N – 1990 – Temerin
Finished Grammar school in Bečej and now finishing studies in Geography and Biology at the University of Novi Sad. Works in an elementary school, assisting children with disabilities in learning processes. Born in Pristina.
Q: What’s your standing as a young man in Temerin?
A: You mean social? In what sense?
Q: Well, yes, social, yes.
A: Social, well considering that I’m still a student, I’m 24 years old, I’m finishing my MA, so I still can’t fight my way through to some kind of a position. I can say that I’m pleased with the position of young people in Temerin in general, though it could be better.
Q: And what could be…?
A: Well, considering that I’m into sports, I’d like if more attention was being paid to that. Many more events. The events are too few. Youth can’t gather. Youth can’t go out. Youth can’t get educated. There are no events, there is no night life the way there should be since Temerin is already considered a town, but in this respect it’s still backward, rural, how can I put it…
Q: Well, yes, as far as I’ve checked there are about 20.000 people in Temerin.
A: Twenty thousand, yes. The town itself, and the municipality has over 30.
Q: Well, yes, let’s say. If I understood you well, which sports are you into?
A: Volleyball and swimming.
Q: Volleyball, that’s a great sport.
A: Yes, it is. Everybody loves it in Serbia for a few generations now. Swimming too. Now, with swimming, it’s only in the summer, limited. Volleyball too. There’s not enough fields, not just for the volleyball, but any sport really. Only certain sports are being favored. For example, there are no manifestations to gather more young people, children, in different sports. There’s municipal swimming, some kind of football competition, but the other sports… I used to be active in volleyball, I trained here, tried to expand it a bit, to organize a team, a completion, a local league. There’s a lack of cultural events, there’s a lack of night life, there’s a lack of going out. I have no place to go out, for example, on the weekends in Temerin. Unfortunately everybody goes somewhere else, to Bečej, Novi Sad and so on, the other towns.
Q: Well, you see, that’s very interesting. I’m very surprised. I’m from Kisač, for example. There’s 5.500 of us in Kisač, so I can understand if people go to Novi Sad, right, since Novi Sad is just 18 kilometers from us, but I really don’t understand why in…
A: Yes. They used to come to Temerin before, they used to go out here. I finished high school in Bečej and people from Bečej used to come to Temerin. So, some five-six years ago, seven. While I was a teenager, I used to go out in Temerin, now it can’t compare, there’s no diversity, no…
Q: And what’s the quality of the relationship between young people from Temerin and Bečej?
A: With each other?
A: A-ha. Well, if there was no “Bečej transportation” Temerin wouldn’t know Bečej existed, and vice versa. So, they wouldn’t know of each other’s existence at all. The relationship is satisfactory, to the extent to which it’s necessary. Now I don’t know to what extent the youth offices are cooperating. I took part in few of those projects. University promotion in Bečej, I don’t know. It could always be much better, but I’m satisfied. The relationship is not bad, I can’t say it is bad. It’s not backward, but it’s not constructive either, there’s no quality to it, it can’t grow into something much more than it already is. It could be much better. I’m telling you, if there was no city transportation, if the students weren’t traveling to Bečej, they would be unknown to each other.
Q: And why is that?
A: Well, first of all, lack of information. Many people don’t know at all… Bečej is far, further that Novi Sad – Novi Sad is 30km. the buses don’t go often and so on. It’s a bit more difficult if you don’t have a car, your own transportation to go to Bečej, you have to wait. The transportation is expensive – 500 dinars, that’s a big amount to give for the transportation for a student or someone who’s unemployed just to go, to drop by Bečej. There, those are some of the main reasons why people don’t know. And that’s only for Bečej, not to talk about Novi Sad or somewhere further.
Q: And are there other national minorities in your neighborhood?
A: Of course, yes.
Q: And could you tell me which ones?
A: I don’t know, Hungarian, Roma and I think I have neighbors from the Netherlands. That’s in my neighborhood. So, three or four national minorities.
Q: And what’s the relationship, let’s say, between…?
A: Well, real neighborly, how can I put it. I can only speak for myself. As far as I’m concerned, very respectful, close. I have a lot of friends of Hungarian descent, maybe even more than of Serbian. Roma too. As far as I’m concerned, the relationship is… Now, as far as the other people in the neighborhood… I mean, as far as I’m concerned, we live completely normal and decent. There was no incident between us. I’ve been living here for over 20 years now, so…
Q: And what are the expectations of young people who visit concerts?
A: There are no concerts in Temerin, so people don’t go to concerts here. Now, if they go somewhere else… For example, there’s that bean festival in Temerin, a local festivity that’s been going on for 10 years now and they’re starting to spread… They organize what you could call the concerts, some local rock bands are playing, and so on. Well, young people visit expecting, first of all, to hear something good and to see something good. As far as the concert is concerned. And to have a good time, first of all to have a good time. And there’s no… Not many people can offer all of that, good time, good music, safety, all inclusive. Not a lot of people can offer that today. Those are some of the expectations. Now, if those expectations are met, people come back next year. If they’re not, people unfortunately leave.
Q: What could, for example, young people do to… since culture is interesting to everyone… to raise that cultural level?
A: First of all – education. I’ve always thought that education should come first. To educate people, first of all, so they would know… many people don’t even know what culture is because they’re not interested and, let me put it this way – they don’t care about culture. People are not conscious of the relevance, of the importance, of cultural events. One year… Japan, there was this gallery last year, painting exhibition and there were very few people. This year they organized a poetry evening about Danilo Kiš. It’s very poor. Now, young people can do a lot. They can become members of the Office, that’s the easiest. They could make some kind of a website where… They could make some kind of association, I don’t know, gather people who’d deal with that, specifically with culture, specifically with tourism, specifically with improving the position of youth, how they can access the information easily, to figure out a way to approach the youth, how to present the culture to them to get them interested, coz you can make everyone interested, you just need to know how, find a way to present the culture to everyone from another angle so you could attract as many people as possible, especially young people. The youth is most important.
Q: Well, why is the youth most important?
A: In Temerin? Or in general? Why is the youth most important? Well, because everything starts with them, they are the initiators of everything. If anyone can make a change in Temerin for better or for worse, it’s the youth. They always have that strength, the will, the motivation to resolve something, to change something, to do something, make something better or worse, whatever. So if there would be a good inspiration, a good approach, a good representation of the wider pictures, the youth is the only one that can. Those older generations can’t do anything. They did what they were supposed to do. They left what they did to the young people to find their way through it today and to change it, if they try.
Q: And why is that so?
A: Well, I don’t know, it imposed itself like that. That’s how our society works. It was imposed like that since the beginning, since before, that one generation of youth that does something leaves that to the next generation, some future generation of youth which will either work on solving the problem or enjoy the benefits secured by the previous generation. Now, if everything was done well, that next future generation of youth will just expand it, use those resources wisely. And if not… That’s what we need to do. That’s how the youth should be taught, to expand the resources, the knowledge, everything that was left to them by the previous generation. When you’re young, it’s somehow much easier to make some decisions, to get into a business, to get into resolving a problem, in any kind of project, to contribute something good. It’s much easier when you’re young than when that time for doing something already passes, when you get into more mature years. That’s why I think the youth is important, above all.
Q: And why is it important to write projects?
A: Well, it has to be something valid, how can I put it, something that can make young people understand, something to look up to. When young people see a project, and not only young people, when anyone sees a project which is done well, it means it’s done properly, that there’s a serious approach to it, that someone really wants to do something specific. If there were no projects, no one would even try, people wouldn’t believe, they wouldn’t get taken by it, they wouldn’t be interested at all. Starting with me, I could never get into some business or some change if I wouldn’t know that there’s someone behind it who’s running it, who’s writing a project, without knowing that there’s a serious approach to it.
Q: And how can someone improve that approach?
A: To what?
Q: What you just said… the approach to the project.
A: Well, by including the youth into writing the project. There. Including the youth as much as possible in writing the projects so it would change… when people see that young people are taking part in creating something, that means that everyone can. If we take anyone, a young person with a will to write a project, to be a part of something that can bring change tomorrow, that benefits everyone, many more people would get involved.
Q: And how can we motivate young people to get involved?
A: Well, I’ll say it again, by example, a good example. And again, a good example means including the youth, it’s a closed cycle. A good example that will show the youth that there is a serious project, that young people are involved in it, that there is no malfeasance and things like that, exploitation, abuse, and that people who are behind it can be trusted. That would be a good example.
Q: Is any of your rights threatened?
A: Rights? In what sense?
Q: Well, for example, one of your rights as a young person.
A: Well, no. If you’re talking about discrimination, no. It’s not that they are threatened as much as they’re not… My rights aren’t threatened, but they’re not available to me, they’re not given to me, but they’re not forbidden just simply not given, I have no access to many things, but in the same time those rights are not threatened or forbidden. I have a right to many things, but I don’t have access to many things, but not because I’m forbidden but simply because those things don’t exist, they’re not available.
Q: And how could that be improved?
A: Well, it could be… Again, I have to get back to… good education of youth. Education in a sense that they know exactly what they can and can’t do, what rights they have in life, in every aspect from culture, education, entertainment, everything. To be educated about all they have and to simply work on providing them with as much as possible. That’s the problem. Not many things are offered, provided to the youth. They’re not forbidden, but not a lot is offered or provided.
Q: And, let’s say, what would be the expectations to provide them?
A: Of youth? Well, they would be big, huge expectations. It’s directly related to that. The youth would, if they knew that, for example, a young person can take part in some project that’s being done today… If they publish an open call for all interested young people… You have a right to do that. These things are provided to you. The response would be much greater. That would automatically cause the involvement of the youth, in my opinion… The problem is, young people have no responsibility, no job, no responsibility of any kind, no chance to volunteer. So, if there was only a chance to volunteer, which is not an expense to anyone, the situation would be different. It would definitely not be the same if only there was…
Q: And how to motivate the youth to volunteer?
A: Well, again, through example… There is also teaching by examples in education and I think that’s a good approach today, to give a good example. So that someone who volunteers today can count on finding a job tomorrow at the place where they volunteered, for example. Or some kind of paid volunteers. Volunteering means unpaid work to us, but some minimal wage, some kind of motivation for the youth. People work, volunteer today without any kind of motivation. They should be given some motivation for the future, to know what’s coming next. If they knew what’s waiting for them after it, many people would decide to volunteer.
Q: And why is that so?
A: Because we live in a time when people… There’s no time to help other people, everyone’s looking out for themselves because we’re in that kind of a situation, that kind of time which simply doesn’t allow us to work selflessly for others and ourselves, first for the others, and then for ourselves, because today everybody’s just looking out for themselves. They try to reap the most benefits for themselves, and not someone else, and that automatically excludes everything.