Sometimes the hands of the trauma therapist itch. “Did your parents cry when you fled from Kosovo to Serbia?” psychologist and presenter Iva Bicanic asks a Serbian twenty-something, as she takes a step forward. He was just pumping up his already impressive muscles by the worn-out exercise equipment in a park and had mentioned that he trains five days a week and then rests for two days. “I never skip a workout. We want to look good for the girls. Serbian men are good, honest guys with a great sense of humor,” he says as if dictating a personal ad. He answers the question about his parents briefly, affirmatively and looking away.
The meeting with the young Serb is indicative of Tito .’s Tears (BNNVARA), the nine-part travel series that Bicanic made with director Finbarr Wilbrink about the former Yugoslavia, the country that her parents exchanged for the Netherlands a few years before her birth. For the Sunday episode she visited Kosovo. There, a girl (with ‘Immortal’ on her sweater) says she has nightmares about houses that have been burned down – a peace child who has heard the stories of her parents.
We are like makers @finbarrwilbrink @Yvettenieuwstad moved by the responses to #tearsvantito : recognition, nostalgia, tears that move just like conversations between parents-children and partners
Ash Sunday episode 2: Slovenia👇
Croatia (ep1) missed? https://t.co/IS7WnT4qhj pic.twitter.com/MZJuTYZdkJ
– Iva Bicanic (@IBicanic) December 23, 2021
In a school class, a Serbian boy behind his table donated by aid organization USAID says that he never has contact with Albanian peers. “Because they are rude!” shouts a classmate in between. Very occasionally football is played together, that is to say against each other. It’s not that the Albanians are far away. At 12 noon the Serbian children vacate the village school, after which the Albanian children and teachers arrive in the afternoon. The Albanian teacher, who has just taught her students from a book in which the Albanian natural beauty is lyrically sung, would rather have a joint school. The Serbian director says combatively that his family has lived in the area for centuries. “I don’t take it when others dictate the law to me.”
Bicanic visits mines, factories and other places that brought prosperity and self-esteem to Yugoslavia under the communist dictator Tito (1892-1980), but which now offer a sad sight. Full of nostalgia, old men tell about how they traveled the world in Yugo cars or how their silver mine was the largest in Europe. Deep in Kosovo, Bicanic tracks down an old maidservant of her father’s – Tito .’s Tears tries to jump over the civil war (1991-1999) back to Yugoslavia.
Friendship on the Merelveld
Much more than about the political backgrounds of the war, it is about the memories of the people Bicanic encounters. There are impressive stories, such as that of the veteran who says that, once back from the front, he tried twice in his sleep to strangle his wife. “Luckily she had the presence of mind to kick me in the groin.”
Bicanic’s psychological approach sometimes results in a political deficit. So fell last week in the episode about Serbia the name of Serbian President Milosevic, the great driver of the bloodshed, very little. Political history was discussed in more detail on Sunday’s episode on Kosovo, which ended at the monument to the Battle of the Blackbird Field, where Serbian monarch Lazar suffered a defeat against the Ottomans in 1392, an event to which Serbian nationalism reverberates endlessly. is referenced.
The monument is now guarded by two elderly men: a Serb and an Albanian. Their cooperation will undoubtedly be the result of a managerial-political compromise, but the two do their work in harmony. “We are friends,” says one of them. “If you always look back, you will never grow.” Bicanic, therapist and reporter in one, can only agree.