Snowden’s Berlin

In English, in French

I attended a two-day conference in Berlin, “As Darkness Falls: theory and practice of self empowerment in the age of digital control.” It threw me into complete distress.

Sometimes it’s entirely necessary to speak behind closed doors. I remembered the women’s activists international meetings, where activists from all over the world told each other of personal experiences of killings torture and rape. How we would share sorrow and empathize, befriend formal enemies, and make exit strategies, then cry in a final catharsis.

But here in Berlin, after the angry speeches of hackers, cypherpunks, activists, philosophers of communication, coders…. I could feel my Internet optimism crumbling. The Snowden case placed a dark, troubled perspective on our post-Internet era.

It’s covert surveillance and violated privacy, versus freedom of speech and the public visibility of citizens. As an addicted activist and internet user, I was cordially warned against using almost every service I’ve already been cheerfully using for years.

How to stay connected and publicly visible, without being controlled, used and abused by the metadata corporations and the secret police scanners? Sure, some computer-security experts know all about these issues, but my friends and feminist activists are still digital beginners! I had to stare in dread into the screen of my own beloved laptop, as my Facebook profile suddenly erupted with unsolicited posts thrown my way by sinister algorithms I’ve never heard of. During the event, my Mac Air suddenly crashed, then came back to life displaying the date: January 1, 2012. Wasn’t that year supposed to be the end of the world? Maybe the year 2012 was just the Armageddon for the free and open Internet, and now it’s already 2014!

Is this big-data Internet of 2014 — the new post-digital, Post-Internet — an oppressive system entirely typical of failed and managed democracies? Will the Post-Internet become the main antisocial weapon for a future neo feudal totalitarian regime… Or is there is a way of saving the precious democratic values and structures of civil rights, so often casually routed-around by the Internet? Did we “empower the individual” so much that our states and nations failed, and now we’re nakedly exposed to the secret police and the machines of the globalized ultra-rich?

Dystopias are always more convincing than utopias, skepticism has stronger words than optimism, while Berlin in the winter of 2014 is a place where daylight is precious and rare in the snow storms, with temperatures below freezing.

Nevertheless, cyber-dissidents, political refugees flock here to Berlin to free their floating anxiety, exchange their encrypted codes, help each the intricacies of national laws and to name-check their fellows in prison.

What’s more, Edward Snowden is now appearing on German TV, having become a genuine political figure rather than a dramatic refugee. Snowden remarks that somebody may well kill him for one reason or another, but he has no more big bundles of data to reveal to the public. Everything is already public in the hands of the press politicians and citizens and, well, the Post-Internet.

It’s never easy to become a dissident or a defector. Some cyber-activists and hackers have already cracked up and even commit suicide from the pressures of political activism and legal countermeasures. Edward Snowden seems to be a more solid and inspiring figure than his predecessors and colleagues. Calm and precise as usual, Snowden conveys the message that it is now up to everybody else in the world besides him to do something about all this trouble he showed us.

What can we practically do, besides trembling and shivering in folk-paranoia? Are we empowered enough, maybe too empowered and not well-enough organized? Who are “we,” who are our allies, and what is the likely or desirable outcome of this new, global-scale struggle in the long history of mankind? Are we all supposed to become Anonymous activists, smiling at the surveillance cameras in the streets while we strike back from our bedrooms and garages? Or are we are supposed to abandon the keyboards, flood into the roads, streets, and squares, occupy the banks, trade Bitcoins for bread?

Resistance methods are not a recipe for civil law and order. Reading history and theories is never enough, while the world has more than its share of stupid, dangerous, egocentric martyrs. Describing political reality is half way to solving a political problem. The Post-Internet is a potentially collective intelligence, but it’s also collective stupidity. It is not a machine entirely separate from us, and has always been a mirror that shows us to ourselves in real-time.

After the darkness fell on my Darkness event, I visited the Stasi museum in Berlin. This “museum” is simply the re-purposed headquarters of the Stasi secret police, the administrative center of analogue espionage and surveillance during the Cold War.

Our modern digital spies should be ashamed by the perfection of this system, where everybody was spying on everybody all the time, and even the political prisoners in the secret prisons were forced to inform against their own jailers. Our spies are lazy and slipshod digital button-pushers, mere code jockeys, while the Stasi files were manually written and preserved in big stacks of brown sacks.

Pasolini’s Death: My Life Without Me

Reading Belgrade 24 December, 2013
in serbian, english subtitles

Pasolini’s Death: My Life Without Me from Jasmina Tesanovic on Vimeo.

In Guerra Andrai

My first pacifist song I wrote many years ago for the movie Difficile Morire
KC Grad , 24 Dec 2013, My Life Without Me book promotion

Gavrilo Princip and Two Girls

In English, in French, in Italian
In the former Yugoslavia, there used to be a joke about how to tell the difference between a Serbian and a Croatian girl. If you tell Croatian girl she is pretty, she smiles. If you say the same to a Serbian girl, she scowls.

Well, in 2013, smiling Croatia joined the European Union. In the same year, scowling Serbia, after much heavy diplomacy and a traumatic change of national policy, managed to became a valid candidate for a membership process that will have Serbia in the EU probably by 2020. The two girls, the scowling and the smiling one, will finally belong to the same political arrangement again, just like they both used to belong to Yugoslavia, before they ruined it. Nowadays they are divided by a heavy border, even though the rest of the world can’t possibly tell these two girls apart unless they offer them a compliment.

When dropping by smiling Croatia and scowling Serbia, one notices similar changes in their ways of life: the roads are better, there is more order in public spaces, buildings have facelifts and paint-jobs, and the restaurants serve nicer food. But when speaking to the Balkan locals, those in the EU or out of it, one hears about the darker side of EU integration: less local power, less money, less identity.

Serbia these days has truly weird, ecstatic politics. The current Prime Minister belongs to the party of Slobodan Milosevic, the deceased malefactor who brought war to the Balkans in the 1990s. Despite that, there’s serious talk that he might get the Nobel Peace Prize together with the Albanian leader because of the Kossovo negotiations. He remarked with startling frankness: I made that war, so I am the one entitled to sign a peace treaty.

Bello Ciao: Be Brave Deserter

In English, in French
The year of 2014 will commemorate the First World War, I will rewrite war songs:


This  early morning
without a  warning 
oh bello ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao

My soldier  darling 
left our loving
and he went to fight a war 

oh my brave soldier
be brave   deserter
oh bello ciao bello ciao bello ciao ciao ciao
since no weapon 
will be  an apron 
when the bullet hits your balls 

And your dear sister
will bury a brother
oh bello ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao
In the mountains
next to a fountain
so that we may find some  rest

when younger soldiers
with  other lovers
oh bello ciao bello ciao bellociaociaociao
see there your flowers
up in the mountains
they will go back home in peace

and they will sing then
to more deserters
oh bello ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao
this is a flower of our freedom 
never kill another man

Dans les années 1970, les féministes chantaient souvent Bello Ciao mais en italien. Et les paroles avaient été adaptées au combat des femmes !
Très amicalement, Edith

De: womeninblack [] de la part de Yolanda Rouiller []
Envoyé: mercredi 1 janvier 2014 21:33
À: Lista WiB
Objet: [womeninblack] Bello Ciao: Be Brave Deserter / Bello Ciao: Sois un déserteur courageux
Pièces jointes: ATT00028.txt

——– Mensaje original ——–

Asunto: Bello Ciao: Be Brave Deserter
Fecha: Wed, 1 Jan 2014 08:52:44 +0100
De: Jasmina Tesanovic

L’année 2014 commémorera la Première guerre mondiale, je vais réécrire les
chants de guerre :


Cyberpunk Girfriend Band, Belgrade live

Ce matin tôt
Sans avertissement
bello ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao

Mon soldat
A quitté
notre tendresse
Et il est
allé faire la guerre

Oh mon
soldat courageux
Sois un
déserteur courageux
oh bello
ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao

puisqu’aucune arme
ne sera un
quand les
balles toucheront tes couilles

Et ta
chère sœur
un frère
oh bello
ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao
Dans les
près d’une
pour que
nous puissions trouver quelques restes

quand des
soldats plus jeunes
d’autres amoureuses
oh bello
ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao
voient là
vos fleurs
haut dans
les montagnes
retourneront à la maison en paix

et ils
chanteront alors
à plus de
oh bello
ciao bello ciao bello ciaociaociao
ceci est
une fleur de notre liberté
ne tuez
jamais un autre homme

Ora sei qui, Difficile Morire

I coowrote the script for this movie, composed a song and i recite the little poem in this trailer!
Tomorrow in Belgrade, KC Grad 8, pm, i will sing it live! after so many years! Everything returns, that was the topic of the story!

My Life Without Me book trailer

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