Reprint: Greater Serbianism threatening the region once again

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Subject: Greater Serbianism threatening the region once again
Reply-To: International Justice Watch Discussion List
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 13:57:36 -0500
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The article below appeared in this past weekend's edition of Novi List in Croatia. The article is quite informative about the state of Serbian society today, as well as the true political aspirations of Serbia's Boris Tadic and Vuk Jeremic.

My translation below.
Mike Baresic

Newspaper article from Novi List – online edition – 2/4/12/

GREATER SERBIANISM threatening the region once again

A revision of Chetnick ideology and the rehabilitation of Nedić and Mihajlović have pushed Serbia back into conflict with the Croats and Bosnians, even more so on account of new interpretations of the Second World War imposed by the state with Tadić in the forefront

Robert FRANK

After the attacks by Serbian hooligans during and after the handball match between Serbia and Croatia in Belgrade, it is logical and justifiable to pose the question whether Serbian society is xenophobic, frustrated, nationalistic, or rather, what is the state of mind of people in Serbia, have our eastern neighbors, who alongside Croatia used to be the composite part of the syntagma of brotherhood and unity between our peoples and nationalities, really turned toward Chetnick ideology and how much has Serbia in these days become Europhobic? We have attempted to find answers to these questions in Belgrade, the city which welcomed the European Silver Medalists in Handball last week as well as the European Gold Medalists in Water polo and before all of them, Novak Đoković who had won the Australian Open.

The sporting successes which Serbia has been feeding on and using to compensate for all of the weaknesses of its state policy and its shortcomings in the lives of its citizens have very quickly been overtaken by the harsh reality: unemployment, losing Kosovo and the troublesome Serb Republic, not to mention the numerous ‘’global conspiracies’’ against Serbia and the Serbs, particularly the American‐German and the Vatican conspiracy. What is to be remembered from last week’s events is the echo of the legitimate chants against Serbia, but also the primitive insults to all that is Croatian during a game which our national team had no chance of winning.

Most of the people we have spoken to in Belgrade feel that smashing Croatian cars, attacks against fans, Chetnick orgies on the sports stands accompanied by insults, belittlement and threats against everything Croatian, were not coincidental or isolated events stimulated by a one‐off burst of high adrenaline due to the significance the game held for both sides. They believe that without the brakes of democracy which could slow down this retrograde process, hinder it and redirect it to a European course of development, Serbia is slipping into a state of intolerance toward anything and everything not Serbian enough. Mythomania has taken rule over Serbia again which is supported by the fact that there are official intentions to rehabilitate Milan Nedić and Draža Mihajlović; even through them, Serbia is searching for a new national identity, if possible one that is contrary to Partisan Antifascism.

Marginalization of Antifascism

And yes, the policy of Greater Serbia is still very much alive and well, even through official channels of the state. There is no doubt that the situation in Serbia is just as such particularly when a pair of true ladies of Serbian society when talking about morals, education, intelligence, freedom of thinking and a par excellence unwaveringness, say so. The first of the two is Latinka Perović, declared as the enemy of the state by every Serbian state authority not for the last 20 but a full 40 years, and the second is an exceptionally brave, audacious and competent Sonja Biserko, the leading figure of the Serb Helsinki Committee which has for 20 years now been warning and fighting against the hegemonistic, failed and retrograde Serb state policy.

The rise of pro-Chetnik forces in Serbia would not be as interesting, intriguing or dangerous had the Serb government headed by Boris Tadić not made an official request for the rehabilitation and search of the burial site of the notorious criminal Draža Mihajlović who noted in the opening lines of his Chetnick manifesto that he was going to fight communists, Balijas /tr. remark: derogatory term for Bosnians/Muslims) and Croats. Tadić awarded this task to Veljko Odalović and the Commission for establishing the facts regarding the execution and burial site of General Draža Mihajlović. The same Odalović ‘’proved’’ his Serbianism as the Chief of the Kosovo District in the time of the Serb crimes in 1998 and 1999, for which three Serbian generals were convicted to 22 years in prison. Remarkably, Odalović managed to come out of it without a scratch and so he was rewarded with the seat of the Chairman of the Serbian Government Commission for missing persons and tasked with the search for Draža’s remains.

"They have been looking for him for a year now, but they can’t find him. They were even looking for his obituary. This is madness, what is happening here," says Sonja Biserko. Draža’s remains are nowhere to be found and without his remains it’s going to be difficult to rehabilitate him. And they want to rehabilitate him so that the Chetnik movement can in this respect as well officially become the first anti‐fascist movement in Europe! And a right‐wing one at that, while the left‐wing partisan movement as an antifascist movement is becoming increasingly more criminalized and marginalized. "This is an illustration of Serbian confusion," says Sonja Biserko.

Latinka Perović says that the rehabilitation of the Ravna Gora Chetnik Movement of Draža Mihajlović, who was disavowed by the king himself and the government in exile, presents an inadmissible revision of the past which is pushing Serbia into new conflicts with the Croats and Bosnians, even more so on account of the fact that this kind of interpretation of the Second World War is a concept which represents current state policy. "This thing with the Chetniks is not going to bring stability in the region; it is a brutal negation of history, while the church, orthodoxy supposedly being the only cohesive factor with the Serb people, is still fighting for the largest possible influence," says Latinka Perović.

She continued by emphasizing that the attempts to equate between the Partisans and Chetniks as both being on the right side during the Second World War is increasingly turning into a defeat of the Partisans, as the only true anti‐fascists, in today’s state of piece. On the other hand, Serbia has rehabilitated Milan Nedić, a person who collaborated with the German Nazis, and declared him one of the 100 most significant people in Serb history because he saved the Serbs by cooperating with the German aggressor. He in fact cooperated with the Germans to such an extent that in 1942 Belgrade was the first European city to be ‘purged’ from Jews!

The rise of intolerance

Both examples, says Sonja Biserko, point to a lack of vision and a return to regressive ideologies which openly demonstrate Serbia’s desire to self‐isolate and distance itself from the EU. "Precisely because they believe that the EU is going to collapse, Serbia is leading an irrational policy," says Biserko.

And particularly so with respect to Kosovo, clarifies Biserko, where they are attempting to create a new Serb Republic in its northern part, they are calling for a referendum on independence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monte Negro is being criminalized and its independence disputed, and there is intolerance toward Croatia because it prevented Serbia’s expansionist projects.

"President Tadić, for whom I cannot say whether he is a nationalist or not, but his politics definitely are nationalist, he is a prisoner of the church and the informal centers of power who make up the platform that is the basis of his political activity. With him as president, Serbia is simply disrupting the consolidation and stabilization of the Balkans," says Biserko.

In her opinion, Serbs live in myths and constant lies, and Serbia is definitely autistic and xenophobic. In support of her opinion is a study conducted by the Serb Helsinki Committee on the views of young people in Serbia according to which 70 % of them consider Albanians to be the biggest threat to Serbianism, and 56 % of them hate Croats. This information which testifies to this enormous hatred is probably the consequence of the fact that 40 % of young Serbs after finishing elementary school did not move on to high school but rather ended their education at that stage. In the most delicate educational age they drop out of school and the information regarding history which is being served to them in the final two grades of elementary school is subjected to political and ideological manipulations.

The Jeremić case

In support of this fact is the case involving a history textbook written by a professor of political sciences Predrag Simić, on account of which the Commission of the Ministry of Education for the evaluation of the textbook had to be replaced three times until the composition of this body was such that a negative assessment was guaranteed on account of fact that the textbook did not glorify Vuk Karadžić’s Great Serbian hypothesis of ‘’Serbs, all Serbs everywhere.’’ According to Latinka Perović this state of mind promoting Serb hegemony is reflected on the young population who often being undereducated and uninformed are often burdened by inter-ethnic relations and conflicts. She considers the Serbia of today to be a deeply traditional state which is clinging to its nationalism as its only weapon.

All of the above stated is also supported by the case involving one of the leaders of Serb nationalism, Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić, who officially and publicly requested Croatia’s support in his candidacy for Chairman of the UN General Assembly. And while the UN promotes peace, tolerance, forbearance and averting conflicts, Vuk Jeremić, who as it seems would love to make New York a permanent address, back in Serbia and with the powerful church behind him was the initiator of the idea of the 100th anniversary of the Balkan War of 1912 in which Serbia defeated the Turks and conquered Kosovo.

Members of high diplomatic circles are appalled by Jeremić’s ideas about celebrating wars consequently provoking and disgracing the ones who were defeated. They consider his idea of marking the 100‐year period from the Balkan War of 1912 to the Balkan peace in 2012 to be shameful. Latinka Perović says that this is a policy of distancing the people instead of bringing them closer together.

"This kinds of commemorations contribute to general instability. We only need to remind ourselves of the 1989 celebration of the 600th anniversary of the Kosovo battle and everything that followed. Serbia has to stop celebrating wars once and for all," says Latinka Perović.

Celebrating 200 years of Serbian diplomacy the controversial Vuk Jeremić explained to the public how Serbia is offering its partners today a rational policy of cooperation based on mutual respect in the spirit of the distinguished Jovan Ristić. However, what he neglected to mention was that the Serbian statesman and diplomat was the leader of the Liberal Party and four-time Prime Minister who promoted Serbia’s expansionist policy which Jeremić is continuing to do openly and without reservations.

In what way and to what extent the official Serbia is continuing to distort the facts in an attempt to relativize accountability and guilt for war crimes in the area of the former Yugoslavia, is evident in the so-called Bratunac case. Bratunac was a settlement opposite to Srebrenica where the Bosnians irrefutably committed a grave crime killing 39 Serbs. Meanwhile, the number of killed Serbs has, even officially, risen from 39 to 3.000 so as to artificially equate Bratunac with the neighboring Srebrenica.

Thus, according to official Serbian policy regarding Bratunac and Srebrenica, the number of killed was equated, counting 3.000 casualties on both sides. The correct number of victims in Bratunac as opposed to Srebrenica, despite the revolting attempts to relativize crime, is 39 killed Serbs opposed to 8.000 killed Bosnians in Srebrenica.

"Negation, denial or relativizing crime, this is how Serbian policy is treating its victims," says Biserko, emphasizing that a pseudo-historiography has been developing recently with respect to Vukovar as well, which was in fact ‘’liberated by the Serbs.’’ The Serbian policy of today is hypocritical; the Serbs in Europe like to leave an amiable impression, whereas in front of their domestic audience they make no effort of hiding their true face, the face of rigid politicians with openly expressed aspirations toward the territories of their neighboring states.


(sidebars to the main article are included, below).

Just to what extent the political structure in Serbia is leading a confrontational policy toward the neighboring Croats, Bosnians and Albanians became evident in the debate between probably the only Serbian progressive politician Čedo Jovanović and the Prime Minister of the Serb Republic Milorad Dodik who continues to promote the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the final and permanent separation of the Serb Republic without restrain. The dramatic public debate between Jovanović and Dodik is the debate or conflict between two concepts and two Serbias, Dodik’s which is nationalist, orthodox, archaic and xenophobic, and Jovanović’s , trying to be advanced, contemporary and sincere. And so, in the spirit of sincerity, Jovanović said that the Serb Republic was built on the Srebrenica genocide and the occupation of Sarajevo which drove Dodik into a tantrum, and the majority of the Serb public as well, and now Jovanović is being protected by up to 10 bodyguards at all times. Jovanović, not paying much attention to choosing his words, openly claims that Serbia is the cause of all problems in the region, that Srebrenica is the most massive war crime after WWII that was qualified as genocide, and that Serbia doesn’t want to face the painful truth and that it is poisoned by nationalism. During the mentioned political debate, the argument‐wise inferior Dodik maliciously invited Jovanović several times to visit the Serb Republic ‘’where he wouldn’t have to worry about his safety.’’ Because of politicians like Dodik, Latinka Perović feels that Serbia as a state is shattered and that it does not wish to accept the present boundaries. At the same time, it is leading a dual policy and is, inter alia, obviously attempting to compensate for the loss of Kosovo by calling for independence of the Serb Republic.


TITO – the biggest killer of Serbs
Saša Baščarević, a 36‐year old from Belgrade who sells history books dealing with Great Serbianism, and whose parents are originally from Kosovo, spent four months fighting on Kosovo in 1999 as a military policeman. We are presenting his opinions, with which we cannot possibly agree, in full and with nearly no intervention at all, assessing that it is in the interest of our public in order for them to better understand the circumstances in Serbia. The opinions of Saša Baščarević are in fact for a good part a reflection of the state of mind and way of thinking of the people in Serbia.

‐ Just so we understand each other, I am a Serb, a nationalist and a religious man, but I am not a chauvinist, I don’t hate anyone and I am only interested in the truth. There is an anti‐Serbian climate in Serbia today which started with Tito; first when during the First World War as a member of the 42nd Homeguard division, or the Devil’s Division, he liquidated Serbs from Loznica, Šabac and Mačva. During the Second World War, Tito deliberately instructed liquidations of German soldiers and officers throughout Serbia and Belgrade, because he knew that for every single German killed there would be a 100 Serbs killed as retaliation. Tito, counting on that, ordered for as many Germans to be killed as possible, because it meant that there would be less and less Serbs. Then, on 13 May 1944, the Division for the Protection of the people (OZN) was formed which gathered a mass of Ustasha officers who merely changed into different uniforms. After the war, Tito continued to destroy Serbia and the Serbs, moving the agriculture to other republics, primarily to Croatia and Slovenia, where numerous army resorts were built on the coastline, unlike the Monte Negro coastline. So much for Tito, who left us with deep consequences of communism, and the consequences of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) with its policy of killing, relocating and Christianizing the population. They are still trying to destroy Serbianism. This time by implementing the so‐called western democracy according to which children in schools have more rights than teachers. The objective of this plan is to bring down all forms of authority. No one believes in God anymore, and that is the only thing, alongside nationalism with a Saint‐Savian observance of Serbian tradition without any kind of chauvinism, that can get us out of this situation.

The next person to lead the state should be someone who believes in God, we don’t need Masters of Arts and Doctors, definitely not those kinds of people. We need a believer, an honest man, a man of the people. And yes, he mustn’t be a communist, because communists are not believers and therefore cannot be Serbs. That’s something you must know – we Serbs are an honorable, knightly people, whose word is their bond. We are not genocidal like that Čedo Jovanović is saying. He is a pro‐communist agitator who claims that the Serb Republic was built on the genocide of Muslims in Srebrenica. What genocide, these are lies. And the Muslims, well you should know, they are nothing more than Turcized Serbs. Jovanović wants to talk about things he knows nothing about from his chair in Belgrade. If the Shqiptars gained independence with Kosovo, then the Serb Republic should get the same, or why has Croatia gained independence with the Croats, and the Serbs in the Serb Republic can’t have the same? All of this is largely the Vatican’s doing, and also the MMF’s. There are still religious wars led in their interests and which they control. For that matter, wasn’t our war, the war between Croats and Serbs, a religious war? You are Catholic and we are Orthodox. Just as the war between the Serbs and Muslims. Religious wars arise when two religions collide. When I was fighting on Kosovo, the Iranians were fighting for the Albanians! They came to Kosovo to slaughter Serbs. In past wars, the Russians fought alongside the Serbs, the Iranians alongside the Albanians, various Arab nations alongside the Muslims, and Germans alongside the Croats. Even though, so we understand each other, I don’t hate the Croats.

But the truth must be known about what Tito did against the Serbs, as well as the NDH. We are now investigating the Serb truth, we are looking for the grave of Draža Mihajlović, but I also think that we’re not going to find it until a man comes to power who believes in God! I personally prefer Milan Nedić to Draža. Nedić was saving Serbs from the Ustasha across Croatia with the Italian army and the Dinara Chetnik Division during the Second World War. He is a great Serb. But I am not a Nedić‐ist, I am not a Chetnik either, I am not a member of any political party in Serbia. I observe everything that is going on with a cold head, rationally, I read a lot, I analyze, I steer clear of everything so that my head is clear from everything, with only my personal views and opinions – said Baščarević.


‘’With faith in God, Freedom or Death,’’ is an old Chetnik slogan which can now be seen on sports fan tracksuits worn by young Serbs looking for action on the sports stands or in the streets of Belgrade. "Chetnik symbols and Draža Mihajlović, 1941, it’s all back in style again, the kids are loving it, and they’re our main clientele. That’s why we make these tracksuits with these kinds of inscriptions on them. It sells, and sells big, just like the ones with inscriptions ‘Dinarska divizija’ /the Dinara Division/. As far as I know, this was a Chetnik military unit from WWII. We have sewn in a balaclava or ski mask in the hoods of the tracksuits with Chetnik insignia so that when kids cause trouble their faces are covered and they can’t be identified," says the saleswoman in a shop for sports equipment for the fan group ‘Grobari’ (Gravediggers). Chetnik symbolism involving, by all accounts, the soon rehabilitated Draža Mihajlović has made a big entrance into the lives of the young.


Based on a decision by the State Attorney a Commission was formed in 2009 for the purpose of discovering the facts surrounding the execution of the death sentence of General Dragoljub Draža Mihajlović. Several days later, the Government of the Republic of Serbia delivered a conclusion pursuant to the proposal of the Justice Ministry according to which all documents regarding the execution of the death sentence of Mihajlović, who was arrested in winter 1946, were no longer confidential. The task of the Commission, among other things, was to establish the location of the execution of the death penalty, and currently two locations are mentioned, of which the most probable one is the one on the Ada Cignalija next to where the prison used to be. Draža Mihajlović is mentioned in the documents of the Institute for Modern History in Belgrade, which has been collecting and analyzing materials regarding his arrest, investigation, trial and liquidation for the Commission, as an ‘army general, commander of the Yugoslav Army in the Fatherland, chief of staff of the Supreme Command of the Yugoslav Army from 1941 to 1945 and the army minister in Yugoslav governments from 1942 to 1944, captured on 13 March 1946 by the ‘Division for the Protection of the People’ or the OZN for Serbia. Naturally, there is no mention whatsoever of his collaboration with the Nazis and the bestial crimes, just as there is no mention of these facts in the official Serbian policy planning to rehabilitate him.
Distinguished retired professor of political sociology Ratko Božović says that virtual reality dominates over reality in Serbia, and at the same time there is no passion for the pursuit of truth with which Serbia obviously hasn’t the strength to face.

‐ When talking about truth, we ourselves have the impression that we are in some kind of cave‐like semidarkness not wanting to see even that little which we can. Because of all of this our young people are depressed; they have no chance of succeeding in life in this poor situation in the society, so they stray into Chetnik ideology or some other primitive form of nationalism, says Božović.
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