A person who was prosecuted and punished, a few days ago, for encouraging killing and “beheading” of all those who do not belong to the Serbian political or national corps, is one of many who send sinister messages of hatred and call for lynching and persecution of dissidents. In their “performances” they commonly use the Serbian state flag and its other official symbols. This occasion is not a precedent. In the last two years in Montenegro, we have received frequent messages of hatred towards others and otherness. They are pronouncedly present on social networks and in the so-called pro-Serbian media.
Montenegro International is obliged to inform and warn the state authorities and Serbian citizens that their state symbols are almost as a rule and repeatedly used in Montenegro as a background in hate speech. In our opinion, this defiles and abuses the state of Serbia, by representing it as supportive of views unacceptable for a civilized environment that inherits, at least declaratively, democratic values, human and minority rights, and equality among people, regardless of their religion and nationality.
As an aspirant and candidate for the EU membership, through accession negotiations and further communication with the EU, Serbia is committed to fostering good neighborly relations with the countries it borders with. This commitment includes mutual respect and appreciation in interstate relations, non-interference in neighboring countries’ internal affairs, cultivating friendly relations with members of all nations in Montenegro, and abstaining from hate speech and instigating inter-ethnic tensions.
Therefore, sincerely believing that official Serbia and the majority of its citizens do not want their state symbols to be associated with these heinous acts, we consider it our duty to acquaint Serbian state bodies and its citizens with the continual desecration of their state flag and other state symbols. We also believe that Serbia should be given a chance to determine its stance on any abuse of its symbols and clarify to Montenegro and other partners in the European Union that Serbia distances itself from messages that ruin its reputation in regional and international political circles.
In our opinion, Serbia should resolutely denounce this behavior and declare its explicit distance from it. A warning that its symbols must not be used in an impermissible communication will deter every assumption that Serbia and its citizens support the promotion of hatred, call for crimes, persecution, and lynching of members of other nationalities (in Montenegro or elsewhere). At the same time, Your due reaction would significantly contribute to pacifying the interethnic tensions in Montenegro and discourage the growing hate speech on national, religious, or other grounds.
Montenegro International is an organization that promotes and represents the values of civil society and is principled in this regardless of race, nation, religion, or other qualities. Hence, we give ourselves the right to react to every phenomenon that endangers the values we stand for.
While expecting Your due response, we hope that official Serbia will stand up for its dignity and reputation in the international community. We are convinced that the citizens of Serbia and its leadership will not remain silent and will take a clear and unequivocal position that violence, hatred, and persecution are not Serbia’s official commitment and that they will, therefore, condemn anyone who tries to thwart its efforts in presenting Serbia as a civil, democratic, and European society.