Xhemal Fici: Countering nationalist narratives in the Western Balkan region

Xhemal Fici, Youth President of a Civic Party in Montenegro.

A short interview with the Balkan Forum. Xhemal’s views on countering nationalist narratives in the Western Balkan region: “Thank you for inviting me for this very short interview. I will try to briefly answer your question. Regarding nationalism, I come from Ulqin/Ulcinj where many people do political propaganda. There are many who make friends with political parties, or political leaders who use nationalism and patriotism to gain votes, or other similar facts that lead to hatred in society in Ulqin/Ulcinj, but also in the whole of Montenegro. 

These hatreds, these messages that are being delivered by political leaders are done for their own personal interests as the society is not benefiting and hasn’t benefited anything until today, as was the case even during the wars 20-30 years ago. Our society must make a step forward because we the young people will continue to live and we young people must cooperate and learn to express our different opinions/views with each other and with every citizen, regardless of whether they are from Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, or from North Macedonia.

In regard to relations, I think if we manage to have good relations with each other, through dialogue and exchange of views, we will achieve more business wise, but also in other aspects of life as we would move towards a better economic system, better than we have had in the past in times of war. As you may know, during the war no one gained anything, so both sides didn’t gain much. So, I think we don’t need protection, we don’t need violence, not even war…what we need is to provide our society with positive and transparent views and not allow our young people to be manipulated by political leaders, who do that for their personal interests.

So, my message is clear. I’m from Ulqin/Ulcinj but I am the chairman of a civic party and we are committed to communicate and convey the news to youth very often so that they do not fall into the words of those political leaders, because that will only lead to those years when we had violence, hatred and war… we do not need this… we need to move a step forward, to exchange views with everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity.”