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Day 8

The hunt for New Belgrade

We have approached the chase for New Belgraders differently than with any other Belgrade borough residents we worked with. It was a strange experience around the organisations of the workshops from the start. We were asked to go to the restaurant Vojvodina where some pensioners meet and we have invited a few of them to come to our workshop, but I doubt they heard us in the midst of the music. No one responded to our invitations yet and we failed to secure the space for our project there, so we headed for streets - more precisely - the Sava river bank (kej na Savi). We were quite late as per the appearance of mosquitos and the lack of older folk as the youngsters started going out in their evening dress already and the families were returning home from their stroll. Still, we managed to speak to a few New Belgraders who revealed why we could not communicate well with the New Belgrade branch of pensioners. Aparently, most of them are new to New Belgrade. Most of the residents are arrivals from elsewhere and they would not easily declare themselves as local, even though they live there for years. As they came from various parts of Serbia rather than Belgrade, they are reluctant to speak of it as they do not feel they know it well. Furthermore, Belgrade has been changing there the most and so, the area is full of unknowns others are weary off for a reason - in the 90s, New Belgrade was notorious for crime and drugs and it is still dealing with it. Many blocks were presenting themselves as ghettos with pride while it eroded the peace of the whole city, especially the one on the river - the rafts which were the symbol of the easy life became the trouble places where there were shootings on a daily basis. New Belgraders started complaining about the noise and that did not stop...