Jasmina Tesanovic, Serbia: An Underworld Journey
An Underworld Journey
Serbia: March 31, 2006
Heading southeast, to inner Serbia, close to the Bulgarian border. An area famous for women who are mysteries, said my friend, the film director Zivojin Pavlovic, whose mother was born there.
A euphemism really. In that magical region, men are rare. It's said that girl births far outnumber those of boys. Men marry into female families and are called "the brides."
A local wedding is a long caravan, exposed furniture paraded on wheels, like dollhouse rooms, rolling one after another in display all around the city, the village, the hills.
Mother's names are always officially recorded while the father often is simply called the shepherd, the clerk... Presumably he is never sure the he is the father at all ... Struggling for patriarchy , men here as almost everywhere in the world have all the legal power, and they take their revenge on their female husbands by beating them and often killing them. The region has a high rate of male domestic violence.
We are a caravan of women for peace Thirty of us have a performance in the market place: we want to celebrate our dead feminist friend, who wrote the first history of women's movements in Serbia, describing the past centuries of struggle. We intend to dance and sing, and eat enormous amounts of garlic, and dine on the local dish of stinging nettles, and drink the prohibited local black wine which is tainted with methyl alcohol.
[image: "Grandma Lena," Serbia, by Aleksandra Radonić]
posted by Xeni Jardin