Activist Mersiha Smailovic at the Conference “Between Hopes and Realty”, on the occasion of celebrating CIVIL’s 20th anniversary, spoke about her own experience with the organization and using the civil sector as a space for promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms.
“20 years for me are many years, not that I am a younger generation, but they definitely do mean a lot. That is why I would like to congratulate their anniversary to the entire team, with who I have the opportunity to cooperate.
Some count it in years, but for me, it is a space where I can freely express my thoughts. An open space where there never has been any censorship of the critical review of what we want to say.
For me, CIVIL represents a space where there is an opportunity for an open thought, a critical opportunity for alternative solutions. A space in a time of rigidity and a sound in a time of silence. I always wrote texts in CIVIL in the most difficult moments of my activism, because I considered that it would remain written and would reach a greater number of people.
As the fight for civil society, rights and freedom was important in the time of the regime, it is equally important and a true challenge even now. Because in every time and in every space there is a period of ignorance and obliviousness, there is space and possibility for discrimination, there is possibility for basic human rights and freedoms to be violated. Here we are talking about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and one word is always mentioned – dignity. But I think that we sometimes forget what that dignity means. How do we respect the other person’s dignity?
Every day we hear and see on television protests of various groups in our society, regardless if they are children, women, refugees, migrants… There is always another group that will come out and deny the dignity of that group. We can respect dignity only if we recognize it. That every one of us has that dignity.
In our activism, every individual has some burden they are carrying in themselves. Diversity is celebrated in many societies. In our country, diversity carries some burden and difficulty. Some baggage. Every one of us is burdened with some baggage that we are carrying on our path. So am I. That is why for me CIVIL is a platform that will either help you carry the baggage or will clear your path in the diversity you are carrying and fostering.
I can only wish you success and for you to always be what you are. An opportunity for us to rely on and to seek a model where we will be able to communicate, speak and definitely contribute in building a civil society where that civil spirit is fostered, where dignity of the individual will be fostered regardless of the kind of burden that individual has. Remain unique, universal and available to all of us for many more years!”.
Text editing: М. Ivanovska
Camera: Atanas Petrovski
Editing: Arian Mehmeti
Photography: Kiril Mihailov
Translation: Natasa Cvetkovska
This post is also available in: Macedonian