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Gay Film Festival Coordinator Among Those Injured in Attack on Sarajevo Queer Festival



This article is only available in English. For online instant translation in selected other languages, see below.



"This was pure terrorism and not many ordinary people in Sarajevo seemed to care."

Andrejs Visockis' personal account of his experiences at Sarajevo Queer Festival
(from his blog "Andy's Film World")


Andrejs Visockis' queer film blog



Andrejs Visockis at Riga Pride 2007.
photo: UK Gay News

LONDON, September 28, 2008  –  The film festival coordinator of the International Lesbian and Gay Culture Network (ILGCN), was among those injured in Bosnia-Herzegovina last week when the Sarajevo Queer Festival was targeted by hooded men, some shouting Islamic slogans.

In an email to UK Gay News, Andrejs Visockis, who is also a board member of the Latvian NGO Mozaika, said that he was the Danish person reported as being injured.

Mr Visockis, who lives in Riga, Latvia, and holds a Danish passport, is widely acknowledged as being a European expert on LGBT-themed films.

He was in Sarajevo helping festival organisers, Udruženje Q (Organisation Q), with their film programme.

Yesterday,  Organisation Q arranged a flight and flew him to Zagreb. He is expected to return to Riga tomorrow.

According to festival organisers, eight participants were injured.  French news agency Agence France Presse reported that two journalists, one of them going to the aid of an injured participant, were also injured, along with a police officer.

Although now in safety, Mr. Visockis said that he was very concerned for the safety of local Queer Festival organisers in Sarajevo.

One of the leading Bosnian daily newspapers, Dnevni Avaz, published the full name and date of birth of all the participants who were injured and taken to hospital.

“That can only be interpreted as ‘go and get them’, since they never do that otherwise,” Mr. Visockis suggested in his email.

“During my last night in Sarajevo [Friday night], I felt compelled to contact the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask for protection.

“We were staying in the Organisation Q’s office and didn’t dare to leave since several people were followed in cars after leaving that place.

“After the Danish ambassador intervened personally, a police car was dispatched to the area where it presumably stayed all night.

“Yesterday [Saturday], I decided that enough was enough and asked to be flown to Zagreb.

“With some protection I was driven to my hotel where I grabbed my belongings and then to the airport.  Since then I’m in safety – which definitely can’t be said about the local organisers.”

Mr. Visockis said that he was feeling much better now, and even joked about his injuries: “ … but have still an ugly face.”  He is said by hospital authorities to have suffered the worst injuries.

Also in Sarajevo for Queer Festival was Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, who in 2003 wrote and directed Proteus, an interracial gay love story set in early 18th century South Africa.  He also directed four episodes of the US version of Queer As Folk.  His award-winning film Lilies was due to be screened at the festival.

Mr. Greyson could not be reached.  It is thought that he has already left Sarajevo.



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Queer Sarajevo Festival, a Highly Personal AccountAndrejs Visockis gives a graphic account of the Sarajevo Queer Festival.  "This was pure terrorism and not many ordinary people in Sarajevo seemed to care."  (Andy's Film World - Latvia, October 1, 2008)

Xenophobic, Homophobic or Just Afraid?  By Dusica L. Ikic-Cook.  I have kept quiet for quite some time, reading and listening about the whole Queer Sarajevo Festival issue… Now, I fear that I don’t belong in this country any more! (Balkan Insight -Bosnia-Herzegovina, September 26, 2008)

Bosnia: Gay Festival Closes After Clashes With Hardline Muslims.  Organisers of the Sarajevo Queer Festival have decided to close the event only a day after its opened, after eight people were injured in violent clashes, local media reported on Friday.  Svetlana Djurkovic, one of the organisers, told a media conference late Thursday the festival was closing three days early, because of security concerns. (AKI News Agency - Italy, September 26, 2008)

Amnesty Slams Bosnian Authorities as Gay Festival Is Called Off.  The authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina should have provided adequate security for the participants in the first “Sarajevo Queer Festival”, said Amnesty International after several people were attacked at the end of the first day of the festival.  (UK Gay News, September 25, 2008)

Attack on Gay Festival in Sarajevo Condemned by MEPs.  The violence at yesterday’s opening of the Sarajevo Queer Festival – the first of its kind organised in Bosnia-Herzegovina – has been condemned by members of the European Parliament’s all-party ‘Intergroup’ for gay and lesbian human rights. (UK Gay News, September 25, 2008)

Clashes at Gay Rights Festival.  Video report by Helen Fawkes in Sarajevo as at least eight people were hurt after opponents clashed with police at Bosnia's first gay rights festival.  Also written report: Clashes at Bosnia's Gay Festival. (BBC News, September 25, 2008)

Violence Mars Start of Bosnia Gay Festival.  At least eight people were injured and three arrested after followers of the radical Muslim Wahabbi movement tried to block the opening of Bosnia’s first gay festival.  (Sofia Echo, September 25, 2008)

Clashes Mar Bosnia's First Gay Festival.  Dozens of homophobic hooligans attacked participants of Bosnia's first-ever gay rights festival in Sarajevo on Wednesday, leaving at least two journalists and one police officer injured.  (Agence France Press, September 25, 2008)


  Andrejs Visockis' queer film blog

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

Posted: 28 September 2008 at 14:00 (UK time)
Minor correction made 29 September
Updated 1 October 2008


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