Serbia: Police confiscated artistic photographs over Kosovan symbols

21 June 2018


Pristina-based artist, Eliza Hoxha, was prevented from bringing several photographs as part of an artistic exhibit intended to be displayed at the Belgrade exhibition, “Between Dream and Reality”, held on 2 June 2018 at the Mirëdita, dobar dan! Festival. Border police confiscated three photographs, together with exhibition catalogues, because they contained symbols of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), reported Balkan Insight.

“They confiscated three photographs: one with KLA slogan, one from protests which included lyrics of the well-known Kosovan poet Ali Podrimja: ‘Kosovo, the blood which does not forgive’, and the third one which was created on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Kosovo independence with a mash-up of the Kosovo and Albanian flags and lyrics of the ‘My Anthem’ song,” Hoxha told RTK 2.

On 30 May, the Serbian public broadcaster disclosed that Minister of Interior Nebojša Stefanović made a decision to ban artists from crossing the border with artworks featuring Kosovan protesters holding banners with pro-KLA slogans, reportedly in order to prevent “the promotion of a terrorist organization, in the name of culture”, reported RTS.

Condemning this decision, Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Enver Hoxhaj tweeted that relations between Belgrade and Pristina cannot be normal if Serbian authorities ban artists from attending exhibitions, wrote N1 English.

On her way back to Kosovo following the festival, the artist was able to collect her artworks from border police.

The fifth edition of the Mirëdita, dobar dan! Festival was organized in Belgrade between 30 May and 2 June by the Belgrade branch of The Youth Initiative for Human Rights and Pristina-based Integra. The festival, which aims to bring post-war societies of Kosovo and Serbia closer together through culture, was held in a tense atmosphere, with hundreds of policemen protecting the event from representatives of parliamentarian political parties and far right groups that protested around the festival venue before and during its opening. N1 English reported that these groups “called for a ban of the festival and threatened to use every available means to prevent it”.

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