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“Romeo & Juliet” in Prijedor

Peacebuilding in local communities in times of COVID-19

Although the COVID-19 situation is still not having any significant impact on the essence and aims of forumZFD Program and peace work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is a fact that so far, the pandemic conditioned more the way we work and cooperate with our partner organizations and beneficiaries.

Romeo and Juliet in Prijedor 2
© forumZFD

The time between March and September 2020 has been used to strengthen our partnerships and for planning or redesigning project approaches and strategies. Thus, this was also the right moment for reflection on past cooperation and looking back to our cooperation with Most Mira (Bridge of Peace) from Prijedor.

Moreover, together with Most Mira forumZFD in Bosnia and Herzegovina has produced a theater play based on the script “Romeo and Juliet”, but with one significant difference since the director and the children have transformed the tragedy into a comedy with valuable lessons for dealing with conflict situations. The premiere was organized in December 2019 and was accompanied also by a small symposium which included youth representatives of political parties, teachers, youth activists, theatre directors, and other guests. The topic of discussion was Peacebuilding in local communities by using various artistic methods and different approaches. After the discussion participants could enjoy the aforementioned theater play prepared by our youngest peace activists. The play was later shown also in local Primary Schools in Omarska and Kozarac and in Sarajevo. 

Despite the pandemic but in respect of all health and safety measures which apply, forumZFD in Bosnia and Herzegovina will continue the cooperation with Most Mira in 2020 with the contribution to educational program for students on the topic “Youth Democracy and Human rights in times of COVID-19”, with a special focus on the Peacebuilding and Dealing with Past process in the city of Prijedor. 

Having in mind that the recent history of Prijedor was marked by ethnic cleansing politics and consequences which resulted with the killings of 3176 civilians among which 102 children and 255 women. Images of detention camps Omarska and Trnopolje near Prijedor from 1992 echoed in the global media pushing the international community to act by establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Scars of the war and human losses are still visible. As sign of denial by local government politics, the landscape around Prijedor is characterized by unmarked places of suffering and war crimes. Around 660 persons are still missing. Nevertheless, thanks to the engagement of a courageous community of peace activist who advocate for truth and reparation in public spaces, today Prijedor has become an example of a constructive Dealing with Past process. 

Activities of Most Mira have been perceived as important contribution towards creating a new generation of citizens who will work in strengthening peace and who will critically reflect on official narratives which are shaping the everyday life in Prijedor.

Additional to the cooperation with Most Mira, forumZFD is also supporting the development of the local Foundation IKS for building a culture of remembrance in Prijedor in their efforts to establish a local Archive and Documentation Center.

Please look at the videos produced by forumZFD, Most Mira and creative young photographers and video editors from Prijedor.

The video was made from material collected in December 2019: 

Video (German translation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFVa4nJ_vWE 

Video (English translation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeTeyck7CEk 

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