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Montenegro: Statement by Slovenian PEN in support of the Montenegrin culture and literature

Thursday 29 July 2021 - 4:35pm

Abstract painting of Montenegro. CC Attribution (ADRIADOM)

Members of the Slovenian PEN centre, support Montenegrin fellow writers in their struggle against the prejudiced policy of the government of Montenegro, which alongside with the Serbian Orthodox Church and pro-Serbian hegemony, attack the constitutional foundations of the independent and democratic country. Sadly, the violence against Montenegrin arts and literature, including their misleading historical interpretations, occur under the wing of the Serbian establishment which is responsible for denying the very existence of the Montenegrin language. The government’s attempts to erase from the electoral register certain groups of citizens (i.e. citizens who work abroad on temporary basis, mostly Bosnians and Albanians, and other non-orthodox citizens), remind us of the methods of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century.

Novelist Mrs. Dragana Kršenković Brković says that “the memories of the nineties when the chauvinist squads ravaged the region (in particular Serbs of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia) are too intense to let us nonchalantly stand by the developments in the Balkans.”

Recently, Slovenian PEN received a letter from the Montenegrin PEN centre concerning the threats and calls to civil war by right-wing politicians in the country. Slovenian PEN calls on the international community, the European Union and the Republic of Slovenia, currently presiding the Council of the European Union, to:

  • Acknowledge the violence against the Montenegrin culture and literature;
  • Protect the Montenegrin culture and literature;
  • Condemn and sanction, with all possible international mechanisms, the undemocratic deeds of the present Montenegrin government;
  • Condemn the interference of the Serbian Orthodox Church into the state policy of the Republic Montenegro;
  • Support and speed up the Montenegrin aspirations to join the European Union.

Not so long ago, Slovenian poet Miklavž Komelj published a new translation of The Mountain Wreath by Petar Petrović Njegoš. Bookstores around the world offer the works of acclaimed writers such as Ognjen Spahić, Andrej Nikolaidis, Dragan Radulović and others. Such wonderful and rich literature and culture cannot be silenced or erased from the world map.

Board of Slovenian PEN