HNV in Serbia: Textbooks negating Croatian language should be withdrawn

NEWS 06.10.2021 13:35
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Source: JEFF PACHOUD / AFP, Ilustracija

Negating the Croatian language in Serbian textbooks is not the view of its authors but an instruction by the Institute for the Serbian Language of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, president of the Croatian National Council Jasna Vojnic said on Wednesday, underscoring that  the textbooks in question should be withdrawn.

Vojnic said that this was a mistake that has to be admitted and the textbooks should be withdrawn.

The eighth-grade elementary school textbook notes that Serbian, Slovenian, Macedonian and Bulgarian belong to South Slavic languages “while Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call the Serbian language, Croatian, Bosnian, Bosniak and Montenegrin.”

Vojnic added that this definition and the division of South Slavic languages is not cited only in that textbook but in all Serbian language textbooks released by all the publishers in Serbia.

This is the position of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which claims that Croats, Bosniaks and some Montenegrins call this language (Serbian), Croatian, Bosnian-Bosniak and Montenegrin, she added.

“This seems to be the already seen indoctrination of a ‘Serbian World’,” and these are the same members of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts who proclaimed the Bunjevac dialect as a separate language as the official (non-Croatian) language in Subotica at the proposal of the Bunjevac community, who do not identify themselves as Croats.

Vojnic recalled that Serbia, by ratifying the European charter on regional and minority languages, included the Croatian language among minority languages.

“Does that mean that the instructions of the Committee for the Standardisation of the Serbian language are discriminating or breaching the standards for protection of minorities that Serbia adopted and included in its legislation?”  asked Vojnic.

Or will it “admit its mistake and withdraw these textbooks similarly to when it withdrew Croatian language textbooks last year due to a mistake that no one else but the minister and media noticed?”

In May 2020, the Serbian Ministry of Education, acting at the initiative of the then Minister of Education Mladen Sarcevic, withdrew the Croatian language textbooks because they noted that special care was taken of the language in the pro-Nazi Independent State of Croatia (NDH) during the Second World War.

Serbian tabloids then wrote that the NDH was being promoted through Croatian language classes.

The Croatian government and President Zoran Milanovic have reacted to Serbia negating the existence of the Croatian language in school textbooks.

“The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has a clear duty to express its protest to institutions in Serbia. It is unacceptable, a shameful policy and lack of respect towards Croatia as a neighboring country, and we expect it to be corrected,” a press release on the government’s Twitter profile said.

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