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March 27, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 182

Serbia: The War Doesn't Live Here Anymore

The Belgrade Teachers' Academy researched the "Presence of War in Young Children's Everyday Activities" in 1991 and 1994 using the same questions. In 1991, the poll covered 427 children and 297 in 1994 (not including refugees). The Academy chose kids who spontaneously mentioned the war while talking to its students about games, fears, TV, dreams.

"Some 40% of the children saw the war as an everyday occurrence in the first poll but that figure dropped to 18% in the second poll as a result of getting used to the war. The first poll was conducted during the worst of the war propaganda the second just before the blockade was clamped on the Drina during the overture to peace. As we expected, the horrors of war were not present in their answers," child psychologist Nada Korac said.

Both polls showed boys had been "infected" by the war more than girls by 1.5 times. Both polls showed that children from rural environments mentioned the war 1.5 more often than kids from Belgrade.

"The war is realistically more present in their environments and causes more problems. Besides the mobilizations in 1991 which were more massive in rural communities, reports on state media have a greater effect on children; they see them and hear adults talk about them," Korac said.

Fear of war dropped just slightly from 80% to 73% but the number of children whose fears were caused by horror dropped. Researchers asked a 10 year old girl if she fears war and she said: "Yes, because it could break out here in Arandjelovac and we could get killed." A 10 year old boy said he would run away to Hungary.

The children were also asked about the end of the war and the latest poll showed a slight rise in optimism (from 18% to 24%) and a drop in pessimism (from 16% to just two negative replies). Korac feels those figures show that the children have grown less sensitive to the suffering of others.

The number of realists has also increased, kids who see negotiations, concessions and reconciliation as a way out of the war (from 6% to 16%). "the best thing would be for the Croats, Moslems and Serbs to unite and share out the country."

The polled children had imaginative replies to ending the war.

The poll also recorded a rise in pacifists which Korac split into abstract (I'd reconcile with the Croats), romantic (I'd put time back a few years and we could skip the conflicts) and practical (I'd give my people more land than the others and make peace).

Rooting for one side has dropped from 18% to 14% and "diplomats" appeared in the second poll with specific ideas on territorial division. The kids who said they'd negotiate still stand at around 10%.

The poll also showed a drop in advocates of a final solution and aggressive trends from 16% to 11%.


Serbia: General Witness

Former Novi Sad corps commander general Bora Ivanovic will testify at colonel Miodrag Jovanovic's court martial.

Politika Ekspres daily said Jovanovic's court martial had opened amid charges that he had "dangerously abused ammunition and fuel".

The trial was declared secret at the suggestion of the deputy prosecutor "because military secrets could be disclosed".

Jovanovic is charged with the theft of 5,000 rounds of various ammunition (VREME 222, January 23). The prosecutor said Jovanovic ordered the ammunition taken from stockpiles in his garrison in Subotica and handed over to civilians Mile Jerkovic and Slobodan Bigovic. He is also charged with assisting one of his subordinates in transferring 10 tons of fuel from military stockpiles to a cattle farm.

The colonel confessed to most of the charges. His defence is based on claims that he was acting under Ivanovic's orders. That is probably true since the army prosecutor got hold of enough evidence to indict the general but FRY president Zoran Lilic intervened and absolved Ivanovic.


Montenegro: Status Quo on Prevlaka

There is no reason for concern for people in this area, UN special envoy Yasushi Akashi said in Herceg Novi on March 22 after touring the Prevlaka peninsula and meeting Montenegrin president Momir Bulatovic. He added that the mechanisms included in existing agreements should be used to solve the problem since Croatia is prepared to implement them.

Bulatovic confirmed that some fortifications had been built on Prevlaka but added that there was no personnel or equipment in them that would endanger the region.

Akashi confirmed that Croatia is ready to restore the joint inter-state commission charged with preventing border incidents and keeping the status quo in place.


Slovenia: Education Law

Slovenia's parliament rejected a draft law on introducing religion classes in schools, the cause of heated public debates.

Parliament adopted a law on elementary schools under which elementary school education lasts nine years with children enrolling at age six. Grading will be descriptive in the first three years and combined later. Elementary school will now end with math and Slovenian language tests.

The law also covers private schools and kindergartens with the state covering 80% of their expenses at first.

Parliament rejected a proposal to include "strengthening moral values and developing spiritual character" in schools but included classes on state history and tradition, sexual equality, respect of fatherland, preserving cultural traditions as well as "the development of European awareness".


Belgrade: Christening the Halls

The halls in Belgrade's federation building now have new names: the Slovenian hall has been named the blue hall, Macedonian has become red, Bosnian brown.

The names of the halls were changed to fit their dominant color patterns. The Croatian hall which has no dominant color will be simply called the dining room because it is close to the kitchen. The Montenegrin and Serbian halls did not have their names changed nor did the Yugoslavia hall.

The decision to change the names was taken by a recent session of the federal government. Sources in the federation building said the changes were inevitable to avoid embarrassing situations like the recent reception for an Islamic country's delegation which was almost held in the Bosnian hall.

The name changes included the Mostar villa in Dedinje which was renamed Bokeljka, The villa is in frequent use by Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev.

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