Back 19 - Next 

1989: Gazimestan

 Speech by Slobodan Milosevic, delivered to 1 million people at the central celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, held at Gazimestan on 28 June, 1989.
Slobodan Milošević at Gazimestan on 28 June, 1989

In 1989 Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević succeeded in abolishing the autonomy of Kosovo. This was achieved not without a struggle, including an underground hunger strike by 1,350 Trepča miners and demonstrations. On 23 March 1989 the Kosovo assembly, surrounded by tanks and police, voted for the necessary constitutional amendments. On 28 June, at Gazimestan, part of the historic Kosovo battlefield, Milošević celebrated his triumph on the 600th anniversary of the battle.

Before an estimated 1 million Serbs, he cited Miloš Obilić, the knight who the legends say had killed the Sultan, by saying: "After many decades Serbia has her state, national and spiritual integrity back. Today it is not difficult for us to answer the old question: how shall we face Miloš?" Using the diminutive for Slobodan the crowd chanted: "Tsar Lazar, you were unfortunate, not to have Slobo on your side." Milošević then said:

Serbs in their history have never conquered or exploited others. Through two world wars, they have liberated themselves and, when they could, they also helped others to liberate themselves…The Kosovo heroism does not allow us to forget that, at one time, we were brave and dignified and one of the few who went into battle undefeated…Six centuries later, again we are in battles and quarrels. They are not armed battles, though such things should not be excluded yet.

[p.56]

Kosovo: War and Revenge. 2002, Second Edition. [Yale University Press]

 Back 19 - Next