|London, July 14, 97
HRH Crown Prince Alexander's
Message to the Humanitarian Foundation "Sveti Andrej Prvozvani"
On the occasion of his Birthday 17 July, 1997
First of all, I would like to convey cordial greetings from my wife HRH Crown Princess Katherine and myself to the Foundation "Sveti Andrej" and to thank its members and leaders, and especially Mr Vojislav Golubovic, on their huge efforts to collect and distribute humanitarian aid to Serbs in distress. Since its inception, the Foundation has done a great deal to help war victims in the former Yugoslavia and has achieved fine results despite great difficulties and misunderstandings on the part of various factors.
In recent years, humanitarian aid collected by my wife has been going into the country mainly through the good offices of the Foundation, and Princess Katherine has asked me to tell you that she values very highly co-operation with the Foundation "Sveti Andrej", whose patron she is.
"Dear friends, this year my birthday falls at a time of great uncertainty about the future courses of events in Serbia, Montenegro and Republika Srpska. It is not up to me to get involved in political analyses and forecasts but I must point out some facts that concern us Serbs as a nation. This is indispensable because there will be no better future for us if we do not face up the reality honestly however brutal it may be, and if we do not face up to the truth. And the truth is that with the break up of Yugoslavia, have experienced the gravest tragedy in their recent history and a defeat whose consequences cannot yet be fully visualised.
Having put in an enormous effort in the creation and preservation of Yugoslavia over a period of more than seventy years, the Serbs were faced with the disappearance of that state. Instead of being under the roof of one state, they were split among several newly created states ñ former Yugoslaviaís successors. As a result of the civil war, hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forced to abandon their ancestral homes in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina to be scattered all over the world or to live under very miserable conditions in Serbia. Other war victims include thousands of orphans, widows, mothers in mourning, war disabled and people reduced to poverty. Serbs in Croatia have disappeared as a serious political factor, and have been completely ethnically cleansed from a good part of western Bosnia and Herzegovina. Republika Srpska remains, but it is a big question whether the suffering of Serbs in that region has come to an end. Judging by recent unhappy events, it may get even worse.
In all this, our motherland Serbia did not know what to do. While people were unjustly isolated and denounced by the world, Serbian power brokers burdened with heavy ballast from the past have failed completely to defend the Serbian interests. Instead of defending those interests, they fought only to remain in power, without rendering account to anybody for the losses that the people suffered under their rule. Instead of joining the efforts to effect a democratic rebirth of the country, they put back the country politically, economically and culturally. Perhaps, one could not expect anything else from these spiritual heirs of communism and political opportunism.
Unfortunately, the opposition did not do much better, although there are honourable exceptions.
I believe these are the facts we must take account of if we are to create a platform for the solution of the crisis. Our basic problem is that, as a people, we have not yet been able to find and to define our real role in the new conditions created by the break-up of Yugoslavia and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. We are still in a blind alley, and I use this opportunity to appeal to our intelligent men and patriots to tackle this problem in a most serious manner and to indicate possible solutions. As far as I am concerned, as a descendent of Karadjordje, I will do everything to be of service to my people.
Despite all the difficulties and problems, I am an optimist. I am firmly convinced that the Serbian people have the strength to overcome the current difficulties and to secure a better and brighter future. The all-national democratic protest at the end of last year and the beginning of this year has shown the whole world that the spirit of the Serbian people is unbreakable. It has also shown that communism has not succeeded in suppressing the liberty-loving awareness of the Serbian people and to divert it from its fight for justice, democracy and progress. The world watched with admiration as the students and citizens both in Belgrade and throughout
Serbia protested in a dignified manner and demanded a democratic rebirth of the country. Despite the situation that has arisen since, the fact remains that the protest was a great moral victory of Serbiaís democratic forces and that it constitutes the foundation on which future action should be built.
So long as young people are idealistic and patriotic citizens have courage, Serbia will not perish.