File this one under “best intentions”. A group of well-meaning students in Belgrade have established Kissing Zones throughout the Belgrade. The zones are considered a spot where people are encouraged to kiss freely if they so desire, and to kiss whomever they desire. So far there are 9 locations and organizers are hopeful that fans will suggest other popular spots.
“We came to the conclusion that everything we think and feel outside the mainstream, is reserved for privacy of four walls. We decided to erase these boundaries,“ said 21-year-old Andjela Ceh explaining how she and her friends Petar, Nikola and Sanja came up with the idea.
She says that the chosen locations, which are popular gathering places of Belgraders, are now symbolically marked to encourage everyone who wishes to kiss to do so in public. –Balkan Insight
The purpose of the zones would seem to be to encourage gay couples to express themselves in public and to do so bravely and proudly. The zones are in “popular places” that would be frequented by like-minded forward thinking young people and students. What they are trying to do, while noble, is headed for disaster. In October a planned gay pride parade was canceled due to safety concerns stemming from the riots during 2010’s parade. Protesters battled police and there were constant clashes on the day of the parade.
“In a way, those are safe locations, where you are allowed to freely and without shame express your feelings,“ said Ceh.
Serbia is not ready for open displays yet, not by a long shot. Being openly gay and kissing on the streets of Belgrade would subject people to taunts at best and violent attacks at worst. The citizenry is very proud, very conservative morally, and very Orthodox and stubborn as hell. They have yet to settle disputes from the Balkan wars and tensions will probably simmer for decades to come. This a social issue in a land that has been ravaged by war and is under constant threat of war.
Unless there is going to be a police presence at all of these zones, which there won’t, this is a bad idea and people could get more than their pride hurt.
Check out their Facebook page and tell them what you think, in Serbian. https://www.facebook.com/MestoZaLjubljenje?ref=ts&fref=ts
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