D – 1985 – Temerin
Bachelor of Sociology and volunteer at the Office for Youth and the NGO Society of Nature Enthusiasts FALCO.
Q: Do you get attached to space? Does the space you live in define you?
A: Well, it influences me. I wouldn’t say it defines me, but yes, it influences me. I mean that interaction with space and everything.
Q: And are you familiar with feeling ‘at home’?
A: Yes, but in what sense?
Q: Well, in any sense you feel it?
A: Good, relaxed, in a space and time in which I’m present and where I feel some kind of connection with that place, space and people I share that space with. That feeling doesn’t have to be connected with feeling attached to a certain space, but yes, it can be connected to that. I think that, at least for me, there shouldn’t be too much attachment. For example, a person can feel at home at several places. Especially those who move or live somewhere for longer periods of time. Students, let’s say for example, who live in some… they study someplace else and live there, then they’re at home in the place of study and at their home. Home can be at several places.
Q: And where do you feel at home?
A: Well, I feel at home at my home, of course, and in parts of Temerin that I’m attached to, whether that’s my immediate surroundings or some places I go to and space I share with people who are dear to me. But, since that feeling of ‘being at home’ is also connected to people who are dear to me, I also feel at home at their place, let’s say, when I spend a longer period of time there. That is to say there where I feel pleasant.
Q: Is that feeling and those people what makes you attached to Temerin, Temerin specifically?
A: Wherever I am, people influence me feeling at home there. And then, it’s the same when it comes to Temerin. And, of course, what connects me to Temerin are 29 years of living here and spending most of my life here, and memories, experiences, all that. Every place has something that connects me to it, let’s say. What was the question? (Laughs.)
Q: Well, you just answered the question what makes you feel attached, do they make you feel attached to Temerin. Or is there maybe something else that makes you feel attached to Temerin? Or is it people after all?
A: Well, people and experiences. That’s what builds the character, let’s say.
Q: And do you think that nationality also influences character building or do you think it’s not crucial?
A: It doesn’t have to be crucial. I mean, it is to some. Some people define themselves completely as members of certain nation or it could be even broken down into smaller groups, but they basically reduce their personality to belonging to someone or something. In any case, everything affects us, but it depends on us to what extent we allow it or how we experience that belonging, not only in relation to us as members of that certain collective, but also to others who see us as members of that certain collective. It definitely influenced me being a member of that and that nation or that and that subculture. Everything influences us.
Q: What is belonging for you? Or how does it feel? How would you describe it? Belonging and maybe, in the same time, the opposite of belonging, not belonging?
A: Well, let’s say, sharing some same or similar characteristics. Let’s say, for me that’s a world view, that’s important, and system of values. So, I feel I belong to a group that’s made of people with whom I share some same values, similar values and similar world view. And, of course, I’m not a part of those who are the opposite, that is to say who clash with that or even deny not only those values, but deny the world itself. For example, some who deny the right to exist to other groups because of differences, because they’re simply not the same as them or because they don’t want the same world as them.
Q: How would you explain people’s need to be different than others?
A: Well, simply, people see themselves not only as members of certain groups, but also as individuals more or less. And if a person wants to mark their place in the world, they often do that in relation to others, especially when who they are comes less from themselves, from their own personality, and they define themselves more in relation to other, the way others see them. The need to be different can come out of disagreeing with others, actions of others, and then they simply want nothing to do with it. It can also… It’s also connected with the positive affirmation of self, to simply know that they’re valuable per se and the way they are.
Q: And people’s need to belong to something, someone?
A: Well, I think, how did they put it… A man, in order to live alone, has to be either God or an animal. In a sense that people need a collective too, whether because they need the closeness of others and interaction with them… OK, some rare examples don’t need it at all, and it depends who needs it to what extent. For some one other person is enough. But if they want to leave a trace in their surroundings, in their world, for example, or at least influence it, they often can’t do that alone. In order to achieve their interests and the interests of others, they need a collective. Besides, that feeling of belonging contributes to the feeling that you’re in a place, in that specific space, and of some kind of protection. Starting with the primal, family, to society or even the world as the human collective.
Q: And what does belonging mean for you?
A: Well, in a way, for me that means being with people with whom I’ve been together… Let’s say starting with primal closeness, with people with whom you build your life and with whose help I am where I am today, up to… It depends on the collective. If my interests are, I don’t know, in music, then I’ll find the people who share those interests and, let’s say, play with them or go to gigs with them, listen to music with them. And with that music comes a certain system of values, especially in the case of different youth and music subcultures. And then that’s one part of it. The other part, when it comes to volunteering let’s say, when all kinds of problems emerge or a simple need to do something, then that of course brings together people with same goals and they simply work on that. And, of course, it goes all the way to the personal choice of friends.
Q: Did you ever encounter problems with belonging to Temerin and this area you live in, with belonging to this space, place?
A: In what sense?
Q: In any sense you had them, if you ever had them. It depends.
A: Well, yes, I’ve encountered different problems because of belonging to different groups, whether it was a matter of personal choice or the circumstances. I mean, since on one hand I’m a member of a national minority, then there are members of the majority who don’t like that, for example, and who have expressed that discontent either towards me or towards others and I’ve heard about it. Then, let’s say, belonging to a certain subculture. When I expressed more that I’m, I don’t know, metalhead for example, when I was a meatlhead. Then they made me to be an occultist and junky and all kinds of things they connect to that. And, on the other hand, I think that the most common problem is lack of understanding. I mean, no matter what you belong to or what you do, the main problem is the lack of understanding and, of course, when people don’t understand what you do, how you do it, how you look, think and so on. A lot of people don’t want to understand that, and instead they reject it. And then it’s best to try to bring it closer to them somehow, to try to explain and then they don’t have to like it, but I believe they can accept or something like ‘OK, that’s that’.
Q: And could you compare those two different approaches to not understanding you as an individual, as a member of national minority and as someone who belongs to a group that listens certain kind of music? Could you draw a parallel between those two kinds of not belonging and belonging in the same time?
A: Yes, well, I can try. I mean, belonging to an ethnic group, national minority in this case, it’s not exactly a matter of choice. Someone can step out of it if they want, though others might not accept it, but you’re born in it and that’s what you are. And, I mean, especially growing up in that given cultural surroundings… It’s simply given. And it’s not just a question of whether I define myself like that or not, but more whether others define me like that. And no matter how much it means to me, it’s simple something given, to belong to a certain group in which you’re born in. And to others it’s something basic that defines me and based on what they judge me and based on what they characterize me and lay certain boundaries. And the other thing, music or youth subculture for example, is more a matter of choice where a person decides for themselves to join it. OK, there might be some peer influence there, some pressure or something. And the reaction to all that, for example… I mean, they’re both a part of personality. I mean, I’m one and the other, and the third and the forth, and all kinds of things. And then, I don’t know how I’ll confront the challenge of not being accepted. It depends what is a part of the personality to what extent. But, I mean, they’re both… well, not understanding and simply not accepting the personality and then, if you want them to accept different parts of your personality… Now, I don’t believe there are different ways. Actually, yes, there are different ways. (They laugh.)
Q: Did you have certain unpleasant experiences as a member of both a national minority and a minority as someone who listens a certain style of music?
A: Well, yes, I did. I mean, I had those common run-ins with prejudges and judgement based on those prejudges. Some of them I tried to explain, and others simply… we don’t have to be friends.
Q: How much do people listen when you try to make things clear and explain that they are the ones who don’t accept?
A: Well, it depends on their attitude. Of course, if someone is really close-minded and especially if they’re aggressive or violent, I mean you wouldn’t… I wouldn’t approach everyone the same way. It depends on their attitude. But even if someone’s aggressive, but is able to calm down and then find the patience to listen, then there’s a chance to explain what is what. There were some positive examples, there were some negative ones when there’s simply no chance, but OK, it’s their own choice.
Q: Do you think a certain kind of not understanding will always be present? That that lack of understanding will always remain or will people change and try to understand that we’re all different? What do you think about that?
A: Well, I think it’s a matter of percentage. I mean, there will always be people who will simply be closed to everything that’s different and who will refuse to accept. But the problem comes when most parts of the society functions that way and when the models that surround us are like that, from family to the system of education, to peer groups, we are facing lack of understanding and acceptance everywhere. I mean, when that’s wide spread, like it is here, then that’s a problem and we should work on greater acceptance.
Q: Do you personally work on that in your surroundings?
A: Well, let’s say I try to contribute. If nothing else, at least in my immediate surroundings. I mean, we all influence each other. Even if I give some good example, even to a close friend, that’s something. It’s best when we all contribute, no matter how much. And in general, with other kinds of engagement, whether it’s volunteering or through different kinds of gigs, well there’s probably a contribution.
Q: But, how would you explain the situation from your own perspective? Do you think people are ready to accept? Could you also give a bit of historical context to your views on the whole situation?
A: Yes, I believe there is readiness. I mean, it’s something given. When people run into positive examples it usually influences them. Not everyone might be ready to join in, but if they hear or see something it usually influences them. Of course, if they go back to the surroundings that’s unreasonable and not accepting and all that, that might influence them back and that’s why some kind of consistency is important. I mean, to make it more than one example, unless it’s a really ‘wau’ example. There is hope in any case.
Q: And have you experienced changes being made?
A: Yes, yes, of course. Both in my immediate surroundings and I heard a lot of stuff. I mean, there were some radical changes too, but also a lot of little ones, exactly that – people trying to understand and then they also accepted. Yes, I’ve encountered really a lot of positive examples.
Q: And what would be your conclusion regarding this issue? Is it possible to develop that feeling of belonging here regardless of whether you belong to the minority or to the majority?
A: Yes, yes. It is, of course. It’s possible to develop it. It’s possible also to accept it, and to tolerate it. It’s only a matter of communication.