The challenge of writing the words „Kosovo is Serbia“ on bills of different currencies was recently initiated on social networks in Serbia, with the aim of spreading the message that Kosovo is an integral part of this country. The Foreign Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dacic also joined the challenge, triggering a counter campaign of the Kosovo public. On the other hand, Kosovo Ambassador to the US, Vlora Citaku said that every form of mutilation of bank bills is a criminal offense.
The owner of the ‘Pavle Korcagin’ tavern in Belgrade recently started a challenge with the aim of sharing a message throughout the world that Kosovo is Serbia. Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dacic also joined the challenge by writing „Kosovo is Serbia“ in Cyrillic on a $100 banknote.
The Kosovo public reacted by staring a counter campaign and sharing photos of banknotes with the inscription „Kosovo is beautiful“ on social media.
The challenge spread rapidly on social networks, however, it was also criticized. One of the criticizers of the challenge is the Kosovo ambassador to the United States, Vlora Citaku, who condemned such actions and reminded that this is a criminal offense, not in Serbia or Kosovo, but in the United States.
Ill just leave this here “Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association,
— Vlora Çitaku (@vloracitaku) 5 June 2019
Referring to a US law article, she tweeted that all those caught destroying banknotes in any way should be “fined or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”
Although Citaku did not specify whether this tweet refers to the Serbian or Kosovo public – since both are writing inscriptions on banknotes – her reaction arrived after the Serbian chief of diplomacy joined the challenge.
Citaku nevertheless joined the challenge, however, not by using banknotes but by publishing a photo of the Novo Brdo fortress with the hashtag „Kosovo is beautiful“.
— Vlora Çitaku (@vloracitaku) 5 June 2019
Eparchy concerned about Novo Brdo
Contrary to this, Eparchy of Raska-Prizren reacted yesterday with a detailed press release in Serbian and English, expressing concern over the news recently published by the Kosovo media about the announcement of the beginning of construction at the site of the old Serbian medieval cathedral church of St Nicholas, the cathedral church of the Novo Brdo and Gracanica bishops, in the immediate vicinity of the Novo Brdo fortress. The Kosovo media announced construction on the „cathedral in Artana, formerly Novo Brdo,“ claiming that the same site is a Roman Catholic church. According to the Eparchy, however, it is one of 40 special protected zones – which are subject to a special procedure under the Kosovo laws. „This special procedure of determining if work can be carried out on a site depends not only on the decisions of Kosovo institutions but also the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church,“ the eparchy stressed.
Dacic’s participation in the challenge prompted a reaction of the US embassy in Belgrade, which urged Dacic to consider his actions.
„Instead of destroying a banknote with the image of a great American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin, Minister Dacic should maybe consider his statement: ‘Be in war with your vices, in peace with your neighbors,’“ the embassy underlined, Radio Free Europe reported.
The Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci also reacted, claiming that the campaign „Kosovo is Serbia“ – which the Serbian official joined – is „disrespectful.“ Thaci stressed that Dacic thus proved that „he is living in the past century, in the mentality of the past – primitive and irrational“.
„The less Kosovo deals with such obsolete people, with no influence in Serbia, the better. We will not lose energy by dealing with the humiliating, offensive and unpleasant slogans of a man with direct responsibility for the committed genocide by Serbia. We need to focus on our work, not on the slogans and myths Serbia is sharing about Kosovo. It is clear to the whole world that Kosovo is a free and independent country,“ Thaci said.
In the meantime, Dacic responded to the warning from the US Embassy.
He told Sputnik that he „did not destroy the $100 banknote,” nor did he “insult Benjamin Franklin,” but that he rather “acted in harmony with the essential idea of that great American scientist and statesman.”
„Serbia will always fight against every depraved and false narco state and we will always strive for peace with all our neighbors. Serbia will never treat its own country as a neighboring country –something America would also never do. Something that Benjamin Franklin would not do. What I did was to respect the universal principle of all recognized states, including the United States and Serbia,“ concluded Dacic.
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