Herta Müller causes outrage in Belgrade

“Serbia inflicted evil upon itself, and its citizens have to live with the truth that they caused suffering to themselves”, Nobel Prize laureate, Herta Müller said yesterday in Belgrade.

At the forum held at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, which was organized by the German Embassy and Belgrade Book Fair, Müller also spoke about the explosion of nationalism in former Yugoslavia. The forum moderators were Serbian writer and translator, Ivan Ivanji and German writer, Michael Martens.

Martens asked Müller to elabore on her views that violence was a legitimate solution in political conflicts.

“Words can cause conflicts. I am not a pacifist, and I believe that certain situations can be resolved only with certain actions. In situation where there is war, one side has to defeat the other, hence I believe that military intervention is a human and moral position. This has proven right in many instances. Many wars have shown that being good and behaving well towards others simply wasn’t enough”, Müller elaborated.

She also said that people who were attacked should be given support from others providing that they could not defend themselves. Martens then reminded Müller about her text about Belgrade.

„Belgrade was the last European city in the 20th century to be bombed. When that happened, you wrote, in an essay, that you understood NATO’s position and that Milosevic had to be stopped for all times“, Martens said and then quoted a passage from her essay: „If a country instigates four wars in nine years, and, by doing so, pragmatically turns cemeteries into towns, it cannot be stopped with words only. I would have been very happy if NATO had entered Romania, but that did not happen. The Romanians had to fight against Romanians in order to end Ceaușescu’s rule”.

The Nobel Prize laureate confirmed that she had not changed her mind. “I still think the same. A lot has happened. A lot of evil was inflicted on Kosovo and Bosnia, all because of this horrendous nationalism. I was scared. I did not expect that from a country like Yugoslavia which, back in the day, was a haven. I did not expect for nationalism to explode in it. This country caused its own pain and suffering. Serbs inflicted evil upon themselves”, Müller added.

Ivan Ivanji then asked her to comment on the fact that there are no good people or love in her books. Müller’s response said that she couldn’t influence other people’s interpretation of her books.

„We don’t have to think alike. Even now, while we are talking. But if you ask me a question, I have to give an honest answer. I did not want to cause conflict here with anyone. I came here because I wanted to“, Müller said. Later, she signed copies of her books in the Theatre’s main hall.

(Blic, 24.10.2017)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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