Gendarmes' new oath focuses heavily on Kosovo
The largest unit of the Serbian police (MUP), the Gendarmerie (Žandarmerija) has a new oath, that its members take as they start their service.Source: B92
The text of the oath is almost entirely centered on the importance and defense of Kosovo.
The unit's commander, Bratislav Dikić, is its author. Its representatives explain that the oath contains metaphors "in the spirit of Vidovdan" - St. Vitus Day, which was on Thursday marked as the unit's day.
more photos from yesterday's celebration and drill
"This is a pure metaphor. We wished to, in the spirit of Vidovdan, return to history and remember the Kosovo heroes, and that day as the day of the Kosovo heroes, and in line with that, it was said, 'either we will win or die'. It has nothing to do with the change of government. Kosovo has always been important to this unit, since it was formed until this day," Gendarmerie PR Stanica Puzović was quoted as saying.
As far as the author of a film about the now disbanded Special Operations Unit (JSO) Filip Švarm is concerned, the oath is a "clumsy attempt at creating unity and solidarity":
"I think this is now an indicator of patriotism, especially in this political moment that has been created in Serbia. In other words, we are patriots, we will never recognize Kosovo, we will stick to the Constitutional preamble and stress the mythical, poetic importance of Kosovo."
However, Milan Antonijević, a lawyer and a human rights activist, was unpleasantly surprised for two reasons: the focus on belonging to and fighting only for the Serb people, and the mentioning of Kosovo as the only thing that matters.
"That is worrying especially when you see that this unit will be deployed also in multi-ethnic areas, that it will come in contact with other nations, that it must function in Serbia such as it is, that Serbia is not only Kosovo. The Constitution speaks about how Serbia is arranged, that there are other nations that live here, and we cannot rely only on that preamble when we are creating an oath for the people who will defend this country in way they should," said Antonijević.
Meanwhile, the Gendarmerie has some 3,000 heavily armed officers in its ranks, who are under effective command of one man. Some 600 of them belong to a special detachment that is in its structure and organization more similar to the military than the police.
The unit was established in 2001, and draws on the tradition of the pre-WW2 Gendarmerie.
Below is the full text of the new Gendarmerie Oath:
Kosovo is my mother
My origins are in Kosovo
My ancestors come from Kosovo
My history is in Kosovo
My Serb nation was born in Kosovo
My Serbia was created in Kosovo
Without Kosovo, I have no mother
Without Kosovo, I have no origins
Without Kosovo, I have no ancestors
Without Kosovo, I have no history
Without Kosovo, my Serb nation does not exist
Without Kosovo, my Serbia does not exist
To the Serb people, to my brothers and sisters
I vow, before God
I will either be victorious, or meet honorable death
For my honor
For my origins
For my family
With faith in God, for the Honorable Cross and Mother Serbia.
Long live Serbia!