Serbia at the Crossroads: Is Turmoil in the Offing?
V r s a c – Following the death of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia and Montenegro are facing the prospect of violent turmoil. A leading Baptist pastor, Avram Dega (Vrsac), points this out in an “Urgent Appeal for Prayer” calling the world’s Baptists to pray for his country. Dega, who is presently serving as administration coordinator of the Serbian Baptist Union in the northern part of the country, also belongs to the union’s executive committee. This union represents 52 congregations with 2.000 members. The theologian, who is also in the board of the country’s Evangelical Alliance, emphasises the importance of praying for political stability so “that the forces of evil, hatred and exclusion will not have final say and that wisdom and moderation might prevail”. The referendum on Montenegran independence from Serbia may lead to further unrest. Voting will take place in Montenegro on 21 May.
The final status of Kosovo may also cause instability. Milosevic took power over the Serbs 20 years ago by ending the independence of Kosovo as an autonomous republic. But the international community is now proposing a course leading towards independence. “There is a lot of frustration. Pray for peace and the right mix of wisdom and boldness for international diplomats.” Otherwise, Kosovo could become a long-term powder keg in the region.
Dega noted that Milosevic died only a few hours prior to the third anniversary of Serbian President Zoran Djindjic’ murder. The two men had represented two very different Serbias:
“one, dictatorial, nationalistic, xenophobic, aggressive and build on myths of the past; the other, democratic, with respect for human rights, with good relations to the neighbours and oriented toward the future. Pray for a leadership in Serbia that will take our country in the right direction.”