Routes Award 2009














Thanks to  the  European Cultural Foundation,  I interviewed two very  inspiring folks:  Borka Pavicevic (pictured) and Stefan Kaegi. They  were the winners of  the Routes Award for Cultural Diversity 2009  for their work in theater championing the voices of  the “other”.

Borka, in particular, has long been a hero of mine ever since I first visited ex-Yugoslavia. As the founder of  Belgrade’s Centre for Cultural Decontamination, she has fought the good fight against a steady stream of nationalists, gangsters and populist pricks.  The Centre was one of the first places I went when I felt dirty  from sitting behind  Mira Markovic, wife of Milosevic, on a flight between Amsterdam and Belgrade in 2001.

I went to  the awards ceremony in Brussels a couple of weeks ago and certainly had a couple of culturally diverse moments. It was at the Royal Flemish Theater and when we arrived early,  my friend and I went to the  next door  cafe  to kill some time. The waitress  refused to talk  Dutch with us — which we thought ironic since we were at a Dutch-language theater for an award’s ceremony dedicated to cultural diversity.  

After the ceremony I went over to introduce myself to Borka and she greeted me very warmly thanks to some  common friends (ah, I do miss the Balkans sometimes…). She asked me if I had  ever met Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. I hadn’t so I shook  the princess’s  hand. Then Borka wanted to introduce me to   some Belgrade journalist — “you actually probably  know him, he’s the one that they tried to blow up with not one but two bombs.” But just as I was about  to shake his  hand, a plate of oysters came by and the crowd — royalty, journalists, etc — swooped in.  It was a moment of true diversity. The oysters were dang tasty as well.

But really, read the interviews:
Borka Pavicevic
Stefan Kaegi

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Posted in Uncategorized 14 years, 4 months ago at 9:36 am.

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