Edvin Kanka Ćudić cannot be missed when walking into a room. Very tall and dressed solely in black, he commands the space around him. This is needed because Edvin stands for those with no voice along with the other members of the Association for Social Research and Communication (UDIK). The UDIK are activists who want to build a society without violence, but what makes them unique is that they are entirely silent. As Edvin explains, “We don’t want to produce violence and we have no answer for the violence.” The UDIK feels that compassion is not enough and that they need to send a message, especially for the victims of Vukovar who have had no one to speak for them for 22 years.
Another unique part of the UDIK is that they wear all black. Black is the best color to show suffering and violence and the UDIK is the only peaceful organization to wear black. When seeing a stand made by Edvin and other members of the UDIK they stand in all weather and stand for those who can’t. “Civil society is passive,” comments Edvin, “We want to make them think.”
The stand for peace might seem like a lofty goal but Edvin explains that peace can be attainable. He looks to the individual for peace explaining that peace is the power to move freely and to be different. He explains that “peace is perfection of soul” and heroes are peaceful people. Edvin feels that there is too much violence in our society and that it is too engrained. Because of this the UDIK is “fighting the long defeat”. What this means is that it will be long term and it will require everyone’s participation. Fighting for peace is accepting everyone. This is a long battle but Edvin feels that it is something that can be done.
When asked about the press Edvin says that he is satisfied with what they have received. According to him the media recognizes UDIK and their values. He has faith in the media and feels that they are against violence and journalist in particular have troubles with violence so they have been receptive to UDIK’s plight. The next step is spreading the message with the help of the media. Edvin comments that borders are only political and that now they are looking to connect with Europe, not just the former Yugoslav states. UDIK does not look at nationality but rather at the individual. It does not matter the person’s religion, sexual preference, etc but only peace. When asked if there is an international response Edvin answered that there hasn’t been one yet but they are a young organization and there hasn’t been enough time. Edvin is confident that this will spread however. All you need is one man to change from nationalism to peace and the time when everyone said, ‘this is not my responsibility’ is over. He adds advice to those who want to stop the violence; don’t be passive. You need to believe in making a difference. Now people believe that their vote doesn’t matter but once they become more active, it does. Anyone can do it.
Katherine Stark –
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