Gojko Božović for Nova.rs: "We live in a spin dictatorship, under the rule of one man for 12 years, and the electoral roll has become the biggest secret in Serbia

Sorce: Nova.rs

We need media that will feature more high culture and literature than tabloid and reality content. We also need a little more peace in everyday life. We've been threatened with dangers and catastrophes for too long just for the sake of ratings and diverting attention from important societal issues," says Gojko Božović, a writer and one of the initiators of ProGlas, to Nova.rs.

"In order to rebuild democracy, institutions, especially free and fair elections, and to restore political society in Serbia, are essential. This society does not need censorship and a cult of personality. Political and civil freedoms are. They are not a luxury but the only way to find peace within ourselves and to organize our everyday lives," states Gojko Božović, a writer, publisher, and one of the initiators of ProGlas, in an interview with Nova.rs.

Given that he has long raised his voice as part of this initiative, traveling across Serbia extensively, he notices that among the "ordinary people" there is a need and willingness for change.

"But, for a decade now, a system has been built in Serbia that resists even the slightest changes. The government systematically prevents and suppresses political opposition and critical thinking. If the government were confident that it enjoyed enough trust, or that total propaganda, to which it exposes society without restraint, was enough for victory in elections and prevention of change, it wouldn't turn elections into a social mechanism for routine production of assumed legitimacy. The voter registry has become the biggest secret in Serbia, and voters who move from one municipality to another, even from one country to another, have become an integral part of the 'systemic fraud'," explains Božović.

The writer adds that Serbia lacks experience with two-party parliamentary democracy:

"Serbia certainly needs parliamentary democracy, with multiple parties, with changeable, accountable power, with respect for differences, and with fair and free elections accepted by all and accessible to all on equal terms, where crises and uncertainties will be resolved. Political culture changes and develops more naturally in better circumstances, while in constant crises, which have lasted here for a long time, confusion and distrust in society grow. The current government does not rule on virtues and values, not even on mediocrity, but on flaws and weaknesses. It should not be forgotten that Serbia has democratic traditions. These traditions should not be overestimated, but neither should they be underestimated."

In the song "While We Sink into Darkness," there's a line that says, "Darkness, the old caretaker of souls, stares at me, I stare into the darkness, I would say, nothing is happening. And so it goes, while we sink into darkness." How effective are ProGlas's actions for this weak and tired society?

"It was worth every moment to be on the streets and squares, in halls and small spaces, in smaller and larger towns, among people who speak clearly and openly. What I heard from people while traveling around Serbia with ProGlas I consider much more significant than what we could tell them. In Serbia, politics is being discussed again, and public forums are being attended once more. ProGlas forums were not clubs of political and ideological like-minded individuals, nor were they attended solely by people of one generation. People with different perspectives on our present and past, possibilities for overcoming deep social and political crises, and the sequence of steps in new social circumstances gathered there. Differences did not prevent discussion; on the contrary, these different people were united by concern and dissatisfaction, as well as the recognition of the same cause of dissatisfaction."

You recently said that neither the East nor the West are currently interested in democracy in Serbia, which has been in decline for decades...

"Our problem is much deeper than is usually perceived. In Serbia, after 2012, an authoritarian regime was reinstated. Probably the most accurate term for it is spin dictatorship. After decades of Tito's absolute rule and years of Milošević's rule, we found ourselves back under the rule of one man. That's one side of the coin, troubling enough on its own. The other side of the coin is the sponsors of stableocracy who, for geopolitical reasons, are not interested in democracy in Serbia. Stableocracy in Serbia is an imported product with domestic final touches. This government adopts authoritarian governance models from the East, while from the West, it receives political support by paying with the resources of this country. Between autocracy and stableocracy, Serbian society must find internal strength for change."

Read the full interview with Gojko Božović Nova.rs.