Belgrade sent protest note to France and Germany; "Apologize to the public in Serbia"
Several experts and lecturers at domestic and foreign universities sent a letter of protest to the embassies of France and Germany in Belgrade today.Source: B92, FoNet, Tanjug
The letter was also addressed to Pristina, as well as to the foreign ministries of France and Germany, and it demands that the monument dedicated to Serbian soldiers, which was at the military cemetery in Pristina, be immediately returned.
The signatories of the letter appeal that the memorial plaque be immediately returned to its original place, without delay, that an apology be sent to the public in Serbia and to the descendants of the fallen soldiers, who are also among the signatories of this letter.
The signatories of the letter include geneticist Miodrag Stojković, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Aleksandar Kavčić, assistant professor at York University, Slobodan Tomić, research associate at the Institute for Serbian Culture, Priština-Leposavic, Petar Ristanović, assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Milan Krstić and many others stated that they were "deeply disturbed by the news that, at the initiative of the French and German embassies in Pristina, a monument dedicated to Serbian soldiers who died during the Balkan Wars and the First World War was moved at the military cemetery in Pristina."
"This act is unacceptable, it represents a revision of history and it is an expression of disrespect towards the fallen allied soldiers. This procedure also contradicts European values - it violates the right to honor and cherish the memories of those who fought for peace and freedom in Europe," the letter states, Danas newspaper reported the writing of Fonet.
О потезу француске и немачке “амбасаде” у Приштини и померању споменика српским војницима палим у Првом светском рату. pic.twitter.com/5recRqnZEt— Arno Gujon (@ArnoGujon) November 15, 2023
There is also a petition for the return of the monument to the fallen Arab soldiers in the wars of 1912-1918, at the cemetery in Pristina, which currently has more than 3,000 signatures.
Lawyer and human rights expert Milan Antonijević said that the petition, which was initiated by the coordinator of the Working Group of the National Convention on the EU for Chapter 35, Dragiša Mijačić, on the one hand shows the number of those who directly supported the return of the monument, but he pointed out that it should be added all those who sent their support through social networks to do it.
"The huge number of people who saw and shared this petition speaks of the willingness of the citizens to raise this issue, that the willingness existed at the moment when this plaque was removed from the Pristina Orthodox cemetery," said Antonijević.
"Considering that we have the first clarification from the French embassy in Pristina, which was really not quite satisfactory, but we all continued to talk about the fact that it would be necessary to return everything to the previous state, that number is not so important, it seems to me, but apparently the attention of the media on the one hand raised. I think that the French embassy also understood the sensitivity of this issue, which we pointed out through the petition,'' said Antonijević.
According to him, there is apparently an understanding that by removing the memorial plaque, the French embassy has gone out of "the framework in which it should be".
The monument to the Serbian soldiers killed in the Balkans and the First World War is located at the Orthodox cemetery in Pristina, at the place where Serbian soldiers who died during the First World War were buried.
The photos published by the French and German embassies in Pristina from the commemoration of November 11, Armistice Day, showed that in the place where there used to be a monument dedicated to Serbian soldiers, there is now a memorial plaque dedicated to the French soldiers killed in Kosovo and Metohija, and that the memorial plaque dedicated to Serbian soldiers is moved to the side.
The moving of the memorial to the Serbian soldiers caused strong reactions, and the embassies of France and Germany later admitted in a joint statement that the monument was moved on their initiative, explaining the move by saying that in recent years, especially in 2022, the joint French-German ceremony was, as was stated, "tarnished by the controversy in certain media in Kosovo regarding the presence of a stele honoring Serbian soldiers who died between 1912 and 1918."
The Eparchy of Raška and Prizren expressed deep concern about the relocation of the memorial plaque to Serbian soldiers, emphasizing that neither the Serbian community, which uses the cemetery, nor the Eparchy of Raška-Prizren, which spiritually takes care of the Orthodox cemeteries in Kosovo and Metohija, were consulted about the relocation of the memorial plates to the liberators in the First World War.
The Diocese pointed out that in this way, disrespect was not only shown again towards a memorial in the Orthodox cemetery in Kosovo and Metohija, but by rewriting history, they are trying to obscure the indisputable truths about the participation and historical role of the Serbian people in these areas. The moving of the monument was condemned by the Office for Kosovo and Metohija and Serb list.
French Embassy in Pristina then announced that it would consider, as it stated, "technical possibilities" for the displaced monument to Serbian soldiers at the Orthodox cemetery in Pristina to be returned to its place.