Serbian teens are playing war games for real

Pistols, guns and military clothing -- that was the dress code at the youth camp on Mount Zlatibor in western Serbia, where teenagers were given a so-called "patriotic education." 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Serbian teens are playing war games for real - NewsMavens
Youth Patriotic Camp Zlatibor 2018, YouTube

Why this story matters:

The youth military camp on Mount Zlatibor in Serbia is a scary reminder of old wars and an indicator of possible new terrors. 

People who are willing to put pistols and guns into hands of children and manipulate them into thinking that what they are doing is an act of patriotism are among us, and they are numerous.

We are worried about teens playing violent video games. But what about when they are taught to play war in reality?

Details from the story:

  • The Youth Patriotic Camp Zlatibor 2018 started on August 9 and was supposed to be held until August 18. It was organized by the Association of Participants of Armed Conflicts in Former Yugoslavia (Udruženja Učesnika Oružanih Sukoba u Bivšoj Jugoslaviji).
  • Children and young adults at the camp were given military, first aid and survival skill training by war veterans from Serbia and Russia. 
  • The police shut down the camp early due to concerns about "possible abuse of minors and disturbance of the public," according to Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs.
  • Željko Vukelić, the president of the Association of Participants of Armed Conflicts in Former Yugoslavia, told media there were no real guns in the camp, only rubber and plastic replicas. 
  • Camp participants were between 14 and 23 years old.
  • During 2017 and 2018, groups of Serbian children and youth attended International Youth Patriotic Camps in Russia, organized by ENOT Corp. ENOT is a Russian military organization that was also involved in the organization of the 2018 Zlatibor camp.
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