The former closest associate of Oliver Ivanovic, Ksenija Bozovic and another GI SDP member joined Srpska Lista last week. The news greatly shook the public in light of the political and media demonization conducted by Srpska Lista against Ivanovic and his associates in the months leading up to Ivanovic’s assassination. Bozovic told the Politika daily that they will „continue where Oliver left off.“ In the meantime, the Ivanovic family contacted the Kosovo Central Election Commission requesting that the name Oliver Ivanovic not be used in the pre-election and election campaign. Oliver Ivanovic’s nephew, Aleksandar Ivanovic writes exclusively for KoSSev.
By Aleksandar Ivanovic
The recent announcement that the late Oliver Ivanovic’s civic initiative „Freedom-Democracy-Justice“ will form a coalition with the „Srpska Lista“ caused ripples in part of the public, sparking a great deal of media attention and a number of questions. If one tried to summarize them all into one, it would read: „Is there an end to this madness?“
Serbia has witnessed many coalitions and one could say it would be hard to shock citizens with some new party combination, but it seems that the announcement of such a coalition has succeeded in doing so.
The public’s shock lies in the fact that Kosovo institutions, in cooperation with UNMIK, have issued an international arrest warrant for the Vice-President of Srpska Lista suspected of involvement in the murder of Oliver Ivanovic –the founder of the „Freedom-Democracy-Justice“ civic initiative. The same initiative whose former members chose to participate in the upcoming elections in coalition with Srpska Lista. To further compound the confusion, the Srpska Lista officials and the top officials of the Republic of Serbia were the ones who carried out a brutal campaign of media demonization of Oliver, just months before he was shot dead with six bullets in the back.
After everything that happened, it is understandable that our family is sensitive and having a hard time accepting anything that is casting a shadow on Oliver’s legacy. He did not die in a car accident, he was killed because it was impossible to „break“ him – not that they did not try – and his fight for the principles and values of normal society.
He advocated freedom of speech, fought against his dissenters in a civilized manner, with arguments, ideas, and results. He was always on the defense line when aggression and danger invaded from the other side. It used to be the line on the Ibar bridge, when Kosovska Mitrovica defended itself against aggressive Albanian groups during their attempts to conquer North Mitrovica and expel Serbs. He was the first on that line of defense and in a joint effort with his neighbors managed to save the city.
He also fought with the same fervor when various individuals and groups tried to take political control of all Kosovo processes with wrongdoings and by striking fear –and that is why it was also important to break him. I will remind now that dealing with politics led to a bomb been places under his car, that they set his office on fire, that they busted into and ransacked his apartment, set his car on fire with a Molotov cocktail, and eventually shot him in the back. Despite their greatest efforts, they failed to scare him away.
He opposed them and fought by repeating: „I will not back down because it would mean that they had won, that they were stronger than anything I had believed in my entire life.“ He remained true to his struggle for normality until the last moment and eventually paid for that fight with life.
His murder has permanently affected my family, but that sense of pride that he never bent down remains, and that they failed to buy him with „unfathomable opportunities.“ That perseverance in preserving personal integrity is something he learned from his father and mother, from Bogdan and Olga Ivanovic, and it is our obligation to continue to pass this on to all of our children.
After his death, there was not a single moment when we wanted to influence, in any way, the work and decision-making of the civic initiative he founded. It was logical that the people who were there the entire time should deal with that. We see today that while some individuals are announcing their co-operation with the „Srpska Lista“, there are, however, those who raise their voices and oppose such an idea, saying that the vast majority of GI SDP members are explicitly against such s coalition.
I repeat once again, without wanting to influence their decisions, my family contacted the Central Election Commission in Pristina and shared our absolute disagreement with using the name Oliver Ivanovic in the title of any electoral list. I believe that it is our duty to protect, above all, the principles and values he advocated and fought for. When Oliver was able to decide for himself whether it was right to join Srpska Lista – he made the decision not to.
He did not keep the arguments behind his decisions to himself, on the contrary, he shared them with the public. He believed that credibility for this kind of work could only be given to people with pure biographies, who would receive the support of citizens above all if they were valued through all that they did in life, not with blackmail, fear, threats, lies and abuse.
It is important to emphasize that I personally oppose the labeling of individuals who want to join Srpska Lista. As strange as this may sound to some, we will not achieve anything good by reacting with additional aggression to the already huge amount of aggression. The fire is not extinguished with fire. We’ve had enough of the negative campaigns, we must put an end to them. Let all decision-makers take care of their families’ personal reputation and integrity.
When it comes to questions of honor, we said what we had to say – the name Oliver Ivanovic must not be misused in the names of electoral lists.
Living in this kind of atmosphere is a problem for all of us, the entire society. They imposed a sense of fear on us, they abolished freedom, people talk quietly on the street, because there will be consequences if it is discovered that you have a different opinion. Such an atmosphere, by the nature of things, entails a moral decay. Unscrupulous people with suspicious moral values have come to the fore. There is a pattern which says that everything is allowed in order to gain money and privilege.
Not everything is allowed! Until the end of time, there will be people who will fight such abnormalities, people who cannot be bought and who are willing to pay the price, no matter how high it is. We must not allow what they are imposing on us to become a model for future generations. Like any natural disaster, I am convinced that this will pass. It must! We will fight for some better days when it will once again matter where you stood during the dark times, whether you saved face or if you have been forced to go through life with your head bowed down over a handful of gold coins.
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