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Gazimestan, 28 June 1989.

The Gazimestan speech was a speech given on 28 June 1989 by Slobodan Milošević, then President of Serbia. It was the centrepiece of a day-long event to mark the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, in which the medieval Serbian kingdom had been defeated by the Ottoman Empire. The speech was delivered to a huge crowd gathered at the place where the battle had been fought, Gazimestan in the Central Kosovo. It came against a backdrop of intense ethnic tension between ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo and increasing political tensions between Serbia and the other constituent republics of the then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The speech has since become famous for Milošević's reference to the possibility of "armed battles", in the future of Serbia's national development. Many commentators have described this as presaging the collapse of Yugoslavia and the bloodshed of the Yugoslav Wars. Milošević actually spoke of the "battles" in the context of "implementing economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity"[1] and himself later said that he had been misrepresented.[2]

Contents

Background to the speech

Slobodan Milošević.

In the years leading up to the speech, Kosovo had become a central issue in Serbian politics. The province had been given extensive rights of autonomy in the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution and had been run by the province's majority-Albanian population. The reassertion of Albanian nationalism, discrimination against Serbs by the province's predominately Albanian police force and local government,[3] and a worsening economy led to a large number (around 100,000 between 1961-1987[4]) of Serbs and Montenegrins leaving the area by the late-1980s[5][6]. Slobodan Milošević had used the issue to secure the leadership of the League of Communists of Serbia in 1987, and in early 1989 he pushed through a new constitution that drastically reduced the autonomy of Kosovo and the northern autonomous province of Vojvodina. Many Albanians were killed in March 1989 when demonstrations against the new constitution were violently suppressed by Serbian security forces. By June 1989, the atmosphere in Kosovo was calm but tense.[7]

The speech was the climax of the commemoration of the six hundredth anniversary of the battle. It followed months of commemorative events which had been promoted by an intense media focus on the subject of Serbia's relationship with Kosovo. A variety of Serbian dramatists, painters, musicians and filmmakers had highlighted key motifs of the Kosovo legend, particularly the theme of the betrayal of Serbia. Public "Rallies for Truth" were organised by Kosovo Serbs between mid-1988 and early 1989, at which symbols of Kosovo were prominently displayed. The common theme was that Serbs outside Kosovo (and indeed outside Serbia itself) should know the truth about the predicament of the Kosovo Serbs, emotionally presented as an issue of the utmost national priority. Serb-inhabited towns competed with each other to stage ever-more patriotic rallies in an effort to gain favour from the new "patriotic leadership", thus helping to further increase nationalist sentiments.[8]

The event was also invested with major religious significance. In the months preceding the Gazimestan rally, the remains of Prince Lazar of Serbia, who had fallen in the Battle of Kosovo, were carried in a heavily publicised procession around the Serb-inhabited territories of Yugoslavia.[9] Throngs of mourners queued for hours to see the relics and attend commemorative public rallies, vowing in speeches never to allow Serbia to be defeated again.[10] At the end of the tour, the relics were reinterred in the Serbian Orthodox monastery at Gračanica in Kosovo, near Gazimestan.

The 28 June 1989 event was attended by a crowd estimated at between half a million and two million people (most estimates put the figure at around a million). They were overwhelmingly Serbs, many of whom had been brought to Gazimestan on hundreds of special coaches and trains organized by Milošević's League of Communists of Serbia. The attendees came not only from Serbia but all of the Serb-inhabited parts of Yugoslavia and even from overseas; around seven thousand diaspora Serbs from Australia, Canada and the United States also attended at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church.[11]

In addition to Milošević himself, the speech was attended by a variety of dignitaries from the Serbian and Yugoslav establishment. They included the entire leadership of the Serbian Orthodox Church, led by Patriarch German; the Prime Minister of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Ante Marković; members of the Presidency of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia; the leadership of the Yugoslav People's Army; and members of the rotating Presidency of Yugoslavia. Significantly, the event was boycotted by the Croatian member of the Presidency, Stipe Šuvar, as well as the United States ambassador and all ambassadors from the European Community and NATO countries with the exception of Turkey (which had a direct interest in the event as the successor state to the Ottoman Empire).[12]

After being escorted through cheering crowds waving his picture alongside that of Lazar, [13] he delivered his speech on a huge stage with a backdrop containing powerful symbols of the Kosovo myth: images of peonies, a flower traditionally deemed to symbolise the blood of Lazar, and an Orthodox cross with a Cyrillic letter "C" at each of its four corners (standing for the slogan Само Слога Србина Спашава (Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava, "Only Unity Saves the Serbs").[14]

Content of the speech

The message that Milošević delivered in the speech was essentially one that he had already been promoting for some time. On 19 November 1988, he told a "Brotherhood and Unity" rally in Belgrade: "None should be surprised that Serbia raised its head because of Kosovo this summer. Kosovo is the pure centre of its history, culture and memory. Every nation has one love that warms its heart. For Serbia it is Kosovo." [15] A similar theme characterised his speech at Gazimestan. Edit Petrović comments that Milošević sought to combine "history, memory and continuity", promoting "the illusion that the Serbs who fought against the Turks in Kosovo in 1389 are somehow the same as the Serbs fighting for Serbian national survival today." [16] According to James Gow, the objective was to further Milošević's political campaign, which was "predicated on the notion of redressing this mood of victimisation and restoring the sense of Serbian pride and, most important of all, power." [17]

At the beginning of the speech, Milošević mentions the battle and concludes that it is through the play of history of life[1] that Serbia regained its state, national, and spiritual integrity[1] (referring to the constitutional changes which reduced autonomy of Serbia's provinces and strengthened the central rule) at battle's anniversary. He continues by saying that Today, it is difficult to say what is the historical truth about the Battle of Kosovo and what is legend. Today this is no longer important.[1]; what he deems important, however, is that loss of the battle was not only the result of social superiority and the armed advantage of the Ottoman Empire but also of the tragic disunity in the leadership of the Serbian state at that time[1].

Milošević placed his speech in the context of the post-World War II history of Yugoslavia, in which Serbia's influence had been restricted through constitutional arrangements diluting its power. This had been a long-running controversy in Serbian politics, particularly after Kosovo and the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina were granted influence over Serbia under Yugoslavia's 1974 constitution. Vjeran Pavlaković comments that Milošević sought to make "clear parallels between the Battle of Kosovo Polje and the Yugoslav constitution of 1974, both considered to be defeats in the Serbian national consciousness."[18] He maintained that disunity follows Serbs through history, saying that the consequences of the Second World War (referring to conflicts between Chetniks and Yugoslav Partisans, in the historical and moral sense exceeded fascist aggression[1]), and the Socialist Yugoslavia. Disunity among Serbian political leaders meant that they were prone to compromise to the detriment of its own people[1], compromise which could not be accepted historically and ethically by any nation in the world[1]. However, here we are now at the field of Kosovo to say that this is no longer the case[1].

Milošević presented Serbian victimisation as the result of poor political leadership and spoke of how "the Serbian leadership [had] remained divided, prone to compromise to the detriment of its own people". He asserted:

"The fact that in this region they are a major nation is not a Serbian sin or shame; this is an advantage which they have not used against others, but I must say that here, in this big, legendary field of Kosovo, the Serbs have not used the advantage of being great for their own benefit either."

Milošević signalled that this passiveness would change:

"Thanks to their leaders and politicians and their vassal mentality they felt guilty before themselves and others. This situation lasted for decades, it lasted for years and here we are now at the field of Kosovo to say that this is no longer the case ... Serbia of today is united and equal to other republics and prepared to do everything to improve its financial and social position and that of all its citizens. If there is unity, cooperation, and seriousness, it will succeed in doing so."

In an elaboration of another of the major motifs of the Kosovo myth, that of the purity of Serbian motives, he asserted that

"Serbs have never in the whole of their history conquered and exploited others. Their national and historical being has been liberational throughout the whole of history and through two world wars, as it is today. They liberated themselves and when they could they also helped others to liberate themselves."

Afterwards Milošević spoke about unity and Serbian multi-ethnicity: he emphasised that unity in Serbia will bring prosperity to the Serbian people in Serbia[1], and also to each one of its citizens, irrespective of his national or religious affiliation[1]. Unity and equality to other republics will enable Serbia to improve its financial and social position and that of all its citizens. Milošević notices that in Serbia, apart from Serbs, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it[1] and that This is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its advantage.[1]

Milošević went on to speak about divisions among Yugoslav nations and their religions, which Socialism in particular, being a progressive and just democratic society, should not allow[1]. He devoted a large part of the speech to these divisions, stating that Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can survive only under the conditions of full equality for all nations that live in it.[1] However, The crisis that hit Yugoslavia has brought about national divisions[1], despite the fact that Yugoslavia experienced the worst tragedy of national conflicts that a society can experience and still survive.[1] Milošević hoped that the way out of the crisis are Equal and harmonious relations among Yugoslav peoples[1], especially as the modern world is more and more marked by national tolerance, national cooperation, and even [sic] national equality[1]. He asserted that Yugoslavia should be a part of this new direction that the civilization took.

The middle section of the speech took a markedly different line from the nationalist expressions which bookended it; Louis Sell describes it as sounding "as if it was written by his wife" (Mirjana Marković, who was known for her hard-line communist views). Milošević praised the virtues of ethnic tolerance and socialism, describing how "the world is more and more marked by national tolerance, national cooperation and even national equality" and calling for equal and harmonious relations among the peoples of Yugoslavia. It was reportedly met with silence, bordering on restiveness, by the crowd.[19]

He then again spoke about disunity, drawing comparisons between the time of the battle of Kosovo and today. At the time of the battle, people could allow themselves to be disunited and to have hatred and treason because they lived in smaller, weakly interlinked worlds[1], today however mutual harmony and solidarity[1] of all the humankind is necessary for its prosperity and ultimately space colonization. He notices that In the memory of the Serbian people[1], even if from a historical point of view it is not correct, disunity was decisive in causing the loss of the battle and in bringing about the fate which Serbia suffered for a full 6 centuries[1]. This is why awareness of harmony and unity will make it possible for Serbia not only to function as a state but to function as a successful state[1]. He asserts that this striving for harmony and unity is also relevant for Yugoslavia as a whole: Such an awareness about mutual relations constitutes an elementary necessity for Yugoslavia, too, for its fate is in the joined hands of all its peoples.[1]

After issuing a call for "unity, solidarity, and cooperation among people", Milošević delivered the speech's most controversial passage, stating:

"Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battles and are facing battles. They are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded yet. However, regardless of what kind of battles they are, they cannot be won without resolve, bravery, and sacrifice, without the noble qualities that were present here in the field of Kosovo in the days past. Our chief battle now concerns implementing the economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity, finding a quicker and more successful approach to a civilization in which people will live in the 21st century."

In the final paragraph of the speech, Milošević addressed the relation between Serbia and Europe. He portrayed medieval Serbia as not just the defender of its own territory, but of all Europe in the fight against the Ottoman Turks. He declared that "Six centuries ago, Serbia heroically defended itself in the field of Kosovo, but it also defended Europe. Serbia was at that time the bastion that defended the European culture, religion, and European society in general.". Arne Johan Vetlesen comments that this was an appeal "to the values of Europe, meaning to Christianity, to modernity, to Civilization with a capital C, exploit[ing] Orientalist sentiments and help[ing] to amplify the Balkanism widespread in Western governments." [20] In this connection, he again stressed that "In this spirit we now endeavor to build a society, rich and democratic, and thus to contribute to the prosperity of this beautiful country, this unjustly suffering country, but also to contribute to the efforts of all the progressive people of our age that they make for a better and happier world."

He concluded the speech with:

"Let the memory of Kosovo heroism live forever!
Long live Serbia!
Long live Yugoslavia!
Long live peace and brotherhood among peoples!"

Responses to the speech

The speech was enthusiastically received by the crowds at Gazimestan, who were reported to have shouted "Kosovo is Serb" and "We love you, Slobodan, because you hate the Muslims." [14] Some sang "Tsar Lazar, you were not lucky enough to have Slobo by your side" and dubbed Milošević Mali Lazar ("Little Lazar"), while others chanted "Europe, don't you remember that we defended you!" (referring to a key element of the Kosovo mythos, that Serbia sacrificed itself in defending Christian Europe against the encroaching Muslim Turks).[19] This was to be an important theme in Serbian nationalist rhetoric during the Yugoslav wars; Thomas A. Emmert, writing in 1993, commented that since the day of the speech, "Serbs have not failed to remind themselves and the world that they are fighting for the very defense of Europe against Islamic fundamentalism. It matters little to them that Europeans and Americas do not perceive any need for defense." [21]

Matija Becković, a well-known poet and academic, praised the event as "the culmination of the Serb national revolt, in Kosovo as the equator of the Serb planet. ... On this six hundredth anniversary of the Kosovo battle, we must emphasise that Kosovo is Serbia; and that this is a fundamental reality, irrespective of Albanian birth rates and Serb mortality rates. There is so much Serb blood and Serb sanctity there that Kosovo will remain Serbian even if there is not a single Serb left there. ... It is almost surprising that all Serbian land is not called by the name of Kosovo." [22]

The Belgrade daily newspaper Politika reprinted Milošević's speech in full in a special edition dedicated entirely to the Kosovo issue. It asserted in an editorial that "We are once more living in the times of Kosovo, as it is in Kosovo and around Kosovo that the destiny of Yugoslavia and the destiny of socialism are being determined. They want to take away from us the Serbian and the Yugoslav Kosovo, yes, they want to, but they will not be allowed to." [11]

Milošević himself appears to have regarded the event as a triumph. Janez Drnovšek, the Slovene member of the Yugoslav collective presidency, sat next to Milošević during the ceremony and later described the Serbian president's mood as "euphoric".[19]

Although many Serbs gave the speech a warm welcome, it was regarded warily by the other Yugoslav peoples and anti-Milošević Serbs. The nationalist sentiments expressed by Milošević were a major break with the late Yugoslav leader Tito's anti-nationalist approach and, as Robert Thomas comments, "it effectively acted as a symbolic repudiation of the Titoist legacy." [23] Milošević's claims that the Serbs "liberated themselves and when they could they also helped others to liberate themselves" were seen by some as a commitment to a forcible redrawing of Yugoslav's internal borders, to create a Greater Serbia. Concerns about an underlying agenda were heightened by the presence at the event of the Serbian Orthodox bishop from Dalmatia in Croatia, who gave a keynote speech in which he compared Dalmatia to Kosovo and concluded that both had made the same vow to Milošević.[24]

The British journalist Marcus Tanner, who attended the Gazimestan event, reported that "representatives [of Slovenia and Croatia] ... looked nervous and uncomfortable" and commented that the outpouring of Serbian nationalist sentiment had "perhaps permanently destroyed any possibility of a settlement in Kosovo."[25] The nervousness was reflected in a Slovenian TV report on the speech, which noted:

"And whatever significance the Kosovo battle may have in the national and intimate consciousness of the Serbs, the festivities at Gazimestan again confirmed that it will be more and more difficult to face Serbian conduct and wishes, for it seems that the Serbs won a significant victory in Kosovo today and they made it known that it was not the last one. The feeling of belonging, of unity, power and almost blind obedience of the million-fold crowd and all the others from this republic of Serbian or Montenegrin origin who may not have attended the gathering, are the elements in shaping a sharp and unyielding policy."[26]

The international media gave the speech mixed reviews. Many commentators noted the unprecedented nature of the event and the radical departure that it represented from the anti-nationalist ideology espoused under Tito. Although the speech's advocacy of mutual respect and democracy was described as "unexpectedly conciliatory" (as the UK newspaper The Independent put it), the contrast between Milošević's rhetoric and the reality of his widely criticized policies towards the Kosovo Albanians was also noted.[25]

Many commentators have interpreted the speech in hindsight as a coded declaration by Milošević that he was willing to use force to advance Serbia's interests [27]; Tim Judah speculates that Milošević perhaps referred to "armed battles" in a "bid to intimidate the other Yugoslav leaders, who because of protocol were forced to attend".[28] Milan Milošević (no relation to Slobodan Milošević) comments, "he did not have in mind the later wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was thinking of Kosovo itself."[9] However, Slobodan Milošević himself rejected this view at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2002 and 2005. He told the tribunal:

"[N]one of the people that I talked to spoke of any warmongering attitude, nothing of the kind. On the contrary, this was a speech of peace, encouraging people to live together in harmony, all of the nationalities, the Turks, Gorani, Ashkali living in Kosovo, as well as throughout the entire Yugoslavia."[29]

Addressing his use of the phrase "armed battles", he said:

"That is an ordinary type of sentence that everybody uses today because peace has still not become a stable, secure category in the present day world, in the modern day world. And if that were not so, why do states have armies?" [30]

A misconception about the speech (for example, stated in The Times[31]) is that Milosevic uttered his "No one will beat you!" line in the speech. He said that at a completely different occasion.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Quote from the English translation by the National Technical Information Service of the US Department of Commerce. Reprinted in The Kosovo Conflict and International Law: An Analytical Documentation 1974-1999, ed. Heike Krieger, p. 10-11. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0521800714.
  2. ^ International Criminal Tribunal, transcript 020214IT, 14 February 2002
  3. ^ David Bruce MacDonald, Balkan Holocausts?: Serbian and Croatian victim-centred propaganda and the war in Yugoslavia, p. 65. Manchester University Press, 2002. ISBN 0719064678
  4. ^ Ruza Petrovic; Marina Blagojevic. "Preface". The Migration of Serbs and Montenegrins from Kosovo and Metohija. http://www.rastko.org.rs/kosovo/istorija/kosovo_migrations/index.html.  
  5. ^ Rise of Tension in Kosovo Due to Migration
  6. ^ Expert report by Audrey Helfant Budding given to the ICTY for the prosecution against Slobodan Milosevic, part 4
  7. ^ Paulin Kola, In Search of Greater Albania, p. 181-182. C. Hurst & Co, 2003. ISBN 1850656649
  8. ^ Mihailo Crnobrnja, The Yugoslav Drama, p. 102. McGill-Queen's Press, 1996. ISBN 0773514295
  9. ^ a b Milan Milošević, "The Media Wars: 1987 - 1997", p. 110-111 in Burn This House: The Making and Unmaking of Yugoslavia, ed. Jasminka Udovički, James Ridgeway. Duke University Press, 2000. ISBN 082232590X
  10. ^ Vamik D. Volkan, William F. Greer, Gabriele Ast, The Third Reich in the Unconscious: Transgenerational Transmission and Its Consequences, p. 47. Psychology Press, 2002. ISBN 1583913343
  11. ^ a b Olga Zirojević, "Kosovo in the Collective Memory", p. 207-208, in The Road to War in Serbia: trauma and catharsis, ed. Nebojša Popov. Central European University Press, 2000. ISBN 9639116564
  12. ^ Footnote on p. 101 in The War in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1991-1995, ed. Branka Magaš, Ivo Žanić
  13. ^ Michael Sells, "Kosovo Mythology and the Bosnian Genocide", p. 181 in In God's Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth Century, ed. Omer Bartov, Phyllis Mack. Berghahn Books, 2001. ISBN 1571812148
  14. ^ a b R. Scott Appleby, The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation, p. 70. Rowman & Littlefield, 2000
  15. ^ Naša Borba, 14 June 1996
  16. ^ Edit Petrović, "Ethnonationalism and the Dissolution of Yugoslavia", p. 170 in Neighbors at War: anthropological perspectives on Yugoslav ethnicity, culture, and history, ed. Joel Martin Halpern, David A. Kideckel. Penn State Press, 2000
  17. ^ James Gow, The Serbian Project and Its Adversaries: A Strategy of War Crimes, p. 10. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2003. ISBN 1850654999
  18. ^ Sabrina Petra Ramet & Vjeran Pavlaković, Serbia Since 1989: politics and society under Milošević and after, p. 13. University of Washington Press, 2005. ISBN 0295985380
  19. ^ a b c Louis Sell, Slobodan Milošević and the Destruction of Yugoslavia, p. 88. Duke University Press, 2003. ISBN 082233223X
  20. ^ Arne Johan Vetlesen, Evil and Human Agency: Understanding Collective Evildoing, p. 153. Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0521856949
  21. ^ Emmert, Thomas A. "Why Serbia Will Fight for 'Holy' Kosovo; And the Peril for Western Armies Approaching the Balkan Tripwire". Washington Post, June 13, 1993
  22. ^ Quoted by Vidosav Stevanović, Milošević: The People's Tyrant", footnote 18, p. 219. I.B.Tauris, 2004.
  23. ^ Robert Thomas, Serbia Under Milošević: Politics in the 1990s, p. 50. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1999. ISBN 1850653410
  24. ^ Norman Cigar, "The Serbo-Croatian War, 1991", p. 57 in Genocide After Emotion: The Postemotional Balkan War, ed. Stjepan G. Mestrović. Routledge, 1996. ISBN 0415122937
  25. ^ a b "Milosevic carries off the battle honours", The Independent, June 29 1989
  26. ^ Slovenian TV news, 1700 GMT, 28 June 1989 (in translation from BBC Monitoring)
  27. ^ Ivo Goldstein, Croatia: A History, p. 203. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 1999. ISBN 1850655251
  28. ^ Judah, Tim. "The Serbs: the sweet and rotten smell of history". Daedalus, June 22, 1997. No. 3, Vol. 126; Pg. 23
  29. ^ Milošević testimony to the ICTY, 26 January 2005
  30. ^ Milošević testimony to the ICTY, 14 February 2002
  31. ^ Milosevic on suicide watch in Dutch prison; Times Newspapers Limited; The Times (London); June 30, 2001, Saturday

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Gazimestan speech
by Slobodan Milošević
Serbian English
На овом месту у срцу Србије, на Косову Пољу, пре шест векова, пре пуних 600-на година догодила се једна од највећих битака онога доба. Као и све велике догађаје и тај прате многа питања и тајне, он је предмет непрекидног научног истраживања и обичне народне радозналости. Стицајем друштвених околности овај велики шестстогодишњи јубилеј Косовске битке догодио се у години у којој је Србија, после много година, после много деценија, повратила свој државни, национални и духовни интегритет. Није нам, према томе данас, тешко да одговоримо на оно старо питање: -са чим ћемо пред Милоша. Игром историје и живота изгледа као да је Србија баш ове 1989. године повратила своју државу и своје достојанство да би тако прославила историјски догађај из далеке прошлости који је имао велики историјски и симболички значај за њену будућност. At this place, in the heart of Serbia, on the Field of Kosovo, six centuries ago, a full six hundred years ago, one of the greatest battles of that time took place. Like all great events, this one is surrounded by many questions and secrets, it is the subject of incessant scientific research and of the ordinary curiosity of the people. By the force of social circumstances this great 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo is taking place in a year in which Serbia, after many years, after many decades, has regained its state, national, and spiritual integrity. Therefore, it is not difficult for us to answer today the old question: how are we going to face Milos [Milos Obilic, legendary hero of the Battle of Kosovo]. Through the play of history and life, it seems as if Serbia has, precisely in this year, in 1989, regained its state and its dignity and thus has celebrated an event of the distant past which has a great historical and symbolic significance for its future.
Danas je teško reći šta je u Kosovskoj bici istorijska istina, a šta legenda. Danas to više nije ni važno. Narod je pamtio i zaboravljao pritisnut bolom i ispunjen nadom. Kao uostalom i svaki narod na svetu. Stideo se izdajstva, veličao junaštvo. Zato je danas teško reći da li je kosovska bitka poraz ili pobeda srpskog naroda, da li smo zahvaljujući njoj pali u ropstvo, ili smo zahvaljujući njoj u tom ropstvu preživeli. Odgovore na ta pitanja tražiće nauka i narod neprekidno. Ono što je izvesno, kroz sve ove vekove iza nas, je da nas je na Kosovu pre 600 godina zadesila nesloga. Ako smo izgubili bitku, onda to nije bio samo rezultat društvene superiornosti i oružane prednosti osmanlijskog carstva, već i tragične nesloge u vrhu sprske države. Tada, te daleke 1389. osmanlijsko carstvo nije samo bilo jače od srpskog, ono je bilo i srećnije od srpskog carstva. Today, it is difficult to say what is the historical truth about the Battle of Kosovo and what is legend. Today this is no longer important. Oppressed by pain and filled with hope, the people used to remember and to forget, as, after all, all people in the world do, and it was ashamed of treachery and glorified heroism. Therefore it is difficult to say today whether the Battle of Kosovo was a defeat or a victory for the Serbian people, whether thanks to it we fell into slavery or we survived in this slavery. The answers to those questions will be constantly sought by science and the people. What has been certain through all the centuries until our time today is that disharmony struck Kosovo 600 years ago. If we lost the battle, then this was not only the result of social superiority and the armed advantage of the Ottoman Empire but also of the tragic disunity in the leadership of the Serbian state at that time. In that distant 1389, the Ottoman Empire was not only stronger than that of the Serbs but it was also more fortunate than the Serbian kingdom.
Nesloga i izdaja na Kosovu pratiće dalje srpski narod kao zla kob kroz čitavu njegovu istoriju. I u poslednjem ratu ta nesloga i ta izdaja uvele su srpski narod i Srbiju u agoniju čije su posledice u istorijskom i moralnom smislu prevazilazile fašističku agresiju. The lack of unity and betrayal in Kosovo will continue to follow the Serbian people like an evil fate through the whole of its history. Even in the last war, this lack of unity and betrayal led the Serbian people and Serbia into agony, the consequences of which in the historical and moral sense exceeded fascist aggression.
Pa i kasnije kada je formirana socijalistička Jugoslavija, srpski vrh je u toj novoj zemlji ostao podeljen, sklon kompromisima na stetu sopstvenog naroda. Ustupke koje su mnogi srpski rukovodioci pravili na račun svog naroda, ni istorijski, ni etički, ne bi mogao da prihvati ni jedan narod na svetu. Pogotovo što Srbi kroz čitavu svoju istoriju nisu nikada osvajali i eksploatisali druge. Njihovo nacionalno i istorijsko biće kroz čitavu istoriju i kroz dva svetska rata kao i danas je – oslobodilačko. Oslobađali su večito sebe i, kad su bili u prilici, pomagali su drugima da se oslobode. A to što su u ovim prostorima veliki narod, nije nikakav srpski greh, ni sramota. To je prednost, koju oni nisu koristili protiv drugih. Ali moram da kažem ovde, na ovom velikom, legendarnom polju Kosovu, da Srbi tu prednost što su veliki nisu nikada koristili ni za sebe. Even later, when a socialist Yugoslavia was set up, in this new state the Serbian leadership remained divided, prone to compromise to the detriment of its own people. The concessions that many Serbian leaders made at the expense of their people could not be accepted historically and ethically by any nation in the world, especially because the Serbs have never in the whole of their history conquered and exploited others. Their national and historical being has been liberational throughout the whole of history and through two world wars, as it is today. They liberated themselves and when they could they also helped others to liberate themselves. The fact that in this region they are a major nation is not a Serbian sin or shame; this is an advantage which they have not used against others, but I must say that here, in this big, legendary field of Kosovo, the Serbs have not used the advantage of being great for their own benefit either.
Zaslugom svojih vođa i političara i njihovog vazalnog mentaliteta čak su se zbog toga osećali krivim pred drugima, pa i pred sobom. Tako je bilo decenijama, godinama. Evo nas danas na polju Kosovu da kazemo – da više nije tako. Thanks to their leaders and politicians and their vassal mentality they felt guilty before themselves and others. This situation lasted for decades, it lasted for years and here we are now at the field of Kosovo to say that this is no longer the case.
Nesloga srpskih političara unazađivala je Srbiju, a njihova inferiornost ponižavala je Srbiju. Nema zato u Srbiji pogodnijeg mesta od polja Kosova da se to kaže. I nema zato u Srbiji pogodnijeg mesta, od polja Kosova, da se kaže da će sloga u Srbiji omogućiti prosperitet i srpskom narodu i Srbiji i svakom njenom građaninu, bez obzira na nacionalnu ili versku pripadnost. Disunity among Serb officials made Serbia lag behind and their inferiority humiliated Serbia. Therefore, no place in Serbia is better suited for saying this than the field of Kosovo and no place in Serbia is better suited than the field of Kosovo for saying that unity in Serbia will bring prosperity to the Serbian people in Serbia and each one of its citizens, irrespective of his national or religious affiliation.
Srbija je danas jedinstvena, ravnopravna sa drugim republikama i spremna da učini sve da poboljša materijalni i društveni život svih svojih građana. Ako bude sloge, saradnje i ozbiljnosti, ona će u tome i uspeti. Zato je optimizam koji je danas u priličnoj meri prisutan u Srbiji u pogledu budućih dana, realan utoliko što se zasniva na slobodi koja omogućava svim ljudima da izraze svoje pozitivne, stvaralačke, humane sposobnosti za unapređenje društvenog i sopstvenog života. Serbia of today is united and equal to other republics and prepared to do everything to improve its financial and social position and that of all its citizens. If there is unity, cooperation, and seriousness, it will succeed in doing so. This is why the optimism that is now present in Serbia to a considerable extent regarding the future days is realistic, also because it is based on freedom, which makes it possible for all people to express their positive, creative and humane abilities aimed at furthering social and personal life.
U Srbiji nikada nisu živeli samo Srbi. Danas u njoj, više nego pre, žive i građani drugih naroda i narodnosti. To nije hendikep za Srbiju. Iskreno sam uveren da je to njena prednost. U tom smislu se menja nacionalni sastav gotovo svih, a naročito razvijenih zemalja savremenog sveta. Sve više i sve uspešnije zajedno žive građani raznih nacionalnosti, raznih vera i rasa. Serbia has never had only Serbs living in it. Today, more than in the past, members of other peoples and nationalities also live in it. This is not a disadvantage for Serbia. I am truly convinced that it is its advantage. National composition of almost all countries in the world today, particularly developed ones, has also been changing in this direction. Citizens of different nationalities, religions, and races have been living together more and more frequently and more and more successfully.
Socijalizam kao progresivno i pravedno demokratsko društvo pogotovo ne bi smelo da dopusti da se ljudi dele nacionalno i verski. Jedine razlike koje se u socijalizmu mogu da dopuste i treba da dopuste su između radnih i neradnih, između poštenih i nepoštenih. Zato su svi koji u Srbiji žive od svog rada, pošteno, poštujući druge ljude i druge narode – u svojoj Republici. Socialism in particular, being a progressive and just democratic society, should not allow people to be divided in the national and religious respect. The only differences one can and should allow in socialism are between hard working people and idlers and between honest people and dishonest people. Therefore, all people in Serbia who live from their own work, honestly, respecting other people and other nations, are in their own republic.
Uostalom, na tim osnovama treba da bude uređena čitava naša zemlja. Jugoslavija je višenacionalna zajednica i ona može da opstane samo u uslovima potpune ravnopravnosti svih nacija koje u njoj žive. After all, our entire country should be set up on the basis of such principles. Yugoslavia is a multinational community and it can survive only under the conditions of full equality for all nations that live in it.
Kriza koja je pogodila Jugoslaviju dovela je do nacionalnih, ali i do socijalnih, kulturnih, verskih i mnogih drugih manje važnih podela. Među svim tim podelama, kao najdramatičnije su se pokazale nacionalne podele. Njihovo otklanjanje olakšaće otklanjanje drugih podela i ublažiti posledice koje su te druge podele izazvale. The crisis that hit Yugoslavia has brought about national divisions, but also social, cultural, religious and many other less important ones. Among all these divisions, nationalist ones have shown themselves to be the most dramatic. Resolving them will make it easier to remove other divisions and mitigate the consequences they have created.
Otkad postoje višenacionalne zajednice, njihova slaba tačka su odnosi koji se između različitih nacija uspostavljaju. Kao mač nad njihovim glavama, prisutna je neprekidna pretnja da se jednog dana pokrene pitanje ugroženosti jedne nacije od drugih i time pokrene talas sumnji, optužbi i netrpeljivosti koji po pravilu raste i teško se zaustavlja. To unutrašnji i spoljni neprijatelji takvih zajednica znaju i zato svoju aktivnost protiv višenacionalnih društava uglavnom organizuju na podsticanje nacionalnih sukoba. U ovom trenutku mi u Jugoslaviji se ponašamo kao da nam to iskustvo uopšte nije poznato. I kao da u sopstvenoj, i daljoj i bližoj prošlosti nismo iskusili svu tragičnost nacionalnih sukoba, koje jedno društvo može da doživi, a da ipak opstane. For as long as multinational communities have existed, their weak point has always been the relations between different nations. The threat is that the question of one nation being endangered by the others can be posed one day -- and this can then start a wave of suspicions, accusations, and intolerance, a wave that invariably grows and is difficult to stop. This threat has been hanging like a sword over our heads all the time. Internal and external enemies of multi-national communities are aware of this and therefore they organize their activity against multinational societies mostly by fomenting national conflicts. At this moment, we in Yugoslavia are behaving as if we have never had such an experience and as if in our recent and distant past we have never experienced the worst tragedy of national conflicts that a society can experience and still survive.
Ravnopravni i složeni odnosi među jugoslovenskim narodima su neophodan uslov za opstanak Jugoslavije, za njen izlazak iz krize, i pogotovo neophodan uslov za njen ekonomski i društveni prosperitet. Time se Jugoslavija ne izdvaja iz socijalnog ambijenta savremenog, pogotovo razvijenog sveta. Taj svet sve više obeležava nacionalna trpeljivost, nacionalna saradnja, pa čak i nacionalna ravnopravnost. Savremeni ekonomski i tehnološki, ali i politički i kulturni razvoj upućuje razne narode jedne na druge, čini ih međusobno zavisnim i sve više i međusobno ravnopravnim. U civilizaciju ka kojoj se kreće čovečanstvo, mogu zakoračiti pre svega ravnopravni i ujedinjeni ljudi. Ako ne možemo da budemo na čelu puta u takvu civilizaciju, ne treba sigurno da budemo ni na njegovom začelju. Equal and harmonious relations among Yugoslav peoples are a necessary condition for the existence of Yugoslavia and for it to find its way out of the crisis and, in particular, they are a necessary condition for its economic and social prosperity. In this respect Yugoslavia does not stand out from the social milieu of the contemporary, particularly the developed, world. This world is more and more marked by national tolerance, national cooperation, and even national equality. The modern economic and technological, as well as political and cultural development, has guided various peoples toward each other, has made them interdependent and increasingly has made them equal as well [medjusobno ravnopravni]. Equal and united people can above all become a part of the civilization toward which mankind is moving. If we cannot be at the head of the column leading to such a civilization, there is certainly no need for us to be at is tail.
U vreme kada se odigrala ova znamenita istorijska bitka na Kosovu, ljudi su bili zagledani u zvezde čekajući od njih pomoć. Danas, šest vekova kasnije, ponovo su zagledani u zvezde, čekajući da ih osvoje. Prvi put su mogli da dopuste sebi razjedinjenost, mrznju, izdaju, jer su živeli u manjim, međusobno slabo povezanim svetovima. Danas, kao stanovnici planete, razjedinjeni, ne mogu osvojiti ni svoju planetu, a kamoli druge planete, ukoliko ne budu međusobno složni i solidarni. At the time when this famous historical battle was fought in Kosovo, the people were looking at the stars, expecting aid from them. Now, 6 centuries later, they are looking at the stars again, waiting to conquer them. On the first occasion, they could allow themselves to be disunited and to have hatred and treason because they lived in smaller, weakly interlinked worlds. Now, as people on this planet, they cannot conquer even their own planet if they are not united, let alone other planets, unless they live in mutual harmony and solidarity.
Zato možda nigde na tlu naše domovine nemaju toliko smisla reči posvećene slozi, solidarnosti i saradnji među ljudima koliko imaju ovde, na polju Kosovu, koje je simbol nesloge i izdaje. Therefore, words devoted to unity, solidarity, and cooperation among people have no greater significance anywhere on the soil of our motherland than they have here in the field of Kosovo, which is a symbol of disunity and treason.
U pamćenju srpskog naroda ta nesloga je bila presudna za gubitak bitke i za zlu sudbinu koju je Srbija podnela punih pet vekova. In the memory of the Serbian people, this disunity was decisive in causing the loss of the battle and in bringing about the fate which Serbia suffered for a full 6 centuries.
Pa čak i ako sa istorijske tačke gledišta ne bi bilo tako, ostaje izvesno da je narod svoju neslogu doživeo kao svoju najveću nesreću. I obaveza naroda je zato da je sam otkloni da bi sebe ubuduće zaštitio od poraza, neuspeha i stagnacije. Even if it were not so, from a historical point of view, it remains certain that the people regarded disunity as its greatest disaster. Therefore it is the obligation of the people to remove disunity, so that they may protect themselves from defeats, failures, and stagnation in the future.
Srpski narod je ove godine postao svestan nužnosti svoje međusobne sloge kao neophodnog uslova za svoj sadašnji život i dalji razvoj. This year, the Serbian people became aware of the necessity of their mutual harmony as the indispensable condition for their present life and further development.
Uveren sam da će ta svest o slozi i jedinstvu omogućiti Srbiji ne samo da funkcioniše kao država, već da funkcioniše kao uspešna država. Zato i mislim da to ima smisla reći baš ovde na Kosovu gde je nesloga jednom tragično i za vekove unazadila i ugrozila Srbiju i gde obnovljena sloga može da je unapredi i da joj vrati dostojanstvo. A takva svest o međusobnim odnosima predstavlja elementarnu nužnost i za Jugoslaviju – jer se njena sudbina nalazi u združenim rukama svih njenih naroda. Kosovska bitka sadrži u sebi jos jedan veliki simbol. To je simbol junaštva. Njemu su posvećene pesme, igre, literatura i istorija. Kosovsko junaštvo već šest vekova inspiriše naše stvaralaštvo, hrani naš ponos, ne da nam da zaboravimo da smo jednom bili vojska velika, hrabra i ponosita, jedna od retkih koja je u gubitku ostala neporažena. I am convinced that this awareness of harmony and unity will make it possible for Serbia not only to function as a state but to function as a successful state. Therefore I think that it makes sense to say this here in Kosovo, where that disunity once upon a time tragically pushed back Serbia for centuries and endangered it, and where renewed unity may advance it and may return dignity to it. Such an awareness about mutual relations constitutes an elementary necessity for Yugoslavia, too, for its fate is in the joined hands of all its peoples. The Kosovo heroism has been inspiring our creativity for 6 centuries, and has been feeding our pride and does not allow us to forget that at one time we were an army great, brave, and proud, one of the few that remained undefeated when losing.
Šest vekova kasnije, danas, opet smo u bitkama, i pred bitkama. One nisu oružane, mada i takve još nisu isključene. Ali bez obzira kakve da su, bitke se ne mogu dobiti bez odlučnosti, hrabrosti i požrtvovanosti. Bez tih dobrih osobina koje su onda davno bile prisutne na polju Kosovu. Naša glavna bitka danas odnosi se na ostvarenje ekonomskog, politickog, kulturnog i uopšte društvenog prosperiteta. Za brže i uspešnije približavanje civilizaciji u kojoj će živeti ljudi u XXI veku. Za tu nam je bitku pogotovo potrebno junaštvo. Razume se nešto drugačije. Ali ona srčanost bez koje ništa na svetu, ozbiljno i veliko, ne može da se postigne, ostaje nepromenjena, ostaje večno potrebna. Six centuries later, now, we are being again engaged in battles and are facing battles. They are not armed battles, although such things cannot be excluded yet. However, regardless of what kind of battles they are, they cannot be won without resolve, bravery, and sacrifice, without the noble qualities that were present here in the field of Kosovo in the days past. Our chief battle now concerns implementing the economic, political, cultural, and general social prosperity, finding a quicker and more successful approach to a civilization in which people will live in the 21st century. For this battle, we certainly need heroism, of course of a somewhat different kind, but that courage without which nothing serious and great can be achieved remains unchanged and remains urgently necessary.
Pre šest vekova Srbija je ovde, na polju Kosovu, branila sebe. Ali je branila i Evropu. Ona se tada nalazila na njenom bedemu koji je štitio evropsku kulturu, religiju, evropsko društvo u celini. Zato danas izgleda ne samo nepravedno već i neistorijski i sasvim apsurdno razgovarati o pripadnosti Srbije Evropi. Ona je u njoj neprekidno, danas kao i pre. Razume se, na svoj način. Ali takav koji je u istorijskom smislu nije nikad lišio dostojanstva. U tom duhu mi danas nastojimo da gradimo društvo – bogato i demokratsko. I da tako doprinesemo prosperitetu svoje lepe, i u ovom trenutku nepravedno napaćene zemlje. Ali i da tako doprinesemo naporima svih progresivnih ljudi našeg doba, koje oni čine za jedan novi, lepši svet. Six centuries ago, Serbia heroically defended itself in the field of Kosovo, but it also defended Europe. Serbia was at that time the bastion that defended the European culture, religion, and European society in general. Therefore today it appears not only unjust but even unhistorical and completely absurd to talk about Serbia's belonging to Europe. Serbia has been a part of Europe incessantly, now just as much as it was in the past, of course, in its own way, but in a way that in the historical sense never deprived it of dignity. In this spirit we now endeavor to build a society, rich and democratic, and thus to contribute to the prosperity of this beautiful country, this unjustly suffering country, but also to contribute to the efforts of all the progressive people of our age that they make for a better and happier world.
Нека вечно живи успомена на косовско јунаштво! Let the memory of Kosovo heroism live forever!
Нека живи Србија! Long live Serbia!
Нека живи Југославија! Long live Yugoslavia!
Нека живи мир и братство међу народима! Long live peace and brotherhood among peoples!

Source

  • English translation (except the first two sentences) produced by the National Technical Information Service of the US Department of Commerce. Reprinted in The Kosovo Conflict and International Law: An Analytical Documentation 1974-1999, ed. Heike Krieger, p. 10-11. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 0521800714


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