At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the embassies of Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy, France, England, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Germany, Greece, Belgium and the USA were located in Cetinje, which was the Old Royal Capital in the Kingdom of Montenegro.
Cetinje had tennis courts, skating rinks, a theatre and the first transformer station in the Balkans.
Montenegro had just emerged from the war with Turkey, and at the Berlin Congress in 1878; it became a state recognised by all participants in the Congress. Unfortunately, the whirlwind of the First World War rearranged the maps. After the victory of the allies in the war, Montenegro was under occupation, enslaved by ‘brotherly’ Serbia. King Nikola was not allowed to return to Montenegro.
There are many historical quotes from politicians and statesmen that have been written about Montenegro and it’s suffering, about the injustice inflicted on Montenegrins. I could write about the words of US President Woodrow Wilson, among others.
This historical injustice was partially corrected in 2017, when the National Order of the Legion of Honour was presented to Prince Nikola II Petrovic. France corrected its moral debt to the Petrovic dynasty, said Florence Mangin, the head of the French Foreign Ministry’s Continental Europe Directorate. When presenting the prince with the award she reminded that Montenegro was the only country in Eastern Europe, which had been resisting the Ottoman Empire for centuries.
‘Even though, here, within these walls, in the euphoria of winning in 1918, we sacrificed Montenegro for the sake of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and out of what we considered higher goals. From the very beginning of the war in 1914, your great-grandfather was an ally who fought bravely against the superior enemy, but that was forgotten at the Versailles Peace Conference ‘she said.
In 1990, the wave of Serbian nationalism began, which led to wars in Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Kosovo, after the disintegration of the SFRY. The ideological sponsor of these confrontations was the Serbian Orthodox Church. Because of this the saying goes in our language: „Prvo idu popovi, pa topovi, pa lopovi“ which means ‘First go the Priests, then the cannons, and last the thieves.’
So for the last 30 years in front of your eyes, Europe – the Old Lady, one organization created problems and one country together with it. SOC and Serbia. In 1999, Montenegro was divided and under arms. One step away from the civil war. Under pressure from the USA and European countries, the war didn’t happen. But didn’t stop.
Isn’t the narrative about the endangered people – the Serbian people, this time in Montenegro known? Same such propaganda of the “endangered” preceded and followed the events of the 1990s when there was a burning in the Balkans from the war.
In 1981 census, Montenegrins were majority of the population, and they lived in peace, harmony and without any interethnic incidents with Muslims, Albanians, Croats and Serbs, who were the representatives of minorities in Montenegro. At that time, there were 3 percent Serbs in Montenegro.
In the 2011 census, there were 28 percent Serbs, while the total population of Montenegro is increasing by a few percent. The Serbian Orthodox Church and its leader in Montenegro, who began his assimilation mission in 1989, when he was appointed head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, did this Serbization of Montenegrins.
So, it is not about demographic growth, it is about ideological assimilative action. It is clear that people who felt like Montenegrins no longer declare themselves that way!
All this dirty work had its beginning in the work ‘Načertanije’ (in our language) and the strategy that Ilija Garasanin, the Prime Minister of Serbia, wrote and Serbia took it as its official policy from 1844.
Sometimes publicly, sometimes secretly, the SOC accepted and nurtured that program, which it still does today. The victim of this planned action is civil Montenegro in 2020.
– While you, the ambassadors and representatives of the European Union, openly criticised the ‘irreplaceable government’, you forgot to look at its alternative. Today, are you supporting a member of the fascist ideology for the Prime Minister of Montenegro?
This is not about law, this is about justice. And justice is the correction of the injustice inflicted on Montenegro by the allied countries in the First World War.
– We have witnessed the election campaign in which the Serbian Orthodox Church has been involved since January 2020.
For you, those were democratic walks. For Montenegrins, it was a demonstration of force of hegemony.
– Serbia directly involved in the election process and poured huge money into the campaign. You did not see it as a problem. Montenegrins saw it as humiliating , everyone’s values that have been built into the foundations of the Montenegrin state since its existence – freedom, anti-fascism, multiethnic harmony.
Today, the party that has 30 percent in the Montenegrin Parliament, during the election campaign said that they would:
– Exit NATO
– Work on a new referendum on the state status of Montenegro
– Change state symbols
– Change the anthem
– Strengthen ties with Serbia and Russia
– Abolish the Law on Religion (which has been worked on for 5 years in cooperation with the Venice Commission)
You see it as a democratic exchange of opinions. Montenegrins perceive it as a threat.
– Today, a man who is a believer in the Serbian Orthodox Church, a supporter of the Chetnik movement, has been supported from EU for the position of Prime Minister of Montenegro. A lot of footage these days on social media testifies to this man’s past. To support him, to consider it as ‘democratic progress’ and to ignore those whose supported and helped him come to Power is a sore spot to Montenegrins.
Quo Vadis Europe?
In 1916 we were part of Europe, today we are in a waiting room at a counter we are waiting for you to receive us for an interview again.
If the former government did not suite you, do not try to convince us Montenegrins that this government and this Prime Minister does.
If the situation is such that we should believe Montenegro has friends in the world, I must tell you the reality is that we obviously do not!
AVE EUROPE, MORITURI TE SALUTANT.
Danilo Brajović, Cetinje
In the midst of critical circumstances and in the presence of projections and considerations arising from foreign powers, the Montenegrin people have preserved their peaceful demeanor without burdening European royal palaces with a description of the painful situation in which they have been for centuries.
For 466 years the Montenegrin people refused to submit to anyone’s power or to recognize the authority of any lord; on the contrary, it fights for independence with a weapon in its hand and joyfully sheds its blood on the altar of freedom.
For four and a half centuries, the Montenegrin people suffered a constant struggle with the Ottoman Empire, once the most powerful in Europe, before which all European countries trembled.
The blood of its heroes fell on every stone of its high mountains and Montenegro preserved precious freedom. The policy of the Great Powers would be very wrong if they do not take into account the sacrifices made by the Montenegrin people in the name of Christianity.
This people who proudly defended themselves among their waterless mountains between the Serbian kingdom, the Byzantine Empire, the kingdoms of Bulgaria, Bosnia and Epirus, all of which succumbed to Turkish attacks, and who knew how to preserve, despite all poverty and scarcity, the holiest possession a nation could have – its own independence.
Relying on the reasons I have just explained, I am convinced that the great European Powers will want to protect the weak from the big, that they will want to guarantee Montenegrins the integrity of their territory, and grant to them what can preserve their nationality and keep inviolate their rights.”
DANILO PETROVIC NJEGOSH
Crown Prince of Montenegro
Cetinje, May 1856