Kamberi to Vulin: By insulting minorities in Serbia, you are insulting your own country!

Foto: Tanjug, Rade Prelić

By the decision of the court of this country, as of today, I am a ‘Shiptar’ – not an Albanian. One day Aleksandar Vulin woke up and decided who I am and what my ethnicity is, and this was legalized by the state court! – United Valley MP Shaip Kamberi said in the National Assembly of Serbia yesterday.

Kamberi compared yesterday’s rejection of the lawsuit of the National Council of Albanians against Vulin – who was sued by Ragmi Mustafa for using the derogatory term ‘Shiptar’ – to Germany in 1930. “When Minister Hermann Goring decided who and what the Jews were called, and then the Gestapo courts legalized it.”

The court thus „already legalized general hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia against Albanians, in Serbia in particular,“ Kamberi said, urging international representatives to react.

United Valley Serbian MP from Bujanovac, Shaip Kamberi addressed the latest convocation of the Serbian parliament in the Albanian language for the first time yesterday.

In his speech, Kamberi spoke of the decision of the Higher Court in Belgrade, which rejected the lawsuit of the President of the National Council of Albanians, Ragmi Mustafa. The lawsuit was filed on June 25. against Minister Aleksandar Vulin for hate speech, i.e. the use of the derogatory term „Shiptar“.

In the last few years, Vulin has regularly used this term in his official addresses, both as Minister of Defense and now as Minister of the Interior.

„Mrs. Merkel, Messrs. Macron, Borrell, Lajcak, Von der Leyen, is this your pro-European Serbia? This did not happen during the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, who killed, raped, and expelled Albanians while calling them Albanians. But, under the silence of the democratic world, Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbia is returning to the time of Aleksandar Rankovic, when the term ‘Shiptar’ was last officially and publicly used,“ stated Kamberi.

The decision of the Higher Court in Belgrade is also a very dangerous precedent for minorities in Serbia, but also the entire Western Balkans as it legitimizes the language of hatred towards minorities, he warned.

„How would the Serb society react if a Kosovo colleague of Aleksandar Vulin woke up one morning and decided to refer to Serbs using a pejorative term that was legalized by the court in Pristina? Do Vulin and Vucic want this for Kosovo Serbs?” Kamberi emphasized.

You continue to publicly and legally insult your minorities, thus insulting your country

In his words, by „play-acting at patriotism“ in an attempt to hold on to power, they will fail to incite mutual hatred.

„Even after yesterday’s court decision, I am even more convinced than ever that your hatred will not defeat Serbia,“ the MP from Bujanovac concluded at the end of his speech.

In several court cases in Serbia, the use of the term „Shiptar“ has been confirmed as hate speech. The Higher Court in Belgrade, in the first-instance verdict of September 19th, 2018, in the civil proceedings of the plaintiff Anita Mitic against the publishers „Informer“ and Dragan J. Vucicevic, determined that information published in this paper in the text „Fascists attack“ violated the prohibition of hate speech under Article 75 of the Law on Information.

„The term ‘Shiptar’ is considered to be politically incorrect and offensive in the Serbian language when used for members of the Albanian ethnicity living in Kosovo and Metohija“ – reads the verdict of the Court of Appeals.

At the beginning of October last year, the Kosovo Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote to Quint countries asking them to condemn such language. At the time, the Kosovan FM sent this appeal over a clip of an Ivica Dacic interview, who posed a rhetorical question on the “Cirilica” show on TV Happy on what should be done with Serbs who reveal the locations of mass graves of Albanians in Serbia.

At the end of October last year, a new government of Serbia was elected. During a session of the Serbian parliament at the time, it was the speech of Shaip Kamberi which left the biggest impression. In his speech in Serbian, he gave his critical view of Serbia under the administration of, as he said, one man, but also a review of the state of Serbia in the past years. In a series of remarks, quotes, and mentions of famous Serbian writers and cultural envoys, he accused the regime of Aleksandar Vucic of abolishing democracy. Kamberi underlined that even Slobodan Milosevic failed to do so. He said that there is no Republic of the State of Serbia, but the Republic of Aleksandar Vucic, and he also used the famous French saying L’État c’est moi.

Below we publish Kamberi’s speech in the Serbian parliament yesterday:

Dear citizens of the Republic of Serbia, Ladies, and Gentlemen of the Parliament, Mr. President,

Good day! Today is a special day. It is the first day after the court of this state legalized the offensive term „Shiptars“. 

The Higher Court in Belgrade refused to find Minister Aleksandar Vulin guilty of discrimination, insults and hate speech against Albanians. The decision of the Court of Appeals, which sanctioned the use of the term „Shiptar“ as hate speech at the end of 2018, no longer refers to the Higher Court. Not even the opinion of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Jankovic, who described the use of the term „Shiptar“ as disparaging, insulting and violating the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination.

As it is well-known, the former spokesman of Mira Markovic and current Minister of Interior Affairs of Aleksandar Vucic, constantly uses the offensive terminology „Shiptar“ instead of the official and legal terminology in Serbia: „Albanian“. By the decision of the court of this country, as of today, I am a „Shiptar“ and not an Albanian.

One day, Aleksandar Vulin woke up and decided who I am and what my ethnicity is called, and this was legalized by the state court! Just like in Germany in 1930, when Minister Hermann Goring decided who the Jews were and what they were called, and then it was legalized by the Gestapo courts. By declaring the lawsuit of the National Council of Albanians as unfounded, the court has already legalized general hatred, intolerance and xenophobia against Albanians, in Serbia in particular.

Mrs. Merkel, Messrs. Macron, Borrell, Lajcak, Von der Leyen, is this your pro-European Serbia? This did not happen during the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, who killed, raped and expelled Albanians while calling them Albanians. But, under the silence of the democratic world, Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbia is returning to the time of Aleksandar Rankovic, when the term ‘Shiptar’ was last officially and publicly used.

Dear colleagues, the decision of the Higher Court in Belgrade is a very dangerous precedent for minorities in Serbia, but also the entire Western Balkans.

It creates legitimate standards for hate speech against minorities not only in Serbia, but also the Western Balkans. How would the Serb society react if a Kosovo colleague of Aleksandar Vulin woke up one morning and decided to refer to Serbs using a pejorative term that was legalized by the court in Pristina? Do Vulin and Vucic want this for Kosovo Serbs?

No, you will not be able to incite this mutual hatred in order to preserve power by play-acting patriotism in Serbia.

You continue to publicly and legally insult your minorities, thus insulting your country.

Even after yesterday’s court decision, I am even more convinced that your hatred will not defeat Serbia.

The Balkans of peace, coexistence and mutual respect has no alternative. Therefore, your downfall has no alternative either!

In this case, I ask Prime Minister Brnabic as to whether this hate speech will be incorporated as a standard in your government in communication with minorities, and especially with Albanians?

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