4 April 2002, Volume 4, Number 10
WHAT FUTURE FOR MONTENEGRO'S MUSLIMS?
Part III. (Part I appeared on 7 March 2002, and Part II appeared on 14 March 2002).
A recent program of RFE/RL Radio Most (Bridge) by Beba Marusic with Beba Dzakovic of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and Smajo Sabotic, a former member of the DPS and now a member of the Movement for Defense of the Joint State, which is headed by Matija Beckovic.
Beba Dzakovic: The Montenegrin nation will never die. Just like Smajo's Muslim nation will never die. I will die, Smajo will die, but our nations will live.
It is obvious why it is better for all of us to live separately, whether we know how to do so or not.... Never again will a Slobodan Milosevic or somebody else -- like, for instance, Kostunica -- be allowed to get away with not recognizing the Montenegrins [as a people].
Smajo knows this. This is why I cannot understand why he accepts this Yugoslavia, whose President [Vojislav] Kostunica is worse than Slobodan Milosevic when it comes to recognizing the Montenegrin nation.
Take me for example. I am a Serb, but I am able to face the facts. I know that the Montenegrin nation exists and no one can deny it. That is a fact. Saying that the Montenegrin nation does not exist is stupid....
Of course, I would like us to live in a commonwealth, together with Serbia. We will always [work] together. Let me cite the example of Bosnia. We used to slaughter one another -- and that is the right term for what happened -- just because others had different names. We killed each other, but now, believe me, people near the border are working together, living together, and doing business together. That is what life is all about....
Is our little nation of some 600,000 citizens capable of blackmailing Serbia? Well, Serbia has 10 million people, and they should go their way. There is no need for us to keep asking ourselves whether we are equal in rights or not, since such a difference in numbers makes it impossible for us to have the same rights [as 10 million Serbs]....
But I used to think that it was possible. Do you want to know when it actually was possible? When we all belonged to the same party and had the same views. But can you imagine a state [today] being based on those who belong to the same party and have the same opinion about something? Nonsense.
RFE/RL: Mr. Sabotic, how would you persuade Mrs. Dzakovic to become a supporter of the joint state?
Smajo Sabotic: Beba failed to give a single reason why Montenegro should be separate. She was simply talking about her personal feelings, but I intend to talk about some rational attitudes.
Mr. Matija Beckovic is president of our organization, while the president of the entire movement is Mr. Vladimir Bozovic, a wonderful young man with a computer in one hand and the gusle [editor's note: the simple string instrument beloved of Montenegrin folk poets] in the other. This is how we are going to Europe: with a gusle in one hand and a computer in the other. What I am trying to say is that we are a serious movement, although not a political one, since we are not fighting for power; we are fighting to preserve the joint state....
Dzakovic: A state cannot be created just because we want to join the European Union [and that is what Brussels wants]. We have to have our own state back, even if it means that we will have to join the EU much later. That is my opinion.
Sabotic: No one is denying Montenegrin statehood.
Dzakovic: You are denying both the Montenegrin nation and its statehood.... But neither you, nor Matija Beckovic, nor any of those greats you have mentioned can succeed....
You have chosen the wrong way. You know, Smajo, what would be the best for you? You should come back to the DPS, so that we can forgive you. Come on, come back, you are one of us.
Sabotic: I will come back if you give up your separatism.
Dzakovic: We are not separatists. How can you call us separatists? Is it a Greater Serbia that you want? We are not separating from anybody. All we want is our own [historic] state. A nation that does not want its own state does not deserve to exist....
The fact is that there is no more Yugoslavia, don't you understand that? No more. Yugoslavia does not exist, and we must have our own state....
Sabotic: Given the present climate of international relations, Montenegro can be sovereign and independent only within a joint state with friendly Serbia.
Dzakovic: We are going to become independent very soon. Smajo, you'd better realize that. There is no chance of anybody stopping us.
RFE/RL: We have a chance to reorganize relations within the federation, to make it a modern federation, based on the principles of the European Union.
We are expected to wait and join Europe all together. Why separate now when, according to the DPS itself, in 10 years from now we will all be a part of the European Union?
Dzakovic: Why are you troubled by our intention to join the European Union as two independent states, which are already two separate states?
...You are not bothered by Slovenia, which joined the former Yugoslavia without anything, except maybe two goats and three acres of land. It then took advantage of everything that could be taken advantage of, and now it is sovereign state.
Croatia tried to become independent for a thousand years. The way they finally achieved it was with both Milosevic's and Tudjman's help, and thanks to other dictators.
We want to do it without bloodshed. We do not intend to fight with anyone. We just want to say in a democratic way: "We want our state."
Sabotic: Brandenburg or Bavaria have not joined the EU. Germany has.
Dzakovic: But why join it under a false flag when we are all aware that there is no more Yugoslavia? Which Yugoslavia? The one that fell apart a long time ago and does not exist anymore?
Sabotic: A motherland remains in one's heart, in the hearts of those of us who love Yugoslavia.
Dzakovic: Smajo, we both used to love that Yugoslavia. But there is no more Yugoslavia.
Sabotic: I love this small one, too.
Dzakovic: The small one has ceased to exist, too....
You know that we are completely independent. Whom do you expect to use dinars instead of German marks? Are you going to do that? Would you accept dinars in exchange for marks, or euros? You would not. You would ask for euros. I cannot go back to my youth now that I am old.