Awe… the enchanting and calming effect of Orthodox chants.
I figured this would be best to listen to while I write this blog post. I must try to stay as level-headed as possible. This will be very emotional, passionate, and personal. If you cannot be open-minded to fact that this is my opinion and my blog, then I ask that you leave now… Thank you.
So. Anyone who knows anything about Serbia knows that this past weekend (Oct 9-10, 2010) was a weekend of pride. Just completely different prides. On Saturday, I joined over 10,000 attendants in the Family March. Now, the Family March was a peaceful and amazing demonstration against the Gay Parade that was held on Sunday. Let me clarify some things right off the bat. I do not hate gays and nor do most of those that marched Saturday. I have many gay friends. However, when it comes to Serbia I do not feel that things can be as they are in the US. Now that may seem to be contradictory, but you have to realize that no two countries are the same and cannot be run the same, no matter how much the US and the West wants this to happen. That’s a political thought for another time though.
Now, many who think they know think I’ve always been pro-gay and then moved to Serbia and became anti-gay. Both are wrong assumptions. I have no problems with gays, never have. I have always been on the fence with the whole “gay rights” issues. While part of me thinks ‘who cares if they love each other,’ the other part of me says ‘but by all definitions of marriage throughout time, marriage has been one man and one woman.’ While I’ve bounced from religion to religion growing up, I’ve always felt that marriage and the perfect union is between a man and a woman. Now I know by saying this, I’ve probably pissed off many of the people I know back home in the US. And while that is not my goal, I cannot please everyone in the world. I am me, get to know, and either like it or don’t. I’m sorry.
Now, back to this past weekend. Saturday – beautiful and peaceful Family March in support of Serbian tradition and values of family. Sunday – Pride Parade that ended up messy. Let me clear up some things and fill in you on a few more. Probably heard in the news how the hooligans and right-wing extreme nationalists were the one to blame for the violent riots… well this is but a fraction true. They were the ones involved… but they are not the ones to blame. Ask anyone here in Serbia, even many in the gay community, that the gays are the ones to blame. And I say this not because I’m anti-gay or pro-gay, but because I know what’s going on over here. The gays are to blame in this. They knew from the beginning that the parade was not welcomed here. Serbs have never discriminated against gays if seen on the street or at work. They are allowed to have jobs and their clubs and do what they want. The biggest thing is that the Serbs do not want all of that on the streets in front of their children and in the open. The saying is “we keep our sex lives personal and do not flaunt it, please do the same.” Now, before this intense weekend, there were never, never, never any issues with gays and homosexuals really. Everyone minded their own business, really. I cannot say that it will stay that way. Hence, the bit of violence on Sunday. Mind you that was only a fraction of the force that could have been applied by the demonstrators. That was a small fraction of those against the Westernization of Serbia, which what this ‘parade’ was about… True, it was a gay parade, but this parade was put forth in efforts to show that Serbia is ready for EU admittance. But it backfired. It is obvious that Serbs are not ready to give up over 2000 years of culture, tradition, values, and religion. A hint to the West… they never will be ready to give it up either. By allowing the parade to go on, when violence was warned and expected (that’s why 5,000 police were out that day), it proved that Serbs were not willing to lay down and die for the Western mentality.
Now….One might ask ‘What’s so bad about the West?” Then I would respond “Have you ever lived outside of the West?” Not everything is made to be a melting pot. Melting pots destroy culture and individuality between nations. Why should anyone want to give that up – especially when what they would become is definitely no better and would damage the society in general? But this also for another post… trust me. Lots of those, I promise!
But you have to realize that Serbs are proud to be Serbs and don’t want to be anything or anyone else but Serbs. So allowing Western ideas in is not accepted. This country is 90% Orthodox Christian and conservative Christian at that. Homosexuality is not considered Christian. So everyone that supported the parade pretty much spit in the face of every Serb and everything that Serbia stands for over the last few thousand years. You spit in the face of tradition, of culture, of religion. How would you react if that was done to you? You’d fight to keep what is yours, yours. So do not think that Serbs are just violent monsters ready to start a fight over anything… that’s far from the truth. Serbs strictly just want to remain Serbs without influence or manipulation from anyone else. And they have no problems fighting for their cause. The West should realize this.
There were reports that everyday citizens would interfere with the protests coming between the police and the official protesters. Not to stop, but to join in the fact that they did not appreciate the police. Realize the pride of being a Serb… the police who volunteered to be on the streets pretty much betrayed the country themselves. Of course, many officers did it for the extra money as times are tight right now, but many others sold their souls pretty much because they do not care as long as they benefit – much like the politicians here. The protesters are actually madder at the police than the gay supporters. There was even witness to a little old baba spitting on a police officer.
The rest of the world does not understand what truly goes on here and how things work. There is a veil of delusion that needs to be lifted from the eyes of the world to realize Serbia for Serbia, not Serbia for what the West makes Serbia out to be.
So yes, the weekend was violent and tense. Yes, I supported Saturday’s march. I hope the government of Serbia realizes what they have done – they have poked a waking dragon that is sleeping in her lair protecting her young. Be careful when you play with fire, people. Someone always gets burned. And remember, Serbs aren’t the type to back down and give up.
Below are pictures I took during Saturday’s peaceful march.