Odgovor Justine Mccarthy, novinarke lista Sunday Tribune
Kada jedan blog rezultira sa 502 komentara, kao što je to bio slučaj s blogom Zasto smo za svet i dalje parija?, onda to zaslužuje nastavak. Medjutim, kako je prethodna diskusija trajala predugo izgleda da smo svi svesni sopstvenih i rivalskih pozicija, pa bi sam nastavak diskusije bio deplasiran kao takav.
Kao neko ko voli izazove, nije me mrzelo da potražim gospodju Justine McCarthy i zamolim je da napiše prilog na ovom mestu o svojim iskustvima iz Srbije. Rekao sam joj da je njen tekst izazvao ogromne reakcije, uglavnom negativne, takodje sam joj rekao da je bilo i nas koji smo mislili da je tekst možda previše negativan, ali ipak činjenično tačan.
Uz dva, tri maila i nekoliko telefonskih razgovora, Justine i ja smo našli zajedinčki jezik. Preveo sam joj većinu komentara. Justine mi je poslala svoj tekst o njoj, Sunday Tribunu, njenoj poseti Srbiji... Obecao sam joj da ce moci da komentariše.
Odgovor Justine Mccarthy
The reason why I went to Serbia (Belgrade and Novi Sad) was because the Sunday Tribune, in association with Frontline, a Dublin-based international non-governmental organization supporting human rights advocates in numerous countries, did a special project to mark the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. A photographer and five different reporters from the paper went to five countries where human rights are considered vulnerable: Honduras, Western Sahara, Kenya, India and Serbia. I chose to go to Serbia because I have a lingering interest since the Balkans wars, renewed by the prospect of the country joining the EU.
The Sunday Tribune is one of the most respected newspapers in Ireland. It has struggled financially since it was founded in the 1980s and it has a relatively small readership dominated by influential leaders in society. It is regarded as journalistically courageous, authoritative and challenging. As for myself, I am the paper's chief features writer, am a frequent broadcaster and have written a biography of the president, "Mary McAleese: The Outsider". I have been a journalist for 28 years and for much of that time I covered Northern Ireland during the bad times. I saw several parallels between Northern Ireland towards the end of The Troubles and Serbia today.
I travelled there with the paper's photographer and a representative of Frontline, who arranged the itinerary and set up interviews with defenders of human rights. That was the narrow focus of the assignment. It was never intended to be a comprehensive study of the country. We arrived in Belgrade on the last Tuesday in October and left on the afternoon of the following Saturday, November 1.
My impressions of Belgrade were that it was a city of two halves - the old quarter and the new quarter, like many European capitals. I stayed in a hotel in the old city and I liked it very much. We ate out in good restaurants and went to lovely bars where the people were friendly and kind. However, I was not writing a travel feature - though I would have won more friends in Serbia if I had been as I found it a convivial and amiable country.
We had a very busy schedule, with several meetings each day. I personally encountered no animosity and yes, the sight of people selling Karadzic's biography reminded me strongly of Ireland 15 years ago when the Sinn Fein newspaper, an Phoblacht, was openly sold in this country, peddling the propaganda of the IRA. I apologize for my slip-of-the-pen about the Weimer Republic. I can only say that, interviewing people whose English was not always clear to me (though I admire how many people speak several languages in Serbia, compared to Ireland's poor performance on languages!), I was concentrating on deciphering my reams of notes and I did not question this inaccuracy (entirely mine) when I transcribed it. As for the confluence of the Danube and the Sava, mea culpa! I think it would be wrong, though, for people to deny the underlying truth of the article for the sake of a couple of blunders by me in an article running to more than 3,000 words.
I would love to go back to Serbia on a holiday some day. A colleague goes to the "Exit" rock concert in Novi Sad each summer and loves it. When I do go back, I expect to like it just as much because I found Serbian people to be decent and generous. That is why I would worry that the denial of human rights by a small but influential coterie could develop into a major problem.
All the best,