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Presumably celebrating New Year in event at United Nations, the current President of the UN General Assembly apparently was responsible for the playing of an ultra-nationalist militaristic march, “March on Drina,” (or “March upon the River Drina” in English). This militaristic song was employed as the anthem by Serb forces who committed genocide in Srebrenica (which is on the Drina River) as well as a campaign of aggression and ethnic cleansing through much of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

An overwhelming number of Bosnian/Herzegovinian organizations as well as individuals have reacted, many with letters of formal complaint to the UN Secretary General labeling the actions of former Serbian Foreign Minister and current UNGA President Vuk Jeremic as promoting a fascist, insulting song that adorned genocide over the last century, and less than 20 years earlier in the Drina valley towns of Zepa, Gorazde, Visegrad and many others, as well as Srebrenica.  However, I would start with a simpler question: In the building of peace, the United Nations, why would someone opt for a militaristic march to mark any holiday, but especially New Year’s? Did Mr. Jeremic’s actions also insult Orthodox Christianity by associating this great religion’s celebration of New Year (on January 14) with such a militaristic and nationalistic song? Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Agnostics, Atheists and persons of other religious identities within the framework of the United Nations and as a matter of goodwill have made it habit of celebrating with their fellow global citizens and diplomats each other’s holidays. Transforming a New Year’s event into one that celebrates militarism in the least and genocide/aggression at worst undermines a longstanding tradition of mutual respect.

 

Muhamed Sacirbey

 

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PHOTO Credit bbc.co.uk : Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic in Srebrenica

 

 

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