Welcome to Hajde London!
It is no secret that a politically fraught Balkan region has led to fairly severe tensions between people from each of its various countries. In the years since the conflict, it has become rare to see relationships between people of different Balkan nationalities.
Efforts are now being made in the region to help rebuild those relationships. But what about here in London? In the last twenty years, a wave of immigration from Southeast Europe has taken place, and as result many communities exist in London made up of people of various Balkan ethnicities.
To this day, obstacles remain to the forging of relationships between people from different Balkan countries. As time goes on, is it getting harder to overcome these obstacles rather than easier?
Culturally similar but politically divided, people from the Balkans seem to find the arts the foremost way to come together. Because of this, we will endeavour to devote ample attention to the artistic means of rekindling fragile cross-cultural relationships.
Without getting into the semantics of the terminology, we will be focusing on people from the so-called Western Balkans area, those whose recent past has been riddled with conflict, namely the countries which constituted the former Yugoslavia as well as Albania.
So, be you Serbian, Croatian, Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Montenegran, Slovenian or Kosovar, if you are in London, we want to hear your stories!
We have chosen the name Hajde London to reflect what these countries have in common rather than what divides them. ‘Hajde’ (literally meaning ‘let’s go’ but more commonly used before saying goodbye) is nearly universal in the region, and it certainly isn’t the only shared factor between the people. We’re going to show you some others.
Photo taken by Flavijus.