UN Accidentally Applauds Genocidal Serbian Song

...then swiftly apologizes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2013 10:00 AM CST
UN Accidentally Applauds Genocidal Serbian Song
Ban Ki-moon and Vuk Jeremic are surrounded by the Belgrade vocal group, Viva Vox, in the General Assembly Hall at UN headquarters in New York.   (AP Photo/United Nations, Mark Garten)

The UN issued an apology yesterday, after Ban Ki-moon and other senior officials gave a standing ovation to the Serbian song "March on the Drina" at a concert this week—apparently unaware that it was the unofficial anthem of the Serbian troops who massacred Bosnian civilians in the 1990s. "We sincerely regret that people were offended," a UN spokesman said, adding that the song, which was performed as an encore by the Serbian choir Viva Vox, hadn't been on the concert's official program.

General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, an ex-Serbian official, said Serbia was "very proud" of the song, and wanted to share it with a "message of reconciliation." Though the song was originally written to commemorate a World War I battle, its lyrics refer to the Bosnian river Drina, with lines like, "Blood was flowing/Blood was streaming: By the Drina was freedom!" the New York Times explains. The topic is especially touchy because the UN was supposed to be protecting the 8,000 who died in the Srebrenica massacre. (Read more Ban Ki-moon stories.)

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