesides?

Rakia Grave Balkans SerbiaIt can be interesting to see how different cultures deal with death and the issues of loss and remembrance.

Losing someone close is bound to be unsettling but how we handle the aftermath and go on living is reflective of the people we are, the values we hold true and the society in which we live.

Graveside rituals and memorials can ensure that families are neither out of sight nor out of mind.

In the Balkans, death and loss never seems too far away.

Cemeteries of various denominations, black and white memorials on fence posts and photos of lost loved ones on the mantelpiece in homes across the Balkans all provide succour for those left behind.

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Journalists ignored as Serbian PM discusses press freedom

Aleksandar Vucic LSE London Press FreedomSerbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić made efforts to silence critics who claim his government is running roughshod over press freedom in Serbia – but any opportunity for invited media to ask questions was ignored at the event in London.

The Prime Minister took moderated questions from the standing-room-only audience at the London School of Economics, including an ambush from a political opponent and his legal team.

But repeated pleas and increasingly frantic waving hands from representatives of the invited Serbian and international media were brushed aside.

The moderator denied that this was deliberate, claiming  it was due to there being so many questions from LSE students at what had been billed as an open-to-all event.

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Prime Minister Vučić faces verbal ambush at LSE talk to confirm Serbia’s EU ambitions

28 October, 2014 News No comments

Aleksandar Vucic LSE London scandalCriminal accusations and claims of political wrongdoing appeared to be calculated to highjack a keynote address by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić on his country’s commitment to joining the European Union.

Speaking to a packed auditorium at the London School of Economics, the Prime Minister faced allegations hollered from the stalls by woman accusing Mr Vučić of personally issuing a death threat to the controversial President of the Serbian Republican Party, Nikola Sandulović.

Mr Sandulović was sat beside her waving a CD of recordings that could allegedly prove his claims, while event moderator struggled to regain control of the event.

The ill-mannered verbal ambush by this disgruntled political opponent and his legal representative could not derail Prime Minister Vučić from his message that Serbia is committed to the EU and is taking whatever difficult steps might be necessary to achieve his goals for Serbia.

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No price is too high for pride in one’s country

Belgrade Pride 2014 Police balloonAs rumours and half-truths spread about the claimed cost of policing the Belgrade Pride parade, it would seem  inevitable – and, no doubt, will be  embraced in some quarters – for people to be up in arms about the amount of money allegedly spent to protect the people and their city.

While no official figures have been released, some media have reported unqualified estimates of €1 million to Belgrade’s coffers.

Pride organisers have laughed off this claim as ludicrous, believing that this figure is being bandied around for political purposes, to rile up those opposed to the parade and to stoke negative feeling towards the LGBT community.

Pride organisers say that this estimated figure includes a staggeringly exaggerated €600k for loss of trade to restaurants, bars and shops.

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