June 29, 2015
A monument to Gavrilo Princip was unveiled on Sunday in Belgrade in the presence of Serbian and RS [Republika Srpska in Bosnia] presidents Tomislav Nikolic and Milorad Dodik.
“Gavrilo Princip was a hero, a symbol of the idea of freedom, the assassin of tyrants and the carrier of the European idea of liberation from slavery,” Nikolic said at the ceremony.
As far as Germany and Austria-Hungary were concerned, World War I was imminent even without the assassination, he said, and added that "then, as well as now, as always, Serbia opposed the war. We deserved and received the halo of the righteous victors during and immediately after both world wars."
"If Winston Churchill in his book 'The Unknown War' wrote that Princip died in prison, while a monument erected by his compatriots glorifies his crime and genocide, then the draft (British) resolution on Srebrenica is not surprising, that would make only Srebrenica a symbol of crime from now on," Nikolic said.
In reference to the crimes committed in Croatia's death camps and by German and Hungarian occupying forces in Serbia during World War II, the president said he would "not allow those Serbs slaughtered and killed with sledgehammers in Jasenovac, Stara Gradiska, Jadovno, those executed by firing squads in Kraljevo and Kragujevac, drowned in Novi Sad, to be insulted."
Serbia, Nikolic continued, is not today defending Princip and his comrades - instead, "they are defending Serbia with the defense presented at their trial that was never completed, while the war was well underway, with their perseverance on the truth, ideas, and motives, even when they were imprisoned in inhumane conditions and dying in agony."
"Serbia is expressing its stance on the 'rebelled angels' - as Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric called them - here and now, with the monument to Princip, that has been awaited for more than a century," the president said.
The monument is the work of sculptor Zoran Kuzmanovic from Smederevo, a gift to the City of Belgrade from the citizens of the Serb Republic (RS), the Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
An identical monument was unveiled in East Sarajevo, RS, a year ago.
"Freedom and unity"
The monument to Gavrilo Princip unveiled in Serbia on Sunday "is a symbol of the fight for freedom and unity of the Serbian people," Milorad Dodik said, addressing the gathering.
"The Serbian people does not want to be oppressed in the new, modern conditions of oppression, they want to build partnership and peace with others," he said, according to Tanjug.
The RS leader added that "we must reject all attacks facing the Serbian people," and cited the example of the resolution on Srebrenica.
Dodik, who earlier qualified the document as anti-Serb, stressed that Srebrenica is an area in which a huge number of people from both sides were killed. He urged the British "to say who killed more than 3,500 Serbs in the area during the 1991-1995 war."
Dodik voiced his gratitude to Nikolic, and PM Aleksandar Vucic "for defending the interests of the RS and opposing the shameful British draft resolution on Srebrenica."
Dodik also "criticized leading Western countries which do not allow a referendum on the independence of the RS," according to Tanjug.
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