Rambo Amadeus: Diversity is Montenegro’s wealth, and dialogue is today’s heroism and chivalry
“Let us build a society that is based on the basic, initial premise that we, the citizens of Montenegro, are okay with all our identities, whatever they may be. So, I’m okay, you’re okay, and he or she is also okay,” said Pušić at the UNICEF's celebration
PODGORICA, 11 DECEMBER 2021 – Seventy-six percent of the citizens of Montenegro say that the current escalation of divisions in Montenegro and hate speech, through which inter-ethnic and religious conflicts are being promoted, are negatively affecting young people’s mental health and their willingness to accept diversity. At the same time, 86 percent of Montenegrin citizens believe that politicians are influencing the attitudes of young people with their statements.
These are the findings from the nationally representative survey conducted by Ipsos last month, which UNICEF’s Young Reporters presented today at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of this UN agency for child rights. On that occasion, during his speech, UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassador Antonije Pušić, better known as Rambo Amadeus, commented on this information.
He referred to the past in which the wars motivated by conquests were idealized as something noble – the pinnacle of masculinity. Heroism and chivalry were celebrated, even though they involved violence against those who were not part of the conquerors’ people, tribe, nation or denomination. It included hatred and persecution of all those who were different, the extermination of entire nations and cultures that were simply not to the liking of the conquerors. Songs and odes were written in their honour. Warriors and victors were glorified. Monuments were erected to celebrate them, while violence, the victims, and the suffering and grief of those against whom the violence was directed were ignored.
Fortunately, these times and primitive ways of thinking, this logic distorted by delusions, the distorted Dark-Ages morality based on divisions and exclusivity slowly but surely are being left behind us, in the dustbin of human history, Pušić believes. As a modern society, we are learning how to understand differences and accept them as normal and desirable. Today, it is elementary proof of being civilized, and of a good upbringing, Pušić pointed out.
During his speech, he explained that the verb “tolerate” means allowing, abiding, not getting angry, having understanding, i.e. that we tolerate a phenomenon or someone’s attitude, affiliation, feeling or sense of belonging that we may not like for some personal reasons.
Tolerance is necessary and much-needed. It is the bottom line below which we should never dare to go. Tolerance is the most outstanding achievement of civilization, Pušić believes.
Luckily, we live in a human society. In contemporary society, the strong tolerate the weak, the majority tolerate the minority. This is a civilizational achievement. Understanding others, resolving misunderstandings through dialogue. These are today’s ethics and morals. This is how things must be.
“Today, Montenegro is also a society of different nations with different attitudes and identities. And that is nice and something to cherish. It would be infinitely boring if we were all the same – how would one ever hear or see something new or different if we were the same?” Pušić commented.
Using the occasion, he also said that, lately, due to the forcing of national and religious identities and abuse of freedom of speech, we are often hearing hate speech that is poisoning our thoughts, feelings, society and children. He called on children and youth not to fall for the tricks of politicians, who are using the same 2,000-year-old formula: “Divide et impera”. Divide and rule, Pušić explained.
As long as the politicians count and insist on differences based on religion and ethnicity in their speeches, while forcing us and teaching us to look at each other with suspicion and distrust, and their Dark-Ages-like desire to manipulate and rule our lives, and as long as we take them seriously – we will not emancipate ourselves as citizens. We will not ask true, emancipated civic questions about the true quality of our lives. Why can’t I afford to buy a bike for my child? Why can’t I afford to get him a new computer? Why can’t I afford to pay for my child’s college tuition? Why can’t I retrain to get a better job?
He suggests that national identities should find their place in public life through folklore dance and traditional music festivities, through exhibitions of beautiful national costumes from this area, through phenomenal cuisine and different recipes – through diverse cultures that neither compete nor exclude, but readily celebrate all differences as the wealth of humanity and of our Montenegro.
Let us build a society that is based on the basic, initial premise that we, the citizens of Montenegro, are okay with all our identities, whatever they may be. So, I’m okay, you’re okay, and he or she is also okay.
UNICEF Young Reporters, who led the programme during the celebration of UNICEF’s 75th anniversary, thanked Mr. Pušić for his speech and said that they hoped that it would inspire all citizens, children and young people to build a better society in Montenegro, the homeland of all of us, regardless of their opinions and identities they foster.
Maybe for me, it is important to play football well, for someone else – to write, play or dance well, for someone else to be of a certain religion or nation, for someone else – to be an excellent student, good friend, brother, sister, daughter or son.
Our message is that there is a place for all of us in Montenegro and that there will always be if you ask the children and young people of Montenegro. That is the country we want to grow up in and grow old in – a country that values diversity as a wealth. A country where everything is discussed. A country with a culture of dialogue.
Better-quality education, more culture, sports and quality media content for children and young people, less violence online and offline, an acceptance of diversity as our wealth, equal rights and opportunities for girls, boys, children with disabilities and minority children, a better living standard, better-quality health services, more playgrounds, parks and a cleaner environment – these were just some of the demands of Montenegro’s young people heard during the celebration of UNICEF’s 75th anniversary.
During the event, the film titled “My Life”, made by UNICEF’s Young Reporters and their peers across Montenegro over the past two months, was screened in order to share the key challenges young people face and what they would like to say to the Government of Montenegro and all other competent institutions, the media, NGO sector, citizens, etc.
Students of the Andre Navara Music School and the Vasa Pavić and Princess Ksenija Ballet Schools joined the celebration of UNICEF’s 75th anniversary at the Montenegrin National Theatre, giving their unique contribution through music and dance.
The celebration was broadcast on Montenegro national television and via UNICEF Montenegro’s YouTube channel and Facebook profile, allowing all the citizens of Montenegro to watch it through various channels, given that the live audience was limited due to public health safety measures against coronavirus.