Dear Ms Suada Zoronjić,
I am addressing you as a citizen of Montenegro, with residence in Nikšić, born and raised in Grudska Mahala, brought up in the spirit of unity, coexistence, respectful interfaith dialogue, and multinational right to freedom. I am also addressing you as an educator, mother, wife, sister, grandmother, as a granddaughter of a priest who knows well the original values of the Christian, Orthodox faith, and the history of world religions, and as a person for whom anti-fascism is a permanent commitment, while empathy is the supreme good to which I aspire.
Ms. Suada, last night your raised hand, by which you voted in the Montenegrin Parliament to amend the Law on the Freedom of Religion, the amendment resolute to inflict unforgivable insult on a proud and honorable state that has built, nurtured, defended, and honorably carried its identity for a whole millennium. This country has its multinational treasure, which Europe of the 19th century looked at with an open and amazed eye because it was a unique example of a country that, although impoverished by wars and scarcity, remained peaceful, honorable, and dignified, while emerging from a union of different religions, customs, traditions and cultures. That country is both yours and mine, Montenegro, a sovereign and internationally recognized state that renewed its independence in 2006. You too, Suada, together with your compatriots, rejoiced on that proud dawn of May. Plav clearly expressed this feeling on that day and even thirty years earlier, when the proud Montenegrins of the Plav-Gusinje battalion under the command of Ferid Šarkinović joined the Lovćen Guards and stood on the bumper of our holy mountain Lovćen and, thus, of our state. Do you know Suada who they defended her against? Do you know, Suada, from whom throughout history the people of Montenegro received the most brutal threats, planned assassinations, massacres, organized incineration of houses and properties, and extermination of everything that is Montenegrin?
Ask your compatriots, Suada, to remind you how after the Berlin Congress and the Great War, Prince Nikola Mirkov Petrović stopped the mass emigration of muhajirs from Montenegro, how he begged the Muslim population to stay and share freedom with their brothers and sisters, how as a proof of his protection and love, and in order to prevent further emigration, he appointed Mehmed Askov Ibričić as the first captain of the liberated Nikšić, and gave white horses to the old Ahmet Bauk and the young Ramo Avdić, the grandson of Avdo Ljuca, in recognition of their supreme heroism.
Ask your fellow citizens, Suada, whether the Serbian gendarmerie composed of Serbs and domicile Montenegrins who had accepted the regime weapons of Aleksandar Karađorđević, in Šehovići and Pavino Polje, after the murder of Boško Bošković, the head of the Kolašin district, for which they falsely accused the Muslim comitatus Jusuf Mehonjić – who was not physically present in the area at the time. On the night between November 9 and 10, 1924, in revenge, they killed and slaughtered over 500 innocent, peaceful and mostly poor natives of Bosniak men, women, and children? Read Đilas’s “Land Without Justice”, an autobiographical novel in which the author, himself being the first of all the RETICENTS of the time, admits that his father, as a gendarmerie officer, also attended the massacre of Muslims in Šehovići. Suada, please check out Sarajevo’s “Pravda” from November 24, 1924 and read how a distraught and bloodied woman with a baby on her chest burst into a gendarmerie station in Sandžak, the first station in the Pljevlja district of Šehović, and how she was followed by two other women who told the gendarmes about the massacre and that the poor woman had lost her mind because they had butchered her one-month-old baby who she carried in her arms.
Ask about the fate of Ibar Hasović, an 80-year-old man whose stomach was ripped open and live meat torn out off it and cut into pieces, about Zeć Hadžović whose tongue was ripped out, Najo Hodžić, a slaughtered infant, Adem Lukač who was robbed and forced to cross himself, and told that if he refused to do so, he would be shot. He miraculously survived to testify about it today, Suada, to me, to You, to the generations. After that massacre, which was kept silent for over 80 years and for which no one was ever responsible, Šehovići changed their name to Tomaševo. Have you ever asked yourself who did it and why, Ms. Suada? Exactly because of the massacre that associated them to the conquered ethnic territory. In that very Šehovići, Tomaševo at the time, on December 1, 1942, the “Conference of the Chetnik Intellectual Youth of Montenegro, Boka, and Sandžak” was organized. The presenters were the ideologists of Ravna Gora who talked about the post-war state organization. Among other things, they concluded:
“Only Serbs, Croats and Slovenes will live on the territory of the future state. There can be no national minorities.”
Read, Ms. Suada, the Instruction of the infamous Chetnik ideologist Draža Mihailović addressed to their supreme leader Pavle Đurišić, which states:
“The goals of our detachments are: The struggle for the freedom of our entire people under the scepter of His Majesty King Peter II. To create a great Yugoslavia and a great Serbia in it, ethnically pure within the borders of Serbia – Montenegro – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Srem – Banat and Bačka. The struggle for the inclusion in the life of our state of all the still unliberated, the Slovenian territories under Italians and Germans (Trieste – Gorica – Istria and Carinthia) as well as Bulgaria and northern Albania with Shkodra. The cleansing of the state territory from all the national minorities and non-national elements. Create immediate common borders between Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Serbia and Slovenia by cleansing Sandžak of Muslims and cleansing Bosnia of Muslims and Croats […] ”
Did you know, Suada, that already in January 1943, a war crime of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population in the Bijelo Polje district was committed by Chetnik formations, and that the most numerous victims were women and children? In 33 villages of Bijelo Polje, 400 Muslim fighters who fought against fascism with other Montenegrins, and 1,000 innocent, bare-handed women and children, Ms. Suada, were slaughtered and massacred. The bloody Chetnik feast of ethnic cleansing of Muslims continued, Suada, in February 1943, when, on the territories of na Pljevlja, Čajnici, and Foča, the soldiers of Mihailović and Đurišić, collaborators of Nazi Germany, slaughtered, according to the Chetnik report, 9,200 Muslims, of which 1,200 were men, while 8,200 were women and children. Why are you ingoring the brutal truth about the tribulation of Rifat Burdžović Trš in World War II, Ms. Suada? If you think that this young student and partisan commander was killed by the Nazis, you are mistaken. He was also captured on the night between October 2 and 3, 1942, when he was with two war comrades, Vladimir Knežević Volođa and Tomaš Žižić, in the village of Trnovo, Mrkonjić Grad municipality, in the house of Slobodan Pero Jakovljević, when Uroš, Ostoja and Vlado, active Chetniks, as their brother Slobodan Jakovljević called them, laid hold of them while they were sleeping and butchered them by the stable. You must have known that, Suada, if ever in your hands you kept “Almanah” or ”Glasnik Bihora”.
If this, Ms Suada, is a distant past, why did not You remember Srebrenica when You raised Your hand of support in the Montenegrin Parliament for the Serbian chauvinist government and its clerical-fascist ideologues who intended to take all Montenegrin churches and monasteries built before 1918 and its sacral treasures from Montenegrins whose grandfathers and great-grandfathers built them. It was never the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Ms Suada. You know why it can never be and never will be their; because the centuries-old Montenegrin autocephalous church was illegally abolished and placed under the patronage of the Serbian Orthodox Church only three years after the violent annexation of Montenegro by Serbia in 1918, and because that Montenegrin Orthodox Church is the only church of believing Montenegrins of the Christian religion.
Did You know that the Montenegrin clergy at the time suffered a great Saint Sava terror of preaching the faith, which is why my grandfather priest Tomaš Perišin Pejović in 1926 decisively became the organizer and president of the Court of Honor of the Theological Association in the strike of the Cetinje seminary. Even the influence of the largest secular and spiritual authorities in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes could not force them to suspend the strike, the only one in the history of Yugoslav theology, to finally meet the requirements – protection of the original Christian faith without the influence of Serbian nationalist ideology mild. This strike gave a bright generation of Montenegrin priests and many of them fell like victims of fascism. The Law and justice authorities will talk very soon about the illegal copying of that Montenegrin religious treasure, which our ancestors, spiritual and secular leaders inherited for centuries, so I would not talk about it again, because soon we will be witnesses of the decades-long robbery of Montenegrin sacred treasures its cultural heritage.
I must ask You Ms Suada, did You know that the Montenegrin Orthodox Church was duly registered as a religious organization in 2000 in Cetinje? At the same time, Serbian Orthodox Church to which you gave the legitimacy of “state within a state” refused to register? Read archival and historical writings, and You will find out why they do not want to register. Many of them were stolen and destroyed, but there are also some in private properties, so one of the coalition partners will help You “rent” them through a connection.
You must have witnessed yourself, that the incense of the Serbian Orthodox Church in all places, where it propagated its alleged threat in the name of religion and the Serbian nation, always smelled of gunpowder. Did you think about Srebrenica genocide, which was organized by Serbian criminals, Mladic, Karadzic and Milosevic, pardoned by the communion of the Saint Sava clerical-fascist fraternity, which, under the cloak of the mantle and the cross, approved the shedding of innocent Muslims blood in the Bosnia and Hercegovina battlefield.? Do the tears of mothers, sisters, children and the elderly who were killed by Serbian Chetnik hordes and buried in several mass graves hurt You? Ms Suada, do you know that the Srebrenica genocide has neither amnesia nor amnesty? Not allowed. It is remembered for a lifetime; 8,000 men and beardless children warn this insane criminal group to silence their Greater Serbia war. You had to warn them, too, but You did not.
Your raised hand is a terrible symbol of the “Black Hand” for me and all the proud Montenegrin descendants! You should not have hurt yourself so much. Ignorance is not a shame. Shame is complicity in the betrayal of Your own state. It is a shame that You ignored the graves of Your people who built, defended and carried this Montenegro with courage. It is a shame that you spat so ignorantly above yourself. Wicked sin and its consequences will fall on You, and Your loved once, Ms Suada. You will have to deal with that if you have conscience at all. I believe you have, that is why I am addressing You. If the descendants of the slaughtered and killed inhabitants of Šehović, Pavino Polje, Plav, Bijelo Polje, Srebrenica and other “ethnic enclaves” for which the bloodthirsty Chetnik dukes left their signatures FORGIVE YOU, congratulations. I will not trample on my customs and tradition for the sake of a peaceful dream of both ancestors and descendants. And I cannot forgive Your “black hand” as long as anti-fascismis is inside of me. The new law, united Montenegrins even more, but also angered. Montenegrins do not silently defend war criminals, their revenge of innocent people, do not approve the attitude of your coalition and party colleagues that genocide did not happen in Srebrenica. They do not close their eyes on atrocities of priest Maca Vukojičić and priest Šiljko, do not cover up murders, fornication, debauchery, pedophilia and trifles of the clerical company of the Serbian Orthodox Church, do not reward convicted war criminals and coup organizers with positions and decorations. As You are coming from the honest family, I am sorry that You become an anti-state puppet so gullibly and have drawn the mark of a betrayer. The family reputation and the example to their descendants are not preserved in that way. However, not all ethical parameters are equally set by individuals. Unfortunately. All the best to You if there be!
MA of Literature, UNBOR Member and the life-long anti-fascist
Ana Savova Pejovic