One Person’s Pride, Another Person’s Pain
Marija Serifovic has won the 2007 Eurovision song contest. This is the first year that Serbia has entered the contest as an independant. Eurovision Video
It wasn’t until today while visiting a website dedicated to my mother’s home town that I heard about her win. It was to my horror to see a picture of Marija and her three finger salute proceeded by a very short story about her chetnik salute.
If you take a look at the wikipedia entry for the meaning of the salute you will find:
The three-finger salute (Serbian Cyrillic: три пpcтa; Latin: Tri Prsta) is a Serbian salute with the thumb, index, and middle fingers open.
The origin of the salute is commonly explained based on the Orthodox way of crossing, with the three fingers instead of entire hand (which is associated with the Christian Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
What you don’t find in that article is the psychological implications this salute carries with most Bosnians the Kosovars and the Croatians that have all lived through wars with Serbs. Nowhere in that wikipedia article do you find the UN documented cases of two fingers being cut off of non-serbs by serbs so that all that remains is the three finger salute. Nowhere in this article will you find how non-serbs were forced to hold up three fingers before their deaths or torture. Nowhere in this article will you find the stories of Bosnians that were fleeing their hometowns being given the three finger salute as their buses passed Serb strong holds. Nowhere in this article do you find any of the atrocities commited using this salute. Nowhere in this article do you find an alternate meaning of three finger salute which stated something like, only serbs, all serbs and I’m not sure of the third point associated with it. Regardless, I think I have made my point that to many other non-Serbian cultures this salute carries severely painful memories.
This isn’t the first time that the three finger salute has been brought to attention by a Serb in the spotlight. Vlade Divac has also been known to flash three fingers after he or other teammates have scored points. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we’ll see the three finger salute either and much like the Nazi salute, this salute will continue to cause controversy and reactions.
What surprised me the most in this case was that Marija Serifovic was given 12 points (the highest number of votes) by both Bosnia and Croatia and that her win is being attributed to cultural solidarity. Why on God’s beautiful earth would anyone after that continue to flash a salute that they must know causes great pain to those who just supported her? Maybe it was an innocent, heat of the moment reaction, but I haven’t seen an apology or explanation on her part.