The city of Bijeljina, apart from the existing square, will also get a memorial bust of Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic, the leader of the Chetnik movement from World War II. It is a decision of the City Assembly after which numerous polemics were initiated in a city that is considered an example of different cultures and coexistence.
With 28 votes in favor and two votes against, the councilors of the Assembly of the City of Bijeljina accepted the proposal to build a monument to Dragoljub Draza Mihajlovic in Bijeljina. It led to an intense debate at the session of the city parliament, but also a dissatisfaction of Bosniak representatives, BHRT writes.
“I think that Bijeljina is going backward and I am afraid that with such decisions, we call in question everything that we have achieved in the past 15 years,” said Mustafa Gradascevic, SDA councilor in the Bijeljina City Assembly of Bijeljina.
Although Mayor Ljubisa Petrovic was asked to remove the disputed topic from the agenda, he did not do so.
“This is not a new thing, it was already planned by the department and the City Administration in the last year, so we passed these initiatives to the Assembly for consideration, for us not to be an obstructive factor,” told Ljubisa Petrovic, the Mayor of Bijeljina.
Although the public can often hear that Bijeljina is considered a positive example of coexistence and multiculturalism, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights thinks that the latest move by the authorities has shown the opposite.
“We are falling into a kind of trap for stupidity and political primitivism and chauvinism,” said Branko Todorovic, the executive director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights.
The news about the construction of the memorial bust caused conflicting comments of the citizens of Bijeljina, who mostly consider it is unnecessary to look at the past.
After giving consent, the association of veteran Chetniks from Bijeljina should provide funds for the monument construction, but also all other preparatory works, which will take some time, so the setting of the memorial bust cannot be expected soon, as the interlocutors concluded.