On the Endangerment of Montenegrin Culture, People and State

On the basis of the principles of the Charter and Resolution of the International P.E.N. Center, which emphasize the importance and protection of the national identity of the small nations and their cultures, it is the right and duty of the Montenegrin P.E.N. Center to point out, in Montenegro and internationally, the Great Serbian chauvinism and hegemony aiming to abolish and assimilate the Montenegrin nation, its history and culture. The situation has been aggravated by the fact that the Montenegrin authorities, because of their shortsighted interests, have been supporting such tendencies and processes, seriously endangering the thousand-year-old state, culture and national identity of the Montenegrins.


1. Great Serbianism is a grand illusion and a disastrous force in 20th century Montenegrin history. The Great Serbian epidemic also affected King Nikola I and his unique kingdom. Due to this illusion we have been through heavy traumas, humiliations, and even fratricidal fights. We have missed excellent opportunities to stabilize and develop ourselves in a civilized way, like other small European countries.

2. The Yugoslav crisis and the disintegration of Yugoslavia have been largely caused by the rise of the Great Serbian forces and their more and more aggressive actions. While in some parts of ex-Yugoslavia the Great Serbian hegemony proved extremely disastrous, with unprecedented bloodshed and destructiveness, in Montenegro a dangerously perfidious strategy of submission is being pursued, which in many ways reminds us of the activities of fascism on the eve of the Anschluss of Austria in 1938.

3. The Montenegrin leadership, who gained power on the wings of Great Serbianism at the very beginning of the Yugoslav crisis, being burdened with inexperience and a political debt to their Serbian mentors, accepted a subordinate role of assisting and serving someone else's interests and nebulous ambitions. Obviously, it was not conscious of its historical role and the responsibility it faced during the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

4. They accepted the creation of a double federation and the establishment of a Constitution which only in a formally legal, demagogic and provisional way retains the state and national attributes of Montenegro. It enables the territorially, demographically and economically larger and stronger Serbia to establish freely the domination of its own interests. Given the existence of an aggressive Great Serbianism, such a federation, in fact, accelerates the processes of disappearance of the Montenegrin state and a forced assimilation of the Montenegrin people.

5. That Constitution, among other things, declares Serbian as the language of the Montenegrins, in spite of the fact that the Montenegrin language has its own history and confirmation in literature, in the same degree the Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian languages have. Thus its particularity has been rescinded, and its literary and practical fulfillment made impossible.

6. The Great Serbian credo of mythic nationalism dominates in the school programs, the institutions dealing with culture, the media and cultural manifestations. At the same time, everything that supports a historical awareness and the values of the Montenegrin national culture has been neglected, rejected and falsified.

7. A number of institutions promoting the emancipation and affirmation of Montenegro and its culture have been closed or degraded. Individuals of the Great Serbian orientation have been given managerial positions in the civil services, in education, science, health, culture and in the media.

8. The Serbian Orthodox Church, by medieval dogmas and methods, is trying hard to become a leading spiritual force of Great Serbianism, especially in Montenegro. Its particular activity is to discredit the Montenegrin Orthodox Church, which has all historical, canonical and moral rights to exist and exercise its influence. The Serbian Orthodox Church endangers, also, the existence of other religions in Montenegro.

9. There are many cases of drastic and organized abuses of the human rights and freedom of Moslems, Albanians and Croats in Montenegro, which violate the constitutional concept of a civil state and force the emigration of Montenegrins.

10. The manipulations with the Orthodox refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina are important tools of the Great Serbian hegemony. Many of them have illegally become citizens of Montenegro, and now they are very active in contributing to the realization of the Great Serbian programs. In the same way, the migration from Serbia has been stimulated through the purchase of real estate and the offers of prominent positions in society. The multi-cultural Bay of Kotor as well as the whole of the Montenegrin coast, which for centuries exhibited progress and tolerance, have been turned into military bases and a stage for Great Serbian aspirations.


1. It must be realized and accepted that the preservation, emancipation and development of the Montenegrin state, nation, culture and other centuries-old particularities of the Montenegrin region is a historical obligation for contemporary generations. If those inalienable and sacred values could be saved and developed in past centuries during hard times of violence and deception, of manslaughter by the powerful and tyranny of the arrogant, it is much easier to do so today when international relations have evolved in the direction of deep respect for small peoples and their countries.

2. As to international factors, Montenegro has every chance to be recognized and accepted as an equal member of the UN and other international organizations and, as such, to be a factor for peace and stability in the Balkans and the Mediterranean. As a sovereign state, it has all the prerequisites for a fast and versatile development and an intensive international cooperation in economics, science, education, health, culture and sports.

3. After everything that has happened in this century, especially in recent years, it must finally be clear that Great Serbianism is a dangerous utopia and a great evil, as much for Serbia as for Montenegro. Considering the arrogant behavior of the Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia, a very complex situation in Kosovo, and the persistence of Great Serbianism as the dominant official policy of Serbia, Serbia will be mired in tragic problems for a long time to come. Montenegro can and must stand aside of all that in order to cherish and develop the long term interests of its own community.

4. We particularly want to emphasize that the governing forces in Montenegro have an exceptional historical responsibility which they must be aware of. We believe that the present Montenegrin leadership still has a historic opportunity to provide stability, development and international respect for their country and its people, and to redeem themselves and earn an honorable place in the history of Montenegro. Although the Montenegrins have been indoctrinated (by Serbia) with a dangerous belief in a messianic role and irrational ideas of life and success, directed towards the pursuit of a Great Serbian utopia, they could, rather quickly, be oriented toward civilized norms of behavior and work and find a way to the broad vistas of progress.

5. There need be no fear of the people's reaction if all the possibilities and potential opportunities are explained to them in a real and rational way. After giving detailed and honest information, we could support a referendum. But, in that case, the ballot must be clear and precise, and reflect the long-term interests of Montenegro. For us there are only two choices: Montenegro -- a sovereign and modern state; or Montenegro -- a Serbian province.

6. The decision to proclaim Montenegro an ecological state is of prime importance and key to protecting its valuable natural resources. Tourism, maritime economy, energy, livestock breeding, fruit and vegetable growing, duty-free trade, services and some other business transactions can, rather quickly, bring about a large accumulation of capital, promote the private sector and motivate foreign partners. The prerequisite to all of this is freeing ourselves from the present dependence on and subordination to Serbia.

7. It is necessary to have educational, scientific, cultural and other programs changed, to liberate them from the myths, legends, and mystification of the past, and thus turn ourselves towards cherishing the highest results of civilization, as well as systematic work and creativity. We should cherish those things from our tradition which have asserted our creative vitality and affirmation of civilization.

8. All the progressive forces of our society should aid the affirmation of the Montenegrin state. The intellectuals have a special responsibility, even those who have been passive so far, constrained in the prosaic framework of mere survival. This is the moment when politics concerns all those who care about freedom, dignity, a better life, the prosperity of society and the future to come.

9. We put a special emphasis on the necessity of a peaceful way in solving the problem of protecting the Montenegrin state, nation and culture. A fratricidal fight must not be allowed because its consequences are far-reaching and tragic, and devastation, in any way, of scarce material goods is unacceptable. Also, it is necessary to establish the national, religious and other rights of the Moslem, Albanian and Croat populations of Montenegro.

10. The Montenegrin P.E.N. Center, as a member of an eminent international organization, will continue to act in accordance with the Charter and Resolution of this organization. It is our duty to plead for and to contribute to the protection and affirmation of the national identity of the Montenegrin people and the Montenegrin culture, the freedom of individuals in their private and public activities. The Montenegrin P.E.N. Center, considering its international status and mission, accepts a special responsibility to inform the world, the international forum and institutions about the situation in Montenegro.

Podgorica, 11 December 1994

Assembly of the Montenegrin P.E.N. Center

Dr. Jakov Mrvaljevic, President

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