There’s a proverb from the Balkans that states that whatever village that a gentleman must-see, they’ll find its occupants intimately understand the language, habits, and background of its acquaintances.
It’s used to describe that while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo are different countries composed of different religious denominations and creeds, they understand each other nicely. For greater and, throughout the wars which raged throughout the 1990s, for worse.
The Muslim-majority Serbian area of Sandzak, Called Rashka to Serbs, is a Fantastic example.
The most recent quake to strike the distressed region was September, when Montenegro’s small Muslim community had been targetted by cultural and religious attacks after the elections on 30 August.
“Bosniaks and I would add, all ordinary folks, tremble if the Srebrenica genocide is said in this type of context. I love to trust that matters by the nineties will not happen in the Balkans.”.
Muslims were the prime goals throughout the wars that wracked the former Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s, and though the destiny of Bosnia’s Muslims – called Bosniaks – is due to the murder of 7,000 boys and men by Serb militias in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo, the Islamic community in Serbia and Montenegro were victims of cultural violence.
In Novi Pazar, Sandzak, residents still keep in mind that the Serbian tanks stationed at the hills around town during the war have been pointed not towards Bosnia, but for them. The unidentified quantity of Serbian Muslims was murdered during the war, and tens of thousands of others endured discrimination. A number of the perpetrators remain unpunished 25 decades later.
Semiha Kacar from Sandzak Committee for Human Rights told Euronews the heritage of the violence and that justice wasn’t supplied continues to be a significant source of conflict between the Muslim community and their non-Muslim acquaintances in Serbia.
“Virtually nothing has been done about the offenses committed against Bosniaks in Sandzak. That’s decreasing the confidence from the country,” she explained.
Novi Pazar resident and activist Sead Biberovic echoes the opinion that the failure to punish war criminals who committed violence against Serbian Bosniaks from the 1990s, along with a lack of education generally in the nation about what had been done during the war, has raised tensions.
“The country of Serbia didn’t understand what it did in the nineties. War criminals aren’t prosecuted and even routine citizens are unaware of what was completed,” he explained.
Unsolved problems are not great for equilibrium.”
Though rare in Sandzak now, episodes among ethnicities are more commonly from the soccer stadiums compared to roads. Biberovic explained these episodes have been led, or “lucky”, from the authorities in Belgrade.
Ethnic worries used as a diversion?
The hardline authorities of Aleksandar Vučić, he explained, uses cultural tensions between Muslims, Christians as well as other denominations from Serbia to divert from other problems facing the nation.
Fewer still that Vučić advised the parliament in July 1995 that”for each Serb 100 Muslims would be killed.”
Meanwhile, the ethnically-motivated acts of vandalism or violence in Sandzak lately have seldom been investigated or resolved. And like in so many countries, the authorities in Belgrade finds cultural divisions a suitable diversion from its failures, said Biberovicsaid
“There are components in the society which are made from Belgrade to make instability here. If something huge is happening in Sandzak, folks should take a look at just what the government wishes to conceal,” he explained. “We’re used as a diversion”
Dude, the Imam, voiced the expectation that nearly all individuals, both in Serbia and Montenegro, would not enable the violence of the past to occur.
However, Dudic stressed the responsibility of the majority to see over the minority. He was so buoyed by attempts by the Serbian Orthodox Church to protect against the violence in Pljevlja.
“When members of Serbian Orthodox Church and the resistance seem in front of mosques in Pljevlja, to shield it, it’s a fantastic sign for all of us in Sandzak. That’s the ideal way where we as a society must proceed,” Dudic explained.
Biberovic also is optimistic that the area can prevent the cultural violence of the 1990s.
They’ve been able to live together and I believe we’re smart enough to keep on living together,” he explained.
“There are lots of friendships and on some degree inter-ethnic marriages. These ties are taking individuals collectively.’
“Once I heard about strikes in Montenegro at first I was mad,” explained Arnes Corovic, 23, a resident of this town of Tutin.
“I was frightened. It comes in the understanding that which has been done to Bosniaks from the past and surely I don’t want this to occur again. And you also know if you get burnt after…”
Each weekday in 1900 CEST, Euronews provides you with a European narrative that goes beyond the headlines. Download our program to acquire an alert with this and other breaking news.