September 22, 2019 - The manifestation Kotor Circle ended yesterday in the city. The second edition of this Festival of free thought will be remembered for political censorship directed by the local DPS government. Namely, on the day of the festival beginning, the financier - Kotor Municipality, informed the organizers that they would be denied support if, although it was foreseen by the previously defined agenda, Goran Jovanovic, alias Timur Tmurni appeared at the Festival.
On Thursday, the organizers of the Kotor Circle informed satirist Goran Jovanovic that he was unwelcome as a participant of the event at which he had to speak with the renowned Serbian writer and publicist Teofil Pancic about the Culture of Dialogue.
"With great regret and sincere embarrassment, we would like to inform you that the official position of the Municipality of Kotor has been announced to us today that you cannot be one of the speakers at the Kotor Circle Festival. Since most of the participants are already in Kotor, and that these are significant names of the regional cultural scene, and we have been announced that your participation would call into question the holding of the Festival, please understand us as the organizers of the Festival and the importance of holding it and the inability to influence the new situation."
In a Facebook post, Timur Tmurni stated that he was honored to have been banned, as he said, by the illegal leadership of the Kotor municipality.
"The fact that I have acquired the status of the dissident by this expected act is very pleasing to me. I will do everything to point out to the anti-regime media in Montenegro and the reputable media in the region the miserable act of censorship and suppression of free speech," Timur Tmurni said on Facebook.
The Mayor of Kotor Željko Aprcović did not want to comment on this event, and his party colleague secretary Marina Dulovic said the municipality, sponsor of the Festival and someone who provides part of the logistics, has the right to influence the event program.
Due to the move by the editorial board of Kotor, which decided to hold the Festival anyway, visitors, numerous names from the socio-political life of Kotor and the festival participants themselves, such as Teofil Pancic and renowned Croatian writer and columnist Ante Tomic, gathered on Friday in the hall of the Kotor Cultural Center and expressed their displeasure.
"In more than a quarter-century of my professional career and public involvement in social problems, where I have often encountered various forms of implicit and explicit censorship, I have not encountered, seen or experienced anything like this before," commented the famous Serbian journalist and writer Teofil Pancic in Kotor on Friday. Because of his explicit ban on his participation in the Kotor Circle Festival, he could not share the booth with musician, satirist, and poet, doctor Goran Jovanovic.
Kotor circle: Teofil Pancic, Copyright: Timur Tmurni FB
Pancic came to the gathering wearing a "Je suis Timur Tmurni" t-shirt (I'm Timur Tmurni), alluding to t-shirts with similar messages worn several years ago by intellectuals around the world in support of the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
He said that the censorship of the current Kotor authorities to Jovanovic, "is usually done more subtly, in such a way that the traces of the atrocities are not seen."
"This is so bare and brutal that my first thought when I heard about it was that it was just incredibly stupid. So, besides being amoral, socially irresponsible, cheeky, opinionated, arrogant, undemocratic, etc., above all, it is incredibly shameful, because in such a way, nowadays, in today's social, technological and cultural circumstances, such things do not work. If censorship occurs, then it simply goes some other course, more subtly and with hiding. There are no traces of abuses, such as preventive censorship in Serbia, which is very difficult to prove because there are no traces, "Pancic said, adding that the procedure of the Kotor DPS-government towards Timur Tmurni is" a cinematic situation."
In his further interaction with the audience, he spoke about the lack of a culture of dialogue in the former Yugoslavia, the problems of post-democracy, segregation in society on political grounds, and elementary issues of freedom.
"It is important how much you feel as free as an individual. You have to fight for freedom, and you should not be too mystified," Pancic said.
Kotor Circle: NGO Anima's Performance, Copyright: Timur Tmurni FB
Activists of the NGO "Anima" followed the beginning of the second festival evening, sitting in the front row, with patches over their mouth, which read "censorship." All the audience expressed their support for Timur Tmurni and his newly acquired status as a dissident in Kotor.
The organizers of the Kotor Circle, Prof. Tatjana Djurisic-Becanovic and Ksenija Rakocevic, MA addressed yesterday the public but their official statement on this issue:
"When the Secretary of Culture of the Municipality of Kotor, Ms. Marina Dulovic, orally prohibited Goran Jovanovic from participating in the Kotor Circle event and thus censured the previously adopted program, we as Organizers were left with only two options: to remain silent or to speak in terms of censorship and violence.
We have opted for the latter, because of silence, motivated by even the noblest of reasons, most suits the perpetrators of violence - the censors. Speaking, when it is strictly forbidden, when all of you - and the position and the opposition - are the most expecting torment, is the sweetest. With such a decision, we provoked the anger of both competent censors and individual advocates of free speech, who demanded from us silence, submission and recognition that we were worse than our censors. However, by maintaining this manifestation despite of censorship, we caused a real eruption of discontent and civil disobedience, which was smoldering in the "democratic conditions of democratically elected" Kotor authorities, and just waiting for provocation.
The Kotor Circle was designed as a provocative manifestation that triggers taboo-topics, which provokes and leads to verbal delinquency for both participants and visitors. We have caused your courage and challenged you to join our Circle. The Circle of Free Speech and Free Thought, which will continue to exist despite the prohibitions and anger of the righteous, because in Montenegro there will always be open circles of freedom, surrounded by the space of violence and total control. We are obliged, among other things, by the words and support of Ivan Colovic, who recognized us as heirs to the Belgrade Circle, of which he is the founder and creator of the idea. Citizens have to be brave and step into our Circle, in which no one will be intimidated, silenced, insulted, annoyed, jerked.
The municipality of Kotor, the sponsor, and censor of this event made us wonder again how much freedom costs? History teaches us that it is sometimes paid by life. Fortunately, we only paid with money because we were forced to, despite the signed Agreement, finance the Kotor Circle from our funds. It is now clear to us that freedom is still invaluable. We want to thank the competent authorities for the censorship in the attempt, which proved that we are free and will always speak freely.
We thank the holders of the free speech: Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Jerkov, Muharem Bazdulj, Mark Tomaš, Balsa Brkovic, Stevan Kordic, Dušan Maljkovic, Teofil Pancic, Dr. Ivan Colovic, Ant Tomic, Marinko Vorgic and Goran Jovanovic (Timur Tmurno), because they proved that we are all "Kotor, all of us" the organizer said in a statement.
It was the second edition of the Kotor Circle Festival, launched last year by the Culture Secretariat of the Municipality of Kotor, when it was run by parties that are opposition at the state level.
Source: Timur Tmurni FB profile, Vijesti