As we announced in our article a few days ago, for the first time in European history, a friendly volleyball game was played on December 19, 2015 over a razor wire fence which is erected along the borders between Croatia and Slovenia. City of Pula, organised the game and joined the general protest against razor wires not only in Istria but anywhere else in Europe in order to show that nations can fight this new form of militarisation with sports, creativity and non-violence.
“We condemn the act of placing wires along European fences, it is an act that prevents us from living in harmony, peaceful coexistence and tolerance. Pula recognised the absurdity of militarisation before barb wires started showing up on our borders since Demilitarisation is the main topic of Pula’s candidature for European Culture Capital 2020. Our aim is to show that all conflicts can be resolved with cooperation, creativity and, as you’ve seen today, sport” said Nina Kamber, Culture Director of the City of Pula
Friendly volleyball match took place on two different border crossings in Istria: Lucija – Brezovica and Dragonja – Kaštel. Several hundred people formed a long procession to spread the idea of peace and tolerance. Protest was supported by numerous Croatian and Slovenian Olympians including Giovanni Cernogoraz, gold medal winner from the London 2012 Olympics, numerous athletes, volleyball players from Umag, coaches Edi Forza and Dragan Salapura and many other Croatian and Slovenian public figures.
Many artists, including Magdalena Vodopija and Dario Marušić also joined the protest in order to emphasize the importance of erasing existing borders and preventing the appearance of new ones while Milan Rakovac read poetry to send a message that no one in the area wants razor wires to divide them from their friends and neighbours.
Istria is one of the regions in Europe that has shown how coexistence and tolerance is possible in all border areas and that any form of repression, including this one represented by cruel razor wire, is not welcome on the Istrian peninsula.