I just came across this article in the Winnepeg
Free Press discussing racism against a
Serbian-American athlete. As it’s AP, I encourage you
to find it in other newspapers (preferably your local
ones) and respond. I wrote a usual quick 5 minute
response below. Go ahead and use it if you like. I
will never forget running with a "Samo Sloga Srbina
Spaseva" Cyrillic t-shirt on the Charles River many
years ago at Harvard and heard someone who could
obviously read Cyrillic make some racist comment
against the "genocidal Serbs" about my shirt as I
passed him. Unfortunately, I didn’t stop as I wanted
to continue my run but in retrospect, wish I had. We
can’t let these issues slide. This is an issue that
all Americans should be concerned about given the
creeping/emerging fascism of many of our leaders
("Patriot" act etc.).
Mike Corder, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands – A Serb swimmer could face
disciplinary action for wearing a T-shirt proclaiming
"Kosovo is Serbia" during the gold-medal ceremony at
the European swimming championships.
Milorad Cavic, an American-born Serb, said Thursday he
was just trying to send "positive energy" to the
country he represents as he accepted his medal
Wednesday night for winning the 50-metre butterfly in
a European record time of 23.11 seconds.
European swimming’s governing body LEN said in a
statement that Cavic had been called to face a
disciplinary hearing Thursday night.
"I’m afraid of the worst," Cavic told The Associated
Press. "A suspension is the worst they can do to me.
That is the death sentence."
A suspension would disrupt Cavic’s preparations for
the Beijing Olympics.
Photos and images of Cavic in his red T-shirt were
carried by Serb television stations, but the emphasis
was more on his victory and record than his T-shirt.
The country’s president and prime minister
congratulated Cavic on his win.
"I didn’t do it to provoke anger, I didn’t do it to
provoke violence," Cavic said. "The country is torn
apart and . . . my goal was just to uplift them."
Kosovo, a former Serbian province with an ethnic
Albanian majority, declared independence Feb. 17 and
has been recognized by countries including Canada, the
U.S., Japan and powerful European Union nations.
However, Belgrade strongly objects to losing a
province many Serbs consider the historical cradle of
the nation. The Serbian government says the
independence declaration was illegal and recalled
ambassadors from nations that have recognized Kosovo
as a new nation.
Kosovo had not been under Serbian control since a NATO
force moved in on the heels of massive air strikes
in’99 that ended a brutal Serb crackdown on
secessionist rebels in the province.
Cavic, who trains in the United States, said his red
T-shirt, with the text written in the Cyrillic
alphabet widely used in Serbia, was just sending a
message of support to the country he swims for, not
making a political statement.
"What is my wearing a shirt going to do to change the
minds of the United States, United Nations or European
Union," he said. "This is already a done deal. All I
wanted to do was uplift my people. My only role here
was to be a leader and transfer positive energy."
Letter to the Editor
The Winnepeg Free Press
March 20, 2008
Re: "Serb swimmer could face disciplinary action over
Kosovo T-shirt," March 20.
This article demonstrates the racist effects that
anti-Serbian bashing and lies over the past 18 years
in the mainstream Western "free and fair" media have
had on encouraging attacks on Serbians and
Serbian-Americans. I would like to remind the
European swimming championship officials that in a
true democracy, everyone has the right to express
his/her cultural heritage without the fear of
persecution. Kosovo is still recognized as an
integral and inviolable portion of Serbia by a vast
majority of the world’s nations despite Canada’s
ridiculous and illogical actions to the contrary. Mr.
Cavic had every right to wear the shirt proclaiming
that "Kosovo is Serbia." Shame on the European
swimming officials for their open racism against
anything Serbian. Serbs are now the new Jews.
Dr. Michael Pravica