Response to opposition to the Belgrade Choir performance of “Mars na Drinu”
January 17, 2013
To the Honorable Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations:
The song “Mars na Drinu” [March on the river Drina] written by Serbian composer Stanislav Binicki is a patriotic song meant to commemorate the bravery of Serbian soldiers in World War I that fought against the Austro-Hungarian invasion. In spite of the fact that Serbia was a small nation and that it suffered incredible losses during World War I, the song, if anything, is a symbol of the importance of standing up for the principles of freedom, even against all odds. The Serbian people were rewarded for their bravery at the end of World War I with recognition and support by the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia and others in the Alliance. The idea of striving and sacrificing for that sake of freedom is a principle that many would agree epitomizes the very existence of the Untied Nations. And so it is more than appropriate that this song should be sung in the halls of the United Nations in New York during the Viva Voks Belgrade choir performance on the first day of the Serbian New Year, January 14th, 2013. Far from being intended as an insult, anyone witnessing this beautiful performance would have recognized it as a gesture of good will in sharing this small, musically gratifying part of the Serbian culture.
Any opposition to this lovely performance is not only baffling but indicative of the incessant anti-Serbian defamation and denial of even the most basic elements of public expression of their culture that the Serbian people have had to endure. This propaganda war seems to continue even at the United Nations where many of us wrongly believed there was sanctuary from such malevolence. Speaking on behalf of the vast majority of Serbian-Americans who live in the United States, and many more beyond these borders, I encourage you to continue to treat the wonderful and very deserved performance by the Belgrade choir Viva Voks with honor, and respect. Please be assured that the song “Mars na Drinu” is viewed by every individual of Serbian descent as a poignant musical symbol of how the Serbian people too have made great sacrifices in history to support freedom and therefore stand proudly alongside other nations at the United Nations.
Director, Serbian Institute, Washington, D.C.
Alex Machaskee | Branko Terzic | Danielle Sremac | Obrad Kesic | Jasmina Vujic
Serbian Institute Founding Committee