President Stevo Pendarovski attended and addressed the opening of the exhibition “All Our Tears”, which was held at the Multimedia Center “Mala Stanica” in Skopje.
The exhibition, which presented 34 photographs taken at locations in North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia, is dedicated to the civilian victims of the wars in these areas.
In his address, President Pendarovski said that this exhibition, in addition to the value of authentic and original photographs, which incorporate the artistic and documentary perspective, also carries a deep message through which we are reminded and confronted with injustices and suffering in a historical-political context, and what it encourages us to think about the need and importance of constructively confronting the wounds of the past by finding models of reconciliation.
“The wars on the territory of former Yugoslavia left deep consequences for our societies, which are still felt today, reflecting the tragedy and complexity of the conflicts. As a result of these wars, there are many victims without a grave. According to certain statistics, around 14,000 people are still missing from the wars between 1991 and 2001. There are many families who, almost after 3 decades, are still searching for truth and justice. Supporting their efforts to determine the fate of their loved ones also means paying respect to the victims, to the families, but also to our societies as a whole”, President Pendarovski said in his address.
He added that this exhibition acquaints the public with a small part of the many testimonies of the survivors, as well as with the testimonies of the families of the victims and those who suffered, and said that the support of all groups affected by the conflicts in our region is an acknowledgment of their suffering and support of the process of facing the past.
The exhibition “All Our Tears” really evokes sad, difficult and painful memories, emotions and tears in each of us. Let the photos around us, from which real experiences spring, be a reminder to never forget the war crimes that are counted among the most terrible in the history of modern Europe. Unfortunately, I cannot say “never again”, because today, in the 21st century, when we were all deeply convinced that the era of wars was over, we are once again witnessing war on the soil of our continent. The war in Ukraine reminded us of these fresh sufferings that the citizens of our regions went through, and reminded us that the commitment to unification, reconciliation and mutual support should be stronger than ever”, President Pendarovski said in his address.
The authors of the exhibition are photo-journalists Arbnora Mehmeti and Nake Batev from North Macedonia, Borislav Pesic from Serbia and Ade Mula from Kosovo; it is organized by a consortium of peace organizations from the Netherlands, the USA, Serbia, Kosovo and North Macedonia.
The President congratulated the authors who, through their lenses, enabled civilian victims of wars to gain space and opportunity, their stories and messages to reach the public, and to warn that humanity is worth of dialogue, not violence.