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  • Writer's pictureАнђела Петровски

Pancevo dystopia / Pančevo distopija

In the heart of our town, hidden away from the eyes of the public, lie two contrasting slums that tell a harrowing tale of hardship and resilience. These communities are home to the Roma people, an ethnic group often overlooked and marginalized in our society. Despite living alongside us, their struggles are mainly invisible to everybody else, as they navigate through unimaginable circumstances to survive another day.


The first slum rests between two rivers Tamis on the one side and Danube on the other, nested within a vast swampy area. Here shanties and ​​dilapidated houses huddle together in a desperate attempt to defy the unforgiving environment. The ground beneath their feet is perpetually saturated, and the air is thick with the stench of stagnant water. Families, sometimes spanning generations, endure a constant battle against diseases, wildlife, and dirt. Inhabitants of this slum confront the daily challenges of flooding, snakes, rats, mosquitos, and the ever-present threat of eviction. Despite the adversity, the residents are a testament to the human spirit's resilience. Children play in the narrow alleys, their laughter a stark contrast to their surroundings, neighbors doing things together.


The second slum is located at the edge of the Tamis River, within the colossal town dump site. Here, the Roma people have crafted a makeshift existence amidst hills of discarded waste. The odor of garbage permeates the air, a constant reminder of the misery that engulfs their lives. Dilapidated houses and huts fashioned from salvaged refuse offer basic shelter, while the polluted waters of the Tamis River lap at their doorstep.


It is a completely unbelievable sight that at the same time, there is a huge 50-year waste big town's dumpsite, with small fires popping out every here and there, on the river bank in the forest 5 minutes ride from the town's hall and center.


And also at the same time the slum in the dumpsite which evolved its way of living, with only one nationality inhabiting it. Inhabitants of this slum make a living by scavenging dumpsites. Each day, they sift through the city's discarded dreams, hoping to find something of value.


It’s like a scenario for a neo-noir sci-fi dystopian movie.


What makes these slums even more notorious is that they remain largely invisible to the broader society despite existing in such dire circumstances. The residents are often neglected and excluded from the opportunities that most take for granted. The Roma people, living in these two slums, fight a daily battle for dignity, survival, and recognition. Their stories are a stark reminder of the inequities that persist in our society.



Photo and text by Milan Todorović




 


U srcu našeg grada, sakriveni od očiju javnosti, leže dva kontrastna sirotinjska naselja koja pričaju potresnu priču o teškoćama i otpornosti. Ove zajednice su dom Romima, etničkoj grupi koja je često zanemarena i marginalizovana u našem društvu. Uprkos tome što žive rame uz rame sa nama, njihove borbe su uglavnom nevidljive za sve ostale, dok se kreću kroz nezamislive okolnosti samo da bi preživeli još jedan dan.


Prvi sirotinjski kvart leži između dve reke Tamiša na jednoj strani i Dunava na drugoj, ugnežđen u ogromnom močvarnom području. Ovde se straćare i oronule kuće zbijaju jedna uz drugu u očajničkom pokušaju da prkose nemilosrdnom okruženju. Tlo pod njihovim nogama je stalno zasićeno, a vazduh je gust od zadaha ustajale vode. Porodice, koje ponekad obuhvataju generacije, izdržavaju stalnu borbu protiv bolesti, divljih životinja i prljavštine. Stanovnici ovog sirotinjskog naselja suočavaju se sa svakodnevnim izazovima poplava, zmija, pacova, komaraca i stalno prisutnom pretnjom iseljenja.


Uprkos nedaćama, stanovnici su svedočanstvo otpornosti ljudskog duha. Deca se igraju u uskim uličicama, njihov smeh je u potpunoj suprotnosti sa njihovom okolinom, susedi rade zajedno.


Drugi slam se nalazi na ivici reke Tamiš, u okviru kolosalne gradske deponije. Ovde su Romi napravili improvizovanu egzistenciju usred brda odbačenog otpada. Miris đubreta prožima vazduh, stalni podsetnik na bedu koja guta njihove živote. Oronule kuće i kolibe napravljene od spašenog otpada nude osnovno sklonište, dok zagađene vode reke Tamiš zapljuskuju na njihovom pragu.


Potpuno je neverovatan prizor da u isto vreme postoji ogromna 50-godišnja deponija velikih gradova, sa malim požarima koji tu i tamo izbijaju, na obali reke u šumi 5 minuta vožnje od gradske kuće i centra.


A u isto vreme i sirotinjski kvart na smetlištu koji je evoluirao sopstveni način života, sa samo jednom nacionalnošću koja ga naseljava. Stanovnici ovog sirotinjskog naselja zarađuju za život čisteći deponije. Svakog dana pregledavaju odbačene snove grada, nadajući se da će pronaći nešto vredno.


To je kao scenario za neo-noir sci-fi distopijski film.


Ono što ove slamove čini još ozloglašenijim je to što, uprkos tome što postoje u tako strašnim okolnostima, ostaju uglavnom nevidljivi za šire društvo. Stanovnici su često zanemareni i isključeni iz mogućnosti koje većina uzima zdravo za gotovo. Romi, koji žive u ova dva naselja, svakodnevno vode bitku za dostojanstvo, opstanak i priznanje. Njihove priče su oštar podsetnik na nejednakosti koje postoje u našem društvu.



Photo and text by Milan Todorović










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