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Day 13

 
We spent the morning at the Belgrade Historical Archive looking for the visual material from the New Belgrade as we do not have much of it. The stories from our contributors were based on the recollections of building sites and the city on the sand. Often, it was the talk of desert and the fields which connected vast territory that is marked by numbers of parcels, now blocks of flats from 1 to about 70. "There was nothing" we heard many times and when the flats were built "there was nothing" in terms of shops, cultural activities, community. The newsletter about New Belgrade, published by the local municipality displayed precisely the process of building not only of the new area, but the community around it.
People were encouraged to move from the land where the largest Belgrade borough is, to work on the construction, to create togetherness, to attend meetings and concerts. The manufacture of the community that had arrivals from all over ex Yugoslavia had a post-war rebuilding spirit, but not all were willing to take part in it and there was a strong political streak following such happening. The articles we came across reveal the communist ideology and military infrastructure transparent through the job titles of the activity leaders and their political aspirations. Individuals were praised only if they performed the role of the construction hero who has worked the most or they supported others to achieve the best.
The lack of enthusiasm for the collective action was shamed by the papers, but that has shown that some were just not buying the communist agenda. Still, that agenda provided education, not only in ideological terms, but in reality. The New Belgrade developers included obligatory literacy classes for the workers on the site and they promoted free education for everyone. People who had no accommodation and no chance to finish school were now housed and educated and so, grateful to take part in whatever direction the leadership would take them to. Clever, ha?